We Sneezed, They Got Pneumonia

Don’t worry about China taking over the US economy. Despite what all the talking heads on TV and the radio talk shows are saying, there isn’t another country out there that hasn’t been hammered at least as badly as we have by the financial meltdown. The problem with any other country attacking the US dollar, for example, is that they are all holding a lot of US dollars. You probably remember last year they were worried about the fact that we import so many goods that we have big “trade imbalances” – meaning that we buy more of their goods than they buy of ours.  read more »

Case-Shiller Housing Price Index Chart, December 2008 - The Free Fall Continues

S&P released the December Case-Shiller Housing Price Index data this morning: no market has been spared from the free fall. Steep price declines continue in ultra-bubble regions Las Vegas, Miami, San Diego, Phoenix, and Las Vegas. Even the relatively healthy markets of Charlotte, Dallas, and Atlanta have been sliding since mid-2008. Here's the line chart:  read more »

Ten Year loss in the S&P 500 on Par with the Great Depression

In the ten-year stretch from Sept. 1929 to Sept. 1939, spanning the worst years of the Great Depression, the stock market dropped a full 50%, adjusted for inflation. Look out, the current decade (Feb. 17, 1999 to Feb. 17, 2009) appears to yield the same decrease: the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index is down roughly 50%, also adjusted for inflation.  read more »

Finally... A Rational Approach to GHG Emissions Reduction

Nicholas Stern, a former World Bank economist and author of the seminal “Stern Report,” injected a rare bit of reason into the discussions about global climate change in Cape Town recently. Stern said that if nations acted responsibly they would achieve zero-carbon electricity production and zero-carbon road transport by 2050  read more »


What is the answer to the state of Kentucky?

That was the question posed to character actor and West Irvine, Kentucky native, Harry Dean Stanton, in a recent Esquire interview. “There is no answer to the state of Kentucky,” he said.

And so after the battering Kentucky took during the primary elections we continue to get The Beverly Hillbillies treatment by the media. Particularly memorable was CNN’s “interview” with down and out squatters in Clay County lamenting their hard-knock lot in life. Even some of our own natives, like Stanton I presume, see a lost cause.  read more »

Deconstructing the Meltdown, National Job Losses by Sector

Here's a look at national employment change in the United States over the past 10 years. Nonfarm employment peaked in the US in December of 2007 at 138.1 million jobs. After a record loss of 598,000 jobs in the last month, we're now at 134.5 million. Thats a loss of more than 3.5 million jobs over the past year. Conveniently, 3.5 million jobs is exactly what Obama administration economists plan to create or save with the stimulus package.  read more »

Nation Has $445 Billion in Unfunded Health Care Benefits, Nebraska Has None

Nebraska was the 37th State to join the Union, is home to the “Cornhuskers,” and currently has a $3.5 billion budget and a $563 million cash reserve.

In this time of economic hardship, the Cornhusker state has no debt, shunning all long-term financial commitments including retirement benefits.

A recent USA Today survey of state financial reports found that the other 49 states combined “have an unfunded obligation of $445 billion” owed for the medical care of retired government workers.  read more »

Does a low number of home staters mean everyone has left?

Last week I took a look at the share of US born residents in each state born in their current state of residence. Some on other blogs wondered if a low share of native born in a state meant that everyone has left or if instead that state is a big lure to out-of-staters. Aside from a few outliers, it seems to be the latter.  read more »

Business Journalists Blew the Story on the Economy

The business sections of newspapers have become doomsayers for the nation. Sensationalistic journalism decries of the failings and crises that have done our economy irreparable harm.

Rewind to a couple of years ago, and the print media was content with profiles of personable CEOs and pages upon pages devoted to the kitschy Mergers and Acquisitions. Where was the hard-hitting reporting that could’ve opened the public’s eyes to the failing economy much sooner?  read more »


The U.S. is Inherently Prosperous

Obama’s $800 billion stimulus bill has both policy makers and the public wondering what the bill will actually manage to stimulate. Yet, somewhat surprisingly, a recent study shows that left to fend for itself, the United States is inherently prosperous.

The Legatum Prosperity Index recently released a study of the most prosperous nations, measuring economic growth and quality of life. The study found that the U.S. – despite its current economic situation – ranks fourth out of 104 nations.  read more »