While most of the news on unemployment focuses on the unemployment rate, I’ve always found it easier to look at total civilian employment numbers in total and as a percent of the population when looking at the situation. Read more »
One strawman that is often raised when arguing about the efficiency of government bureaucracies is the U.S. Post Office. The GAO just released their assessment of the Postal Service’s financial viability and proposed fixes to the system. Let’s take a look at some postal facts.
The USPS is not profitable. It hasn’t been profitable since 2007. Read more »
Keynes’ General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money revolutionized economic thought in 1936 and ignited a debate that continues to this day. Prior to Keynes, classical economists correctly believed that economies have self-correcting mechanisms that maintained prosperity and full employment. Keynes argued that the propensity of firms to invest could be too low compared with that of household savings, leading to recurring depressions. Keynes believed that through government fiscal policy, i.e. lower taxes and higher spending, that the government could help the private sector and restore full employment. Politicians seem to have forgotten the part of the policy about lower taxes for the most part. Read more »
California is the most heavily taxed state by most measures according to a recent L.A. Times story. According to the article, the marginal rate on taxable income over $1 million will rise to 10.55% from 10.3%. The next-highest tax rate, which starts at $94,110 for a married couple filing jointly, will rise to 9.55% from 9.3%. Sales taxes were just increased a full point from 7.25% to 8.25% plus whatever the local municipality tacks on. Here in Santa Clara County the sales tax is 9.25%. Read more »
A few years ago, I attended an industry meeting at which TJ Rogers, CEO of Cypress, gave the keynote speech. Shortly after dessert was served, a color guard complete with blaring bagpipes followed a kilted TJ Rogers up to the podium. That night, TJ turned my beliefs about the fiscal policies of Democrats and Republicans upside down. I dedicate this posting not to TJ though, but to his former corporate controller, who claims he did the work.
Here are a few facts for your amazement and amusement. Read more »
My wife and I often argue about whether investing in equities is the same as going to a casino and pumping dimes into a slot machine. Now when it comes to slot machines and dimes, my wife has first hand experience. On our first trip to Las Vegas together we stopped at the first casino we came to, she put a dime into a slot machine and on the first pull collected $100. “That’s a better return than on any equity investment we’ve made,” she’ll point out thirty years later. I’ve given her the business school pitch on markets countless times and have explained that we’re value investors and occasional traders, but that we’re not gambling with our retirement. Read more »
There’s nothing like rising unemployment to stoke the debate about offshoring. This EE Times (WSJ for tech) article reports that over one million tech jobs were lost to offshoring in 2008. The question is whether this is a net benefit or cost. Generally, it is agreed that investors and consumers benefit and that dislocated jobs are forever lost. However, offshoring can also mean the difference between having a profitable business or not, or even being able to start a new one. Read more »
That’s a question my former boss and mentor used to ask when you really screwed up. It was asked half in jest but the staff knew it often signaled the beginning of the end for someone’s career at the company. This is the first of what I hope won’t be too many semi-irregular posts rhetorically asking this beautifully simple question. First up are Liddy, Geithner, Bernanke, Frank, and Dodd.
“I want to say one word to you. Just one word. Are you listening? Silicon.” That’s what Benjamin would have heard thirty years later. Forget about the “new economy.” Don’t worry about who’s going to win the processor wars or who will dominate the Internet and the World Wide Web. It doesn’t matter who wins as long as it drives infrastructure. The Silicon machine tool industry seemed like a pretty good place to be in 1995. And for the most part it was, until the dot.com bubble burst and Sarbanes-Oxley came along. Read more »
A lot of premature predictions have been made about the end of Moore’s Law. Most of them have been proven wrong as the result of clever engineering. But clever engineering can’t defeat the laws of physics and we’re almost there. The economic constraints on Moore’s Law are just as looming although the current technology roadmap takes us past 2022. My purpose here is not to predict when Moore’s Law will end. Instead, I’d like to discuss the technical and economic constraints and their consequences as the end game approaches. Read more »
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