Friday, November 21, 2014

Education And The Cost Of Doing Business

The cost of doing business goes up if those who would become skilled labor shoulder the cost of education. Public education invests in lowering the cost of doing business.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

What Does Progressive Versus Conservative Matter? How About Survival Of The Species?

When it gets down to brass tacks, our species lives or dies on enlightenment or the lack thereof. Progressiveness matters. Culture matters. Science matters. Understanding matters.
When it gets down to brass tacks, our species lives or dies on enlightenment or the lack thereof.

We're not the fastest. Nor the strongest. Nor the toughest. We lack sharp, pointy teeth and claws. But we learn. We figure out and understand. We develop new and better means to deal with our world and ourselves for our mutual benefit. We progress. It's our shtick.

It's what we do to survive ... or fail to do and decay.

Every time we fail to challenge science denialism, our species slips closer to oblivion. ...whether at our own hands or by failing to foresee and adapt to nature.

Every time racism or sexism goes un-chastised and is allowed to fester, our collective chances of making it through the next billion years drop a little bit.

Every time destructive notions that hurt our prosperity -- like Trickle Down -- get brought up without being smacked right back down, we slide a bit closer to the dustbin of species by squandering our potential.

Cuts to education funding don't just make it harder for our businesses to find a pool of qualified labor at reasonable cost. Cuts to education funding reduce our chances of survival versus what they could be.

Cuts to research funding don't just make it harder for our researchers to move their fields forward; they make it that much more likely that we'll lack sufficient findings to adapt to each new event.

Cuts to infrastructure funding don't just make the roads harder on our cars; they decrease the efficiency of our species ... an efficiency that will at times be sorely needed.

Our art, our culture, our science, our philosophy, our history, our understanding ... these aren't just niceties to enjoy as surplus, as if they were mere fringe benefits. These are necessities. Our survival builds from enlightenment. From progress. It lives on progressiveness.

Conservatives would tear down all that progressives have built and stand in the way of further progress. Robbing us of our species' strong suits. Leaving us more vulnerable to cataclysm.

So go ahead and stand up to that conservative loudmouth. It matters.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Inflation, Deflation, and Redistribution

As Paul Krugman points out in a couple of recent articles, it's worth considering whose interests are served by high interest rates and low inflation, or as Krugman calls it, hard-money ideology.
"Basically, inflation redistributes wealth down the scale of both wealth and age, while deflation does the reverse."

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Hobbled Lobby and the Supremes

One of the things this case highlights is that we shouldn't go along thinking we can expect employers to be the agents of benevolence. They're about profit. They're not philanthropies. Some employers seem politically neutral, which makes them relatively decent. But corporations are about production of goods and services. We shouldn't be mucking about with profit engines when it comes to providing for the public good (e.g., healthcare). That's what government is for.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Tim Stuhldreher: Every year, we waste Spain

Tim Stuhldreher: Every year, we waste Spain: ... on the monumental accomplishment of American heatlhcare spending.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

EconoSpeak: Keynes: Cultural Rebel

EconoSpeak: Keynes: Cultural Rebel

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Retail Sales Gap Is The Housing Gap

Atif Mian and Amir Sufi pondered why spending hasn't caught up to trend.

How would spending catch up to trend when employment hasn't caught up to trend?

And why would we expect employment to catch up when home construction lurks below the 1982 recession levels let alone below trend?

And even if employment were caught up, we're not going to have as much retail sales of home furnishings and such household goods until we have as many new homes to furnish.

Chart of New Privately-Owned Housing United Completed: Total and Unemployment Rate: Aged 25-54: All Persons for the United States, Lesser Depression / Great Recession

Notice how in the early 1980s, home construction started up before employment. Just like how in 2006 home construction started slowing before employment ... and then started plummeting before employment.

Chart of New Privately-Owned Housing United Completed: Total and Unemployment Rate: Aged 25-54: All Persons for the United States, 1980s to present

Retail sales include paint, furnishings, and lots of other household goods. So really, is it any surprise that retail sales haven't recovered to trend but rather have only stopped dropping?

Chart of New Privately-Owned Housing Units Completed: Total and Retail Sales: Total (Excluding Food Services)

By and large, the home is where the retail sales live.

And why would a home builder ramp up construction when employment is low? Why is it again that we haven't restored the CCC and WPA this time around to get people working?

Charge of New Private Nonfarm Housing Units Started for United States and Gross Private Nonfarm Residential Construction for United States before and during the Great Depression