Welcome to the weekly roundup of great articles, facts and figures. These are the weekly finds that made our eyes pop.
We're Pretty Darn F@#&ed
Seems Economist Christina Romer, former Council of Economic Advisers chair, let her hair down and called it on the S&P downgrade.
Forget Taxes, The Problem is Wages
David Cay Johnston has been digging in tax data and has some wonderful finds on the pathetic lack of income growth in this country for most of us.
The total income reported by all Americans in 2009 was 4 percent less than in 2000. Since the country’s population grew by more than 25 million people during those years that means not just a smaller pie, but thinner slices all around.
Nearly everyone is feeling the pain, including people at the top. Among taxpayers who make $1 million or more, average income in 2009 was slightly more than $3 million, compared to more than $4.2 million in 2000 and $3.9 million way back in 1997.
Average wages fell, too. Because a taxpayer can be one person or a married couple, the average wage per taxpayer is nearly a third higher than the average wage per worker. The new IRS data does not have details needed to calculate the median wage (half earn more, half less).
In 2009 the average wage per taxpayer was $48,917, lower by $273 in 1999. Indeed only once, in 2004, were average wages per taxpayer higher, and then by a mere $26.
Krugman Does Some Math
If you get baffled and scared by the trillions thrown around like darts targeting your health and retirement in debt and deficit facts, Krugman does a little math to help out:
Amid all the debt hysteria, it’s worth taking a look at the actual arithmetic here — because what this arithmetic says is that the size of the deficit in the next year or two hardly matters for the US fiscal position — and in fact the size over the next decade is barely significant.
More Inane Trade Deals and Lies
Are you aware in spite of the never ending trade deficit, and the jobs crisis Congress is going to pass more bad job killer trade deals? Read it and weep. The spin is complete with media plants lying their heads off of the economic effects. Fortunately Public Citizen and some Economists are still going strong and this must read corrects all of the media plant lies:
News stories are also continuing to report that the trade deals will create or support 70,000 jobs. This has got to be one of the most popular outright errors in the history of trade debates. As we show here, it is derived from applying an incorrect methodology to an incorrect number (bilateral export projection). But even if one accepts the administration’s methodological choices, applying that method to the correct number (net exports) would reveal a decline in jobs.
How JPMorgan Chase Took Over Kentucky
How many horror stores does America have to hear before they stand up and take action? Alternet:
JP Morgan Chase became the Commonwealth’s bank. As the state’s official depository, JP now receives all deposits, writes all checks and makes all wire transfers on the $12-15 billion that flow through Kentucky state government in the course of a fiscal year. It will cut payroll checks, receive federal and other funds earmarked for the state, and disburse educational or transportation or any other funds to their appropriate monetary endpoints. For its trouble, the bank will receive $1.3 million in state fees and the ability to re-lend idle state funds out to customers for private gain.
Yes, you should be worried.
China and America's Debt Addition
Of course China would scold the United States, after all they must buy U.S. treasuries in order to continue to manipulate their currency.
China, the largest foreign holder of United States debt, said Saturday that Washington needed to “cure its addiction to debts” and “live within its means,” just hours after the rating agency Standard & Poor’s downgraded America’s long-term debt.
We Feel Their Pain, But They Don't
Here come the predictions that the S&P downgrade will toast Americans, the middle class of course, who else?
Americans will take hits in their wallets and their retirement portfolios from S&P's decision to yank Uncle Sam's stellar AAA credit rating.
Gas could go up by as much as a dollar a gallon -- and consumer loan rates may rise an extra 0.5 percent, financial pros say.
IRAs, 401(k)s and other retirement savings and investment accounts could plunge another 10 percent in value, estimates financial analyst Richard Bove of Rochdale Securities.
Yes, under the cover of crisis, other nasty deeds do occur.