Marc Levinson’s selective education

Levinson’s inability to perform a Bohm-Bawerk grade undermining of Schiller is shameful and the attempt appalling

Marc Levinson’s article, linked below, offers details about the post WWII “golden age” which are thorough for casual interest readers to understand and to gain insight as to events which may have cause and effect relationship related to modern economic conditions and how to proceed. However there were key places Levinson chose to selectively not educate the reader. One, he fails to discuss financing the “golden age” with taxes on income 25x poverty levels. Though realistically everyone paid higher rates to help finance the needs and support structures he thoroughly describes as essential to the success during that period. Continue reading Marc Levinson’s selective education

Placebo Goods (There is nothing but profit in the basket)

Okay this is an exceptional thirty-four page download to read and review regarding export and derivatively global business strategy. Thanks to r/economics for this nugget of intellectual activity.

I found myself oscillating between ‘yep’ and ‘uggh’ trying to determine my ethical integrity when it comes to trade and trade law. Outcome: I’m not cut-throat from behind.

The article certainly paints a bleak picture for American greed based Capitalism cannibalizing itself thanks to being outwitted by the global community.

However should the consumer financially survive – a more pure, not quite laissez faire, Capitalism can thrive and reintroduce consumers to actual goods and choice rather than what, after reading this, I would effectively call placebo goods.

Generation X defers loss of subsidized savings accounts

Despite unified recommendations from 101 economists, reminiscent of service puppies for public administrators, the 2018 Cadillac Tax has been deferred to 2020. Among these economists was 2015 Nobel Prize winner Angus Deaton. The opening statement from health economists and policy analysts, addressing senators and representatives, cited the unlimited exclusion from income and payroll taxes as being economically inefficient and regressive. The statement concluded that without the Cadillac Tax, government subsidized healthcare would be inevitable.

General public criticism of the Cadillac Tax is that more Americans will be uninsured. However, professional analysis by Moody’s Investor Services indicates that healthcare payer participation will increase as a result of the Cadillac Tax.

As the tax reads, individuals and employers not moving to lower-cost plans will be progressively included into a 40% tax rate. However, the tax is not designed to raise revenues to cover healthcare costs, it is designed to influence greater participation in lower-cost plans which reduces premiums and overall healthcare costs. These reductions allow participation from uninsured individuals, effectively reducing healthcare costs twice.

Without the Cadillac Tax’s design (lower-cost plans and increased participation), healthcare costs will inflate at least $4000 by 2028. In 2013, per capita healthcare expenditures were over $9000, when the poverty line income was only double that amount. That same year, 14.5% of Americans were impoverished. Greater participation from this group, first quintile earners, is necessary to reduce inflationary costs attributed to low participation and bad-debt, of which the latter efficiently increases both direct costs and premiums.

Third through fifth quintile earners in high-cost plans must shift to low-cost plans in order to increase affordability for first quintile earners and their participation. The reason for this, as previously explained, is to prevent the $4000 increases on current participants which would effectively reduce payer participation.

The Cadillac Tax, as noted by the economists, will remove healthcare Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) from healthcare plans. FSAs, generally owned by third through fifth quintile earners, act as a government subsidized savings accounts. FSAs are tax free, a $750 savings per year, and allow for accrual of interest to providers. This regressively pays upper quintile earners for having money in the FSA, especially when compared to a traditional savings account ($25 earned per year). Neither of these accounts are likely owned by the uninsured, notably the lower quintile earners, and the savings from FSAs will be outpaced by inflationary increases.

The Cadillac Tax allows the stability designed within the Affordable Care Act to progress efficiently and to non-governmentally finance healthcare. Financing affordable healthcare has been generationally deferred. As the 2020 deadline approaches, and with 80% of Boomers having insufficient financing for healthcare, this is undoubtedly the reason economists implore the U.S. to provide more affordable healthcare.

Sources:

http://www.cbpp.org/sites/default/files/atoms/files/cadillac_tax_letter.pdf

https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2014/demo/p60-249.pdf

http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH.XPD.PCAP

http://www.mwe.com/info/pubs/Moodys_032714.pdf

Real Economic Growth Analyzed

Excellent read from Yale economist and Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis consultant Timothy Kehoe. He expresses that economic growth is driven by productivity growth as opposed to prevailing view of capital accumulation as driver.

This is shown with his use, as the beginning stage and presented in excerpt below, of the Malthusian Trap. Fascinating to me and fundamentally important is how this can be applied to global economic growth beyond his analysis.

From 1999 to 2013 (set in 2013 dollars) the World GDP – per capita (PPP) rose from $6800 to $13,100.

How do we move forward with this information?

  1. wait and see: continued development and economic growth
  2. search for post Kehoe analysis: next level (Kehoe 4?) and new cycle of leader-style
  3. present consideration: spread of investment into a global economy

The median annual household income worldwide is $9,733, and the median per-capita household income is $2,920″ by Glenn Phelps and Steve Crabtree via Gallup.

Article excerpt:

Stages of economic growth

We classify the countries in our sample into four stages of economic growth. (For details on country data and classification, see the appendix.)

0. Malthusian trap
1. Taking off into growth
2. Catching up to the economic leader
3. Joining the economic leader

The Stages of Economic Growth Revisited, Part 1

by Timothy J. Kehoe

The Stages of Economic Growth Revisited, Part 2

Hard learning: The American Income Mean vs Median

Matt Phillips reporter for Quartz, and previously the Wall Street Journal, offers assistance as people try to figure out the difference between mean and median income. From his perspective it appears Americans may be learning by proverbial “osmosis” rather than studiously as incomes diverge. With analysis from the Federal Reserve’s triennial survey of consumer finances Mr. Phillips shows how exactly the economy has improved.

Excerpt from article:

“despite the fact that mean income rose 4% to $87,200 per family, median income actually fell by 5% to $46,700 between 2010 and 2013.”

To be clear this means that the number of people making below median income has increased so significantly that the median actually fell while the majority of money itself rose for those fewer above median income.

Painfully, American families are learning the difference between median and mean

by Matt Phillips

The U.S. Debt, unlike the South – it will rise again

[Note on Image: picture the reverse as well but combined – fiscal cliff?]

A view forward to 2020 there will be an increase in entitlement spending as noted in the article per one of the President’s within the Federal Reserve district banks. With Baby Boomers moving to peak in claiming Social Security and Medicare benefits coupled with rising interest rates, my previous prediction of a rough year approximately 2019 doesn’t seem so radical.

IMO 2019/2020 also aligns with a roughly typical 10-year cycle of consumer tentativeness, increased investing, and then fear brought about by roughly steady years of growth (albeit this time slow, low, and difficult to accept as rebounded). I like to think of this as a revolving Jungian Cycle limited to Summer and Autumn.

I know there is plenty of debate on these issues but the economy has recovered to the point we’ve increased interest rates and with the entitlement wall approaching fast, beware the scare.

Affordable Care is a beast and not quite perfect but in this humble opinion it is the one thing going to keep the Baby Boomers from a scary end and I for one am willing to swallow the dark, expensive pill as a Millennial, will you Gen X?

The U.S. Debt: Why It Will Continue To Rise

by Forbes Contributor Mike Patton

Finland draws EU attention

EU keeps close eye on Finland as they streamline government in experiment on negative income tax of 800 euro per person.

Article cites Milton Friedman, author of Capitalism and Freedom, as advocate of negative income tax.

The Finnish Model

By renowned Guy Sorman

slower gdp growth IS NOT A BAD THING

An excellent view on why GDP growth is not a good measure for economic health likely cannot be better worded than is in an article by the Harvard Business School: “Other activities included in GDP, such as health care costs, do not reflect the fact that spending more on health care is, in John Caddell’s opinion, “in general not good for the country.”

spending more on health care is in general not good for the country

More to my person opinion, measuring GDP growth as a measure of the economy disappoints me because this suggests to me that we are in a consumerist economy.  I have no issue with people desiring whatever goods are desired however attributing these to the health of the economy appears problematic; not all goods are necessary for life and including the unnecessary should not indicate a general higher national economic well-being.
Authors from Boston University provided The Pardee Papers, specifically issue number four from 2009, as an early look into the need to change how we measure GDP. From the abstract: “We critique the inappropriate use of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a measure of national well-being, something for which it was never designed.” The authors help readers to understand that measuring GDP as a measure of well-being is problematic by offering the analogy of a building using electricity and that the more electricity used does not necessarily indicate higher quality of life. I find this to be a weak analogy – however it does begin the process of recognizing certain things – as suggested before higher health care spending does not imply higher quality of life. Link to PDF follows.
One alternative measure is examined by Senior Fellow at New America: Georgia Levenson Keohane in an article posted by Time in which a Social Progress Index measures the extent to which countries provide for the social and environmental needs of their citizens. The SPI was developed by the Social Progress Imperative and is based on the writings of Amartya Sen, Douglass North, and Joseph Stiglitz. From this list I’ve read three of Amartya Sen’s books and have concern about inflationary aspects of his lending practices if applied globally, however I take no issue with his belief in assisting the extremely impoverished. It appears the SPI has been in use since the beta version launched in 2013.
Several other alternative measures are reintroduced in a January 2016 article by CBSnews which provides a re-listing and link to a 2008 article from The New York Times.

 

Borrowing and the Federal Debt

The National Priorities Project was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 and currently focuses on taxes, the national debt, and government transparency.

First, information from a second source with links.

“Government Budget in the United States averaged -3.02 percent of GDP from 1948 until 2015, reaching an all time high of 4.60 percent of GDP in 1948 and a record low of -12.10 percent of GDP in 2009.” – TRADING ECONOMICS quote from their page United States Government Budget 

Now back to the NPP; this article discusses the basics to understanding the federal debt.

A few overview points are as follows though the article is an excellent resource for much more information and explanation.

  • Tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 contributing impact to deficits
  • Total federal debt listed in article as of 4 June 2015: $18.153T
  • Foreign investment in U.S. Treasury Bonds
    • China $1.3T
    • Japan $1.2T
    • Brazil $262B
    • oil exporting nations $297B
    • Caribbean banking centers $293B

The entire article and links to several others for research or study can be found through the link below.

Borrowing and the Federal Debt: Federal Budget 101

By National Priorities Project (NPP)

Quantitative and Qualitative monetary easing an Overview

Introduction of “Quantitative and Qualitative Monetary Easing with a Negative Interest Rate”

Speech at the Kisaragi-kai Meeting in Tokyo
Haruhiko Kuroda
Governor of the Bank of Japan
Document provided by Fiscal Post (article link)

Continue reading Quantitative and Qualitative monetary easing an Overview