Saturday, February 6, 2010

Job Creation--When It Absolutely, Positively Has To Be Delivered The Next Day...

This seems like sage advice from someone who has created 10's of thousands of jobs with highly specialized equipment...Fred Smith, founder and CEO of FEDEX, is asking the President/Congress to help businesses make the Allocative Efficiency decision to replace Capital Equipment on an accelerated time schedule . Companies expense there purchases of equipment over time with a more rapid depreciation allowance. If businesses can expense these goods quicker for tax purposes, then they are likely to replace capital if (1) it wears out, (2) becomes obsolete.  Capital goods purchases are usually big ticket items produced by highly skilled, ergo, highly paid workers.  Updating Capital needs will help businesses become more productive and they add to the Capital Stock of the nation's productive capability.  To compete in a global economy this is a necessity.
America needs more jobs. To get them, we need business to increase capital investment. This is especially true for well-paying industrial jobs in capital-intensive industries. The best way to do that is to let all businesses, large and small, significantly accelerate depreciation of their capital purchases....
Over the past 60 years, there's been an exceedingly strong correlation between domestic job growth and business investment. History is clear: If we want to create jobs, we need businesses—large and small—to increase capital investment.

The State of the Internet---Nice Chart Illustrating Internet Use...

Demographic Data on who uses the internet, by age, sex, geography, etc...Note the data on Internet availablity in select European countries...eye opening...From
Here we take a look at exactly who is using the Internet the most, how they are using it and how much the amount of usage is increasing. At a glance, we can see that there are the same number of men and women who use the Internet. However, their age, educational background and level of income may influence how much time they spend online.

The Mystery Of Your VIN Number Is Solved...Now you can have a great day!!

Have you ever wondered what the VIN number (Vehicle Identification Number) for your car stood for?? I am sure this has been on your mind at one time or another..It contains ALOT on information about your particular vehicle.  Go here for more explanation.  Kinda interesting and something I did not know about before...(HT: NewmarksDoor)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

News Flash: The US Breaks Wind and China Is Not Far Behind!...Tilting at Windmills...

Dang that China...Do they have to overachieve in EVERYTHING!...
From The Economist: "AMERICA strengthened its position as the world leader in wind power in 2009. Having overhauled Germany in 2008, installed wind capacity in the United States grew by 9.9 gigawatts (GW) to reach 35.2GW by the end of last year, according to a new report from the Global Wind Energy Council. But America's reign could be short-lived as China continues its enormous rate of increase. For the fifth year running China nearly doubled its capacity, adding 13GW of installed power and overtaking Spain in the process. Despite the economic downturn, global cumulative capacity grew by 31%, the highest annual increase for seven years. '

Sometimes Nature wins and People lose...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ethiopia is the BEST at winning Olympic Medals!! No, really, they are...

Do rich countries win more Olympic medals than poor countries? Conventional wisdom may suggest yes since more resources would be available to prospective athletes. This clever interactive graphic suggests otherwise...They divide the number medals by the countries GDP then multiply by 100 to get a "Podium Index"...The results may surprise you...

Blow up a CEO's Head!! No, really, you can blow his head up!!!

Blow-Up the CEO's Head!! Really, you can (CLICK HERE)!! This interactive allows you to move through time and show how much CEO pay has increased relative to the average workers pay.  As you move the cursor it inflates the CEO's head like a ballon to show proportionately the disparity in pay over time...Made me laugh out loud...

Calvin and Hobbes Perspective on Fiscal Policy....

They seem to get it... (Link from HERE)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Serious Issue---Should African Govt Sell Their Stocks of Elephant Ivory?

The senseless killing of elephants only for their tusks is the major threat to the species. There is a significant black market for ivory in various parts of the world ("medicinal/aphrodisiac" purposes) which makes it very profitable to "harvest" the tusks. ...
What should Africa do with its ivory?
A Kenyan delegation is in Brussels to stop Zambia and Tanzania trying to sell nearly 120 tonnes of ivory.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) will debate the two proposals in March. If allowed, the sale will be the third "one-off" auction of ivory since the world ban, 20 years ago last week. Tanzania and Zambia intend to spend the money from the auctions on conservation measures. But wildlife organisations are concerned that the levels of poaching will rise unless there is a blanket ban on the sale of ivory worldwide...Should countries be allowed to sell ivory they already possess? How should African countries deal with stockpiles of ivory? Should the ban on ivory be lifted? Who should benefit from the sale of ivory?
Questions to ask (in addition to the ones above):
1. Using supply and demand analysis, how would the selling of the ivory on the open market affect the price of ivory?
2. Would this policy increase or decrease poaching?
3. Is the demand for ivory elastic or inelastic?
4. Could elephants benefit from the lessons of The Tragedy of the Commons? If so, how?

'Bin Laden' blames US for global warming"--Hey, what about the carbon emissions from Car Bombs!!

From BBC:  "A new message said to be from al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden has blamed global warming on the US and other big industrial nations.  All industrial nations, mainly the big ones, are responsible for the crisis of global warming," the latest tape says. "This is a message to the whole world about those who are causing climate change, whether deliberately or not, and what we should do about that."

"Malaysia court fines adulterers four buffaloes" ---A new Medium of Exchange...

Money can be anyhing that is generally accepted to pay a debt...Even livestock...From BBC
A Malaysian court has fined a man and a woman four buffaloes and a pig after they were found guilty of an extra-marital affair, a local report says.The pair were convicted by the Native Court in Penampang on Borneo island, after the man's wife lodged a complaint last year, said the Star newspaper. She had found her husband wearing shorts at his second home with her colleague, who was wearing a sarong. The court in Sabah state rejected their claim they were just "best friends". Convicting the pair under customary local laws, Judge William Sampil said on Friday there was strong evidence the pair had had an affair, reported the Star. They were ordered to compensate their communities with the livestock, valued at about 6,500 ringgit ($1,900; £1,200) for their tryst. They were also reportedly each fined 1,000 ringgit.


Big Brother is Watching You...No, REALLY He Is...From the Sky...

WOW!! I had NO idea of the number of satellites in space...Who monitors this stuff???

Here is another view---3D!!  (Thanks Mitchel McDonald!!!)

I am moving to Finland...

I am moving to Finland...
From HERE:  The weak labor movement in the U.S. is partly to blame for the stingy federal policies around vacation and holidays. The U.S. federal government dictates that employees are given exactly zero paid holiday and vacation days a year (that means, if you get such things, it is because your employer is being generous/in a benefits arms race with other employers).
Yep, that’s right. In every country included except Canada and Japan (and the U.S.), workers get at least 20 paid vacation days. In France and Finland, they get 30… an entire month off, paid, every year.
When I show figures like these (and there are many of them, parental leave, work hours, military spending, class inequality, etc) to my students, they are STUNNED. Most Americans are woefully ignorant of how pro-business U.S. policies are compared to the policies of like countries. I think this ignorance contributes to the resistance many Americans display when politicians and activists talk about improving protections for workers.


GDP INCREASES at a robust pace!! Is the Recession OVER???

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) published the latest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) statistic measuring in dollar terms the value of the production of goods and services in the 4th quarter (Oct, Nov, Dec) of 2009.  It shows GDP increased, at an annual rate, of 5.7%. Indeed, a robust increase. Remember, what we have is GDP growth/expansion, NOT ECONOMIC GROWTH.  We are still inside our Production Possible Fronitier, mostly because we still have high unemployment.  GDP is the sum of the 4 main sectors of the economy---Consumption Expenditures by Individuals, Investment Expenditures by Businesses, Government Expeditures (Fed, State, Local) and Net Exports (Exports minus Imports). These 4 sectors make-up the total demand for US produced goods and service, or the total Aggregate Demand.  These are shown in the graph. Investment expenditures here are identified as "E&S" (equipment and softward) and "stuctures" (commercial buildings, factores, etc) and "Inventories"(goods produced sitting in warehouses/shelves that have not been sold to final end user).  Here is a brief analysis of each component part from data from BLS as broken down on THIS BLOG...The analysis in "" (double quotes) is NOT mine, it comes from the linked blog...
Real gross domestic product -- the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States -- increased at an annual rate of 5.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009, (that is, from the third quarter to the fourth quarter), according to the "advance" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 2.2 percent.
Real personal consumption expenditures increased 2.0 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of 2.8 percent in the third. Durable goods decreased 0.9 percent, in contrast to an increase of 20.4 percent. Nondurable goods increased 4.3 percent, compared with an increase of 1.5 percent. Services increased 1.7 percent, compared with an increase of 0.8 percent.
""The decrease in durable goods makes sense considering the increase caused by the cash for clunkers program in the third quarter. Also remember that durable goods is the smallest component of PCEs (Personal Consumption Expenditures ("C") ), totaling just 12% of total expenditures. The increase in non-durables is a pleasant surprise while the increase in services (the largest component of PCEs at 65.77%) is welcome as well.""


Real nonresidential fixed investment increased 2.9 percent in the fourth quarter, in contrast to a decrease of 5.9 percent in the third. Nonresidential structures decreased 15.4 percent, compared with a decrease of 18.4 percent. Equipment and software increased 13.3 percent, compared with an increase of 1.5 percent. Real residential fixed investment increased 5.7 percent, compared with an increase of 18.9 percent.
""The increase in equipment and software is very welcome, as it indicates business is starting to restock it's physical infrastructure. And an increase in residential investment is also a positive development.""

NET EXPORTS (Exports minus Imports)

Real exports of goods and services increased 18.1 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of 17.8 percent in the third. Real imports of goods and services increased 10.5 percent, compared with an increase of 21.3 percent.
""The increase in exports plays into the "Asian economies leading the world out of the recession" theme (which is already happening). The increase in imports indicates the US demand is also increasing.
I expect a fair amount to be made about the effect of inventory building in the report. These account for almost 60% of the 5.7% growth rate. What you're seeing here is a ridicules attempt at saying "some growth is bad and some growth is good." The bottom line is inventory restocking is a legitimate economic activity that leads to growth. The argue otherwise is to let your prejudices color your analysis.""

This ain't the Petticoat Junction Train---Get to know your High Speed Rail system...

If follow the issue of High Speed Rail, then this interactive graph will be of interest to you...BIG money is being allocated for this transportatioin system, so it is in our interest to become knowledgable on it...The article that accompanies this graph is HERE.
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