WSJ India: Indian Billionaires
India has more billionaires than ever before. But are they robber barons or national heroes?
Find out here.
Professor Mark J. Perry's Blog for Economics and Finance
India has more billionaires than ever before. But are they robber barons or national heroes?
ABC 20/20 Report (watch video here)--As a result of the collective intelligence of more than 77,000 bettors on Ireland's Intrade.com, the prices on the site may be a good way to predict the outcome of current events -- more accurate than some polls and pundits.
1. "Wind ($23.37) v. Gas (25 Cents)," in today's WSJ: There is a reason fossil fuels continue to dominate American energy production: They are extremely cost-effective.
I don't often pass along inspirational stuff, as I do not want to offend or "preach," but this one got to me. We can all use a single image that speaks to us of love, harmony, peace, prosperity and joy. All I ask is that you take a moment to reflect upon it.
DETROIT FREE PRESS--Congressional Democrats, including Michigan Sen. Carl Levin, increased their calls Thursday for an energy bill (FIRST CLASS MAIL BILL) aimed at lowering record oil and gasoline prices (STAMP PRICES) – and putting OPEC (UNITED STATES POST OFFICE) under U.S. antitrust laws.
Of the 25 most influential interest groups, the teachers’ union is the closest to the capitol in 14 of the 50 states. By contrast, the AFL-CIO is the closest in seven states. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and the National Federation of Independent Business are the closest in five states, each. The American Association for Justice (AAJ)—the leading organization of U.S. trial lawyers, formerly known as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, or ATLA—is the closest in four states.
Greyhound’s image hasn’t changed much over the years – until now. In a bid to add a little snazz to its operation, Greyhound is biting back, unleashing its secret weapon – a new luxury service called the BoltBus that operates between New York and Washington, Boston and Philadelphia.
HOUSTON (AP) — Even as oil prices ascended to new highs of more than $124 a barrel this week, many oil and gas industry executives say they expect the price to fall significantly by year's end, a new survey shows. Fifty-five percent of 372 petroleum industry executives surveyed by KPMG LLP said they think the price of a barrel of crude will drop below $100 by the end of the year. Twenty-one percent of respondents predicted a barrel of oil will end the year between $101 and $110, while 15 percent forecast the year-end price to be between $111 and $120 a barrel.
Over the last 12 trading days since April 22, the US Dollar has increased by 1.67%, as measured by the Fed's Broad Trade-Weighted Dollar Index (data here and here), to 99.4439, the highest level since February 26, 2008 (see chart above). The 1.67% dollar appreciation is the largest 12-day gain in more than 3 years, since the 1.7% 12-day gain through April 4, 2005!
Judging by recent financial results, the big villains in the ethanol story—the American companies that are responding to government mandates by buying about 20% of the U.S. corn harvest and processing it into fuel—aren't exactly thriving. In fact, their bottom lines and stock prices are suffering pretty badly.
Globe and Mail (Canada's "Newspaper of record")--More than 100 Canadian women with high-risk pregnancies have been sent to United States hospitals over the past year – in what a doctors' group attributes to the lack of a national birthing plan.
Through today, May 7, the broad dollar index from the Fed (data available here and here) reached 96.32, the highest level in more than 10 weeks, since February 26. Over the last 11 trading days since April 22, the dollar index increased by 1.55%, the biggest 11-day gain in almost two years, since January 20, 2006 when the dollar gained 1.59% in 11 trading days.
Chinese businessman Liu Keil spent about $500,000 for seven acres in Spartanburg, S.C. -- less than one-fourth what it would cost to buy the same amount of land in Dongguan, a city in southeast China where he runs three printing-plate plants. U.S. electricity rates are about 75% lower, and in South Carolina, Liu doesn't have to put up with frequent blackouts. About the only major thing that's more expensive in Spartanburg is labor. Liu is looking to offer $12 to $13 an hour there, versus about $2 an hour in Dongguan, not including room and board. But Liu expects to offset some of the higher labor costs with a payroll tax credit of $1,500 per employee from South Carolina.
About 2.5X worse to be exact, in the Netherlands. See retail gas prices above in selected European countries from late April 2008, data available here from the EIA.
Amen, Captain. Reminds me of the 1960s Amphicar (pictured above), which wasn't a very good car, and wasn't a very good boat.
From an anonymous comment on this CD post about gas prices as a percentage of income:
DENVER--Take Care Health Systems, one of the largest managers of convenient care clinics and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Walgreens (NYSE, NASDAQ: WAG), has opened three Take Care Health Clinics at Walgreens drugstores in the Denver area. The clinics are walk-in, professional health care centers open seven days a week with extended evening and weekend hours.
In Garland, Texas today, Wal-Mart opened its first superstore designed from the ground up to meet the needs of Hispanic shoppers.
We hear a lot these days about how gas and oil prices are at historical highs. But what we don't hear much about is how personal income is also at historical highs. Per-capita personal income has almost doubled in the last 15 years, from about $20,000 in March of 1993 to almost $40,000 in March of 2008 (personal income data available here, and population data available here).
"The media promised a depression and all we got was yet another lousy quarter of economic expansion."
Whatever happened to the Great Depression? Not the real one from 70 years ago, the lost decade of unimagined misery and Steinbeckian angst, the worst period in the history of modern capitalism. I mean the replay we were promised this year.
As the newspaper industry—and print media in general—struggle to survive in the age of digital news, the business has found an unlikely ally: the nation's gravest housing crisis in recent memory.
"In the real world, a sense of grievance or entitlement, as a result of the mistreatment of your ancestors, is not likely to get you very far with people who are too busy dealing with current economic realities to spend much time thinking about their own ancestors, much less other people's ancestors."
But you'll hear it here, from P.J. O'Rourke:
Over the last eight trading days, from April 22 to May 2, the U.S. Dollar increased by 2.57% (from 69.7218 to 71.5147), as measured by the Federal Reserve's Trade Weighted Dollar Index for Major Currencies, data available here.
BENTONVILLE, Ark. – May 5, 2008 – While health care costs continue to be a top concern for consumers, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) is furthering its efforts to help customers save money by driving down prescription medication costs and providing ongoing savings through its pharmacy offerings.
Peru has been experiencing fast growth – better than 6% annually – for almost seven years (see chart above of real GDP growth).
They still have penmanship contests? Actually I wasn't ever aware of this competition. But a small private school in my hometown of St. Paul, MN with only 157 students, has had nine state champions in the past three years — more than double the number of any other school — and 21 state champions since 2001.
The chart above (click to enlarge) is from a new study by the CBO, showing foreclosures by type of mortgage through QIV 2007. As the chart indicates, the real mortgage problem is pretty much contained to subprime ARMs only, which make up less than 5% of the 75 million homes in America. Although foreclosures increased for Subprime Fixed mortgages in 2007, the 1.5% rate in late 2007 was actually at or below the peak levels from 1999 to 2004. Prime ARM foreclosures increased in 2007, but reached a level of only about 1% by the end of 2007.
In this news article, Kanjorski said his legislation will encourage oil companies to lower prices to prevent them from receiving higher tax rates.
A few Questions/Comments:
1. Oil companies don't set oil and gas prices, global market forces do. The fact that oil and gas prices change daily demonstrate very clearly that oil companies are at the mercy of market forces of supply and demand.
2. If you tax something (oil), you get less of it. If you get less of something (oil), prices go up, not down.
3. How does Rep. Kanjorski know what "reasonable profits" are? He might start by having Congress investigate the 57 industries listed above (click to enlarge, data available here and here) that already have higher profits than the average 9.6% profit margin of the "Major Integrated Oil and Gas Industry" (which includes Exxon, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, etc.)
LONDON/THE SUN -- Illegal immigrants are sneaking OUT of Britain because they are sick of our weather and hospitals.
Politicians want lower gas and oil prices but don't want more production to increase supply. They want oil "independence" but they've declared off limits most of the big sources of domestic oil that could replace foreign imports. They want Americans to use less oil to reduce greenhouse gases but they protest higher oil prices that reduce demand. They want more oil company investment but they want to confiscate the profits from that investment. And these folks want to be President?
GDP per capita vs. IQ
The chart above (click to enlarge) shows the percent change (from a year ago) in the Adjusted Monetary Base. It's now growing at an annual rate of only 0.70% through April 23, down from 10% in 2002, and the lowest rate in more than 7 years.
What are the main economic differences between right-to-work states and forced-union states (see map above)?
Note also what happened to employment levels for both measures during the 2001 recession. Much different than 2008. No recession.
Update: Also, as Brian Wesbury points out, the actual, unrounded unemployment rate is only 4.952%, very, very close to being reported as 4.9% instead of 5%!
Check out The Price of a Pint database of World Beer Prices in 182 countries, priced in USDs, BPs, Euros, $CAN and $AUD, including a list of the most expensive countries (#1 is Monaco - $11 for a pint) and most affordable countries (#1 is Congo - 15 cents for a pint).