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Paul Krugman discusses the “dependent upon government” citizens that Romney refers to in the now viral Mother Jones video inside a private donor meeting:

Actually, if you look at the facts, you learn that the great bulk of those who pay no income tax pay other taxes; also, many of the people in the no-income-tax category are (a) elderly (b) students or (c) having a bad year, having lost a job — that is, they’re people who have paid income taxes in the past and/or will pay income taxes in the future.

↓By the way, I don’t control WordAds content, so I’m sorry if you get finance investment firm ads.

Categories: Economics, Politics or: the art of looking for trouble Tags: 47%, economics, election 2012, gop, Mitt Romney, mother jones, Paul Krugman, politics, taxes

There are 75,500 Google image results for “sad stockbroker.”

Round up time:

Paul Krugman, of course, is highly critical of the move. He dedicated a post in his blog to a quote from Atrios:

Apparently we’re supposed to care about what some idiots at some corrupt organization think about anything.

Statistics whiz Nate Silver provides us with a comprehensive post with solid statistical evidence that S&P’s previous ratings are pretty worthless and says their “advice has more often than not led investors toward the losing side of bets.”

My favorite libertarian blogger, Andrew Sullivan, thinks the that downgrade makes sense.

A libertarian I like much less, Professor Richard A. Epstein, claims to have “4 Reasons S&P Got it Right,” but mostly rants about spending.

An anonymous author for the WSJ says, “The Obama Administration’s attempt to discredit S&P only makes the U.S. look worse” and it was the “Keynesian and statist revival of the last four years have brought the U.S. to this downgrade.”

Economics of Contempts says, “To say that S&P analysts aren’t the sharpest tools in the drawer is a massive understatement.”

Karl Smith of Modeled Behavior comments, “I think the value of S&P’s action is that it has given both sides ammo where they need it, which seems like it should strengthen our ability to make a deal. Ironically, perhaps the act of issuing this report will help make the conclusions of the report less true. I hope so anyway.”

I hope so too.

I can understand S&P wanting to reclaim their integrity after their terrible track record, but is manufacturing a fear-induced international market crisis really worth that right now? I’m leaning towards no, so I’m still not fully understanding S&P’s motivation here. Especially when they own and maintain the S&P 500 index, which unsurprisingly dropped after their parent agency’s own downgrade.

Categories: Politics or: the art of looking for trouble Tags: AA+, Andrew Sullivan, downgrade, economic opinion, Nate Silver, Paul Krugman, rating, round up, S&P, S&P 500

[May 2011 update:  Well, fuck.  8.7%.  This blows.  Nate Silver fail.]

I remember reading a post from Nate Silver a year ago about the relationships between recessions and unemployment.  No doubt Nate is a statistical genius.  He predicted the 2008 election 49 out of 50 states, a popular vote within 1%.

I’m totally going to steal a chart and bandwidth from 538 now.  From:  http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/08/why-unemployment-probably-wont-hit-10.html

People do not jump right back into the labor force the moment a recession is over. Oftentimes, indeed, they can’t, because they’ve made somewhat long-term commitments – good luck ditching the army because the local bank is having a hiring fair back at home in Topeka. These effects are fairly strongly lagged, probably by at least 3-9 months, and usually occur only once the jobs picture has gotten to the point where it’s actually pretty darn good – not just when it’s merely improving. Where we’ll see these effects is in, say, January of 2011, when the employment rate might not budge much even if a couple hundred thousand new jobs are created. But the unemployment rate should already be safely clear of 10 percent long before that… By the way, this model is decidedly more optimistic about the velocity of the jobs recovery than are most mainstream observers.

Here’s a monthly interactive unemployment map.  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27913794/ While some states have notably surpassed 10%, the “national average” has not peaked 10% as of May.

I don’t know what math MSNBC used for that “national average” (probably by adding all the state averages and dividing them by 50 or something like that), but the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows something a little less rosy:  http://www.google.com/publicdata?ds=usunemployment&met=unemployment_rate&tdim=true&dl=en&hl=en&q=current+unemployment+rate

Looks like Nate made the wrong call on this one.  Unemployment did pass 10% briefly for three months. 10.6% in January.  10.4% in February.  10.2% in March.  Looks like unemployment is about 1% higher than Nate predicted.  It’s currently 9.6%

I still have some faith in Nate.  My totally amateur and unprofessional prediction is that unemployment should be better by January 2011 and on a significant decline.  I’ll say 7.5%.  GDP is currently up a bit and it makes sense to me that unemployment rates should respond to that in 6-9 months.  I reserve the right to amend this number in 2 months depending on how the trends are looking.

I don’t think we’re going to have a double dip. But I did believe Paul Krugman in early 2009 when he said the stimulus was the size below what was needed for good Keyensian effect and that the economy was going to sputter along for 2 years.  His prediction seems to be coming true.  What this means for the 2012 elections, I’m not sure yet.

Andrew Sullivan shows GDP decline and growth over the last several quarters and a rundown of various persons’ analyses here.

Categories: Politics or: the art of looking for trouble Tags: 538, analysis, economy, fivethirtyeight, GDP, MSNBC, Nate Silver, Paul Krugman, prediction, recession, unemployment, unemployment rate