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the terrible plight of america’s poor-2007/8

“The following are facts about persons defined as "poor" by the Census Bureau, taken from various government reports:

  • Forty-three percent of all poor households actually own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.

  • Eighty percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, in 1970, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.

  • Only 6 percent of poor households are overcrowded. More than two-thirds have more than two rooms per person.
  • The average poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.)

  • Nearly three-quarters of poor households own a car; 31 percent own two or more cars.

  • Ninety-seven percent of poor households have a color television; over half own two or more color televisions.

  • Seventy-eight percent have a VCR or DVD player; 62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception.

  • Eighty-nine percent own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and more than a third have an automatic dishwasher.

“As a group, America's poor are far from being chronically undernourished. The average consumption of protein, vitamins, and minerals is virtually the same for poor and middle-class children and, in most cases, is well above recommended norms. Poor children actually consume more meat than do higher-income children and have average protein intakes 100 percent above recommended levels. Most poor children today are, in fact, supernourished and grow up to be, on average, one inch taller and 10 pounds heavier than the GIs who stormed the beaches of Normandy in World War II.”

related material
GDP 1: gross domestic product
GDP 2: GDP and other quality of life measurements


the web address for the article above is




euro meltdown continues

Recommended reading for details.

“Professor Roubini said the German Bundesbank and will insist that "severe" conditions are imposed on Spain once the country requests a rescue from the eurozone EFSF/ESM bail-out funds and signs a memorandum ceding budgetary sovereignty.”

“Former Spanish premier Jose Maria Aznar said the EMU crisis had poisoned relations between North and South. "We have a situation where one country has become the hegemon, and that is Germany. This is the first time we have seen anything like this since the Second World War," he said in Cernobbio.”

related material
EMU (European Monetary Union) and inflation – a civil liberty issue

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bernanke suggests economic triggers on money printing in place of human judgement

This is technically interesting. I do hope Mitt Romney is not serious about removing Bernanke.

“In addition to asset purchases and forward guidance, the account of the most recent meeting mentioned two other options. The Fed could cut the interest rate it pays banks on reserves kept at the Fed, which might push some money into circulation. It also could seek to provide low-cost funding for certain kinds of lending, like mortgage loans, emulating a program recently begun by the Bank of England. Several Fed officials also have said that they would like to replace the time horizon for current policy with a trigger tied to economic data, for example declaring that the Fed is likely to keep interest rates near zero until the unemployment rate falls below a specified level, or until economic output exceeds a certain threshold.”
[Quoted from]

The full speech is here.

This is the reference to triggers:

“... If we are willing to take as a working assumption that the effects of easier financial conditions on the economy are similar to those observed historically, then econometric models can be used to estimate the effects of LSAPs on the economy. Model simulations conducted at the Federal Reserve generally find that the securities purchase programs have provided significant help for the economy. For example, a study using the Board's FRB/US model of the economy found that, as of 2012, the first two rounds of LSAPs may have raised the level of output by almost 3 percent and increased private payroll employment by more than 2 million jobs, relative to what otherwise would have occurred. The Bank of England has used LSAPs in a manner similar to that of the Federal Reserve, so it is of interest that researchers have found the financial and macroeconomic effects of the British programs to be qualitatively similar to those in the United States.”

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germany backs the money printing against the bundesbank

“His support for Mr Draghi is crucial. While the ECB can, in theory, enforce its policy by majority vote, it would be hazardous to do so against German opposition. “This is a significant turning point,” said Raoul Ruparel from Open Europe. “Asmussen was hand-picked for the role by Merkel. It means that Draghi has managed to crack what seemed like a solid German wall.” ”

Meanwhile, Spain digs in their heels:

“The Spanish are bargaining over terms. Finance minister Luis de Guindos said over the weekend that he would not trigger the mechanism until the ECB pledges unlimited bond purchases.”

related material
draghi suggests he may do the right thing, and print money without limit

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a report commissioned by sarkozy - gdp

I have long been concerned with the sloppy acceptance of, often manipulated, government statistics. I am now concentrating on the GDP figures.

The following report has recently been published with the purported lead author being Joseph Stiglitz.

Each time I hear Stiglitz, I’m irritated by his confusion of economics with his leftist politics. When I noticed this report, I mistook it as just another slice of Stiglitz propaganda. Today, I’ve identified it as a substantial report commissioned Nicholas Sarkozy, with many contributors. With a useful forward by Sarkozy, this link includes most of that forward.

Much of the report is stuff anyone who studies economics should already know. The rest of this rather short and cheap book has now been ordered. I hope it’ss worth the 10 euro.

related material
GDP 1: gross domestic product
GDP 2: GDP and other quality of life measurements

Mismeasuring Our Lives: Why GDP Doesn't Add Up
by Joseph E. Stiglitz et al.

Mismeasuring Our Lives by J. E. Stiglitz et al.

The New Press
ISBN-10: 1595585192
ISBN-13: 978-1595585196

$10.85, 2010 [] {advert}
£10.79, 2011 [] {advert}

Kindle edition
719 KB
The New Press 2011
$9.92 [] {advert}

the web address for the article above is

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