This is frighteningly prophetic and not from a Congressman I like, but I wish Congress had listened to him in 1999 when he pretty much laid out the financial crisis step by step. People can say that they didn’t see it coming, but some people did and tried to warn others.
The title kind of sums up the depressing US economy reality. This has more charts and info on the US Pay data report as a follow up to this post. The charts of each industry compared to the average are interesting. The US needs about 10 million jobs to be back on track with low unemployment and a happy workforce. So how do you go about creating 10 million jobs?
Making Fortune on Poverty: JP Morgan’s Big Food Stamp Business
I know why this is true. I don’t actually see a good work around since I suspect that the credit card type food stamps are cheaper and easier to administer than traditional food stamps were, but it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth that the big banks are profiting. It seems perhaps they could be mandated to do it at costs without making any profit or something similar.
Here is a print article on the same topic. The video link on the article is broken which is why I dug up the above video.
More depressing charts and pay data from the US that helps explain what the Occupy Wallstreet protests are all about. I am sure that some of the protesters are opportunistic deadbeats who are just going along with the movement, but the reason the protests strike a chord with so many Americans is that there are a lot of hard working Americans who can’t find work or can’t make enough to make ends meet at the jobs they do have. Yes, some of this is a result of a debt culture that demands buy it now and pay for it later, but even financially responsible people are being hurt by the current economy and the fact that wages have not gone up for most workers in 30 years.
It is good to see at least some of the Wall Street criminals getting significant jail time. Not that I think all people on Wall Street are criminals, but I think a lot of laws were being broken leading up to the financial crisis and I think most of those people have gotten away with it which I think is wrong.
This is a bit long as it has 41 charts, but they are really good charts to help you visualize the problems with the US economy that have lead to the Occupy Wall Street movement. The movement does not seem to be well organized, and some of the complaints and demands are ridiculous, but there are real problems at the heart of the movement.
Yes, Americans have taken on too much debt and made other poor choices, but the average American has not had any control over the fact that wages have not been increasing and jobs are few and far between while corporate profits are off the charts. Perhaps these things are a failure of the American labor movement, but they are not a failure of the individual workers who are feeling extremely frustrated and screwed.
Iceland suffered very badly in the financial crisis of 2008, but they seem to have instituted structural changes and be putting themselves back together nicely while the US continues to flounder and breed unrest. Perhaps folks ought to look more at Iceland to figure out how to help the US.
This is a good, short article to remind people that although the 99% movement represents a lot of people that have made some bad choices by taking on too much debt or getting not very useful degrees, at the same time the 99% also represents a lot of upset and very scared people. You can criticize each individual case for the poor decisions involved, but the reality is there are not enough jobs currently in the US compared to the number of workers so better decisions could have lead to that person having a job, it would mean someone else would be out of work.
As one of the people who has read some of the 99% signs and thought not very nice things about someone who would make those decisions this article was a good reminder that while bad decisions have been made, there are also structural problems with the American economic and job situation that means a huge number of people would be screwed no matter how good their decision had been.
This kind of behavior by the government just goes to show how much influence the financial companies have, and that the minimal regulations that have been put in place since the financial crisis are not nearly enough. Thank you so much for running the US economy into the ground, would you like some really profitable real estate as a reward? It makes me ill.
Wanting entitlements and services beyond revenues being taken in and not wanting to increase any taxes to pay for those services is a problem. You can’t have your cake and eat it too, and America need to figure out what it really wants concerning government spending cuts aka medicare and social security cuts or tax increases.
This is a collection of three articles centering around the economic problems in the US and touching on topics I have covered before. They are all interesting articles in their own right, but since they aren’t really new topics and I read them pretty much together, I thought I would post them all at once so if you aren’t interested, you can quickly skip to something less depressing.
This one condemns business leaders for not strongly encouraging lawmakers including GOP lawmakers to increase revenue. To balance the budget that is so out of whack revenues need to be increased, and that means some taxes need to be raised. Warren Buffet attracted great headlines with his NYT editorial saying this recently, but other big business leaders have not followed suite.
This is yet another article about the top 1% of Americans in wealth and the huge and growing income gap. Just another article to try to send the same message that extreme concentration of wealth is not good for a healthy democracy or the well being of the majority of US citizens.
I don’t actually oppose the payroll tax being returned to its original state because I don’t really think it was a good idea to lower it, but the hypocrisy of the GOP condemning any tax increase at all that might risk the wealthy, and then supporting this tax “increase” does anger me. Payroll tax effects less wealthy Americans a lot more than wealthy ones because of the rather insanely low income cut off. I think the tax should be returned to its original level and the income that it applies to should be raised to cover all salaries instead of the roughly 100k cutoff that currently exists. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are the three programs that are causing the most problems with the US budget. These should be taking in much more revenue, not less.
I think this article has some valid points about ways in which the US needs to change their spending and benefits to return to financial health. Sadly, I still don’t see lawmakers having any incentive to make hard changes like these so I don’t think they will come to pass. I also think that this is a simplification and the reality is more complex.
I do think the banks need to be reigned in, and I do not think the new regulations have gone nearly far enough to prevent another 2008 crises from repeating itself.
I think the American health system still needs serious reforms and the Obama-care laws didn’t do anything other than add uncertainty into an already uncertain system. I do not understand why medicare fraud is not better understood and prevented. It is because of the high fraud and unnecessary procedure rate that medicare has that I have concerns over a more all inclusive US healthcare plan. If you can’t control the costs on the system you have, how are you going to do better with a greatly expanded system? The US is spending way too much on healthcare for too little return. Costs should be transparent, paperwork should be simplified, audits should reduce fraud….
Social security and medicare as they are currently structured are not sustainable. They will consume more than the entire US budget in a few years so benefits must be overall reduced. Means testing is the only reasonable way to do this which means if you are not poor today, you should not ever expect to see anything from social security unless you are already receiving benefits. It can make you angry, but there aren’t really any alternatives unless the US GDP takes off like a rocket which I don’t think is plausible.
I have an issue with the income tax point because more people would be paying income tax if more people were better off economically. I think the whole tax system should be overhauled to be a lot simpler and flatter across the board, but I don’t think someone being paid minimum wage can afford food, shelter, and clothing so I don’t see how they could afford taxes. I do think that most deductions should go away. Australia has no mortgage interest deduction, and people buy houses over here without a problem. I think the US mortgage interest deductions encourages people into bad financial habits of taking out more debt than you can really afford.
A flatter tax rate with fewer loopholes would get more income from the very wealthy without a steep slope. It is stupid to have tiers where earning $1 can make you have to pay $1.50 in tax. I think if the personal income tax including capital gains was something along 25% across the board excepting the very poor or giving them some kind of credit that would decrease the rich’s theoretical tax rate, but have them paying a lot less actual taxes.
Although I think having a strong military is important for the US and our allies, I do think that defense spending could be cut. I am not informed enough to really know how much would be reasonable though.
More depressing economy projections and a revision of how bad the recession was. I really think it is going to get worse before it gets better, and I am not too keen on how the US economy sends ripples through the world.
Philadelphia has managed to not cut services and not lay off any city workers by <gasp> raising taxes! And the city hasn’t fallen down or had all residents flee. I am not a huge fan of taxes, but in the US currently government can’t meet its commitments from the local level to the federal level. Unless people want to cut a vast number of services the government currently provides, revenue must be raised which pretty much means taxes must be raised. It those taxes are well thought out, they don’t have to be an excessive burden in these dark financial times.