Author Topic: Armchair Economists, Unite!  (Read 12181 times)

Truthordeal

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Re: Armchair Economists, Unite!
« Reply #150 on: November 04, 2011, 03:58:13 pm »
Here's a guide thingy for that.
http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/11poverty.shtml

Looks like $22,350 USD for a family of four.

Ah. I shall consider myself rebuked then. It still seems like the poverty level for a couple would be $4,000 more than in Saj's example, so there you go.

BTW, while we're on the subject, what does the poverty level mean exactly? I went through the FAQ and the original site and it didn't really apply a clear cut explanation. Is it just a metric to determine who gets welfare or medicare, or is there some other material purpose for it?

Lord J Esq

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Re: Armchair Economists, Unite!
« Reply #151 on: November 08, 2011, 04:05:04 am »
You're in luck! The Census Bureau recently created a new rubric for measuring poverty, and the resulting publication may help aid your understanding of the subject.

http://www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/p60-241.pdf

Lord J Esq

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Re: Armchair Economists, Unite!
« Reply #152 on: November 14, 2011, 07:39:38 am »
President Clinton was on The Daily Show to hawk his new book, and he gave a very thoughtful interview that I think is worth your attention.

Interview Part 1
Interview Part 2
Interview Part 3

President Clinton has two qualities, relevant to this interview, that I really like.

First, he is a presidential figure. He's got the three-piece suit. His language and focus are intellectual. He answers questions asked of him, and he does so thoroughly and substantively. When he talks, he inspires relief and confidence. If he were president now, I would take a lot of comfort in knowing he was in charge. It's not that I don't approve of President Obama, but, rather, President Clinton has a wellspring of intellect that few others can match. Which leads me to the second quality of his that I like.

Second, he is very smart and very concerned for the welfare of the country. He is the smartest living president and one of the smartest presidents we have ever had. Part of that intelligence is a grasp of the issues. His interview with Jon is incredible for its depth; that kind of depth is very rare for a Daily Show interview, even when it comes to the extended interviews like this one. Jon wisely kept his mouth shut and let President Clinton say his full piece each time. Another part of his intelligence is his political savvy. He knows how to frame and present his ideological positions in a way that make them seem like the most common sense in the world. There is an element of manipulation to that which I may applaud for its competency but not so much for its honor; however, what I am talking about is the fact that, to frame his issues so well, and present them so well, he must understand very well the minds and desires of the public. That's a considerable ability! Lastly, another part of his intelligence is his willingness to confront problems facing the nation--as he did during his presidency, and as he has continued to do since. You don't hear Bush II doing much to help society, but President Clinton really cares.

The user comments on this interview raised some interesting points about Clinton's participation as a centrist Democrat in an era when Republicans controlled the Congress, and how some of his policies (and the Republican bills he signed into law during his presidency) helped to set the country on course to financial meltdown. I would have liked to see him address those. Perhaps he does so in his book, Back to Work.

ZeaLitY

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Re: Armchair Economists, Unite!
« Reply #153 on: November 20, 2011, 04:14:34 pm »
http://www.businessinsider.com/the-run-on-europe-begins-as-global-investors-head-for-the-hills-2011-11

Ah, it finally begins.

 :kz

Who knew that a system based on perpetual, unsustainable growth and wealth capture would precipitate a crisis? Hah! Let love bleed! Deeper and darker than the seas of hell!

Lord J Esq

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Re: Armchair Economists, Unite!
« Reply #154 on: November 20, 2011, 04:29:33 pm »
Not just unrealistic growth expectations and wealth capture but, at least as significantly in this particular case, the lack of a central authority to control the currency throughout the EU.

ZeaLitY

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Re: Armchair Economists, Unite!
« Reply #155 on: November 20, 2011, 04:59:53 pm »
My only regret (aside from threats to human survival) is that the failure of the Euro might set the cause of world federalism back significantly. Then again, the connectivitiy Internet has become a new vanguard for that aim.

Lord J Esq

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Re: Armchair Economists, Unite!
« Reply #156 on: November 20, 2011, 05:50:48 pm »
If you ask me, the Germans are secretly hoping that this crisis will precipitate a European consolidation. However, if that's their game it's a dangerous one because it looks like total failure of the Euro is more likely than a stronger centralization of government. (I'm not convinced that either of those extremes is more likely than business as usual, however.)

FaustWolf

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Re: Armchair Economists, Unite!
« Reply #157 on: January 25, 2012, 02:13:04 am »
President Obama said something humongous in his State of the Union address tonight:

Quote
...I also hear from many business leaders who want to hire in the United States but can’t find workers with the right skills.  Growing industries in science and technology have twice as many openings as we have workers who can do the job.  Think about that – openings at a time when millions of Americans are looking for work.  

That’s inexcusable. And we know how to fix it.  

Jackie Bray is a single mom from North Carolina who was laid off from her job as a mechanic. Then Siemens opened a gas turbine factory in Charlotte, and formed a partnership with Central Piedmont Community College.  The company helped the college design courses in laser and robotics training. It paid Jackie’s tuition, then hired her to help operate their plant.

I want every American looking for work to have the same opportunity as Jackie did. Join me in a national commitment to train two million Americans with skills that will lead directly to a job. My Administration has already lined up more companies that want to help. Model partnerships between businesses like Siemens and community colleges in places like Charlotte, Orlando, and Louisville are up and running. Now you [Congress] need to give more community colleges the resources they need to become community career centers – places that teach people skills that local businesses are looking for right now, from data management to high-tech manufacturing.

This is absolutely huge, and the first thing I've seen out of Washington in years that's given me a little hope. I would add to this two things: the need to collect and assess the kinds of skills that are going unemployed, and the need to assess how many businesses are currently pushing workers into overtime (something ZeaLitY mentioned in the Hate thread recently IIRC). The former is an indicator of where new businesses could arise, and the latter is an indicator of which businesses could stand to expand if more resources were pumped in, e.g., via a micro-targeted monetary expansion.


Hah -- I did get a rise out of his mentioning data management though. As if there were some widespread hunger for it that's going unmet. Let me just say, businesses aren't facing a dearth of people with database management skills - including freakin' certifications in alphabet soup and other "preferred qualifications" - as I've been led to believe. There are literally hundreds of applicants for every single position in that field you could ever find, and at the end of the day tons of people will have mis-allocated their energy in training for them. Hey, I'm just going by what the employers say. It's become a sort of scare tactic: "Don't think for a second there aren't a hundred other people scrambling for the exact same thing you are; your certifications don't mean squat, bud." I'm sure I'd hear similar stories from other technical fields. I've certainly been reading them.

What a disparity between rhetoric and reality. It scares me that businesses would tell government there's a lack of qualified candidates in a particular field, and then turn around and tell the qualified candidates that there's a ton of them, then proceed to winnow them out like so much chaff. That's not how an efficient economy is run. That's an economic tragedy on a wide scale. Maybe the positions will all be filled with Harvard grads and the individual businesses will benefit for that, but for fuck's sake, I'd prefer it if they'd just have the courtesy to let the ordinary Joe/sephine know they don't stand a snowball's chance in Hell up front, and save them some time. It takes months and a hard-scraped wad of cash to earn these supposed wonder skills, so when a speechwriter puts this in a State of the Union address, or a professor touts what a feather-in-the-cap something will be, real harm is done when it doesn't pan out.

Sheesh, I didn't mean for this to become a Hate thread-worthy rant. I hate how this economy is shaping me into an old curmudgeon. I'm starting to sound like a freakin' conspiracy theorist.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2012, 02:20:47 am by FaustWolf »

FaustWolf

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Re: Armchair Economists, Unite!
« Reply #158 on: April 22, 2012, 06:55:33 pm »
Amen, glad to see these kinds of studies finally being conducted so they can back up all the anecdotes. With America's last few employed economists assisting, no less! Tee hee!

"One in Two New Grads Are Jobless or Undermployed"

I'm really heartened that they ended with the anecdote about the biology major; the harsh truth is, just getting trained in a more technical field is no panacea either. There's a business culture factor at work here. My Texan uncle told me once about how the oil industry was shoving History majors into computer work back in the 1970s, they were so eager to hire! Those must have been the days.

Boo the Gentleman Caller

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Re: Armchair Economists, Unite!
« Reply #159 on: April 22, 2012, 10:15:45 pm »
I read that article, Faustwolf. Truly awe-inspiring (and not in the good way). I am surprised things are that bad, although it's to be expected on a lesser level.

Lennis

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Re: Armchair Economists, Unite!
« Reply #160 on: April 23, 2012, 01:09:25 am »
It will be scary to see where this dynamic leads in 10 - 15 years.  The United States will have a lot of highly educated people with poor incomes and a high level of discontent.  This kind of thing tends to bode ill for a ruling government.  What will a popular uprising look like when the participants are college graduates as opposed to uneducated malcontents?

Of equal concern is what this job market is doing to the arts.  If people pursue arts degrees at all, they will not be bringing the fruits of that education back to America.  They will move to a country that values their skills.

Perhaps most concerning is the prospect of having an entire generation believing that the United States is broken and cannot be salvaged.  It brings to mind a quote from Revenge of the Sith: "The day we stop believing democracy can work is the day we lose it."

FaustWolf

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Re: Armchair Economists, Unite!
« Reply #161 on: June 03, 2012, 05:29:40 pm »
I'll explain more in SOY later, but today I walked into my city's 911 call center while shadowing my new mentor -- we basically serve these people and a bunch of other city services as their IT backbone.

Anyway, I get to chit-chatting with the call taker and the dispatcher. I explain to the call taker - twice my age or thereabouts - that my training was in statistical data modeling before landing my current job. He asks if I had gotten that training at my local career center and I answer in the negative. "Oh," he says, wide-eyed, "you must have a degree!"

Then he turned around real quick to take a 911 call. He did it with true accuracy, grace and as much elegance as a 911 dispatcher could muster all things considered.

I never particularly looked down on people who weren't college educated before, but I really the fuck don't look down on them now. Dude deserves a million bucks as far as I'm concerned. I felt pretty small watching him maintain his cool through that, and then I reflected on the fact that he probably doesn't make much more than I do, even though he's been doing this for years and I'm entry level.

I will take great pride in paying my taxes this year.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2012, 06:23:26 pm by FaustWolf »

Katie Skyye

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Re: Armchair Economists, Unite!
« Reply #162 on: June 04, 2012, 08:33:57 pm »
Of equal concern is what this job market is doing to the arts.  If people pursue arts degrees at all, they will not be bringing the fruits of that education back to America.  They will move to a country that values their skills.

A big dream of mine is to work for Natsume or Capcom on Harvest Moon or Monster Hunter...but if I get hired and paid by an American game company there's really no reason for me to leave especially since Red lives here and is going to try to work for Valve or Bethesda or Wizards of the Coast. Would be cool to do card art for Wizards but I think I'd need to learn to paint in gouaauoauoauoache first...or any paint besides digital paint. :/ Blaaah, paint. (expensive)

Lennis

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Re: Armchair Economists, Unite!
« Reply #163 on: September 05, 2012, 10:37:51 pm »
This thread has been inactive for a few months, but I just came across an article that warrants resurrecting it again.  George Friedman is a geopolitical analyst whose dispassionate reasoning often leads to conclusions that seem painfully obvious in retrospect.  In this article, Friedman discusses how modern investors have been lead to false assumptions regarding the relationship between economics and political forces.  This is one of the most insightful articles I have read all year.  I regard George Friedman as one of the great thinkers of our time, so any paper of his is worth special note.

http://www.investorsinsight.com/blogs/john_mauldins_outside_the_box/archive/2012/08/17/financial-markets-politics-and-the-new-reality.aspx