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What is More Important: Markets or People?

(Editorial) A defining question for our age is whether people or markets matter more. Some believe that the so-called “free” market can do no wrong, and that it is people who must adjust themselves to it, however painfully. Others believe that markets merely serve as a tool, and that if markets deliver a result that … Continue reading

In just one Word, why Germany Refuses to End the Crisis in the Euro Area: “Leverage”

(Analysis) The drama in the euro area continues with no clear end in sight. Recession, unemployment, and worsening sovereign debt levels – all exacerbated by flawed policies of austerity pursued in weaker performing economies, continue to be reported and forecast into the future. Because the crisis in the euro area directly resulted from the financial … Continue reading

More Evidence of Labor Being Squeezed for Profit

(WNY) Inequality of both income and wealth is rising fast in the US. Since 1993, when significant revisions to an official measure of income inequality among households occurred, this measure of income inequality is up over 5 percent. Some increase can be attributed to growth of pay disparity between educational attainment – a college “premium”, … Continue reading

Toxic Asset Shock Impeding Bank Lending to Real Economy

(Analysis) As US banks still remain underwater six years after the onset of the 2007-8 financial crisis, their lending to the real economy – to both business and consumers, is still falling when measured relative to their net assets (see chart. Net assets are total assets minus intangibles like goodwill). This is one very strong … Continue reading

The Niagara Frontier Tax Give-away, Part II: How Does Your Local IDA Compare?

(WNY) NYS recently shined a spotlight [pdf] on the state-sponsored industrial development agencies (IDAs), seeking to deliver a minimum of oversight and transparency as the IDAs dole out tax exemptions and other public goodies to business. There is previous WNY-WJ content about this here, and the table from that content is now updated (see table … Continue reading

Economic Distress in North Atlantic Could Be Worrisome Politically

(International) Economic distress – when an economy is in such a woeful state that fear becomes a prime motivator in politics, is nearing critical mass in many north Atlantic states. It is the stuff of dangerous right-wing dictatorship. The euro area continues to follow a now-discredited policy of austerity, even as it continues in recession … Continue reading

The “Hireless” Recovery

(Northeast) Officially released statistics show that seasonally-adjusted nonfarm hiring in the northeastern US is down 2.9% in Mar., falling to 695,000 (solid line in chart). This brings it back to level with its 12-month moving average (dotted line in chart), and demonstrates that there is no recovery yet in hiring since the onset of the … Continue reading

Roll Back the Clock. Repeat 3 Decades.

(Editorial) One gets the feeling when looking at officially published GDP data that we have come full circle – we both begin the series in 1929 and end it in 2012 with an episode of steep decline and multiple years of below-trend levels reported. Without getting into any sophisticated analysis or addressing correlation-causality issues, there … Continue reading

Lackluster Economic Recovery as Corporations Still Skittish

(Analysis) Into a sixth year since the onset of the 2008-9 recession, the economic recovery remains lackluster. Employment by private industry in the US is still down by 1.6% in April when compared to 2007, even though the US population is larger. The headline unemployment rate remains elevated at 7.5%, and a broader measure of … Continue reading

Growing Income Inequality Could Be a Life Sentence at Low Achievement for Many

(Analysis) Data from the Census Bureau show a widening gap between rich and poor in the US. Whether you directly compare the incomes from upper-income groups with lower-income groups, or construct more statistically sophisticated measures, the data show the same worrying trend: income inequality in the US is on the rise, especially since 1979. One … Continue reading