Mark J. Perry is concurrently a scholar at AEI and a professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan's Flint campus. He is best known as the creator and editor of the popular economics blog Carpe Diem. At AEI, Perry writes about economic and financial issues for American.com and the AEIdeas blog.
1. Chart of the Day I (above) shows weekly US crude oil production through the first week of July based on data released this week by the EIA. US drillers pumped out nearly 9.4 million barrels of oil every day last week, which was the highest level of domestic production in almost two years. At the current pace, US daily crude oil output could top 9.6 million barrels by the end of the summer — setting a new US production record on the way to possibly reaching the 10 million barrel per day milestone by the end of the year. Carpe oleum.
2. Chart of the Day II (above) shows total monthly petroleum production for the world’s top two producers – “Saudi America” and Saudi Arabia through March 2017 based on EIA data here. For more than four years starting at the end of 2012, the US has out-produced Saudi Arabia for total petroleum production. Welcome to the new era of energy abundance in America, which has emerged as a world energy superpower thanks to the shale revolution. Carpe oleum.
3. Chart of the Day III (above) shows exports of crude oil from “Saudi America,” which skyrocketed to more than 1 million barrels per day in both February and April of this year, and averaged 924,250 barrels per day during the first four months of 2017. The surge in US crude oil exports followed the lifting of the 40-year old ban on US oil exports by Congress at the end of 2015. Carpe oleum.
4. Chart of the Day IV (above) shows annual CO2 emissions in the US adjusted for the size of the population basis back to 1952. On a per-capita basis, CO2 emissions in the US were lower last year than any year since 1959, nearly 60 years ago! We can thank the shale revolution, and the substitution of natural gas for coal to generate electric power, for the 20% reduction in CO2 emissions per capita in just the last decade.
5. Graphic of the Day I (above): Quick Math Question
Here’s one more: John works hard, goes to college and pays his own tuition. Why should John pay your tuition after paying his own?
6. Graphic of the Day II (above):Submitted for Your Approval.
7. Chart of the Day V (above) shows monthly averages for the prices of New York City taxi medallion sales from January 2004 to June 2017. In June, nine NYC taxi medallions were sold (data here) at an average price of $266,800, in a range from as low as $150,000 to a high of $475,000. Of the nine medallions sold in June, almost half — four — were foreclosure sales. As recently as July 2014, NYC taxi medallions were selling for more than $1 million, so the drop to only $150,000 for one medallion sold last month is especially stunning and swift – that’s an 85% price decline (and an 83.5% decline for another medallion that sold for $165,000) in just three years! Gone are the halcyon days for the NYC taxi cartel, like the period from January 2004 to December 2013 when taxi medallions grew in value from $240,00 to $925,000. That’s an average annual increase of almost 16% in the average price of NYC taxi medallions over a decade compared to an average annual return of less than 5% for the S&P 500 during that period!
Prediction: The sales at $150,000 and $165,000 last month probably reflect the true current market value of NYC taxi medallions in the new era of competition from ride-sharing services like Uber, Lyft, Gett, etc. As mentioned above, four of the June sales were foreclosures and two were partnership splits, so the two unrestricted sales at $150,000 and $165,000 are probably more representative of the cash market value of medallions. Also, expect more turbulence from Hurricane Joseph Schumpeter in the future as the “Uber effect” continues to disrupt and destroy the once-powerful and profitable NYC taxi cartel.
8. Chart of the Day VI (above) shows some more Schumpeterian creative destruction that has been disrupting the traditional US newspaper business. Employment at US newspaper publishers fell to only 168,200 in May, the lowest level ever recorded since the BLS started tracking these monthly jobs data in 1947. Over the last ten years, newspaper employment has fallen by more than 50%, from 348,300 in May 2007 to 168,200 in May 2017. That’s a decline of more than 180,000 newspaper jobs in just the last decade, or almost 350 newspaper jobs lost every week (or nearly 70 per day!). Like the downward trend in NYC taxi medallions prices, I think we can also expect the downward trend in newspaper jobs to continue in the future!
9. Chart of the Day VII (above) shows the annual number of US police officers killed by gunfire from 1870-2016 (actual) and for 2017 (estimated) based on deaths in the first half of the year. Based on January to June data, the projected number of police deaths this year from gunfire will be 46, which will be down from 62 deaths in 2016, and up slightly from 39 deaths in 2015. Since the spike in police deaths in the early 1970s that coincided with Richard Nixon’s declaration of a War on Drugs in June 1971, and resulted in more than 100 deaths in every year between 1971 and 1976, the frequency of police deaths from gunfire has been declining. In 2013, the number of police deaths from gunfire — 31 — was the lowest since 1887, and that’s not adjusted for the US population. And of course, the most deadly and dangerous period in US history for law enforcement was during Prohibition, when more than 2,500 police officers were killed by gunfire between 1920 and 1933. Just like the War on Drugs, the War on Booze was not only a costly and colossal failure but resulted in the needless sacrifice of life for thousands of America’s police officers. It’s a lesson of needless suffering and death that we still haven’t learned as we continue to pursue the War on DrugsOtherwise Peaceful and Law-Abiding Americans Who Voluntarily Choose to Ingest Intoxicants, Many of Which Are Less Dangerous Than Alcohol, But Are Currently Legally Proscribed by Arbitrary Government Laws.
10. Graphic of the Day III (below) shows what is supposed to be an “effective argument” for raising the minimum wage presented on the left side, while the right side explains why market-determined wages for low-skilled workers are better than artificial wages set by government fiat.