Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Czer, Jul 5, 2018.
People must be hard up for news. Warren puts out an extreme plan that has no chance. News at 11.
This is what I’ve been banging on about for a while. The saving’s glut is slowly killing the world economy.
If you give endless tax cuts to the rich and super rich it’s not long before they have more money than they can spend. They either invest it (the 2000s property bubble and arguably the current US stock market bubble) or squirrel trillions away in bank accounts. What they can’t really do is spend it all, so it’s effectively taken out of the active economy.
The rich are getting free money and capitalism is broken, says US billionaire
"The world is split into two: those who are credit-worthy and those who aren’t, Dalio indicated.
For those who are, “money is free” – thanks to central banks which are “pushing money on investors”. However, this isn’t driving up inflation or growth because investors are investing the money rather than spending it.
“As a result of this dynamic, the prices of financial assets have gone way up and the future expected returns have gone way down while economic growth and inflation remain sluggish,” he said.
Richest 1% of Americans Close to Surpassing Wealth of Middle Class
November 9, 2019
The U.S.’s historic economic expansion has so enriched one-percenters they now hold almost as much wealth as the middle- and upper-middle classes combined.
U.S. household wealth become more concentrated among the top tenth
The top 1% of American households have enjoyed huge returns in the stock market in the past decade, to the point that they now control more than half of the equity in U.S. public and private companies, according to data from the Federal Reserve. Those fat portfolios have America’s elite gobbling up an ever-bigger piece of the pie.
The very richest had assets of about $35.4 trillion in the second quarter, or just shy of the $36.9 trillion held by the tens of millions of people who make up the 50th percentile to the 90th percentile of Americans -- much of the middle and upper-middle classes.
Americans Now Need at Least $500,000 a Year to Enter Top 1%
Chalk up at least part of their good fortune to interest rates, said Stephen Colavito, chief market strategist at Lakeview Capital Partners, an Atlanta-based investment firm for high-net-worth investors. People can’t get much of a return on certificates of deposits and other passive investments, so they’ve pumped money into stocks and propped up the market overall, he said.
In turn, those investments make the wealthy eligible to put money into exclusive hedge funds and private equity funds. Many such funds require $5 million of investments to qualify.
“The wealthier that the wealthy get, the more opportunity they have,” Colavito said.
It may not be long before one-percenters actually surpass the middle and upper-middle classes. Household wealth in the upper-most bracket grew by $650 billion in the second quarter of 2019, while Americans in the 50th to 90th percentiles saw a $210 billion gain.
Assets -- 2Q 2019
Top 1% of household assets approach that of the 50-90% group
For now, those Americans in 90th to 99th percentiles -- well-to-do, but not the super rich -- still control the biggest share of wealth, with $42.6 trillion in assets.
The lone group left out of the fun: the bottom 50% of Americans. Those households have 35.7% of liabilities in the U.S. and just 6.1% of assets.
Age also plays a role in wealth. Some young people have recently taken to mocking older Americans for being out of touch, hurling the term “OK Boomer” around social media. However, Baby Boomers born between the end of the Second World War and 1964 may have the last laugh. They had wealth that was 11 times higher than that of millennials as of the second quarter.
Breakingviews - China’s growth starts to slouch prematurely
" ... The People’s Republic is decelerating more quickly than might be expected, though. It is still relatively poor, at only around 30% of American GDP per capita adjusted for purchasing power, based on International Monetary Fund data. After Japan hit a slightly lower milestone – roughly a quarter of U.S. income levels – it kept expanding at more than 9% annually on average for another two decades, notes Nicholas Lardy of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. South Korea achieved an average 7.7% clip over the same stretch, while Taiwan and Singapore managed 8.4% and 8.7%, respectively.
Even recently, economists expected much more. In its five-year forecasts starting about a decade ago, the IMF estimated China would grow on average at 9% between 2015 and 2018. The actual figure was under 7% ..."
In other words, Japanese population growth stalled in the 80s when Japan had a much higher level of income than China currently does. The collapse in population growth led to the stagnation of demand (for goods and services) and the 'Lost Decade' which effectively became multiple decades.
But the working-age population of China has stalled right now.
Manufacturing is already moving from China to India and South East Asia because of China's higher wages. However, the stalled population growth and cultural problems like weak rule of law are contributing to China's inability to build a highly developed, high-wage economy. This is otherwise known as the 'middle income trap' that countries like South Korea and Taiwan avoided, but a lot of countries in Latin America failed to avoid.
That's not going to reflect anytime soon within our lives, and they will overwhelm our nation.
US is a dead corpse filling with bloat from rot preparing to explode.
I read that article and the comparison to such tiny local nations doesn't even make sense.
China is more like a US with saturn V rockets attached.
Why a slowdown in manufacturing matters for the U.S. economy
Nov 5, 2019
Seen historically as the lifeblood of the American economy, the current outlook for manufacturing in the United States is complicated.
On the one hand, manufacturing doesn’t wield as large an influence on the U.S. economy as it once did — the sector has declined substantially in the past several decades. The upside is that a recent slowdown in the sector might not put a halt to the longest economic expansion in U.S. history, as some fear.
At the same time, economists say if the manufacturing sector stalls, it could drag down related industries and disproportionately affect parts of the country where factories employ thousands of people — the same ones that were hurt significantly during the Great Recession and over the past several decades as manufacturing has declined.
“Take a 1 percent decline in manufacturing. We say that’s not such a big deal; except that in the states where that decline is happening, it is still a really big deal,” said Martha Olney, an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley. And even if it’s concentrated, such a contraction can spread economic pain to other industries tangentially related to manufacturing.
What economists are seeing may also point to another long-term problem. Some worry the manufacturing sector is slowing down because it is not shifting quickly enough to producing new technologies like wind turbines and energy-efficient appliances, suggesting the country is at risk of falling behind other nations.
Signs that U.S. manufacturing is hurting
The current outlook for the nation’s manufacturing sector is, well, complicated.
Economic indexes are providing conflicting messages — about whether the sector is contracting, or just growing slowly.
Using a variety of inputs, including new orders and employment, the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) manufacturing index shows that manufacturing has been shrinking for the past three months. That, combined with Federal Reserve data from earlier in the year, has led to some reports that the manufacturing sector is in a “recession.”
A different index, from IHS Markit, indicates the manufacturing sector is growing but slowly. Both indexes showed a slight improvement in October after a drop in previous months.
Part of the disparity between the two indexes could be “statistical noise,” ISM CEO Tom Derry said. IHS Markit chief business economist Chris Williamson said his company’s index also measures different sized businesses and uses different wording in its surveys.
Despite the differences, the trend appears to be the same–the manufacturing sector has been experiencing a slowdown in recent months, with a slight improvement in recent weeks.
Some of the reasons for the earlier slowdown? China’s retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods, combined with a strong U.S. dollar, have cut into U.S. exports. Companies are hesitant to make big future purchases because of uncertainty created by the Trump administration’s trade policies and the instability of the global economy, “and that has a ripple effect down the supply chain,” Derry said.
Goods versus services
In recent decades, the U.S. economy has become less heavily focused on making goods, such as household appliances, and more focused on offering services, such as serving dinner to customers at a restaurant.
Goods make up about 30 percent of U.S. GDP, compared to services, which account for 62 percent. In the 1960s, goods and services accounted for nearly an equal amount of the country’s GDP.
Some economists have said the switch toward services is not necessarily a bad thing. As countries become richer, they tend to consume more services and fewer goods.
At the same time, many manufacturing jobs — still needed to meet U.S. demand for goods — have been shipped overseas.
Those two factors have contributed to the decline in manufacturing jobs in the U.S. Fifty years ago, one in four Americans worked in manufacturing. Today, only about 8 percent of all jobs in the U.S. are in manufacturing.
So what does that mean for today’s manufacturing slowdown?
“Manufacturing being a smaller share of the total means any decline has a smaller impact on the economy as a whole,” said Olney.
Why manufacturing is still important
Even though manufacturing is not a huge share of the U.S. economy, it “punches higher than its weight in the economic cycle because there are so many other parts of the economy that are linked to it,” Williamson, with IHS Markit, said.
Think about all of the jobs that are associated with car manufacturing, for example. Outside of the actual building of the vehicle, there are also truck drivers who transport the car and salesmen who convince buyers to purchase it, not to mention the janitors who clean the factories each day. Those jobs are technically in the “service” sector but might not exist if the car was not manufactured in the first place.
IHS Markit’s services index released Tuesday shows a slowdown in the services sector, which Williamson attributes in part to the earlier slowdown in manufacturing.
Other economic indicators are more bullish. An ISM report also released Tuesday showed the non-manufacturing sector grew at a faster rate in October than the month before.
Those numbers are making some economists optimistic that the manufacturing slowdown won’t drag down the larger economy.
“There’s a lot of underlying strength and momentum in the U.S. economy that could carry us through a weak spot in manufacturing,” ISM’s Derry said.
The regional impact
But even if the U.S. economy can withstand a slowdown in manufacturing, local economies might not be as immune.
The production of goods makes up a much larger share of the regional economy in places like Louisiana and Indiana, which are home to a large number of factories, than it does in other states like Delaware or Hawaii, which are focused on things like financial services and tourism.
Even a slight decline can mean people are laid off. With a national unemployment rate of 3.6 percent, manufacturing workers might be able to get another job quickly, but they might also have to switch industries or take a pay cut. (Manufacturing jobs tend to pay higher wages than other jobs that require the same level of education.)
When people have less money to spend, they tend to cut back spending on services like going out to eat, which can, in turn, hurt workers not directly employed in manufacturing.
The need for more manufacturing investment
Despite the federal tax cuts passed in 2016, business investment is still lagging. Economists attribute that to a variety of factors, including uncertainty caused by the tariffs and a lack of clear federal policies that could incentivize companies to focus their resources on innovative technologies, especially renewable energy.
“People don’t know what they should be investing in,” said Susan Helper, an economist at Case Western Reserve University. “In the longer run, it means the U.S. will fall behind.”
One bright spot: telecom.
The industry has been boosted by demand for 5G technology, and the Trump administration has promised to roll out policies that will give the U.S. a competitive advantage in 5G over other nations — namely China.
If the U.S. can incorporate 5G into its systems quickly, some industry watchers say it could even start a kind of “manufacturing revolution.
Yeah I've also pointed out this possibility, but who knows, it's too early to tell. I'm not sure if this would be good or bad for world stability either, blaming an external enemy is a common tactic when you have domestic issues. Trump has certainly made that easy.
baby boomers sure are a pack of assholes
70% of Americans say they are struggling financially
NOVEMBER 14, 2019
7 in 10 Americans struggle with at least one aspect of financial stability, a new survey finds.
About 1 in 5 middle-class workers are spending more than they earn.
About 20% of women say they are stressed by money, compared with 13% of men.
Many Americans remain in precarious financial shape even as the economy continues to grow, with 7 of 10 saying they struggling with at least one aspect of financial stability, such as paying bills or saving money.
The findings come from a survey of more than 5,400 Americans from the Financial Health Network, a nonprofit financial services consultancy. The project, which started a year ago, is aimed at assessing people's financial health by asking about debt, savings, bills and wages, among other issues.
Despite solid U.S. economic growth this year, the share of Americans who are struggling financially remains statistically unchanged from a year ago, said Rob Levy, vice president of research and measurement with Financial Health Network.
The study adds to a body of research indicating that millions of American families have trouble making ends meet even a decade after the Great Recession and as unemployment has sunk to its lowest level in decades.
For instance, centrist think tank the Urban Institute has found that 4 in 10 Americans struggle to pay for basic needs such as groceries or housing. And a Zillow report released Thursday found that roughly a quarter of renters say that affording their payments is difficult or very difficult.
Not only the poor face financial pressure, the new study suggests. Almost 20% of people earning between $30,000 and $100,000 said they spent more than they earned — an increase of more than 4 percentage points from last year.
"That suggests there is a real squeeze being put on the middle class," Levy said. "Income is not keeping pace with expenses."
Women are also feeling the strain more than men, the study found. About 20% of women said their finances cause significant stress, compared with roughly 13% of men who said so.
Overall, about 3 in 10 Americans are considered financially healthy, the findings show. That means they aren't struggling on any of the objectives measured by the Financial Health Network, which are spending, saving, borrowing and financial planning.
"It's not just about income," Levy noted. "You can be low income and be financially healthy."
About 17% are considered financially vulnerable, which means they are struggling to meet all aspects of their financial lives, the study found. About 54% are "coping," which means they are failing to manage at least one of the financial factors.
Changes in fortune
Americans are also reporting big swings in their financial fortunes — both positive and negative, the study found. Because the researchers surveyed about 4,300 of the respondents who participated in last year's study, they were able to track how their financial stability changed, Levy said.
The nonprofit based the assessment on a 100-point score of financial health. More than half of the longitudinal sample experienced a median swing of 7.5 points, they found. That could reflect a positive change, like a raise, or a negative one, like losing a job.
"We didn't think people's lives would change that much," he said. "It's like a game of 'Chutes and Ladders,' which has implications for stress."
avocado hummus on bagels is superior to avocado toast in every respect
on this issue there can be neither accord nor compromise
Why are millennials killing the avocado toast industry
Trump administration ousts top homelessness official as White House prepares broad crackdown
A top federal homelessness official announced Friday that he has left his post at the Trump administration’s request, an unexpected move that comes as the White House plans a sweeping crackdown aimed at homelessness in California.
Matthew Doherty, executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, wrote in an email to colleagues that the administration “no longer wishes to have me” in the position. Doherty also announced on Twitter that he was leaving at the administration’s request.
“It has been an incredible honor to serve at USICH, and I do feel like I am leaving on my own terms,” Doherty said in an email obtained by The Washington Post. “I believe that I have been able to keep my integrity intact; but, they have now told me to pack my things up and go.”
The Trump administration is still actively exploring options for a crackdown on homelessness aimed at California, a process that has been ongoing for months, according to one person with knowledge of the planning who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share internal information.
Doherty was appointed in 2015 under the Obama administration to lead the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, which is tasked with coordinating the federal response to homelessness across 19 agencies, including the Departments of Housing and Urban Development; Education; Labor and Commerce.
The council is chaired by Frank Brogan, an assistant secretary at the Education Department. For a while in the Obama administration, the council was chaired by the labor secretary, which suggests that the Trump administration has lowered its status.
The council so far has not been involved in planning the administration’s executive actions on homelessness, according to a separate person with knowledge of the administration’s planning who also spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters. The council was created in 1987 and is supposed to coordinate the government’s approach to tackling homelessness. It is unclear who will lead the organization now. Doherty is still listed on its website as the executive director.
A spokeswoman for the council did not immediately return a request for comment. A White House spokesman also declined to comment.
Trump has promised to take action against California’s homelessness problem, arguing that homelessness hurts the quality of life and the “prestige” of some of its largest cities. The Washington Post reported in September that administration officials have considered razing tent camps for the homeless, creating temporary facilities and refurbishing government facilities.
“The people of San Francisco are fed up, and the people of Los Angeles are fed up,” Trump told reporters en route to Silicon Valley in September. “We’re looking at it, and we’ll be doing something about it.”
Congressional lawmakers, particularly in California, have demanded an explanation for the administration’s actions.
In a letter in late October, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), the chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, asked the administration to reveal its plans to tackle homelessness in California and address whether it would convert existing government properties into emergency shelters. “Specifically, what role would the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness play in your effort?” it said.
In September, the administration appeared focused on skid row in Los Angeles, a homeless encampment that officials from multiple agencies toured that month.
Trump, who has directed aides to find a solution to the homelessness problem, has characterized the issue as a “disgrace.”
“We may do something to get that whole thing cleaned up,” he said in July. “It’s inappropriate.”
America's workers continue to struggle despite 'strong' jobs reports
For years, pundits and policymakers have claimed that America’s workers are doing better than ever. They point to low consumer prices, low unemployment, the availability of cheap credit and even a booming stock market. And they dismiss concerns about wage stagnation — since Americans are buying more flat-screen TVs and cellphones than ever.
But that doesn’t account for what’s happening in many cities and towns throughout the nation. Millions of Americans are subsisting on retail work in strip malls and shopping centers. They’re earning hourly wages, and they can’t make ends meet, much less obtain financial security or robust health care.
There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that America’s workers are being left behind. But now a group of researchers and economists have identified a key part of the problem — the kinds of jobs increasingly available to America’s workforce. And what they’ve found, as illustrated in a new U.S. Private Sector Job Quality Index (JQI), is troubling.
Since 1990, the United States has been creating an overabundance of low-quality service jobs. In fact, 63 percent of the production and nonsupervisory jobs created over the past 30 years have been in low-wage and low-hour positions. That’s a marked contrast from the start of the 1990s, when almost half of these jobs (47 percent) were high-wage.
For more than a year, economists from Cornell University, the Coalition for a Prosperous America, the University of Missouri, Kansas City and the Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperity have been sifting through private sector jobs data to develop the JQI. And they’ve found that, in the past three decades, the U.S. economy has become increasingly dependent on jobs that offer fewer hours of work and at lower relative wages.
What exactly do these low-hour, low-wage positions look like? They could be one of the almost 15 million non management jobs in leisure and hospitality. These offer an average of 24.6 hours of work per week at $14.65 an hour. That’s $360 a week.
Or they could be one of 13.5 million retail jobs offering 30.3 hours a week at $16.73 an hour. That’s $506 weekly.
There are now roughly 105 million production and nonsupervisory jobs in the U.S. That’s 83 percent of all private sector jobs. And more than half of them — 58 million — pay less than the average weekly U.S. wage of $793. Many of these jobs don’t offer health care or other benefits.
These are the best jobs that many Americans can find and the most hours they can get.
Ironically, all of this low-wage work is yielding one supposed “benefit” — stagnant price inflation. Consumer prices remain flat, in part because household earnings have flatlined. With more Americans earning low wages while working less than 30 hours per week, income levels have fallen. That has reduced overall purchasing power. And the situation is growing worse. Since 1999, low-wage employment has actually shrunk by an average of one hour per week.
All of this contrasts markedly with the widening gap for executive-level pay. Since the Great Recession, inflation-adjusted income growth for higher-tier jobs has climbed away from the average worker’s earnings. And that has driven a misleading impression of the overall job market.
So what’s driving the wider trend?
From 2000 to 2010, the United States lost more than 5 million manufacturing jobs. That was a significant chunk of the nation’s middle-class workforce, and it meant millions of Americans tumbling down the wage scale — even as the total U.S. workforce kept expanding. Simply put, high-paying manufacturing jobs were replaced with lower-wage work and at reduced weekly hours.
What’s noteworthy is that “technological change” isn’t the dominant factor in such job loss. Otherwise, Americans would see similar declines in transportation and warehouse work. But Amazon — with its highly automated warehouses — has expanded employment. And other service sectors are seeing similar job growth.
What really hurt America’s workforce was a poorly conceived trade policy that allowed subsidized imports to displace vital industries. And a failure to maintain domestic infrastructure deprived the economy of other manufacturing and construction opportunities.
Where manufacturing once provided skilled, good-paying work — including benefits and health care — Americans lacking a college degree now find themselves becoming progressively more underemployed. Almost two-thirds of America’s workforce (65.1 percent) does not have a college degree. And so, 100 million Americans are watching their employment prospects gradually deteriorate.
There’s no easy fix for this. But the priority should be to restore wealth-generating industries, including manufacturing, that can spur middle-class job growth.
Any effort to revitalize manufacturing will need to tackle predatory trade with China as well as an overvalued U.S. dollar that artificially inflates export costs. These are important steps and necessary to halt a greater hemorrhaging of middle-class jobs. Anything less will mean an ongoing decline for America’s workers — and a continuing decline in job quality.
Daniel Alpert is a senior fellow and adjunct professor at Cornell Law School and founding managing partner of Westwood Capital, LLC. Michael Stumo is CEO of the Coalition for a Prosperous America.
Gov. Holcomb demands correction, retraction of Reveal investigation published in IndyStar
Nov. 29, 2019
Governor Eric Holcomb
Gov. Eric Holcomb issued a cease and desist letter Friday to IndyStar and Reveal for the Center for Investigative Reporting in response to previously published allegations that he was involved in a state effort to absolve Amazon of responsibility in the death of a worker at one of its fulfillment centers.
The move comes after a lengthy story from Reveal reported that Amazon's relentless push to deliver packages with speed and efficiency is coming at the expense of worker safety.
One of the allegations in Reveal’s investigation of workplace injuries at Amazon came not from an injured employee, but from an Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspector investigating the death of an Indianapolis man.
The inspector's investigation found Amazon was clearly at fault in the death of Phillip Lee Terry, who was crushed by a forklift in a Plainfield warehouse. But when IOSHA informed Amazon of its findings, the inspector’s boss — a state workplace safety official for IOSHA — counseled the company on how to lessen the fine and also shift blame onto the worker, the inspector claims..
The inspector says he was called into a subsequent meeting where he was pressured by the state’s labor secretary to back off the investigation — or resign.
Reveal found that a year after Terry’s death, Indiana officials quietly signed an agreement with Amazon to delete all the safety citations and fines. The agreement said Amazon had met the requirements of an “unpreventable employee misconduct defense.”
At the time, Indianapolis was one of 20 finalists vying to be the home of Amazon's second headquarters, which came with the promise of an investment of more than $5 billion and 50,000 jobs to whichever city won the sweepstakes.
Holcomb has strongly denied the allegations.
“While filing a cease and desist letter is an unusual step to take, I’m compelled to do so," Holcomb said in a statement released Friday. "I will not let the false accusations about Indiana state employees and me stand, as first published by California-based Reveal and followed soon thereafter by the Indianapolis Star."
The story was based on the account of IOSHA investigator John Stallone. In a letter to Reveal from Holcomb's General Counsel Joseph Heerens, the governor's office says that Stallone is not credible and was fired for poor job performance. Stallone told Reveal that he resigned.
IndyStar contacted the State Personnel Department about Stallone on Friday but the department did not immediately respond to the request.
Reveal previously told IndyStar it stands by its story.
The nonprofit news organization, founded in 1977, often partners with other news outlets around the country to distribute its work. It's been recognized for its investigations and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2012, 2013 and 2018.
"We take all concerns about accuracy very seriously," said IndyStar Executive Editor Ronnie Ramos, in response to the letter. "We understand Reveal is planning a substantive response to the governor's letter."
The letter from Holcomb's general counsel said that the accusations could not only harm Holcomb's "good name and reputation," but also pose a threat to the state's "positive business climate."
Holcomb's office is calling on Reveal and IndyStar to cease and desist from publishing the articles and take immediate steps to retract them.
“There are many good, tough, and thorough reporters in the Fourth Estate who seek to educate by way of the truth," Holcomb said. "Unfortunately, when Reveal and the Indy Star worked in conjunction to publish a false story, it tarnishes journalistic integrity across the board and the public loses faith in where they get their news.”
Separate names with a comma.