state of the economy - january 2015 - narrated

Category: Education

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state of the united economy and society


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The State of The United States And Society


Compiled by Edward J. Dodson, M.L.A. January 2015 email contact:


“The overall excess burden of taxation in the USA has been estimated at about $1.5 trillion dollars, more than 10 percent of total output. So roughly, our standard of living would be ten percent higher if the deadweight loss were eliminated. …”


“With the elimination of taxes on wages, sales, buildings, and entrepreneurial profits, the economy would take a quantum leap up to dazzling productivity. The demand for labor would surge and wages would jump to now unimaginable levels.”






“Homeless people have been resorting to tents for many years in communities where inadequate housing options exist. …It’s a shocking development in a country that clearly has the resources to do better.”


“As of July 2014, the number of people working PTER [Part Time because of the Economy Reasons] stood at around 7.5 million. This level is down from a peak of almost 9 million in 2011 but is still more than 3 million higher than before the Great Recession.”


“In the United States, the 2014 two-bedroom Housing Wage is $18.92. This national average is more than two-and-a-half times the federal minimum wage, and 52% higher than it was in 2000. In no state can a full-time minimum wage worker afford a one-bedroom or a two-bedroom rental unit at Fair Market Rent.”




“Over the past decade, the average amount that middle-income households spent on health care increased by 51 percent -- nearly double the growth in their incomes (30 percent) and three times the rate of growth in their spending for all other products and services.”


“One in five people are in families that have problems paying medical bills. Many of these families have experienced serious financial stress, such as problems paying for other necessities (e.g., food, clothing, and housing) or medically related bankruptcy. ”


“Family caregivers providing unpaid assistance to family members needing LTSS do so at a cost to their own economic security. Of those who worked while care-giving, two-thirds made some adjustments to their employment and one in ten quit a job or took early retirement—issues that especially affect the future financial security of women, who are most often the primary caregivers.”


“[T]he problem with these stories, and most others about poverty, is that the nation’s official poverty measure neither accounts for the cost of living from state-to-state nor the value of “non-cash” assistance such as food stamps and housing subsidies. As a result, the poverty rate is overstated in the inexpensive South and Midwest and understated in the Northeast and far-West.”






$20 trillion

$554 billion :

$554 billion


What is Sound Economic Policy?


“There is no disagreement that we need action by our government, a recovery plan that will help to jumpstart the economy.”


“Certainly the cost of building a house does not vary anywhere nearly as drastically as the prices of houses in different places. …Studies of housing prices across the country show that what varies drastically from one place to another is the price of the land on which houses are built. ...”


“In my opinion, the least bad tax is the property tax on the unimproved value of land, the Henry George argument of many, many years ago.” Milton Friedman


William Vickrey “The property tax is, economically speaking, a combination of one of the worst taxes — the part that is assessed on real estate improvements... and one of the best taxes — the tax on land or site value.”


“The word “rent” was originally used, and still is, to describe what someone received for the use of a piece of his land—it’s the return obtained by virtue of ownership, and not because of anything one actually does or produces. …”


“This stands in contrast to ‘wages’, for example, which connotes compensation for the labor that workers provide. The term ’rent’ was eventually extended to include monopoly profits — the income that one receives simply from the control of a monopoly. …”


“In their simplest form, rents are nothing more than re-distributions from one part of society to the rent seekers. Much of the inequality in our economy has been the result of rent seeking, because, to a significant degree, rent seeking re-distributes money from those at the bottom to those at the top. …”


“Rent seeking makes nothing grow. Efforts are directed toward getting a larger share of the pie rather than increasing the size of the pie. But it’s worse than that: rent seeking distorts resource allocations and makes the economy weaker. It is a centripetal force: the rewards of rent seeking become so outsized that more and more energy is directed toward it, at the expense of everything else. …”


“Countries rich in natural resources are infamous for rent-seeking activities. It’s far easier to get rich in these places by getting access to resources at favorable terms than by producing goods or services that benefit people and increase productivity. ”


“A rise in land prices cannot simply flatten out at a high plateau because the increment has become part of the expected return that buyers are paying for, and lenders are relying on. So prices that cannot rise further have to drop: there is no equilibrium level at the inflated prices of the boom. …”


“Cleaning up the mess left from the last few manic years will cost sweat and tears and some fortunes, whoever undertakes it. Lower rents and land prices will finally let us recover, but the process of getting from here to there entails a fall from illusion to reality, from high to low, that will agonize many. ...”


“New administrations will prolong the agony by trying to defer it. They will bail out a few of the victims and many of the culprits by raising the national debt and inflating the currency to validate bad debts and sustain land values.”


“First, the Federal Reserve is well along in promulgating an important system of new, through-the-cycle safeguards that together should deliver much greater structural resilience and make excessive risk-taking costly for the large, complex institutions that pose the greatest risks to the financial system. …”


“Second, the Federal Reserve is assessing the kinds of broad time-varying regulatory tools that might further buttress resilience during periods in which risks associated with rapid credit expansion are building. …”


“Third, the Federal Reserve is exploring tools that can be varied over the cycle to target specific activities, recognizing that we will have limited authorities relative to some foreign financial regulators in operating on the borrowing side and outside the regulatory perimeter of the banking system .”

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