Quote of the Day: "My Heart, My Choice"
"I did not sign away my right to get the best possible health care for myself when I entered politics."
~Canadian Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador Danny Williams
HT: John Goodman
Professor Mark J. Perry's Blog for Economics and Finance
"I did not sign away my right to get the best possible health care for myself when I entered politics."
"In December, the 10-City and 20-City S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices recorded annual declines of 2.4% and 3.1%, respectively. These two indices, which are reported at a monthly frequency, have seen improvements in their annual rates of return every month since the beginning of the year (see chart above)."
We hear a lot about how women are underrepresented in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields and careers, and "Nationwide, there is a push for more women to choose STEM fields." There is a special National Science Foundation program called ADVANCE, whose goal is to:
"Take Wall Street "greed." Is there any evidence that people on Wall Street were any less interested in making money during all the decades and generations when investments in housing were among the safest investments around? If their greed did not bring on an economic disaster before, why would it bring it on now? As for lenders, how could they have expected to satisfy their greed by lending to people who were not likely to repay them?"
The Credit Card Act of 2009 provides a lot of protection for cardholders:
WASH POST -- "A law hailed as the most sweeping piece of consumer legislation in decades has helped make it more difficult for millions of Americans to get credit, and made that credit more expensive.
Exhibit A: "Annual fees, common until about 10 years ago, have made a comeback. During the final three months of last year, 43% of new offers for credit cards contained annual fees, versus 25% in the same period a year earlier, according to Mintel International, which tracks marketing data. Several banks also added these fees to existing accounts. One example: Many Citigroup customers will start paying a $60 annual fee on April 1."
MP: This story clearly illustrates the Law of Unintended Consequences ("Any intervention in a complex system may or may not have the intended result, but will inevitably create unanticipated and often undesirable outcomes.") and why regulations are distortionary - because companies can change their behavior to avoid or circumvent them.
"Led by improvements in production- and employment-related indicators, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index in January was slightly positive for the second time in the past three months. From June 2007 through October 2009, the index had been consistently negative. The index increased to +0.02 in January from –0.58 in December, with all four categories of indicators having improved.
Nationally, inflation-adjusted public school spending per pupil has more than doubled since the late 1960s (see graph above, data here).
There's been a lively discussion about this CD post on D.C. public school spending. Whether the per pupil public spending in D.C. is $15,000 or $25,000, and whether certain capital expenditures should be included or not, probably aren't as important as some of the bigger issues that should get more attention than the minor details (although I also provide clarification of the details below):
Back to the details:
2. According to data from the Department of Education (data here, Table 186) for "Current expenditure per pupil in average daily attendance in public elementary and secondary schools," spending per pupil in the D.C. schools was $20,596 in 2006-2007 (measured in constant 2007-2008 dollars), and that was the highest amount in the country and almost twice the national average of $10,720. Whether spending was $20,000 or $25,000 isn't as important as the fact that D.C. public school spending leads the country, when everything is calculated on a consistent basis.
3. From the same table, real spending per D.C. pupil in 1959 was only 15% above the national average and by 2006-2007 D.C. spending was 92% above the national average. Over the last fifty years, real spending per student in D.C. has increased by 6.63 times (from $3,106 to $20,596) since 1959, and that increase is the highest in the country, and compares to an average real increase in spending of 4.37 times between 1959 and 2006.
4. Department of Education data (Table 178) for "Total Expenditures for public elementary and secondary education" shows that the D.C. public schools spent $1,389,995,000 (almost $1.4 billion) for the 2006-2007 school year, which is even higher than the $1.29 billion reported in my last post (based on Andrew Coulson's data).
5. Department of Education data also show that the D.C. schools have one of the lowest high school graduation rates of 65.4% for 2005-2006, a full eight percentage points below the national average of 73.4%.
Bottom Line: The important issues to me should be: a) the significant increase in real spending over time for public schools in general, b) the fact that D.C. public schools spend more than $1 billion per year and lead the country in per pupil spending, c) D.C. schools have had the greatest spending increases over the last 50 years, d) D.C. schools have one of the lowest graduation rates in the country, and e) the resistance by teachers' unions, Democrats (usually) and labor unions to school choice in D.C. and around the country, like the Opportunity Scholarship Program in D.C.
Paul Kedrosky re-visits the famous Simon-Erlich bet. Alex Tabarrok responds here. Paul wrote:
According to a report released Friday by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, the median Consumer Price Index was virtually unchanged at 0.0% (0.5% annualized rate) in January. The "median CPI" is a measure of core inflation calculated by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland based on data in the monthly CPI report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS).
Two-in-five Canadians would consider paying or going abroad to seek medical treatment, according to a poll by Angus Reid Public Opinion. 40 per cent of respondents would be willing to pay out of their own pocket to have quicker access to medical services that currently have long wait times, and 42 per cent would consider traveling to another country.
According to new data from the IRS, the top 400 individual income taxpayers in 2007 (out of 143 million taxpayers) earned 1.59% of all Adjusted Gross Income in that year, and paid 2.05% of all individual income taxes collected (see chart).
PHILADELPHIA FED -- "Manufacturing conditions continue to improve in the region, according to firms polled for this month's Business Outlook Survey. Indexes for general activity, new orders, shipments, and employment all remained positive this month and increased from their readings in January. Firms reported a notable pickup in new orders this month. Overall, firms remain generally optimistic about growth for the manufacturing sector over the next six months.
The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S. increased 0.3% in January, following a 1.2% gain in December, and a 1.1% rise in November. Says Ataman Ozyildirim, Economist at The Conference Board: “The U.S. LEI has risen steadily for nearly a year, led by an improvement in financial markets and a manufacturing upturn. Consumer expectations and housing permits have also contributed to these gains over this period, but to a lesser extent – especially in recent months. Current economic conditions, as measured by The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index (CEI), have also improved modestly since July 2009, helped by strengthening industrial production, despite continued weakness in employment.”
I've posted several times before about the profitability of the "Health Care Plans" industry, see posts here and here, and reported previously that the health insurance industry ranked #86 by profit margin out of 215 industries, at 3.3%.
For the last ten recessions, notice a similar V-shaped pattern for the year-to-year growth in industrial production rebounding at the end of each recession, and signalling the start of the next economic expansion.
"The manufacturing sector is at the heart of the V-shaped economic recovery. After a weather-related dip in December, we said last month to expect a clear rebound in January and that’s exactly what we got, with manufacturing surging 0.9%. Auto production was particularly strong, spiking up 5%, but even excluding autos manufacturing was up 0.8%. Although another weather-related dip in February may be in the cards, we anticipate another quick rebound and continued strength in the year ahead.
From today's Federal Reserve release, U.S. industrial production grew in January by 0.9% compared to the same month last year, and posted the first year-to-year growth in manufacturing output in 22 months, going back to March of 2008. Any objections to calling this a V-shaped economic recovery?
From the NY Times, "After Years of Quiet, Expecting a Boom in U.S. Medical Schools":
The government announced in December it would fine airlines $27,500 per passenger for long tarmac delays (three hours or more) - or $2.75 million for a 100-passenger flight.
According to data released several weeks ago by the Census Bureau, the U.S. homeownership rate fell to 67.2% in the fourth quarter of 2009, the lowest rate since 67.1% in the first quarter of 2000, almost ten years ago. Compared to the peak of 69.2% in 2004, homeownership has fallen by two full percentage points.
"The Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates that conditions for New York manufacturers improved for a seventh consecutive month in February and at a relatively rapid pace. The general business conditions index for current conditions climbed 9 points, to 24.9 from 15.9 in January (see chart). The new orders index fell, though it remained positive, and the shipments index inched downward as well. The inventories index rose sharply, to 0.0, its highest reading in considerably more than a year.
(1) Incentivize patients to be smart consumers
According to the University of Michigan, Consumer Sentiment fell slightly in February to 73.7 from 74.4 in January but has now remained above the 70 level for the last three months in a row (72.5, 74.4 and 73.7 in December, January and February), for the first time since the recession started during the three-month period from December 2007 to February 2008 (see chart above), signalling a gradual restoration of consumer confidence about the economy.
CHARLOTTE OBSERVER -- "A forthcoming study by a Duke University researcher and several colleagues confirms what not-so-thin women and short, broke men have long suspected: They don't get nearly as much romantic attention as skinny women and tall, financially secure guys.
Climategate U-turn: Scientist at Center of Controversy Admits There Has Been No Statistically Significant Global Warming Since 1995.
MOSCOW — "Even in Russia, the recent blizzards that have hit Washington have been noticed. Though not always sympathetically. Were Congress and other powerful institutions really closed, not to mention the schools? Did panicked residents actually strip stores of food, making the bare shelves resemble something from the Soviet era? All because of the snow?
According to housing sale data from the Michigan Association of Realtors, the average price of a home sold in Michigan in 2009 was $99,121, a 16.3% decrease from the $118,388 average price in 2008, and 35% below the peak average price of $152,845 in 2006. The $99,121 average home price in 2009 marks the first year since 1994 (15 years ago) that the average Michigan home sold for below $100,000 (see chart).
DETROIT FREE PRESS (Feb. 5) -- "Amiya Olden remembers well the day she graduated from Denby High School in Detroit. She handed her diploma to her mother, Karen Olden, who read it to her. "Then when someone asked me to read it, I could remember the things that she read, and I knew what I had to say," recalled Amiya Olden, now 22. Amiya could not read her own diploma.
"There are lots of stupid federal programs. There are lots of wasteful federal programs. The corn ethanol mandates are immoral."
In the heart of Caracas's historical center, some shopkeepers are being bought out by the state -- whether they like it or not.