Berkeley Professor and former U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Robert Reich has put together a good, short 2 minute 15 second video that explains a large part of what's happened to the economy over the last 30 years. In summary, Reich connects five "dots": The economy has doubled since 1980 but wages have been flat. … Continue reading Robert Reich Connects The Dots to Tell What’s Happened To Our Economy In 2 Minutes
James Kwak at Baseline Scenario asks "are Social Security and Medicare programs that benefit the elderly?" He then proceeds to answer his question with a no and lengthy (but worth reading) explanation in "The Elderly" for Beginners. I agree and I want to emphasize a couple of points he makes. As Kwak points out, much … Continue reading Why Students and Young People Should Care About Social Security
Brad Delong has had enough. So have I. "The Little Depression" Back in late 2008 people asked me: is this a recession or a depression? I said that I would call it a depression if the unemployment rate kissed 12%. I said that I would call it a depression if the unemployment rate stayed above … Continue reading What to Call This Unpleasantness? Little Depression or Workers’ Depression?
John Quiggin of Crooked Timber sends us to Grist.org for "Solar Gets Cheap Fast" for good news about solar power. The cost of producing solar photovoltaic cells (the silicon-based cells that convert sunlight to electricity) has been declining consistently at 20% per year since the early 1980's. Solar power is now close to the point … Continue reading Solar Power Looking Brighter Economically
I learned long ago when working in applied economics that averages (means or median data) often hide as much information as they impart. To really understand an issue, we need to look at the variation or distribution. Therein always lies a tale. Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism (also the author of Econned), brings our attention … Continue reading U.S. Life Expectancy Falling In Some Parts
Whenever some politician, typically a progressive, begins to talk about redistribution of income, the more conservative politicians, backed by "serious political pundits" counterattack by claiming "class warfare". It's apparently one of the givens in Washington that any form of redistribution of income, be it by progressive taxes, measures to protect unions, help to the unemployed, … Continue reading We’ve Had Class Warfare Since 1980 – The Workers Lost
A couple of days ago I talked about how high oil and gas prices pose a threat to the "recovery" of the economy. Now I want to turn to the causes. Why are oil and prices high? Is it all just supply and demand, or are there more sinister forces at work? Many, and I'd … Continue reading Are High Oil Prices All About Supply & Demand? Maybe Not
This from WFMY TV Channel 2 in Florida: Have you heard the one about a homeowner foreclosing on a bank? Well, it has happened in Florida and involves a North Carolina based bank. Instead of Bank of America foreclosing on some Florida homeowner, the homeowners had sheriff's deputies foreclose on the bank. It started five months ago … Continue reading Finally Some Justice for a Homeowner
Calculated Risk sums up recent oil and gas prices nicely a few days ago (bold emphasis mine): Oil and gasoline prices are probably the biggest downside risk to the economy right now. Oil prices are off slightly today, from the WSJ: Oil Prices Ease The front-month July Brent contract on London's ICE futures exchange was recently down 35 cents, or … Continue reading What’s Up With Oil and Gas?
I missed posting this a few days ago. Bureau of Economic Analysis says first revision of the GDP estimate for 1st quarter 2011 was essentially unchanged from the initial "flash" estimate provided at the end of April. The U.S. economy grew at approx. 1.8% annual rate. While the overall growth rate was unchanged, there was … Continue reading GDP 1st Qtr 2011 – Revised