Ditch the ‘R’ word

Are we in a recession? Who cares, says Paul La Monica in CNNMoney.com. “I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of the recession debate.” The economy is clearly “in the middle of a very rough patch,” and whether or not we’re technically in a recession seems beside the point. It seems much more productive to try to “determine where the economy is headed next.” And the signs going forward are rosier than many think. Oil has pulled back since July, the dollar is strengthening, demand for exports is up, housing could be stabilizing, and many non-bank U.S. corporations “still have incredibly strong balance sheets.” That looks like a “normal cyclical slowdown,” not signs of “impending doom.”

Ditch the frequent flier credit card

Those frequent-flier miles you’ve earned on your credit card? says Jeffrey Strain in TheStreet.com. They “aren’t worth nearly what they were a few years ago, and the airlines’ financial problems are making them worth even less.” First, there are “fewer seats available,” since airlines are cutting flights. And even if there are seats free, most of them now cost more than 25,000 miles. Next, “free” tickets are rarely free now, since most airlines have added ticket-redemption fees. And this is on top of the annual fee for the credit card. You could “bemoan the losses and new hassles,” but there are lots of other reward-card options now, so it’s probably better to just switch to a better credit card.