This is the time of year when you see lists of the best and worst TV shows, movies, or books. I’ve come up with a list of my own — financial issues that had me either ranting or applauding.
Let’s start with two serious matters that came up this year:
■ The failure of HealthCare.gov to launch properly. So much was riding on a smooth rollout of the website for the health care exchanges, one of the signature objectives of the Affordable Care Act. What a disaster for the millions of people who wanted to sign up. I know many people who would put the glitches on the “best” list because they want the exchanges to fail. My hope for 2014 is that as many people as possible find affordable access to health care.
■ Food stamp cuts. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program was cut by $5 billion. The cuts have affected nearly 48 million people, including 22 million children, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Almost a million veterans are affected. Yes, we have to trim the federal budget. But allowing cuts to a program that helps prevent people from going hungry is just cruel.
Here are two issues I fumed about in 2013.
■ Cellphones in movies. My husband and I went to see “The Best Man Holiday.”After the movie started, the woman in front of me pulled out her cellphone to check e-mail. I asked her to turn it off. She took a scarf and put it over the phone. I could still see the screen.
One survey by Jumio found that 35 percent of people use their phones in movie theaters. If theaters I patronize don’t figure out how to fix this annoyance, I’m staging a one-family boycott. I want to enjoy the movies I pay to see.
■ Phones on planes. The FCC voted to consider allowing passengers to use their cellphones in flight. I pay too much money already to be sardined into seats only to be subjected to the inane chattering of the person next to me. Before takeoff and after a plane lands, passengers can be heard loudly talking on their phones. I can’t imagine that disruption on any length of a flight. Even if the government allows in-flight cellphone use, airline carriers should prohibit it. This is a consumer rights issues, and we ought to fight for our peace on planes in 2014.
Here are three financial stories that had me cheering:
■ Janet Yellen’s nomination. Yellen was nominated by President Obama to lead the Federal Reserve Board. I like Yellen’s policies, especially her concern about the effects of joblessness on people. “She sounded the alarm early about the housing bubble, about excesses in the financial sector, and about the risks of a major recession,” Obama said.
■ Debt dealers get more scrutiny. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said it was considering rules for the industry. Among its chief concerns is making sure debt collectors have the correct person and documentation when they set out to do their jobs.
■ Record-high stock indexes. In November, the Dow crossed 16,000 for the first time. Of course it’s all relative and you have to look long term to see where you end, but I have enjoyed the ride up in my investment portfolio.