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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Census, Population and Reality

Update: I really want you to read the post below, because it has very important, if somewhat boring, information. But there is another topic you should also be following - price controls for drugs and the consequent shortages. This is another dose of reality, which if, ignored, could kill you. Anyone who ever waited in a Carter-era gas line can guess what's happening. Please read this ABC News article about patients being denied treatment because the drugs are not available. The NEJM perspective to which the article refers is probably this one. End update.

The data from the 2010 Census will be coming out for about four months. The first figure is out, and it is of course the constitutionally-mandated population-by-state. News release. For our purposes, 308.75 million is the number.

The 10 year rolling estimate is available at the Census website as a download. Census also made an interactive map available which gives the history by decade.

Last year's July 1st estimate was 307 million (the 308.75 figure is as of April 1st, 2010), so our population is growing at a rate much less than 1%. 1% would have been on the order of 2.5 million, rather than the 1.75 million reported gain. Well, demographics always show the effect of severe economic downturns in the form of lower immigration and a lower birth rate.

For the purposes of understanding our currrent pickle, I am going to use the 2009 age breakout available from the 10 year rolling estimate.

The easy way to do this is to remember the 20s rule of thumb. If you look at this image of the table available at the download, you see


The four age brackets below 20 roughly break into 20 million groups. This gives you approximately 80 million below 20.

The last group (15-19) is a large one at about 21.5 million. But use 20.

The 65-74 group is approximately 20 million.

These two groups (15-19 and 65-74), totalling 40 million for our purposes, are important because they are "flux" groups. In a good economy, the 65-74 are out of the job market and the 15-19s are entering it.

In a bad economy, such as our current economy, more of the 65-74 group is in the job market and the teens are pushed out of the job market. Because this group is almost all eligible for Social Security, those in need will take Social Security and work to supplement it. (The average current retiree Social Security check before medical insurance is about 1.35K monthly. It is not enough to live on.) However that plus another 500-700 dollars a month from part-time work is available. So now we have geezers duking it out with the young 'uns for those Walmart/fast food/grocery store jobs. This also means that there is no pressure on wages at all except for muscle work.

The last group of 75 and up is about 20 million as well (especially this year). This gives us six cohorts (four younger, two older) of approximately 20 million each. These cohorts are out of the prime working years, and almost all have either parental support or at least Social Security.

That gives us about 120 million out of the main workforce, leaving us a rough core working age population of 190 million in 2010.

Now let us compare this with 2000's population figures:


Total population was about 27 million less or 281 million.

However the rule of 20s basically holds for the four youngest cohorts.

The 65-74 group was about 18 million instead of 20 million. The 75 and older group (the last six rows) are about 16.5 million. So subtract 79 + 18 + 16.5 from 281 to get a core working population of 167.5 million.


Let's review:

2000: core working population of 168 million.
2010: core working population of 190 million.

Now you guys find out why I have been bitched out by so many bank presidents. I never give up, and I never go away, and I never change the facts. In short, I'm an obnoxious bitch when you don't like the facts.


I repost a larger version of the full-time workers' graph:
We have about 2.9 million LESS full-time workers in November 2010 (111,114,000) than we did in November 2000 (114,076,000).

Gee, core working population grows by over 22 million, we lose about 3 million full-time jobs..... At least the trajectory is positive - oh wait! No, it isn't!

If you are a Fed president, here you start complaining about labor force inflexibility, if you are progressive, you pass a law mandating that people who clearly can't afford it buy insurance, and if you are a lunatic, you start talking about lazy inflexible workers who just don't want to get off unemployment, move across the country, lock their kids in a closet and get two part-time jobs for minimum wage, no benefits.

If you are a college professor, you talk about getting a college degree. Did I mention that the subsidized student loans are not dischargeable in bankruptcy? Believe it or not, if you are still carrying student loan balances, they will deduct a portion of your Social Security check to pay for them.

If you are Congress, you pretend to extend unemployment but don't, and pass a tax cut bill that raises taxes on poorer workers and gives a nice bonus to those who are doing well!

We have added some part time jobs. Here is a larger version of THAT graph:

Most of these part-time jobs are also temp and they pay $10 or below. No benefits.

I recently saw an advertisement for a bookkeeper with four years of experience, references, and a minimum associates degree. Part time, $7.50 an hour. I've seen ads for machinists at $10 hourly. No benefits at first. Mechanics $9, hours variable.

It does not keep you afloat. If you have kids and a spouse who isn't well-employed, you are doomed. And you can't afford to move away from your support network, because you damned well can't afford child care. You have to stay near family or friends, because how else are you going to have a place to live?

In the last two months, I have read more economic nonsense than I ever did before. Since 2000, the US has added 4.3 million total jobs with a core working population expansion of 22 million. And we have lost nearly 3 million full-time jobs.

Merry Christmas!!! Happy New Year! If you are decently off, please give to a food bank or any basic charity this year.

Update: Neil still questions my contention that a lot of low wage earners are getting a tax increase in 2011 as compared to 2010.
See Social Security wage data for the basic distribution. 2009 data were released quite recently:

Remember that in November 2010, YoY total wages and salaries were 1.2% less than in November 2009. So this is going to be right on target.


Anyone earning less than 20K a year will get a tax increase in 2011. That is, let's see, about 40% of all wages. By number of earners, it affects over 60 million people out of the approximately 150 million who earn something during the course of the year. That's over one third of the population any way you look at it.

Maybe this is not a problem to Neil, but remember that the price of food and fuel is escalating rapidly. With unemployment near 10%, raises are not a significant factor.

In addition, social security recipients did not receive an increase. There is a substantial overlap between the chart above and social security recipients, many of who are still working. Nonetheless, that adds another 30 million or so who will also see a drop in real incomes.

A worker earning 10K will get a $200 tax increase ($200 payroll tax rebate - $400 MWP), and a household with two workers earning 15K will get a $200 tax increase ($600 payroll tax rebate - $800 MWP).

In the meantime, a worker earning 50 K is going to get a $600 decrease in his federal taxes ($1,000 payroll tax rebate - $400 max MWP tax credit). A household with two workers each earning at the 50K level will get a $1,200 decrease, and a household with two earners at the 100K level will get a $4,000 decrease. Median US household income is about 48 or 49K, so the benefits of this proposal are very concentrated toward the top of the income spectrum.

This really is government union payola, but it's going to FUBAR the economy.



Comments:
When you have some time, M_O_M, you might explain this paragraph:

If you are Congress, you pretend to extend unemployment but don't, and pass a tax cut bill that raises taxes on poorer workers and gives a nice bonus to those who are doing well!

I'm not going to be surprised to learn that a law has the opposite effect from that which is claimed, but you're seeing something here that I haven't found yet.
 
I should add that I'm banging away at this point, just because it has a direct bearing on our business cash-flow expectations for the next year.
 
As a former college professor, I don't recommend getting a degree if you can't get a job. The hallway to my office was (figuratively) littered with the bodies of people who went to college not because they wanted it, but because somebody told them the path to all success ran through college. So they lacked both the prerequisite skills for college, AND the drive to pick up those skills.

Just because unemployment is lower among the college educated at the moment doesn't mean that if you join their ranks you'll get a job.
 
Neil - answer added to the bottom of the post. I hope that helps.
 
WH - and unemployment for the BA and up crowd is above 5% at the moment. The government cutbacks seem to be causing this, although I can't be sure.

Most of the jobs available out there don't require much in the way of education.
 
I love the idiots who put together want ads. A machinist will never take a $10/hour job. That job paid $14 an hour 30 years ago. Most likely they mean "machine operator" which is a completely different thing.

Anyway, according to the numbers, the population increased while the number of jobs went down. Logically speaking, we should have seen borrowing costs go UP during that period but the exact opposite happened. I wonder why...
 
Charles - believe it or not, these were machinists jobs. I checked into it.

Believe it or not, they were having trouble filling the positions.

A lot of workers are being paid less an hour nominally than they were 30 years ago.

Japan R US.
 
Argh! I totally forgot about MWP--I just mentally wrote it out of my calculations after this year, and forgot to account for the delta cash flow. And, I confess, I didn't read your previous post carefully enough to catch the mistake. That's what I was missing. There's so many d__n moving parts to our tax code.

Though I still think Congress will keep extending unemployment, Tea Party or not.
 
If they're having trouble filling the positions, it's probably because the pay is too low. Otherwise, they'd have NO trouble filling the positions.
 
Shall we add Machinist to the list of "Jobs Americans won't do"?

The DREAM Act would have helped this small business to expand I'm sure.
 
As far as drug shortages, NPR had a typical (typical as in it left all the fundamental questions unasked much less unanswered) piece a few weeks ago on death row being unable to proceed across the nation due to drug shortages.

At the time, to me the obvious question was (and yes it was unasked) if they are out of whatever small amounts of esoteric stuff used for capital punishment, what other drugs are there shortages of?!
 
Charles - at $10 an hour, the pay was too low, especially without any benefits. But eventually, they filled them.
 
MOM,

"So now we have geezers duking it out with the young 'uns for those Walmart/fast food/grocery store jobs. This also means that there is no pressure on wages at all except for muscle work."

I've certainly thought about joining that war from time to time. It all depends on how my girlfriend does going forward and what happens to TIPS and I-Bond rates.

I-Bonds at 0.0% (as currently offered) make me more likely to compete with the young 'uns at some point.

My word verification is "litheded". I don't know exactly where we are "headed" but I can imagine the "lighting".

"Man lives in the sunlit world of what he believes to be reality. But... there is, unseen by most, an underworld, a place that is just as real, but not as brightly lit... a Darkside." - Tales from the Darkside (1984 - 1988)
 
Speaking of young 'uns...

My girlfriend's sister's husband apparently won't work for less than $40 per hour. $30 wasn't enough apparently. He works/worked in construction.

They've got 2 kids now. She doesn't work. My girlfriend's mother does though. Virtually her entire paycheck goes to help them and she makes roughly 6 digits.

Good frickin' grief. I'd be working at minimum wage before I'd take money from my mother-in-law to feed my kids and pay my mortgage.

I sure hope this is the exception and not the rule in America. This "too proud" to work crap is just that, crap.
 
Allan - laughing. Yeah, the Dream Act will get us machinists for $7.25 an hour. Eventually.

I hear you about NPR. My last BP check at the docs was 100/60, so the doctor suggested that I should maybe eat some salt occasionally. Well, I don't have any salt in the house what with the Chief's condition, so instead I listen to NPR.

They are interesting but maddening in what they leave out.
 
Mark - I've heard stories like that before. It seems that there is an old union mentality about some of the skilled construction workers. They literally won't work for less as a way to keep up wages.

But most of them at least do something else rather than taking from their parents!
 
NPR's purpose in the world is to present enough of the news that one can listen and believe oneself to be informed, but sanitized of anything that might seriously challenge the worldview of someone from the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

It's the inverse of propaganda.
 
MOM,

My girlfriend's mother is worried that the kids won't be fed if she doesn't give them money.

They are apparently taking her money and buying filet mignons and wine though! Seriously.

Too proud to work. Too proud to cutback on luxury foods. Not too proud to push an overworked mother into postponing retirement though.

"Perhaps people, and kids especially, are spoiled today, because all the kids today have cars, it seems. When I was young you were lucky to have a bike." - James Cagney

I believe it. If one requires more than a used book, a clean water supply, fair health, a warm place to live, and a modest meal to feel lucky then I seriously doubt one will ever feel lucky. It's far more than the typical human has received over the history of this planet.

I do know that the filet mignon and wine is not bringing them happiness. There have been many tears shed by all parties involved. What a tragedy.
 
Mark - but self-inflicted.

Humans, we have great brains but poor self-regulation.

Basically a character problem. It makes me think back on growing up and the adults all hitting on character, character, character all the time. It's not fashionable, but the older I get the more it seems the key to playing the cards you are dealt well.

That doesn't mean that many who are jobless or very poorly employed now have a character problem, though. They've just got a losing hand.
 
Oh man! Now CR is calling me out for comments I make here.

That is a classic lump of labor fallacy. This is a common error people make with immigration - that immigrants displace other workers, when in fact immigration increases the size of the economy. I suspect we will see more and more of this age related "lump of labor" fallacy. The number of jobs in the economy is not fixed, and people staying in the work force just means the economy will be larger."

Hey Bill, yeah I know you lurk here, MoM's coming over to your house. I suggest you don't answer the door for any candigrams. Or are you holidaying at the Friedman's this year? It won't help. :-)
 
Hey Mark, you don't need to work minimum wage to feed the kids. Food stamps is more than adequate to the task.

Throw in S-CHIP for vaccinations and the occasional broken arm, and a stalled foreclosure process for high-end homes and there's not much reason to get out of bed for less than $40/hr.

You might think about having a couple kids. They pay a lot better than I-bonds, that's for sure.
 
MOM,

"Basically a character problem."

So there I am doing a tongue in cheek fruit post today (comparing Apple stock to apple fruit) and what do I stumble upon?

"A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin; what else does a man need to be happy?" - Albert Einstein

Yeah, what he said! If only more people could figure that out.

AllanF,

"You might think about having a couple kids. They pay a lot better than I-bonds, that's for sure."

I'm holding out for an even better deal in case we continue to slide into Japan's ongoing deflationary mess. Sigh.

Plan would pay Japanese families to have kids
 
This comment has been removed by the author.
 
As a side note, one reason I don't have kids is due to how expensive I know college costs are becoming.

I went to a small college in Eastern Washington (on a fully paid scholarship) but I could do that because I was studying computer science and physics ahead of the curve.

I'm not sure what it would take these days to be somewhat ahead of the curve. There's a lot more computer people out there now.

Shortage of Engineers or a Glut: No Simple Answer

"All of this is very important, because many countries in the world are moving faster than the U.S. They are learning to innovate and will provide stiff competition in the future."

I believe that is true. As much as it pains me to say this, I do think we're seeing Peak America. I've felt that way since 2004 and nothing has changed my mind since then.

Perhaps the Japanese also felt that way as their bubble deflated. Perhaps that explains their declining birth rates.
 
Why did the machinist job just pay $10 per hour ?
Because that company is competing with 3rd world
labor and because our economy is competing with
the 3rd world. It's all right, we are just units of labor
not citizens.

Sporkfed
 
Mark said, "As much as it pains me to say this, I do think we're seeing Peak America."

It seemed that way to me in the 70s. Then Reagan came along and the country turned around. Reagan's Secretary of the Interior, James Watt, was the last Federal official that I know of who saw what the Greens were doing to this country. He tried to slow them down, but Reagan was dealing with a Democrat Congress and it wasn't easy. "Acid rain" was the big issue back then.

MOM hit the nail on the head in her comment on the last post. The EPA and the Endangered Species Act have made private property enjoyment and usage far more expensive and difficult. The Greens are turning us into a kind of litigious version of Russia. The country can come back with leadership that understands that the Greens must be fought if we are to have an economy that's sound and growing. That's the only way we are going to have the jobs to support a growing labor force. The government must quit growing or slow its growth appreciably and the economic pie has to grow much bigger. Otherwise, your feelings of Peak America will come to pass.
 
Mark, at least 12 years ago it was still possible to get through undergrad and grad school without debt. I had to look for the subject matter that was difficult and not attracting sufficient students (it wasn't IT stuff, that was way too crowded). I also chose unfashionable (but excellent) schools, and it seems to have worked out. I suspect it's still possible even now.
 
Drug Shortages
The FDA does not to my knowledge inform drug companies of recalls of other drug company's product. It should, even if not charged with that duty by Congress. This is a classic example of a small change in administrative procedure that could have big consequences.
I am not sure how fast a remaining pharmaceutical firm could ramp up production, but it would be good to try to get more product in the pipeline in this kind of situation.
We do NOT want "rush jobs" ruling the pharmaceutical industry, but some advance warning could obviously help.
 
Jim - I don't think people are paying enough attention to this issue.

According to the article, the FDA was talking to manufacturers that supply a drug once a shortage was identified, and the NEJM column this summer asked doctors to report drug shortages to drugshortages@fda.hhs.gov

Still, my guess is that this is causing more woe than known. From the NEJM column:
Since patient safety is of paramount concern to the FDA, we advise clinicians to continue to scrupulously adhere to label instructions for the use of a drug, even during a time of shortage. Risks associated with misusing a product cannot be ignored. Although this advice is true for drugs in general, it is especially important for sterile injectable products such as propofol. In the case of propofol, the FDA has received numerous reports over many years of adverse events resulting from multiple entries into single-use vials of the drug. This practice has resulted in life-threatening illness due to contamination. In a recent instance, practitioners at an endoscopy clinic in Nevada used 50-ml single-use vials of propofol to obtain multiple doses, contrary to label recommendations. Contamination of these vials led to an outbreak of hepatitis C infection, and approximately 40,000 patients were advised to be tested for potential infection with hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV.4
 
Sounds like Russia, doesn't it?

Most endoscopies are preventive and investigative. This is an unreasonable risk.
 
My husband did his apprenticeship as a machinist in a shop that built nuclear power plants. Most of the guys he wound up working with went to Boeing. As we've lost those big manufacturing plants, we've lost the high paying machinist jobs. A small shop has never been able to pay those kinds of wages.

I've been talking about career deflation for a couple of years now. You have trained, skilled people that can't find jobs that require those skills and get pushed into low paying, entry level jobs. The problem for the folks making the big bucks is that they now think they are worth that kind of money. So they refuse to settle. I saw that years ago with locals working as union laborers. They just weren't willing to take less after that job.
 
Teri, my father was a machinist on nuclear power research projects. He started as a machinist, he did other stuff as he gained experience. The Dept. Of Energy and the EPA killed most of the projects by 1980 and he was reassigned to "food safety" projects. For the most part he loved his job until that point (he did stage a one-man strike for 2 months over nuclear safety concerns in 1972, the union backed him up but we had no income for a while and were on food stamps; whistleblowing hurt his advancement though). He was fairly miserable for the last 10 years of his career - talent and experience thrown away over mindless, short-sighted politics. And he was just one of hundreds.

The US apparently values rules and bureaucracy more than it values skills and critical thinking ability. I pinpoint the blame on the Viet Nam war. We forced a lot of people into college to avoid that stupidity, and we created a generation of college-educated bureaucrats most of whom had no desire to go to college if it hadn't been a way to get out of the draft.

And I don't think Reagan did a darn thing to improve the country, he was just the guy who started the federal government on a borrowing binge that felt good for a while.

/soapbox
 
My girlfriend's sister's husband apparently won't work for less than $40 per hour. $30 wasn't enough apparently. He works/worked in construction.

They've got 2 kids now. She doesn't work. My girlfriend's mother does though. Virtually her entire paycheck goes to help them and she makes roughly 6 digits.


For my entire lifetime our so-called leaders talk and act as if cutting spending is a horrible affront to god and mankind. So we shouldn't be surprised when the subjects start behaving that way too.
 
That is a classic lump of labor fallacy. This is a common error people make with immigration - that immigrants displace other workers, when in fact immigration increases the size of the economy.

CR isn't doing very good work here because he ignores time frames. (And I suspect he has some age bias in his comments.) It takes a while to absorb new or re-entered workers into an economy; and the more roadblocks the government sets up to entrepreneurship and expansion, the longer it will take to absorb these "new" workers.
 
I've been considering a return to college. I'm about 66 credits shy of a B.A. When I first attended school, back in the 70s, it was just a few hundred dollars a year. This was at a 4 year college (now called Cal state at Stanislaus). When I went back to school, in the 90s, it cost me more than that per quarter at a community college. To attend now, at a WA state college, it's around $3k a quarter just for tuition. Textbooks are around $400 a quarter too. As much as I would love to bring some real diversity to a liberal college, I just can't justify taking on that much debt for so little reward.

The other issue is that I prefer to educate myself these days, on things that interest me. I've spent too much time paying for stuff required on a curriculum.

I am concerned though about what this means for the stepson. He's 21 and attending community college part time, with a full time job. I just don't know if it makes sense for him to go forward with his education. I can't see many professions that resist outsourcing.
 
Charles Kiting,

"And I don't think Reagan did a darn thing to improve the country, he was just the guy who started the federal government on a borrowing binge that felt good for a while."

I'm with you on this one.

They say that in the beginning, inflation helps everyone and nobody pays. In the end, it helps nobody and everyone pays.

I think the exact same thing is true of debt.

I've also stated here before that I also think supply side economics is for the birds.

How is giving to those who are well off on the hopes that some trickles down any better than giving to those who are not well off on the hopes that some trickles up?

If the poor had more money, then surely the rich would start new businesses to tap it.

The following does not bode well for our future.

October 1, 2009
U.S. Economic Inequality Highest in Recorded History
 
Well, Mark ... no Reagan means you don't get a 2% of GDP shrinkage in the defense budget during Bush/Clinton. People don't realize that the WARTIME expenditure for the "overseas contingency operation" used to be the NORMAL defense budget during the Cold War.
 
Who Struck John,

I get it now! Our government is spending SO much now so we can *SAVE* money by someday spending a bit less.

Thanks for clearing that up. The more we spend the more we save. Woohoo!

My word verification is "boyers". I think it is a combo of "Oh Boy!", "buoy", and "buyers". Here's a toast to the boyers of lost resorts! ;)
 
Mark,

I think there's definitely something to the old demand-side idea that workers need to make enough money to provide a market for the products they make. But isn't there also something to the idea that taxes on profits and capital gains reduce the incentive to create profit and invest capital?
 
Neil,

"But isn't there also something to the idea that taxes on profits and capital gains reduce the incentive to create profit and invest capital?"

All taxes do that. It isn't just taxes on profits and capital gains.

I currently pay 9.5% sales tax on purchases made here in Washington State. Imagine how much new capital would be invested here if that rate moved to 100%.

So yes. I would agree that higher taxes are bad. However, at some point we need to pay for all this borrowing we have done and are doing. Someone must pay for it. That's the sad truth.

From a stimulus perspective, each $1 that a poor person receives will create $1 of new spending and at least some new investment to meet that new demand. Each dollar that a rich person receives will create somewhere between $0 and $1 of new spending and/or investment. As an example, I don't consider myself rich but when I received the last "stimulus" check it went directly into my savings account. It stimulated nothing in the short-term. It did not trickle down. It also adds to inflationary pressures long-term. Lose-lose for the country as a whole. It was great for me personally though.

From an economic stability perspective, we know that growing income inequality is bad for an economy. We certainly saw that directly play out in the subprime mortgage markets. We also know that we have seen our income inequality grow. Therefore, why would we be looking for more ways to expand it?

From a fairness perspective, the poor's wealth continues to fall behind and the rich's wealth continues to grow. The ratio of CEO pay to average worker pay continues to increase. Should we add insult to injury by offering CEOs tax breaks too? Would that be fair?

Just look at what Mitt Romney's plan would have done to my finances.

"I'm saving before the plan. I'll be saving after the plan. Nothing changed for me except that I'll be growing wealthier faster."

It would have helped me enormously at someone else's expense. Is that fair? I think not.
 
Snark all you like, Mark; it's not at all clear that the Russians would have collapsed so quickly without the good sturdy push they were given in the 1980's.

Clinton was able to run a surplus because he was able to cut the Army in half, cut the Navy and Air Force by a third, and take a decade-long procurement holiday. There were a lot of spending cuts (the "peace dividend") to go with the tax increases.
 
Who Struck John,

I meant no disrespect to you or your opinions.

In my opinion, Clinton was simply lucky. He was able to ride the fake prosperity boom of the late 1990s.

I'm neither pro-republican nor pro-democrat. If we stay on our current path I'll be a banana republican though. Sigh.
 
Mark, I think Clinton was the Cal Coolidge for our times. He had the good fortune to preside in the calm between storms.
 
Who Struck John,

"He had the good fortune to preside in the calm between storms."

Obama is not so lucky.

Despair.com: Change (winds)

"When the winds of change blow hard enough, the most trivial of things can become deadly projectiles."
 
Obama isn't as lucky.

We can't run bubbles forever. The Fed is trying to do it again, but underneath the infrastructure keeps getting weaker and weaker.

A very interesting discussion.

I think we should all remember that as far as corporate tax rates go, most other industrialized countries have cut theirs. We haven't.

There is an element of competition here and we need to remain aware of that element.

There may be some theoretical "proper" corporate tax rate. I would not know how to determine it, although it is clear that 100% is too high.

In practice, I think we need to look to other developed countries and accommodate somewhat to their policies. We haven't.
 
MOM,

"I think we should all remember that as far as corporate tax rates go, most other industrialized countries have cut theirs. We haven't."

In my opinion, it's all just part of the global race to the bottom.

I don't have any answers for fixing our long-term structural problems. It's like playing whack-a-mole. Each solution offers up a new problem.

To me, it's a bit like the first grocery store that figured out it could bring in more customers if it stayed open 24 hours per day. It no doubt worked for a while but now they all do it. The advantage is gone but the slightly higher costs in keeping a store open all the time remain.

That said, you make a good point. It would be foolish to open a major grocery chain and not consider staying open 24 hours per day if the competition is doing it.

My local Safeway (SWY) is open 24 hours a day. So is my local QFC (KR).

My local Albertsons (SVU) is not though. It is only open from 6am to midnight. Perhaps that helps partially explain the following. Who knows?

Stock Chart
 
M_O_M,

I've looked at your links, I've googled the web and the news and I see nothing about price controls on drugs in this country - except in the ABC article, they referred to insurance companies not wanting to pay for more expensive substitutes. So just where can I find out about these U.S. drug controls?

Oh and I'm with Charles Kiting on Reagan - when you graph the ratio deficit to GDP, good old Ronnie was the first of the big spenders. He introduced the nation to structural deficits.

It must be because the Dems in Congress kept over-riding his vetoes. No, wait, that never happened!
 
From a stimulus perspective, each $1 that a poor person receives will create $1 of new spending and at least some new investment to meet that new demand. Each dollar that a rich person receives will create somewhere between $0 and $1 of new spending and/or investment. As an example, I don't consider myself rich but when I received the last "stimulus" check it went directly into my savings account.

When in the hell did "save" become a 4-letter word?!?!?

Saving is what is supposed to happen - it is the proper source of new capital.

This obsession with getting everybody to "spend everything they have, and more, right now!" is Keynesian garbage of the worst sort.

On the other hand, I don't think giving the poorest an effective tax hike by giving with one hand and taking with the other is right, either. It is very wrong. Taxes should not be regressive.
 
bobn,

"When in the hell did "save" become a 4-letter word?!?!?"

Since we adopted an unsustainable ponzi scheme exponential credit growth at any price banking system model? Bernanke has stated that credit is the "life blood" of our economy. Debt is our life blood? Good grief.

"This obsession with getting everybody to "spend everything they have, and more, right now!" is Keynesian garbage of the worst sort."

I agree. I was not in favor of the stimulus checks. I'm not in favor of ultra low rate interest rates to entice savers into taking more risks while simultaneously pushing up the price of oil and creating even more bubbles destined to pop at some point. It can only end in tears. Again.
 
Bob - In the Keynesian scheme of things, business cycles downturns are caused by an excess of savings.
 
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