One Measure of the US Economy

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

I had occasion to view a couple of Cass Trucking Index graphs, both for shipments (the physical volume) and for expenditures. Interestingly, the number of shipments in 2015 is almost dead flat compared to 1999.

Since US population has increased by over 15% during that time, from 279 Million to 322 Million today, I would have expected a similar rise in shipments.

Cass Freight Index Shipments 123115

Of course, 1999 was before the Bubble burst, while today we have anything but a robust Economy. Even so, with our political leaders trumpeting all the strides they have made to get the Economy back on the right track, dead even compared to 15% higher betrays an Economy that still is worse off than 16 years ago.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Greenland Retained 99.7% of Its Ice Mass in 20th Century!!!

[So, Maybe we aren’t doomed! – Bob]

By David Middleton – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

Naturally, the Real Clear Science headline actually read…

Greenland Lost 9 Trillion Tons of Ice in Century

Which sounds even more serious than the original headline…

Greenland.PNG

Greenland has lost 9,000 billion tons of ice in a century

Continue reading

Happy New Employment

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

As we are about to ring in the new year, we can give thanks for the “Full Employment” Economy. That big Thank You needs to go to the manipulators of the official statistics over at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and elsewhere in our government.

It should be remembered that the Participation Rate among working age Americans is at a multi-generation record low. 10 Million Americans or more burned through over a year’s worth of unemployment benefits, and still could not find a job which payed more than Welfare and Food Stamps.

These people, who have given up hope, were re-defined out of the ranks of the officially unemployed. Too bad for them, but they no longer count – or rather no longer are being counted.

However, some people were able to find full time jobs, even if the skill level – and pay level – was far below what the had become accustomed to. Too bad for them, but having to accept half of what they used to be paid, doesn’t mean they are unemployed. Under-employed people don’t count – or don’t get counted by the BLS.

Some formerly unemployed Americans have accepted part-time jobs. Checking the official numbers, part-time positions have skyrocketed while full-time openings have plunged. (The surge in part-time vs full-time jobs must be one of the hidden “Benefits!” of ObamaCare.) But again, a job is a job, so no use complaining about it. And, no use expecting to be counted as unemployed.

Continue reading

The Fed’s Academic-Based Theories Are Creating A BRUTAL Economic Reality

By Graham Summers – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

One of the most frustrating aspects of today’s financial system is the fact that the Fed is being lead by lifelong academics with no real world banking or business experience.

Consider the cases of Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen. Neither of these individuals has ever created a job based on generating sales of any kind. Neither of them has ever had to make payroll. Neither of them has ever run a business. What are economic realities for business owners (e.g. operating costs, capital and profits) are just abstract concepts for Bernanke and Yellen.

Moreover, there is a particular problem with academic economists. That problem is that a major percentage of their “research” is total bunk made up in order to make tenure.

This is not our opinion… it is fact based on research published by the Fed itself.

According to a paper published by researchers from THE FEDERAL RESERVE BOARD, it was not possible to replicate even HALF of the results found in economics papers EVEN WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF THE INDIVIDUALS WHO WROTE THE PAPER.

Continue reading

Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #211

The Week That Was: December 26, 2015 – Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

THIS WEEK: By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

COP-21 – Smoke and Mirrors: The Conference of Parties (COP-21) of the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) ended with significant changes to the earlier, to be agreed upon, agreement with the changes in a few small words. As Paul Homewood recognized the word “shall” was changed to “should” in the paragraph “Developed country Parties shall should continue taking the lead by undertaking economy-wide absolute emission reduction targets. Homewood suspected that the US delegates (probably under instructions from the White House) demanded the change. The issue was making the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reduction of the document legally binding. Making emissions reductions legally binding on the US would require Senate approval while the term “should” is not legally binding. President Obama has not consulted with Congress on the “Nationally Determined Contributions.” Contrary to the name, these contributions were decided by the administration, not nationally, and making them legally binding would require approval of two-thirds of the Senate present. The Administration’s game-playing faced harsh reality.

According to an article by Nitin Sethi, of the Business Standard out of India, the US Administration did not shoulder the burden of the harsh reality, but placed the burden on delegates from the European Union. The article opens with:

“If there was one overarching imprint on the Paris climate change negotiations, it was of the diplomatic heft that the US enjoys. The last hours of the talks, when the US was faced with the challenge of removing a phrase it didn’t like in the final agreement, it was left to the European Union to walk across the aisle to convince everyone to not oppose the changes the US demanded. The European Union, once hailed as the climate change leader of the world, was canvassing the developing country bloc to accept an agreement that was discordantly against its own non-negotiable position wanting a strict legally-binding protocol and not a loosely-bound agreement that the Paris outcome eventually became.

Continue reading

Beyond Permissionless Innovation

By Veronique de Rugy – Re-Blogged From Reason.com

Exciting things happen outside the reach of regulators.

Paul McCarthy is the father of a boy born without fingers on one hand. A few years ago, McCarthy found that a $30,000 prosthesis—the only option then available—was not a perfect match for his 12-year-old son’s needs, so he went online to find a better, less pricey alternative. McCarthy’s search led to the assembly of an unlikely team: a South African woodworker, an American puppeteer, and another father in a similar situation. Thanks to the power of the Internet, the men were able to collaborate from thousands of miles apart to make an inexpensive but workable prosthetic appendage using 3D printers.

Such “permissionless” innovation, in which people with big ideas for how to make the world better act on them without first jumping through regulatory hoops, is remarkable. It’s also extremely fragile. The entire enterprise could crumble overnight with a stroke of a regulator’s pen, a change in an insurance company’s policy, or a lawsuit filed by entrenched manufacturing interests. It hasn’t so far in this case. But due to pressure from competitors that make traditional prosthetics, the company McCarthy and his partners created has already had to agree to define its product as a “training” prosthetic, thus opening the door to future regulatory limitations on its business model.

Consider how the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in the name of safety at any cost, quashed the genomics company 23andMe by ordering it to stop marketing its cheap, at-home genetic testing kits. According to the agency, 23andMe should have obtained permission from regulators before selling its product to American consumers who were interested in learning more about their own personal genetic information.

The Value of Petroleum Fuels

By Andy May – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

It is difficult to compare 1840 to 2015, so much of what we have today didn’t exist then.  But, they had to move people and goods from place to place as we do now.  They had farms then as we do now. They used wagons pulled by horses, mules or oxen.  We use cars and airplanes. They used muscle power to farm, we use tractors, combines, grain carts, and trucks powered by petroleum fuels. In 1840 crude oil and natural gas production and use were rare. Coal was used in manufacturing, but steam engines were still in their infancy. So the world in 1840 was fossil fuel free for the most part. Biofuels, that is burning wood and dung, were common. Windmills would not appear until 1854. Hydropower was not in common use until after 1849. Solar power had not been invented yet.

The cost of gasoline can be seen on the sign at any gas station, but what is its value?  Using gasoline or diesel saves us time and manual labor. It also saves air, water and waste pollution. Let us not forget that the automobile was lauded as a great environmental improvement after the “Great Horse Manure Crisis” of 1894. Nothing like having horse manure up to your knees to help you appreciate gasoline!

How much manual labor is replaced when we use gasoline? In other words what is the value of gasoline? In large part our standard of living is determined by the difference between what we pay for petroleum fuels and coal and their value in time and labor. I’ll try and compute that value by comparing a 1,812 mile trip, along the Oregon Trail from Independence, Missouri to Oregon City in 1840 with a trip today. I’ll also compute the value of diesel by comparing a 10 acre grain harvest in 1840 to a harvest today.

Continue reading