May 13, 2014
Study: Opportunities In Young Adulthood Linked to Later Narcissism

There has been much debate over which generation, exactly, is the “Me” generation. Is it Millennials? Is it Baby Boomers? People have been taking selfies for pretty much as long as there have been cameras, after all. And painting them before that. There have always been and will always be narcissists, and, seemingly, we will always be horrified by their entitlement. But if there are generational differences in narcissism, a new study published in Psychological Science suggests that they might be attributable to the economy.
Read more. [Image: Shutterstock]

Study: Opportunities In Young Adulthood Linked to Later Narcissism

There has been much debate over which generation, exactly, is the “Me” generation. Is it Millennials? Is it Baby Boomers? People have been taking selfies for pretty much as long as there have been cameras, after all. And painting them before that. There have always been and will always be narcissists, and, seemingly, we will always be horrified by their entitlement. But if there are generational differences in narcissism, a new study published in Psychological Science suggests that they might be attributable to the economy.

Read more. [Image: Shutterstock]

May 12, 2014
The Mysterious Death of Entrepreneurship in America

May 2, 2014
Why America’s Essentials Are Getting More Expensive While Its Toys Are Getting Cheap

The past decade in prices—and the story it tells about poverty and America.
Read more.[Image: Reuters]

Why America’s Essentials Are Getting More Expensive While Its Toys Are Getting Cheap

The past decade in prices—and the story it tells about poverty and America.

Read more.[Image: Reuters]

April 28, 2014
Nobel Prize-Winning Economist: We’re Heading for an Oligarchy

In a recent interview at the Economic Policy Institute, Nobel Prize-Winning economist and MIT professor Robert Solow riffed on the political effects of increasing inequality and concentration of wealth at the very top. “If that kind of concentration of wealth continues, then we get to be more and more an oligarchical country, a country that’s run from the top,” he said.
Read more. [Image: Wikimedia Commons]

Nobel Prize-Winning Economist: We’re Heading for an Oligarchy

In a recent interview at the Economic Policy Institute, Nobel Prize-Winning economist and MIT professor Robert Solow riffed on the political effects of increasing inequality and concentration of wealth at the very top. “If that kind of concentration of wealth continues, then we get to be more and more an oligarchical country, a country that’s run from the top,” he said.

Read more. [Image: Wikimedia Commons]

April 23, 2014
Here's a Thought: 'Abolish the Capitalist Mode of Production'

April 15, 2014
How America Pays Taxes—In 10 Not-Entirely-Depressing Charts

The appropriate thing to say about taxes on April 15 is that they’re absolutely terrible. And yes, sure, they are, in a way. Filling out taxes is miserable (especially considering the IRS could probably do it all for you), watching money leave your bank account stinks, and seeing the difference between your adjusted gross income and your take-home pay is depressing.
But perhaps more than any other law, taxes are a keen reflection of what we value as a country. You know what you’re paying this year. Here’s some information about where your money’s going—and where it would go if you lived in Spain, or France … or in the U.S. 50 years ago.
Read more. [Image: Wikimedia Commons]

How America Pays Taxes—In 10 Not-Entirely-Depressing Charts

The appropriate thing to say about taxes on April 15 is that they’re absolutely terrible. And yes, sure, they are, in a way. Filling out taxes is miserable (especially considering the IRS could probably do it all for you), watching money leave your bank account stinks, and seeing the difference between your adjusted gross income and your take-home pay is depressing.

But perhaps more than any other law, taxes are a keen reflection of what we value as a country. You know what you’re paying this year. Here’s some information about where your money’s going—and where it would go if you lived in Spain, or France … or in the U.S. 50 years ago.

Read more. [Image: Wikimedia Commons]

11:55am
  
Filed under: Economics Tax Day Taxes 
April 3, 2014
How the Rich and Poor Spend Money Today—and 30 Years Ago

Every year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics tells us what the typical American spends on everything from his rent to his reading material. There’s just one problem. In a country with growing income inequality, the typical American leaves out a lot of Americans.
For example, poorest quintile of Americans spends about $22,000 each year. The richest quintile spends about $100,000 each year. (The richest 1 percent spends hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.) So to understand how Americans really spend our money, it helps to break us down into groups. And, since the BLS has been producing this spending survey for nearly 30 years, it’s even more helpful to track those groups over time to see how the American budget is changing.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

How the Rich and Poor Spend Money Today—and 30 Years Ago

Every year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics tells us what the typical American spends on everything from his rent to his reading material. There’s just one problem. In a country with growing income inequality, the typical American leaves out a lot of Americans.

For example, poorest quintile of Americans spends about $22,000 each year. The richest quintile spends about $100,000 each year. (The richest 1 percent spends hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.) So to understand how Americans really spend our money, it helps to break us down into groups. And, since the BLS has been producing this spending survey for nearly 30 years, it’s even more helpful to track those groups over time to see how the American budget is changing.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

April 3, 2014
Why Don’t The 1 Percent Feel Rich?

It’s hard out there for the 1 percent.
Okay, that’s not true at all. But they think it is. If you talk to people on Wall Street, most of them—even, in my experience, the ones shopping for Lamborghinis—will tell you that they’re “middle class.” Their lament, the lament of the HENRY (short for “high-earner, not rich yet”), goes something like this. You try living on $350,000 a year when you have to pay taxes, the mortgage on the house in a tony zip code, the nanny who knows how to cook ethnic cuisine, the private school tuition from pre-K on, the appropriately exclusive vacation, and max out your retirement and college savings accounts. There just isn’t that much cash left over each month once you’ve spent it all!
Well, sure. But burning through your money to live the lifestyle of the rich and unfamous doesn’t mean you’re not rich. Nor does it mean that the top 1 percent haven’t been pulling away from everyone else. They have. You can see that in the chart below from Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez’s numbers on income inequality. It looks at how much different parts of the 1 percent have made as a share of total income. Now, the top 0.01 percent—that is, the 1 percent of the 1 percent—have increased the most, almost quintupling their income share in the last 40 years. But the “bottom of the 1 percent” (the 99 to 99.5 percent) have increased too. So both the super-rich and the merely rich are growing faster than everyone else.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

Why Don’t The 1 Percent Feel Rich?

It’s hard out there for the 1 percent.

Okay, that’s not true at all. But they think it is. If you talk to people on Wall Street, most of them—even, in my experience, the ones shopping for Lamborghinis—will tell you that they’re “middle class.” Their lament, the lament of the HENRY (short for “high-earner, not rich yet”), goes something like this. You try living on $350,000 a year when you have to pay taxes, the mortgage on the house in a tony zip code, the nanny who knows how to cook ethnic cuisine, the private school tuition from pre-K on, the appropriately exclusive vacation, and max out your retirement and college savings accounts. There just isn’t that much cash left over each month once you’ve spent it all!

Well, sure. But burning through your money to live the lifestyle of the rich and unfamous doesn’t mean you’re not rich. Nor does it mean that the top 1 percent haven’t been pulling away from everyone else. They have. You can see that in the chart below from Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez’s numbers on income inequality. It looks at how much different parts of the 1 percent have made as a share of total income. Now, the top 0.01 percent—that is, the 1 percent of the 1 percent—have increased the most, almost quintupling their income share in the last 40 years. But the “bottom of the 1 percent” (the 99 to 99.5 percent) have increased too. So both the super-rich and the merely rich are growing faster than everyone else.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

March 31, 2014
How You, I, and Everyone Got the Top 1 Percent All Wrong

March 13, 2014
The Fed Absolutely Shouldn’t Give Up on the Long-Term Unemployed

re the long-term unemployed just doomed today or doomed forever?
That’s the question people are really asking when they ask if labor markets are starting to get “tight.” Now, it’s hard to believe that this is even a debate when unemployment is still at 6.7 percent and core inflation is just 1.1 percent. But it is. The new inflation hawks argue that these headline numbers overstate how much slack is left in the economy. That the labor force is smaller than it sounds, because firms won’t even consider hiring the long-term unemployed. That our productive capacity is lower than it sounds, because we haven’t invested in new factories for too long. And that wages and prices will start rising as companies pay more for the workers and work that they want.

In other words, they think that the financial crisis has made us permanently poorer. That the economy can’t grow as fast as it used to, so inflation will pick up sooner than it used to—and we need to get ready to raise rates. (Notice how that’s always the answer no matter the question).
There are only two problems with this story: There’s not much evidence for it, and we should ignore it even if there is. It’s pretty simple.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

The Fed Absolutely Shouldn’t Give Up on the Long-Term Unemployed

re the long-term unemployed just doomed today or doomed forever?

That’s the question people are really asking when they ask if labor markets are starting to get “tight.” Now, it’s hard to believe that this is even a debate when unemployment is still at 6.7 percent and core inflation is just 1.1 percent. But it is. The new inflation hawks argue that these headline numbers overstate how much slack is left in the economy. That the labor force is smaller than it sounds, because firms won’t even consider hiring the long-term unemployed. That our productive capacity is lower than it sounds, because we haven’t invested in new factories for too long. And that wages and prices will start rising as companies pay more for the workers and work that they want.

In other words, they think that the financial crisis has made us permanently poorer. That the economy can’t grow as fast as it used to, so inflation will pick up sooner than it used to—and we need to get ready to raise rates. (Notice how that’s always the answer no matter the question).

There are only two problems with this story: There’s not much evidence for it, and we should ignore it even if there is. It’s pretty simple.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

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