Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Mc Cain sinks the Dow!

by Divorced one like Bush

Concerned about the cause of the Dow? Not to fear. Many have been working on it such as Glenn Greenwald.The market does not like someone who is not like them so goes the Mc Cain clan. It is possible, but then Glenn asks for proof and finds an economist of his nature who has discovered it is all due to McCain! He has produced a chart proving it.

I’m convinced. But, I’m going to wait for Cactus’ review of this man’s work.

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Fannie Mae will need a bailout (prophesy)

By Divorced one like Bush

”From the perspective of many people, including me, this is another thrift industry growing up around us,” said Peter Wallison a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. ”If they fail, the government will have to step up and bail them out the way it stepped up and bailed out the thrift industry.”

New York Times, 9/30…………………………………..1999.

Who is Mr. Peter Wallison:

A codirector of AEI’s program on financial markets deregulation, Wallison studies banking, insurance, and Wall Street regulation. As general counsel of the U.S. Treasury department, he had a significant role in the development of the Reagan administration’s proposals for the deregulation of the financial services industry.

Interestingly enough, he produced a paperputting it on the dems for the mess in that they wanted “regulation” when the issue was the crap in the portfolio. He quote Greenspan at a subcommittee hearing in 2005:

“We have found no reasonable basis for that portfolio above very minimum needs.” He then proposed “a $100 billion, $200 billion–whatever the number might turn out to be–limit on the size of the aggregate portfolios of those institutions–and the reason I say that is there are certain purposes which I can see in the holding of mortgages which might be helpful in a number of different areas. But $900 billion for Fannie and somewhat less, obviously, for Freddie, I don’t see the purpose of it.” Greenspan then articulated his reasons for limiting the GSEs’ portfolios: “If [Fannie and Freddie] continue to grow, continue to have the low capital that they have, continue to engage in the dynamic hedging of their portfolios, which they need to do for interest rate risk aversion, they potentially create ever-growing potential systemic risk down the road.” He added, “Enabling these institutions to increase in size–and they will, once the crisis, in their judgment, passes–we are placing the total financial system of the future at a substantial risk.”[2]

And the republicans were the ones, proposing proper regulations, but Fannie went to the dems to stop it:

Thus, in January 2005, three Senators–Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), John E. Sununu (R-N.H.), and Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.)–had introduced tough new legislation to regulate Fannie and Freddie. The legislation was state-of-the-art at the time, and included a carefully developed “bright line” test that was intended to end Fannie’s and Freddie’s efforts to break out of the secondary mortgage market as their sole allowable field of operations. But the legislation made no mention of limiting the GSEs’ portfolios.

Sometime you just don’t know what to expect from people based on their ideology. Who knew AEI could understand the Fannie mess to the point of being a profit and yet find that calling for limits to size is not “regulation” because regulation is what the dems want.

American Enterprise Institute: The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI) is an extremely influential, pro-business right-wing think tank founded in 1943 by Lewis H. Brown. It promotes the advancement of free enterprise capitalism[1], and succeeds in placing its people in influential governmental positions. It is the center base for many neo-conservatives.

An example of some of their finer work:

In 1980, the American Enterprise Institute for the sum of $25,000 produced a study in support of the tobacco industry titled, Cost-Benefit Analysis of Regulation: Consumer Products. The study was designed to counteract “social cost” arguments against smoking by broadening the social cost issue to include other consumer products such as alcohol and saccharin.

One can also use Wiki if you do not like Source Watch.

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Class War; Appropriateness of the Wealthy’s strategy

A research review by: Divorced one like Bush

Introduction: This review was initiated after reading the report linked at the 25 indicators post. A review of the data regarding accepted economic performance indicators for business cycle peaks of year 2000 and 2008 is presented along with a discussion of the relevance to the strategy of the Wealthy in winning the War of Class. In short, the Wealthy are irrational in their strategy in fighting the War of Class and are in fact losing the war for everyone.

The data:

The growth rate in median family income, however, was slower between the business-cycle peaks of 2000 and 2007 (0.1 percent per year) than it had been between the two earlier peaks in 1989 and 2000 (0.9 percent per year).
Labor productivity, meanwhile, grew more rapidly in the 2000s business cycle (2.5 percent) than it did in the preceding cycle (2.0 percent).
Economic growth was faster over the 1990s business-cycle (3.1 percent per year) than it was over the 2000s cycle (2.3 percent).
…but the 1990s cycle still produced a higher personal savings rate (5.6 percent of disposable personal income) than the 2000s cycle (1.8 percent of disposable personal income).

Another way to view the data is to align each point with the year of origin.
Early years: 2% productivity growth with 0.9% income growth, 5.6 savings, 3.5%economic growth
Versus Bush years: 2.5% productivity growth, .01% income growth, 1.8% savings, 2.3% economic growth.

Analysis: Going forward I will refer to two groups fighting in the Class War. The subject of this study will be called the Wealthy. The Wealthy survive by making money from money. That is the accepted opinion. Though this report suggests that even the top 1% were earning more from wages each year until it reverses in 2000. Quote:

The lower end of this group is not seeing an increase of income from wages. But look at the change in the top 1% and the top 0.1%. They have the greatest increase of their income coming from wages. The entire top 5% sees this, but it is the very top that is seeing a doubling (32 to 63% for the top 1%) and tripling (18.1 to 58.2 for the top 0.1%) of the percentage from wages. (see chart)

The group the Wealthy are fighting will be called the Enemy. The Enemy survive by making money from selling their labor which is tied to productivity.

For all the people who are fighting a class war, looking at the means by which both sides make money and thinking that both want to win it for the long haul, it appears that each side has been losing under the Wealthy’s strategy and tactics used for winning the war. For the Wealthy who make money from money, I assume a higher annual average economic growth would be more beneficial as it means more wealth being created over time, but they have produced lower growth. They appear to have won when the Enemy was able to sell their labor for a higher share of productivity. In fact, it appears that the important factor to the Wealthy winning the war is how much of the productivity gains go to the Enemy instead of how much more work the Wealthy can get out of the Enemy. There appears to be an inverse relationship of income and productivity to the success of the Wealthy in the war. As the share of productivity going to income of the Enemy goes down, economic activity declines. That is, as the Wealthy take more of the productivity gains as a means to win the war, they are in actuality hurting their war efforts. A decline of the economic activity is a war losing results for the Wealthy.

Conclusion: The Wealthy are closer to winning what they want when they let the Enemy win. That they have continued the same strategy during declining indicators and have seen similar battle results in the past (the battle known as the Roaring 20’s comes to mind) suggests that they are not being rational. For the Enemy of the Wealthy, well I guess there is some solace in the thought that the Wealthy are ultimately beating themselves in that they are driving down economic growth. I am reminded of the great wisdom of the infamous class warrior Billy Ray Valentine:

“You know, it occurs to me that the best way you hurt rich people is by turning them into poor people.”

Of course unexpected events can change the momentum and ultimately the strength of either side. For example, a banking crisis. (An event for which I can find no research that supports one has ever been caused by the tactics of the armies of the Immigrant or Indigent. ) Such an event changes the emphasis of the theater of the war from the broader, larger operation of the market place which requires an understanding of the rules of economic theory and historical economic data to the limited and smaller theater of the halls of government with the need to understand the rules of political theory and historical political data. For either side, the most successful campaign would take into consideration the results of the market place war front when fighting in the halls of government war front.

There is a paradox to the Wealthy winning any battle in the halls of government theater. That they do not heed the historical record of battles within both theaters leads to poor tactics. The Wealthy institute tactics based on non-rational analysis moving them further from their desired goal. Thus, a possible strategy for the Wealthy’s Enemy could be to focus on the Wealthy’s lack of rational analysis. It might be possible for the Enemy to make the Wealthy aware of their self defeating results. Showing the Wealthy that they were more successful when the Enemy received approximately 50% of the productivity gains could be a basis for a treaty. There is data available to the Enemy that suggests when they received gains equal to the rise of productivity, the growth of economic activity was even greater than the period of this study.

To summarize: The Wealthy are poor Class War strategists. They are self defeating in such a way that they remove all ability for either side to win the Class War. The Wealthy must let the Enemy win the war in order for the Wealthy to win. I would caution that any approach toward a treaty by the Enemy to the Wealthy must be taken with care. It is not certain as to whether the Wealthy have the strength of character to accept that they are failures. By evidence of their tactics in the face of the data, forming a treaty with the Wealthy who act irrationally will be met with great frustration by the Enemy.

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Ms Parker, Mc Cain, Party and Honor

by Divorced one like Bush

Before we get to excited about Ms. Parker’s recent calling out, consider her 9/5 opinion in What Sarah Palin brings to the Republican Party:

And relief that the first Republican woman on a presidential ticket wasn’t going to let them down. No one was going to be embarrassed by John McCain’s maverick pick.

Referring to Palin’s convention speech:

Palin delivered…What she showed was strength, conviction, determination, confidence, a willingness to rumble and fearlessness. No caribou caught in the headlights, she.

I guess Ms. Parker is referring to herself here:

Whatever conclusions the punditry might draw from Palin’s remarks, we can be fairly certain that Middle America felt nothing but redemption and salvation.

Ms. Parker note’s Palin was the savior to the point of being Democratic like:

Behind closed doors around the Twin Cities, talk focused on the need for new templates, new models. Republicans have to communicate that they, too, care about the issues Democrats have claimed as their own — education, health and the environment. They need new ideas and new — younger — faces to deliver the message.

Voila. Enter Palin.

She has animated voters who had little enthusiasm for the race. She has given them the very thing Democrats have been enjoying the past several months: hope and change.

In the end, did Ms. Parker know she was so prophetic?

That’s potent medicine. It also should come with a warning label: “May cause delusions and a false sense of power.”

Ironic no? Of course, maybe Ms. Parker really knew what was real and was hedging her bets. But that would mean all the good stuff written on 9/5/08 was just BS? Well by 9/22 she was coming out of the delusion and sense of power.

The 9/5/08 opinion and her now calling for Mrs. Palin to step down pretty much confirms that McCain et al’s campaign has been and is nothing more than one man’s quest for a trophy to the exclusion of the calling he so desires. Palin stepping down vs McCain firing her will not change the fact that she was chosen as a coach picks a play and a player. It’s all about the trophy. It’s just a game, about the win of the contest. Not about the win of the ideology of governance as Ms. Parker would have us believe.

Face it Ms. Parker, the only way for Mc Cain et al to save face and affirm that his campaign is about the country is to keep Palin. It is the only way to show conviction of his professed American ideals. If he looses the election on his ideals, he has no shame. If Palin goes, he perjures his entire campaign.

I hear Mc Cain is an honorable man. Is he? It is his honor, Ms Parker, that you are holding in your hands with this call.

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Dear US Citizen, It is your labor being conscripted

by Divorced one like Bush

I just have to get this out because I fear we will not learn from this experience if we do not face up to what really is being put on the line in this crisis: Our labor. I am angry. And I am making this personal. It is personal. I’m speaking to you We the People.

What every solution is proposing in its most boiled down pure form is the conscription of our labor. It is nothing less. Only, it is not conscription for altruistic reasons. It is conscription in service of the most basic of needs: survival.

From this point forward, any gains in productivity will no longer be applied in total toward our quest for a more perfect union and the pursuit of happiness. Think about how much progress will have to be made in labor productivity rise just to offset the $900 billion already tallied and the now additional $700 billion such that we do not lose our current standard of living. If we can not make the increase, how much lost standard of living does this represent? How much more do I have to work, or how much of what I work now will go toward this crisis resolution instead of bettering my life? These are the questions we as citizens should be asking. It’s not like we can all just pay this off by writing a check from our savings. Even if we could, it represents future gains in our personal growth lost.

It is not money. It is not the taxes to be paid. It is not the wealth lost. It is the most basic of human life sustaining and rewarding experiences being taken: labor. Our labor. That which provided the bases for the value of our nation’s worth.

That this crisis resolution is being talked about in dollars does a complete injustice to all of the labor that has come prior to this historic moment. The failure of the system, the loss of value, the loss of the integrate of the system is a testament to the abuse (physical and emotional) that the US citizen has been enduring. That the discussions (and I understand that we have to discuss the mechanics to resolve the crisis) by our elected does not come from the perspective that it is our labor being taken, being assigned is the lie we have allowed ourselves to live. We have not made what takes place in our country personal. It is always abstract in our national discussions.

WAKE UP! KNOCK, KNOCK, HELLOOOOOOOO…this is real. This is happening. You are going to be working, laboring, sweating, getting tired, getting fustrated, longer years of work, more worn out in our retirement from now on. No one else is going to be paying this off. You and I will be paying this off.

It is our fault too, because we are the government. WE ARE THE GGOVERNMENT! (Please keep saying this until it is as natural an understanding as is drinking water to stay healthy.) And, that is the dichotomy to this crisis. In the end the abuse we have endured, the labor we have wasted, the labor we will now forfeit to future social maturity is our own damn fault because, for what ever reason or excuse, we failed to labor within the primary structure of our life’s existence that supports all we believed about our wealth: One Voice, One vote.

So learn the lesson. Remember the lesson. Teach the lesson. To not learn, to forget is to forfeit via conscription your most personal possession: Your labor.

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Interview Notre Dame finance Professor Richard Sheehan

By Divorced one like Bush

Just thought I would pass this along. He sounds like a reasonable thinker on the subject of our “crisis”. He makes understanding what is and has happened easy for those feeling lost in the discussions. The big thing I got out of it is we really do not have to act like this is a fire alarm going off. I did not detect any particular sound bites or memes. Glenn Greenwald questions him about the more common ones but not in a “gotcha” framing.

Scroll down to the dark blue bar and click on the arrow. It is about 20 minutes. Enjoy.

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Can we please broaden our thinking in this crisis?

by Divorced one like Bush

February 26, 2008 I posted a question: How are we going to fix a money from money economy. Quoting that post: There is a nice chart. (A few actually). Especially this one.”

And this:

Total financial turnover went from $17,804 billion in 1980 to $508,456 billion in 2000. We’ve seen GDP go from 37.8% of turnover to 1.9% of turnover. That’s how big the money from money train is. Our GDP is only 1.9% of the money from money machine.”

The first response in comments was: “Fix what?”
I think that person has their answer now.

October 6, 2007 I posted: Money from money, not good.

It was about an interview by Bill Moyers of John Bogle. He noted:

JOHN BOGLE: Well, it’s gotten misshapen because the financial side of the economy is dominating the productive side of the economy…We’ve become a financial economy which has overwhelmed the productive economy to the detriment of investors and the detriment ultimately of our society.

I want to come back to the difference between the financial system and the productive system. The productive system adds to the value of our economy. And, by and large, the financial system subtracts. And, yet, it’s growing and growing and growing. And this short term thing where short term orientation in which trading pieces of paper is regarded as a social value. It is not a social value.

Go listen to it. Then listen to Mr. Moyers latest interview with Kevin Philips.

But what’s here that doesn’t get the attention is the United States in the last 20 years undertook an enormous transformation of itself with no attention paid. And what it means is and what makes all this so frightening is the country is at risk because of the size of the financial sector that has never been graded on its competence and behavior in any serious way. They are the economy at this point. And we are now seeing what happens when a 20 to 21 percent of GDP financial sector starts to come unglued.
You had essentially a financial sector that, let’s say, was sort of neck and neck with manufacturing back in the late 1980s. But they got control in a lot of ways in the agenda. Finance has been bailed out. I mean, everybody thinks this is horrible now what we’re seeing in terms of bailouts. Even a lot of the people who do it think it’s bad.

This has been going on since the beginning of the 1980s. Finance has been preferred as the sector that got government support. Manufacturing slides, nobody helps. Finance has a problem, Federal Reserve to the rescue. Treasury to the rescue. Subsidies this, that, and other.

I am certain we have to do something to help the money flow such that it does not take down the entire system. It would be cutting off our noses to spite our faces not to protect ourselves from what a few have done. We have to be adults, suck it up and clean up the alcohol aroma vomit all over our bathroom.

But, we do not have to let it happen again. There is only one solution to this and no one, not anyone is pointing it out: Put the financial sector of the economy back in alignment with the productive sector. What got us in this mess is our (well not all of us) belief that the financial sector can stand on it’s own as a primary wealth/money creator. It can not. Never could. But, believing it put the impetus to the creation of “vehicles” for creating trades. You know all those securitized whatevers, and alphabet monikers, and insurance for insurance for insurance based on alphabet monikers of securitized whatevers. What did people expect would happen when you turn the part of your system that is dependent on activity in an other part for it’s existence into a stand alone money creator. If you are going to keep generating money from money, then you are going to have to keep coming up with new “product”. New designs, new marketing to create an need and want, new packaging, BRANDING.
Again, Mr. Philip put’s it this way:

But we’ve seen the central component of the rise of the financial sector is the rise of the debt industry. Mortgage, credit cards, all these gimmicks that Wall Street sells– just all kinds of products. And, of course, the products are laying an egg all over the world right now.

Get it? We take an industry subservient to the needs of production and turn it into a competitor of production. I can polish and sell rocks without a bank to borrow from. I can accumulate wealth over time. My business may grow slowly and so may my wealth, but I can do it. But, remove all none financial activities and what does financial do to survive? What does it do to survive with no one needing a loan, backing, no desire to produce in a way that increases our productivity such that we have more time to purse happiness (that constitution purpose)? We treat finance as if it is the chicken/egg question. It is not. Finance came second and is dependent.

For those from the 80’s, we have now learned exactly what was being said when we were told our economy was moving toward a service economy. We were told it was just as good, solid and viable as the producer economy so get trained and be ready. Remember that? Remember those who said no way, it can’t work? Have you watched the movie Other People’s Money yet?

Well, all we do now is complain about the cost of the service economy sector known as health care. It cost too much. And, we have now proven that the service economy sector known as finance can’t create any real material wealth as a prime generator. So, why is no one talking about the need and means to realign our economy?


According to Mr. Philips:

It’s been a bipartisan phenomenon. You can go back to the 1980s and say Reagan and George Bush, Sr., got a bubble started. Clinton got in and got an even bigger bubble going. And then George W. Bush with the biggest bubble of all. But it’s not that the Clintonites didn’t play. They did. Bob Rubin as Secretary of the Treasury — I mean, if he was a Hindu and he was being reincarnated, he’d come back as a pail because this guy bailed out everything you can imagine. They had the Mexican loan bailout. They had the long-term capital management bailout, the Russian Southeast Asian currency bailouts.

Think about any of the concerns voiced here at AB regarding this current “crisis” and read Dean Baker’s list of Principles for Restructuring the Financial System and ask how much of this could be accomplished by simply realigning our economy such that finance is in service to our needs of producing primarily and I guess consume in part. Putting it another way, none of what Mr. Baker is suggesting can come to fruition such that we protect ourself from repeating this experience for a 3rd time (fourth if you count 1987) unless we get our minds back to how true wealth and money are created. Which I happen to post on October 8, 2007: Human Capital is where it’s at. It reports on a World Bank study from 2005 in which I us the quote:

The rest of the story is intangible capital. That encompasses raw labor; human capital, which includes the sum of a population’s knowledge and skills; and the level of trust in a society and the quality of its formal and informal institutions. Worldwide, the study finds, “natural capital accounts for 5 percent of total wealth, produced capital for 18 percent, and intangible capital 77 percent.

All of this relates to some graphs I put up December 12, 2007 in: It’s the big one honey, I know it, showing that personal income for the 99% had fallen below personal outlays since 1996. Something that had not existed since 1941 but was present from 1929 and before. What I found most interesting from that post was that there were only 9 comments. Just 9. Are we going to pretend income distribution is not part of this current crisis? Are we the 3 monkeys of see, hear, speak no income inequality?

So, we can talk about the hundreds of billions, we can total them up, we can debate ethics, we can talk morals and argue who is being partisan and what regulation is needed, what’s fair or….we can face the fact that who we think we are is not who we are; that we have been blowing smoke up our own butts regarding wealth, money, economy and the pursuit of happiness. It’s intervention time folks. Just putting up road blocks to the elixir’s and potions, or setting up games with ourself without changing our world view about what money is and how wealth is created and why we want to create it in the first place won’t cut it.

We use to know all this. It is represented in our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. An example of the materialization of our realization was put in place in our tax code as we learned the lessons we are relearning now. For example, an instance of need of integration in our thinking, one issue with the current crisis is the mega pay of those that created the mess. Well, one of the reason’s for having a graduated income tax to the point of 90% at the top was to prevent exactly what we are now discussing as one of the issues that needs to be addressed in the bailouts. It was to prevent economic royalty, to preserve democracy, to assure one voice – one vote, to prevent some from being so powerful that they would be insulated from responsibility for the problems they could create. But we’re not hearing about taxing as a solution. One that worked very well because it addressed many of our goals. No, we now will create an entire new set of rules and paper filing…a new game to address one aspect of a crisis of one aspect of our economy because we have isolated taxation as an issue of personal freedom as oppose to an integrated tool of our economy based on our goals as laid out in our founding documents.

How small the discussion has been during this crisis so far.

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Voting your pocketbook?

by divorced one like Bush
Update below.

The other day, reading the comments got me thinking about the relationship of peoples income vs their presidential candidate choice. I think it was about how the economy is doing. Well, we all say it is bad because all these big, humongous finance institutions are having troubles. But, my perspective is that the economy is about you and me. It exists for us. But, not much is being looked at from that perspective, except for the home mortgage sector. Simultaneously we hear how we (you, me and thee) have to learn to save more while being asked what can be done to revive the consumer economy. You know, get it back to the good old days. Yes-er-y, that’s a solvable puzzle. Which good old days do they want to recreate? The saving days or the consuming days? If they want both, I would say ok, but we will have to reverse the income shift.

Anyway, I decided to see if I could create a movement to focus the issue of the economy back onto how you and me are doing. It’s a monumental task, but I’m game. I’ve gotten a little help from McCain in that he has tied the fundamentals of the economy to you and me, the American Worker (stand up and salute!). As much as “fundamentals” are not considered the worker, the reality is we the citizens are the fundament factor in an economy. No you and me, no exchange of valuable stuff.

So, I have created a chart because I don’t know how to produce one of those neat colored USA maps of all 50 states, their unemployment rate, hourly wage, 1 yr change of wage, hours worked and 1 yr change of hours worked. The data is from here. I then color coded the state name based on the polling map as of 9/16/08.

How do you like it? I’m rather proud of my self.

The color for the states are blue, light blue, red, light red and black. I assume the red/blue shades are obvious. The black are toss-up states. The data in blue are numbers that did worse than average for the variable to the detriment of the citizen. If the unemployment was higher than average, it is blue. If the wage change and hourly wage was less than average it is blue. Those in red are negative. The hours worked and change in hours worked greater than average are in blue. I view having to work more a negative. I do not want to have to continually increase my time in the rat race. Though, some I’m sure would look at the opportunity to work more as a positive. You get to earn more. Well that’s relative to your opinion of what your free time is worth. One state has green…Utah. It’s hourly wage and work hours have gone down. But, hey the unemployment rate is very low.

There are 8 undecided, 18 blue or leaning blue and 24 red or leaning red.
14 of 23 states with unemployment below average are voting or tending to vote McCain. Three undecided have lower rates. 8 states of the 23 are voting or tending to vote Obama. 61% red and 44% blue are below the average unemployment.

12 of 22 states with above average hours worked increase are red or leaning that way. 8 of are blue.
6 of the 12 state with negative increases in hours worked are red, 4 are undecided which leave 2 blue.

9 of 26 states that saw negative, zero or less than average 1 year hourly wage increases are red or leaning such. 7 are undecided and 10 are blue or leaning such. 3 of the 6 states with negative hourly wage growth are red, one is undecided and one is blue.

21 states of 30 who have an average hourly wage less than the national average are red or leaning that way. 5 are blue or leaning such and 4 are undecided.

18 of the 24 states that work more than the national weekly average hours are red or leaning such. 3 are undecided and 3 are blue.

6 of 9 states who are working more than the average work week and did not see their wage increase the average amount are red or leaning red. 2 are undecided and 1 is blue. 2 states saw their hourly wage go down and their hours worked go up, both are red.

Ok, so what are we to make of the voting your pocketbook thought?

Update: Ran some numbers. Red states average $19.41/hr and 35.73 hours per week for a gross pay of $693.52. Blue states average $22.68/hr and 34.38 hours per week for a gross pay of $779.74. Earn more, work less. Now that is the way to get out of the rat race!

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