Learning From the Past – Or Maybe Not.

It looks like we are going to repeat the past.  In this case, it's 1937.  In 1937 the general discussion in U.S. politics had turned to concerns about debt and deficits.  The conservative view that opposed  both the New Deal and efforts to alleviate the Great Depression began to get the upper hand.  Keep in … Continue reading Learning From the Past – Or Maybe Not.

Unemployment Benefits Cut Will Worsen Things.

CalculatedRiskBlog reports: Here is a depressing report from the National Employment Law Project: States Made Unprecedented Cuts to Unemployment Insurance in 2011 NELP’s new analysis shows that in 2011, six states cut the maximum number of weeks that jobless workers can receive unemployment insurance to less than 26 weeks—a threshold that had served as a standard for all 50 states for … Continue reading Unemployment Benefits Cut Will Worsen Things.

Fracking Can Contaminate Drinking Water

We should have learned from decades of lying by tobacco companies, but we don't.  Oil and gas companies have been lying about the "safety" of hydraulic fracturing, "fracking", of oil and gas wells.  From the The New York Times: “There have been over a million wells hydraulically fractured in the history of the industry, and … Continue reading Fracking Can Contaminate Drinking Water

Interesting Tool: Wage and Worker Distribution by Compensation, 1997-2009

Remapping Debate has put together an interesting interactive tool you can use.  I'm showing a static image of the tool below because security precautions at wordpress.com (this blog's host) prevent including the full scripted interactive tool.  But if you click on the image you will be taken to the Remapping Debate site and the interactive … Continue reading Interesting Tool: Wage and Worker Distribution by Compensation, 1997-2009

Learning From Austerity In the Past. A Warning?

A poor economy is never popular with the populace.  But when the economy is slow and people are suffering as a result of government policies that impose austerity on them, people get downright upset.  They even get violent.  It's something we should think about as virtually all major developed nations have embraced policies of cutting … Continue reading Learning From Austerity In the Past. A Warning?

One Reason U.S. Healthcare is So Expensive – Too Many Insurance Companies

A single-payor system of healthcare insurance such as Canada uses has tremendous efficiency advantages.  Contrary to how many U.S. politicians and media types describe it, Canada does not have a government-run healthcare system.  What Canada has is a government-run and government-funded healthcare insurance system.  Doctors and hospitals still compete with each other.  They still operate … Continue reading One Reason U.S. Healthcare is So Expensive – Too Many Insurance Companies

Possible Good News – A Gasoline Price Drop Would Help.

Ronald White of tthe LA Times brings us this nugget via CalculatedRiskBlog: Since I haven't posted on gasoline prices in some time ... from Ronald White at the LA Times: Gas prices expected to fall "If oil remains low, the national average for gasoline will fall to $3.25 to $3.40 in the next two to three … Continue reading Possible Good News – A Gasoline Price Drop Would Help.

A Look at Government Spending Trends. Not What the Deficit-Fearers Claim. It’s Really A Jobs Deficit.

Rebecca Wilder at AngryBearBlog.com explains why the current deficit hysteria that has gripped Washington is misplaced (and offers some great graphs of historical spending patterns).  A little terminology for some readers.  "cyclically endogenous" means the cause of the spending/revenue is not from some budget decision of this year's Congress or President, but rather that the … Continue reading A Look at Government Spending Trends. Not What the Deficit-Fearers Claim. It’s Really A Jobs Deficit.

Why the Whole Idea of “Rating” Government Bonds is Absurd

James Kwak at Baseline Scenario offers a great analogy and explanation for why the whole concept of a private rating agency such as Standard and Poor's putting a credit rating on government bonds is absurd.  It adds no new information.  Now if S&P wants to rate the Greater Podunk Water Authority bonds or some such, … Continue reading Why the Whole Idea of “Rating” Government Bonds is Absurd