Showing posts from April, 2014

Wealth Inequality In America

(reposted from 2013)

Related: It's not just inequality by quintile that needs a serious unskewing: it's also inequality by race. See Ta Nehisi Coates' piece The Ghetto Is Public Policy

Bloomberg TV: The Plight of America’s Long-Term Unemployed

Not Our Words

Quote of the Day

From the "Ask a Pollster" feature on The Upshot, the new data journalism section of the NY Times.

"If you don't believe in random sampling, the next time you have a blood test, tell the doctor to take it all."

Today In Lying With Statistics

A right wing Tweeter engaged me in "dueling statistics" a few days ago. Looking back at the exchange, it's easy to see how only one thing matters to some on the right: regardless of the facts, pin the blame on President Obama.

In response to a chart highlighting the growth in the share of wealth owned by "the 1% of the 1%," I got back this reply:

For laughs, when lib drones @HelpThe99ers#p2 lament inequality, ask them who bailed out Wall St, then show them this— Samuel Bryan (@Centinel1787) April 17, 2014

Which, apparently, is trying to make two claims:
TARP was Obama's fault;Income inequality is Obama's fault.
(The reply chart comes from IBD, and much like the person who engaged with me, it takes the source material from Pew and twists it into an attack on the President.)

When pointing out that TARP was signed by President Bush; that 75 Senators and 263 Representatives voted "yes" on the bill, that didn't matter…

Elizabeth Warren 2014 Minnesota DFL Humphrey-Mondale Dinner Speech

Fighting for the Rights of the Long Term Unemployed

Five Thirty Eight: Losing Benefits Isn’t Prodding Unemployed Back to Work

So far, the evidence doesn't seem to support that theory. Rather than finding jobs, the long-term unemployed continue to be out of luck.

We now have three months' worth of job market data since the benefits program expired. The chart below shows job-finding rates for the long-term and short-term unemployed. Notice three things: First, the short-term unemployed have a much better chance of finding a job than the long-term unemployed and always have. Second, the short-term unemployed are seeing a steady improvement in their prospects, but the long-term jobless are not. And third, there's been no major shift since the benefits program expired at the end of last year. (The chart shows the data as a 12-month rolling average, which could obscure a sudden shift. The un-smoothed data, however, doesn't show a jump either.)

Daily Delaney Downer - now with added Republican Hostage-Taking

The latest from our series PASTED: The Email of the Jobless, a letter from one of the 2 million not receiving federal unemployment insurance since Congress dropped the benefits in December:

"I lost my job last summer and my benefits stopped three months ago. I am a 57 year old widow and the sole support of myself. I have lost my home. My car will be taken in 2 weeks. My credit has been ruined because I can't pay my bills. I am overdrawn at my bank due to bank fees and I have zero income and no money to buy food. I applied for state aid but have heard nothing. I had to stop taking my much needed daily medication because I don't have money to buy my medicine."
And how does the GOP react? By treating these men and women as bargaining chips for Republican interests:

While temporarily extending unemployment benefits is necessary for those most in need, we must not lose sight of the real goal — getting Americans back to work. Specifically, the GROWTH Act would approve const…

The Long-Term Unemployed and the Hiring Impasse

Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand Facebook Chat

Sign the petition calling on John Boehner to bring unemployment insurance extension up for a vote.

What Is Bernie Marcus Talking About?

Bernie Marcus, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, wrote the following:
"Consider the 'fee' - really a hidden sales tax - that all health-insurance companies have been forced to pay since the first of this year on premiums for policies sold to individuals and small and medium-size businesses. The health-insurance tax - known as HIT in business circles - is expected to generate revenues of about $8 billion this year and as much as $14.3 billion by 2018, according to the legislation."
So, what's the HIT? Even the initials make it sound a little threatening. Here's how Aetna describes it in one of their flyers:
"Many of these new entrants (health insurance purchasers) are lower-income families and individuals who may not have coverage today and who will receive federal subsidies toward the purchase of insurance.

"The ACA established a fee to help fund these subsidies. The fee will be assessed on health insurers beginning in 2014 and will not expire unless fe…

Bloomberg: Long-Term Unemployed Make for Just as Strong Hires: Study


"People who have been out of work for an extended period, once hired, tend to be just as productive on the job as those with more typical work histories, according to an analysis of almost 20,000 employees.

"The research, provided to Bloomberg News by San Francisco-based Evolv Inc., shows no statistically significant difference in measures of job performance between two pools of entry-level call center agents: those who hadn’t held a single full-time job in at least five years before they applied for the position, and the rest. Evolv, which helps large companies assess and manage hourly workers, analyzed data collected from six employers in about 90 locations in the U.S."
Maybe we can put another zombie lie to rest with this news?

Chart of the Day: It's Still Bad for the Long-Term Unemployed


Alan Krueger: Long-term unemployment a severe problem

Debunking Thomas Sowell

I recently came across this quote from Thomas Sowell:

"The more people who are dependent on government handouts, the more votes the left can depend on for an ever-expanding welfare state."

If that were true, red states, who are the largest benefactors of Federal spending, would be blue.