Posts filed under “Current Affairs”
According to a Global Investment Strategy Special Report, the Occupy Wall Street movement symbolizes the fact that political extremism is rapidly becoming mainstream.
But is it really extremism?
Consider the following, from BCA:
The Occupy Wall Street movement is rooted in the secular decline of the American middle class. Judging from the GINI coefficient, the distribution of income is more unequal in the U.S. than OECD countries in general. Moreover, real wage growth in the U.S. has stagnated since 2000, while education and healthcare costs have soared. High education costs have serious social repercussions since they are a strong drag on upward class mobility.
While it is currently impossible to boil down the Occupy Wall Street movement to a single issue, it is a symptom of deepening social strife, political polarization and spreading discontent in the U.S. These are ingredients that, if left unchecked, can lead to potentially radical shifts in policy made to score political points with the extremes, rather than to address underlying economic problems. Both the extreme right and left of the political spectrum will be energized by genuine social discontent – which can nonetheless translate into completely opposing policy preferences – leading to further political polarization. If the clash between left and right intensifies, policy making will become even more difficult. This would mean a heightened political and policy risk premium on equity prices among all G7 markets.
If I could get one question posed to the candidates at the next debate (Tuesday night), which is to focus solely on the economy, it would be this: “We repeatedly hear about taxes, regulations, and uncertainty standing in the way of job creation. However, the National Federation of Independent Business (“The Voice of Small Business”)…Read More
Here’s a great chart just released by the International Monetary Fund. Note that almost half — 47 percent – of the US$14.7 trillion U.S. federal government debt is held by the Federal Reserve and the government itself, such as the Social Security trust fund. Add to that the 22 percent foreign official holdings (mainly central…Read More
Herewith a potpourri of unrelated items I’ve found on my never-ending voyage through the internet. Grab a cup of coffee and pull up a chair. Seen This Movie Before First up, an excerpt from a speech given by Teddy Roosevelt in December 1906. I was taken by the opening line and the third paragraph. Indeed,…Read More
(Source: Census.gov)> If we were all to become suddenly rich tomorrow, the government’s revenue problems are solved at the current tax rates, so no worries in that case. But I place long odds on that, so let’s move on to what’s actually happening. It’s as if the entire country has turned into Lake Wobegon, as…Read More
The Census Bureau released its annual report on Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage: 2010 (full PDF) this morning. Barry has posted the slide presentation that staff went through during the conference call over in the Think Tank (please have a look). The (very ugly) bullet points from the release can be found here, and the…Read More
I posted here about the government’s plan to discontinue the 133-year-old Statistical Abstract, an invaluable tool for individuals and businesses alike. Regardless one’s political or economic stripes — Dem or Repub, Keynes or Hayek — there’s consensus about the importance and value of the Statistical Abstract. So, I ask the TBP readership to let their…Read More
There is a huge Washington Post special report on Breakaway Wealth in the US. More than most other industrialized nations, the US has seen the top 0.1% compensated in vastly disproportionate numbers versus the rest of the populace. There are at least several reasons to be concerned about this, beyond basic fairness: 1) Nations that…Read More
Some of the factors that have landed us in the mess we’re in have been building for decades, and there’s ample evidence on which to draw to demonstrate that fact. In looking at a few of these issues, I’ll draw on some charts I’ve presented both here and elsewhere before. A couple are replicated from this outstanding study in…Read More