Tag - economy

The split of the Ukraine – based on economic data

Distribution of exports by region

Distribution of exports by region – larger version

We are witnessing the traditional corporate media propaganda emerging regarding the troubles in the Ukraine:  the portrayals of great heroics, old faces emerging with new promises, and, oh those pictures.

Setting all of that aside, readily available economic data tells the tale of both present and the future realities in the Ukraine.  The nation is split between on the basis of economic prosperity (in relative terms) and productivity.  That split divides wealth that is a fraction of what it should be due the expropriation of much of the nation’s wealth by a few oligarchs and their minions.

Two sets of data demonstrate the east-west split.  (Data etc. translated from Russian in this blog, with commentary on sourcing:  “Everything is annihilated”: the split of Ukraine on the basis of economic data )

Productivity, in terms of economic exports are greater in the Southeastern region than they are in the center and Western part of the country.  The capital, Kiev, has minimal export power. (See image left.  Darker shades indicate higher exports.)

Economic development, defined by salaries, is split between the center-West and the Southeastern part of the country.  (See image below.  Darker shades indicate higher salaries.)

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The Problem is not The POTUS, but The GOTUS.

Okay, I ought really be shoveling the 4 foot drift blocking my one and only egress from my apartment, but instead I wondered over to Ian’s blog. After reading this post I left this comment.

If Obama were truly a dictator you could lay the blame for the increased income disparity at his feet. However, he has to contend with another branch of the government. A branch of government that has not even allowed him to hire the people he wants to work in his branch of government.

I’m not a rabid Obama supporter; I believe he is wrong about drone use, as well as not getting behind reigning in the NSA fast enough. However, as an American I’d rather it be recognized that more people than Obama are responsible for crafting and implementing the laws in our country. Had Obama had to deal with a progressive, left-leaning congress, perhaps we would be seeing less of an income disparity.

It’s really an irritating habit of people (inside and outside of the US) to speak of President Obama as some sort of all powerful leader when the rules of being the President of the United States were purposefully written to prevent just that from happening. And as the Constitution of the United States was written by imperfect people (hence the “more perfect union” statement), it’s rather dubious to demand that a leader be perfect.

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Allow me to introduce myself.

Profile picture of Jeff Wegerson

I’m a second generation Chicagoan. Live on the north side and work on the west side. I was around in the 70’s as a hippy. What little of Marx I understood then I liked. So when governments are democratic l tend to prefer them especially, of course, over corporations. My standards for democracy are extremely high. At the moment I don’t really count the plutocratic U.S. I believe that the bigger an organization is the more regulations it needs to follow. To me “to big to fail” means way more than big enough to nationalize.

I miss the diary system here at the Agonist….

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The Marginal Futility of Debt

The stock market is to the 1% what food stamps are to the poor – Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge blog

house of cardsAt the end of World War II, as the world’s last remaining and therefore pre-eminent economic power, the United States was in the envious position of being able to generate nearly $1 of GDP growth for every incremental dollar of debt taken on. By 1980, the marginal utility of debt in the US had dropped to about 30¢ of growth per dollar of new debt. This decline was partly due to the oil price shocks of 1979, which took so much purchasing power out of the economy that consumers and businesses had far fewer dollars available for consumption and investment after paying for oil and meeting interest and principal obligations on existing debt. The recession of 1979-1980 also brought about a huge increase in defaults, which is the main downside of debt, and this provided a self-reinforcing austerity on an economy already dealing with a sharp cut in spending power.  (Image: ClaraDon)

Still, back then new debt produced some GDP growth. Fast forward thirty years. Somewhere around 2008 to 2010, the marginal utility of debt for the US dropped to zero. There was so much debt on the books at all levels of society (including government), eating up so much income in the form of principal and interest payments, that when the shock of widespread defaults was introduced into the economy as the result of the housing bubble collapse, it became futile to add more debt. At that point, the US entered the age of the Marginal Futility of Debt, in which it has been mired ever since.
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Bernie Sanders on Sequestration

The Republians in the House and the Senate have gone nonlinear. They forgot the series of Tea Party defeats in the last election. They fear a Tea Party opponent in the 2014 election. And, they’re indifferent to real polls showing they are identified as “extremists.” Here’s Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on the sequester.

You know we’re headed for bad times when the Senate can’t pass a bill.

“On Thursday afternoon, not a single Senate Republican broke ranks to support a Democratic proposal to replace the sequester in part with higher taxes on households earning more than $5 million a year. Although the measure won 51 votes, it failed to garner the 60 votes needed to avoid a GOP filibuster [thanks to Harry “the rat” Reid, (D-NV).”

Sequestration Sorrows for Extremist Republicans

May you have incompetent, offensive enemies. 


President Obama and the congressional Democrats have the luck of the Irish, truly.  They’ve already won the Battle of the Fiscal Cliff due to the good judgment of the people.  That judgement takes facts into consideration.  The sequestration process is a blunt instrument wielded by a Frankenstein process that accounts for nothing sensible in terms of solving the main concern of the public; the seriously flawed, destructive economic cycle that is dragging us to a place nobody sensible wants to go. The PEW survey to the left shows that a majority think the economy in general (60%) and the military in particular (55%)  will suffer due to this pathetic process of histrionic policy making.

That puts the wisdom of the people in line with the judgement of over 95% of leading economists surveyed recently who say that “growth is likely to be negatively affected by the automatic federal spending cuts that are scheduled to kick in Friday.”  It makes sense.  The economy is weak, unemployment, all those out of work seeking work, is around 22%, and many citizens are one paycheck away from their own fiscal cliff.

Here are some highly revealing polls and  headlines from around the country late Wednesday, early today.

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Leading Indicator – Utah (and the governor is not happy)

herbertUtah governor Gary Herbert is not amused.  In fact, he’s pretty pissed off at the mindless Frankenstein of the March 1 sequestration that will result in robo-cutting federal programs across the country.  He estimates that Utah will lose $550 million in federal funding abruptly.

“Utah’s fundamentals are strong, as evidenced by continued state economic growth. Unemployment is down, wages are up and the local economy is growing, but nevertheless Washington, D.C., is having a chilling effect on our state’s recovery. We would be seeing even greater growth were it not for the backdrop of federal uncertainty and a fragile national economic recovery. Governor Gary Herbert’s Blog, Feb 25

This is a clear indication that nobody out there, regardless of party, in charge of running a state, county, or city government sides with the Tea Party extremists in their effort to fix everything right now – i.e., sequestration.  Just imagine the phone calls from all of these officials, especially the Republicans.  This may equal the call intensity from citizens in opposition to the first bailout (which was defeated). Read More