More Economic and Government topics the time. Much of it due to the pandemic caused economic issue. It is interesting as to how the news varies from week to week and what becomes important. I did add reports on Ukraine’s economy for 2022. You will see percentages from ~31% to ~38% cited depending on who you read.
The Housing economy in in Arizona has come to a near standstill. At an AZ State House Committee meeting, the representatives were discussing (I was there being an ass) how they could make Builders and developers more profitable by cutting into various requirements before the build actually begins. Public meetings were one of the proposed cuts. What a novel idea, eliminate public input.
There were many times the room was packed during our Planning Commission meetings in Michigan. Most of the time with residents.
With builders? There are other things which can improve profitability such as doing things right the first time, stopping the dropping of dumpsters on sidewalks, place planks near curbs to allow heavy equipment to pass over then, conserve the lowly nails, etc. The amount of waste is the building of housing is phenomenal.
Economics, Finance, and Labor
Low and moderate income taxpayers can benefit from the Earned Income Tax Credit, consumeraffairs, Kristen Dalli. the agency promoted the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) – a credit designed to give a tax break to Americans who earned $59,187 or less in the previous year.
Labor Market Recap January 2023: Disinflation Amidst Labor Market Strength, employamerica.org, Preston Mui. Nearly every indicator from every data source is showing strong employment against a backdrop of slowing nominal price and wage growth.
Ford 4Q profit drops 90%, company says more cost cuts coming, AP News, Tom Krisher. $1 billion of the $2 billion in lost profits was due to lower production and lost sales, the other $1 billion was in operational costs. He attributed about 60% of the production problem to the chip shortage, with the rest coming from parts suppliers who had trouble ramping up factories. Interesting issues when you are trying to phase out of gasoline vehicles, go to electric vehicles and run two manufacturing sites.
PE’s dropping asset values are a warning sign for public pension plans, pitchbook.com, Jessica Hamlin. The reporting lag for private equity returns data means that public pension plans’ 2023 portfolio numbers will reflect losses in the asset class, marking a major “warning sign” for the institutions in the year ahead . . .
Labor Market Strength Is No Justification for a Recession, Roosevelt Institute, Justin Bloesch, Mike Konczal. Inflation is finally returning to trend. Over the past three months, Consumer Price Index (CPI) core inflation was 3.1 percent, less than half of the range we saw in early 2022. Longer-term measures are also now declining.
Inflation ticked lower in December. Here’s what went up and here’s what went down, consumeraffairs.com, Mark Huffman. The Labor Department’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) fell 0.1% in December, pulling the annual inflation rate down to 6.5%.
How much tax should the rich pay to fight poverty and hunger? qz.com, Diego Lasarte. Oxfam’s report calculates that “the richest 1% have bagged nearly twice as much wealth as the rest of the world put together over the past two years.”
Surveillance and the Loneliness of the Long-Distance Trucker, The New Yorker. A new book shows how electronic tracking systems have failed to make trucking safer. But they have helped companies spy on their workers.
The Economic Picture of Ukrainian Households, Wilson Center. Ukraine’s economy faced ample difficulties before Russia’s full-scale invasion, the effects of the invasion have amplified old problems and brought new ones: a rising poverty rate, displaced populations, price hikes, and the need for more budget revenues to replace everything destroyed in the war.
Ukraine’s remarkable economy emerging, Emerging europe.com, Ukraine’s Economy Ministry on January 5 reported that the country’s economy in fact contracted by just 30.4 per cent in 2022.
How Ukraine is Managing a War Economy, imf.org. According to our estimates, Ukraine will lose at least one-third of its GDP in 2022.
Ukraine GDP – Ukraine Economy Forecast & Outlook, focus-economics.com. According to a preliminary reading, GDP slid at a slower rate of 30.8% year on year in the third quarter, an improvement from the 37.2% contraction tallied in the second quarter.
Arizona’s Dilemma: Import Water or End its Housing Boom, Time, Clara Nugent. Tucson has gone to great lengths to cut back on the amount of water used per resident. At the same time, Arizona is enthusiastically welcoming tens of thousands of new residents—lured by cheap housing and endless sunshine—each year. Anyone who thinks the housing is cheap in AZ, is deceiving themselves.
Loophole in law threatens future Arizona water supply, expert and lawmaker says, abc15.com. So, they rent the homes. There is a catch: neither of those rules applies if the houses are offered for lease for a period of less than one year. “It gets around the law because you don’t have to demonstrate a 100-year water supply for that development,”
The Egg Shortage Reflects a Cruel, Unsustainable System, treehugger.com, Hayley Bruning. The depopulation of millions of laying hens brings attention to the overcrowded conditions on factory farms.
Bedazzled by Energy Efficiency, Low-Tech-Magazine, lowtechmagazine.com. Energy efficiency is a cornerstone of policies to reduce carbon emissions and fossil fuel dependence in the industrialized world.
Senators form bipartisan Colorado River caucus as tensions rise in West over water crisis, CNN Politics,, Ella Nilsen. What to do about the shrinking Colorado River and in the vanishing water in America’s largest reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, has quickly become the most pressing issue for these Western senators.
Medicare Advantage Plans Fielded 35 Million Prior Auth Requests in 2021, MedPage Today, Sophie Putka. Two million requests denied; reasons for denial remain elusive, according to a new report.
The funding cliff for student mental health, axios.com, Sabrina Moreno. Public school districts that received a windfall of COVID relief funds for mental health services are confronting a new dilemma: How to sustain counseling, screenings, teletherapy and other programs when the money runs out.
A Midterm Assessment Of President Biden’s Promise To Build On The ACA, Health Affairs, Joan Aker. In January 2023, the state of health care coverage in the United States is the strongest it has ever been.
Building Resilience Into US Prescription Drug Supply Chains, Health Affairs, Authors. Patients and hospitals routinely cannot access the most basic and essential prescription medications due to shortages of drugs such as amoxicillin, Adderall, saline, and epinephrine.
Workforce Composition In Private Equity–Acquired Versus Non–Private Equity–Acquired Physician Practices, Health Affairs, Authors. at the individual clinician level, we found that the probability of both entering and exiting a practice was higher for physicians at PE-acquired practices compared with physicians at non-PE-acquired independent practices.
Law, Government, and Politics
President Biden Should Aim Higher in His State of the Union Address, Washington Monthly, Felicia Wong. He can boast about policy successes and a dramatic break from neoliberal orthodoxy, but he has to do so in a speech, unlike last year’s, that clearly and eloquently explains his welcome economic vision.
New York City Completes Construction on Latest American Transit Disaster, vice.com, Aaron Gordon. New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority will begin running service on the Long Island Rail Road. It would go to a new train station underneath Grand Central, dubbed Grand Central Madison. The project is being celebrated as a landmark event for the New York.
Lawmakers Want Prisoners to Trade Their Organs and Bone Marrow for Freedom, vice.com. The graphic says the law would “restore bodily autonomy” to people who are incarcerated by letting them donate their organs.
Banning Noncompetes: A Groundbreaking Step for Worker Power, and What Must Come Next, Roosevelt Institute, Trisha Maharaj. On January 5, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a proposed rule. The rule would regulate, and effectively ban, noncompete clauses in employment contracts. The rule covers nearly 30 million workers, including independent contractors and apprentices. They are often excluded from labor protections.
Visual health misinformation: A primer and research roundup, journalistsresource.org, Naseem S. Miller. Visual misinformation is “visual content that is typically presented alongside text or audio. It contributes to false or inaccurate presentations of information.
Tyre Nichols’s Death: Can Memphis Change Its Police Culture? The Atlantic, David A. Graham. They celebrate the quick moves to fire the officers who beat Nichols. Charging them with murder and to disband the specialized team of which they were a part.
Supervising the Transition: How Banking Regulators Can Address the Coming Shift to Net-Zero Emissions, Roosevelt Institute, Yevgeny Shrago, David Arkush. The financial system is invested in the appearance of taking climate change seriously. To its public commitments mask a failure to take meaningful action.
Russian supermarket shelves are full of Nestlé products like Nescafé: report, SWI swissinfo.ch, Dominique Soguel. “Nescafé, a very popular product in Russia, comes in many varieties,” writes Marcus Ackeret. Marcus notes the same applies to Bystrow brand breakfast cereals, Maggi soups and bouillon cubes, Purina pet food, and Mövenpick ice cream.
The long shadow of apartheid, one-handed-economist.com, David Zetland. The Portuguese Prince Henry the Navigator was a slave trader. He paid an academic to justify his natural and moral right to ignore the differences among hundreds of African tribes. He grouped all these peoples into a “Black” race that deserved exploitation as a different species.
Infidel753: The French show us how it’s done. In January, France’s president Macron and his ruling party proposed a “pension reform.” The plan includes raising the retirement age from 62 to 64. 80% of the French public opposes the plan, and unions have led a campaign of mass resistance against it.
Thor’sday Toppled Tankard, Homeless on the High Desert, g’da said. Snowpack, Reservoirs Improved, More Needed
Objectivity + Timidity + Stupidity, Bad Crow Review, Weldon Berger. An outstanding exception to the abjection of the press back then was the Knight Ridder Washington bureau. It consistently blew up the administration’s lies before the war. A year later the editor lnominated their Baghdad bureau to replace the CIA. The bureau seemed to have the better sources.
A Wall Street Time Bomb, levernews.com, David Sirota. More than one in ten public pension dollars invested in private equity assets. States were continuing to keep their private equity contracts secret. Pitchbook cited a new study finding losses from the investments may be on the horizon for retirement systems supporting millions of teachers, firefighters, first responders, and other government employees.
What should be talked about at the North American Leaders’ Summit, substack.com, Steve Schmidt. The United States does not have clean hands in its historic relationship with Mexico. Ulysses Grant in the Mexican War said this about it. “I was bitterly opposed to the measure. To this day I regard the war, which resulted, as one of the most unjust waged by a stronger against a weaker nation.”