The Mountain Wingsuit
(HT: Ryan Stinson)
Professor Mark J. Perry's Blog for Economics and Finance
Results above are from the Wall Street Journal's online poll, accompanying Wednesday's article "Ethanol Craze Cools As Doubts Multiply."
Greg Mankiw has an interesting post "A Quick Quiz," which made me think of the map above (click to enlarge) that was featured on a previous CD post and other blogs and websites about 9 months ago. The map shows the 50 U.S. states renamed for countries that have similar economic output, measured by GDP.
A mere 65,000 H-1B visas for foreign professionals are allocated in the U.S. each year. And this year, as in the previous four, the quota was exhausted almost as soon as the applications became available in April. This effectively means that more than half of all foreign nationals who earned advanced degrees in math and science in 2007 have been shut out of the U.S. job market.
The contribution of net exports of goods and services to real GDP growth in the third quarter was revised upward to 1.37% (from the original estimate of 0.90%), and contributed to half of the 1% upward revision of real GDP growth from 3.9% to 4.9%. Further, it was the largest percent contribution to real GDP growth since the fourth quarter of 1996 (see chart above). Further, without the -1.03% decline in housing, real GDP growth would have been 5.93% in the third quarter. Read more here from First Trust Advisors.
Prayers in school, sex education and "intelligent design" are contentious school issues. I believe parents should have the right to decide whether their children will say a morning prayer in school, be taught "intelligent design" and not be given school-based sex education. I also believe other parents should have the right not to have their children exposed to prayers in school, "intelligent design" and receive sex education.
The writers' strike basically shapes up as a couple of third cousins at Thanksgiving dinner arguing over who gets a slightly larger slice of the billion dollar pumpkin pie: the writers who create the movies and shows, or the corporations who actually take all the financial risk that allows us Hollywood writers to write in Hollywood in the first place.
There's an old newspaper saying, attributed to Lewis Grizzard, that "Being a newspaper columnist is like being married to a nymphomaniac. Every time you think you're through, you have to start all over again."
Based on 30-day Fed Funds futures trading for December at the CBOT, the chance of a Fed Fund rate cut to 4.25% in December increased today from 80 to 86%. The Dow posted its biggest 2-day gain in 5 years.
"Cyber Monday" sales set a new all-time single day record for e-commerce sales of $733 million, according to comScore, representing a 21% increase over last year. While Monday represented the first time ever more than $700 million was spent in a single day by online shoppers, comScore said that it expects spending on some days may exceed $800 million in the coming weeks.
The chart above is from an article in today's Detroit News, illustrating how one Detroit homeowner got into foreclosure trouble: Ethel Cochran refinanced her home 7 different times within a ten-year period at adjustable rates, pulling out more and more equity each time.
You can go to Realtor.com and search for homes for sale in any city in the U.S., and you can specify a certain price range. If you search for Detroit homes for sale between $0 and $1,000, you'll find that there are 74 homes for sale in that price range, including the bank owned bargain above for $250, with estimated monthly payments of $1. There are 4 homes for sale for $1. If you search for Detroit houses for less than $5,000, you'll have almost 1,000 homes to choose from!
Bob Wright wrote in a recent comment "If you look at financial stocks over any meaningful period - like 10 years or more, they kill the DJIA and the S&P 500. They even out-performed over the last 5 years until this recent bit of turmoil."
Closing sweatshops and forcing Western labor and environmental standards down poor people's throats in the third world does nothing to elevate them out of poverty. Instead, it forces poor people to buy a lot of rich man's toys, like clean air, clean water, and leisure time. If clean air and leisure time don't strike you as extravagant luxuries, that's because Americans - even the poorest of us - are so rich these days that we've forgotten what true poverty is like. But chances are your great-great-grandparents could have told you what it's like: when you're truly poor, you can't afford things like clean air. Nobody in 1870 America worried about the environment.
I was reminded of this cartoon while reading some of the comments on the Indian-made manhole covers in NYC.
Thanks to Larry Kudlow for mentioning the Carpe Diem blog last night on CNBC's "Kudlow and Company," as well as featuring some Carpe Diem posts on his blog yesterday: "Perry Is On the Mark." Three Carpe Diem graphs were featured last night on the show: the two from this CD post, and the one from this CD post.
NYTimes today: In the first half of the 1990’s, she was Mr. Mitterrand’s lead aide on international trade issues.
In the December 2007 issue of the Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, there is an article "Does Mad Money make the market go mad?"
The chart above (click to enlarge) shows lending activity at all U.S. commercial banks from 1985 through the third quarter 2007, using data from the Federal Reserve Board. As the chart shows, both: a) all loans, and b) real estate loans, are at all-time highs, and there doesn't appear to be any "curbing in lending" by commercial banks, at least not yet.
Rising oil prices, measured in dollars, get all of the media attention, largely because oil is priced and sold in dollars in world oil markets. What has gotten much less attention is the price of oil in other currencies like British pounds and Euros, which have both appreciated vs. the USD by 16-18% over the last few years, helping to offset the higher price of oil in dollars for Europeans.
NY Times: Transparency International, an organization that tracks corruption, ranks countries from least to most corrupt, and in its 2007 index Venezuela was at 162 out of 179 countries.
One of the most outrageous consequences of the war on drugs is the federal crackdown on medical marijuana, which is used by patients to help treat the effects of cancer, glaucoma, HIV-AIDS, chronic pain and nausea, and other severe symptoms associated with serious illnesses. Medical marijuana prescribed by a physician is legal in 12 states, yet federal agents are raiding state-approved dispensaries and preventing patients from having safe access to this drug.
In some "Black Friday bargain hunting," the broader stock market indexes rebounded today by about 1.4% (see chart above, SP=red line, DJ=black and NASDAQ=green), and bank stocks rebounded at almost twice that rate (about 2.5%) as measured by the NASDAQ Bank Index (blue line above).
There are wild cards that need to be kept in mind when you hear income statistics thrown around. One of these wild cards is that most Americans do not stay in the same income brackets throughout their lives. Millions of people move from one bracket to another in just a few years.
Not a lot to be thankful for in Chavez's Venezuela....
Check out the revolutionary "Milton Friedman Choir."
6 reasons the U.S. economy is not going into a recession: