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20 Dec 2011 22:16


U.S.: Unemployment fell in majority of states last month

  • 43 states have seen a decrease in unemployment since October source
  • » As goes the country, so go the states: Or maybe it’s the other way around? Well, either way, figures released today by the Department of Labor show that unemployment, in addition to falling to its lowest level in two and a half years at the national level, also decreased on a state-by-state basis in all but seven states. This is promising, as it suggests that the uptick in employment is a nationwide trend, and not the result of, say, five or ten states doing abnormally well for one reason or another. Note: The usual disclaimers about the problems with how unemployment is calculated apply.

04 Aug 2011 14:20


U.S.: Amid negative economic data, stock market having a really crappy day

  • 350+point dip in the Dow at one point today (ouch) source
  • » It’s becoming more and more apparent that we might be heading for a double-dip recession here. The Dow fell for eight days straight, only ending the losing streak yesterday — but it could fall steeply today. The new jobless numbers are mostly to blame for the weak market. There were 400,000 new unemployment claims in the week that ended July 30. That, in addition to a spreading debt crisis in Europe, has been enough to convince investors that the U.S. economy isn’t in a great spot right now, and it’s hurting our stock market bad.

27 Jul 2011 14:43


U.S.: Pew study: There’s a massive wealth gap along racial lines

  • $113,149 average net worth of a white household in 2009
  • $5,677 average net worth of a black household in 2009 source
  • » That is a stark difference. In their latest study, Pew compared the net wealth of families in various racial groups and found that blacks and Latinos in particular did very poorly compared to whites. (Asians, on the other hand, were somewhat within shouting distance. EDIT: Please see explanation.) This is a historic trend which has lasted decades, but has become all the more apparent with the Great Recession. “The bursting of the housing market bubble in 2006 and the recession that followed from late 2007 to mid-2009 took a far greater toll on the wealth of minorities than whites,” Pew writes in its study. While net wealth among whites fell roughly 16 percent, blacks families lost about 53 percent, and Latino families lost the most — losing 66 percent of their wealth on average.

15 Jun 2011 22:15


Politics: Pawlenty’s extreme tax proposal

  • 73% Pawlenty’s tax cut for the 400 richest Americans source
  • » During his time as Minnesota’s governor, Tim Pawlenty staked out a few moderate stances. This is understandable, as Minnesota is a moderate state. But moderation doesn’t fly in the current incantation of the Republican party (just ask Mike Castle or Bob Bennett). It especially doesn’t fly for Republicans who want to be President, and perhaps no position is as sacrosanct to the modern Republican party as that of low taxes. Still, Pawlenty’s proposed tax plan is really extreme, even by supply-sider standards; for example, he proposes that millionaires alone receive a 41% tax cut. So, while it’s understandable that T-Paw wants quell the concerts of Republican primary voters by tacking to the right, we wonder if he really needed to adopt a tax plan that, in the words of Ezra Klein, “makes George W. Bush look like Robin Hood.”

06 Jun 2011 22:10


Politics: Obama’s head economics guy is headed out the door

  • Goodbye, Goolsbee: Austan Goolsbee, Obama’s chief economic advisor and the only guy in Washington who spells “Austan” with an “a,” is leaving the White House to resume teaching in Chicago. It’s a coincidence that the administration happened to announce this news today, when it was certain to be drowned out by the torrent of Anthony Weiner stories. I mean, it’s not like the White House is nervous that Goolsbee’s departure might create a perception of uncertainty regarding their grasp of the economy, right? Nah. source

27 Apr 2011 22:32


Politics: I know nothing of which I speak, yet I speak nonetheless

  • Pro-tip: Don’t preface your argument by proclaiming that you don’t know what you’re talking about. The premise in this RedState piece is that we can “common sense” our way out of any political impasse that comes our way, complexity be damned. This is a dangerous way to go about public policy. “Without a strong position among those on my side of the aisle, and with my limited economic understanding that I mentioned earlier, I must revert to what rarely fails me: My gut.” If you lack enough information to form an opinion, either educate yourself more or recuse yourself from the debate. Comprehending the ramifications of raising the debt ceiling require a basic, if not advanced, level of economic knowledge, and to advocate for a one view or another without this knowledge is both intellectually and journalistically disgraceful. source

10 Jan 2011 22:22


U.S., World: Economists forecast bad, bad times for US economy

  • The age of American predominance is over. The (Chinese) Yuan will be the world’s reserve currency within two decades.
  • MIT’s Simon Johnson • At an annual economic convention, regarding the US’s extended economic outlook. In short: it doesn’t look good. Harvard’s Dale Jorgensen, who also attended the convention, predicts that various Asian economies, particularly China, will overtake America as the world’s largest economy by 2020 or so, and that the United States should brace for “social unrest” following that development. Gulp. source

06 Jan 2011 11:14


Tech: Apple’s Mac App Store: A cool concept, with caveats

  • So, look, the idea sounds cool. And we admit to be looking forward to checking it out. But at the same time, we totally understand why some developers might be freaking out. If the app store is successful at changing the behavior of Apple’s biggest die-hards, it could turn consumers used to spending $20-30 on a program into people who routinely complain that an app costs more than $2. But if this thing is a hit, just think of the scale it could have! So, as you browse through the 1,000+ apps on the store today, keep that in mind before you go too crazy. source