Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Hillary Clinton's Policy For A Capital Gains Tax Increase And Against Stock Buybacks Is An Attack On The Wealth And Savings Of Half Of US Families

As Hillary Clinton proposes increasing the capital gains tax and riles against stock buybacks and activists investors who increase a company's market value, it is worth noting that half of Americans in the 35 to 64 age group own stock, and half of US families whose combined income is more than $40,000 a year own stock. In the 35 to 44 year old age group 54 percent own stock. An increase in the tax on stocks and an attack on stock owners is an attack on half of the US and an attack on those who are creating wealth and savings for their later years by investing during their prime working years in the stock market.

From The Wall Street Journal, Real Time Economics, "Who Owns Stocks? It’s Not Just the Rich" by Josh Zumbrun:
It might be tempting to assume that stock ownership is primarily a “rich-person problem,” but a look at the data shows that in fact it’s very common for middle-income families to own stocks, either directly or indirectly through retirement accounts. Stock ownership isn’t just for the rich, though it’s been trending that way.

Stock Ownership By Age
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Among the middle 20% of families, which earn an average of $49,600, almost half own some stocks, according to the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances, one of the best available sources of wealth data. Among those earning in the 60th-80th percentile, or an average of about $80,000, almost 70% own stocks.

One of the key reasons that investors favor stocks is that, over the long run, the asset has historically performed very well. Thus it’s no surprise that stock wealth grows with age. Even middle-income families who sock away some savings into the market over the course of their careers can have a substantial amount of stock wealth by the time they’re near retirement. [Emphasis added.]

Stock Wealth By Age
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Friday, July 24, 2015

Bee Population Increasing Worldwide

From AG Professional, "Bee population rising around the world" By Syngenta:
Contrary to what some environmental activist groups are claiming, data collected by the crop protection industry from the USDA, FAO and StatisticsCanada shows that bee populations even in intensely farmed areas of the world are increasing rather than rapidly decreasing.


According to USDA statistics, the number of honey-producing colonies has been generally steady for about two decades and has risen four of the last five years – including an increase of over 100,000 hives last year. The bee population is up nearly 13 percent since 2008, recovering after the initial findings of colony collapse disorder.
Source: AG Professional

Source: AG Professional

Source: AG Professional

Source: AG Professional

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

US Cities Losing Largest Population Share To Other Parts Of US

From BloombergBusiness, "These Are the Top 20 Cities Americans Are Ditching: Soaring costs of living meant residents left New York City and its suburbs in droves" by Erin Roman and Wei Lu:
The map below shows the 20 metropolitan areas that lost the greatest share of local people to other parts of the country between July 2013 and July 2014, according to a Bloomberg News analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. The New York City area ranked 2nd, losing about a net 163,000 U.S. residents, closely followed by a couple surrounding suburbs in Connecticut. Honolulu ranked fourth and Los Angeles ranked 14th. The Bloomberg calculations looked at the 100 most populous U.S. metropolitan areas.

Map of US Cities Losing Largest Population Share To Other Parts Of US
Source: Bloomberg

Interestingly, these are also the cities with some of the highest net inflows of people from outside the country. That gives many of these cities a steadily growing population, despite the net exodus of people moving within the U.S.

So what's going on here? Michael Stoll, a professor of public policy and urban planning at the University of California Los Angeles, has an idea. Soaring home prices are pushing local residents out and scaring away potential new ones from other parts of the country, he said. (Everyone knows how unaffordable the Manhattan area has become.)

My Comment To Productivity Article In The Wall Street Journal

My comment to The Wall Street Journal article, "Politicians, Pay Heed to Productivity Problem: Boosting hourly worker output could resuscitate weak wage growth" by Greg Ip:
Productivity is best understood by components at the margin and not the whole or average. There is labor productivity. After each additional worker or hour worked, how much faster will the economy's output grow. There is capital productivity. For each additional machine, or capital investment, how much faster will the economy grow. There is total factor productivity (TFP). For each new unit of labor and capital together, how much faster will the economy grow than from the sum of the extra output growth from more labor and from more capital alone.

The most volatile and least understood of the three components is total factor productivity. Technology, laws, regulations and unknown factors affect total factor productivity in both a positive and negative way.

Skills, education, experience, illness, drugs & alcohol use, etc. affect labor productivity.

Useful capital investment requires a fair return, which is not expensed on the P&L, to be worthwhile, and incorrectly shown as profit.

[Unfortunately, The Wall Street Journal's comment size limitations forced excessive conciseness.]

Voters Favor Campaign Contributions Disclosure Over Restrictions On Contributions

From Rasmussen Reports, "Does Campaign Cash Really Matter?"
When it comes to campaign contributions, most voters think disclosure is more important than restrictions. Most also still believe substance matters more than money when it comes to election outcomes.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 57% of Likely U.S. Voters now believe it is more important to disclose the source of all contributions than it is to limit how much money individuals can contribute to campaigns. Thirty-three percent (33%) think it is more important to limit campaign contributions.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

CBO Slide Presentation On Productivity And Growth In Forecasts

From CBO slide presentation, "Productivity and Growth in CBO’s Forecasts" by Robert Shackleton, an analyst for CBO’s Macroeconomic Analysis Division, at the NABE Foundation's 12th Annual Economic Measurement Seminar:

Saturday, July 18, 2015

First Marriage Age And Divorce Risk Graph

From The Washington Post, "The best age to get married if you don’t want to get divorced" by Christopher Ingraham:
First Marriage Age And Divorce Risk
Source: The Washington Post

As you can see, the risk of divorce declines steadily from your teens into your late 20s, but somewhere in the early 30s it starts to creep back up again. As Wolfinger puts it: "Those who tie the knot after their early thirties are now more likely to divorce than those who marry in their late twenties." The chart is based on a statistical analysis of data from the National Survey of Family Growth, a nationally-representative survey administered by the CDC every few years.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

When Major US Cities Became Unaffordable To 22-34 Year Old Workers: Chart

From BloombergBusiness, "The Exact Moment Big Cities Got Too Expensive for Millennials: It wasn't so long ago that cheap rentals in big cities weren't a fantasy" by Patrick Clark:

Rents are stretching millennial budgets throughout the U.S. Nationally, the typical worker from 22 to 34 years old paid 30 percent of income for rent in the first quarter of 2015, up from 23 percent in 1979, when the analysis begins. In those places, rental unaffordability is a distinct obstacle for people trying to carve out lives and careers, particularly in the nine major cities shown in the chart below, where more than half of households rent. [Footnote omitted.]


Percentage Of Income Paid For Rent By 22-34 Year Old Worker In Major Cities Over Time
Source: BloombergBusiness

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Relative Value Of $100 In The Fifty States: Map

From Tax Foundation, "The Real Value of $100 in Each State" by Alan Cole and Scott Drenkard:
Relative Value Of $100
Source: Tax Foundation
The states where $100 is worth the most are Mississippi ($115.21) Arkansas ($114.29) South Dakota ($114.16) Alabama ($114.03) and West Virginia ($113.12). In contrast, $100 is effectively worth the least in the District of Columbia ($84.96) Hawaii ($86.06) New York ($86.73) New Jersey ($87.34) and California ($89.05.)

Regional price differences are strikingly large; real purchasing power is 36 percent greater in Mississippi than it is in the District of Columbia. In other words: by this measure, if you have $50,000 in after tax income in Mississippi, you would have to have after-tax earnings of $68,000 in the District of Columbia just to afford the same overall standard of living.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Fewer Disabled People Are Working Now After Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Than Before

From Rasmussen Report, "Wealth Gap" by John Stossel:
...unintended consequence happened with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the well-intended law supported by Democrats and Republicans meant to help more disabled people enter the workforce. But fewer disabled people work now that the law is in effect. Fifty-one percent held jobs when the law passed; now only 32 percent do.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Privilege Myth: Minority First Generation Public College Graduates Do Just As Well In Life As "Privileged" White Private College Graduates: Gallup

From Gallup, "Privilege May Not Be an Advantage for College Graduates" by Brandon Busteed:
If you were asked to predict which of the following two distinct groups of college graduates has the greatest likelihood of succeeding in all aspects of life, how would you answer?

Group 1: Those who are minority, first-generation college graduates and who graduated from public colleges and universities.

Group 2: Those who are white (non-Hispanic), whose mothers and fathers both completed college (mother's education is often used as a proxy for socioeconomic status) and who graduated from private colleges and universities.

It turns out that graduates from the first group are just as likely to end up thriving in all aspects of well-being later in life as graduates from the second group.