The Weekender: A Surge in Women’s Sports🏀

Strategic Elements The Weekender


  • 3.5%: The consumer price index in March – an increase from February’s 3.2%
  • 8%: The percentage internet traffic dropped in the U.S. during the eclipse
  • $1,200: The price of the cheapest ticket to the 88th Masters Tournament
  • 25.6 Million: The number of Americans without health insurance coverage in the third quarter of 2023
  • 30,000: The number of runners (from 100 countries) in the 128th Boston Marathon taking place on Monday
  • $82.5 Million: The amount of increased consumer spending attributed to “The Caitlin Clark Effect”

The Big 5 News Updates

Biden Bemoans the Student Loan

As the cost of higher education has soared over the past decades, students who took out student loans are finding it increasingly difficult to pay them back. Resolving this issue has been a cornerstone for the Biden Administration, which is proposing a narrower fix after the Supreme Court nixed its original plan last year. The new plan includes up to $20,000 in interest forgiveness for borrowers whose balances ballooned due to unpaid interest – something the White House says would help 25 million people. President Biden’s original plan from last year would have extended that $20K cancellation relief to 40 million borrowers.

The new plan seeks to provide aid for former students whose bill is now far more than they originally borrowed because of interest; those who have been making payments for at least 20 years; those with high-debt and low-income career paths; those already eligible for other relief programs but did not apply; and those going through economic hardship. The Biden Administration’s goal with the new package would be to provide forgiveness automatically without borrowers opting into the program.

Conservatives have rallied to critique the plan by asserting that it passes the burden from those who chose to have student loans to taxpayers. They also continue to assert that the President does not have the authority to take the action without Congressional action. If the Biden Administration is able to get the action to pass another potential challenge in court, it would take effect next year, regardless of who wins the presidential election.

Read More at The Washington Post

A Surge in Women’s Sports

For the first time, the women’s final March Madness game captured more viewers than the parallel men’s showdown. Ratings for the women’s final game increased by 89% from 2023, and broke a viewership record set only a week before during the semifinals.

Women’s basketball audiences continue to break records. Why? Among the reasons are Caitlin Clark’s allure and the push for equality between men’s and women’s sports. Caitlin Clark, known for “logo 3’s,” smashing records and making history, has captured the attention of viewers nationwide. She broke Steph Curry’s record for most 3-point shots in one season, and when she’s in town, restaurant and hotel rates spike.

Many basketball fans have also realized the gap in resources and recognition given to women’s basketball compared to men’s (it wasn’t until 2022 that women’s March Madness was even allowed to use the March Madness logo). With massive gaps in pay for highly successful women’s coaches and a whopping 99% ad revenue disparity – despite larger audiences – the conversation is overdue.

Read More at Axios

Negotiating Economics with the Red Dragon

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen visited Beijing, China over the past week to discuss trade between the two countries. During the visit, Yellen urged Chinese officials to scale back its industrial sector amid fears that overproduction would flood international markets, causing supply and demand imbalances. Chinese officials and media heavily pushed back on the rhetoric, saying that these arguments are American protectionism and seek to hinder China’s already slowing economy. China is unlikely to make any significant shifts in their production efforts, but Liao Min, deputy finance minister, indicated that they will continue discussing overcapacity and other economic issues with the U.S.

Trade with China is a complex arena – China provides immense supply in numerous sectors, while American demand remains a steady, reliable market for the country. That said, the two countries are not aligned as political allies and a (growing) list of non-economic issues ensure tension will continue between the two.

Read More at The Wall Street Journal

Are You “Influential?”

X marks the spot, and it’s now marking influence. X, formerly called Twitter, is now extending premium status – trophied by the famous blue check mark – to popular users at no cost under one condition: at least 2,500 of their followers must pay for a subscription to X. Having 5,000 X-subscribing followers gives users a free X premium plus subscription. These users are deemed “influential members.” If your follower count doesn’t reflect these numbers, premium costs $8/month, while Premium Plus costs $16/month. With a premium subscription comes reduced ads, larger reply prioritization, and access to Grok (an AI search assistant that is described as “a twist of humor and a dash of rebellion.”

Changing Twitter Premium was controversial. Mark Hammill, who most famously played Luke Skywalker, was embarrassed by the appearance of a blue check on his X account with little notice, telling his followers, “Don’t judge me for my complimentary blue check.” Other celebrities receiving unwanted X subscriptions expressed similar sentiments, fearing that their followers would think they paid for an X subscription rather than receiving it for free.

Read More at CNBC

The State(s) of Inflation

There’s no denying it: inflation hurts American families – some more than others. The state in which you live can determine how hard your wallet is hit year-over-year. Let’s look at the top five states with the fastest growing inflation rates.

#1 Florida

The Sunshine State saw a 3.9% 12-month inflation rate, but not without good cause. The state gained 194,000 more residents than it lost last year, meaning that single-family homes and rent increased significantly. The wave of new people raised the cost of furniture, food, and an array of other goods and services. As insurance rates increase as a reaction to more damaging hurricanes, Florida is an expensive place to call home.


#2 Tennessee

3.8% 12-month inflation struck the home of straight bourbon whiskey and live music. Tennessee boasts affordable housing, the livelihood of Nashville, a diversified economy and a strong job market. Similarly to Florida, the state saw a net increase of 63,000 residents, increasing housing and other costs. It has a 3.3% unemployment rate (compared to the national 3.8%), which gives a raise in wages, but also higher cost for services.


#3 Virginia

With an annual 3.8% inflation growth rate, Northern Virginia serves as an extension of Washington, D.C. and has expanded investments in infrastructure, chip manufacturing, and clean energy. The nascent technology hub still struggles to attract the skilled tech employees it needs to meet the needs of the sector, meaning wages and inflation sit higher than normal.


#4 South Carolina

South Carolina is the fastest growing state in the country, hosting some of the strongest tourist attractions nationwide with Charleston, Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach. It is also home to a bustling manufacturing sector with BMW in Upstate SC and Boeing in Charleston. In 2023, The Palmetto State had 82,000 more people move to the state than left, and it experiences a 3.6% 12-month inflation rate.


#5 Alabama

People flocked to Alabama during the pandemic and most have stayed to continue working remotely. Hyundia, Mercedes-Benz and Airbus call the state home to their manufacturing plants and its unemployment rate is 3%. Although the state is known for its overall low cost of living, a 3.6% annual inflation rate may serve to change the connotation.

Read more at USA Today

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