Productivity is way up. The nation’s gross domestic product is up, too. Guess what’s not up? Household incomes.
The economy is producing more, but most American’s are earning less. The gap between rich and poor keeps widening.
Mr. Shapiro says the incomes of working Americans rose, on average, 5.3% during the 1983-1991 business cycle, and grew by 14.2%in the 1992-2001 cycle. But in the 2002-2007 expansion, and the recession that followed, incomes shrank by 3.4%.
It’s good to see the numbers, but the sad truth is that too many Americans do not need to look at this chart to be familiar with this economic trend.
Posted by Al Lewison February 15, 2013 Washington /
You can’t make this stuff up: We are going to take a top executive from a too-big-to-fail bank and make him Treasury Secretary.
Confirming Jack Lew for this position enshrines the doctrine of too-big-to-fail for posterity.
This is a guy who got a bonus for being part of the leadership team that ran Citigroup into the ground and then ran to Washington for billions in bailouts. He didn’t have very good answers for it, either, as he took questions from the Senate Finance Committee last week. But apparently there is no longer any shame in this.
Posted by Al Lewison February 14, 2013 Economy /
Oh, how far we have not come since the start of the Great Recession.
The Economic Policy Institute lays it all out in a new report it released today: “From free-fall to stagnation: Five years after the start of the Great Recession, extraordinary policy measures are still needed, but are not forthcoming.”
Ongoing weakness in the economy boils down almost entirely to a lack of demand, the report says.
Some other key findings from the report:
* As of December 2012, 9.1 million jobs needed to be created to get back to where we were before the recession.
* National output was roughly $1 trillion below what it could have been if the economy were at full employment
* The big jump in federal budget deficits beginning in 2008 is a symptom of the weak economy, and has supported a return to economic growth.
* Too many near- and medium-term economic forecasts assume a return to full employment relatively quickly.
* The U.S. economy is projected to remain depressed, with GDP between $941 billion and over $1.0 trillion below full employment output at the end of 2013.
* Five years after the Great Recession began, “full economic recovery still remains years and years away.”
Posted by Al Lewison February 13, 2013 Washington /
I’ve long thought the biggest problem at the Securities and Exchange Commission, or just about any other government regulator, is the number of staffers looking for their next job.
The SEC is the agency that’s supposed to keep businesses from cheating each other and the investing public. Bbut how can we trust it with so many people swinging through it’s revolving door from public regulator to private corporation?
A new report from the Project on Government Oversight examines this question.
“Former employees of the SEC routinely help corporations try to influence SEC rulemaking, counter the agency’s investigations of suspected wrongdoing, soften the blow of SEC enforcement actions, block shareholder proposals, and win exemptions from federal law,” writes Michael Smallberg, an investigator for the watchdog group.
Click here to read my column on MarketWatch. And click here to read Mr. Smallberg’s report, Dangerous Liaisons: Revolving Door at SEC Creates Risk of Regulatory Caputure.
Posted by Al Lewison February 11, 2013 Washington /
Would you miss the mailman if he didn’t come on Saturdays?
How about if he or she came only three days a week?
With email, online bill-paying and everything else we do on the Internet the post office is going the way of the phone book and the daily newspaper, I’m afraid. The postmaster general now wants to cut Saturday deliveries to save $2 billion a year.
Click here to read my column in The Sunday Wall Street Journal. And click here to watch me talk about it with Will Ripley of Denver’s NBC affiliate, 9News.
Posted by Al Lewison February 08, 2013 Economy /
The next 20 years are going to be nothing like the last 20 years.
That, says Chris Martenson, is pretty much guaranteed.
Mr. Martenson is a neurotoxicologist who has put the global economy under the microscope and what he’s found isn’t pretty. The economy will either bump along for years on end, as it is doing now, or it may just collapse, he says.
Mr. Martenson believes a collapse is more likely. He said he quit his job helping big companies make the same mistakes they always make and founded a website, PeakProsperity.com, to help people learn how to thrive in the face of a looming global economic crash.
It’s worth the time to take his “crash course,” explaining in compelling, easy-to-understand detail why the global economy, as it’s structured today, is simply not sustainable. Click here for the course.
Click here to read my column on Mr. Martenson on MarketWatch.
Posted by Al Lewison February 06, 2013 Washington /
This video has been around for a while, but it’s worth watching. It’s scary to think the man who is still printing trillions of dollars to prevent a Great Depression was this wrong about the housing bubble. He didn’t see it coming, so how’s he going to see it go?