Economics @ ITT

March Madness

Posted in economics, Taxation by ittecon on March 22, 2013
March Madness

Effective tax rates in the US are not among the highest of industrialised countries.


Media Matters

Posted in economics by ittecon on March 21, 2013
Social Security Focus in WaPo

Media Matters

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What Recovery?

Posted in economics by ittecon on March 21, 2013

The US economy, many believe, is turning a corner.  Maybe so, but for much of the country, what lies around the corner is a dead end.  In far too many places, high levels of unemployment still exist, and joblessness has been the norm for years, even decades. Unless we try something different, these places will once again be left behind as more prosperous areas recover.

via What Recovery? Across America, People in Distressed Cities and Small Towns Face Economic Catastrophe | Alternet.

Overshoot: Growth on a Finite Planet

Posted in economics, macroeconomics, Policy Issues by ittecon on March 19, 2013

Growth is good for everyone; right?

Ask any policy wonk, politician or pundit – Republican, Independent or Democrat – about the sine qua non of economic policy, and the chances are pretty good their answer will boil down to one word: growth.

via The Folly of Endless Growth on a Finite Planet | Common Dreams.

Depositors’ Money May Be Seized as Banking Crisis Unfolds

Posted in economics by ittecon on March 17, 2013

Saturday morning we learned that after hours of tense negotiation, Europe has hammered out a 10bn euro “bailout” of Cyprus. I put the term bailout in quotes because the key feature of this deal is the bail-in of Cypriot depositors to the tune of 5.8bn euros, about a third of Cyprus’ GDP. This means that depositors went to sleep on Friday night and woke up Saturday to find that their money, deposited safely in Cypriot banks, had been seized and used to “bail out” the country.

via Hell Breaks Loose in Europe as Banking Crisis Unfolds: Depositors Money May Be Seized | Alternet.

Why an MRI costs $1,080 in America and $280 in France

Posted in economics by ittecon on March 16, 2013

The answer: a lack of moral suasion and greed.

In 2009, Americans spent $7,960 per person on health care. Our neighbors in Canada spent $4,808. The Germans spent $4,218. The French, $3,978. If we had the per-person costs of any of those countries, America’s deficits would vanish. Workers would have much more money in their pockets. Our economy would grow more quickly, as our exports would be more competitive.

via Why an MRI costs $1,080 in America and $280 in France.

Joseph Stiglitz: Innovation should focus on quality of life, not just productivity

Posted in economics, employment, environment, externalities, Policy Issues, Regulation by ittecon on March 16, 2013

“We have a lot of unemployment and yet firms are investing in machines to replace unskilled workers,” he said. “Do we want to create more unemployment of unskilled workers? No. We want to focus our innovation on saving our planet, resources, the environment and the quality of life.”

via Joseph Stiglitz: Innovation should focus on quality of life, not just productivity | Bangkok Post: business.

Consumer Sentiment in US Falls to Lowest Point in Year

Posted in economics by ittecon on March 15, 2013

Consumer sentiment down, so fewer purchases and slower economy.

Confidence among American consumers unexpectedly slumped in March, which may signal a cooling in spending, the biggest part of the economy.

via Consumer Sentiment in U.S. Falls to Lowest Point in Year – Bloomberg.

Deconstructing Capitalism

Posted in economics by ittecon on March 15, 2013

In my ongoing struggle to fully grasp the weaknesses inherent in capitalism (and democracy, but that is fodder for a different blog), I have come to the conclusion that the Achilles ’ heel of capitalism is that it relies on having limited liability as a foundational element—that and monopoly power, or rather that these travel in the same circles. I’ve only got a few moments to type, so I expect this to capture is flow of consciousness.

Capitalism has its own flaws as Marx has noted at length, but more fundamentally without the prospects of monopoly and limited liability—each violations of free market tenets—, it would not be nearly as attractive. When a person defends the notion of capitalism, they are taken as given that these other components are in place.

Like democracy, capitalism is fragile and it requires a favourable power structure to maintain it. I’d like to spend some time investigating the factors behind the scenes that capitalist disciples seem to ignore.

Time’s up. Time to get back to work…..

Big Banks Are Too Big to Jail

Posted in economics by ittecon on March 12, 2013

Pardon my vernacular, but Eric Holder is a pussy, and  the US government is staffed with wimps, excepting a small handful in the company of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. It’s such a short list, I should just name all of the allies of the People who stand up to the majority of Corporate puppets, but I’ll leave that for another time.

“I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if we do prosecute — if we do bring a criminal charge — it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy,” Mr. Holder told the Senate Judiciary Committee. “I think that is a function of the fact that some of these institutions have become too large.”

via Realities Behind Prosecuting Big Banks –