Labor Day: show some respect for the working men and women of America

unionsToday is Labor Day, and unlike almost every other newspaper in America, our sad small town newspaper the Arizona Daily Star (“All the news that Jim Click decides is fit to print”) failed to publish an editorial opinion recognizing the working men and women of America. Show some respect!

So to correct the Star’s slight to the working men and women of America, here are two editorials today from a real newspaper.

The New York Times editorializes Labor Today:

In the months before Labor Day last year, job growth was so slow that economists said it would take until 2021 to replace the jobs that were lost or never created in the recession and its aftermath.

The pace has picked up since then; at the current rate, missing jobs will be recovered by 2018. Still, five years into an economic recovery that has been notable for resurging corporate profits, the number and quality of jobs are still lagging badly, as are wages and salaries.

In 2013, after-tax corporate profits as a share of the economy tied with their highest level on record (in 1965), while labor compensation as a share of the economy hit its lowest point since 1948. Wage growth since 1979 has not kept pace with productivity growth, resulting in falling or flat wages for most workers and big gains for corporate coffers, shareholders, executives and others at the top of the income ladder.

Worse, the recent upturn in growth, even if sustained, will not necessarily lead to markedly improved living standards for most workers.

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Sorry, Henry, the Demise of Home Ownership is Not a Good Thing

Lots has been written about the declining rate of home ownership in America.

Henry Grabar at Salon sees this as a good thing, as he explains in America is so over homeownership: Why the shift to a renting economy might actually be a good thing:

This is bad news, insofar as it demonstrates that Americans are struggling to buy homes. It’s bad news for the housing industry, whose greenfield development machine has less fuel. But as a long-term development, it signifies an emerging model of American life released from the cult of homeownership. It would make Americans more mobile (as we once were), and more able to adapt to economic changes. Jordan Rappaport, a senior economist at the Kansas City Fed, elucidates some benefits of the shift from single-family to multi-family housing (which is closely related to the owner-renter shift):

“It will shift consumer demand away from goods and services that complement large indoor space and a backyard toward goods and services more oriented toward living in an apartment. Similarly, the possible shift toward city living may dampen demand for automobiles, highways and gasoline but increase demand for restaurants, city parks and high-quality public transit.”

I generally find the posts at Salon thoughtful, but this one is way off the mark. Being “released from the cult of home ownership” is made to sound appealing, but here’s what’s really happening: Continue reading

Free admission during September at Mini-Time Machine Museum of Miniatures

minitimemuseum

“A visit to The Mini Time Machine Museum of miniatures is one of many great things to do in Tucson. Our miniature museum is sure to excite the senses and pique the imagination.”

Museum Hours

Tuesday-Saturday 9am-4pm
Sunday 12pm-4pm
Closed Mondays and major holidays

Address

4455 East Camp Lowell Drive
Tucson, AZ, 85712

The Mini Time Machine Museum is located at the north side of Camp Lowell Drive just west of Swan Road.  Free Parking with barrier-free access is available.

Bus Lines

The Mini Time Machine Museum is on Bus Route 34. For detailed information see the SunTran website: www.suntran.com

Happy 5th Anniversary to one of the most fascinating museums in Tucson!  Don’t miss this month of free admission.  Kids of all ages love this museum’s diminutive exhibits.

An anniversary that still haunts us

Given the event’s lasting impact, it’s a shame the 24th anniversary passed with K Maphardly a mention. Back on August 2, 1990, Saddam Hussein sent his forces storming into Kuwait. The sudden attack stunned the world, smashed rapprochement with the United States and cruelly crushed a neighboring state.

Although there had been Iraqi troop movements along the border, almost everyone thought they were another of Saddam’s pressure tactics to wring more support out of the Kuwaiti government. As the invading Iraqi troops moved in, the United Nations quickly reacted. On August 3, the UN Security Council called for Iraq to leave Kuwait. On August 8, a defiant Iraq announced the annexation of Kuwait as its 19th province. Fearing further Iraqi military advances, U.S Air Force jets began to arrive in Saudi Arabia.

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Rasmussen Polls: governor race a dead heat (after correcting for the ‘house effect,’ DuVal is leading)

Rasmussen Reports is out with a new poll today Arizona Governor – Rasmussen Reports™:

Chalkboard with Math ProblemArizona Governor: Ducey (R) 40%, DuVal (D) 40%

The race to be Arizona’s next governor is a dead heat.

Arizona is rated a Toss-Up on the Rasmussen Reports 2014 Gubernatorial Scorecard. The race will determine the successor to Republican Jan Brewer who is term-limited. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Dicey Ducey  has reason to be worried. After correcting for the Rasmussen “house effect,” a dead heat means that Dicey Ducey is actually trailing Democrat Fred DuVal, based upon the historical performance of Rasmussen Reports polls over the years.

I have explained to readers  over the years with links to numbers guru Nate Silver, formerly at fivethirtyeight.com, why the Rasmussen Reports poll has a “house effect” GOP bias, and is effectively a GOP “narrative” poll.

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More good news for ‘ObamaCare’ – Democrats should go on the attack

More good news for the Affordable Care Act aka “ObamaCare”: it is “bending the cost curve” on the expense of Medicare even more than originally forecast, which is reducing the federal deficit. the New York Times reported this past week, Medicare: Not Such a Budget-Buster Anymore:

Screenshot from 2014-08-31 12:40:51

You’re looking at the biggest story involving the federal budget and a crucial one for the future of the American economy. [use the article link for this interactive chart.] Every year for the last six years in a row, the Congressional Budget Office has reduced its estimate for how much the federal government will need to spend on Medicare in coming years. The latest reduction came in a report from the budget office on Wednesday morning.

The changes are big. The difference between the current estimate for Medicare’s 2019 budget and the estimate for the 2019 budget four years ago is about $95 billion. That sum is greater than the government is expected to spend that year on unemployment insurance, welfare and Amtrak — combined. It’s equal to about one-fifth of the expected Pentagon budget in 2019. Widely discussed policy changes, like raising the estate tax, would generate just a tiny fraction of the budget savings relative to the recent changes in Medicare’s spending estimates.

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