Friday, January 31, 2014

Republicans Now Favored Over Democrats For 2014 Control Of US Senate On Election Security Trading Market: Odds Were Even Yesterday

According to the trading price on the Iowa Electronic Markets at 01:00:00 CST, Friday, January 31, 2014, the  Republicans are favored over the Democrats to control the US Senate in the 2014 election. The odds for a Republican controlled House and a Republican controlled Senate are 44.9 percent. The odds for a Republican controlled House and a Democratic controlled Senate are 40.0 percent.

From University of Iowa Henry B. Tippie College of Business, 2014 US Congressional Control Market on the Iowa Electronic Markets:

2014 US Congressional Control Market
Source Iowa Election Market

As I previously posted, the odds for control of the US Senate were even for the two political parties yesterday.

Fatally Injured Drivers Testing Positive For Marijuana Triples Over Decade

From "Signs point to sharp rise in drugged driving fatalities" on ScienceBlog:
Fatally injured drivers increasingly test positive for drugs, numbers nearly triple for marijuana in 10-year period

The prevalence of non-alcohol drugs detected in fatally injured drivers in the U.S. has been steadily rising and tripled from 1999 to 2010 for drivers who tested positive for marijuana — the most commonly detected non-alcohol drug — suggesting that drugged driving may be playing an increasing role in fatal motor vehicle crashes.

As reported in a news release, to assess these trends researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health examined toxicological testing data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System and found that of 23,591 drivers who were killed within one hour of a crash, 39.7% tested positive for alcohol and 24.8% for other drugs.

While positive results for alcohol remained stable, the prevalence of non-alcohol drugs rose significantly from 16.6% in 1999 to 28.3% in 2010; for marijuana, rates rose from 4.2% to 12.2%. Findings are online in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Current Economic Recovery In Perspective Charts

From The Wall Street Journal, Real Time Economics, "Charts: Putting U.S. Economic Growth in Perspective:"

Inflation Adjusted GDP Growth Post Recession
Source: The Wall St Journal



Inflation Adjusted GDP Quarterly Growth Post Recession
Source: The Wall St Journal

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Odds For A Democratic Or Republican Controlled US Senate Are Equal On Election Security Trading Market

According to the trading price on the Iowa Electronic Markets at 02:30:00 CST, Thursday, January 30, 2014, the odds for a Republican or a Democratic controlled US Senate in the 2014 election are even. The odds for a Republican controlled House and a Democratic controlled Senate are 38.5 percent. The odds for a Republican controlled House and a Republican controlled Senate are also 38.5 percent.

From University of Iowa Henry B. Tippie College of Business, 2014 US Congressional Control Market on the Iowa Electronic Markets:

2014 US Congressional Control Market
Source Iowa Election Market

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Minimum Wage Is The "Black Teenage Unemployment Act": Where Is The US Government's Disparate Impact Lawsuit Against State And Federal Laws And Presidential Executive Orders That Mandate A Minimum Wage

From MediaMatters, "Fox Regular Art Laffer: The Minimum Wage Is Just The 'Black Teenage Unemployment Act' :"
[Art] Laffer [former Reagan Economic Advisor] ... appeared on the January 8 edition of Fox News' Happening Now to discuss the possible extension of recently-expired unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed. When host Jenna Lee asked Laffer and American Enterprise Institute's Michael Strain about other ways to improve the economy, Laffer recommended doing away with the minimum wage for some workers, saying that "honestly" the requirement is the "black teenage unemployment act." Strain agreed, and suggested lowering the minimum wage "for the long-term unemployed" to $4 an hour.



JENNA LEE: One of the things you both agree on is maybe looking at minimum wage, and Art, you have an idea for minimum wage that you think could encourage hiring and it involves state government so what is that plan?

LAFFER: Yeah, well the minimum wage makes no sense whatsoever to me. I mean, honestly, it's just the teenage -- black teenage unemployment act and this is the very groups that we need to have jobs not be put out of work because of the minimum wage so I'm really very much in favor of at least for teenagers getting rid of the minimum wage so we can bring them back into the labor force, get them the skills they need to continue being productive members of our society for years and years. I mean, that's the way I'd go on minimum wage.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the unemployment rate for White teenagers, 16-19 years old, is 18 percent and for Black teenagers it is 35.5 percent. Both teenage unemployment rates are over three times their respective unemployment rates for 20 years old and over, and the Black teenage unemployment rate is double the White teenage unemployment rate.

Historically, the original reason for US minimum wage laws was not to increase wages or reduce poverty. The original motivation was to prevent Black workers and Black owned firms from competing with White workers and White owned firms with a lower cost of labor and lower price advantage.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Increase Government Worker Health Benefits Responsible For Growth In US Health Spending Over Past Decades

From John Goodman's Health Policy Blog, "Government Workers’ Health Benefits Cost 40 Percent More Than Private Workers" by John R. Graham:
Last year, public-sector health benefits cost $8,551 per employee while private-sector coverage cost only $6,040.

That 40 percent premium for a public-sector worker is not captured by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Indeed, because the Foundation does not survey federal-government employees, it does not even report those who might be the highest cost. Even if the latter include the military, the premium for government benefits is remarkably high.

When people complain about the cost of private coverage, they likely don’t know that many of the guilty parties are government employees (including the ones who would be involved in a so-called “single payer”, government monopoly, health system).

The reports do not publish the number of public-sector workers versus private-sector workers. If they did, simple arithmetic would likely show that the rapid increase in health spending over the decades is largely explained by growth in public-sector health benefits, not private-sector ones. [Emphasis added.]

More College Educated Working Women Marrying College Educated Working Men Raised US Income Inequality Since 1960

From The New York Times, Economix, "Income Inequality in the U.S. Means Princes Don’t Go After Cinderellas" by Shaila Dewan:
But a new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research says that Americans increasingly engage in what economists call “positive assortative mating” — meaning they marry someone who is about the same as they are. Princes do not tend to go after Cinderellas.

The paper’s authors, led by Jeremy Greenwood at the University of Pennsylvania, mined census data from 1960 to 2005 and found that people’s tendency to marry someone of the same education level as their own increased steeply. After taking into account the increases in the education levels for men and women that have occurred between 1960 and 2005, the odds of a college-educated male marrying a college-educated female rose by 12 percentage points.
***
They then looked at the effect of this self-selection on income inequality. In 1960, they found, a couple without high school degrees would have made 77 percent of the mean household income. But if the woman without a high school degree married a man with a college degree, their household would have made 124 percent of the average.

In 2005, a woman with post-college education married to a man without a high school degree would have had a household income 92 percent of average. But if she married a man with a similar level of education to her own, they would have been making more than twice the average income.

The authors compared their marriage model to a measure of inequality known as the Gini coefficient — the higher the Gini coefficient, the greater the inequality in a given society. From 1960 to 2005, the Gini coefficient in the United States increased to 0.43, from 0.34, representing the dropping share of income controlled by poor families.

If people married completely randomly in 1960, instead of following the pattern they did, the Gini coefficient would have remained about the same. But if people married randomly in 2005 (or if they followed the preferences of couples in 1960) the Gini coefficient — and thus income inequality for the society at large — would have been significantly lower.

Not only are people more apt to marry someone similar to themselves today, but their choices also matter more to society. That’s because a far greater share of women work today than before.

Before, it didn’t matter so much whom you married if your household was going to have only one income, Mr. Greenwood said. “Plus, the higher educated women earn a lot more now relative to what they did in 1960, so that makes sorting more important in 2005,” he said. [Emphasis added.]

NYC Metro Area Has Lowest US Annual Home Price Increase

From The Wall Street Journal, Real Time Economics, "A Look at Case-Shiller by Metro Area" by Phil Izzo:
Cleveland
106.91
0.3%
1.2%
6.0%
New York
172.54
-0.4%
0.8%
6.0%
Washington
203.71
-0.3%
0.7%
7.8%
Charlotte
124.83
-0.6%
0.5%
8.7%
Denver
146.45
-0.2%
0.5%
8.9%
Boston
168.78
0.2%
1.3%
9.8%
Dallas
132.58
0.1%
1.0%
9.9%
Minneapolis
139.05
0.0%
0.8%
10.5%
Chicago
125.87
-1.2%
0.8%
11.0%
Seattle
160.17
-0.1%
0.4%
12.4%
Portland
159.92
-0.3%
0.7%
12.5%
Tampa
154.70
0.2%
1.1%
15.7%
Miami
176.02
1.4%
1.6%
16.5%
Phoenix
144.86
0.3%
0.4%
16.7%
Detroit
94.70
-0.1%
1.3%
17.3%
Atlanta
113.37
-0.3%
1.6%
18.5%
San Diego
194.15
0.0%
0.7%
18.7%
Los Angeles
214.79
0.1%
0.8%
21.6%
San Francisco
180.19
0.4%
1.3%
23.2%
Las Vegas
128.00
0.6%
1.2%
27.3%

Sources: S&P Dow Jones Indices and CoreLogic

Pete Seeger: 1919-2014

Monday, January 27, 2014

NY's Growth In Millionaires Below National Average: NY Millionaires Pay 41 Percent Of State's Income Tax But Have 26 Percent Of Income

From The Journal News, lohud.com, "N.Y. millionaires rising; Westchester has most outside of Manhattan" by Joseph Spector:
Earners of $1 million or more who live in New York, not those who earn their income in New York but live elsewhere, increased 6.8 percent between 2010 and 2011, according to IRS data. Nationally, it grew by 7.7 percent, McMahon said.

The increase in New York millionaires in 2011, the most recent figures available, wasn’t as large as it was in 2010, when it soared 19 percent from 2009.
***
State budget documents forecast that earners making $1 million or more are expected to pay 41 percent of the state’s total income tax in 2014, a 17 percent increase from 2011. Yet they will represent 26 percent of the state’s total earnings, an increase of 15 percent from 2011.

The total taxes paid in every other income bracket is expected to drop in 2014, the state budget showed.
***
New York City had 53 percent of the millionaires in 2011, a total of nearly 19,000 or 8 percent higher than in 2010. And 87 percent of them lived in Manhattan.

The second most millionaire earners in 2011 lived in Westchester County, with 6,518 – an increase of 6.7 percent from the previous year.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Over 50 Percent Of NYC Pedestrian Injuries And Fatalities At Intersections Occurred While Crossing With The Signal

From City Journal, "Jaywalk This Way: For New York City pedestrians, following the law can get you killed." by Nicole Gelinas:
A 2010 report on pedestrian safety in New York City concluded that "surprisingly, most (57 percent)" of deaths at intersections between 2005 and 2009 "occurred while the pedestrian was crossing with the signal."
The complete report, "The New York City Pedestrian Safety Study & Action Plan" by the New York City Department of Transportation,
August 2010, follows:

NYC Pedestrian Safety Study Action Plan August 2010

Friday, January 24, 2014

NY Has Highest US Union Membership Rate: NC Has Lowest US Union Membership Rate: Occupationally, Teachers, Police And Firefighters Have Highest Unionization

From Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Economic News Release, "Union Members Summary:"
In 2013, the union membership rate--the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of unions--was 11.3 percent, the same as in 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions, at 14.5 million, was little different from 2012. In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent, and there were 17.7 million union workers.
***
Highlights from the 2013 data:
--Public-sector workers had a union membership rate (35.3 percent) more than five times higher than that of private-sector workers (6.7 percent).

--Workers in education, training, and library occupations and in protective service occupations had the highest unionization rate, at 35.3 percent for each occupation group.

--Men had a higher union membership rate (11.9 percent) than women (10.5 percent).

--Black workers were more likely to be union members than white, Asian, or Hispanic workers.

--Among states, New York continued to have the highest union membership rate (24.4 percent), and North Carolina had the lowest rate (3.0 percent). [Tables omitted.]

US Government Grossly Understating Seniors' Retirement Income To Justify Expansion Of Social Security

From The Wall Street Journal, "Biggs and Schieber: Retirees Aren't Headed for the Poor House: The most commonly cited measure of retirement income ignores at least 60% of the money that seniors receive." by Sylvester J. Schieber and Andrew G. Biggs:
Data from the Current Population Survey, or CPS, form the basis of the Social Security Administration's Income of the Aged publication series—which is widely cited as showing that Americans' inadequate retirement incomes force them to increasingly rely on Social Security benefits. But the CPS fails to count most of the income Americans derive from 401(k) and IRA plans, as well as significantly understating the percentage of current American workers who are saving for retirement.

.... The Census Bureau's definition of income, however, includes only payments made on a regular, periodic basis. So monthly benefits paid from a defined benefit pension or an annuity are counted as income, while as-needed withdrawals from 401(k)s or IRAs are not.
***
For 2008, the CPS reported $5.6 billion in individual IRA income. Retirees themselves reported $111 billion in IRA income to the Internal Revenue Service. The CPS suggests that in 2008 households receiving Social Security benefits collected $222 billion in pensions or annuity income. But federal tax filings for 2008 show that these same households received $457 billion of pension or annuity income.
***
The Social Security Administration has used the Census survey for the last 40 years to report the income status of the elderly. The agency has known for nearly 20 years that CPS data ignored much of the retirement income paid out by pensions and IRAs, and that the underreporting of this income was a growing problem.
***
Nevertheless, Social Security Administration summary reports developed from CPS data continue to be published. They are widely cited as justification for expanding Social Security and shifting away from the 401(k) and IRA saving system that today produces more income for retirees than does Social Security.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Californians, New Yorkers And Hawaiians Face Federal And State Combined Top Marginal Income Tax Rates Greater Than 50 Percent

From Tax Foundation, "High-Income Taxpayers Could Face a Top Marginal Tax Rate over 50 percent this Tax Season" by Kyle Pomerleau:
Californians face the highest top marginal tax rate on wage income at 51.9 percent, followed by Hawaii (50.5 percent), and New York (50.3 percent). Even high income earners in states with no income tax such as New Hampshire, Texas, and Nevada face top marginal income tax rates over 42 percent. The average across all states is 47.9 percent.
Top Marginal Income Tax Rate on Wage Income, 2013
Rank
State
Rate
1
California
51.9%
2
Hawaii
50.5%
3
New York
50.3%
4
Oregon
49.9%
5
New Jersey
49.3%
5
Vermont
49.3%
7
Maryland
49.2%
8
Maine
49.0%
9
Minnesota
48.6%
9
North Carolina
48.6%
11
Wisconsin
48.6%
12
Ohio
48.5%
13
Idaho
48.4%
13
Kentucky
48.4%
15
Arkansas
48.1%
15
Montana
48.1%
15
South Carolina
48.1%
18
Delaware
48.0%
18
Nebraska
48.0%
20
Connecticut
47.9%
21
West Virginia
47.8%
22
Missouri
47.6%
23
Georgia
47.5%
23
Rhode Island
47.5%
25
Iowa
47.4%
25
Virginia
47.4%
27
Massachusetts
47.1%
27
Oklahoma
47.1%
29
Illinois
46.9%
29
Kansas
46.9%
29
Mississippi
46.9%
29
New Mexico
46.9%
29
Utah
46.9%
34
Arizona
46.7%
34
Colorado
46.7%
34
Indiana
46.7%
34
Pennsylvania
46.7%
38
Michigan
46.6%
39
North Dakota
46.3%
40
Louisiana
46.1%
41
Alabama
45.7%
42
Alaska
42.8%
42
Florida
42.8%
42
Nevada
42.8%
42
New Hampshire
42.8%
42
South Dakota
42.8%
42
Tennessee
42.8%
42
Texas
42.8%
42
Washington
42.8%
42
Wyoming
42.8%

Washington D.C.
49.3%

U.S. Average
47.9%
Source: Gerald Prante and Austin John, “Top Marginal Effective Tax Rates by State and by Source of Income, 2012 Tax Law vs. 2013 Tax Law (as enacted in ATRA),” February 3, 2012.