Friday, December 6, 2013

Wind mills now have a license to kill. Find out here who the victims will be.

Bald Eagles are an impediment to the expansion of the Wind Farm industry. Because they have strict Federal protections afforded them, investors are hesitant about making significant investments in this form of renewable energy.

You see, wind mills tend to kill eagles, along with MANY other species of birds.  The Federal government and various wildlife preservation societies frown upon that and are willing to fine and/or sue the operators of said wind mills.  This regulatory burden slows down the growth of the industry.

Well, maybe not.  The industry has sought protection (immunity?) from this sort of action through a rule change handed down by the "Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs". It in effect holds them harmless in the event of an eagle kill because, well, they didn't really mean to.

Here is the relevant part (bolding and underling are mine). The whole rule can be found HERE:

Title: Eagle Permits; Changes in the Regulations Governing Eagle Permitting 
Abstract: We will finalize our proposal to revise the regulations for permits for non-purposeful of take of eagles--that is, where the take is associated with, but not the purpose of, the activity. We proposed to extend the possible maximum term for programmatic permits to 30 years, as long as the permits incorporate conditions requiring the permittee to implement additional adaptive conservation measures if such measures are necessary to ensure the preservation of eagles. This change will facilitate the development of renewable energy and other projects that are designed to be in operation for many decades. These regulations will provide a measure of certainty to project proponents and their funders, while continuing to protect eagles consistent with statutory mandates. 
Basically 30 years of protection from prosecution for the industry.  Do you agree or disagree with this?

Here is a video of a this happening.  WARNING!! NOT for the squeamish.

The Weather Channel is going Greek---in naming the back to back storms we are experiencing. Dion is up next...

It appears The Weather Channel is going Greek, as in Mythology, to name the back to back winter storms we are experiencing (From Wikipedia):
Cleon  (died 422 BCE) was an Athenian statesman and a strategos during the Peloponnesian War. He was the first prominent representative of the commercial class in Athenian politics, although he was an aristocrat himself. Contemporaries Thucydides and Aristophanes represented him as a warmonger and a demagogue.
Dion (GreekΔιών) was a King in Laconia and husband of Amphithea, the daughter of Pronax.[1]God Apollo, who had been kindly received by Dion and Amphithea, rewarded them by conferring upon their three daughters, Orphe, Lyco, and Carya, the gift of prophecy, on condition, however, that they should not betray the gods nor search after forbidden things.[2]Dion erected a temple to Dionysus, who also visited his house and fell in love with Carya. When Orphe and Lyco tried not to let their sister consort with the god (thus breaking the restrictions imposed by Apollo), Dionysus changed them into rocks and Carya into a walnut tree. The Lacedaemonians, on being informed of it by Artemis, dedicated a temple to Artemis Caryatis.[3][4][5][6]
Here is a link to The Weather Channel and ALL the storm names they are using.   Electra is up next.

Part 2: Educational Attainment and Employment---How has it fared since the start of The Great Recession. The numbers are incredible!

The data below is an extension of my prior posting regarding the connection between the attainment of education and the number of jobs held with that level of education.  HERE is that posting where I just compared Nov 2012 with Nov 2013.

Using data from the BLS (HERE) I extended the time span back to November of 2007, which is one month BEFORE the official start of The Great Recession (NBER).
The Change in Total Jobs from 11/2007 to 11/2013 is a minus 279,000. In other words, we have that many fewer jobs, on net,  today than back then.

The only group that is better off, on net, are those who have a bachelor's degree or higher. All other categories have big net losses for the most part.

 Not sure what to make of this.  We have roughly the same number of jobs BUT the composition of the those jobs based on educational attainment is VERY unequal.

What say you?  Any thoughts?

How has the job market changed in the past year based on educational attainment? You don't want to miss this chart. It will make Finals Week SO MUCH MORE comforting...

How important is education in terms of employment prospects?

I used the latest data (today!) from the BLS report on Educational Attainment (Seasonally Adjusted) to create the chart below.

I wanted to look at a one year's change in employment by level of education. The numbers you see in the month columns are the TOTAL number of people employed that month.  The "Change" is the nominal change year over year in jobs in that category.
Data From BLS
Are you shocked?

Those with less than a high school diploma along with high school graduates have a net LOSS in employment of 319,000 jobs (-323,000 + 3,000).  Those with some college/Associates Degree or a Bachelor's Degree or higher have a net GAIN of 1,357,000 jobs (1,258,000 + 99,000).

The chasm between the haves (have jobs) and have nots (no job) based on educational attainment has grown in the past year.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

How the common Christmas Gifts you buy helps keep the inflation rate lower than it otherwise would be...

The Wall Street Journal keeps tabs on the prices of common Christmas gift items and compiles a Gift Index that measures the change in prices of those gifts over time.  Looking at the accompanying graphic below, you can see the prices of those commonly given gifts have gone down over time (RED line):
At a time when overall inflation has been very low, price tags on items that people typically give as gifts have been stagnant or falling. Prices for clothing, shoes, watches and other apparel, for example, were down 0.2% in October from a year earlier, according to the Labor Department. For small appliances—toasters and the like—they fell 1.6%. Toy prices were down 5.6 
Indeed, an equal-weighted index of gift prices, put together by The Wall Street Journal and including the above items as well as ones like technology products, books and sporting goods, was down 2.5% in October from a year earlier. That represented one of the steepest drops since early 2011, when a weak global economy was weighing on prices.
The BLUE line represents the change in price of most other goods consumers typically buy (as measured by the Cleveland Fed's "Median Consumer Price Index").

Source: Wall Street Journal

I e-mailed the writer of the article and asked him what percentage of the items in the market basket he used were imports. He estimated around 50%.

Looking at the list of categories of gifts I would guess it to be much higher (Toys, Clothes, Shoes???).

In economic terms, we could say that we are not just importing these tangible goods but what we are really importing is low prices.  Because the price of imported goods are included in the Consumer Price Index this has help keep the official US inflation rate lower than it otherwise would be.

That is a good thing, right???

If Texas was its own country it would rank #10 in oil production. Drill, Baby, Drill...

Drill, Baby, Drill----the important economic concept of Comparative Advantage into your brain.

Interesting factoid from Carpe Diem.   In terms of oil extraction, if Texas were its own country it would rank number 10 in world oil production (on a daily basis in July).  Total US production was 7,487,000 (ranked 3rd) which means Texas' contribution was 35%.

Source: Mark Perry AEI

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

King Dollar is slowly being demoted to Prince. Should we care?

Found this graphic HERE.

It shows, in percentage terms, how much a particular currency is used to conduct international trade transactions. Countries trade with each other but most often NOT in their own currencies. Why?
""Suppose you're a textile manufacturer in Malaysia, and you want to sell your goods all across Asia and beyond. You sell those goods on credit, letting buyers pay you later for goods shipped today. But what currency should that credit be extended in? You might prefer it be denominated in Malaysian ringgit. Your buyers would prefer their home currencies--the Indonesian rupiah, the Thai baht, whatever. So you settle on something neutral--a currency that is viewed as having stable value and which each party can easily convert funds into and out of. 
For decades, that has meant you finance this trade in dollars, and only dollars. This is one important piece of America's role as issuer of the "global reserve currency," a result of the dollar functioning as the bedrock of the global financial system.""--Washington PostRMBChart
The article is about how the Chinese currency, the Remnimbi, has moved up the currency ladder as a choice medium of exchange in international transactions.  The change from last year is highlighted in GREEN.

As you can see it is still relatively minor in comparison to the use of the US Dollar.  However, the article suggests that it could become the currency of record with trades in the Asian sphere.  This would make the dollar less desirable and could hurt its long term value in the foreign exchange market:
""So China is taking concerted measures to make renminbi a more useful currency for global commerce, and it is starting to pay off in its usage for trade finance. Should America care? Does this matter for the United State's financial future? 
The dollar's status as reserve currency creates an "exorbitant privilege," as it has been called, insulating the United States from many of the vicissitudes of global financial flows and making long-term U.S. interest rates lower than they would be otherwise. It also has some costs, most notably keeping the value of the dollar higher than it would otherwise be on global currency markets, which makes U.S. exporters a bit less competitive.""


Primary Source link to The Popes comments on Economics and "Free" Markets. See what he says before and after the now famous passage...

Here is the link to the document that contains the Popes commentary on contemporary economics and, in his view, the what "Free Markets" have wrought on the world, for better or worse. (I put quotation marks around "Free Markets" as a qualifier---There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Market (TANSTAAFM) )

The document is VERY long and has some interesting tidbits other than the one that relates to economics. If you go to the document it starts on Page 45 and goes to 51.

I thought it interesting that he believes the Church needs to decentralize and become less bureaucratic so that it can serve communities and people better---sort of like what "Free" Markets (absent Cronyism)  do.  But I digress...

I excerpted the relevant parts before and after the specific quote that is making the rounds in blogs and the talking heads on TV.  The one that refers to the "Trickle-Down Theories" is in Passage 54.

Passage 54 is the one that is being referred to: 

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