Saturday, November 10, 2012

I post this graph just to get under your skin---Graph of EXPORTS of Gasoline to "Fer-in-ners" It may be a domestically produced good but it is priced and sold in international markets.

Exports of Gasoline to international destinations in an annual graph and a monthly graph (for perspective). Record levels of exports.  Good thing, bad thing, or just a thing?

Source: US Energy Information Agency

Here is a twist---The President lost most of the States that had the HIGHEST new job creation in the last 3 years and won States that had the least. Must see set of graphs/maps that tell an interesting story in politics

President Obama ran a successful re-election campaign on the basis of an improving economy and the creation of 2.6 to 3 million new jobs.  If you look at WHERE most of the those jobs were created you will find politics makes strange bedfellows.

A large majority of those jobs were created in States that the President LOST in the Electoral College and a minority of the jobs created were in States that he won.  See the explanation and graphs below.  It is an interesting lesson in politics and interest groups. 

Unions are a big supporter of the President and vice versa.  However, ironically, the ability to boast about so many new jobs created came in States that are not Union NOR electorally friendly to the President.

The first graph below shows two things.

1. The two bars on the left show the percent of the population that lives in Right to Work States ("R-T-W") and the percent that live in "Forced Union" States. (22 States are classified as R-T-W States and 28 as Forced Union).  61.2% of the US population live in those 28 Forced Union States and 38.8% of the population live in R-T-W States.

2. The two bars on the right show the percent of the overall "jobs created" (appox 2.6 million) from 2009-2012 in the R-T-W States vs the Forced Union States.

So, in the R-T-W States that have just 39% of the US population, 72% of the 2.6 million jobs created in the last 3 years came from those States.  28% of those 2.6 million jobs came from Union States.
Source: Carpe Diem

This next graph shows on a map the R-T-W States (in Red) and the Forced Union States (in Blue)

This last map shows the latest 2012 Electoral College map.  States in blue are states that President Obama won and the ones in red are the ones that went for Gov Romney. 

See any  resemblence?  Yeah, me too...

Friday, November 9, 2012

Nice graph showing US energy consumption by fuel source projected through 2040. We have to figure out a way to "drill, baby, drill" for alternatives...

A reminder to "get real" on energy policy. We must develop alternatives but we have so far to go to get off the "dirty stuff" it is not even funny.

This is a projection out to 2040.  Maybe a major breakthrough will occur in alternatives, but it seems a balanced plan is in order. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I am pretty sure this "Cavity Search" is not covered under Obamacare...

Good Lord! 33% or respondents are willing to accept a "Cavity Search" in order to fly.

Maybe they think they are actually getting some kind of Dental exam under Obamacare...

Poll: Nearly One Third Of Americans Would Accept ‘TSA Body Cavity Search’ in Order to Fly
A new survey commissioned by Infowars and conducted by Harris Interactive has found that almost one third of American adults would accept a “TSA body cavity search” in order to fly, with a majority of Americans also feeling a law that would make disobeying a TSA agent in any public place illegal is reasonable.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Meanwhile, back in the Economy----Two Graphs that show why the economy may be in an unemployment funk for an extended period of time. Not sure the political system can fix what you see here...

This graph from Carpe Diem shows 2 things. Real GDP (Blue Line and use the scale on the Left Axis) and Employment, those WITH jobs, (Red Lind and use scale on the Right Axis).

At the tail-end, the Real GDP line shows that Real GDP is now 2.2% HIGHER than it was before the recession. So, while we have not made up for lost time, we are back to a little more than even.

Notice the two lines before the recession (gray area). Real GDP and employment track each other pretty closely.  In AP Macroeconomics one of stock phrases we teach is the direct relationship between the production of goods and services and employment----produce more stuff and you need more people to produce it---businesses hire people.

However, look at what happened post-recession.  Real GDP recovers but at a much quicker rate than employment. The two lines separate rather dramatically. 

Bottomline: Businesses are producing MORE goods and services BUT with approx 3.8 million FEWER workers compared to just before the recession.  This succinctly illustrates what a "jobless recovery" looks like. 

Commentary from Carpe Diem (highlights are mine)--
1. Measured by real output (GDP), the U.S. economy has made a complete recovery from the 2007-2009 recession now that real output in Q3 of this year at $13.6 trillion (2005 dollars) was 2.2% (and $290 billion) higher than the $13.32 trillion of real GDP in Q4 2007 when the recession started (blue line in chart).

2. While real output has completely recovered to 2.2% above its pre-recession levels, the current U.S. employment level of 142.4 million jobs in Q3 is still 3.84 million jobs (and 2.62%) below the 2007 peak of 146.27 million jobs (red line in chart), and that translates into the current “jobless recovery.”

3. The recovery of real output to an historically high level that is 2.2% above pre-recession levels with 2.6% fewer employees has also translated into record-level after-tax corporate profits, which are now 30% above pre-recession levels.

4. The recovery of both output and profits to above 2007 levels with 3.84 million fewer workers could explain the sluggish job growth that will probably continue for several more years. If companies can produce more output now than in 2007 with fewer workers and earn record profits, where’s the incentive to hire more workers?

The Great Recession stimulated huge productivity and efficiency gains as companies shed marginal workers and learned how to do “more with less (fewer workers).” The surge in productivity since the recession started has been significant (see chart below of real GDP per worker) and may have long-lasting effects, e.g. an extended period of time with a jobless rate above 7%. With real GDP, real GDP per worker, and corporate profits at all-time highs, we can expect sluggish job growth to continue, but it’s unlikely that we’re on the front edge of a recession right now.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Excellent Infographic that breaksdown what a Home Mortgage is. This the biggest purchase you will make in your lifetime---PLEASE know the in's and out's to save you MONEY and ANGST.

Going to buy a home soon? A very nice infographic for students and teachers alike that breaksdown what a "mortgage" is. It is the BIGGEST purchase you will make in your lifetime so the more information you have the better. I KNOW THAT from experience.
Mortgage Payment Breakdown
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Monday, November 5, 2012

ObamaCare casualties as a result, ironically, of Healthcare reform. Low wage workers will see their hours cut and limited full-time work possibilities in the future. This can't be what the law intended, right?


Yup.  Wrote about this last week (HERE)  in regards to an IRS ruling outling businesses responsibility in recording hours worked by employess to comply with the provisions of "Obama-Care".

Beware of unintended (not to be confused with unforseen) consequences of major legislation passed in a relative rush with much discussion. 

The devil is ALWAYS in the detail of big legislation and this one is going to harm low wage/entry level workers and they are not even going to know why. There are always costs to "greater good" policies. It is just necessary to acknowledge them.

From The Wall Street Journal
Some low-wage employers are moving toward hiring part-time workers instead of full-time ones to mitigate the health-care overhaul's requirement that large companies provide health insurance for full-time workers or pay a fee.
Several restaurants, hotels and retailers have started or are preparing to limit schedules of hourly workers to below 30 hours a week. That is the threshold at which large employers in 2014 would have to offer workers a minimum level of insurance or pay a penalty starting at $2,000 for each worker.

Sweden--To be Socialist, or not to be Socialist, It is a question of cultural mores and attitude/trust towards govt. Could we use a little (a lot?) of it ourselves???

Here is an interesting (and easy to read) paper on the reasons Sweden, thought by most to be a "Socialist" country, is actually (perhaps) more market-orientated than some countries thought to be "Free Market" (not going to mention any names).

My take away from this: Cultural mores in regards to the use/abuse of social programs and trust towards government. Both of which we lack in the un-named country suggested above.
(HT: Newmarks Door)

The whole thing is worth a read, but here is some of the conclusion I excerpted:

Scandinavian societies have developed a unique culture with a strong work ethic and strong ethical

attitudes regarding the claiming of welfare benefits. There are also high levels of trust and social

cohesion. This social capital, which was built up before the advent of the modern welfare state, has

played an important role in the success of Scandinavian countries.

For many decades, this pre-existing culture, allowed countries such as Sweden to have extensive

welfare systems without the social difficulties, rise in worklessness and other effects that many

would have predicted. Scandinavian countries have also reaped the rewards of relatively free market

policies in some areas of economic life to reach impressive levels of wealth creation.

To characterise the Swedish model either as a social democratic utopia or a failed socialist

experiment is a mistake. Sweden is a successful country in terms of having a low poverty rate

and long life expectancy. However, these factors have much to do with non-government facets of

Swedish society that pre-existed the welfare state.


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