The $64,000 Question
MP: The 2000 Clinton tax rates are shown above.
(Update: Thanks to "notnidiot" for his comment that led to the new title.)
Professor Mark J. Perry's Blog for Economics and Finance
How much should the Treasury pay for distressed assets that nobody else wants?
Employers typically rein in health care costs, now galloping at 6% a year, by slapping their workers with higher premiums, deductibles and co-payments. Is there a better way?
"The financial crisis is not the crisis of capitalism," according to French president Nicolas Mr. Sarkozy. "It is the crisis of a system that has distanced itself from the most fundamental values of capitalism, which betrayed the spirit of capitalism." Give credit to Mr. Sarkozy for demonstrating leadership in attempting to salvage what we know is true -- that democratic capitalism is the best hope for mankind -- while jettisoning the abuses and fraudulent practices that have distorted the outcomes of free-market competition.
We are not going to have a depression, and we have survived financial crises before. A century of investing experience, as well as insights from the field of behavioral finance, suggest that investors who bail out of equities during times like these are almost always making the wrong decision.
Bobble comments: I don't put much stock (pun not intended) in Intrade. I find realclearpolitics.com is a far better source of how the candidates are doing. It computes averages of all the major polls and publishes the results in easy to comprehend format (see chart above).
Intrade Odds: 77% for Obama, 23.5% for McCain.
reason.tv’s Nick Gillespie isn’t making a run for the White House, but he knows how to get coverage to at least half of the 45 million Americans who need it. Call it the Gillespie Plan: If you want health insurance, get some.
Andy Roth at Club for Growth points out that Anheuser Busch (BUD) stock is up by 30% over the last six months, while the Dow Jones average is down by 30% (see chart above, click to enlarge).
From The Skeptical Optimist:
Bottom Line: A previous CD post highlighted 5 problems with the Census Bureau's data on median household income, and showed that on a "per household member," real median household income actually reached an all-time high in 2007.
The Skeptical Optimist now provides evidence that on an "income per earner" basis, income grew at about the same rate (3.4% to 3.9%) for all income groups between 1994 and 2007, and actually grew the fastest (3.9%) for the bottom quintile (see chart above). In other words, between 1994 and 2007, the rich have gotten richer, the middle class has gotten richer, and the poor have gotten richer, all at about the same rate.
GENEVA (Reuters) - Business is booming in the trade finance market as exporters and importers return to a tried and tested form of credit amid the chaos of the financial crisis, bankers in the sector say.
Thanks to John Thacker for a pointer to a longer historical data source for traffic volume back to 1971. There were two previous periods of significant decreases in traffic volume, comparable to the most recent 9-month, 2.08% decrease in miles driven (moving 12-month total) from November 2007 to July 2008.
The Federal Highway Administration reported that travel during July 2008 on all roads and streets in the nation fell by -3.6% compared to July last year. June marks the ninth consecutive month of traffic volume decline compared to the same month in the previous year. Travel YTD through July in 2008 fell by -3.0% compared to 2007.
A car designed specifically for women, with electronic parking aids and a jack making it easier to change a wheel, has been unveiled by Iran's state-backed manufacturer.
“Energy independence” is a bad idea. Every individual understands that it is far better to depend on others for most of what we want rather than trying to do everything for ourselves. This is true whether we’re buying oil or haircuts. The principle applies to groups of individuals living in large geographical areas called countries.
The financial collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is not a failure of the free market because lending institutions in a free market would not have taken on the high-risk loans. They were forced to by the heavy hand of government. The solution is not a taxpayer-financed bailout. The solution is to let them fail and allow the people who invested in them, as well as the people who purchased homes they couldn't afford, suffer the losses. Of course that takes a level of political courage that is in short supply.
From the article "Anatomy of a Trainwreck," by Economics Professor Stan Liebowitz, University of Texas at Dallas
Commercial and industrial loans at large commercial banks in the U.S. set a new record of $801 billion in the week ending September 24, going above the $800 billion for the first time, according to weekly banking data just yesterday by the Federal Reserve (see chart above, click to enlarge).
Traffic Rankings for Business and Economics Websites, by average daily visits, at Gongol.com.
Attorney Generals across the country, be on the lookout for potential pumpkin "price gouging" this month, as pumpkin shortages are a scary possibility in many parts of the country, according to various news reports. If there was a futures market for pumpkins we could blame greedy pumpkin speculators for the high prices, but I guess we'll have to settle for blaming greedy pumpkin "price gougers."
Is this a final "Crisis of Global Capitalism" -- to borrow the title of a book by George Soros written shortly after the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98? The crisis that kills capitalism has been said to happen during every major recession and financial crisis ever since Karl Marx prophesized the collapse of capitalism in the middle of the 19th century. Although I admit to having greatly underestimated the severity of the current crisis, I am confident that sizable world economic growth will resume before very long under a mainly capitalist world economy.
Today some have questioned whether we could have another 1929-style Depression. The answer is no — at least, it shouldn't happen.
Lessons To Learn From Mortgage Lending in Australia:
1. Primary farm producers in the world's developed countries receive about $280 billion a year in government support. In the European Union, farmers receive a third of their income from government subsidies. Beef and veal producers get more than 70% of their income from subsidies. A typical cow in the European Union receives a government subsidy of $2.20 a day. The cow earns more than 1.2 billion of the world's poorest people.
Ron Paul: "You take the original bailout bill, make it a lot worse and you get 57 congressmen switching from no to yes."
Everywhere today government bureaucrats and media pundits blame unwanted price movements on speculators and short-sellers. If prices are “too high”--it’s the fault of greedy speculators; if prices are “too low”--it’s the work of evil short-sellers. To hear these critics tell it, speculators have the ability to create artificially high prices, while short-sellers can wantonly destroy sound companies.