Quick thoughts on what inflation is and what it means.
Greatest Common Factors
Apropos of nothing, here’s 218 years of US government spending as a percentage of the total economy–AKA how you measure the size of government
A lot of people like to talk about the size of government. This is the actual data.
Illegal immigration attempts rose to their highest levels in more than a decade during the last year of the Trump admin. Now, Joe Biden is left with a problem Trump never fixed.
I keep hearing Joe Biden is responsible for a surge in illegal immigration. Let’s set the record straight.
Perpetually relevant thoughts on the relationship b/w the murder rate and the gun owner rate
As mass shootings surface in the news again, it’s worth understanding the very clear relationship between the murder rate and gun owner rate.
B/c someone asked: Gallup & GSS polling data show the same thing–when the gun owner rate rose between 1980 through 2014, the odds of getting murdered rose.
Two major polling sources show the same relationship between the share of gun owners in the US and the odds of getting murdered.
Can Live With You. Can’t Live Without You…
Distance makes the heart grow colder.
Why coverage of inflation is inflated
The media are talking up inflation again. Here’s why it’s nearly guaranteed you’ll hear more about the problem than it’ll become.
Fox News spent more time talking about illegal immigration when it fell yet less time talking about it when it rose.
Your TV is lying to you.
OMG! Is there a crisis on the Border? Illegal immigration is down by half over last 2 decades. But far from deterring illegal immigration, it more than doubled during Trump’s Administration.
Republicans want to talk about a crisis at the border. OK, let’s look at how well Trump’s administration deterred immigrants from trying to illegal enter the US…
the number of immigrants apprehended at us borders has fallen by 48.7% between 2000 and 2019. however, while it fell by 42% during the obama admin, it increased by 106% during the trump admin.
Illegal immigration is nearly half the problem today as it was in 2000. However, in the last three years of the Trump administration, illegal border crossings more than doubled.
Texas and Florida are the new Silicon Valley(s)? Yeah right. 15 years of venture capital deal data show California is still king and New York is the queen.
Last week in a post I looked at the geographic distribution of #venturecapital over the longest period I could find–Jan. 1, 2006 through Dec. 31, 2020, using NVCA data. Today, using the same 15-year period, […]
So has california lost its edge in venture capital investment to texas or florida or [fill in the blank flavor of the month here]?
Has California lost Silicon Valley to Texas or Florida? Ha. Here’s what 15 years of data show…
Political Econ Friday: Fauxcrat Joe Manchin and GOP Senators don’t wanna help Americans with student loan debt for a real simple reason…
Here’s why Joe Manchin (West Virginia) and GOP Senators are reluctant to help defray crippling, widespread economic costs of American higher ed. It’s real simple: There’s nothing in it for ‘em. See, Manchin and GOP […]
“A religion is not simply a collection of fragmentary beliefs about very specific objects...
“To a greater or lesser extent, all known religions have been systems of ideas that embrace the universality of things and give us a total representation of the world.”
—Émile Durkheim in The Elementary Forms of Religious Life, 1912
He Who Controls the Senate Controls the Country. Between 1789 and April 1861, national unity turned on this. And after Wilmot’s Proviso in 1846, party stopped mattering. Latitudes determined attitudes.
So do states with lower tax rates have higher incomes? I mean, that is the central idea behind GOP economic policy. So what do the data show?
If you’re a sentient being and don’t live in a cave, you’ve heard that lowering the tax rate is how you jump-start the economy. Well, if your goal is raising incomes by lowering taxes, I call bullshit.
States with high suicide rates don’t like democrats…
Hillary Clinton lost the suicide vote
The farther Americans live from each other the less they want to live–and vice versa
The farther people live from each other the less they want to live. What evidence from the states shows…
Are “pro-life” states pro-life workplaces?
Are workers’s lives better protected in “pro-life” states?
The answer, culled from facts not feelings, is unambiguous:
What the Senate wants the Senate usually gets. Senate 259% more likely to win battles with House b/w 1914 and 1996
Source (and suggested reading): Francis Lee and Bruce Oppenheimer’s illuminating but now dated study, Sizing Up the Senate.
Amplitudes of power: 229 years reveal why Senate majorities aren’t what they used to be
—and why whoever wins should temper expectations of dominating the Senate like it’s 1933 or 1965.
What every election between 1788 and 2018 shows about the Senate
229 years of Senate history should temper expectations that the 2020 election will dramatically change control of the upper chamber.
Social physics of presidential politics: It’s not large states which elect Democrats. It’s dense ones. Pro-Clinton states had 304% more people per square mile.
The average state which elected Donald Trump had 93 people per square mile. Average state won by Hillary Clinton had 283 people per square mile. Density—the distance between us—matters. And so does information, which corresponds […]
Who funds innovation in the nominally capitalist US? The Federal govt increased its investment in R&D 700% b/w 1953 and 2018; and Federal R&D investment exceeded domestic private venture capital investment in 22 of last 23 years.
For context , read this.
What 31 years of California data show: Wildfires burn 226% more every year than in late 1980s and cost the state’s taxpayers 5,260% more every year.
What James Madison thought about a federal judiciary chosen by a majority of states BUT a minority of people
The Father of the Constitution—James Madison—feared that Senators representing a majority of states BUT a minority of Americans could end up picking our judges.
Fast forward 233 years…
The 10 states where workers die at the highest rates are all Republican. 8 of the 10 safest states for workers are Democratic.
Where’s your greatest chance of getting killed on the job?
The reddest of the Red states. That’s where.
What did George Washington think about individualism? We know. Here it is:
As the US debates making compulsory wearing a mask to prevent the spread of a deadly pandemic, it’s instructive to think what the Father of our country—George Washington thought about individual freedom vs the general good.
Is Trump the best Prez African Americans have ever had? Not if you ask the Black–or Latino–workers who died at the highest levels in at least 5 years
What a Founding Father thought about a nation of freemen built by slaves–but kept secret during the Constitutional Convention
On July 9, 1787 in Philadelphia, the 50-something delegates to the Constitutional Convention argued intensely over how much a slave was worth while at the same time completely omitting the word “slavery” from the Constitution […]
Those parts of the Constitution that the Father of the Constitution–James Madison–didn’t want. At all.
What if the Founding Fathers didn’t actually like the Constitution they ended up with?
The fight over the safety net is not about debt. It’s wages. Here’s how the GOP wants to lower yours by gutting labor’s leverage:
Why African Americans are dying at higher rates from Covid-19: A 7-step syllogism
Hospitals and public health officials are reporting that African Americans are dying at higher rates–6X in Chicago vis a vis whites there. Here’s the reason why:
Between 1900 & 2014, the US went from spending basically $0 to 8% of GDP—and its citizens gained 31 more years of life
Between 1900 and 2014, the US spent 8X more of its national income on public health. During the same time, its citizens could expect to live 31 years longer.
130 years after the Civil War, Black Male Workers Died Twice as Often in the South
Researchers at the National Institute of Health examined six years of workplace safety data from the 1990s. Here’s what they found:
Why the right has to hate the left’s cities and states
The right doesn’t love to hate the left’s biggest cities and states.
It has to…
What we talk about when we talk about a market-based healthcare system
Here’s the saddest song I’ve got:
Syllogism Wednesday: Money & Power edition
Here’s a short story:
Saturday syllogism: What we talk about when we talk about inequality
Here’s my short story for Saturday:
Forgotten Lessons from the Constitutional Convention: What worried Ben Franklin about giving small states equal political power as large states
During the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Ben Franklin was concerned that giving states equal power regardless of their populations would allow a minority to rule a majority. Fast forward to 2020: The GOP Senate majority […]
Starting yesterday, NY employers can’t ask job applicants how much they got paid at their last job(s). Quick and rough thoughts on why that’s good news for workers.
I’ve never met someone in HR who keeps track of the marginal product of labor. In the real world (like outside of an econ textbook) employee pay has little to do with actual productivity and […]
The architects of the Constitution–the real protagonists of the United States– dreamed of a different government than what they settled for.
The US Senate *majority* represents a *minority* of the population and a minority of the economy. The very structure of our government is flawed—and it’s exactly what the protagonists of the US Constitution feared. Consider […]
Wonky Geometry: How paying people whether they work or not can increase the wages of the working
Short version (to be elaborated on in future post): UBI (and M4A and affordable housing) raises reservation wage –> shifts labor supply curve —> new (higher) equilibrium wage.
appeals to yesterdays that never were
I like to think this blog is about my own ideas, but sometimes something comes along that’s worth repeating. This is one of those. “The late Ryszard Kapuściński coined a striking term to describe those […]
Because science: “Every particle in nature has an amplitude to move backwards in time..”
“Every particle in nature has an amplitude to move backwards in time…”
How’d the West defeat Communism? De facto socialism. B/w 1947-1991, government comprised 40%-60% of “Capitalist” UK, US, France, Italy, West Germany…
Capitalism defeated Communism? More like de facto socialism defeated Russian imperialism. Here’s why.
Why taxing Billionaires is not a violation of a free market but rather a correction of a failing one
Billionaires aren’t winners of an actual free market. Their companies (eg Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Berkshire Hathaway, et al) are price-setting, not price-taking, monopolies, monopsonies and oligopolies. Investors don’t want to invest in companies with competition. […]
Gun ownership fell substantially between 1973 and 2014. Guess what else did: the chances of getting murdered.
The relationship between gun ownership rate and the homicide rate is clear. They’re closely connected. So just how closely correlated are they? Well, in fact, the rate of gun ownership explains 76% of the variation […]
When more employees in a state are represented by unions, families earn more money. A lot more.
Read the chart. It should speak for itself. I bring data to the convo. No point arguing about subject without seeing the numbers. Here they are. The correlation is significant. R-squared value shown. […]
Why Republican voters should not trust themselves–and Donald Trump shouldn’t count on his own base
What do Nixon, Ford, Bush 1, Bush 2, John McCain and Mitt Romney have in common? Two things: First, they were the choices of Republican voters gave us. They were their boys. Two–here it comes–Republicans […]
Questions to ask when someone says, “But the Founding Fathers wanted [fill in the blank here]”
They’re probably rolling in their graves. They’re invoked constantly–but rarely with any specificity. I’m talking about the US Founding Fathers and the narratives we’ve spun about their political, social and economic thoughts. That is, […]
That part of Adam Smith they don’t teach in Econ 101–or anywhere else
What if Adam Smith’s legacy had been completely hijacked by a visible hand of naked self-interest?
The self-evident irrationality of Red State resentment
What if the biggest complainers about the federal government were its biggest beneficiaries?
Here’s the only question you need to answer to figure out whether you’re against redistribution or not
Why care is the new commodity—and the future of work looks dim
Median pay of the 10 fastest growing jobs between 2016 and 2026 is $27,000
What unions do—or used to—and how the bottom 80% of American families started sharing a smaller piece of national income
It’s about leverage. You produce more money per hour than you get paid for—otherwise you wouldn’t be hired by a for-profit company. But the amount you get isn’t set in stone. Your worth depends on […]
Why regulating gun ownership can make sense even when regulating ownership of almost anything else might not
Unlike ownership of cars or knives or hammers or nails or lead paint or parachutes, the primary purpose of gun ownership is staying safe and yet the primary effect of more gun ownership is less safety.
3 decades of data show clearly: When gun ownership falls, the chances of getting killed by a gun falls
Three decades of data show clearly: gun deaths fall when gun ownership falls and rise when gun ownership rises.
What free market? For the last half century, government has been a third, or more, of the US economy
What free market? As the US debates “socialism” and “capitalism”, it’s important to remember that government has been a large part of the American economy for generations. Consider data from the last 70 years […]
It’s National Flag Day. Here’s why we put symbols on sticks.
We might be living in an age of self-driving cars and going to Mars, but we also have totem poles.
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