Recent comments

  • 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   22 hours 58 min 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 day 4 hours 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 day 8 hours 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 day 20 hours 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   2 days 20 hours 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?   3 days 1 hour ago
  • Reply to: They Built That — On Minimum Wage   3 days 13 hours 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?   3 days 13 hours 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   3 days 17 hours ago
  • I might even suggest a two-tiered federal minimum wage: one for small businesses (e.g. mom-and-pop stores) with an "x" number of employees and/or only has "x" in annual revenues; and one for large businesses (e.g. multinational corporations who use slave labor overseas.)

    In 1989 I ran a neighborhood video store with 3 employees and paid them $9 an hour — and I survived quite comfortably. In today's dollars, that would be over $17 an hour.

    We always hear employers complaining that if we raise the minimum wage, they would have to either cut worker's hours, lay off workers, hire fewer workers, or raise prices. But I have never heard one CEO of a multinational say they would have to pay themselves $5 million-a-year less in stock-options, buy one less mansion, or settle for a smaller private jet. If a business owner can't afford to pay their employees a living wage, then they shouldn't be in business. PERIOD.

    Business owners always have to be accountable (to government and their customers), just as their employees always have to be accountable to their bosses. And comparing national debt and household debt is comparing apples and oranges. But I agree, just as in business models, there's always room for improvement for better government as well.

    And past history shows us what a lack of "a maddening stack of regulations" will get us: unsafe working conditions, tax evasion, a poisonous environment, dangerous products, price manipulation and slave wages. Left to their own devices, we know what unregulated businesses are capable of (even small businesses like a mom-and-pop restaurant need health inspectors, or you might get food poisoning). Read: Capitalism Requires Government

    Reply to: They Built That — On Minimum Wage   3 days 20 hours ago
  • The corporate media is keeping the people "dumbed down" and getting them to vote against their best interests:

    The Guardian: "Elections are not simple horse races between differing opinions, they are heavily influenced by advertising paid for by political machines that raise money from competing interest groups. The New York Daily News reported, in 2013, that a US Senate seat now costs $10.5 million to win. It is difficult for me to believe that this money is spent to endow potential voters with facts that they need in order to inform their own pre-existing preference orderings over outcomes. Money buys votes by shaping opinion."

    Reply to: Industiral Production Up 1.0% on Utilities   3 days 20 hours ago
  • "I am reminded of the unedifying sight of Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson (2006) begging in the Financial Times for an extension of music copyright protection from 50 years to 70 years — an extreme form of government-sponsored rentierism — citing the need to pay ‘nursing home bills’. (Rock stars are supposed to be shameless, but surely not in this way). Apparently artists shouldn’t have to make provision for their pensions, unlike the rest of us. Lamenting ‘the loss of this huge cultural and financial asset to the exchequer and the copyright owners’ as copyrights expire, he failed to notice, as the rich so often do, that his loss was necessarily a gain to the public. Sadly for almost everyone, the European Commission and the British government took a similar view and duly extended these unnatural monopoly rights."

    Reply to: Wikileaks Exposes Trans-Pacific Partnership as Bad Trade Deal Again   3 days 20 hours ago
  • I totally agree with what you say. Even Canada has better standards than the US

    Reply to: Is France more Exceptional than America?   4 days 2 hours ago
  • be benefiting from it. Except for a couple of charts one wouldn't know that 7 million families have been foreclosed on, we have maybe 9 million loans underwater, 100 million people in or near poverty (1 of 4), and an economy being propped up by creating zeroes on a computer, diluting the value under it.

    Why the disconnect, or is it just me? Is that also showing us inequality, since most likely wealthier people and those with investment portfolios are the ones most raking it in from this, and this mostly shows us what they are getting?

    Just wondering...

    Reply to: Industiral Production Up 1.0% on Utilities   5 days 15 hours ago
  • They love their crack cocaine and I heard many claim "maybe the Fed will not withdraw QE now" commentary on the stock downturn days.

    Reply to: Forget QE, Send in the Helicopters!   5 days 15 hours ago
  • In an article at the National Review by Amity Shlaes, the author of The Forgotten Man (about the Great Depression):

    Larry Lindsey notes, the cycle of quantitative easing has become predictable: “QE1 ends. Stock market sells off. QE2 begins. Then, QE2 ends. Stock market sells off. Operation Twist starts to be soon followed by a full-blown start of QE3. Now here we are in October and QE3 is finally winding down. This time it was ‘tapered’ rather than abruptly ended. Still, stock market sells off.” Concludes Lindsey: “Whenever the Fed withdraws a stimulus it is going to be painful. Whenever officials flinch and ease because of the pain it just becomes harder next time.”

    A blistering rebuttal can be found here:

    A related post by Nick Rowe:

    My comment: Suppose, instead of the Fed lending a commercial or shadow bank $1,000 at 0% interest, but instead, just gave $1,000 to an unemployed person without having to repay it back, how many less Treasury notes would be bought by the banks? How many less jobs would be created without QE? How many less bonuses would paid to bank execs?

    Reply to: Forget QE, Send in the Helicopters!   5 days 19 hours ago
  • I MUST switch this site to Wordpress. I was hoping to write and instead, you guessed it, chased down major bugs after yet another security must update rev. from team Drupal. Honestly and I complain about FRED? Hmmm.

    Reply to: Rebooting The Economic Populist   6 days 26 min ago
  • although the 3rd quarter increase is overall retail sales was a comparatively weak 1.0%, especially when contrasted to the 2.3% growth in retail sales that we saw in the 2nd quarter, we have to remember that before retail sales are included in the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) component of GDP, they must first be adjusted for inflation...the BEA uses equivalent components of the consumer price index to do that, and CPI inflation ran more than 1.1% over the second quarter, reducing 2nd quarter PCE by an equivalent amount far in the 3rd quarter, the CPI was up 0.1% in July but down 0.2% in August...if the negative results from the producer price index are any indication, consumer inflation should also be flat in September, possibly resulting in a negative deflator for PCE in the third quarter...if that is the case, the goods components of PCE may well contribute more to GDP in the third quarter than they did in the second...

    Reply to: September Retail Sales Disappoint   6 days 19 hours ago
  • the revised August sales of $444.1 billion were originally reported at $444.4 billion, and July's sales were revised down from $441.8 billion to $441.5 billion..

    although the overall 0.6% increase in August retail sales went essentially unrevised, there were revisions in sales for some of the component business types worth noting...the table of component changes from last month's advance release is here;  the middle two columns in the table here show the revised data...we'd first note that August sales at auto dealers, the largest component of retail sales, were revised from the originally reporting 1.5% increase to an increase of 2.0%, although the entire automotive sales increase was a bit less at store sales wee also revised higher, from the originally reported 0.3% rise to an increase of 0.8%, and sales at general merchandise stores, which were originally reported as down 0.1%, have been revised to show a 0.3% increase...on the other hand, sales at building materials and garden supply stores, which were originally reported as up 1.4% in August, have now been revised to an increase of just 0.5%...similarly, sales at miscellaneous store retailers, which were first reported as 2.5% higher in August, have been revised down to a 1.5% increase...other notable downward revisions include furniture store sales, reported as a 0.7% increase in the advance report, are now revised to a 0.3% rise; specialty store sales, as sporting goods, book and music stores, were also revised down 0.4%, from an increase of 0.9% to an increase of 0.4%, while the decrease in gasoline station sales is now shown at 1.1%, rather than the 0.8% decrease shown in the advance report, and the increase in drug stores sales was marked down from 0.6% to 0.3%...

    Reply to: September Retail Sales Disappoint   6 days 19 hours ago
  • like the table right at the end of the post shows, there's still 1,143,222 homeowners who are more than 90 days delinquent but not yet in foreclosure (with an amazing average of 493 days behind on paying) there's still a lot of homeowners that are still in serious trouble, even though they have yet to be foreclosed on..

    Reply to: Mortgage Delinquencies Rise in August for 3rd Month in a Row; Average Time In Foreclosure Rises to Record 1010 Days   6 days 21 hours ago