Showing posts with label US Economy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label US Economy. Show all posts

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Debt Is Good

Remember all that talk about the debt and deficit and how it was going to be the end of us?

Yeah...still not happening.

Paul Krugman is wondering that as well and he's got some hilarious points in his pondering.

Wags quickly noted that the U.S. economy has, on the whole, done pretty well these past 180 years, suggesting that having the government owe the private sector money might not be all that bad a thing. The British government, by the way, has been in debt for more than three centuries, an era spanning the Industrial Revolution, victory over Napoleon, and more.

Any day now...

After all, we’ve spent much of the past five or six years in a state of fiscal panic, with all the Very Serious People declaring that we must slash deficits and reduce debt now now now or we’ll turn into Greece, Greece I tell you.

Does anyone take them seriously anymore? Ron Paul is now setting up his retirement by fear peddling but that's about it.

So, is debt good?

I’ve already mentioned that having at least some government debt outstanding helps the economy function better. How so? The answer, according to M.I.T.’s Ricardo Caballero and others, is that the debt of stable, reliable governments provides “safe assets” that help investors manage risks, make transactions easier and avoid a destructive scramble for cash.


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A Call To The Private Sector On Inequality

Peter Georgescu has become another member of the one percent to call for action on the inequality in our country. This time, however, he's going directly to the private sector.

Who will be courageous enough to start the ball rolling? The most obvious choice is our government. But the current Congress has been paralyzed.

Paralyzed by ideological intransigence...

Gerogescu lays out the future quite nicely.

If inequality is not addressed, the income gap will most likely be resolved in one of two ways: by major social unrest or through oppressive taxes, such as the 80 percent tax rate on income over $500,000 suggested by Thomas Piketty, the French economist and author of the bestselling book “Capital in the Twenty-First Century.”

I've said the the same thing many times on this site.

So what are the action items that the private sector can pursue?

First, invest in the actual value creators — the employees. Start compensating fairly, by which I mean a wage that enables employees to share amply in productivity increases and creative innovations.

Second, businesses must invest aggressively in their own operations, directing profit into productivity and innovation to boost real business performance. Today, too many corporations reduce investment in research and development and brand building. As a result, we see a general decline in the value of their brands and other assets. To make up for those declines and for anemic revenue, businesses buy back their stock (now at record levels), and thus artificially boost earnings per share.


Will they do it?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Friday, March 27, 2015

It's Worse If You're Correct

I have come to the conclusion that when you are debating politics with a conservative, it gets worse the more you are accurate.

I recently engaged in a long discussion on Facebook over whether or not Barack Obama has destroyed our economy. I pointed out several key indicators (jobs, GDP, stock market, debt/deficit) which indicate that he has not "destroyed" our economy. In fact, it has vastly improved on his watch. As I presented them with more and more data, they grew increasingly hostile. One fellow named Dana eventually wrote this.

I hope that you and the rest of the liberals in this country do us a favor and end your own lives. 

I have to admit that I was pretty shocked by this statement. No one in the group (about 14 people) called him out on it. In fact, they kept piling on me. I did get a message from a guy named Connor who told me that Dana said the same thing to him. How can someone like this be so angry? The whole discussion certainly confirms many of the assertions I've made about conservatives in the past (adolescent, anger, hate, fear etc) but something new came out of it.

As we near the end of the Obama presidency, our country continues to improve in a number of sectors. Like the frustrated child that simply can't take someone doing a better job than they do, conservatives are going to grow more petulant...more hateful...more angry...and behave in ways that we probably can't imagine.

I'd advise all of you to be careful about future discussions like this and realize that facts may no longer help. It seems now that they make it worse.

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Labor Participation Myth

The Republican talking point about labor participation was recently torpedoed by Among the facts...

Sen. Lindsey Graham said the labor participation rate “is at an all-time low.” That’s not accurate. It was lower between 1948 and 1978. 

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus blamed the shrinking participation rate on “the Obama economy,” but economists say most of the decline, which has been happening for more than a decade, is due to demographics, including the trend of baby boomers reaching retirement age and deciding to no longer work.

More specifically...

1) The aging of baby boomers. A lower percentage of older Americans choose to work than those who are middle-aged. And so as baby boomers approach retirement age, it lowers the labor force participation rate. 

2) A decline in working women. The labor force participation rate for men has been declining since the 1950s. But for a couple decades, a rapid rise in working women more than offset that dip. Women’s labor force participation exploded from nearly 34 percent in 1950 to its peak of 60 percent in 1999. But since then, women’s participation rate has been “displaying a pattern of slow decline.” 

3) More young people are going to college. As BLS noted, “Because students are less likely to participate in the labor force, increases in school attendance at the secondary and college levels and, especially, increases in school attendance during the summer, significantly reduce the labor force participation rate of youths.” 

So no matter who was president, and independent of the health of the economy, BLS projected in 2006 that labor force participation rates were going to go down.

As usual, conservatives feel that they are entitled to their own facts:)

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Fact Checking Obama's Economy

Recently, President Obama asked for a fact check on his statements on the economy. Politifact obliged. Here are the facts compared to what he asserted.

• The "economy kept growing." Official data on gross domestic product from the Commerce Department shows that the economy has been growing robustly in recent months.

In fact, it’s been growing so robustly that Republicans have been trying to claim credit for it, a view we have been skeptical of.

• The "stock market has more than doubled." On Jan. 20, 2009, the day Obama took office, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 7,949.09. On Feb. 19, 2015, it stood at 17,985.77. That’s more than twice as much.

One would think people would be more grateful to the president as any American with a stock portfolio and/or 401K has massively improved their investments on the president's watch. Their adolescent bullshit simply won't let them, I guess.

 • "Deficits are down by two-thirds." We recently checked Obama’s claim that we've seen "our deficits cut by two-thirds" and found it Mostly True.

• "America is creating jobs faster than at any time since the last time a Democrat was president." We recently checked Obama’s claim that the economy is "creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999," which is when Bill Clinton, a Democrat, was president. We rated Obama’s claim True.

• "Our manufacturers are creating jobs for the first time since the last time a Democrat was president." We didn’t check this claim before, but a quick look at Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that, except some small and brief upward blips in 2004, Obama is right. Manufacturing employment has been rising, slowly but surely, since 2010. We have also checked Obama’s claim that "factories are opening their doors at the fastest pace in almost two decades." We rated that Mostly True.

• "Health care inflation is running at the lowest rate in almost 50 years." We have reported that data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis that shows health care inflation, as of the end of 2013, was about 1 percent per year — the lowest since the early 1960s.

• "Our deficits are falling faster than they have in 60 years." When Obama claimed that "our deficits are falling at the fastest rate in 60 years," we rated it True. (And for readers seeking a refresher course on the "deficit" and the "debt," here’s a rundown.)

Given all of these facts, why won't opponents of the president simply admit that he's done a damn fine job? After all, they do pride themselves on logical, fact based, rational thought, right?

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Power of Market Forces

Wal Mart has caved. With the economy improving as much as it has (see: Obama, destruction of economy, not happening except inside the bubble), labor was being drawn away from Wal Mart so they had to raise their pay scale to $9 an hour. Next year, it's going to be $10 an hour and managers are getting raises as well. There will also be fixed schedules available for the lower wage employees.

Man, you really gotta love the free market!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

"It's Just Made Up"

From Ronald Reagan's chief economist...

As for the idea that cutting regulations will lead to significant job growth, Bartlett said in an interview, "It's just nonsense. It's just made up." Government and industry studies support his view.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, which tracks companies' reasons for large layoffs, found that 1,119 layoffs were attributed to government regulations in the first half of this year, while 144,746 were attributed to poor "business demand."

I think things being just made up are a cornerstone of conservative economic theory.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

More Economic Good News

The Labor Department said on Friday that employers added a seasonally adjusted 257,000 jobs in January, but even more significant was a revision of earlier estimates showing an additional gain of 147,000 jobs in November and December. Since Nov. 1, employers have hired more than one million new workers, the best performance over a three-month period since 1997. More jobs were created in 2014 as a whole than in any year since 1999.

Obama's "destruction" of the United States continues...the clever fiendishness of his evil plot is brilliant!

Meanwhile, Republicans are trying to figure out how to respond:)

Monday, January 12, 2015

All Economic Signs Good!

Yesterday's paper had a great piece on how well the economy is doing here in Minnesota and in the rest of the country. Check out this interactive graphic that illustrates the five key indicators (jobs, unemployment, consumer sentiment, gas prices, and GDP) clearly showing just how much our economy has improved during the Obama years.

Any retractions out there yet?

Friday, January 09, 2015

The Obummer Destruction of the Economy Continues

Today's jobs report was very positive with the unemployment rate dropping to 5.6% and 252,000 jobs added in the month of December. November's jobs number was revised upwards to over 350,000 jobs. Overall, the economy added nearly three million jobs in 2014.

I look at this graph and I have to wonder, where is the "Obummer Destruction of the economy" I hear so much about from conservatives? Certainly, you can't credit the president completely for the improved economy but his policies have most definitely helped.

As always, I'm still waiting for that "tough history coming." Any day now...:)

Friday, January 02, 2015

A Big Test For The Minimum Wage

This year, 21 states will be raising the minimum wage so we will finally get a broad look at how this action affects economies. My hope is that the following question will not be answered: will the rise in low-paid workers' salaries and their increase in spending in the economy (thus creating more jobs) outweigh any costs in slower job creation?

My answer is YES

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

GDP Revised Upward

Third Quarter GDP was revised upward to 5%, making this the strongest growth our economy has seen in 11 years.

“There is a positive feedback loop going on at the moment,” Mike Jakeman, global analyst for the Economist Intelligence Unit, said in a note. “Job creation is running at the strongest rate for 15 years. More people in work means more income, which means more private spending, which means more business investment, which means more hiring.”

Early estimates are lower, however, for the fourth quarter with numbers in the 2.5-3.0% range. Of course, none of this indicates the destruction of the economy by Obama that I was promised by conservatives.

As I always say (and they always deliver:)), I'm sure they can find something wrong...somewhere...there just has to be something...

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Obama Still Destroying Economy

Job Gains Put US on Pace for Best Growth Since '99

"These were boom-like numbers," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics. "They indicate that the U.S. economy is on very solid ground." Friday's report also raised hopes that Americans' pay might finally be starting to increase after barely budging since the Great Recession began seven years ago. The average hourly wage rose 9 cents to $24.66, the biggest gain in 17 months.

I'm sure conservatives can find some sort of bad news in here...there has to be something!

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Obama Still Not Destroying Economy

U.S. Economy Grows at Steady Clip 

The economy grew at a solid pace during the third quarter, driven by an uptick in military spending and a drop in imports, showing the U.S. on relatively firm footing as worries mount about a global slowdown. Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of goods and services produced across the economy, expanded at a 3.5% annual rate from July through September, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

Maybe the Republicans should play the Ebola card again...

Monday, October 06, 2014

A Decline in Poverty

In 2013, poverty declined in the United States and it went down faster for children which is very good news.

It was the first meaningful decline in poverty for children since 2000, and for the overall population since 2006.The declines are due largely to an improving job market, which has lifted the living standards not only for the newly employed but also for their children.

“Every child in this country matters. So while it is significant that child poverty decreased in this single year, the real takeaway is that it demonstrates poverty is not unsolvable,” Hannah Matthews of CLASP, a nonprofit group seeking to improve conditions for low-income people, wrote after the Census Bureau released the new numbers.

Obviously, there is a great deal of room for improvement but this news is most welcome!

Saturday, October 04, 2014

President Obama Still Not Destroying The Economy

Unemployment rate drops to 5.9% as job growth rebounds

The economy added a robust 248,000 net new jobs, and the unemployment rate dropped 0.2 percentage point to 5.9%, the lowest since July 2008, the Labor Department said. Job growth in July and August also was revised upward by a total of 69,000. That included lifting August's disappointing initial estimate of 142,000 net new jobs to 180,000.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Genuine Progress Indicator

A recent discussion on Facebook regarding GDP as a measure of growth and stability led me to learn about GPI: Genuine Progress Indicator. GPI looks at 26 different indicators to measure citizens' well being. These indicators fall under three categories: economic, environmental, and social. After spending some time reading through the various benchmarks, it's become quite clear to me that this is a far more intelligent and detailed way to judge exactly how we are doing as a nation. Some states in our country have adopted GPI as a way to measure their successes or failures. Vermont became the first in 2012 and there is now a report on Maryland.

Consider what Robert Kennedy said when he was running for president in 1968.

Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Monday, September 01, 2014

Whose Bull Market Is It?

So, who exactly is benefiting from our amazing bull market? Christian Science Monitor has the answer and it's exactly who you would expect.

As the stock market rise enters its sixth year – now becoming one of the longest bull markets in US history – it is benefiting Americans unevenly. Coming as the rest of the economy has stagnated, the boom has bolstered the fortunes of wealthy investors like Kalayjian while many other people, like Collins, have garnered no rewards at all.

It's a great piece that details exactly what our economy is like these days.

Oh, and take a look at this graphic.

Where exactly is Obama's destruction of the stock market occurring?