December 2013

Happy New Year From The Economic Populist!

Happy New Year from the Economic Populist!  Let's hope 2014 is better economically for most of us as 2013 was another real dog for most of America.  Wall Street was on fire and the investor class made out like bandits while real robust job growth still has not materialized.  2013 is the year the middle class was completely ignored.  Still broke, still jobless or working with low wages and eroding worker's rights, America's middle class was pummeled yet again.

Case-Shiller Home Prices Double Digit Annual Increase Party May Be Over

The October 2013 S&P Case Shiller home price index shows a seasonally adjusted 13.6% price increase from a year ago for both the 20 metropolitan housing markets and the top 10 housing markets.  This is an incredible price run up and has not been seen since the height of the housing bubble, February 2006.

Oregon County Won't Raise Taxes, Resorts to Posse

Josephine County Oregon, is the backwoods.  The county has an unemployment rate of 9.8%, a 20% poverty rate and a median income well below the state.  The county was also hit hard when timber payments were stopped.  Counties with large federal forests cannot develop on those lands or collect property taxes on them.  Property taxes is the prime way counties pay for services like the county sheriff, jail, health care and courts.

Safeway Skewered for Throwing 6,000 Workers Under the Bus in Video Parody

Safeway closed a whopping 72 Dominick's grocery stores resulting in 6,000 jobs lost.  They acquired Dominck's grocery chain, engaged a hedge fund, hyped up the stock price and then promptly shuttered the Illinois neighborhood grocery.  The excuse is these Dominick's grocery stores serve low profit margin geographical locations.  In other words, Safeway doesn't want to offer grocery access to poor people.

Brother, Can You Spare $91.44 Billion?

Wall Street got $91.44 billion in bonuses for 2013.  The 98% of us want those bonuses paid back to the victims of the financial crisis.  We're pretty sure $91.44 billion won't even start to compensate for the damage.  A magazine, How To Spend It, is devoted to helping the super rich spend their newly acquired wealth.  The magazine is a fine example of unbridled greed and conspicuous consumption.

Initial Unemployment Claims Gone Wild

The DOL reported people filing for initial unemployment insurance benefits in the week ending on December 21th, 2013 was 338,000, a 42,000 decrease from the previous week of 373,000.  Many headlines proclaim this is the largest drop since November 2012, yet what the press does not mention is that very time period in 2012 also had wild, whacky statistical swings.

Happy Holidays From The Economic Populist

Happy Holidays from The Economic Populist!  Put up your feet and grab the egg nog for it's time to watch some Christmas parodies.  Santa's list these days is clearly corrupted by the word processor.  The nice receive lumps of coal while the naughty get new yachts.  The ode to joy is hard to hear.  May our holiday funnies round up bring you joy and cheer as sarcasm rings the bell of truth.  Merry Christmas!

Durable Goods Shoots Way Up, 3.5% New Order Gain for November 2013

The Durable Goods, advance report shows new orders increased by 3.5% for November 2013 after a -0.7% decrease in October.   The really good news in this report is the growth in core capital goods.  New orders in core capital goods increased 4.5% for November  This report is often revised dramatically, yet even inventories did not decline.   Even without volatile aircraft durable goods new orders increased.


What Happens in My Vagus Stays in My Vagus

Get away from my neck, you medical-device vampires!

A highly unpleasant spotlight, which turned me into a Vagus showgirl for five years, has finally been turned off. I just completed a Cyberonics, Inc., clinical trial of the Vagus Nerve Stimulator, to assess its effectiveness in helping those who suffer from treatment-resistant depression. It was a ridiculous, scandalous experience.