Wednesday, April 15, 2009

SAR #9105

More: America's core belief.

Almost Paradise: The Labor Department reports that another 663,000 jobs evaporated in March and that those who still had jobs worked only 33.2 hours a week - another new low. Fewer people working less hours; Just think how large profit margins will be without all those noisome labor costs.

Big Excitement: Retail sales fell 1.1% in March, with large decreases in auto, clothing, appliance and furniture sales. Sales fell 11.6% on a y/y basis. Why do all of the headlines say this was unexpected? Did they not see the unemployment numbers?

Watch Carefully: Government Sacks Goldman Sacs reports a profit. Large Deal. But remember, GS borrowed $10 billion from the taxpayers, got another $13 billion in taxpayer funds via AIG (which GS is calling 'profits'), dropped the month of December from its accounting, and now that the government bailouts have raised the stock price 175%, GS is going get $5 billion more from the taxpayers by selling them shares in a company they should already own.

Rose is Rose: The Wholesale Price Index - in its revised and more government-friendly guise as the Producer Price Index - shows deflation rose more than expected as the PPI fell 1.2% in March. Over the past year, the PPI is down 3.5% - the largest drop since 1950. But remember, it's negative inflation, not that other word that Mr. Bernanke has outlawed.

Freebie: Social scientists have shown that college students who spend their day on Facebook don't get grades as high as those who study.

Nugget: In an article about Wells Fargo needing another $25 billion infusion, stress test be damned, was this little gem: "assuming the recession continues through the first quarter of 2010 and unemployment reaches 12 percent..." Assume?

Import/Export: Spanish courts are going forward with criminal investigations into former US Attorney General Gonzales and 5 of his top associates for the facilitation of torture. Torture is illegal in the US, too. Wonder why the US isn't investigating these offenses.

Privatization Report: Philadelphia public schools that were placed under private management in 2002 as part of a state-run reform of the Philadelphia School District did not keep pace with the city's public schools in academic improvement. Privatization, Edison Schools Inc had claimed, would introduce competition to the benefit of schools. And it has, showing public schools perform better than the privately run for-profit ones.

Beam It Down, Scotty: California's PG&E has agreed to buy 200 megawatts of electricity, beginning in 2016, from Solaren - which plans to beam the power down from its orbiting power station, 22,000 miles up. Cue the Star Wars theme...

Testing 1-2-3: Timmy said the purpose of the stress test was to see if the top banks were solvent. Maybe. Or maybe it was to prove they are solid. Maybe. Keep in mind, the magician's words are to distract from what his hands are up to. The goal may not be what it's presented to be.

Takes One to Know One: A survey of climate experts showed that while more than half thought it was still possible to hold the global temperature rise to 2C, less than 10% thought this would be done. Most thought the rise would be 4C or more, which is pretty much disaster. Silly scientists, what do they know?

Water is Wet! And, after months of study and several useless experiments with mortgage modifications, the government now discovers that unemployed folks don't pay their mortgages.

Porn O'Graph: Another illusion, progressive taxation.


Anonymous said...

RE: Freebie:

Who says social science isn't a hard science?

CK: Wasn't there a counter posting about that graph on Clusterstock?

Oh and Obama is going to simplify the tax code.

How much did you make ast year. Send it in.


Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

RBM - As a physicist, it is hard to admit there are any other sciences; I even feel a lot of theoretical physicists are stringing us along.

Graphs are the product of statistics, you get to choose the one that fits. Or at least on my blog, I do. The difference in the two charts is the difference between is between Federal and total tax loads. Not that I'd pick one that fit my skew...


Morg said...

Loved the "Duh!" studies. You would think with all the budget shortfalls all over the place that this stuff would lose funding.

The porn'o'graph was interesting. I would love to hear what people's interpretations of that were. The wave pattern seems to denote that being at the top or in the upper middle (fourth 20%) is the worst place to be with the highest percent of income being taken and highest group percentage of taxes being paid.

One could also note that it appears the bottom 60% pays 18-20% of the taxes and the top 40% pays around 80% ot the total tax burden.

I am curious why the chart dips between the "next 10%" and the "next 4%." I would have thought the progressive tax system would have been more of gradual rise with income level.

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

Morg - You've forgotten - the most progressive thing about our tax code is the size of loopholes...