Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Atlantic: The Most Important Graphs of 2011

From Derek Thompson, senior editor at The Atlantic:

"What is it about graphs and economics? In a discipline where facts are murky and certainty is elusive, graphs offer a bright light of information and a small confidence that the world can be summed up between two axes. So when the BBC asked a group of economists to name their graph of the year, we decided to do the same (so did Wonkblog!). Here, from economists on left and right, and from economic journalists from around the beat, are the graphs of the year. Click through the gallery or scroll down to find the graphs organized under categories including Europe, spending & taxing, and energy."

MP: The list includes the graph above that I submitted showing the two sides of the "jobless recovery": a complete recovery in real output (GDP) has taken place, and the U.S. economy is producing a new record-high level of output, but is doing so with 6.6 million fewer workers. 

27 Comments:

At 12/22/2011 10:01 AM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

I'm sure it's just a coincidence, but the big gap in the two lines occurred almost exactly when Congress authorized 99 weeks of unemployment benefits.

 
At 12/22/2011 10:22 AM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

Michael Linden, Director of Tax and Budget Policy at the Center for American Progress, provided a graph showing that employment growth was about 2% back when top marginal tax rates were 50% or greater. His graph shows that employment growth was below 2% for all of the post-1986 years, when top marginal tax rates were between 28% and 38%. So Linden concludes:

”This chart neatly puts the lie to the notion that lower marginal tax rates for the wealthy will produce enormous job growth by showing that, over the past sixty years, the economy has actually produced far more jobs when the top income tax rate was higher”

Of course, Linden neglects to mention that the working-age population is growing by less than 1% a year. Such slow population growth makes it impossible for job growth to average 2%, as it did when Boomers were entering the workforce in the 1960s and 1970s.

 
At 12/22/2011 10:36 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

Nothing like the fear of losing your job to put a little hustle in your step.

 
At 12/22/2011 10:37 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

Of course, Linden neglects to mention that the working-age population is growing by less than 1% a year. Such slow population growth makes it impossible for job growth to average 2%......

=================================

And the problem with immigation is that immigrants steal American jobs?

 
At 12/22/2011 10:49 AM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

Hydra "And the problem with immigation is that immigrants steal American jobs?"

Not a problem for me. If American workers don't want to mow my lawn and cook my burgers, I'm all for allowing Mexican workers in to do the job.

 
At 12/22/2011 10:59 AM, Blogger Benjamin said...

The private sector does more with less every year.

The federal military and civilian agencies do less with more every year.

Ergo, cut the federal government. Below is list of federal agencies by employees. Start cutting, and bring an axe.

Defense 3,200,000
Veterans Affairs 240,000 

Homeland Security 200,000
Treasury 162,119 

Justice 124,870 

USDA 100,000 

DOT 100,000
Health and Human Services 62,999 

Interior 57,232 

Commerce 41,711 

NASA 19,198 

EPA 18,879
State 18,000 

Labor 16,818 

Energy 14,000 

GSA 14,000

 
At 12/22/2011 11:08 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

If American workers don't want to mow my lawn and cook my burgers, I'm all for allowing Mexican workers in to do the job.

=================================

How about if Indian workers want to do your heart surgery and russinas want to do ballistic calculations?

 
At 12/22/2011 11:10 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

I'm sure it's just a coincidence,.......

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Yes, but doesn't the drop in employment preced the area of divergence?

 
At 12/22/2011 11:28 AM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

hydra: "doesn't the drop in employment preced the area of divergence?"

Not sure what point you're trying to make.

It's true that people lose jobs from time to time. That's why it's so important for households to have emergency savings.

It's true that adjusting for the elimination of one's livelihood can take a few months. But 99 weeks? Only when governments restrict the functioning of free markets (ie, minimum wage laws, inefficient make-work programs, extended unemployment benefits, EPA blockage of job creation, etc).

 
At 12/22/2011 12:05 PM, Blogger Paul said...

How about if Indian workers want to do your heart surgery and russinas want to do ballistic calculations?

That would be fantastic! Bring in more doctors as part of a real, market-oriented health reform. Load up on skilled engineers like my immigrant wife, and grow the economy.

Instead, we import Mexico's poverty. We already have plenty of people to mow Jet Beagle's lawn and cook his burgers. They're called teenagers, and they won't steal your identity or illegally vote for Democrats.

 
At 12/22/2011 12:23 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

of course, use even cpi as a gdp deflator, and this chart looks very different.

GDP-d is running almost 50% below even the (greatly understated in my opinion) CPI.

but even if we accept the CPI, if we use to deflate gdp, we are nowhere near back to pre recession levels.

this seems more like a game of statistical manipulation than a sign of recovery.

oh, and notice they revised gdp down (again) today? 1.8%. 2% deflator.

use CPI and the number becomes 0.2% growth.

 
At 12/22/2011 3:03 PM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

"We already have plenty of people to mow Jet Beagle's lawn and cook his burgers. They're called teenagers"

I don't think we have near enough ambitious teenagers to take the place of the millions of Mexicans who are now doing that work. Indulgent parents have eliminated the teenager workforce where I live.

 
At 12/22/2011 3:25 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Jet,
I'm with ya...I trust Mexican cartel members much more than I trust any teen I know. At least I understand their motives and work ethic.

 
At 12/22/2011 5:11 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Jet Beagle,

Those hard working Mexicans might cut your lawn for minimum wage, but they drive up health care costs, and a huge percentage of them receive some form of welfare. In Texas, for example, some 70% of illegal immigrant families receive some form of assistance. Sure, it's a prisoner's dilemma for the individual with a lawn to be mowed, but a huge net loss to the country.

We'd be better off dealing with the slacker teenagers who need a foot up the ass.

 
At 12/22/2011 5:21 PM, Blogger Mr. Econotarian said...

It would be nice to see the GDP graph split between private sector production, government spending, and export/import difference.

 
At 12/22/2011 10:56 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"And the problem with immigation is that immigrants steal American jobs"...

Are they immigrants (legal transplants) or are they wetbacks (law breaking trespassers) hydra?

 
At 12/23/2011 1:23 AM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Paul, I don't know how many Mexicans you know who are skilled enough to "steal your identity," that's more the province of citizens who are already here. As for whether they "illegally vote for Democrats," most of them are too scared of getting caught to ever do that, and since teenagers over 18 already tend to vote Democrat, not sure why you prefer them. ;) The fact is that it is effectively impossible to "secure" the Mexican and Canadian borders. A wall is a manifestly stupid idea and it took "dumb" Rick Perry to point that out. :D Further, there are too many citizens benefiting from illegal labor for there to ever be a realistic drive to get rid of them. Unfortunately, that also means they don't want to legalize the illegals either, because then they'd probably have to pay them more. So we're stuck with the status quo, as inhuman as it may be for the illegals, who simply want to compete in the freer markets in the US. All those who think the govt will do anything to really go after illegal immigration are smoking something. That's the first thing Romney will go back on if and when he becomes president. ;)

 
At 12/23/2011 3:43 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Paul: "They're called teenagers, and they won't steal your identity or illegally vote for Democrats."

Where are they when I need them? I would be happy to hire teenagers who were as hard working, reliable, and as able to work without supervision as the Mexicans who currently care for my yard.

If teenagers want these jobs - and I'm not convinced they do - they need to hit my door and ask for them, as their competitors do.

Most of the teenagers in my area are busy honing their skateboard skills, as they wait to be recognized as the next Tony Hawk, so they have no need of jobs.

 
At 12/23/2011 4:16 AM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

Paul: "but they drive up health care costs, and a huge percentage of them receive some form of welfare."

That's a different problem altogether. Millions of non-Hispanics drive up health care and receive some form of welfare. And, unlike the Mexican workers, most of them contribute nothing to the economy.

Mexican workers have a deserved reputation for working their butts off. Neither today's teenagers or today's welfare recipients are going to take over the contribution of Mexicans until we end the indulgent practices of today's parents and today's governments.

 
At 12/23/2011 4:18 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...


Not a problem for me. If American workers don't want to mow my lawn and cook my burgers, I'm all for allowing Mexican workers in to do the job.

Only because you want slaves, not people who have meaningfully different choices. Kill all guest worker programs and make sure they stay dead. Then watch as a balance between automation and citizens being hired is created.




It's true that adjusting for the elimination of one's livelihood can take a few months. But 99 weeks?

When offshoring and illegal immigration arent being used to displace citizens (that are deemed too free to a job by business), extended time is needed.

If a business gets to wait more than 99 weeks to get a favorable political climate, it would only make sense to give a similar time to the jobless.

As for the US teenager vs. Mexican? I'll choose the First World teenager over the Third World'er any day. At least the teenager would be legal, not consume government resources, and would learn the value of honest business - something absent in those that send work offshore by fraudulent means, or use slaves from Mexico.

 
At 12/23/2011 10:27 AM, Blogger Paul said...

Sprewell,

"The fact is that it is effectively impossible to "secure" the Mexican and Canadian borders."

But it can be "more" secure than it is now. I'll settle for 90%, and then rearrange the border patrol. Walls done right do work, ask Israel.

"I don't know how many Mexicans you know who are skilled enough to "steal your identity,"

It is rampant. You must not live in a border state.

"As for whether they "illegally vote for Democrats," most of them are too scared of getting caught to ever do that."

Again, it happens all the time. Tens of thousands of illegal immigrants are on the voter rolls nationwide. "Most" do not vote, but elections are often decided by razor thin margins.

 
At 12/23/2011 10:33 AM, Blogger Paul said...

Ron,

"Where are they when I need them? I would be happy to hire teenagers who were as hard working, reliable, and as able to work without supervision as the Mexicans who currently care for my yard."

I know what you mean, but get rid of the illegal immigrants, and the work will still have to be done. Those teenagers are going to be the labor force in the near future, if they don't develop work habits then we are all screwed.

 
At 12/23/2011 10:38 AM, Blogger Paul said...

Jet Beagle,

"That's a different problem altogether. Millions of non-Hispanics drive up health care and receive some form of welfare."

No, it's part of the same issue. Add in all the extraneous costs, and illegal immigration is a net loser for the country. Our immigration laws should be designed to attract the best and the brightest from all over the world. Instead, our default policy is to allow ourselves to be overrun by the poor, illiterate, and low skilled. We've been effectively importing an underclass.

 
At 12/23/2011 2:53 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Paul

"Those teenagers are going to be the labor force in the near future, if they don't develop work habits then we are all screwed."

That's what I'm afraid of. Perhaps Mexican gardeners should be required to employ at least one non-Mexican teenager, so they will have the skills they will need when they grow up. After all, very few of them will become Tony Hawk. :)

I no longer have teenagers of my own, so foot-up-the-ass may not work well for me, as I'm not at all interested in spending any time in custody. :)

 
At 12/23/2011 3:02 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Jet: "That's a different problem altogether. Millions of non-Hispanics drive up health care and receive some form of welfare."

Paul: "No, it's part of the same issue. Add in all the extraneous costs, and illegal immigration is a net loser for the country. Our immigration laws should be designed to attract the best and the brightest from all over the world. Instead, our default policy is to allow ourselves to be overrun by the poor, illiterate, and low skilled. We've been effectively importing an underclass."

Perhaps our outrage should be directed at the welfare system, and not the recipients. After all, if we offer someone a free lunch, we shouldn't be upset with them when they take it.

 
At 12/23/2011 4:24 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Paul, what method do you propose that would work 90% of the time? I certainly don't see it. I'm not sure what Israel is doing with their walls, but surely you see the difference between our thousands of miles of borders and that small country? I have not heard of "rampant" stealing of identity by Mexicans and I do live in a border state, Arizona, though I don't get out much. ;) Feel free to provide a link to back up your claim. If you believe there are a lot of illegal immigrants being allowed to vote, the solution is the easy and cheap one of getting them off the voter rolls, not trying to secure thousands of miles of border at unimaginable cost. And tens of thousands of illegal voters, if that were true, is nothing compared to the 90 million or so who vote in presidential elections. I see nothing that is so bad that we need to crack down on illegals, so that raises the question: what is your real problem with illegals? Do you think they're taking American jobs?

Stossel had a good show on immigration last year, with an excellent debate that you can still watch online, at least the first half. I think the pro-immigration guy wins it decisively, particularly in this eye-opening video where he points out that the German and the Irish immigrants were once similarly looked down upon. New immigrants to this country, though they've almost always been criticized as the refuse of the country they came from and perhaps they did bring some of their problems with them, have always renewed this country through their striving, making it better than it was before. You'd think we'd have learned that lesson by now.

 
At 12/24/2011 4:12 PM, Blogger Htowner said...

couple of points: when the tax rate was 50%+, the number of write offs were multitude. Also, if I pay a couple of Latinos $25 to mow my lawn, takes them 25 minutes to do so, I'm guessing that 1.5 yards an hour x 8 hours (or more if they're quasi ambitious), 12 yards a day = $150 a day for each worker x 5 days (or more)$750 a week, $37,500 per year, most of which is cash (not that they don't honestly pay taxes). Point is for the 17% of African Americans, the 12% or so of unemployed White young people...buy a couple of mowers, rent a trailer and get to work. I and most Americans would hire them.

 

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