VP Odds on Intrade
Current Intrade.com odds for GOP VP (last trade):
Current Intrade.com odds for Dem VP:
Professor Mark J. Perry's Blog for Economics and Finance
Current Intrade.com odds for GOP VP (last trade):
So far, the top 20% of the teams earning at least one medal (12 out of 59) have earned 78.4% of the gold medals in the 2008 Summer Olympics, and 71% of the total medal points.
Top 10 Interesting Facts about the most plugged-in gathering in Republican history, and its host cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul for the 2008 Republican National Convention (September 1-4):
4. In 2004, only a dozen bloggers were granted press credentials to cover the convention. This year, 200 bloggers will be granted access.
5. The Twin Cities have 57 museums; only Chicago and Washington, D.C. have more.
6. St. Paul has more higher education institutions per capita than any city except Boston, with 10 colleges and universities within the city limits.
7. Downtown Minneapolis is home to 33,000 residents, more than the downtowns of Dallas, Denver, Houston, Indianapolis and Sacramento combined.
8. Minneapolis-St. Paul have more theater seats per capita than city outside of New York.
9. St. Paul's Summit Avenue has the longest stretch (5 miles) of Victorian mansions in the country.
10. Minneapolis has the fourth most active jazz scene in the country, right after L.A., New York and Chicago.
Source: Northwest Airlines World Traveler Magazine, Aug. 2008
According to Brian Wesbury and Bob Stein, "Inflation is the leading menace to the US economy."
The Obama campaign has at long last lifted the veil of mystery that has surrounded the Democratic presidential candidate's tax increase plans. Mr. Obama's two economic advisers, Jason Furman and Austan Goolsbee, have an op-ed piece in today's Wall Street Journal, and it isn't pretty.
ExxonMobil CEO and chairman Rex Tillerson defended his company's staggering $11.7 billion in profits for the second quarter, saying that the company's earnings reflected the magnitude of its business operation.
The potential market for weather risk coverage is huge, since as much as 70% of American businesses are impacted by weather in some way. While the risks for companies like agricultural firms are obvious, businesses from movie theaters—which see ticket sales slump on sunny days—to transportation companies and clothing manufacturers are affected by the weather. It's estimated that $2 trillion to $3 trillion of the United States' nearly $14 trillion G.D.P. is weather-sensitive.
A new Reason.tv video examines the financial and environmental costs of ethanol
Outside a handful of majors -- engineering and some of the sciences -- a bachelor's degree tells an employer nothing except that the applicant has a certain amount of intellectual ability and perseverance. Even a degree in a vocational major like business administration can mean anything from a solid base of knowledge to four years of barely remembered gut courses.
The BLS released its quarterly Business Employment Dynamics study today for the fourth quarter of 2007, reporting that the number of job gains from opening and expanding private sector establishments was 7.65 million, and the number of job losses from closing and contracting establishments was 7.333 million, for a net job gain of 317,000 from October to December 2007.
Maps are from the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. The average farm real estate value has increased by 85% in the last five years, from $1,270 per acre in 2003 to $2,350 in 2008 (see top chart above, click to enlarge). Many Midwest corn and grain states like the Dakotas, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana and Nebrask have experience double-digit increases in farm values in just the last year (see bottom chart above, click to enlarge).
Strong commodity prices and farm programs, outside investments, favorable interest rates, and tax incentives continue to be the factors that drive farm real estate values to record levels.
Update: With farm real estate values booming, commodity farm prices close to historical highs, and farm profits at record levels (see chart below), this group still needs farm subsidies (e.g. $288 billion 2008 farm bill).
The notion that recycling makes economic sense is rubbish.
Why are optimists about the state of the world disproportionately represented by classical liberals, libertarians, and free-market conservatives, while pessimists about the state of the world are disproportionately represented by statists?
In my judgment, there is a problem of balance between research and teaching in American colleges and universities. Most of the problem comes from the fact that government subsidies have undermined market forces.
Exhibit A: Maryland's $2 a pack cigarette tax, see yesterday's post.
Teenage unemployment (16-19 years old, seasonally adjusted) for July (20.3%) was at the highest level in more than 15 years (see chart above, data here). It seems like that would be pretty newsworthy, but it received almost no media attention.
Sri Lanka is melting its coinage and minting less valuable coins amidst booming commodity prices and rising inflation at home, continuing a tradition of monetary debasement that dates back to ancient monarchies. Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal says the monetary authority is cutting the cost of the coin issue by melting existing coins and re-striking new and lightweight ones.
Humiliating to human pride as it may be, we must recognize that the advance and even the preservation of civilization are dependent upon a maximum of opportunity for accidents to happen.
Take Care Health Systems, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Walgreens (NYSE, NASDAQ: WAG) and one of the largest managers of convenient care clinics, is now offering school and sports physicals for $25 at Take Care Clinics nationwide. Take Care Clinics, located at select Walgreens drugstores, provide high-quality, convenient and affordable health care to all patients 18 months and older.
Chart above (click to enlarge) shows gas prices (blue line) falling to 3-month low, and oil prices (red line) falling to 3.5-month low (link).
FT.com --This week will be crucial in determining whether the dollar has broken free from its six-year downward trend, as speculation mounts that the U.S. is in the best position to emerge quickly from the economic downturn.
Politicians in Annapolis, MD are scratching their heads wondering what happened to all those chain smokers who were supposed to help balance Maryland's budget. Last year the legislature doubled the cigarette tax to $2 a pack to pay for expanded health-care coverage. Eight months later, cigarette sales have plunged 25% and the state is in fiscal distress again.
Map (click to enlarge) showing that as of June 2007, 47% of subprime mortgages in California were low or no documentation (highest in the country).
A Minneapolis man went for a swim in Lake Nokomis (pictured above, Minneapolis skyline in background) Tuesday night, only to find Minneapolis Park Police waiting for him when he got out. Officers cited 41-year-old Dr. Tom Kleven for swimming too far.
The chart above shows that the share of income earned by the top 5% in 2006 (IRS data here) was 35.9% (the IRS data also shows that group paid 60% of all income taxes). How does that distribution of income in the U.S. compare to the distribution of home runs in Major League Baseball for the top 5% of the players, ranked by number of home runs? Amazingly, it's almost exactly the same.
Using the sortable MLB historical database for years 2007, 1997 and 1987, and analyzing the total number of home runs in those years (4,959, 4,638 and 4,470 respectively), the number of active players in those years (1210, 1159, and 996), and the number of those home runs hit by the top 5% of the players (ranked by home runs in the year), we can determine that the percentage of home runs hit by the top 5% was 35.82% (2007), 36.80% (1997) and 35.5% (1987). In other words, home runs are distributed just about as unequally as income - the top 5% earn a disproportionate share of income, about 36%; and the top 5% of baseball players hit a disproportionate amount of home runs, about 36%.
See previous CD post Olympic medal inequality.
MP: I have a confession to make: I'm not bothered at all by income inequality, Olympic medal inequality, or home run inequality, and in fact I think it's perfectly natural and an outcome that should be expected. Why such a negative reaction from the general public to inequalities of outcome for income, but never for unequal outcomes in professional sports? We don't expect home runs in MLB or points in the NBA or NHL to be distributed equally, so why do we expect income to be distributed equally? And if inequalities of outcome or income increase or decreases over time, so what?
For example, in a previous CD post, I presented the chart below:
Even within most MLB teams there is significant income inequality, which is directly related to the significant inequality in the distribution of athletic talent reflected in the "home run inequality" documented above. And the chart above shows that: a) the income share of the top 25% is fairly similar when comparing the general U.S. population and the 5 MLB teams above, and b) income inequality increased both for MLB and the general public between 1988 and 2007, measured by the income share of the top 25%. Why is that considered a problem, and not perhaps a natural, and expected outcome?
Finally, it should be noted that when it comes to the income of the general population, the income of MLB players, or the distribution of home runs, the top 5% or top 25% in any given year is a different group than the previous year - there is significant and constant turnover. A common misperception is that the top 5% (or top 1% or top 10%) by income is something like a closed, private club with very little turnover - once you get in, you stay there, making it difficult for others to join. But reality is very different - people move up and down the income quintiles or quartiles throughout their careers and lives. The top 1/5/10% is never the same people.Maybe we can learn some economic lessons about income inequality from professional sports and the Olympics?