Goldilocks Rocks in Alabama; Record Low Un Rate
A full report on October state unemployment rates is due from the BLS on Tuesday.
Professor Mark J. Perry's Blog for Economics and Finance
According to data from the IRS (presented here by the Tax Foundation), the top 25% of U.S. taxpayers earned 67.5% of total income in 2005 (most recent year available), and that group paid 86% of all income taxes paid.
From this news article "Thanksgiving May Cost You":
Solution: To protect against rising food prices, you could have bought some shares of ADM (a major ethanol producer) a few years ago. As the chart below shows, ADM stock (blue line) has risen almost 60% over the the last two years, about 3X higher than the 20% increase in the S&P500 (red line).
In a study by Federal Reserve economist Arthur Kennickell titled "A Rolling Tide: Changes in the Distribution of Wealth in the U.S., 1989-2001," he looks at the considerable amount of churning that take place in the composition of the annual Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans.
As coercive monopolies that spend other people's money taken by force, governments are uniquely unqualified to solve problems. They are riddled by ignorance, perverse incentives, incompetence and self-serving. The synthetic-fuels program during the Carter years consumed billions of dollars and was finally disbanded as a failure. The push for ethanol today is more driven by special interests than good sense -- it's boosting food prices while producing a fuel of dubious environmental quality.
From today's WSJ editorial, a 2-step plan to improve monetary policy and avoid monetary-induced cycles of booms and busts in the housing and financial sectors.
DETROIT -- Bad news on the automotive front pushed Michigan's October unemployment rate up to 7.7%.
But hey, it could be worse. It could the late 1970s, when Michigan's jobless rate averaged 8.15% from 1976-1979. It could be the 1980s, when the average was almost 11% (10.81%), and a whopping 13.22% during the first half of the decade. And as bad as a 7.7% unemployment rate sounds today, it's actually slightly below Michgian's average monthly unemployment rate of 7.9% from 1976-2007 (see chart above).
Consider also that Michigan has a $405 billion economy (2006) that would be the 17th largest economy in the world if it were a separate country, ahead of Belgium ($393b), Turkey ($392b), Sweden ($385b), Switzerland ($377b), Taiwan ($355b), and Saudi Arabia ($348b).
So as bad as economic conditions might appear in Michigan, it survived the 1970s and 1980s, and it has a $400 billion economy that will survive the relatively high unemployment rates today.
On a previous post, I wrote about the significant difference in sentencing for powder cocaine possession compared to crack cocaine (powder cocaine + baking soda) possession. Wow, you add a little baking soda to 5 grams of powder cocaine and you're going to jail for 5-years, compared to getting caught with 100X that amount of cocaine without the baking soda. That's a lot of extra jail time for a little Arm and Hammer. Well, it now looks like there's a possiblity that some sanity might actually prevail.... No, let me rephrase that. There's a distinct possibility that the amount of insanity might be significantly lowered. Read on.
WASHINGTON, DC – The Wireless Association announced yesterday that the total estimated wireless cell-phone subscribership in America officially passed the 250 million mark, reaching an all-time national high. Growth in subscribership has more than quadrupled over the past ten years from just over 55 million at year-end 1997 to more than 250 million today—an increase of 352%. The graphic above shows the progression of growth over the past 22 years.
The mortgage-interest deduction is the backbone of American housing policy. It exits to encourage widespread homeownership. In its favor, it doesn’t actually do that. But it does have consequences: It’s been one of the quieter causes of the housing bubble. The mortgage-interest deduction deserves special recognition for the stupidity with which it subsidizes something that should not be subsidized in the first place. I challenge you to design a subsidy for home ownership that is as wasteful, as unfair, and as harmful to the economy in the long run.
Here is the link to the full Treasury study "Income Mobility in the U.S. From 1996 TO 2005" and here is an excerpt:
From today's WSJ editorial "Movin' On Up," which is based on a Treasury Department study to be released today:
The Right Brain vs Left Brain test ... Go to this link and watch the dancer moving. Is she turning clockwise or counter-clockwise?
Yes, income in America is skewed toward the rich. But taxes are skewed far, far more. The top 5% pay well over half of all income taxes (57%) even though they only earn only 33% of the total income. The wealthiest 1% earn 19% of total income but pay 37% of all taxes. Somehow that never seems to upset those who profess to be concerned about "fairness" and "social justice" and "equity."
Many people who have never run one business for one day are nevertheless confident that they know corporate CEOs are not worth as much as they are paid.
From today's NY Times article "Google Options Make Masseuse a Multimillionaire":
According to the Washington Post, Bill Clinton earned $31 million in speaking fees between 2001 and 2005, as disclosed in his wife's Senate ethics reports. The chart above (click to enlarge) lists the amount Bill Clinton earned for 43 speeches he gave in 2005.