Recent comments

  • increases, because mfg is still happening.

    If they stuff never sells, it can even become a liability.


    Reply to: Another Strong Quarter for GDP, Q3 3.5%   10 hours 46 min ago
  • i understand that the change in the change in real private inventories is what is applied to the change in real GDP, but havent quite wrapped my head around the concept as to, real private inventories grew by an inflation adjusted $62.8 billion in the third quarter after growth of $84.8 billion in the 2nd quarter, and hence the $22.0 billion slower inventory growth subtracted 0.57% from GDP...still, i want to think that since inventories grew rather than shrunk, they should have added to GDP...what is the logic that makes postitive inventory growth in this case a subtraction from GDP, whereas positive growth in other forms of investment, such as equipment, will always add to GDP?

    Reply to: Another Strong Quarter for GDP, Q3 3.5%   16 hours 24 min ago
  • we have a glut of domestic gas and generally over the past couple of years the cost of producting fracked gas has exceeded the price...gas in Europe is 3 times as expensive; in Japan, it's five times as much as here...fracking continues because they've been able to pull speculative capital in and sell quantities of junk bonds...most drillers fund their operations through a combination of lines of credit, cash flow, and junk debt...with falling prices, lines of credit will dry up, cash flow will shrink and the interest on any new junk debt be that much higher...for instance, the Caa1 rated bonds for former Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon's new company, American Energy Partners, fell 20% since they were issued in July...but because depletion rates on fracked wells are 80 to 90 percent over the first two years, they can't cut back and wait for better make their interest payments, they have to maintain cash flow, & to do that, they have to keep drilling...

    oil is different case because oil is traded worldwide, and US prices move with international prices...the cost of producing the marginal barrel in the US is around $100, many fracking operations break even at $80...nonetheless, they're still in the same fix as those drilling for gas; they have to maintain unprofitable operations just to continue to make payments on their debt...

    last week heavily indebted and over-leveraged Chesapeake Energy was forced to sell 413,000 acres with 1,500 wells in West Virginia and southwest Pennsylvania to its rival Southwestern Energy Corp for $5 billion...although this deal was probably in the works before the oil price collapse of recent weeks, the fact that they went through with it at this time at fire-sale prices indicates that their cash flow had probably dwindled to nearly nothing in the face of low gas & oil prices, and that they needed to sell these proprieties just to raise enough cash to keep their other operations running...Chesapeake's problems may be an isolated case, as it had run up $16.2 billion in debt under McClendon, while its capital spending exceeded cash flow by $47.4 billion over the last five years as gas prices collapsed, but if the low oil prices last several weeks persist through the winter, we can expect that more similarly over leveraged oil patch frackers will be squeezed in the same way...

    Reply to: Inflation Deceptive, CPI 0.1% Yet Some Items Off the Charts   1 day 10 hours ago
  • This is from the IRS just wages reported from W-2 in aggregate.

    Reply to: Graphing American Wage Statistics Is Not a Pretty Picture   2 days 13 hours ago
  • How does this analysis change if you count only heads of households? For example, at least some of the low wage earners are kids and students who aren't supporting themselves.

    Reply to: Graphing American Wage Statistics Is Not a Pretty Picture   2 days 16 hours ago
  • 62 million households in America’s least affluent half averaged only $11,000 in net worth last year, 50 percent less than bottom-half families averaged after inflation in 1989. Over those same years, top 5 percent household average net worth nearly doubled — to $6.8 million.

    America’s “pace of new business creation,” the Fed chair details, “has gradually declined” as inequality in the United States has increased. This “slowdown in business formation” may be jeopardizing “a significant source of economic opportunity” for families “below the very top in income and wealth.”

    Reply to: Graphing American Wage Statistics Is Not a Pretty Picture   2 days 17 hours ago
  • I think this article hits on an important topic.

    However, the raw numbers for hourly wages are largely irrelevant unless the differences in cost of living are factored in. Cost of living is different in nearly every local market, and it's hard to account for that, but essential for this discussion.

    Secondly, the cost (or value) of money goes down over time due to inflation. Therefore, it is also highly relevant to see how wages change over time in real terms. At a minimum, any economy worth its salt should be able to provide constant real wages over time. What we see in the US is that minimum wages have gone down for the last 40 years. This shows how we are letting our economy simply produce more poverty over time. That is what should really get people angry, because minimum wage is a political choice made by our government. Why should minimum wage ever go down in real terms? That is tantamount to undermining the entire concept of the minimum wage.

    Reply to: They Built That — On Minimum Wage   3 days 12 hours ago
  • While I think that raising minimum wages would be beneficial in the short term, and the relative depression of minimum wages is symptomatic of the systematic economic disembowelment of the USA, by itself it will not help much in the long run.

    The problem is the positive feedback loop between the monied interests and the politicians.

    I don't trust the Democrats on minimum wage, as both parties raise issues which play to their base, which they count on the other party to keep them from doing. A lot of what goes on in the political scene is like Wrestlemania.

    I don't trust the Republicans on immigration, for the same reason.

    I do have to admit that those on the left seem more able to identify with the plight of others, and appear more compassionate. This irritates me, but I have to admit it is true. Comparing the politics and policies of the folks who own Wal-Mart with those who run Costco, (if you are of a conservative bent) is downright embarrassing.

    I would be pleased to vote for a political party which would advance an economic policy which results in the demand for labor increasing to such an extent that it makes the minimum wage irrelevant.
    That would include
    1. Effective prevention of illegal labor.
    That would create significant demand for low to medium skill workers who are US citizens or legal residents. The primary beneficiaries would be those demographics which currently suffer very high unemployment, and also the working poor. The working poor would benefit from the relative shortage of people capable of working, which would raise wages according to the basic principle of supply and demand.
    2. Reasonably high tariffs
    Tariffs would give an advantage to domestic production, which would encourage local innovation. They also would to some extent offset the advantage businesses with global scale have with respect to their smaller competitors. This would result in more demand for skilled and unskilled workers, which would raise real wage rates. While in the short term this would raise the price of imported goods, the effect on cost would be more nearly neutral, as (if the increase in cost of the imported goods is just the tariff) then there is tax revenue of the full amount of the tariff. This is a tax paid only by those who buy imported goods, and can offset other taxes.
    3. Strong incentives for US industrial development.

    I don't think either party is interested in those things.

    That said, I remain mostly a social issues voter, as those things are perhaps more important, and also there is an apparent difference between the parties on those issues. I have been poor, and what passes for poor in the US isn't that bad.

    Reply to: They Built That — On Minimum Wage   3 days 14 hours ago
  • Despite the spin from the likes of the Hoover or Cato Institutes these numbers/stats do not put our economy/future in a very good light. The irony of all this , if you are a retail (small) investor; is that you need medium income wage earners to buy the "stuff" varied companies produce. Less income , less purchases. I hold no hope in Conservative or far right think tanks to "get" this. Hopefully, this obvious economic path will ease; it cannot continue as this article points out; it's simply not substanable.

    Reply to: Graphing American Wage Statistics Is Not a Pretty Picture   3 days 20 hours ago
  • Long time no see. Yes, it is incredible. Right now in Oregon, labeling GMO foods had a 77% win, so of course Monsanto has been running "ads" to vote no, pure spin and lies, but 24/7, every 10 minutes and now measure 92 has a 50-50 polling. Unbelievable. Marketing works and people are stupid! Why whoever has the most cash wins for anyone with half a brain would want to make it be law that we must know what is in our food, country of original, GMO, etc.

    Reply to: Big Pharma Ripoffs on Cancer Patients Makes 60 Minutes   5 days 1 hour ago
  • Look around the world today, if I called out the glaringly obviously lies and bullsh*t I personally have seen or deal with or been subjected to, I'd lose my sh*t 5,000 times daily. Yes, 5,000 times DAILY! Politics, corruption, business, globally, here and everywhere, who cares. This crap is so obvious in 2014 that I don't need "60 Minutes" to explain things to me. Where are the entire broadcasts on how people are dying because of bankster and political corruption? Suicides by people of all ages? Wars after wars after wars while Americans can't afford to battle cancer or diabetes or anything else with their insurance plans (which are even now more expensive than ever). It's wretched, sick, and getting worse. Where are the stories about how shadowstats tells the truth while the BLS is BS? And on. And on. And on.

    By the way, F "60 Minutes" and the rest of the propaganda posing as investigative journalism or news. If I see one more piece by "60 Minutes" telling America how we need the FBI or NSA or DIA to spy on us to prevent terrorism and it's all good, well, I'll vomit even more than I do. If I see one more piece posing as news in which Apple or Spanx or Berkshire pose as American ingenuity I'll lose my mind yet again. Please! Do you think Paine and Jefferson and Madison and Franklin dreamt of USA in which OUR GOVERNMENT used mass media to convince us that spying on us was good for us or well-connected douches are oh so smart and gifted? America, Paine weeps for what we have become. "60 Minutes"? The MSM? Corporate-owned douches. Trust me when I say they go only so far as they are allowed in private meetings before airtime. Big pharma no doubt cleared any stories before they were aired, after all, CBS ain't gonna risk anything when its board of directors and officers and the politicians it pays/controls have anything to lose. If one officer at CBS might risk one $1,000 dinner, then by God the story would not air. Nope, it's all been vetted and cleared for our consumption. Thank you Big Brother, thank you.

    Reply to: Big Pharma Ripoffs on Cancer Patients Makes 60 Minutes   5 days 13 hours ago
  • How much gas and oil production is needed to give us a "glut" and to make the US "energy independent" and to bring prices down? If the US doubled production, would the price of gas and oil be half as much? If natural gas is up 5.8% over the last year, is it because the cost to extract (equipment, taxes and wages) went up 5.8% over that time? Or is the US consuming 5.8% more than the previous year? Or is China using 5.8% more? I thought fracking was supposed to make the cost of gas and oil in the US go down. I wonder what Slim Pickens would say.

    Reply to: Inflation Deceptive, CPI 0.1% Yet Some Items Off the Charts   1 week 1 day ago
  • Good God, my LMDE on an old laptop disintegrated and I ended up having to reformat the hard drive. Sorry folks for yet another day of silence!

    Reply to: Rebooting The Economic Populist   1 week 1 day ago
  • Does the author understand that an "Employer" has additional cost other than the direct wage of an employee? Just because an employee is paid $8 an hour that does not equal the employers total cost for that employee. The employer also has to pay Fica/Medicare, Federal Unemployment, State Unemployment, Workers Compensation Insurance, Malpractice Insurance. Those costs can range from 15-30% of the direct wage, or another $1.20-3.20 an hour. In addition many employers provide Health Insurance and Paid Leave. To be fair the author should compare the "Total Cost of Employment" to the other countries around the world. It may be that an employer in England doesn't have the added "payroll cost" that an employer in the US has. Just a thought.

    Reply to: They Built That — On Minimum Wage   1 week 1 day ago
  • There's always this talk about govt debt. What about private debt and its impact on the recovery?

    The Bush tax rebate provided me with enough 'cash' to make 1 monthly credit card payment. The adjustment in payroll taxes provided for in the first year of Obama's administration amounted to even less. My food costs are very high and my medical expenses have risen -- and this is INDEPENDENT of Obamacare, so don't waste my time pitching your political hype. My salary has remained practically unchanged.

    This is true for nearly everyone I speak to.

    We as individuals and businesses have buried ourselves with personal and corporate PRIVATE debt. I cannot get out from under it without making some significant changes -- and I assume this is true for the rest of the nation, and I think this is also a global phenomenon. We spent 30 years building up our debts, borrowing like mad men and women. Now we, and a future generation, have to pay it all off. This will take what, three decades?

    I remember a bumper sticker in the 1980s -- old folks driving cars with a bumper sticker that read "I am spending my children's inheritance." And it was true. My parents generation spent like crazy, and my generation spent like crazy -- but what WE spent was all borrowed money!

    The way economies behave, it is clear that economic booms are fueled by massive increases in loans, and that when private debt grows out of control, that's when the stuff hits the fan. Remember, I can't print more money to cover my debts. Banks have been given a free ride, by shifting their debt burdens to their governments, who are printing money to take up the slack. But the rest of us -- individuals, families and private businesses of all sizes -- have to spend less and use what resources we have to pay off old debts.

    To me the issue isn't ONLY that the Fed assumed all these bankers' debts and is printing money to 'paper over' the problem. It isn't an issue in that this has been going on for years now, and the world has not come to an end yet.

    To me the greater issue is that the rest of us are haunted by our collective borrowing-and-spending binge and have to keep paying down our old obligations.

    Reply to: Forget QE, Send in the Helicopters!   1 week 1 day ago
  • LA Times: What's behind the huge price jump for some generic drugs?

    Reply to: Big Pharma Ripoffs on Cancer Patients Makes 60 Minutes   1 week 2 days ago
  • I don't know the full answer, but I found this when I was thinking about the same thing.

    At the bottom is a questionnaire to help

    Reply to: Is France more Exceptional than America?   1 week 3 days ago
  • Reply to: They Built That — On Minimum Wage   1 week 3 days ago
  • How does one immigrate from the US to Canada? I read that Toronto is one of the best cities to live. I assume it much easier to migrate from Canada to the US. Even moving to Mexico from the US is difficult. One has to have a minimum monthly income and "x" amount of dollars to retire there; and I'm sure that, to find a job, would be even more difficult for an American who wishes to relate to Mexico or Canada.

    Reply to: Is France more Exceptional than America?   1 week 3 days ago
  • Music copyrights and works of art are the least of my concern. Individuals obtaining royalties is fine. What is not fine is corporate profits of greed using international patent law to deny the world a public good, say cancer drugs which cure and say a vaccine for Ebola if it is invented and works. I feel governments should have a right to confiscate these things for the global and national interest, what is in the best interest of society, not corporate profits.

    Reply to: Wikileaks Exposes Trans-Pacific Partnership as Bad Trade Deal Again   1 week 3 days ago