Economics @ ITT

US Economy Unexpectedly Contracted in Fourth Quarter

Posted in economics, macroeconomics by ittecon on January 30, 2013

This is only unexpected to the deluded few and the disengaged media.

The United States economy unexpectedly reversed course in the final quarter of 2012 and contracted at a 0.1 percent rate, the Commerce Department said Wednesday, its worst performance since the aftermath of the financial crisis in 2009.

via U.S. Economy Unexpectedly Contracted in Fourth Quarter –

Who feels the loss of small banks?

Posted in economics by ittecon on January 29, 2013

“I don’t know who’s going to do loans for small development if not community banks,” he says.

The few banks that are willing to make construction loans are demanding equity approaching 50 percent from the developers, he says. While Mr. Pinto agrees that borrowing terms during the height of the housing boom clearly were too risky for banks, lenders should be able to accept the 25 to 30 percent equity that was common during less frothy times.

via Who feels the loss of small banks? Small businesses – In Other News – Crain’s Chicago Business.

Conservatives Still Pushing Regressive Taxation Schemes

Posted in economics, Income Redistribution, Policy Issues, regressive taxation, Taxation by ittecon on January 29, 2013

[I]n Louisiana Mr. Jindal is pushing a plan to eliminate the state’s income tax, which falls most heavily on the affluent, and make up for the lost revenue by raising sales taxes, which fall much more heavily on the poor and the middle class. The result would be big gains for the top 1 percent, substantial losses for the bottom 60 percent.

via Makers, Takers, Fakers –

New Jersey Governor Vetoes Minimum Wage Increase

Posted in economics, employment, Policy Issues by ittecon on January 28, 2013

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie R[epublican] today vetoed an increase in the minimum wage that was passed by the state’s Democratic senate. Using what’s known as a “conditional veto,” Christie sent the bill back saying he would sign it if certain changes were made, including: shrinking the increase from $8.50 to $8.25 per hour, phasing it in over three years, and eliminating a provision tying the wage to inflation.

via New Jersey Governor Vetoes Minimum Wage Increase | ThinkProgress.

Economic Growth Absent from TV Coverage of Debt Ceiling Debate

Posted in economics, macroeconomics, Policy Issues by ittecon on January 28, 2013

In recent weeks, media outlets have focused heavily on negotiations regarding raising the debt ceiling. But television news has failed to highlight the pressing need for stronger economic growth. Furthermore, discussions about the debt ceiling often ignore facts about deficits, instead pivoting the focus to entitlements as a driver of deficits.

via REPORT: Economic Growth Absent From Television Coverage Of Debt Ceiling Debate | Research | Media Matters for America.

The Unloved Dollar Standard

Posted in economics, International Economics, macroeconomics by ittecon on January 24, 2013

Since World War II’s end, the US dollar has been used to invoice most global trade, serving as the intermediary currency for clearing international payments among banks and dominating official foreign-exchange reserves. This arrangement has often been criticized, but is there any viable alternative?

via The Unloved Dollar Standard by Ronald McKinnon – Project Syndicate.

The Economic Fundamentals of 2013

Posted in economics, macroeconomics by ittecon on January 24, 2013

With growth anemic in most advanced economies, the rally in risky assets that began in the second half of 2012 has not been driven by improved fundamentals, but rather by fresh rounds of unconventional monetary policy.

via The Economic Fundamentals of 2013 by Nouriel Roubini – Project Syndicate.

Are robots the next immigration debate?

Posted in economics, employment by ittecon on January 23, 2013

Most of the jobs will never return, and millions more are likely to vanish as well, say experts who study the labor market. Whats more, these jobs aren’t just being lost to China and other developing countries, and they aren’t just factory work. Increasingly, jobs are disappearing in the service sector, home to two-thirds of all workers. 

via Holy HAL! A robot stole my job – Business on

Collapse of the American Dream

Posted in economics, Policy Issues, Taxation by ittecon on January 19, 2013

Not entirely accurate depiction of the money and banking system, but still interesting.

Quinoa—The Other White Meat

Posted in economics, externalities by ittecon on January 18, 2013

The appetite of countries such as ours for this grain  has pushed up prices to such an extent that poorer people in Peru and Bolivia, for whom it was once a nourishing staple food, can no longer afford to eat it. Imported junk food is cheaper. In Lima, quinoa now costs more than chicken. Outside the cities, and fuelled by overseas demand, the pressure is on to turn land that once produced a portfolio of diverse crops into quinoa monoculture.

via Can Healthy Food Eaters Stomach the Uncomfortable Truth About Quinoa? | Alternet.

Another real life supply demand where the affluent bid up the price staple products of the poor. Many if not most of these people are likely otherwise conscientious consumers, at least to some extent, but they fail to see the larger picture. Save a cow, imperil a human.