2011/09 topics

Sept 21

And About Those Structural Imbalances I think Matt Yglesias is closing in on a crucial difference between two sides in this debate about how to get out of our current economic mess, a difference that doesn’t divide neatly along a right-versus-left axis....
  1. What caused that hit – presumably the massive financial crisis triggered by the fall in housing prices – is less important than the fact of the hit. Monetary policy has the tools to reduce the attractiveness of holding money. If money is less attractive, then goods and services become relatively more attractive, so aggregate demand goes up. ...

  2. the broader cause of the crisis was that consumption growth in the 2000s was overwhelmingly driven by rising consumer debt. Consumer debt was rising because wages were not keeping up with the rising cost of living. The large gains in global productivity in the 2000s, to the extent that they accrued to the United States, were captured as what amount to rents by the health and financial sectors.
Sept 17

Grading Obama Economic Policy: The First Year and a Half
 (Brad DeLong)
  • The banking system collapse was averted.
  • The spike of the unemployment rate to 15% was averted.
  • Obama passed a pretty good regulatory reform.
  • Obama passed a pretty good health reform.
  • Obama passed the largest quick fiscal expansion he could get through congress (using Reconciliation would have taken a lot longer).
  • but We are left with a jobless recovery, and with crippled mortgage finance and construction, and a ticking bomb in Europe.

Hidden Tax: US Families Pay an Extra $1,000 per Year to Support Religion

Report: What Happens If The Tea Party Wins, everything that will cease to exist if the Tea Party gets it’s way:
  • Social Security and Medicare
  • Medicaid, SCHIP, and other health care programs
  • All federal education programs
  • All federal antipoverty programs
  • Federal disaster relief
  • Federal food safety inspections and other food safety programs
  • Child labor laws, the minimum wage, overtime, and other labor protections
  • Federal civil rights laws
Would a Perry v. Obama Contest Be a Confederacy v. Union Rematch? For conservatives, Perry victorious would mean nothing less than the South as a phoenix in the form of an eagle, rising from the ashes of a short-lived and fallen nation.

Ideological Locations of 2012 Republican Presidential Candidates (VoteView)
Can Retraining Give the Unemployed a Second Chance? Americans looking for employment often lack the skills they need. Retraining works. Sometimes (Bloomberg)

The Election of 2012: Why the Most Important Issues May Be Off the Table (But Should Be On It) (Robert Reich)

Has American-Style Conservatism Become a Religion? Fundamentalist religion plays a big role in today's Republican party--but has it gone even further, spreading dangerous beliefs as articles of faith? 

Clarence Darrow on Eugenics
The 10 Numbers You Need to Know About E-Verify, E-Verify has a massive failure rate and will keep legal workers out of a job. 
  • $17.3 billion: The amount of federal revenue that will be lost over 10 years.
  • $2.6 billion: The amount small businesses would have had to spend in 2010 if E-Verify had been mandatory.
  • $1,254 to $24,422: The average first-year startup costs for running E-Verify per small business.
  • $765 million to $838 million: The amount of money the Department of Homeland Security estimates it will need to run mandatory E-Verify over a four-year period.
  • $281 million: The amount of money the Social Security Administration estimates it will need to run mandatory E-Verify over a five-year period60 million: The number of new hires in the United States each year, all of whom would require verification through E-Verify.
  • 22 million: The number of government employees who would require re-verification—verification through E-Verify 
  • 1.2 million to 3.5 million: The number of Americans who will be required to go to a Social Security Administration office to fix erroneous information.
  • 770,000: The number of Americans who will be unable to fix the government database errors and will ultimately lose their jobs because of E-Verify.
  • 46 percent: E-Verify’s success rate at catching unauthorized workers. In other words, E-Verify fails to detect unauthorized workers more than half of the time.
The Myth of Middle-Class Stagnation

 The Pentagon’s Latest Misleading Argument To Protect Its Budget: Cuts Will Lead To Higher Unemployment,
military spending does very poorly. It creates about
  • 12,000 jobs per $1 billion in spending, [military spending] compared with 
  • 17,000 for the green economy,
  • 20,000 for health care and 
  • 29,000 for education.