Seattle Passes Historic $15 Minimum Wage – Taegan Goddard’s Wonk Wire

This is an interesting development – to see the medium and long term effects.. more of the cake to the middle class… presumably more spending and a thriving economy…

The Seattle City Council voted unanimously on Monday to raise the local minimum wage to $15 an hour, more than double the federal minimum.

New York Times: The vote, “after months of discussion by a committee of business and labor leaders convened by Mayor Ed Murray, will give low-wage workers here — in incremental stages, with different tracks for different sizes of business — the highest big-city minimum in the nation.”

“The vote, economists and labor experts said, accentuates the patchwork in wages around the country, with places like Seattle — and other cities considering sharply higher minimum pay, including San Diego, Chicago and San Francisco — having economic outlooks increasingly distinct from those in other parts of the nation. Through much of the South, especially, the federal minimum of $7.25 holds fast.”

The Mostly Solved Deficit Problem

Sooo.. it turns out that Obama has more or less fixed the fiscal stuff, and pretty soon might have stabilized the debt at an ok level too. Yelling about 16 trillion always sounds bad, but a 70% debt/gdp ratio is probably a good and healthy level.

From Krugman:

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has a graph:

The vertical axis measures the projected ratio of federal debt to GDP. The blue line at the top represents the projected path of that ratio as of early 2011 — that is, before recent agreements on spending cuts and tax increases. This projection showed a rising path for debt as far as the eye could see.

And just about all budget discussion in Washington and the news media is laid out as if that were still the case. But a lot has happened since then. The orange line shows the effects of those spending cuts and tax hikes: As long as the economy recovers, which is an assumption built into all these projections, the debt ratio will more or less stabilize soon.

Can a businessman help the economy? For presidents, the answer has been no.

It’s old news… but businessmen are historically the worst presidents on economic performance.. twice leading to huge crashes…


Can a businessman help the economy? For presidents, the answer has been no. – The Washington Post:

Can a businessman help the economy? For presidents, the answer has been no.

 By Robert S. McElvaine, Published: October 20

Mitt Romney likes to argue that his business experience has prepared him for the challenges of the presidency, particularly in stoking economic recovery. In his speech accepting the Republican presidential nomination, Romney declared that President Obama “took office without the basic qualification that most Americans have and one that was essential to his task. He had almost no experience working in a business.”

But historically, has the economy been healthier in times when the president has had a business background?

As any good executive would, let’s look at the numbers.

Since Herbert Hoover’s 1928 election, the American people have voted out of office after a single term only three elected presidents: Hoover, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush — all of whom were successful businessmen before they were president. And the only successful business-trained president who was reelected, George W. Bush, oversaw an economic collapse at the end of his second term.

As measured in constant 2005 dollars starting on Jan. 1 of the year after they took office — the economy’s performance in the first year of a presidency is better assigned to the preceding administration — the four presidents with successful business careers had the four worst records in terms of gross domestic product performance. (…)


Constant-demography Employment (Wonkish But Relevant)

Krugman takes a fresh look at the employment figures the last decade.. as percentage of the whole population… and adjusts them for a growing segment of seniors.. as the relative ratio of work force vs. total population is declining by nature..

And showing that yes.. the employment situation is getting better.. slowly…

Constant-demography Employment (Wonkish But Relevant):

These days everyone knows that the unemployment rate is a problematic measure, because it can fall not because more people are working but simply because fewer people are looking for work. (This isn’t what happened in September, but it has been an issue in the recent past). An alternative is therefore to count employment rather than unemployment; one simple measure is the employment-population ratio, which suggests no improvement for years:

But this measure too has problems; it’s the fraction of people 16 and over at work, which means that the denominator includes a rapidly growing number of seniors, who presumably don’t want to keep working. How can we correct for this demographic bias?

One answer, which I’ve used before, is to focus on prime-age adults, between 25 and 54; Calculated Risk did this yesterday, and pointed out that there has been some real improvement over the past year. This is a good quick-and-dirty approach. But it can lead to (false) accusations of cherry-picking, and it also throws out information.

So here’s an arguably better measure: constant-demography employment, which shows what would have happened to the employment-population ratio if the age structure of the population had stayed constant.

For my calculation, I’ve divided the population into three age groups, 16-24, 25-54, and 55 plus, for which employment-population ratios are available in the BLS databases. (Scroll down and use the one-screen data search). I’ve then taken a weighted average of these ratios, where the weights are the 2007 shares of each group in the civilian noninstitutional population. And here’s what you get:

Aha. So there is real if modest improvement over the past year. Also, the September numbers looks not like an aberration but like a return to trend from what looks like noise in the data over the previous couple of months.

This story is, by the way, broadly consistent with the payroll data, from a different survey, which also suggest employment growing somewhat faster than population.

So contra Romney, this is a real recovery. Modest, but real. Unless, of course, you believe that there’s a conspiracy of socialist statisticians

(Via Paul Krugman)

The economy has added 5.2 million jobs – and the jobless rate is at 7.8%…

It’s still unbelievable.. how this stuff hasn’t been sold more aggressively for a long time… the track record isn’t great.. but it’s ok…

Barack Obama:

Share the good news today: The economy has added 5.2 million private-sector jobs over 31 straight months, and the unemployment rate is below 8% for the first time since January 2009. More on President Obama’s long-term plan to create jobs: http://OFA.BO/wQJVTj
Photo: Share the good news today: The economy has added 5.2 million private-sector jobs over 31 straight months, and the unemployment rate is below 8% for the first time since January 2009. More on President Obama's long-term plan to create jobs: http://OFA.BO/wQJVTj