Recent comments

  • Has anybody ever taken that CPS survey? Or know of someone that has? Or knows somebody who knows somebody? I've been a round for a few decades, and was never called about this survey. And in all those years, I don't know of a single person that has ever taken that survey either. Odd, isn't it?

    Reply to: October Is A Positive Unemployment Report   6 years 2 months ago
    EPer:
  • That, according to the Washington Post:

    "The number employed has grown almost 13 million jobs since the employment trough in February 2010. But it would have to have grown by 17.5 million to make up for the recession and keep pace with growing population."

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/11/06/ed-lazear-this-is...

    Reply to: The ADP Employment Report Defies Recent Economic Trends   6 years 2 months ago
    EPer:
  • (What does Nike think of the TPP trader deal?) "The U.S. agreement with Vietnam requires the country to legalize independent unions and allow unions to strike and contains a provision that allows the US to "withhold or suspend tariff reductions for Vietnam if Vietnam does not comply with its commitment to provide the right to form labor unions across enterprises and at higher levels within five years."
    https://medium.com/the-trans-pacific-partnership/labour-66e8e6f4e8d5

    (Maybe Nike doesn't have anything to worry about.) "The Vietnamese government has tolerated wildcat strikes as a way for workers to let off steam and to demand raises... Vietnam does not have a large underground labor movement that might quickly benefit from legalization. Vietnam's tolerance of wildcat strikes may have discouraged the formation of such a broader movement."
    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/06/business/international/vietnam-tpp-tra...

    American casualties in the Vietnam War:
    58,307 KIA or non-combat deaths
    153,303 WIA requiring hospital care
    150,332 WIA not requiring hospital care
    1,626 MIA
    Nike should be giving our Vets jobs in the U.S. -- or set up their corporate headquarters in Hanoi.

    Reply to: CEOs Offshore Jobs for "Humanitarian" Reasons   6 years 2 months ago
    EPer:
  • Minimum wages set nationwide will be a poor fit in many if not most local economies. Using a tool like livingwage.mit.edu/, minimum wages could be tailored to local economies and cost of living.

    Set them to adjust with changes in the costs of living over time, and you could have a system that would only very rarely need tweaks, if at all.

    Reply to: Is $15 a hour too much? Is $7.25 too little?   6 years 2 months ago
    EPer:
  • The Heritage's reason for a flat benefit was to lower the Social Security cap for richer people, not to "means test" richer people from getting higher benefits to help poorer people.

    Reply to: New Budget Deal Cuts Social Security, But How?   6 years 2 months ago
    EPer:
  • Check the Chicago Fed CFNAI-MA3 index. Note the August and September readings on the bar graph. Both months show all 4 components (depicted by different colors) below zero. Now check all preceding months and note the only time this has occurred was during a recession. The next reading will be on November 23, it will replace a strong July reading in the 3 month average. A negative reading of a similar magnitude to the past two months would still be in the range of baseline noise. Given that we should only see some weakness going forward. If however the next reading is sharply off we could be in deep dew, dew.

    Reply to: Factory Orders Comes Crashing the Economic Party   6 years 2 months ago
    EPer:
  • We are seeing men and women as young as 35 having heart attacks, strokes, neurological illnesses, and it has been within the last 10 years that we saw a dramatic increase in young adults sustaining life long impairments. After diagnosis and treatment, the person is usually put on some kind of medication that they have to take some kind the rest of their lives. Considering that the FDA controls our food and grocery, and those food and grocery items are sending people to an early grave, and forcing some young adults out of the workforce, The government should take responsibility. Also It is the FDA's fault when the medications they allow to be marketed and prescribed cause long-lasting impairments. Thing is, most people who sustain impairments due to pharmaceuticals, and toxic chemicals in our food, water, and in some work environments can't afford to hire representation to hold the true culprets accountable. They are forced to survive off the whatever money they can get! Then there are children who are being forced to take extremely powerful pharmaceuticals for mental or hyperactivity problems, which has created a generation of men and women dependent on some type of drug, drugs which the FDA regulate, and the illegal kind. I will just be honest, The entire medical complex in partnership with FDA is at fault here. It appears like the entire Unites States of America is targeting one of the most vunerable class of citizens who recieve a survival pittance $119 fs and $750 in sdi, because our government has made everyone powerless to hold to account the true roots of these problems! We all have become nothing more THAN THE LEAD THAT MAKES THEIR GOLD.

    Reply to: The Last Word on Social Security Disability   6 years 2 months ago
    EPer:
  • There is something nasty about an economic populist complaining about a flat disability benefit, instead of one that gives more to the well off than to the poor. If a flat benefit is insufficient for those people tgen they will demand and get a more generous benefit, and then the poor and middle class will be beneficiaries of this generosity.

    Reply to: New Budget Deal Cuts Social Security, But How?   6 years 2 months ago
    EPer:
  • The "file and Suspend" rule for Social Security ends in the new budget deal...

    Slate: People weren’t just using the "file and suspend" strategy out of greed. They were using it to boost what are often less than adequate income replacement levels in retirement. It came about as part of legislation designed to encourage people in their 60s to remain part of the paid workforce by eliminating caps on what seniors could earn and still claim Social Security. The "file and suspend" strategy allows one member of a married couple to file for his or her Social Security benefits on reaching the full retirement age but then suspend them. This allowed the lower-earning partner—usually the wife—to take her spousal benefits when she turned 66, while the other member of the marital team—usually the husband—continued to work. When the file-and-suspend spouse turned 70, he would once again claim his benefits, this time for good. At that point, the other partner forgoes Social Security’s spousal benefit in favor of her now-larger personal monthly stipend.

    [* The new budget deal now disallows this; and that might be bad news for divorced women heading toward retirement.]

    http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2015/10/budget_deal_close...

    TIME: The "file and suspend" strategy calls for the higher-earning spouse to file for Social Security benefits at his or her full retirement age, but then suspend that filing while the benefit grows, until as late as 70. The lower-earning spouse can then claim spousal benefits at his or her own full retirement age, and later shift to their own full benefit, if it is larger. (A spousal benefit is half of the primary earner’s benefit.)
    The Center for Retirement Research has estimated that file-and-suspend adds $9.5 billion in annual benefit costs to the program. The White House targeted it for elimination in the budget plan issued last year, calling it an “aggressive” move used by high-income households to “manipulate” benefits. The budget deal approved by the House this week would clamp down on the practice for anyone who turns age 62 after calendar year 2015.

    http://time.com/money/4092844/social-security-file-and-suspend-end/

    ANGRY BEAR: "File and suspend" allows someone to get Social Security benefits prior to retiring, while not having to accept the lower benefits one gets if one retires at 62 or 66. One can get the higher benefits later. This will now not be allowed, so one must accept the lower benefits if one starts getting benefits early. This has only been possible for married couples with this involving one getting spousal benefits and then their own through some semi-complicated maneuvers that have been allowed since 2001."

    [*The article says something about Paul Ryan too.]

    http://angrybearblog.com/2015/10/vsps-get-their-way-with-budget-deal-soc...

    Reply to: New Budget Deal Cuts Social Security, But How?   6 years 2 months ago
    EPer:
  • Besides the push to lift the ban on exporting oil, the new budget deal will sell off part of our strategic oil reserves to raise revenues help offset the cost of increased military spending. What's up with that? With oil so cheap, why are we selling so low? And why are we selling oil at all (or exporting) if our main goal was supposed to be "energy Independence"?

    If we need to raise revenues, instead of selling off oil reserves (probably for a loss), why not stop giving government subsidies to oil companies? Or eliminate some corporate tax loopholes? Or raise the capital gains tax rate?

    http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/258193-feds-would-sell-oil-...

    http://www.ibtimes.com/how-will-federal-budget-deal-affect-us-oil-securi...

    http://www.nola.com/business/index.ssf/2015/10/budget_deal_calls_for_us_...

    http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/energy-environment/258434-selling...

    Reply to: Oil Industry Pushes to End the Ban on Oil Exports as Imports Hit High for the Year   6 years 2 months ago
    EPer:
  • Thanks Greg, but if you notice in the comments since I posted this, The LA Times reported that the Heritage's plan to create a "flat benefit" and lower the cap wasn't included in the last budget deal. When I first posted this article, the media wasn't talking much about this proposal, so I've been trying to follow it. But it doesn't mean the GOP won't stop trying. They have been relentless in trying to cut Social Security, and in a number of different ways. They keep coming at it in many angles. Their talking points might change, but their end game is always the same ... end or privatize Social Security. Now with Rep. Paul Ryan as the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee AND the Speaker of the House, all the more reason to worry...and especially if a Republican is elected president in 2016 with a majority of Republicans in Congress. If that happens, you can bet for sure cuts will come.

    http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-social-security-medicar...

    Reply to: New Budget Deal Cuts Social Security, But How?   6 years 2 months ago
    EPer:
  • it is changes, rate of change of private inventories in GDP, which in turn is change, the rate of growth.

    I try to amplify that but I really should create my own 2nd derivative graph since none exist.

    Reply to: Q3 GDP A Not So Hot 1.5%   6 years 2 months ago
    EPer:
  • i've been all over the web - WSJ, Reuters, AP - complaining about how growth of inventories was described...everyone reported they were down; they werent...they grew by an inflation adjusted $56.8 billion in the 3rd quarter, half the pace they grew in the 2nd quarter…so they added to nominal GDP, but subtracted from the GDP growth rate, which measures the change in the growth of inventories…

    Reply to: Q3 GDP A Not So Hot 1.5%   6 years 2 months ago
    EPer:
  • I'm a bit staggered that they are lowering the cap, it reminds me of when Greenspan was espousing ARMs before the mortgage crisis and I realized he wasn't this grandfatherly figure with my best interest at heart, its clear neither is the government, or either political party.

    Reply to: New Budget Deal Cuts Social Security, But How?   6 years 2 months ago
    EPer:
  • We already have a system in place to recapture social security payments to high income individuals.

    It is called the tax code. Social security income is subject to income taxes so it would be very easy to change the details of the program so that very high income people would have all their social security income taxed away.
    Actually, it already works that way to a lesser degree as there is a separate calculation of how much of your social security is subject to income taxes based on your other income. As your income increases the larger the part of social security income subject to taxes is greater. If you have little or no other income none of your SS is subject to taxes.

    Reply to: Federal Workers get a Raise, Retirees get Screwed   6 years 2 months ago
    EPer:
  • Washington Post on the new budget deal:

    "Under the agreement, Medicare’s Part B premiums for a group of roughly 15 million people will increase from the current rate of $104.90 per month to $120 per month next year, plus a $3 surcharge."

    Those include:

    1) Those whose insurance premiums are not automatically subtracted from a Social Security check.
    2) Those who do not yet collect Social Security, but are enrolled in Medicare.
    3) Those who enroll in Medicare Part B next year for the very first time.
    4) Those who have incomes great enough that they are charged higher premiums.
    5) Those who are poor enough that they also qualify for Medicaid.

    Those not included:

    Because their was no COLA for next year, Social Security benefits will not increase at all in 2016. This means that roughly seven in 10 Medicare beneficiaries were “held harmless” because their Part B premiums are automatically withdrawn from their Social Security checks --- so therefore, their premiums will not go up.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/federal-eye/wp/2015/10/27/budget-dea...

    Reply to: New Budget Deal Cuts Social Security, But How?   6 years 2 months ago
    EPer:
  • Thank you, Brennan! Wonderful commentary! Honest, practical, generous, and appropriate. We need to speak like this as a nation! (Running for anything?? - probably not...you are unfortunately too smart to do that!)

    Reply to: New Budget Deal Cuts Social Security, But How?   6 years 2 months ago
    EPer:
  • My Dad had a couple of sayings, probably quotes of someone else, which are appropriate in this sort of discussion.

    The first was:
    Whenever the congress is in session, fear. Because they meet with no purpose other than to pass laws which will restrict the liberty of citizens in some way, and whether their restriction affects you immediately or not depends principally only on your situation.

    The second was:
    Politics is the business of bribing people with their own money.

    Reply to: New Budget Deal Cuts Social Security, But How?   6 years 2 months ago
    EPer:
  • i normally review the revisions in this report, but they hit us with 6 major releases over a 50 hour period that week, and i have reserved my Saturdays for my oil market analysis, so i had to cover all those all those reports by Saturday morning to mail on Sunday...

    last week there were just 3 reports, new housing starts, existing home sales, and state jobs reports, none of which i cover in depth, so with just two paragraphs on each i had nothing to post here...almost brought my oil coverage over here as an instapopulist, but it's the time of year where i'm rushing to get battened down for winter, and i got busy with that work...

    i will have to come up a better way to express effects on GDP...maybe "basis points" instead of "percentage points"...i think it's important to include in the headline so readers know i'm not just regurgitating a press release..,another problem is at this time of year, all the months are three syllables...maybe i'll switch to abbreviations for the months...

    Reply to: September Retail Sales Up 0.1% on Autos; Would Add 0.09 Percentage Points to 3rd Quarter GDP   6 years 2 months ago
    EPer:
  • A higher percentage of American children live in poverty today than did at the start of the Great Recession. The CBO's June 2015 report said that money transfers to the poor act as implicit taxes, reducing the labor force participation rate and depressing the economy further. The labor force participation rate in Greece is 52 percent and in Puerto Rico 43 percent. Entirely to many people are being allowed to go on government "disability" program rolls, not good for many of them in the long run and not financially sustainable to the remaining working population either. “Work” and “purpose” are intimately connected according to researchers at the University of Michigan who, for example, found that welfare payments make one unhappier than a modest income honestly earned and used to provide for one’s family.

    Reply to: New Budget Deal Cuts Social Security, But How?   6 years 2 months ago
    EPer:

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