Showing posts from November, 2011

Chart of the Day: Corporate profits up, wages and salaries down

The purple line on the chart tracks corporate profits after taxes as a percent of GDP, compared to the series' average. The green line does the same, but for wages and salaries disbursed.When the line crosses above zero, the figure is above its historic average. Below zero is below average.Corporate profits after taxes have been above average since the fourth quarter of 2003, with the notable exception of the second quarter of 2008 (aka, the financial crisis). By contrast, wages and salaries disbursed have been below their historic averages continuously since the second quarter of 2001.Update: I've reworked the chart, focusing on the data since the year 2000:sources:For Business, Golden Days; For Workers, the DrossProfits Are High, Wages Are Low and Taxes Are Below Average

Dialogue with the Fed: Understanding the Unemployment Picture

from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis:The final event of the St. Louis Fed's fall evening series was held Nov, 21, 2011 and featured Christopher Waller, senior vice president and director of research for the St. Louis Fed. Waller spoke on "Understanding the Unemployment Picture, (PDF link)" and video of the program will be posted (on the St. Louis Fed website) shortly.Recommended.

What he said

Quoting, in full, a recent post from Mark Thoma:The Demand for JobsBusinesses won't hire workers because there is not enough demand to support them, and the public can't supply the needed demand because too many people don't have jobs.That's what's so frustrating. If the unemployed had jobs, the demand would be there to support them. But the demand has to come first, and workers won't be hired until the demand is there.I wonder who could provide the missing demand needed to overcome this problem?It's not the first time we've seen this argument:"We're caught in a vicious cycle: Businesses aren't hiring because their chief concern is poor sales, and people aren't buying because they've lost their jobs."Back then, we were presenting an "elevator pitch" for the Americans Want to Work Act. The logic, and the argument, is just as sound today.

Chart of the Day: Out of Balance

from Mother Jones magazine:
"A Harvard business prof and a behavioral economist recently asked more than 5,000 Americans how they thought wealth is distributed in the United States. Most thought that it’s more balanced than it actually is. Asked to choose their ideal distribution of wealth, 92% picked one that was even more equitable." source: One Wealth Quintile at a Time - Building a Better America (PDF link)

Chuck Collins - Taxing the Wealthy

A TEDx Talk given by Chuck Collins, who directs IPS's Program on Inequality and the Common Good:

Fox News: "I award you no points..."

From a recent press release:"According to the latest results from Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind Poll, some news sources make us less likely to know what’s going on in the world. In the most recent study, the poll asked New Jerseyans about current events at home and abroad, and from what sources – if any – they get their information. The conclusion: Sunday morning news shows do the most to help people learn about current events, while some outlets, especially Fox News, lead people to be even less informed than those who say they don’t watch any news at all."Fox News: worse than nothing at all.


Update: this was originally posted on November 30, 2010, but it seems just as timely today in the wake of the breakdown of the supercommittee process.

Chart of the Day: Long-Term Unemployment Becomes More Permanent

Michael Hirsh, writing in the National Journal:Along the way, 'long-term unemployed' has increasingly become a synonym for 'unwanted.' As industries die, skills atrophy, and ambition fades, especially among older workers. In a new era of jobless growth, fiscal austerity, and the relentless drive for productivity, employers get pickier about whom they hire. Workers who don't retrain quickly at a high enough level or those who are stuck with an underwater mortgage and can't move right away for a job opportunity quickly become long-term unemployed.U.S. companies have grown so brazen about avoiding the long-term unemployed that many place ads for only 'currently employed' applicants. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., have introduced bills seeking to bar the practice as illegal discrimination.In recent months, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke and President Obama have sounded increasingly urgent alarms about the stag…

The Colors of Democracy

Purple: the color of the ink used in Iraq's elections after the overthrow of Saddam. White: the color of both the pepper spray and the neutralizing agent in Portland and Seattle. Orange: the color of the pepper spray used on student Occupiers at the quad at UC Davis.

Recall for thee, but not for me

Scott Walker, Governor, is against recalling office-holders.
Scott Walker, candidate for Governor, was all for recalling office-holders. John Nichols, writing in The Nation:Walker was elected Milwaukee County Executive in a 2002 recall election.In 2010, when he was running for governor, he hailed the process as democracy in action."You know the folks that were angry about this started a recall and they were told they needed to collect 73,000 signatures in sixty days," said Walker. "Well, not hundreds, not thousands, but tens of thousands of ordinary people did an extraordinary thing. They stood up and took their government back. In less than thirty days they collected more than 150,000 signatures. It was at that moment I realized the real emotion on display in my county wasn't just about anger. You see, if it had been about anger, it would have been about people checking out and moving out or giving up. But instead what happened was really amazing. You saw people sta…

Target: Occupy Wall Street

Chris Hayes airs an exclusive story on a memo detailing lobbyist's plans to target the Occupy Wall Street movement:Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Speaks Out for the Extension of Unemployment Benefits


Occupy the Remuneration Committee

(chart from Barry Ritholtz)As their employees' average earnings have gone down from $31,991 (in 1964) to $28,305 (in 2005), corporate executives have seen their median compensation go up from $822,000 to $4.9 million.What have the executives done to earn what they did? Increase stock prices? Drive sales? Add value to the corporation?In many cases, they did nothing: their compensation was decided on by looking at what other executives were making:As the board of Amgen convened at the company’s headquarters in March, chief executive Kevin W. Sharer seemed an unlikely candidate for a raise.Shareholders at the company, one of the nation’s largest biotech firms, had lost 3 percent on their investment in 2010 and 7 percent over the past five years. The company had been forced to close or shrink plants, trimming the workforce from 20,100 to 17,400. And Sharer, a 63-year-old former Navy engineer, was already earning lots of money — about $15 million in the previous year, plus such perks a…

The Occupy Wall Street Spotlight Signal


Quote of the Day

from a letter posted online by the Rt. Rev. Mark S. Sisk, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New York"There can be little doubt that capitalism is a productive way to order economic life. But we need to remember, as the (Occupy Wall Street) protestors have reminded us, that that is all that it is – an economic system based on the entirely reasonable propositions that capital has value, and that supply and demand are the most efficient way to set prices. Capitalism is of no help at all in determining what is morally good – that is something that must instead be determined by the community’s wider values."

99% v 1%: the data behind the Occupy movement

source: The Guardian DataBlog

Progressive Caucus Hearing on Job Creation Highlights Nov. 16, 2011


Chart of the Day, November 16, 2011

From the CBO's Director's Blog:
Policies that would reduce the marginal cost of adding employees or would be targeted toward people who would be most likely to spend the additional income would have the largest effects on output and employment. Those policies include reducing employers' payroll taxes and providing aid to the unemployed.Policies that would give little incentive for firms to hire or invest—such as reducing business income taxes and reducing tax rates on repatriated foreign earnings - would have small effects.Achieving both short-term stimulus and long-term sustainability would require a combination of policies: changes in taxes and spending that would widen the deficit now but reduce it later in the decade.

We leave determining which policy options are advocated by which political parties as an exercise for the reader.
Brian Stelter, reporting in the New York Times (emphasis mine):"Ms. Christ said that police officers took a New York Post reporter standing near her and 'threw him in a choke-hold.'That reporter and two photographers with him declined to speak on the record because they are freelance workers and lack some of the job protections of full-time employees. But as they sipped coffee on Tuesday morning in Foley Square, where some of the protesters had regrouped, they expressed surprise at the extent of what they described as police suppression of the press.There's certainly an argument to be made about freedom of the press here, and that's the main point of the article.There's another argument to be made here, too, and I think it's even more important - about the erosion of rights and the relationship between employers and employees in general.

Stat Pack Updated

The Stat Pack page has been updated to incorporate the latest (October) unemployment and job openings figures from the BLS.Of note:unemployment is demonstrably trending downthe number of 99ers has slipped back under the two million markover the past few months, job openings have been trending slightly upwardOne additional update: the Bang for the Buck chart has been color-coded to compare the effects of Democratic and Republican policy efforts at economic growth. I think you'll find the differences telling.

Does government regulation really kill jobs?

from Jia Lynn Yang, reporting in the Washington Post:"In 2010, 0.3 percent of the people who lost their jobs in layoffs were let go because of 'government regulations/intervention.' By comparison, 25 percent were laid off because of a drop in business demand."

Robert Reich Debunks 6 Big GOP Lies About The Economy

(h/t @marjorym7)

Occupy Together!


Quote of the Day

"If the problems in the U.S. economy came on the supply side – fear of regulation, inadequate workers, etc. – there would be no reason to expect production for exports to grow any more rapidly than any other component of GDP. But, exports have outperformed the economy – the key difference being demand for U.S. products abroad." (source)

How the 1% Crashed the Economy, and What the 99% Can Do About It


Forbes: Memo to the "one-percenters"

John Cassidy, writing in Forbes Magazine (emphasis mine): Most Americans don't begrudge great riches to anybody who works hard, takes real risks, and creates things of value. As evidenced by the positive outpouring for Steve Jobs, great entrepreneurs are still celebrated. But there is an implicit social contract that links rewards to effort and accomplishment. If many people now believe that corporate America has violated that contract, is it surprising? At many big corporations, the senior managers have seemed more interested in stuffing their pockets than building for the long term. Gargantuan pay packages are only the start of it. Think boards of directors packed with patsies, books cooked to juice earnings, potential whistleblowers silenced, golden parachutes, and finally taxpayers obliged to save expensively tanned hides. The thing that is really surprising is that it has taken this long for public anger to well up. Matt Taibbi, in Rolling Stone, made a very similar point ea…

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$222.7 Billion. 280 Corporations. Three Years.

(h/t Andrew Leonhard, Salon Magazine)“Most Americans can rightfully complain, ‘I pay more federal income taxes than General Electric, Boeing, DuPont, Wells Fargo, Verizon, etc., etc., all put together.’ That’s an unacceptable situation.”For Immediate Release: November 3, 2011Contact: Anne Singer, 202-299-1066, ext. 27, anne@ctj.orgReport: 280 Most Profitable U.S. Corporations Shelter Half Their Profits from Taxes; Thirty Companies Paid Less Than Zero in Taxes In The Last Three YearsCitizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy Release “Corporate Taxpayers and Corporate Tax Dodgers, 2008-2010”Washington, DC – A comprehensive new study that profiles 280 of America’s most profitable companies finds that 78 of them paid no federal income tax in at least one of the last three years. Thirty companies enjoyed a negative income tax rate over the three year period, despite combined pre-tax profits of $160 billion. These are among the findings in “Corporate Taxpayer…