Money and Happiness in the U.S. – Better Life Index

Better Life Index, just released by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Americans’ household wealth is about $102,000 on average, significantly higher than those in many other developed countries. Income inequality is high, however, with the top 20 percent of the population earning nearly $82,000 a year while the bottom 20 percent get by

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Spending and Investments Decline, Chance of Recession Rises

With spending and investment portfolios declining in the midst of a household debt contraction our chances of going into recession are rising.
Household spending fell in June for the third straight month; never in the past five decades has this happened outside of a slump.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index plunged 16.8 percent in 11 days,

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Quantitative Easing – Interest, Inflation Rate Tradeoff

Quantitative easing in the form of QEII has very likely lowered long-term interest rates, at least somewhat, promoting some investment and economic growth. But absent further fiscal stimulus, it’s unlikely to be a cure-all for a slow growing economy with anemic demand. And it is possible, though unlikely, that the Fed could find itself in

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Debt and Property Ownership – Destruction of Information Caused Crisis

What if lack of debt and property ownership information caused the financial crisis? It isn’t enough to have property rights – you need information to accompany those rights. Economist Hernando de Soto believes that the financial crisis wasn’t just about finance—it was about a destruction of knowledge of property ownership. Hernando de Soto:
During the second

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Unemployment High, Lower Debt Levels – Will Government Spending and Debt Help Economy?

U.S. economic data are “alarming,” signaling the recovery is losing momentum, Mohamed A. El-Erian, Pacific Investment Management Co.’s chief executive officer, wrote in an opinion piece in the Washington Post.
Unemployment is high, consumer debt and credit is shrinking and small companies are having trouble obtaining bank lines of credit, wrote El-Erian, who is also co-chief

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The Relationship of Unemployment and Education Level and Implication for Economic Recovery

Business leaders, think tanks, government agencies, and other blue chip institutions have worried about the economic impact of too many poorly educated Americans. The day of reckoning may be here.
That is a concern raised by a recent report by economists Daniel Hartley and Beth Mowry of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. In “Could Low

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Tax The Rich? But What If The Rich Start To Leave?

With growing federal deficits it’s natural that tax rates are going to climb and that the federal government will look for new sources of tax receipts.
It’s natural that the Federal government will continue the exercise started with the recent health care reform to find opportunities to tax the rich.
And it may be natural that the

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Cost of Debt: Interest Rates to Remain Low

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans said the U.S. jobless rate may remain higher than 9 percent at the end of this year, underscoring the potential need to keep interest rates low into 2011.
The unemployment rate may be “nine and a quarter” at the end of 2010, and higher than 7 percent at

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Should Those Who Lived Within Their Means Help Those Who Didn’t?

What if the government were to transfer lots of money from those who lived within their means to those who didn’t? Would it not only be ineffective but irresponsible? Would it create moral hazard? Would it serve as a disincentive to live within one’s means?would it encourage the transfer of wealth to societies (ie. other

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