Why Doesn’t Anybody Ever Ask US This Question? April 21, 2017Posted by geoff in News.
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Springfield National Cemetery April 20, 2017Posted by digitalbrownshirt in News.
I had to spend some time in Springfield, Missouri recently and visited the National Cemetery on the spur of the moment. It was originally a Confederate cemetery that included several hundred unknown dead Confederate soldiers. There were three significant battles in the area so no shortage of war dead. Later on it became a National Cemetery and now contains the remains of numerous Medal of Honor recipients, some Buffalo Soldiers and at least one Revolutionary War veteran. I also noticed that one of the graves was for a Confederate veteran’s widow that died in 1964.
My family owns a cabin up on Table Rock Lake so I’ll probably be back in the area eventually. I plan on visiting some of the battlefields next time. I wasn’t even aware of them until this past week. I had actually gone up to Springfield to visit my wife. She’s been going to school there for the last month or so and I got lonely. Plus she missed our dog Corvo. He’s kind of the reason we went to the graveyard that day. I wanted to go some place where I could bring the dog, but we left him in the car with the windows down. I’d feel bad if the dog suddenly relieved itself on somebody’s grave.
Fun With My New Stat April 20, 2017Posted by geoff in News.
Was looking at some economic indicators over at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov), and decided to plot up the median weekly earnings for full-time/salaried workers. Just for chuckles.
And chuckle I did:
Forsooth, dost thou see the atypical scooching upward on the right side of the chart? Verily that is the scooching of the post-Trump-election timeframe.
We shall see if the scooching continues.
Which Sushi Restaurant Would YOU Choose? April 19, 2017Posted by geoff in News.
I liked this ad, which shows the results of a taste test between an expensive sushi restaurant and Gin no Sara, a much lower priced restaurant chain. It’s in Japanese, but you can follow it just fine even without sound.
Initially the crowd of taste testers rushes toward the expensive sushi stand, but as you can see from the video, Gin no Sara quickly wins them over.
Dead Men May Still Wear Plaid April 19, 2017Posted by geoff in News.
Saw this article at the BBC:
Most of us don’t like to think or talk about death, but there are some people who do. In the Toraja region of Sulawesi, in Indonesia, the dead are a constant part of day-to-day life.
To outsiders, the idea of keeping a dead man’s body on show at home feels quite alien. Yet for more than a million people from this part of the world – the Toraja region of Sulawesi in eastern Indonesia – it’s a tradition dating back centuries. Here, animist beliefs blur the line between this world and the next, making the dead very much present in the world of the living.
After someone dies, it may be months, sometimes years, before a funeral takes place. In the meantime, the families keep their bodies in the house and care for them as if they were sick. They are brought food, drink and cigarettes twice a day. They are washed and have their clothes changed regularly. The dead even have a bowl in the corner of the room as their “toilet”. Furthermore, the deceased are never left on their own and the lights are always left on for them when it gets dark.
…and couldn’t help but recall this old sketch from Kentucky Fried Movie:
More Fun With the CBO’s Long-Term Budget Outlook April 12, 2017Posted by geoff in News.
[The TL:DR version of this post is: the 2016 budget projections were awful, and the 2017 projections are even worse. What will 2018 bring?]
In the last post we marveled at the huge debt projections provided by the CBO. In this post lets compare their 2016 projection to the 2017 projection (both graphics taken from their respective reports):
Lots of interesting things to see here. In these comparisons I’m going to ignore the one-year difference (from 2046 to 2047) in the 30-year projections.
- First, look at the average spending from 1966 – 2015 in the top chart. 20.2% of GDP, right? If you take the average from 1966 – 2008, i.e., before President Obama’s masterful captaining of the US economy, it was only 19.4%. In a mere 8 years he managed to pull the 50-year spending average up by almost a full percentage point.
- You can see that the 30-year spending projection has gone from 28.2% of GDP in the 2016 projection to 29.4%, while revenues rose from 19.4% to 19.6%. That means the deficit has increased from 8.8% to 9.6%. That little adjustment is worth $500 billion in 2047.
- Nice to see that “bent” healthcare curve continuing to bend upwards, with projected spending on Major Healthcare Programs increasing from 8.9% to 9.2%.
- The projection for net interest payments went up from 5.8% to 6.2%, which is more than twice the defense budget (they’re projecting ~2.7% of GDP for defense in 2047).
- Those interest payments are based on an assumption of low rates through 2047 (nominal interest rate on 10-year Treasuries was assumed to rise from 2.3% today to 4.7% in 2047) – lower interest rates than in the 2016 projection, BTW. Low interest rates are a relatively recent phenomena: prior to 2003 – you’d have to go back to 1967 to find a year with an interest rate below 5%. If you want a 2.3% interest rate, you’ve got to take the Wayback Machine to 1950.
So is the CBO’s assumption realistic? I don’t think so. Be prepared for major increases in future net interest projections.
The 2016 report was pretty bad, and the 2017 report is even worse, despite its optimistic assumptions regarding interest rates. Unless real GDP growth exceeds the CBO’s projected ~2% annual increase, I think the 30-year debt scenario is likely to be much worse than we saw in the previous post.
My Grandkids are Going to be Using “Obama” as a Curse Word April 12, 2017Posted by geoff in News.
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The CBO released their 2017 Long-Term Budget Outlook report a couple of weeks ago. They may as well have named it “Federal Debt: The Obama Legacy.” This was the banner chart:
You can pretty much see exactly when President Obama started his miraculous economic work.
The CBO blames the future debt increases on these sources:
You don’t say.
NiceDeb Continues to Make Good April 11, 2017Posted by geoff in News.
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Y’all may remember NiceDeb, who used to hang out here back in the first few years after this blog was formed. She kept her own blog going until last year, but has pretty much given it up for the big leagues. She had a nice column at PJ Media today – one that is near and dear to my heart:
A Musical Interlude April 9, 2017Posted by geoff in News.
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My daughter tells me that this Miike Snow band is supertrending on YouTube, and that she’d disown me if I didn’t put up a post on with these vidoes. Progressively themed* (what pop music isn’t?), but catchy tunes and interesting videos.
*The first one is “love not war” and the second combines “thin line between love and hate” with “gay is at least as good as hetero.”
Exports Gain Again April 8, 2017Posted by geoff in News.
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Exports have been languishing in the doldrums for 5 years (one could argue that it’s been 6). In 2016 they dropped down to levels not seen since 2011. But, as with other economic data, since Trump’s election there are signs that exports are on the mend. To whit:
[As has become my recent custom, data since November 2016 is shown in ostentatious Trumpian gold gradient, while prior data is shown in Obamanian unicorn skittle rainbow gradient.]
Boring Labor Participation Rate Data April 7, 2017Posted by geoff in News.
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The labor participation rate didn’t change from last month to this. But at least it didn’t drop.
C’mon labor participation rate! Entertain us!!
Signs of Life in Manufacturing April 7, 2017Posted by geoff in News.
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Manufacturing jobs took a real beating in the recession, and despite President Obama’s promise to restore 1 million manufacturing jobs within 4 years (September 2012 – September 2016), by the time Trump was elected they had only managed to restore 371K.
Since Trump’s election, however, the picture has become far rosier. We’ve added 67K manufacturing jobs in the past 4 months. Voila:
[Trump’s data is in tasteless gold, while Obama’s data is in fanciful rainbow.]
Even at that pace, you can’t get to a million jobs in 4 years ==> it would only be about 800K jobs.
But at least it’s increasing at a healthy rate.