Thursday, January 28, 2016

1 Percent Of US Physicians Responsible For A Third Of Paid Malpractice Claims

From National Institutes of Health, Health & Human Services, US National Library of Medicine, MedlinePlus, "Small Number of Doctors Trigger Big Share of Malpractice Payouts: Study ties physicians' future claims risk to past claims experience, specialty, sex and age:"
Just 1 percent of active U.S. physicians are responsible for nearly a third of the nation's paid malpractice claims, a new study finds.
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The results suggest it may be possible to identify "claim-prone" physicians and intervene before they encounter additional claims, said study lead author David Studdert, professor of medicine and law at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.
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The most important predictor of a claim appeared to be a physician's past claims history. Compared with doctors with one previous paid claim, those with two paid claims had almost twice the risk of having another. Physicians with three paid claims had three times the risk. Those with six or more had more than 12 times the risk, the study found.

2000 To 2015 US Automobile Miles Driven: Graph

From The Wall Street Journal, Real Time Economics, "American Drivers Are Back on the Road in Record-Setting Fashion" by David Harrison:
U.S. vehicle-miles traveled surged 4.3% in November 2015 compared with November 2014, the largest increase since 1999, according to the Transportation Department. That put 2015 on pace to become the most heavily traveled year in history.

In the 12 months leading up to November, drivers covered 3.14 trillion miles, up 3.6% from the same period in 2014, the highest year-over-year increase since 1997, according to the department.

Add caption

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

93 Percent Of Apple's Cash Reserves Are Overseas: Kept Overseas To Avoid US Corporate Taxes

From MarketWatch, "Apple isn’t really sitting on $216 billion in cash" by Jeremy C Owens:
The more than $215 billion Apple has in reserve is a constant fascination of bloggers and market watchers, who imagine the company going on an acquisition spree or buying back (even more) company stock.
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More importantly, almost all of Apple’s cash and securities are stashed overseas, proceeds from sales outside the United States that Apple will not bring back because it would then have to pay U.S. taxes. [Chief Financial Officer Luca] Maestri said Tuesday that $200 billion of Apple’s reserves — a whopping 93% — are overseas, and [Chief Executive Tim] Cook has expressly said Apple does not plan to sacrifice roughly 40% of that stash in order to bring the proceeds home to Cupertino, Calif.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Fewer Applicants And Lower Enrollments At Top Law Schools

From BloombergBusiness, "The Best Law Schools Are Attracting Fewer Students: The legal education crisis is spreading." by Natalie Kitroeff:
Source: BloombergBusiness

Since 2011, the number of applicants to law schools ranked in the top 20 by U.S. News has dropped by a median 18 percent, data from the American Bar Association show. Yale Law School saw its applicant count dip by 13 percent. Harvard Law School experienced an 18 percent drop.

As applications have dwindled, some of the most exclusive schools have opened their doors a little wider: Top-tier schools admitted a median 7 percent more people in 2015 than they did in 2011. Part of the reason schools send out more offers is that they expect that prospective students, who are in high demand, will be more likely to turn them down than they once were.

Those measures only go so far. The majority of elite campuses, unwilling to seriously dilute their student bodies, still had to downsize. Class sizes declined by a median of 5 percent at the top 20 schools over the last five years, ABA data shows.

Source: BloombergBusiness

Friday, January 22, 2016

States Collect Over 20 Percent Of Their Taxes From Non-Residents, On Average

From Tax Foundation, "State-Local Tax Burden Rankings FY 2012:"
But it’s important to remember that as taxpayers, we not only pay state and local taxes to our own places of residence, but also to the governments of states and localities in which we do not live.

How is this possible? This tax shifting across state borders arises from several factors, including our movement across state lines during work and leisure time and the interconnectedness of the national economy. What’s really driving this phenomenon, however, is the reality that the ultimate incidence of a tax frequently falls on entities other than those that write the check to the government.
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What is Tax Exporting?

This tax shifting occurs to some degree for nearly all types of taxes, and our tax burden estimates account for these shifts. Our study is particularly interested in how this tax shifting occurs as it relates to state borders, or the shifting of tax burdens from state residents to nonresidents, a phenomenon known as tax exporting.

Chart 1.

Source: Tax Foundation

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Real Vs Nominal Oil Prices: Chart 1980 To 2016

From The Wall Street Journal, "Oil Wipeout: Why Prices Aren’t as Cheap as They Look: Drawing conclusions from the oil price without considering inflation and exchange rates is the equivalent of flying blind" by Spencer Jakab:
Real Vs Nominal Oil Prices
Source: The Wall Street Journal
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Currencies affect marginal demand in major oil-consuming economies as well. In Tokyo, the cost of the fuel portion of the price of gasoline is 61% lower than it was in October 2011 and in Paris or Berlin it has fallen 68%.

But motorists don’t see it that way. Since excise taxes are far higher in major industrialized economies outside the U.S., the fall in pump prices is less dramatic. A British motorist, for example, now pays only about 24% less than in October 2011. U.S. motorists pay 45% less for gasoline than they did in October 2011 including taxes.
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Even just measured in dollars and barrels, past oil crashes require some perspective. Prices cratered during an Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries price war 30 years ago but the inflation-adjusted cost of a barrel was twice as high then and the U.S. vehicle fleet was less energy-efficient.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

New Yorkers Face The Highest State And Local Tax Burden: 12.7 Percent Of State Income

From Tax Foundation, "State-Local Tax Burden Rankings FY 2012:"
New Yorkers faced the highest burden, with 12.7 percent of income in the state going to state and local taxes. Connecticut (12.6 percent) and New Jersey (12.2 percent) followed closely behind. On the other end of the spectrum, Alaska (6.5 percent), South Dakota (7.1 percent) and Wyoming (7.1 percent) had the lowest burdens.
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Source: Tax Foundation

Friday, January 15, 2016

Age American Women Have Their First Baby Continues To Rise: Smaller Families And Lower US Birthrates Likely

From "Average Age of First-Time Moms in U.S. Still Rising: CDC: Delaying pregnancy means smaller families and implications for overall population, expert says" on MedlinePlus:
The average age that American women have their first baby continues to rise, U.S. health officials reported Thursday.

From 2000 to 2014, the age of first-time mothers increased 1.4 years -- from 24.9 years old on average to 26.3 years, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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Delaying parenthood can have broad implications for maternal and child health as well as population growth, [T.J.] Mathews [a demographer at the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics] said.

"The average is going up for mothers, which is likely to delay childbearing, and if you delay you are more likely to have fewer births, and that has ramifications for our overall population," Mathews said.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Only 7 Percent, 214 of 3069, US Counties Have Recovered To Precession Levels

From The Wall Street Journal, Real Time Economics, "Six Years Later, 93% of U.S. Counties Haven’t Recovered From Recession, Study Finds" by Eric Morath:
More than six years after the economic expansion began, 93% of counties in the U.S. have failed to fully recover from the blow they suffered during the recession.

Nationwide, 214 counties, or 7% of 3,069, had recovered last year to prerecession levels on four indicators: total employment, the unemployment rate, size of the economy and home values, a study from the National Association of Counties released Tuesday found.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, Real Time Economics

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

CBO Presentation On The Fast Act And The Highway Trust Fund

From Congressional Budget Office, "The FAST Act and the Status of the Highway Trust Fund" Presentation on January 10, 2016, by Sara Puro, Principal Analyst, CBO’s Budget Analysis Division, at the Transportation Research Board’s annual conference:
The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act was signed into law on December 4, 2015. The bill provided $281 billion in contract authority for surface transportation programs through 2020. Under provisions of the bill, CBO estimates, the Highway Trust Fund will be able to meet obligations through 2020.

Where Carbon Emissions Come From: Chart

From BloombergBusiness, "Drivers May Pay for Next Step in Fight Against Air Pollution" by Alex Nussbaum:
Where Carbon Emissions Come From: Chart
Source: BloombergBusiness

Monday, January 11, 2016

Independents Greatly Outnumber Self-Identified Democrats And Republicans: Democrats At The Lowest Point In The Past 27 Years

From Gallup, "Democratic, Republican Identification Near Historical Lows" by Jeffrey M. Jones:
In 2015, for the fifth consecutive year, at least four in 10 U.S. adults identified as political independents. The 42% identifying as independents in 2015 was down slightly from the record 43% in 2014. This elevated percentage of political independents leaves Democratic (29%) and Republican (26%) identification at or near recent low points....

US Political Party Identification Graph
Source: Gallup
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...the percentage of U.S. adults identifying as Democrats is now at the lowest point in the past 27 years, down from the prior low of 30% in 2014.
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The percentage of Republicans is now just one point above its recent low of 25% in 2013.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

CBO 2015 Budget Infographics

From Congressional Budget Office, "CBO Releases New Budget Infographics" by Leigh Angres and Maureen Costantino:
For people who are not very familiar with the federal budget, it can be a challenge to find out how much the government spends and takes in each year and what programs and revenue sources account for the largest portions of those budgetary flows. With the start of a new session of Congress, we thought it would be a good time to update our budget infographics, which offer a detailed look back at fiscal year 2015 as well as broader trends over the past few decades. You can view the four infographics below—the first focused on the overall budget and the others on its components:


The Federal Budget in 2015: An Infographic

Source: CBO

Revenues in 2015: An Infographic

Source: CBO


Discretionary Spending in 2015: An Infographic

Source: CBO


Mandatory Spending in 2015: An Infographic

Source: CBO

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Typical Publicly Traded US Companies Last About Ten Years Before Purchased, Merged Or Liquidated: Mergers More Common Than Liquidations

From The Wall Street Journal, "Comparing Microsoft to an Elephant: Using Science to Understand the Lifespans of Companies and Creatures" by ByIrving Wladawsky-Berger:
Using a statistical technique called survival analysis, the SFI [Santa Fe Institute] researchers discovered that “a firm’s mortality rate – its risk of dying in, say, the next year – had nothing to do with how long it had already been in business or what kinds of products it produce.”  With the exception of outliers that’ve been around for a very long time– DuPont was founded in 1802, Citi in 1812, GE in 1892, IBM in 1911– “the team estimated that the typical company lasts about ten years before it’s bought out, merges, or gets liquidated.”
The study showed that mergers and  acquisitions are a more common reason for a company’s disappearance than outright liquidation. Forty-five percent of firms cease to exist because they’re either acquired or involved in a merger, so they persist in some form as part of some other entity. Rather that being a business failure, a merger or acquisition may actually make the resulting organization stronger and more productive.
Why does the typical firm live around 10 years irrespective of how well-established it is or what it actually does?  The reasons for this finding are beyond the study’s scope, although the article hints that the competition for resources in biological ecosystems might provide some sort of insight. Perhaps companies can be seen as “competing for finite resources within a complex ecology of economic interactions… and their longevity is the result of their successes of learning and adaptation in these environments.”

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Healthy Food Label Is Unhealthy: People Overeat Foods Labeled Healthy, Study Finds

From National Institutes of Health, "People May Eat More of a Food That's Labeled 'Healthy': Many subconsciously seem to consider it less filling, potentially leading to weight gain, researchers say" on MedlinePlus:
People tend to overeat when they're consuming food that's been labeled "healthy," undermining their own efforts to improve their diet, the study found.

People order larger portions, eat more and feel less full when they're consuming food that's been portrayed as "healthy" in its packaging, according to a report published recently in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research.

"It's quite ironic. The more we put out foods that are labeled healthy, we could be abetting the obesity epidemic rather than combatting it," said study author Jacob Suher, a doctoral student at the University of Texas at Austin's McCombs School of Business.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Cable Broadband Subscribers Declining: Home Internet Access Via Cellular Data Packages Increasing

From The Wall Street Journal, "T-Mobile: Who Needs a Cable Company Anyway? Offer of free wireless data for video-streaming services could lead to more cord-cutting" by Miriam Gottfried:
But the [T-Mobile] model suggests a future in which more people could cut out cable providers entirely, opting to get the Internet and video wirelessly.

Any threat to cable from wireless broadband is still in its early days. There is evidence, though, of movement. Just two-thirds of U.S. adults have broadband service, down from 70% in 2013, according to a survey published in December by the Pew Research Center. Moreover, 13% of adults rely on their smartphone data package for Internet access at home versus 8% in 2013.

[Omitted Chart]

These changes are concentrated among lower-to-middle income households and parents of young children, Pew found. Still, that might not be the case forever.

Indeed, the day is drawing closer when wireless networks will rival wireline in terms of speed and reliability.