10 Problems With Free Trade Among U.S. States
Professor Mark J. Perry's Blog for Economics and Finance
A comment by Gale Pooley on this CD post suggested adjusting the cost of gas to account for increases in worker productivity over time, and the chart above does just that. It shows the time cost of a gallon of gas, measured by the number of minutes of work at the average hourly manufacturing wage (BLS data here) required to purchase a gallon of gas at the nominal, retail price in each year between 1939 and 2010 (EIA data here).
Here are the latest posts from Brad DeLong and Don Boudreaux on the "Stupidest Man Alive" kerfuffle. While Brad and Don work out the terms of their possible upcoming bet on the future trends in the inflation-adjusted prices of natural resources or petroleum products, let's do a quick review of the historical record of real gas prices over the last 92 years (this series goes back to 1919, which is the longest historical price record I could find for oil or gas).
From John Murphy's original Chamber post, supplemented by Cato's Dan Ikenson (in bold):
Here's some new support for economist Julian Simon's optimistic view that resource scarcity wouldn't ever be a problem, even with a growing world population, because of the power of innovation, discovery, human ingenuity, entrepreneurship, substitutes, and technological progress to overcome any resource shortages: the ocean floor might contain reserves of minerals vastly greater than those on land.
The Rational Optimist Matt Ridley asks the question: "With one tenth – well, 11% -- of the twenty-first century now consigned to history, what is the verdict so far?"
I had the distinction of recently being nominated by UC-Berkeley economist Brad DeLong as the "stupidest man alive," but I'm in pretty good company with fellow c0-nominees NY Times science writer John Tierney and George Mason economist Don Boudreaux. It should be noted that John Tierney might be "stupid," but he is now a little richer thanks to his "stupidity," having just won a $5,000 bet on the price of oil. Perhaps my stupidity will pay off that handsomely someday?
The American Staffing Association reported that its weekly Staffing Index of contract and temporary employment demand ended the year at 92 for the week ending 12/26/2010, which is 19.5% higher than the same week last year, 26% higher than the comparable week in 2008, 6% higher than the same week in 2007 and 11% higher than 2006.
The New York Federal Reserve updated its "Probability of U.S. Recession Predicted by Treasury Spread" this week with treasury yield data through December 2010, and the Fed's recession probability forecast through December 2011. The NY Fed's Treasury model uses the spread between the yields on 10-year Treasury notes (3.29% in December) and 3-month Treasury bills (0.14%) to calculate the probability of a U.S. recession up to twelve months ahead (see details here).
NEW YORK, January 3, 2011 – "Driven by a wide range of upbeat grassroots economic news, the Dow Jones Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) jumped 2.2 points to 46.1 in December, breaking out of its previous range and indicating the economy could be picking up momentum at the start of 2011. The ESI is determined by in-depth analysis of national news coverage across 15 daily newspapers. It held steady at 43.9 in October and November."
Last week, I featured the recent Census Bureau report showing that state and local tax revenues increased by 5.21% in the third quarter this year compared to 2009, which is the largest quarterly increase since the fourth quarter of 2007 (see chart above). Dennis Cauchon now reports in today's USA Today that: