Tag Archives: economy

Ranking America

Interesting Site – RankingAmerica  Some funny, some sad, some surprising

A few choice bits.  The US ranks …

14th in government debt

36th in public debt

34th in child poverty (in the bad way)

2nd in extinct birds

39th in income inequality (in the bad way)

17th in credit worthiness

47th in infant survival

2nd in out of pocket health expenses

1st in oil consumption

148th in gasoline prices

30th in per capita hospital beds

and one of the saddest statistics, #1 incarceration rate

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Posted by on October 21, 2012 in Economy, Environment, Health


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Sunday Comics (The … Hello 911? an Old Man is Beating a Child on My TV … Edition)

More Humor After The Break

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Posted by on October 14, 2012 in Economy, Health, Humor, Politics


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Job Creator Trickle Down Bulls**t

So just watch the first 30 sec …

And now Ryan claims that giving tax cuts to the rich trumps debt reduction, even if we have to screw the masses. This is full … on … trickle down economics. Giving a lower tax rate allows the wealthy to invest, which allows the noble job creator to run amuck hiring us lowly wage earners in copious numbers. So how did that little experiment work out during the Bush years? BADLY.

Let’s see …

Job growth over 8 yrs ~1 million

Median wage growth – Flat

Poverty rate – increase from 11.25% to 13.2%

Corporate after tax profits from 2000-2012 increased 200%. That’s an annualized rate of 6%

Income inequality:


Looks like trickle down was a FAILURE

And as a final nail in the coffin, here is a chart of capital gains vs capital gains tax rates along with a chart of net private investing as a percentage of GDP. There is NO correlation between the taxes and investment, zip, zero, nada.

Trickle Down Economics Is Bullshit … period


Posted by on October 1, 2012 in Economy, Politics


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Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

So, the latest job numbers are out. In February, 227,000 jobs were added.  Now if we look at total employment at the beginning of 2009, when Obama took office, we see that we are at a net deficit of ~864,000 jobs.  Now I will grant this is an arbitrary measure since it is hard to argue that that the president has any influence on job numbers in the first months of his presidency, but I will go with it since this is what the punditocracy on both the left and the right like to use as a benchmark.

Now the conservative establishment is all over this, telling us “yeah there is job growth, but not NEARLY good enough” and “look at all the jobs lost since Obama became president.”  Pundits and politicians on the right claim things would be MUCH better if Republicans were running the show.  They argue the anemic growth is due to regulations, high taxes & run away government spending, not the fact that trillions of dollars of middle class wealth and income was wiped out by the housing and financial collapse.

Is there anyway we could compare? hmmmmmm …..

Oh wait! The first term of George W Bush might be a good comparison.  There was a recession due to the dot-com bubble and there was the aftermath of 9/11. And as a convenient coincidence, Republicans controlled the House for those years and the Senate for half the time – compared with Democrats controlling the Senate for the last three years and the House for half the time.  So as far as party based head to head match ups, this one is pretty damned close.  So, let’s look at the numbers.

OBAMA Jan’09 thru Feb ’12

Net change in non-farm payrolls: -864K

Net change in private sector employment: -274K

Net change in public sector employment: -364k

BUSH Jan’01 thru Feb ’04

Net change in non-farm payrolls: -2,021K

Net change in private sector employment: -2,716K

Net change in public sector employment: +715K

Wow! I would say that is a pretty stark contrast. Obama and the Democrats look way more successful than Bush and the Republicans given similar circumstances.  Bush and the Republicans lost 2.7 million private sector jobs and added 715 thousand government jobs (a complete anathema to conservative principles) whereas Obama and the Democrats have lost 274 thousand and 364 thousand respectively.   I would argue that if Obama had been able to push through an even larger stimulus his numbers would be even better (both public and private).  On the economy’s current course, barring an Iranian incident or the disintegration of the EU, Obama is well on track to besting Bush’s impressive net loss of 13 thousand jobs in his first term.

Any rationale for supply side economics has been dead for some time and the Obama presidency has served to put another nail in that coffin.  Not because he has been a model Keynesian, he hasn’t, but because he prevented the brutal austerity that Republicans would have imposed upon us, austerity that would have driven us out of the Great Recession ditch and right off a Great Depression cliff.

This all leaves poor Mitt Romney with really no leg to stand on.  The best he can do is argue that things would be just a little bit better if we resorted to demonstrably failed tax policies.  That is it. That is his only raison d’être for becoming president, and an extremely weak one at that.

1) Numbers gleaned for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (love that site!)
2) Public and government payrolls do not add up exactly to non-farm do to computational methodologies
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Posted by on March 12, 2012 in Economy, Politics


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Some Thoughts On Employment Statistics

I hear the Liberals and Conservatives bandying about employment statistics, cherry picking this and that, a few provisos here and there.  It all gets very confusing.  So for ‘fun’ I decided to check out the Bureau of Labor statistics for myself, and it turns out that they have a very fine database that is not too cumbersome to go through and generate all sorts of plots and spreadsheets on a plethora of employment data.  If you are geekily inclined, check it out here.  I decided to generate some plots of my own and see how things look.

Here is a plot of Total Non-Farm Employment

First thing that strikes me is the symmetry about the month of Obama’s inauguration.  The numbers aren’t great now, but at least they are going in the right direction.  So … in January or ’09 there were 133.5 million people employed.  As of December ’11 there were 131.9 million, a net drop of 1.6 million.  So yes, there is the drop that the Republicans LOVE to hammer home, but if you look at the graph you see that there is a momentum issue. When Obama took office the economy was shedding jobs at the fastest pace of the cycle. The 131.9 million employed now is 2.7 million better than at the bottom of 129.2 million in February ’10. If you are walking into a disaster it takes sometime for policies to have effect and to change the momentum, so expecting things to turn on a dime when a president is inaugurated is just stupid. And 2.7 million jobs in the last two years ain’t bad.

Now the above numbers are for total employment, both private and government.  If we break things down between government and private employment things get way more interesting.

Here is a graph of Government Employment (Fed and State)

From January ’09 to December ’11 government employment has dropped by 610,000.  The big blip in the graph is the census hiring in ’10

Now let’s look at Total Private Employment

From January ’09 to December ’11 there is a drop of 1.05 million jobs.  From the trough to Dec ’11 there is a gain of 3.1 million jobs.

An important feature of these graphs is that while private sector employment is showing a rebound, government employment is steadily marching downward.  If McCain was president and had these numbers the Republicans would be hitting three points very hard,

1) McCain arrested the slide of the economy!

2) McCain ‘created’ 3.1 million private sector jobs in the last two years!

3) McCain shrunk government, helping to slash 600,000 government jobs!

Seems the Republicans are really getting what they want, it’s just the wrong guy at the helm.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think things are great right now, but they would be a whole lot worse if McCain was president … and they would be a whole lot better if the Tea Party infusion into the House of Representatives had never happened.

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Posted by on January 16, 2012 in Economy, Politics


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