Friday, July 6, 2012

UN calls for a billionaires tax to help the world's poor. Thought I would re-write the headline so it actually solves the problem...

Saw this headline on Yahoo!News: 
UN calls for 'billionaires tax' to help world's poor.
I thought this is what the headline should really be to actually produce some positive results:
"UN calls for 'billionaires tax'  government  reforms in under-developed countries to help world's poor become billionaires (or millionaires, thousand-aires, or whatever they would like to be)"
Just sayin'...

Quick Snapshot of todays Employment Report---Not good...

The significant gainers for the month are in BLACK and the losers are in RED. Numbers are in thousands, so add 3 zeroes behind the number.  Be careful to not include the headline category number when you look at these.  Look at the sub headings for the job number.

Temporary help, Leisure and Hospitality, and Healthcare jobs are NOT going to lead a robust recovery. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

"You should drive a car "Made in America"! Well, I do in fact drive the car with the MOST US sourced parts and labor--- Toyota Camry. See more here... comes out with this list every year.  It is a ranking of cars made in the USA, regardless of ownership of the automaker, based on the source of parts and final assembly.  Turns out that some of the most popular cars produced by the Japanese are more "Made in America" than some of the US manufacturers of cars. 

5 of 10 models of cars with high (more than 75%)  US sourced parts and labor are either Toyota or Honda models...(HT: Carpe Diem---as always)

A little data on the number of doctors we have in the US---Domestic and Foreign. Do we have too many doctors with not enough to do or do we have a shortage? Maybe both...

Data is from the Census HERE

From 1980 to 2009, the average yearly NET change in the US (new entrants plus current MD's minus leavers) in MD's with US medical school degrees is 12,068---These are additional, domestically "produced" doctors EACH YEAR.

The average net change in MD's from foreign medical school degrees is 5,310. There are additional, foreign "produced" doctors EACH YEAR.

Average total change in the number of doctors in the US, per year over 29 years, is 17,378  medical doctors--domestic plus "foreign".

The graph below shows, in RED, the number of US Medical School graduates over time, and the projected number of doctors, in BLUE, that we would need to maintain the same doctor-per-person ratio.
Source: Carpe Diem

Notice the number of Medical School graduates (RED) stays relatively constant since the 1980-1985 period.
Keep in mind, not all of these graduates will eventually become doctors.  If fact, it looks like in any given years roughly 4,000 per year do not become full-fledged doctors, hence the need to "import" doctors from abroad (or at least from "Non-US Medical Schools").

The graph shows, based on population trends, we are not keeping a consistent doctor-per-person ratio. It suggests we are about 1,200 doctors short.

With the increase in demand for healthcare anticipated from the Affordable Healthcare Act, we will have to either increase the number of students graduating from US medical schools and/or increase the importation of doctors.

My question is: why has it not been policy to do either, given the population trend?  Do we have excess capacity in MD'S---too many with not enough to do? Or is it an artificial shortage encouraged by government policy/lobbying by interested parties?

I dunno....

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

My contribution to the 4th of July mixed with a political message..Cannot resist.

""The Founding Fathers left their generation with a signed document that empowered people to resist the Tyranny of a King, and they did so at a large cost to themselves.  Today, we ask politicians to sign a document to resist the Tyranny of King Dollar (Campaign Contributions) and they do NOT do so because the cost is too large to themselves---See the difference?""---Me while running errands.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

"Keynes vs Hayek" mini-rap video. If you are a fan you will want to see this one. Oh, and buy a t-shirt too.

If you follow the "Keynes vs Hayek" economics rap videos, this "mini-episode" will amuse you.  Wish they could turn this into a TV series, a la "The Big Bang Theory".  :)

Here is my quick analysis of how a small business makes a hiring decision in terms of Stimulus vs real economic growth. Need your help in telling me where I am going wrong...

If I were a small businessman looking at the economic landscape and how it is being addressed by our political class (and reported on by the media), I would wonder if they had any idea of what my day is like and how I make hiring decisions.  Keep in mind, I am just a "regular Joe/Josephine" trying to do the best I can.

Senario 1: Assume I hear of a local business getting stimulus funds to do some road work in my area and I know there will be 100 additional workers with, say, $20 additional discretionary dollars to spend at my business during any given day (not all at once, spread out during the day).  Remember, I am not the only business in town, so my fellow shopkeepers are in the same position I am in. 

I know this will money is temporary and will last about 6 months and we will go back to status quo.

With this information, do I ask my existing workers to (1) work harder, (2) give my part-timers more hours, (3) offer overtime to existing full-time employees or (4) hire an additional full-time and/or part-time worker? 

Given what I know, I am pretty sure 1-3 are viable options, with preference to (1) and (2), but I am pretty sure I don't do  #4. 

Scenario 2:  A new company (or an existing one expanding operations)  renovates and moves into a building down the street from me.  I know there will be an addtional 100 workers with, say, $20 additional discretionary dollars to spend at my business during any given day on a permanent basis.

I know this money will not be temporary, will last well into the forseeable future and we will NOT go back to the status quo.  In other words there is a sustained higher level of spending in my business.

Using numbers 1-4 above, how might my hiring decision(s) be affected now? Does it change, "at the margin"?  When I look at my current situation, I believe I have to go with (2) at the minimum and/or most likely (4) , right?

Conclusion:  As a small businessman, I am happy with Scenario #1 because it allowed me to potentially "save" a job in my business that I otherwise might have had to eliminate---it did create stability for me.  Although some of my fellow shopkeepers may have been able to "create" a new, sustained job from the temporary stimulus, I think a majority of them faced the same dilemma I did in making hiring decisions.

What small business people are looking for are signs of Senario #2 emerging beyond what has been offered in Scenario #1.  Only when that "Leap" is made from one to the other, will  they hire and we will have a robust expansion and recovery.

The question is, how do we move from one scenario to the other?  Are policy makers and politicians focused enough on that or are we still just short term thinkers?
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