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The Great Recession has accelerated the hollowing-out of the American middle class. And it has illuminated the widening divide between most of America and the super-rich. Both developments herald grave consequences. Here is how we can bridge the gap between us. Andy Reynolds/Wonderful Machine
Perhaps the most important questions for the America economy are: Why did the middle class meltdown happen, and can we fix it? The story of the middle class is a story of promise and paralysis. In the 30 years after World War II, the country's real median income doubled, allowing average Americans to fulfill the American Dream of achieving a better life than their parents and passing it on to their children.
Chicago Fed president Charles Evans has gone from dissenter to intellectual leader in just a year. The future of the recovery might be at stake. (Reuters) Some revolutionaries wear Guy Fawkes masks and talk about the 1 percent, and some revolutionaries wear suits and talk about policy thresholds.
By: Dr. Jan Eberly Last week at a Senate hearing Secretary Geithner said, “I'm very sympathetic to the argument you want to be careful to get the rules better and smarter, but I don’t think there's good evidence in support of the proposition that it's regulatory burden or uncertainty that's causing the economy to grow more slowly than any of us would like.” Economists from across the political spectrum have also weighed into this debate and reached the same conclusion. Bruce Bartlett, a senior advisor in both the Reagan and George H.W.
The ability of the government to tax and spend in specific regions has large implications to economic activity and performance. Taxes are highly indexed to wages and profits and therefore places of high taxation are geographically found in areas with higher per capita income and more economic activity. Spending is largely focused on areas of poverty, the elderly, and centers of federal employment such as military bases.
“The real price of everything, what everything really costs to the man who wants to acquire it, is the toil and trouble of acquiring it.” – Adam Smith It’s no secret by now that America is in an economic rut. I’ve described our current predicament as a balance sheet recession which is essentially the hangover after a great great party. And let’s not kid ourselves – Americans threw one hell of a great party over the last 20 years as they accumulated massive debts as they stockpiled McMansions with all the big boy toys a person could dream of. But the bill on these toys has come due and now we find ourselves with a sizable private sector debt issue which is capping real growth. But it’s also important to keep things in perspective.
Central bankers Alan Greenspan, chairman US Federal Reserve 1987-2006 A disciple of libertarian icon Ayn Rand, Greenspan became chairman of the Fed just in time to save the global economy from the 1987 stock market crash from becoming a full-blown disaster. He went on preside over the boom years of the 90s and lead the US economy through the aftermath of the September 11 attacks and was widely referred to as an "oracle" and "the maestro".
The unwritten and unspoken story of the budget showdown in Washington is the tale of both parties deliberately working to once again exempt the ever-growing Pentagon from America's larger budget/deficit discussion. This is the thrust of the new Republican plan to pass a one-week continuing resolution for non-defense spending and at the same time pass a full year's status-quo Pentagon budget. Even though military spending is the single largest discretionary spending item in the budget, and even though there are blatant examples of Pentagon waste fraud and abuse , the GOP's proposal nonetheless insists that the Pentagon must be sacrosanct. Meanwhile, whether deliberately or inadvertently, President Obama's tactic of citing soldier pay as the main reason to avoid a government shutdown reinforces the same embedded militarist ideology as the GOP budget proposal. It goes without saying, of course, that, delaying troop pay would be regrettable.
Don Draper is a man of refined tastes: he drives a Cadillac Coup De Ville, owns a charming home in Westchester, NY, and has a proclivity for the original gentleman’s drink, the old-fashioned. But that was then and this is now, so what did these things cost in 1962 and how do they compare to the equivalent costs today? We dug up the numbers on everything from credit cards and total debt per household, to housing prices and the cost for a tank of gas, to find out just how much the prices have changed over the decades. Embed the above image on your site
Another ironic illustration of the recession's vicious cycle: due to poor economic conditions, college graduates who can't find jobs head back home to live with their parents, which, in turn, appears to hurts the economy more because new households aren't being created. It's all just one downward spiral, as The New York Times ' Catherine Rampell informs us in a more delicate way: Under normal circumstances, each time a household is formed it adds about $145,000 to output that year as the spending ripples through the economy, estimates Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. But with the poor job market and uncertain recovery, hundreds of thousands of Americans ... have tabled their moves. Even before the recession began, young people were leaving home later; now the bad economy has tethered them there indefinitely. Last year, just 950,000 new households were created.
While I am loath to link to anything from Center Maryland that den of rent-seeking corporatists masquerading as a straight “news” site, this piece from Stevensville attorney Clayton Mitchell, Jr. is worth reading. Mitchell highlights the tough fiscal issues Queen Anne’s County faces as a result of anti economic growth policies pursued by the last set of county commissioners and the know nothing/no growth special interests, who pulled their strings. On November 2, 2010, the Queen Anne’s County taxpayers said, “We are cutting government to the bone because we are tired of being pushed around”.
INNOVATION and jobs have become a modern version of motherhood and apple pie in Washington, DC. Everyone in America's capital wants lots more of both, or so they say. So how come Congress and the White House have decided not merely to underfund a crucial cog in American's innovation machine but actually to take away revenue it earns? And that at a time when that cog, the Patent and Trademark Office, is already struggling to keep up with the growing demands upon it? The recent budget deal for fiscal 2011 (the year to September 30th) allows the Patent Office to spend only $2.1 billion. That is less than it expects to collect in fees from applicants—$100m or so will disappear instead into Treasury coffers—and far less than it needs to do its job properly.
Self-absorbed, self-indulged, and self-loathing, the Baby Boom generation at last has the chance to step out of the so-called Greatest Generation’s historical shadow. Boomers may not have the opportunity to save the world, as their predecessors did, but they can still redeem themselves by saving the American economy from the fiscal mess that they, and their fathers and mothers, are leaving behind. Jesse Lenz
You don’t have to like Rick Perry or his sometimes scary neo-confederate politics to admire what has been happening in Texas over the past decade. Rather than trashing the state in order to demean its governor, perhaps the mainstream media should be thinking about what the Lone Star’s success story means for the rest of the country. Texas has done what most of other states — notably the blue coastal ones — have failed to do: create jobs. Over the past decade Texas has created 2.1 million jobs — while New York, California, Massachusetts and Illinois have all lost jobs. Its relative performance since 2009 has been even more stellar, producing nearly 40% of all new jobs in the U.S.