More on the above chart here.
Parsing Politics and Finding Cool Stuff on the Internet
Ezra Klein finds an interesting study that gauges what factors contribute to men and women falling out of middle class society:
The big takeaway: Divorce and marriage matter, a lot. Education, or lack thereof, is pretty important, too. The picture gets blurrier with drug use: Men who use heroin are more likely to fall out of the middle class, but the effect is statistically insignificant for women. And crack use doesn’t make much of a difference for either gender.
In 1884, when President Grover Cleveland signed the bill making Labor Day a national holiday on the first Monday in September, he and its sponsors intended it not as a celebration of leisure but as a promotion of the great American work ethic. Work, they believed, was the highest calling in life, and Labor Day was a reminder to get back to it. It was placed at the end of summer to declare an end to the season of indolence, and also to distance it from May Day, the spring event that had become a symbol of the radical labor movement.
The interesting part about the above map is the nuance that does not adhere to partisan regions:
States that have passed exchange bills tend to lean Democratic, but it’s by no means a clear dichotomy. Both Nevada and California passed exchange bills under Republican governors;Mississippi and Idaho have, over the past few weeks, become increasingly aggressive about setting up exchanges.
Conversely, not all Democratic-controlled states are moving. Delaware and Rhode Island’s state governments are both controlled by Democrats. Neither has moved exchange legislation. Even here in D.C, an exchange bill has sat in committee since its introduction in February.
Ezra Klein et al add some commentary to the above chart:
Last week, the Congressional Budget Office put out its revised GDP forecasts and predicted that the economy would expand at a healthy clip between 2013 and 2016, about 3.6 percent per year. That’s curiously upbeat, and even if the U.S. economy gallops along at that pace, we’ll only reach full employment by 2017—right in time for Rick Perry’s second inaugural.
And what happens if we grow at a slightly more sluggish rate, which is hardly implausible? Dave Altig, senior vice president and research director at the Atlanta Fed, has designed a chart of different growth scenarios, looking at how long it will take real GDP (what the economy is actually producing) to catch up to potential GDP (what the economycould be producing, given existing resources) under each.
The current economy is as bad as expected and shouldn’t be expected to rebound (as noted) for almost half a decade.
Bloomberg describes job creation options, the intangible benefits of possessing a job, and the above chart that graphs the steep rise in those unemployed for longer than six months. The piece is worth a full read:
Long-term joblessness is reaching epic proportions. As of July, about 6.2 million job-seekers, or 4 percent of the U.S. labor force, had been out of work for more than six months — close to the highest level in more than six decades (see chart).
The skills of the long-term unemployed are atrophying and their motivation waning, making them increasingly likely to end up as wards of the state, collecting various forms of government assistance.
The intangible benefits of employment can also have a quantifiable value: Economists David Blanchflower and Andrew Oswald, for example, have estimated that the increased happiness associated with having a job is worth about an extra $60,000 a year to the individual.
For me to find a job near full time in terms of hours from a non-profit all within a nation in a recession baffles me. In the end, I am very thankful. I have been employed and felt unemployed – that feeling of hopelessness that things will not change. A job really does bring a degree of purpose and connection to others.
Felix Salmon narrates:
…the US increase in unemployment over the course of the recession was more than double the increase anywhere else.
Remember this in a year when you are at the polls:
[I]n 2013 the Pawlenty plan would give people in the top one-tenth of 1 percent on the income scale (i.e., people with incomes above $2.7 million) an average annual tax cut of $1.8 million — which is more than four times what they got last year from the Bush tax cuts.
The Economist captions:
ON JUNE 8th China’s top military brass confirmed that the
country’s first aircraft carrier, a refurbishment of an old Russian carrier, will be ready shortly. Only a handful of nations operate
carriers, which are costly to build and maintain. Indeed, Britain has recently decommissioned its sole carrier because of budget pressures. China’s defence spending has risen by nearly 200% since
2001 to reach an estimated $119 billion in 2010—though it has remained fairly constant in terms of its share of GDP. America’s own budget crisis is prompting tough discussions about its defence spending, which, at nearly $700 billion, is bigger than that of the next 17 countries combined.
Along with a tsunami-like downturn in the global economy have brought America to the point of over $14 trillion in debt (not Planned Parenthood or welfare checks).
Ezra Klein provides some points on the above and below:
The bottom line, however, is that fewer than 5 percent of workers with a bachelor’s degree or higher are unemployed, while more than 14 percent of those who haven’t finished high school are unemployed. You really want to bet that there’s nothing causal going on there?
I know of maybe one friend (and many more people I knew of in college) who shouldn’t have gone to college, but we should remember this:
This seems like evidence that students are being ill-served by the cultural stereotype of college as a period of enjoyment and exploration that precedes entry into the “real world.” College, rather, is a period of preparation for the real world, and if you don’t take it as such, the real world can make you pay and pay big.
Check out the above chart and read the full run down here. Money quote:
Notice how the entire line for the United States resides in the top portion of the graph? That’s because the entire country is relatively rich. In fact, America’s bottom ventile is still richer than most of the world: That is, the typical person in the bottom 5 percent of the American income distribution is still richer than 68 percent of the world’s inhabitants.
Now check out the line for India. India’s poorest ventile corresponds with the 4th poorest percentile worldwide. And its richest? The 68th percentile. Yes, that’s right: America’s poorest are, as a group, about as rich as India’s richest.
Brankovic notes how much it matters where you are born:
One’s income thus crucially depends on citizenship, which in turn means (in a world of rather low international migration) place of birth. All people born in rich countries thus receive a location premium or a location rent; all those born in poor countries get a location penalty.
It is easy to see that in such a world, most of one’s lifetime income will be determined at birth.
Can be found here. Check out who at the bottom of the alphabetical list actually had home values increases.
Surprisingly are 1) mostly in cold regions of the country and unsurprisingly 2) correlated with income, wealth, and innovation. Richard Florida explains:
The fittest metro in America is Minneapolis-St. Paul, according to the annualAmerican Fitness Index™ (AFI), just released by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). The Twin Cities finished third last year; this year they pushed perennial winner Washington, DC into second place. Their winning rank reflects the cities’ relatively low (and rapidly-diminishing) smoking rate, their above-average percentage of regular exercisers, moderate-to-low rates of obesity, asthma, diabetes, and other chronic concerns, and rising share of farmers’ markets (indicative of a trend towards healthier dining). Boston takes the bronze, with Portland, Oregon fourth and Denver in fifth place. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Oklahoma City ranks as America’s least fit metro, followed by Louisville, Memphis, Birmingham, and Detroit.
Many people think fitness is better in warmer locations. Not so much. Each of the top five metros is pretty chilly, and the top ranked Twin Cities are among the coldest locations in the United States–certainly compared to warm and sunny LA, which languishes in 41st place. Our analysis found no correlation between fitness and January temp and a negative correlation between fitness and July temperature (-.49).
From The Biggest Loser to Oprah’s documented struggles with her weight, fitness is a signal obsession of American popular culture. We suffer from no dearth of health, fitness, and nutritional experts; celebrities, politicians, and even first ladies exhort us to eat better, exercise more, and get fit. But we need to face up to the fact that healthy or unhealthy lifestyles are not simply the result of good or bad individual decisions. They are inextricably tied up with the nature and structure of our culture and society. America’s increasingly uneven geography of fitness is perhaps the most visible symbol of its fundamental economic and class divide.