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Bill USA

Profile Information

Member since: Wed Mar 3, 2010, 04:25 PM
Number of posts: 3,708

About Me

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

Journal Archives

The Economy in 2014 -

http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/12/16/economy-2014

The U.S. economic recovery took a major step forward in 2014, achieving a number of important milestones. American businesses set a new record for the most consecutive months of job growth: now 57 straight months and counting. By November, the economy had already added more jobs than in any full calendar year since the 1990s. And crucially, the pickup in job growth during 2014 occurred primarily in higher-paying industries, while nearly all of the employment gains have been in full-time positions. At the same time, the unemployment rate fell below 6 percent for the first time since 2008.

(click on image to see slideshow)
click on image to see slideshow


Despite this progress, it is still too hard for many families to get ahead. Further reductions in long-term unemployment and faster wage growth are still needed, but the data from 2014 show that trends are clearly moving in the right direction.

The President’s policies have contributed to this progress in a number of ways, including setting the stage for the recovery in 2009 and taking further steps to accelerate several favorable underlying economic trends. Some critical policies include:

•The Recovery Act and Subsequent Fiscal Measures: The United States has come further in its recovery than most other advanced economies around the world, in part because of the President’s aggressive policy response that included the Recovery Act, the payroll tax cut, and about a dozen additional fiscal measures. Indeed, since 2010 the increase in employment in the United States exceeds that in Europe, Japan, and every other advanced economy combined.

•Response to the Financial Crisis: Even when it was not popular, the President took steps to rescue the auto industry, implement historic consumer protections, recapitalize the financial sector, and institute strict new rules for Wall Street. The President’s policies have also helped millions of families stay in their homes and weather the storm, and today we are seeing rising home prices lift millions back above water on their mortgages.

•Affordable Care Act: Changes in the health care system, in part due to the Affordable Care Act, are creating major savings for households, businesses, and the Federal government. In 2014, employer health insurance premiums grew at a rate tied for the lowest on record, reflecting in part the lowest health care price inflation in nearly half a century.

•All-of-the-Above Energy Strategy: The United States is leading the world in both oil and natural gas production, contributing to a roughly 40 percent drop in oil prices over the second half of 2014, which means lower gas prices for families. At the same time, solar energy is up tenfold since 2008, while wind energy is up threefold. In addition to this energy boom, the United States has also made great strides in energy efficiency, contributing to a 10 percent reduction in carbon emissions from 2007 to 2013 -- the largest absolute emissions reduction of any country in the world. These developments signal that the President’s All-of-the-Above energy strategy is having a key impact.

•Catalyzing Technological Innovation: The United States is the most innovative economy in the world, and to continue this tradition into the 21st century, the President signed into law the most sweeping patent reform in decades, made significant investments in research and development, and will nearly double the amount of wireless spectrum available for mobile broadband. Indeed, we are currently seeing the most successful wireless spectrum auction ever, a sign of the tremendous potential that stands to be unleashed as a result of these steps.

•Reducing the Deficit: The Budget Control Act, the Affordable Care Act, and returning to Clinton-era tax rates for upper-income households will contribute to nearly $4 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade. Reflecting these policies, the additional revenues associated with an improving economy, and the aforementioned slowdown in health care costs, the deficit in fiscal year 2014 fell to 2.8 percent of GDP, below its average for the past forty years and down by about two-thirds from its peak. A shrinking deficit has boosted national saving and set the stage for more sustainable and balanced growth in the coming years.

To build on this progress, the President will continue to push for steps that support further growth of middle-class jobs and reward those who work hard and play by the rules, including investments in infrastructure, reforms to the business tax code and immigration system, expanded overseas markets for America’s goods and services, and an increase in the minimum wage.

Take an in-depth look at the progress our economy made in 2014 here.

Good page for historical economic data - pertaining to Gov (e.g. revenues/Recpts as % of GDP) - it

enables you to downloas Excel SSs of the data.


http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals

for example:

Table 1.2—Summary of Receipts, Outlays, and Surpluses or Deficits (-) as Percentages of GDP: 1930–2019

(note: Excel file download symbol will appear at bottom of window. Click on it to call Excel to open file)







If interested in tracking political contributions by various industries/sectors here's a good

summary .... shows totals and % to each party...

http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/

anybody have experience with AMPK Activator or Nicotinamide riboside (NAD+ Cell Regenerator)?

AMPK Activator
http://www.lef.org/Vitamins-Supplements/item01907/AMPK-Activator

NAD Cell Regenerator
http://www.lef.org/Vitamins-Supplements/item01904/NAD-Cell-Regenerator


... wondered if they might produce a "burned out" feeling.

Why you shouldn't drive slowly in the left lane - Vox (Finally! this is one of my pet peeves!)

http://www.vox.com/2014/6/16/5804590/why-you-shouldnt-drive-slowly-in-the-left-lane

There are basically two types of drivers: those who get worked up about people driving slowly in the left lane, and those who do it all the time and have no idea they're upsetting everyone else.

In case you're in the second group, some background: every state has some sort of law that discourages people from traveling in the left lane on multi-lane roads and highways. It's not that you're never allowed in the left lane, just that you should only use it when necessary, for passing, then get back over.

That's because even if you're driving fast, there's always someone going faster. If you promptly get back over after passing, that car will be able to pass you, allowing everyone on the road to get to their destinations as quickly as possible. If you don't, it'll inevitably lead to buildups of traffic and likely raise the chance of accidents.

The system works best when people aren't hogging the left lane. That's one reason why National Motorists Association has declared June Lane Courtesy Month in an effort to to raise awareness about the importance of getting out of the left lane.
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need help finding lobbying dollars by industy BY PARTY - OpenSecrets obviously isn't making it easy

to see how much each industry gives to each party.

I"ve been able to do this in the past but now it seems nearly impossible to find this info. can anybody help me out here?



Democrats = Action .... Republicans = Reaction



Democratic ideology is predicated on man’s desire to improve the human condition. Society is not ... or should not be, a static thing. It is not realistic to suppose that society, in its current state, cannot be improved upon. Democrats basically, see making changes to society so that its benefits are available to more people, generally by enabling more opportunity for greater participation in the economy, as a desirable thing. Democrats feel this can rightly be called progress.

Republicans on the other hand, represent the forces opposed to any change. These forces generally emanate from those who enjoy the most power and wealth in society.   But these forces also come from those found in any society who are impaired by ignorance (who generally fear change of any kind). Consequently, virtually all the ideas or theories proposed by the Conservatives are specious: fabricated to stand in opposition to ideas proposed by Democrats. These ‘theories’ that Conservatives propose start out with the purpose or objective of contradicting a contention of a needed action - usually proposed by Democrats - but just as frequently proposed by social scientists who, coincidentally share with Democrats, the objective of wanting to make society work better for more people (I guess Conservatives would say, right there(!), the social scientists, by believing in that objective, are ‘guilty’ of being partisans - of being Democrats.

This makes the Conservative contention that the media is ‘biased’.. by definition against the Conservatives - the biggest of the Big Lies, or at least the biggest example of Disinformation, promulgated by the Conservatives. While Conservatives constantly chant the media is biased against them, it is the Conservatives who propose theories predicated upon or designed solely to contradict or appear to disprove Democratic proposed ideas/solutions. It is the Conservatives who are proposing theories/ideas which are NOT the result of an open minded, logical analysis of the relevant facts, but which start with the objective of DIS-proving a proposed solution to a problem offered by Democrats.

How the GOP Plans to Rig Congress to Embrace Trickle-Down “Voodoo Economics” - Bill Moyers

http://billmoyers.com/2014/12/04/voodoo-econ/


Republicans are signaling that when they take control of the Senate in January, they’ll try to change the way a key government watchdog does math. If they get their way, it will effectively put a thumb on the scale of all future legislation.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) informs virtually all of our political debates. Made up of non-partisan career technocrats, the CBO’s most important function is to “score” proposed legislation, projecting how a bill would impact future budgets if it were passed. When the CBO concludes that a piece of legislation will increase future deficits, it provides a powerful argument against the measure. When they project that a proposal will shrink the government’s debt, it allows proponents to claim that it’s the “fiscally responsible” thing to do. Key findings from the CBO’s reports are eagerly consumed and broadly disseminated by politicians, pundits and political reporters.

A number of Republicans have called for the CBO to incorporate what US News & World Report calls a “gimmick” that would result in tax cuts magically paying for themselves in future CBO scores. In fact, it would likely result in the CBO claiming that even deep tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy would result in more revenues coming into the government’s coffers. We could have our cake and eat it, too!

The gimmick is called “dynamic scoring,” and is based on economic models that purport to show that tax cuts unleash so much new economic activity that ultimately, they result in more taxes being collected.
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“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn't be. And what it wouldn't be, it would. You see?”
Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

Health Care spending for country held at 17.4% of GDP for the last 5 years (CMMS) - Centers for


... Medicare and Medicaid Services....


http://wonkwire.rollcall.com/2014/12/04/soaring-health-care-costs/



Jason Millman: “The United States spent $2.9 trillion on health care in 2013, or about $9,255 per person, according to a new detailed accounting of the nation’s health care dollars. The 2013 totals represent just 3.6 percent growth in national health spending from 2012 — the lowest annual growth rate since 1960, according to a federal report published in the policy journal Health Affairs.”

Jonathan Cohn: “On Wednesday, actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released their annual estimate of national health expenditures—that is, all the money that Americans spent on medical care last year, whether directly or through insurance plans and government programs like Medicare … In 2013, CMS announced, national health spending was 17.4 percent of GDP.”




“The more important news is how that fraction changed between 2013 and 2014: It didn’t change at all. In fact, because of revisions to some past years, CMS now thinks that health care spending has held steady at that same level (17.4 percent of GDP) for five years.”
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with insertion of Dodd-Frank rollback, Wallstreet's Wolfpack dispenses with the sheeps clothing

.. In a bit of an indicator of what things will be like starting in January, the GOP inserted a roll-back of a provision of the Dodd-Frank Finanacial reform law into the Omnibus funding bill. The inserted bit of language allows banks to play with Credit Default Swaps with Federally insured deposits and in another classic example of GOP civic cynicism - it was written by Citigroup lobbyists. Thus, Wallstreets Wolfpack, the GOP, is dropping all pretenses of responsible governance - there is no ethical or economic rationale for such a move - and is beginning its unabashed run-down and destruction of rational regulation of Casino bankers. Give the GOP a few years and we should be right back where we were in the last bit of Supply Side prosperity we enjoyed, complete with credit meltdown and imminent economic collapse.

Wall Street’s Revenge - Dodd-Frank Damaged in the Budget Bill - Paul Krugman
...

Last week Congress passed a bill to maintain funding for the U.S. government into next year, and included in that bill was a rollback of one provision of the 2010 financial reform.

In itself, this rollback is significant but not a fatal blow to reform. But it’s utterly indefensible. The incoming congressional majority has revealed its agenda — and it’s all about rewarding bad actors.

~~
~~

Now, this isn’t the death of financial reform. In fact, I’d argue that regulating insured banks is something of a sideshow, since the 2008 crisis was brought on mainly by uninsured institutions like Lehman Brothers and A.I.G. The really important parts of reform involve consumer protection and the enhanced ability of regulators both to police the actions of “systemically important” financial institutions (which needn’t be conventional banks) and to take such institutions into receivership at times of crisis.

~~
~~

But what Congress did is still outrageous — and both sides of the ideological divide should agree. After all, even if you believe (in defiance of the lessons of history) that financial institutions can be trusted to police themselves, even if you believe the grotesquely false narrative that bleeding-heart liberals caused the financial crisis by pressuring banks to lend to poor people, especially minority borrowers, you should be against letting Wall Street play games with government-guaranteed funds. What just went down isn’t about free-market economics; it’s pure crony capitalism.

And sure enough, Citigroup literally wrote the deregulation language that was inserted into the funding bill.

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