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Discussion: (22 comments)

  1. It’s a minor point, but it’s something I had to correct in my previous work. “Factoid” is not the term you want to use.

    While it can mean “brief” fact, too often it is a denigrating term undercutting your own presentation! Note primary definition.

    From Merriam-Webster

    fac·toid noun \ˈfak-ˌtȯid\

    Definition of FACTOID

    1: an invented fact believed to be true because it appears in print

    2: a briefly stated and usually trivial fact
    See factoid defined for English-language learners »
    See factoid defined for kids »

    Examples of FACTOID

    The book is really just a collection of interesting factoids.

    First Known Use of FACTOID — 1973

    1. Factoid began with one meaning, “an invented fact,” but is now widely used to mean “a trivial, or little-known fact.”

      Factoid: A brief or trivial item of news or information.

      1. <>

        Well Mark, as I said, a minor point. One thing that IS clear is that your facts are NOT trivial. Not hardly! Nor are mine in my postings, for that matter.

        At any rate, I stopped using “factoid” to describe my pithy, annotated, riveting insights, on the advice of a linguist and an editorial writer.

        Either way, keep your stuff coming.

    2. Citizen Buddy

      An alternative to factoid could be factlet. Factoid sounds cooler than factlet imo.

      1. Not bad! I’ll consider it.

  2. JuniataKid

    Just read that of the 953,000 jobs created in 2013, 77% are part-time. 731,000 part-time jobs. Stimulus and QE are working wonders.

    1. MacDaddyWatch

      Just to take it one step further, if QE did little to nothing in order to stimulate the economy and new jobs, then doesn’t that also mean that it won’t be missed as the tapering process winds down QE to a conclusion?

      Are tapering tantrums more related to psychology than actual and measurable results?

      1. ColoComment

        All QE-forever stimulated was the markets and alternative investments. So, yeah, taper won’t have an effect on jobs, but popping the investment bubbles WILL hurt Bernanke’s Wall Street friends.

      2. morganovich


        you can thank obamacare for that.

        instead of picking up large new insurance costs, employers have instead cut hours to under 30 to avoid the mandate and hired more part time folks.


        i’d even go a step further and say that QE hurt jobs. it resulted in both bubbles in bond markets AND less credit availability by starving the swaps market of collateral etc while (in combination with zirp) driving down the interest based income of retirees and crushing their buying power.

        ending QE will be good for the economy. i think ben realizes it was a big mistake and is now just looking for a way to climb down with some grace.

  3. We would have a lot more jobs if we could lower energy prices and people had more to spend on other things.

    1. Actually with the exception of gasoline we now have low energy prices, look at natural gas, and also then electricity, which the natural gas price influences, also look at the price of coal, again coal and natural gas compete to generate electricity. So while one might pay more to drive, one is paying less to cool, and in most cases heat ones home (except if you have propane or oil heat). So to be more correct say high gasoline/Diesel prices, not high energy prices. Note that Ford will introduce natural gas pickup trucks soon.

  4. PeakTrader

    A bubble is needed in a depression.

    So, we can thank the Fed for creating a “wealth effect,” in the stock market, bond market, gold, etc..

    Also, we can thank the Fed for lower interest rates, including mortgage rates.

    When economic growth accelerates, to close the output gap, a wealth effect and low interest rates won’t be necessary.

    1. morganovich


      “A bubble is needed in a depression.”

      this may be the funniest chapter of “peakonomics” yet.

      what is needed in a downturn is for a rationalization of malinvestment and a reapportioning and application of resources.

      a bubble is the exact opposite of this and prevents these necessary processes from taking place.

      this “wealth effect” is a temporary blip that just sets up the next crash while preventing the economy from making needed adjustments.

      inflating bubbles to attempt to “fix” recession is what CAUSES depression.

  5. PeakTrader

    The good news is per capita real GDP is almost back to the 2007 peak.

    The bad news is per capita real GDP is about $6,000 a year below the long-run trend, since 1960.


    1. PeakTrader

      I think, we could’ve closed the output gap in 2011 and be in a strong expansion today.

      The economy needed a bold $5,000 per worker tax cut (or $750 billion) in early 2009, initially.

      Then, eliminating and reducing $1 trillion of the $2 trillion a year in federal regulations (rather than piling on more regulations), raising the minimum wage (slightly above the 1968 peak), and overhauling the tax system (to simplify with permanent tax cuts) would’ve generated much faster growth.

      The Fed would’ve completed a tightening cycle in 2011, we’d have federal budget surpluses and stronger state budgets.

    2. The good news is per capita real GDP is almost back to the 2007 peak.

      Why would anyone accept the ‘real’ GDP numbers that the BLS is reporting when we have so much evidence that it is fudging the data to paint as good a picture as possible regardless of the underlying reality?

      If we look around we see that the number of Americans on food assistance programs have exploded. There are now as many people on food assistance as there are people who have jobs.

      The labour participation for men is at record low rates.

      Home ownership rates have declined sharply as rents and home prices have exploded. The inventory of underwater properties is very high but it is prevented from entering the market by legal issues. When the next decline comes the inventory will hit a new historical high.

      Cities are near bankruptcy all across the country. Government employee pension funds have massive unfunded liabilities and nearing bankruptcy.

      The ‘real’ hourly entry-wage for high school graduates has fallen by nearly a third over the past two and a half decades. Most new jobs created are entry level. Most jobs lost are at a higher compensation rate.

      The US now spends more on military related activities than it takes in from personal income taxes.

      A drive through most cities shows a decline in commercial real estate activity and shows carnage in the retail industry, two things that have helped prop up local economic activity.

      The energy sector is showing a rapid decline in profits as marginal cost of production exceeds the price for oil and gas. This is not just related to the capital destruction in the shale sector because the expenses related to offshore activity have exploded to levels that no longer make many of the projects economic.

      What most people are missing is the danger that can be seen in much of the data that we have clear access to. The problem is that they ignore that data and rely on bureaucrats and analysts to interpret it for them. Which is why when the latest bubbles in bonds, equities, real estate, and energy burst we are going to have a crisis that will make 2007-2008 seem mild in comparison.

      1. PeakTrader

        Vangel, what you see as a conspiracy to “fudge data” by top economists and statisticians at the BLS, I see as more accurately measuring the data to better reflect reality.

        For example, inflation may have been understated in the 1970s and overstated in the 1980s and beyond, even with the minor adjustments in the 1990s, which were too small and too slow.

        You’re confusing the media with the BLS.

        1. Vangel, what you see as a conspiracy to “fudge data” by top economists and statisticians at the BLS, I see as more accurately measuring the data to better reflect reality.

          Who said anything about conspiracy? I am merely pointing out that if we use a consistent methodology we do not see that much of a difference between today and parts of the 1970s.

          For example, inflation may have been understated in the 1970s and overstated in the 1980s and beyond, even with the minor adjustments in the 1990s, which were too small and too slow.

          Minor? If we use the pre-1980 methodology the current inflation rate stands at around 10%. And if we add the long-term discouraged workers, who were defined out of official existence in 1994, to the U-6 number we find that unemployment stands at more than 20%. I do not consider that minor.

          You’re confusing the media with the BLS.

          You are confusing the BLS reports with objective reporting.

        2. morganovich


          the BEA uses a 0.3% deflator for gdp for q2.

          this was about the sixth time in a row this number was WAY under CPI.

          so even leaving aside the endless argument about CPI, let’s just focus on this:

          if you deflate GDP with CPI, then there has only been one q in the last 6 with >1% growth.

          if you deflate Q2 with CPI and then net out the increase it showed from the change in dgp methodology (to include ip etc) and the drop in q1, then q2 was in contraction.

          are you seriously going to argue that inflation was 30bp annualized in q2?

      2. The BLS doesn’t report GDP data. The BEA does

        1. morganovich

          which has actually seemed worse.

          the bea’s gdp-d for q2 was 0.3%, way, way under cpi which has been the case every q for the last 6 or 8.

          if you deflate gdp with cpi, most of the recent growth goes away.

          1. PeakTrader

            Nominal GDP growth was 4.0% in 2012 (and 4.0% in 2011). There’s a difference between income = output and the general price level or the CPI.

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