Washington's Blog reminds us that things got ugly during the last prolonged depression in the United States. This interesting historical footage from the Great Depression shows what happens when large numbers of people are unemployed for years at a time, get desperate, and perceive that the game is rigged to the benefit of Wall Street. … Continue reading The Economy Has Caused Riots Before – In the Great Depression
I've already mentioned my initial thoughts on the Occupy Wall Street movement (#OWS). Here's some snippets from a couple of others with some interesting insights. First, historian William Hogeland writes at his blog Hysteriography. He notes how the #OWS movement is a deeply American movement. It has roots in the American revolutionary period as much … Continue reading Some Other Interesting Perspectives on OccupyWallStreet
In the constantly churning pool of Republican Presidential candidates, a seemingly political newcomer has risen to the top (for now): Herman Cain. Mr. Cain, the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza where he engineered a leveraged buy-out from Pillsbury, isn't really a political newcomer or outsider, though. He only appears to be because he personally has … Continue reading Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 Plan and the 99%
The OccupyWallStreet movement has helped push the meme of the "99%". But to what are they referring? And what's the remaining 1%? The 99% reference refers to income distribution in the U.S. Income distribution is when we line up all the households in order according to their income from lowest to highest. Obviously with somewhere … Continue reading What’s the 99%, the 1%, and the 53% All About?
I've been asked what I think of the Occupy Wall Street Movements. I say it's about d*** time. The anger and discontentment that the movement has tapped into is real and has been building for a long time. The mass numbers of people - like say the 99% - have good reasons to be angry. … Continue reading On the Occupy Wall Street (and Everywhere Else) Movement
The study of economics starts with recognition of the economic problem: we (humanity) have unlimited wants but limited resources to satisfy those wants, so something has to give. Famine is perhaps the starkest reminder of the economic problem. People die simply because they cannot get enough food to eat. Yet while there have been famines throughout … Continue reading The Famine in Horn of Africa and Political Economy Failure
Averages, if you're not careful, can as easily mislead as enlighten. It matters a lot which statistical measure of the "average-ness" that's used. A good example comes in the case of the U.S. long-term trend of economic growth. What we're interested in is to what degree the amount of GDP the average household has available … Continue reading The Mean and the Median Tell Two Different Stories
When people think about "income distribution" there's a tendency to think of it only in terms of what different people or households have available to spend. In other words, we focus on the fairness or equity of whether some households should only have a small amount of money to live off of vs. others who … Continue reading Income Distribution Does Matter. It’s Wrong Now and Stopping Growth.
Peter Dorman at Econospeak has an excellent post on the real challenges facing the U.S. today. It's the political economy that must change. It no longer serves the interests of the vast majority of Americans. We need more discussion and action at these levels> It’s the Political Economy, Stupid!, by Peter Dorman: Sometimes living in … Continue reading It’s the Political Economy That Must Change.
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.