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Plucking the Feathers From Deficit Hawks

(Analysis) Recent events have changed the tenor of the budget debate worldwide. We are witnessing a moment when the entire support structure upon which the belief that there is a short-term debt problem rests, crumble. Each new day brings more data confirming both low borrowing costs for the US Government and no inflation problem in … Continue reading

Local Area’s Austerity Is Bad Medicine

(WNY) As many advanced economies of the world suffer unnecessarily through self-imposed austerity – where government spending is cut in the mistaken hope of spurring economic growth through lower deficits during a time of poor economic performance, there is evidence in government statistics to show that austerity is happening locally in the Buffalo area. The … Continue reading

Tether the Market Beast and Restore Civic Virtue

(Editorial) Throughout the 2000s, there was a commonly recurring theme in media outlets about the “greatest” generation. Widely popularized by journalist Tom Brokaw’s book of the same name, the focus was on how this generation surmounted grave challenges in its formative years – during both the Great Depression of the 1930s and WWII, and went … Continue reading

Banks Still Underwater 6 Years Later

(Analysis) There has been a lot of content in different media outlets about how many homeowners are underwater – when the money that they still owe on their mortgage is more than their home’s current market value. Less attention has been paid to a similar phenomenon among banks here in the US: when the money … Continue reading

Buffalo Area’s “Rentier” Income Outpaces Workers’ Earnings

(WNY) The average real (inflation-adjusted) wage per job in the Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY area is failing to keep pace with real income from capital gains, interest, and rents – “rentier” income. The first chart to the left shows that as the average real wage (solid black line) is relatively stagnant during the years 2001-11, total … Continue reading

NYS Manufacturing Slows as Federal Stimulus Wanes

(NYS) The monthly survey of manufacturers released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRB NY) on Apr. 15 shows that while the positive level for the general conditions index indicates manufacturing growth, there is a noticeable trend in the index – downwards, as federal stimulus spending recedes. Per the FRB NY: “The headline … Continue reading

Buffalo Area’s Real Hourly Earnings Still Down From Pre-Recession

(Buffalo, NY) Data released by government agencies show that the Buffalo area’s real (adjusted for inflation) private-sector hourly earnings in Mar. 2013 are still down 3.6% from a level before the recession. This equates to a reduction in annual earnings for a typical full-time employee by approximately $1,700 of equivalent 2012 dollars – not small change … Continue reading

Multinationals Continue To Grow Employment Overseas to US Labor’s Detriment

(Analysis) As US multi-national companies (MNCs) increasingly shelter their offshore revenue from the IRS, they are continuing a trend of betting against the US economy. The US Commerce Department’s BEA released data on April 18 summarizing their activities – both domestic and overseas, through 2011. Many of its highlights indicate further erosion of confidence among … Continue reading

Niagara River Greenway Runs Off Course – Spills Funding Far From River’s Bank

(Buffalo, NY) A local non-profit organization called Partnership for the Public Good critiques how a government-sponsored entity, the Niagara River Greenway Commission, is approving projects. Interpreting its mandate to promote green space along the river very broadly, the commission is currently approving projects as far away from the Niagara River as Wilson, Newfane, and Lockport … Continue reading

Buffalo Area’s Construction Employment Not Improving With Slow Housing Recovery

(WNY) Even as the US slowly recovers from the housing bust brought about by the collapse of home prices beginning in 2006-7, the employment situation for the Buffalo area’s construction industry is not improving. Whereas both NYS and the US as a whole have posted some pretty good 12-month percent changes in construction employment lately, … Continue reading