U.S. Oil Companies Paid, Collected More in Taxes ($147B) Than They Made in Profits ($131B) in 2006
Professor Mark J. Perry's Blog for Economics and Finance
Since the passage of the Energy Security Act of 2005, which extended daylight saving time (DST) by four weeks—to eight months of the year—DST has become more standard than...standard time. According to the legislation’s co-sponsors, Reps. Edward Markey, D-Mass., and Fred Upton, R-Mich., the daylight saving time extension is supposed to significantly reduce energy usage, as evening sunlight replaces power-generated electricity an additional hour each day.
Case 1: Many Americans seem upset that voter turnout is often low for U.S. elections, and they often actively and enthusiastically encourage and "recruit" others to vote, and in fact engage in a form of "voter witnessing."
Pharmacy benefit managers could soon find themselves contending with Wal-Mart to broker prescription drug prices. The Arkansas-based retailer is already looking to expand a two-month-old pilot with Caterpillar to negotiate drug prices for its 70,000 U.S. employees, retirees, and their spouses and children. "We are already in discussions with other companies to implement a direct-to-employer initiative," said a Wal-Mart spokeswoman.
LA Times -- One of the nation's largest drugstore chains ratcheted up a price war Thursday (yesterday), offering deep discounts on generic prescriptions amid national concern about the spiraling cost of healthcare.
Update: The $1.62 per gallon fall in gas prices since the $4.12 peak in July to the current $2.50 (see chart above from this link), represents an annual savings for consumers of about $230 billion (compared to a scenario if gas prices stayed about $4). On a previous CD post, I showed that for each one penny decrease in gas prices, consumers save $1.42 billion annually.
We might be headed for another close election, which means your vote could really matter this time, right? Wrong. Your vote didn't matter in 2000, it never mattered before 2000, and it's very unlikely to start mattering now.
Third quarter results are out, and it's "Exxon bashing" season again. It's now widely reported that Exxon's $14.8 billion profits in the third quarter set a new record, but what has gone almost completely unreported again is that Exxon paid a new record $11.327 billion in income taxes to various governments in the third quarter.
Which presidential candidate has the better economic vision for America?
Fed Statement on Interest Rates: The Federal Open Market Committee decided today to lower its target for the federal funds rate 50 basis points to 1%.
MP: The Fed cut the federal funds rate to below 1% more than two weeks ago, see chart above of the actual, effective fed funds rate since October 10 (data here), averaging 0.83% from October 10 to October 27.
Excerpts from An American Businessman's Letter to Obama, from Corey Miller, aka "Corey The Well Driller":
Speaking of CEOs, there's the "unconscionable," "obscene" salaries they receive, in some cases over $10 million a year. Wackonomics has an easy answer for these high salaries: it's greed.
According to the USDA, 91.20% of all U.S. farms were classified in 2003 as "small family farms" and those farms produced only 27.1% of the total farm output (see chart above). The other 8.8% of U.S. farms are "large-scale family farms" or "nonfamily farms," and those two groups produced almost 73% of all farm output.
NEW YORK -- For those holding out for some improvement in print circulation, this morning brings disappointment. The Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) released the latest figures for the six- month period ending September 2008 and the report shows major drops in circulation at the big metros. According to ABC for the 507 newspapers reporting in this period, daily circulation slipped 4.6% to 38,165,848 copies. For the 571 papers, Sunday dropped 4.8% to 43,631,646 copies.
When this newspaper decides not to endorse a candidate in an election, it's usually because we believe neither is qualified for the office. In this year's presidential race, that's not the case. Both Barack Obama, a Democrat, and John McCain, a Republican, are qualified to be president.
The greenback continues its comeback........
The dollar is king of the hill again -- at least for now.
Amid the cascading credit crisis, the U.S. currency has reclaimed its status as the world's haven in tumultuous times. With investors rushing to sell everything and shove the proceeds into dollars, the greenback has gained more than 11% against the euro in October alone. Since the spring, when the mortgage crisis picked up speed, the dollar has gained some 22% against the euro. It has also strengthened against the British pound, the Swiss franc, the Australian dollar and others, though it's weaker against the Japanese yen.
This reversal halts, at least temporarily, a longstanding bearish trend that had seen the greenback slide against major world currencies for much of this decade. Today's newfound strength has consequences for investors, consumers and travelers. A more robust dollar weakens the benefit of investing abroad, yet makes imports, commodities and even an overseas vacation more affordable.
Congressional Budget Office (CBO) data show that the total effective federal tax rate of the middle fifth of households declined after 2001 to its lowest levels since at least 1979, Congressman Jim Saxton, ranking member of the Joint Economic Committee, said today. Under the 2001 and 2003 tax relief legislation, the income tax as a share of income for the middle fifth also has fallen to its lowest levels in decades (see chart above, click to enlarge).
To alleviate the obvious hardships to both homeowners and banks, the government commits to buy mortgages and inject capital into banks, which on the face of it seems like a very nice thing to do. But unfortunately in this world there is no tooth fairy. And the government doesn't create anything; it just redistributes. Whenever the government bails someone out of trouble, they always put someone into trouble, plus of course a toll for the troll. Every $100 billion in bailout requires at least $130 billion in taxes, where the $30 billion extra is the cost of getting government involved.
Almost all the benefits of economic growth since the 1970s have gone to a small number of people at the very top. ~Robert Reich, Financial Times (1/29/2008)
According to RealtyTrac, foreclosure filings were reported on 765,558 U.S. properties during the third quarter of 2008, up by +3.49% from the second quarter (739,741 foreclosures). Foreclosures were heavily concentrated in Arizona (12,982), California (69,548), Florida (47,956) and Nevada (13,022), and those four states accounted for 19.4% of the total (143,508 out of 765,558).
People often complain about low voter turnout in the United States, which has declined over time and is very low compared to the turnout in other countries. See U.S. voter turnout since 1960 at this link and see an international comparison of voter turnout at this link.