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Average real wages rise for 12 straight months as prices decelerate faster than nominal wage growth

5 days ago

by Elise Gould

EPI

Average hourly wage growth has exceeded inflation for 12 straight months, according to new Bureau of Labor Statistics data released this morning. This real (or inflation-adjusted) wage growth is a key indicator of how well the average worker’s wage can improve their standard of living. As inflation continues to normalize, I’m optimistic more workers will experience real gains in their purchasing power.

The dark blue line in the figure below plots year-over-year real hourly wage changes for all private-sector workers.

Year-over-year real wage changes measure the percent change in wages in one month compared with the same month a year prior. Monthly or even quarterly changes in wages are notably more volatile. While

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Raising the Social Security Payroll tax 1/2 of 1% for People and Companies

5 days ago

Dale Coberly presents another methodology to save Social Security without cutting benefits to the elderly. Any of these will work and does not involve taxing the rich which could result in a reversal with each new administration. It is incremental and small portions of a dollar or two on a weekly basis. And it still keeps SS as the third rail.

Starting in 2026 with . . .

Raising the payroll tax one half percent each for people and companies in 2026. This is half of what polls have said people prefer to any cuts. Too small for anyone, even employers. to really feel bad about.

Starting the next year continue to raise the payroll tax two tenths of a percent per year. this is two dollars per week per year. again, too small to notice.

Stop

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US Affordable Rental Housing, Makes Sense? Or Not Working as Intended

6 days ago

This report dropped into my email box a day or so ago. It hits upon a topic which has plagued big cities since before I was a child. Early-on in Chicago, urban renewal was the thought to be the right idea and the wrong concept.

Public housing development in Chicago, Illinois. Cabrini-Green was a model of successful public housing. Poor planning, physical deterioration, and managerial neglect, coupled with gang violence, drugs, and chronic unemployment changed it. It turned into a national symbol of urban blight and failed housing policy. In 2000 the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) began demolishing Cabrini-Green buildings as part of an ambitious and controversial plan to transform all of the city’s public housing projects. The last of the

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Postal Supervisors Struggle using the DeJoy DFA Postal System

8 days ago

Steve Hutkins again addressing the implementation of the DeJoy system in Georgia.

Supervisory competency came up in a message to the PRC. There has always been a give and take between management and labor. In this instance, managements probably have the same labor experience as what present labor has. If that is not the issue, then what is?

New system implemented by DeJoy and a lack of training of Supervisors and Labor. They are learning as they struggle to work with the system. Delivery performance is way down. Questions are being asked and fingers being pointed,.

Postal supervisors tell postal leadership, Don’t blame us for DFA failures

by Steve Hutkins

Save The Post Office

Resistance to the Postal Service’s implementation of

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Recently Reported Healthcare Cost Detail

8 days ago

Keep in mind, the chart we presented a while back, a comparison of how healthcare expenses compare to GDP or take of GDP to pay for it. Still less than 18%. What you are looking at is a finer breakdown of the healthcare costs. What do we want to improve?

Healthcare spending in the U.S. increased by 4.1% in 2022 to $4.4 trillion or $13,493 per capita. This growth rate is comparable to pre-pandemic rates (4.1% in 2019). Although government spending to manage the pandemic led to substantial increases in NHE, these expenditures significantly declined in 2021. Utilization of medical goods and services did rebound. By 2022, top-level patterns in health spending more closely resembled the pre-pandemic period.

The 2022 Health Care Cost and Utilization

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February 2024, total net Electricity production

8 days ago

The good news is electricity productivity is up. Natural gas is fueling the productivity increase in the Americas while its usage decreased globally. Coal usage is down. Too bad Manchin did not move West Virginia to better economics. Fossil fuels are still a large part of the production of electricity.

In February 2024, the total net electricity production in total OECD reached 869.1 TWh, marking a 2.3% increase compared to the same period last year.

Electricity generation from fossil fuels amounted to 397.3 TWh in February 2024, exhibiting a decline of 5.2% (equivalent to 21.8 TWh) compared to February 2023. This reduction was largely driven by lower electricity output from coal, which experienced an 8.3% year-on-year decrease, followed by gas

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Clarence Thomas’ Ruling Shocks Supreme Court Analysts

9 days ago

AB: For years, Clarence sat in silence and did not say much. It was only when Roberts took over, did he begin to make his mark as a justice. He will probably be remembered as one of the worst appointments to SCOTUS. Before his appointment, he told a story about dependency on welfare.

Thomas opposed public assistance because it caused (he claimed) his sister and her children to become dependent on welfare payments. In 1981, he said:

“She gets mad when the mailman is late with her welfare check,” Thomas said in a remark that has since been widely quoted. “That is how dependent she is. What’s worse is that now her kids feel entitled to the check, too. They have no motivation for doing better or getting out of that situation.”

A journalist

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Role Of Medicaid Accountable Care Orgs In Maternal Health

9 days ago

By Laura B. Attanasio and Kimberley H. Geissler

Health Affairs

This article is the latest in the Health Affairs Forefront series, Accountable Care for Population Health, featuring analysis and discussion of how to understand, design, support, and measure patient-centered, cost-efficient care under the umbrella of accountable care.

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The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate of any industrialized country, and it has increased in recent years. Other more common negative maternal health outcomes such as severe maternal morbidity are also on the rise. Improving the quality of perinatal care to address these poor maternal health outcomes is a pressing policy concern. More than 40 percent of births in the US each year

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BP Softens tone on 2030 oil output cut to reassure investors

10 days ago

By Ron Bousso

Reuters

A brief on what BP is doing. My guess is they are going to cut output to drive the market. It could be that other oil companies could fill the gap or move with BP. However, they prefer trump in office so making Biden look bad is a realistic plan for them. Their attorneys are already writtening the executive orders.

Speaking to Reuters on Tuesday after BP announced $2.7 billion in first quarter profits, CEO Auchincloss said BP may overshoot or undershoot the 2030 target.

“Two million [(boed) Barrels Of Oil Equivalent Per Day] is a decent number to stick by right now. Could it be higher? Yes. Could it be lower? Yes.” This kind of plays into what other sources are saying. It suggests a previous goal to reduce its oil and

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Massive chain of crumbling safety-net hospitals described as a “Ponzi scheme

11 days ago

I was going to finish this up two days ago. Except I got sick and was sweating for two nights in a row. And slept most of the first day and some of today. I had been fighting this for a about 5 days and then it came om stronger. Today, I feel I am back, but at half speed.

I posted “Senator Warrens Clawback on money looted by Cereberus” here. She called it:“The third and best source of funds would be a clawback of money looted by Cerberus, de la Torre, and MPT, based on a prosecution for fraudulent conveyance, misrepresentation to shareholders, and other possible criminal charges.

As a settlement, restitution would have to be paid to the hospitals, under new ownership.“

Hospital Heist Seeks Protection in the Ponzi-Friendliest Court in

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Overall and core Consumer Price Index (CPI) both increased by 0.4 percent in March

12 days ago

It appears rent, transportation, and medical care services are the culprits holding up a decrease in inflation. Medicare does not surprise me at all. Harvard School of Health blames the rise of prices on administrative expenses, corporate greed and price gouging, and higher utilization of costly medical technology.

What to Look for in the April CPI

by Dean Baker

CEPR

The overall and core Consumer Price Index (CPI) both increased by 0.4 percent in March as the path towards slower inflation has, at least temporarily, stalled. The increase in the overall CPI was caused by a 1.1 percent rise in energy prices, which went along with a modest 0.1 percent rise in food prices.

The core index rose 0.4 percent for the third consecutive month. It

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Generic Drugs Antitrust Case

12 days ago

Pharma companies providing pharmaceuticals exclusive to them have vast amounts of control in availability and or pricing. Either can result in increased costs to the patient. Economist Timothy Taylor reviews one particular instance with Teva Pharmaceuticals. Collaboration with other companies to control pricing appears to be Teva’s Director of Strategic Customer Marketing Nisha Patel’s strong suits.

by Timothy Taylor

Conversable Economist

Imagine in the market for generic drugs, a group of companies form a cartel to raise prices on the products controlled by their group. Other companies were not involved. What pattern might you expect to see for the prices of drugs controlled by the cartel, or not controlled by the cartel. Amanda Starc and

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Kind of ill today.

14 days ago

I will not be Posting on May 12. Sorry!

I will catch up later.

Still hurting on a Sunday. Hoping this will pass by Monday. Big thank you to Eric and Ken for posting this Sunday. I would not have been able to do it.

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A Bit of History by a Friend from Slate’s “The Fray”

14 days ago

Queen Claude and Anne Boleyn

by Claude Scales

self absorbed boomer

In my post about the global art market I noted that my given name, Claude, is gender neutral in French. Today, thanks to Tina Brown’s review of Hunting the Falcon: Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and the Marriage that Shook Europe, by John Guy and Julia Fox, I know there was a Queen Claude of France (image: School of Jean Clouet, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons). She was consort of King François I from 1515 until her death in 1524. During their nine years of marriage, she and the King had seven children. One of them succeeded his father as King Henri II.The connection between Queen Claude and Anne Boleyn is, as Ms. Brown notes, that Anne served as the Queen’s “teenage

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Oil industry is Writing Executive Orders for Trump to Sign

14 days ago

In preparation for a renewed reign of the insurrectionist, energy sources and their associations are writing up executive orders to reverse much of what Pres. Joe Biden has done over 4 years. If you recall, the same was done after Barack Obama left the presidency. Many or most of Obama’s initiatives were reversed by an incoming president who would have trouble writing a paragraph much less an executive order. A bit different in the latter as it took a different view of a black man in the presidency.

A Little Bold and Gross

by Ben Lefebvre

The U.S. oil industry is drawing up ready-to-sign executive orders for Donald Trump aimed at pushing natural gas exports, cutting drilling costs and increasing offshore oil leases in case he wins a second

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2024 SOCIAL SECURITY REPORT IS OUT THE MEDIA MISS THE POINT

15 days ago

The 2024 Social Security Trustees Report came out on Monday, May 6. You can find dozens of press reports and other commentary online, most of which are written by people who actually know nothing about Social Security except what they read in the papers. Some are written by people who do know what they are talking about but write in a way that is likely to mislead.

For today I am just going to look at the May 6 analysis: “Analysis of the 2024 Social Security Trustees’ Report-Mon, 05/06/2024 – 12:00,” Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Here are some quotes from CRFB followed my comments.

CRFB Social Security faces large and rising imbalances. According to the Trustees, Social Security will run cash deficits of $3 trillion over the

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Republican U.S. States Sue EPA over Strict Power Plant Emission Rules

15 days ago

US Republican attorneys general sue to stop EPA’s carbon rule, Reuters, Clark Mindock

Republican attorneys general from 27 U.S. states and industry trade groups sued the Environmental Protection Agency or EPA on Thursday. They seek to block an EPA landmark rule requiring sweeping reductions in carbon emissions from existing coal-fired power plants and new natural gas plants.

The rule, finalized by President Joe Biden’s administration last month as part of an effort to combat climate change, was challenged in multiple lawsuits filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, including one by 25 states spearheaded by West Virginia and Indiana and another by Ohio and Kansas. Electric utility, mining and coal industry trade

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Clawback of money looted by Cerberus, de la Torre, and MPT from Steward Health Care

16 days ago

The third and best source of funds would be a clawback of money looted by Cerberus, de la Torre, and MPT, based on a prosecution for fraudulent conveyance, misrepresentation to shareholders, and other possible criminal charges. As a settlement, restitution would have to be paid to the hospitals, under new ownership.

That may yet come, but it would require more aggressive action than we have seen from the state attorney general, Andrea Campbell, to date. This is surprising, because Campbell is generally respected as tough and progressive. But this week, Campbell said, in a statement on Twitter no less,

“My office is working to get answers and we intend to seek accountability for any laws that may have been violated.”

Back in February, as

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An Erroneous Supply Chain Argument

16 days ago

“Silly” Arizona House Representative Republican Justin Wilmeth is making an argument for lower gasoline, etc. prices to Arizona. Justin traveled to California to ask for no cap on fuel prices at a California refinery (Arizona has no refinery). As if he does not have enough to do in AZ?

Not sure what makes him think, they will not raise prices anyway and without a cap. Justin’s main beef . . .

“If they were to lower production or supply, the prices would go up, and there’s not much we could do about that. That’s basic supply and demand economy . . . right there.” 

No Justin, that is called Supply (Chain) manipulation versus Demand and an on-purpose decrease in Capacity to increase profits. Oh, you will not allow us to increase prices? We will

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Microsoft is investing $3.3 billion dollars to build a new data center in Racine Wisconsin

16 days ago

By Prof. Heather Cox-Richardson

Letters from an American

Pres. Joe Biden, Dem Governor Tony Evers, and Microsoft are bailing out Wisconsin from trump’s “eighth wonder of the world” lie in Racine WI with Taiwan’s Foxconn. When this was occurring, Repub. Gov. Scott Walker with Repub legislators committed to a $3.3 billion subsidy and tax incentive package in support of the pirates. Racine did get upgraded upgrading roads, sewer system, electricity in support of the Foxconn plan. And a bunch of empty building with few people hired. Apparently, Microsoft sees value in the buildings and the location. Hopefully, the cheeseheads learned a lesson about trump’s promises. Some Prof. Heather . .

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Today, in Racine, Wisconsin, President Joe

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Desperate for Workers but Dead Set Against Migrant Labor

17 days ago

By Paul Kiernan

AB: I have written about West Virginia on several occasions. If you want some history on its politics and issue, you can go here, here, here, here, here, etc. and further back. One time, Senator Joe Manchin took to the Senate floor to preach about the death of a young and pretty West Virginian. He blamed the two appointees to the FDA for being the cause of this. West Virginia has it problems with a shortage of workers and a dislike for migrants. There is little being done by the state to resolve them. There is no city within West Virginia which has a population at100,000. the largest being Charleston at ~48,000.~~~~~~~~

West Virginia’s Dilemma . . .

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that most counties in West Virginia

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Inflation Is Hurting the Fast Food Giants

18 days ago

McDonald’s and other fast-food giants are struggling in the inflation economy. qz.com

The inflation economy has come for Fat Food. As I read this, I would look at their costs. They talk about their reductions in Labor. It looks more to me like inventory turns and their investment in it. That is itself could make them more competitive. I would have to take a deeper dive into the industry to figure it out.

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Inflation has fallen far from its 2022 peaks but remains elevated. It frustrates the Federal Reserve’s efforts and keeping interest rates high. Consumers are somewhat optimistic, Still, they are worried about inflation. Even so, the overall economy continues to grow steadily.

But big fast food chains and other food companies

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Inflation Is Scrambling Americans’ Perceptions of Middle-Class Life

18 days ago

Inflation Is Scrambling Americans’ Perceptions of Middle-Class Life, businessinsider.com, Jennifer Sor

Yes, we have inflation. It is a given. Inflation is scrambling the lives of middle-class Americans. Income is not keeping up with the costs of maintaining a Middle-Class Life. I have sat here in AZ watching this play out in the nation. In many cases we are fighting a supply chain shortage which is entirely controllable in the US. Similar happened in 2008. In particular with then, it was with semiconductors. The companies shut down production because they had no orders. Prices went up because of shortages.

We are seeing similar today except it is contrived or planned. Higher costs are impacting how people can live even with a higher salary.

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Medicare Payment Advisory Commission report to Congress Brief

20 days ago

Executive Summary portion of the Medicare Payment Policy Report to Congress

I have only had time to wade through the Executive Summary portion of the MedPac Report to Congress on FFS and MA Medicare plans. If the Executive Summary has any meaning, we will see some changes in how MA plans administer pricing of services to Medicare patients. The difference between MA and FFS Medicare is extraordinary which you will see in my commentary. This is nothing new. I am hoping Congress will allow MedPac to force the issue.

Key take-aways from this report:

Medicare spends approximately 22 percent more for MA enrollees than it would spend if the beneficiaries were enrolled in FFS Medicare.
Medpac projects the 22 percent will result in difference

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Western “Values”

20 days ago

Western “Values” … | Homeless on the High Desert

Dog named Cricket got a raw deal from an owner who could not train it, so took the easy way out. And she wants to be in the White House?

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Donna asked me about this the other day and it doesn’t seem to be going away

First, let’s establish a couple of things: I am from Way Out West, from Eureka! California to Eureka! Montana; grew up in a logging, lumber and ranching town and my first job was on a cattle ranch, fifteen years old. Second: South Dakota is not way out west. It’s barely Montana; it’s the mid-west, the middle of nowhere

I’m not sure that I’d call it a “value” and I’m sure they probably do the same in the swamplands, but I’ve had to put a couple dogs down. An old friend,

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Trends in Electric Cars a Global EV Outlook 2024

20 days ago

A while back, I exchanged emails with the International Energy Agency. My goal was to find out what I could present, what I could not present, and also gain permission to utilize their charts and detail. They said yes. The detail here is on EVs in general and what countries are doing the most. As you may expect, China is ahead of the curve. I would say the US is still trying to get it right.

I need to look a bit deeper into these reports as there may be additional information to present here at Angry Bear.

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The new Global EV Outlook finds the world’s electric car fleet continues to grow strongly, with sales set to reach 17 million this year. This in spite of near-term challenges in some markets. Based on today’s policy settings, the

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Biden finalizes rule opening up Obamacare to DACA recipients

21 days ago

By Megan Messerly

One more ACA rule was finalized by Biden today. Not something huge in numbers; but something which will impact a few thousand people. People who were allowed to stay in the US or under a program called.  Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA.

A coalition of states, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, West Virginia, Kansas and Mississippi argue the rule oversteps the “scope of executive power.” 5th COA agreed with them . . . no surprise there. Biden proposed a new rule for DACA recipient’s which was also declared illegal. The court allowed current recipients to remain in the US

On October 31, 2022, the DACA Rule rescinded and replaced the 2012 DACA memo. All current grants of DACA and advance

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Broker Fraud in the ACA marketplace

22 days ago

By Andrew Sprung

The latest scam in healthcare involves being enrolled in a different healthcare plan than what you initially enrolled in the beginning, The new ACA plan which will not be as good as the one you had. How easy is it for someone to do so to the enrollee? It can be done by using a person’s name, date of birth, and state. The licensed agent can access a policyholder’s coverage through the federal exchange or its direct enrollment platforms. It’s harder to do through state ACA markets, because they often require additional information.

Also clicking on a misleading ads which present the federal tax credit used to pay the health plan premium as money that can be used for other purposes constitutes consent.

Andrew Sprung has this

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First Quarter GDP Growth at 1.6 Percent

23 days ago

By Dean Baker

Commerce Department reported that GDP grew at a 1.6 percent annual rate in the first quarter, some-what lower than had generally been predicted. However, the headline number was held down by slow inventory accumulation, which subtracted 0.35 percentage points from growth, and a big rise in the trade deficit, which lowered growth by 0.86 percentage points.

Pulling out these factors, final sales to domestic producers grew at a strong 2.8 percent annual rate. While it is not always reasonable to pull out these factors in assessing the underlying strength of the economy when they seem like part of a trend, this does not appear to be the case here.

The pace of inventory accumulation was just $35.4 billion at an annual rate, below its

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