Recent comments

  • over on the left, just under the site picture is a dynamic menu which should enable better navigation to the forums.

    I don't like the forum layout itself, too many clicks, but it's a TBD. (to be done).

    Reply to: Site Changes - What's the latest?   14 years 11 months ago
    EPer:
  • For anyone else, FIFO stands for "first in first out" which is the same as first come first served.

    I sure am trying to create a space for in depth discussion on economics/labor/trade analysis/policy, so feedback is critical for what I may think is cool, others may not.

    I changed the width, moved the forum menu over and am working on adding dynamic menus to navigate especially the forum more easily. Any more feedback is greatly appreciated.

    I have wide screens, so I didn't think of that rolling to the side! We need the ability to somehow post detailed graphs, spreadsheets and this sort of analysis details and make it readable and I'm kind of hunting around to make this blog more "math head" friendly. I just added file attachments because some data just is not easy to format via blogs. Anybody know of any features out there to make it better for math heads to post their research, analysis on websites/blogs, I am looking for those kind of features.

    I agree with you that dailykos is cult zoo. I don't even think people read the posts frankly before rating, ranting.

    I'm assuming something as geeky as economic policy isn't going to attract those types but if it does, I will just plain remove that kind of stuff because it's clearly off topic on here.

    Right now, if a forum post gets points, it will be promoted to the front page and I'll lower the threshold so we have a better chance of discussion threads getting more traffic that are good ones.

    I just got this system working and it's pretty rough as well as rudimentary in algorithm. Hopefully later I can add a "time" slope on it so the length of time a post is on the front page will be longer based on user feedback. Long story short I have to write software to create it (or dig around for a long time with non-functioning code, incompatible and so on).

    I want to give the default to the front page so at least a blog post will be read and if it's not so hot, well, people can just vote it down and it will not be on the front page anymore. That means while it's still FIFO, the more in depth posts will be on the front page longer due to filtering, user defined. One cannot post to the front page a short blog post to also promote quality writing. Blogs should be reasonably in depth.

    If I see this turn into a user popularity contest versus focusing in on the depth of writing, insight, facts, I'll write up some algorithm or do something to fix it.

    I hear ya when someone writes something in great depth on dailykos only to have some psycho babbling idiot do a comment drive by and proclaim your topic as not progressive or not Democratic and usually much worse!

    I'm assuming an economics blog just isn't going to get that many of those concrete head non-thinkers who seem to live to troll rate and cheer lead and if there is a blog post or something just completely off topic on here, I do monitor the content and I'll just plain remove it. I've already done that. Since I'm encouraging immigration policy discussion from a globalization and labor economics view point, things that don't have facts or numbers in them are getting off-topic.

    I imply it in the site rules that people better argue from the facts and analysis, so far so good no real problems and we have had some controversial blog posts already.

    Forums: both blogs and forums have nested, threaded comments, which enables a sane discussion that's readable, replies in either.

    Active Forum Topics, in the middle column, that's a FIFO override for forums that are still active, so someone can comment in a forum post that started months ago, but it will bop up in that active forum list because the discussion is still ongoing.

    I don't like Democratic Underground because to me the forums become unmanageable to figure out who said what and have any in depth discussion in them. So, I'm looking for any design ideas to improve all of this and take the best of the ideas from the blogs and incorporate them over here.

    The site design is also "dynamic" which means changed as I can get to it, get feedback as well as can write up code to improve it. ;)

    Reply to: Site Changes - What's the latest?   14 years 11 months ago
    EPer:
  • The subheads to navigate to books, contacts, forum,etc. are even further over to the right than before. On my laptop the forum pick is off the screen and I have to scroll sideways to see it. I think left justifying these would make navigation easier.

    I'm not a big fan of voting on any site, perhaps others feel differently. What one finds is that popularity is not a good proxy for "quality". Take dailykos, any posting which supports Obama will get lots of votes and those which support Clinton won't.

    I'm not a fan of FIFO either, except for time-based postings such as on an event focused site.

    I thought you were trying to set up a site where more fundamental issues could be discussed over an extended period of time. For this a forum layout is better. Those articles which get the most views or comments can be set to rise to the top of each forum section.

    The new color scheme is nice...

    Reply to: Site Changes - What's the latest?   14 years 11 months ago
  • And yes I meant income. Appreciated.

    Reply to: Jobs Lost for 3rd Consecutive Month   14 years 11 months ago
  • You probably mean that median household "income" (not net worth) didn't return to 1999 levels in the recent expansion. Median and Mean net worth of households did continue to rise since 1999 despite the Nasdaq meltdown -- that had little or no effect on median households -- due to rising home values. See the Fed's Survey of Consumer Finances; 2004 is the latest. That's why the collapse of the housing bubble is so important.

    You'll need to wait for the Fed's separate report on Household Debt Service and Financial Obligations that depend on the rates of interest that households pay on their soaring debts. But the debt itself is in the Fed's Flow of Funds report released on Thursday. Look for the file on "balances." You can also go to my company's website (http://www.mbginfosvcs.com/) to see graphics of the soaring ratio of household debt o disposable income, assets and net worth. (Left hand side, second from top at this moment.) There is also a link to the Fed's Flow of Funds data.
    Best,
    Charles McMillion

    Reply to: Jobs Lost for 3rd Consecutive Month   14 years 11 months ago
    EPer:
  • It is very significant, I think, that in this past expansion median household net worth never matched its high from the 1990s expansion -- this will be the first time since the great depression that the middle class as a whole is moving, secularly, in the wrong direction.

    If mean net worth is declining, just imagine what is happening to median net worth!

    In that regard, is the figure for Household Debt Service and Financial Obligations Ratios, specifically total household debt as a percentage of income, buried in the flow of funds report somewhere (and if so, where?) . Or do I have to wait for a separate report?

    Thanks

    Reply to: Jobs Lost for 3rd Consecutive Month   14 years 11 months ago
  • the re-engineering the stratification of global wealth.

    Yes, energy economics is another topic that is so full of confusion, bloggers clarifying on which one is economically viable and more importantly is the true energy creation vs. the cost of more consequences in production that I have yet to swim through.

    Reply to: One thing you don't hear too much about in the primary fights so far is.....Iraq....   14 years 11 months ago
    EPer:
  • .........my fellow blogger malcontent is heavily into the hidden connections and agendas revolving around the 'financialization' of global politics. If that's the right way to say it.

    Me...

    I'm more into things such as:

    Solar Grand Plan

    As weapons to use against the individuals, groups and cabals who are engineering the stratification of wealth...world wide.

    Reply to: One thing you don't hear too much about in the primary fights so far is.....Iraq....   14 years 11 months ago
    EPer:
  • If you haven't read it, I recommend: The Prize : The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power, by Daniel Yergin.

    This is not an "anti" anything book but is an incredible detailed history of world domination the oil economy and the resulting politics.

    On Iraq, assuming they were going after grabbing oil markets and so on, I still don't see how that adds up to the current costs. It has to be the entire privatization agenda.

    It would be nice is someone calculated out the % drop in income for Americans due to oil and if anyone noticed Dubai is talking about not using the dollar against their own currency recently.

    Reply to: One thing you don't hear too much about in the primary fights so far is.....Iraq....   14 years 11 months ago
    EPer:
  • I was reading your diary and thinking, "here is what the democratic platform should be" and there it was in your final sentence.

    As an aside, re the anthrax attacks, I've done the opposite change of mind from most people. Originally, I thought it was a copycat, then I changed my mind, I believe it was Muhammad Atta's cell (maybe explains why they went to Portland ME the last night to meet somebody).
    Reasons: it happened right after 9/11, and hasn't happened since. One of the targets was a National Enquirer editor who lived near Atta in Florida and had made fun of OBL (a really strange target otherwise). The anthrax was only mailed to Senators, nobody in the house (perhaps because the plane that crashed in PA was specifically aimed at the House of Representatives).

    Nice work, rdf.

    Reply to: I need a title for this...   14 years 11 months ago
  • and I'm not gonna take it anymore?

    From the Elephant Man:

    I'm a human being, not a consumer!

    Can I sell my citizenship on the new free market?

    You would think the Democratic platform would write itself and we certainly need to demand it.

    Believe it or not Democratic leadership right now is giving Bill Gates his own personal hearing so he can blather on about NASSCOM (Microsoft is a member of NASSCOM), ITAA's demands for global labor arbitrage vehicles.

    I'd say Democratic leaders aren't exactly hearing the American people by this latest event. (I am left politically but I have to call 'em as I see 'em).

    I also want to point out that your posts are really blog posts (blog posts are traditionally more original writings and details). On here when you do a blog entry it goes to the front page and gets more exposure and you deserve more readers.

    I'm working on the site to make the navigation better and the forums really need it.

    But your writings deserve to be on the front page in my opinion.

    Reply to: I need a title for this...   14 years 11 months ago
    EPer:
  • I think the stock market is Populist. Anything that affects the US national interests, working America's interests to me is Populist . Sometimes solutions presented that sound great in philosophy and theory have dire consequences to the United States, such as "comprehensive" immigration reform is one that comes to mind. Others that sound very anti-US worker in theory such as corporate tax code while it might seem to give corporations what they want, can actually be populist in that it has a strong positive effect in investment and jobs in the US. I'm posting relevant snippets in the forum on it.

    I'm hoping our job is to dig out the nitty gritty, which frankly rarely occurs in the press. I mean if you have congress representatives not reading the bills, never mind the press and analyzing the details before something passes how can we expect to get reforms in the US national interest?

    I'm not so sure on your analysis though because I'm waiting for those massive write downs to be announced, but I do find it bizarre that we get all of these really bad economic indicators and yet it goes up.

    Reply to: A brief stock market aside   14 years 11 months ago
    EPer:
  • Eweek reporting Silicon Valley Losing It's Middle Class:

    The effects of a sub-prime mortgage crisis, financial market volatility and a shifting global economy are disproportionately affecting midwage technology workers in Silicon Valley.
    In 2006, only 46 percent of the jobs in Silicon Valley were midwage, paying between $30,000 and $80,000 a year, down from 52 percent in 2002, according to the 2008 Index of Silicon Valley, sponsored by Joint Venture, a public-private partnership, and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, a nonprofit.
    Meanwhile, the percentage of higher wage jobs remained relatively stable at 26 to 27 percent, while low-wage jobs grew from 22 to 27 percent in the same period

    _______________________________________________

    Reply to: Silicon Valley Losing it's Middle Class   14 years 11 months ago
    EPer:
  • It sounds like we need a political action to change the bankruptcy law.

    We have other problems also on the insourcing front, Bill Gates is once again getting his own personal hearing as the lobbyists storm the hill demanding their global labor arbitrage agenda and the Dems are way too willing to give it to them.

    I'm kind of surprised by this Bernanke move actually.

    Reply to: Bernanke signs on to voluntary mortgage cramdowns   14 years 11 months ago
    EPer:
  • Increase or peak? I have no idea, peak would be a guess.

    What I do know it that my grandfather lived through the 1930s depression. In 1933 he took a job with the railroad and his family was ok after that. But he never, never, ever kept any money in a bank after 1929.

    I saw him pull out a wad of bills and pay cash for a 1957 Chevrolet. He died with money saved in his sock drawer. Remember his longstanding fear of banks, I have recently moved a sum home for emergencies because I think our economy is completely hollow we are in such debt -- not me prsonally, the country. Since the 1980 I believe the value has been harvested (merged and stripped, off-shored, etc.) and all that is left is hollow debt.

    My mother's second husband was a boy during that depression. His family survived by eating a lot of apples. When he died in 2000, he still hated eating apples because of the memories of having only apples to eat.

    An asside: No one in my family ever did use debt except for their mortgage. They believed in paying cash. But now few people hesitate to buy something that they don't have the cash for. Most people's budget problems would dissappear if they only used cash.)

    That depression must have been horrible on people and it certainly left long lasting effects on anyone I knew who lived through it. But I feel influenced by it even these generations away, because of my family's stories.

    Reply to: 1946! Interest rates, inflation, and war   14 years 11 months ago
    EPer:
  • VAT

    Unfortunately you are claiming this national sales tax is going to do what you claim and it will not. A VAT would. This is a value added tax.

    I don't think Progressive taxes are "out of date" in fact the Progressive tax code is one of the reasons we built up a middle class in the 20th Century.

    Reply to: NAFTA is Not the Main Problem   14 years 11 months ago
    EPer:
  • Liberals seem to have closed minds on thie subject. What was a wonderful idea seventy of eighty years ago (the progressive income tax) is out of date in a global economy I don"t favor the FairTax for many reasons, but it would send a check or bank transfer to every person to pay all taxes up to the poverty level. So only non essentials are taxed.

    Your employer really pays your income taxes and social security taxes. Usually you do not even see or feel the money. Your taxes are really just a part of what your employer charges for whatever he sells.
    Buy American to support our government. Buy imports and we get nothing..

    I would prefer just charging the retailer 20% of his gross sales. We could fund all kinds of social services

    Imagine getting 20% o ever CD, Movie, Athletic Ticket

    Reply to: NAFTA is Not the Main Problem   14 years 11 months ago
    EPer:
  • I don't like all the fine points of the FairTax, but it has something called a prebate. It sends everyone a check or bank transfer that is enough to pay all taxes up to the poverty level.

    Our businesses would be in a better position globally if Social Security, Medicare, and health insurance were all financed by a tax on all goods and services purchased here including imports. Workers would keep more of their paychecks and even receive a monthly check from the government to cover all taxes up to the poverty level.

    The huge disparity of income in our country is largely due to businesses that are not labor intensive like movies, sports, and software. Bill Gates for instance hires programmers in India and the creation and packaging of CD’s and DVD’s is largely automated. Consider the amount of money that would be raised by a 25% tax on movies, CD’s, sporting events and gadgets made elsewhere. Some of our super stars might have to settle for a couple million dollars less. The loopholes found by CPA’s and tax lawyers in our tens of thousands of pages of IRS regulations further exacerbates the situation.

    It is very doubtful whether thieves, drug dealers, prostitutes and illegal aliens are now filing these earnings on an income tax.

    Reply to: NAFTA is Not the Main Problem   14 years 11 months ago
    EPer:
  • So far as I know, the words "progressive" and "sales tax" are incompatible.
    The "sales tax" is about as regressive as you can get.

    Reply to: NAFTA is Not the Main Problem   14 years 11 months ago
    EPer:
  • Matching Private Savings with Federal Dollars (1999), not specific to these exact proposals, gives a little more insight into the idea of private savings accounts.

    Their conclusion:

    A lingering question is whether a 401(k)-type plan design is sensible when the target population consists of low- and very low income workers, as is the case with the two Social Security-based proposals. Incentives provided by matching contributions will be successful only if workers can afford to take advantage of them, and many low- and very low income workers cannot or do not. Perhaps federal resources would be better spent on direct subsidies for the poor in retirement than on a complicated incentive program that may produce only a marginal increase in savings. It might also be better to target savings incentives to those who can afford to save and are motivated to respond. With these considerations in mind, a federal 401(k) approach has some merit, but creating a stand-alone federal program does not. One alternative to consider is subsidizing contributions into IRAs and other 401(k)-type plans while providing very similar rules for taxing contributions and benefits. This would preserve the savings incentives that are the essence of these proposals while reducing their complexity and cost

    Reply to: Obama's Economic Advisers   14 years 11 months ago
    EPer:

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