Cartoon of the Day: How the Tax Rebate Works
Professor Mark J. Perry's Blog for Economics and Finance
Introduction to Economic Analysis, by R. Preston McAfee, California Institute of Technology
American households can buy natural gas at prices that are among the lowest in the world, see chart above (date from EIA available here, p. 43). See related post below on electricity prices.
In 2007, the price that American households paid for electricity ($0.1002 per KWh) was among the most affordable in the world, and about half the price of electricty in many European countries like Denmark, Netherlands, Italy, Ireland, Germany, U.K., Portugal, and Austria (see chart above, click to enlarge). Data from the EIA available here (p. 43).
On a recent CD post "As Share of Disposable Income, Food Is Still Cheap," Machiavelli999 left a comment about the falling price of wheat. The graph above confirms his observation - spot wheat prices have actually fallen by 41% in the last three months from $9.36 per bushel in February to $5.54 per bushel in February, and prices are now at their lowest level in almost a year (since June 2007 when wheat was $5.34).
American gasoline is also dirt-cheap compared with gas in other countries. British motorists are currently paying about $8.38 per gallon for gasoline. In Norway, a major oil exporter, drivers are paying $8.73.
Chain stores have been disliked for decades, at both local and national levels. Taking advantage of economies of scale that lower their costs of doing business, chain stores are able to charge lower prices than smaller independent stores, and therefore attract customers away from their higher-cost competitors.
What a difference a century makes:
Just like with gas prices, we hear a lot about food prices being at record levels, but we don't hear as much about disposable income also being at record high levels. How do food prices compare to disposable personal income?
The chart above (click to enlarge) shows the growth rates (from a year ago) for the monetary base and M1 money supply since 2005. M1 has been flat with zero growth for more than 2 years, and the growth in the monetary base has been declining and is now approaching 0% growth. Given these monetary data, is the concern about inflation inflated?
WSJ--We can't wait to hear how Members of Congress explain their vote this week for the new $300 billion farm bill. At a time when Americans are squeezed at the grocery store, they will now see more of their taxes flow to the very farmers profiting from these high food prices.
With all the commotion in the media and in politics about the high price of gasoline, is there really some terribly complex explanation?
Money Magazine recently put out a city-by-city home price forecast, using data from Fiserv Lending Solutions, First American CoreLogic, city and county assessors, and realtors. The magazine determined that U.S. home prices will fall an average of 9.7%, see list above (click to enlarge).
NEW DELHI: Instead of blaming India and other developing nations for the rise in food prices, Americans should rethink their energy policy and go on a diet.
WSJ--Wal-Mart Stores Inc. reported today a 6.9% rise in profit for its fiscal first quarter, helped by strong international sales and a tighter grip on inventories and markdowns.
The chart above (click to enlarge) shows the annual percentage growth rate of the series "Commercial and Industrial Loans at All Commercial Banks," from the Fed, data available here at the St. Louis Fed. For the last 5 months through April 2008, the growth in business loans has been above 20%, the strongest period of growth in commercial loans since 1973.
MP: Further, in 12 out of the last 16 months, the female unemployment rate has been below the male unemployment rate, and in each of the last 16 months, the female unemployment has been at OR below the male rate (see chart below).
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.