Bill USA's Journal
Member since: Wed Mar 3, 2010, 04:25 PM
Number of posts: 3,159
Number of posts: 3,159
Quotes I like: "Prediction is very difficult, especially concerning the future." "There are some things so serious that you have to laugh at them.” __ Niels Bohr Given his contribution to the establishment of quantum mechanics, I guess it's not surprising he had such a quirky of sense of humor. ......................."Deliberate misinterpretation and misrepresentation of another's position is a basic technique of (dis)information processing" __ I said that
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Credit Suisse recruited U.S. clients, helped them conceal accounts from IRS - Senate Committee concl
Panel faults US gov’t over offshore tax evasion
By Associated Press, Published: February 25
WASHINGTON — Billions of dollars in U.S. taxes are going unpaid because Americans are exploiting Swiss bank accounts, and the U.S. government has failed to aggressively pursue Switzerland’s second-largest bank, a Senate investigation has found.
The bank, Credit Suisse, has provided accounts in Switzerland for more than 22,000 U.S. clients totaling $10 billion to $12 billion, according to a report issued Tuesday by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. The U.S. government has received only 238 names of U.S. citizens with secret accounts at Credit Suisse, or just 1 percent of the estimated total, the investigation concluded.
Credit Suisse recruited U.S. clients to open Swiss accounts from 2001 through 2008, helped them conceal the accounts from the Internal Revenue Service and enabled misconduct by bank employees, the subcommittee asserted.
For five years, the Senate panel has been examining Swiss banks’ use of secrecy laws to enable tax evasion by Americans. The main focus of its latest report was Credit Suisse.
A matter for the President and State Department? We dealt with Barbary Pirates soon after we became an independent nation. We ought to be able to deal with Buckaneer Banksters too. Declare Swiss government aiding and abetting - sponsoring - criminal enterprises.
Posted by Bill USA | Fri Feb 28, 2014, 02:19 PM (0 replies)
"Fuel is fundamental to our sport and our teams demand performance without compromise," said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition. "With more than five million miles of hard competitive driving across our three national series, Sunoco’s Green E15 renewable fuel stands up to rigorous racing conditions while significantly reducing our impact on the environment."
"...20 percent less emissions from the race cars, and just as importantly, a 9 to 12 horsepower increase."
Posted by Bill USA | Sat Feb 22, 2014, 05:40 PM (51 replies)
Shell EcoMarathon Asia, prototype class, won by ethanol vehicle going 2,731 km on 1 Liter of ethanol
Thai students drove the longest distance on a single liter of fuel after three days of competition in fourth edition of Shell Eco-Marathon Asia, sustaining their winning record.
The Asian edition of the challenge to create the most fuel-efficient vehicle was held for the first-time in Manila Feb. 6-9, and in street conditions instead of a racetrack, which makes it more difficult to travel longer distance on a single liter of fuel.
Team 'How Much Ethanol' from Panjavidhya Technological College in Thailand covered a total 2,730.83 kilometers on a liter of ethanol, the distance between Manila and Jakarta. The team was entered in the prototype class, where vehicles are more futuristic-looking, have a single seat and usually have three wheels.
Virgin, a team from Thailand’s Sakonnakhon Technical College, covered 1,796.03 kilometers on a liter of gasoline while the team from Ratanakosin Technological College ran the distance of 263.4 kilometers on a battery with a charge equivalent to one kilowatt-hour.
Posted by Bill USA | Sat Feb 22, 2014, 04:42 PM (0 replies)
"Employers routinely violate current minimum wages, federal and state. They pay for fewer hours than employees work, or dip into restaurant workers’ tips. "
Back when I first studied economics, we “proved” in class that a minimum wage causes unemployment. You just draw supply and demand curves for labor, add a horizontal line for a wage above the “market clearing” competitive equilibrium wage, and—bingo!—a gap appears between labor supply and labor demand.
I took this orthodoxy on faith until 1992. That’s when David Card and Alan Krueger’s famous paper “Minimum Wages and Employment” appeared, comparing unemployment among fast food workers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania before and after New Jersey raised the minimum wage.
Card and Krueger found no effect. None. Zip. At first I shared the economics profession’s incredulity. The research was sloppy. The sample was too small. The researchers’ liberal bias skewed the results. Why even waste time testing something obvious? But then more studies came out, some also showing no effect, and some showing a small positive effect.
An explanation also began to emerge, in terms of the “efficiency wage hypothesis,” developed among others by our new Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen. Instead of there being a single “market” wage for unskilled labor, there is a market wage range. The higher the wage an establishment pays relative to other firms, the more diligent and loyal its employees, and the less likely they are to quit. So up to a point, the establishment saves on supervision and training costs what it loses in higher wages. Thus there’s nothing remarkable about the fact that Costco remains profitable while paying substantially higher wages than low-wage super-stores like Walmart. The efficiency wage hypothesis supports a cautious case that setting a minimum wage toward the top of the wage range will benefit workers without harming employers. (Needless to say, conservatives do not buy this argument.)
Posted by Bill USA | Thu Feb 20, 2014, 04:36 PM (0 replies)
A Charlotte grocery store worker is out of a job after he insulted North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) to his face.
The Charlotte Observer reported on a confrontation Sunday between McCrory and Drew Swope, a 45-year-old cook at a gourmet food store.
After realizing he was speaking with the governor, whom he disagrees with politically, Swope said he told McCrory, “Thanks for nothing,” and walked away. Swope said the governor was upset at his comment and began “yelling” at him. He said McCrory said he was a customer and shouldn’t be treated that way. He said the governor and his security team complained to the food store owner, who then fired him.
Acknowledging that he "did speak out of turn,” Swope doesn't begrudge the store owner for firing him. But he does find it "shocking" that McCrory “had me excluded from the workplace because I upset his feelings.”
A spokesman for McCrory told the Observer that the governor never raised his voice and that the fired worker actually made an obscene gesture, an accusation that Swope denied. The spokesman also said Swope has said “things about physically harming the governor as well,” citing a Facebook group for a planned protest where participants discussed burning an effigy of McCrory.
Posted by Bill USA | Thu Feb 20, 2014, 03:38 PM (2 replies)
Up to eight Senate Democrats could find themselves under attack by Americans for Prosperity this election cycle, as the advocacy group looks to maximize negative reaction to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act ahead of the 2014 midterms.
“We want to hold accountable six to eight senators,” AFP President Tim Phillips said in an interview. “When a senator is facing re-election, it does focus them on their voting record and it does make them more attentive to how each individual vote impacts their political future.”
Phillips's group, backed by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, has already spent the bulk of $30 million this cycle targeting both incumbent House and Senate Democrats in vulnerable seats on their past support for Obamacare.
So far, five incumbent senators have seen ads run in their states that seek to tie them to the president’s signature law: Democrats Kay Hagan (N.C.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Mark Begich (Alaska) and Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.). Phillips said the unpopularity of the Affordable Care Act could put races in Virginia, Colorado and Minnesota in play. AFP has also run ads against Democratic challengers in races for open Senate seats in Michigan and Iowa.
Will you contribute $3 to the Grassroots Victory Project to stop the Koch brothers from buying the Senate?
Posted by Bill USA | Thu Feb 20, 2014, 03:29 PM (4 replies)
"...as Baker emphasizes, "...we are not going to see 500,000 designated losers who are permanently unemployed as a result of this policy." Instead, what will happen is people will work 2% fewer hours at an hourly rate that is 39.3% higher." "
(emphasis my own)
The Congressional Budget Office has just issued a report on the minimum wage that is a real head-scratcher. Analyzing proposals to raise the minimum wage to $9.00 or $10.10 per hour, it concludes in the latter case that there would be 500,000 fewer jobs in the second half of 2016 than there would be under current law (100,000 fewer for $9.00/hr.).
There are two problems with these claims. First, the CBO's calculations undervalue the best research on the minimum wage. Second, even in the CBO's estimated world, low wage workers are much better off as a whole than under the current $7.25/hr. minimum wage.
As I've discussed before, a relatively crude cross-national comparison of rich countries' minimum wages and unemployment rates does nothing to suggest any job-killing is going on. But the CBO's estimation procedure has serious flaws. It begins (p. 6) with what it calls "conventional economic analysis," which is already a big mistake. Simple Econ 101 reasoning (when the price of something goes up, the quantity purchased goes down) has had only sketchy empirical support, something that has been especially clear from meta-analysis of minimum wage studies (ungated version of Doucouliagos and Stanley 2009 here).
The CBO, of course, has heard of these studies, but it remains with a non-transparent explanation of how it weighted different studies (p. 22), saying it gave the most weight to contiguous state comparison studies. The only thing is, according to Arindajit Dube, these are the studies least likely to find a negative employment effect. Thus, how CBO ends up with a baseline of job loss remains mystifying.
Posted by Bill USA | Wed Feb 19, 2014, 05:22 PM (9 replies)
A federal minimum wage increase would likely benefit the U.S. economy, a new Chicago Fed Letter suggests. Daniel Aaronson and Eric French, economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, provided an estimate of the effects on aggregate household spending of the $9 minimum wage Obama proposed in his 2013 State of the Union Address.
The authors found that raising the wage by $1.75 would increase household spending by about $48 billion the following year, which amounts to .3 percent of GDP. If the possibility of job losses is taken into consideration, the authors calculate that spending would still go up by $28 billion, or .2 percent of GDP. However, most studies suggest minimum wage hikes do not result in job losses for various reasons.
Because minimum wage earners tend to be low-income and are likely to spend more of their income, raising their wages is particularly beneficial. As the authors explain, “In the near term, a minimum wage hike can stimulate economic activity by putting money into the hands of people who are especially likely to spend it.”
These findings run contrary to Republican opposition to a raise in the wage. Almost immediately after President Obama proposed an increase, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) rejected the idea, citing potential economic harms as his primary concern. Republican aversion to the minimum wage seems to have grown since then, as Lamar Alexander (R-TN) recently suggested the minimum wage should be abolished.
Posted by Bill USA | Tue Feb 18, 2014, 08:33 PM (2 replies)
...of course, if they did not properly calculate the change in demand from a 4.8% increase in prices (per yr, over two years) (see below) and a 38% increase in buying power for some percentage of the 59% of the country's employed (1.6 million, of 75.3 million hourly employees, are paid the minimum wage, but CBO correctly indicated that increasing the wages of those at the minimum wage would lead to increases in others just above minimum wage to maintain the relative pay scale), the number of jobs lost could be zero or it may be a number of jobs GAINED depending on how buyers reacted to a given price increase (not specified by CBO) and given the 38% increase in buying power for some proportion of all hourly wage workers).
The CBO said in their report on Increasing the minimum wage that it would lead to job losses. but on Page 27 of their report they say there would be a net increase in demand - without mentioning how much increase in demand they calculated. Without knowing what they calculated for the increased demand nobody can evaluate whether the amount the calculated was appropriate.
(emphasis my own)
On balance, according to CBO’s analysis, raising the minimum wage would increase demand for goods and services because, taken together, the second, third, and fourth direct effects would shift income from business owners and consumers (as a whole) to low-wage workers. Low-wage workers generally spend a larger share of each dollar they receive than the average business owner or consumer does; thus, when a dollar from business owners or consumers is shifted to low-wage workers, overall spending increases. The increase in demand from that shifting of income would be larger than the decrease in demand from the reduced consumption of people who became jobless, CBO estimates.
(emphasis my own)
An increase in the minimum wage also affects the employment of low-wage workers in the short term through changes in the economywide demand for goods and services. A higher minimum wage shifts income from higher-wage consumers and business owners to low-wage workers. Because those low-wage workers tend to spend a larger fraction of their earnings, some firms see increased demand for their goods and services, boosting the employment of low-wage workers and higher-wage workers alike. That effect is larger when the economy is weaker, and it is larger in regions of the country where the economy is weaker.
So, there will be reduction in number of workers even though there is a net increase in demand. Hm-m-m-m.
The CBO indicated that the increased cost of increasing the minimum wage would be in part passed on to consumers but they didn't say how much of a price increase they thought would occur. How much the price increased is important as it directly affects the degree to which consumer spending is affected. If CBO calculated too much of a price increase that will reduce the net increase in total consumer demand the CBO said would occur. Of course, a bigger net increase in total demand would reduce the jobs lost figure or could ELIMINATE IT.
So how much would prices increase due to an increase in the Minimum wage? The CBO didn't show what they computed this would be.... even though that is a critical number in figuring the impact on demand.
Calculating a change in prices given a 38% increase in minimum wage
Here's one approach....
Most minimum wage workers are in the leisure and hospitality sector.
(emphasis my own)
The industry with the highest proportion of workers with hourly wages at or below the federal minimum wage was leisure and hospitality (about 19 percent). About half of all workers paid at or below the federal minimum wage were employed in this industry, the vast majority in restaurants and other food services. For many of these workers, tips and commissions supplement the hourly wages received.
McDonald's is a good company to use as a model for employers in the leisure and hospitality sector. To get an idea how much prices would be increased by a given change in wages cost, I checked out McDonald's Profit and Loss sheet and it shows that wages expenses represent about 25% of the total revenues (just looking at company operated restaurants). An increase of the Minimum wage from $7.20 to $10.00 is 38% increase in wages - (assuming most workers at McDonalds are making the minimum wage). So how much would prices have to be increased to cover a 38% increase in wages at McDonalds - about 10% (.25 x .38). If that price increase was spread over two years the annual increase necessary to cover the wage increase would be 4.8% - and that is without any absorption of the cost increase by the company - that is, maintaining the same profit rate!
Now, how much would sales fall off due to an increase of 4.8% - or about 19 cents on a $4.00 order?
And for the 10% increase in the prices you've given minimum wage workers a 38% increase in their buying power (number of minimum wage workers: 3.6 million or 4.7% of hourly workers) !
In 2012, 75.3 million workers in the United States age 16 and over were paid at hourly rates, representing 59.0 percent of all wage and salary workers
Posted by Bill USA | Tue Feb 18, 2014, 08:19 PM (3 replies)
New federal jobs report doesn't support claim that the Affordable Care Act will decrease full-time employment
(emphases my own)
One of the most-cited arguments made by opponents of Obamacare is that the law is bad for business. The Affordable Care Act requires that companies with more than 50 full-time workers provide health insurance and the law’s critics have faulted this provision for accelerating a trend of businesses scaling back hours and eliminating full-time jobs in favor of part-time positions. Writing in the Detroit News in September, Republican Rep. Mike Rogers said the health care law had caused an “unsettling trend of a permanent part-time workforce.” CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo said as recently as Sunday the health care law was transforming the U.S. into a “part-time employment country.”
The problem with this line of thought was that there wasn’t any good evidence to support it. And a new federal jobs report released Tuesday shows that Obamacare’s effect on employment is not what its critics have claimed.
After an uptick in part-time work earlier this year, which Republicans seized on to attack the law, the new jobs report shows that, for the second straight month, the number of part-time jobs reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics fell. In September, 691,000 full-time jobs were added to the economy while 594,000 part-time jobs went away. The average workweek remained about 35 hours. Plus, as Ben Casselman points out in the Wall Street Journal, part-time employees were actually working more hours in recent months, and because of differences in the way the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the ACA define “part-time,” there’s no evidence the law has had any impact on part-time employment over the past year. Part-time employment nationwide is higher than before the recession started in 2008, but that trend began before Obamacare became law in 2010. In addition, the health care law’s requirement that employers provide health insurance to full-time workers, doesn’t even begin until 2015.
Writing in Business Insider in July, investment banker Daniel Alpert noted that the growth of part-time jobs has happened in sectors where most work is already part-time, as opposed to rising in sectors where it has traditionally been full-time. Alpert concluded:
Anecdotal Obamacare-scare stories abound, but they seem pretty specious at best….There is no empirical evidence that hiring practices relate to concerns over benefits, and a heck of a lot of evidence that the people being hired for new jobs are earning less than workers already employed and that the jobs that a significant proportion of jobs being created are not full time because of the sectors they are in. If the Obamacare hiring meme were accurate, the tendency game the law would be to game the system by hiring people to work just under the 30 hour “full time” cut off under the act. But that does not appear to be the case either.
Posted by Bill USA | Tue Feb 18, 2014, 04:51 PM (0 replies)