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Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) once said, "There are three types of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics." There is also an old engineering expression, "Garbage In, Garbage Out." In connection with these quotes the reader should also know that many (Rachael Maddow, OFA, both democrats and republicans) use demonstrably false information or make very questionable assumptions in making misleading charts or graphs to support their point of view. Unfortunately, this practice is not confined to the subject of economics.
Often graphs can display a large amount of information clearly to make it easy to see trends. I include some here to illustrate how we are are trending in the wrong direction and have been for decades. These charts and graphs also serve as a supplement to the article The Economy under the Democratic/Republican Uni-Party.
I. Yes, It Really Is That Bad
-The graph Percent Job Losses in Post World War II Recessions clearly how serious our economic downturn is.
-Both democrats with their optimistic talk about how much the economy has improved and republicans falsely claiming this is all Obama's fault are demonstrably wrong. Both parties are following the same agenda as shown in The Economy under the Democratic/Republican Uni-Party.
-Also illustrating how close we are getting to third world status is Guess What Percentage Of American Children Are Living In Poverty.
-The Fed in a Vice: an Ugly Jobs Report and Real Unemployment at 23% – Dampening the Excitement have graphs which clearly show the magnitude of the unemployment problem. The text is not very illuminating and reflects an assumption that the democratic-republican Uniparty is the only way, but the graphs on unemployment illustrate the seriousness of the problem.
-Neo-liberalism, De-capitalization/De-industrialization, and the Res Publica clearly shows our manufacturing decline and illustrates that much of our "growth" is in mineral and energy extraction. Thus it is even worse than usually depicted. This sets the stage for long term decline and is not sustainable.
-RIP Middle Class: Americans’ Wealth Plummeted 40% from 2007 to 2010 shows what a serious and even desperate situation we are in.
-This graph shows that since the 1970s the benefits of increased productivity went to the rich while wages stagnated.
-Corporate Profits Just Hit An All-Time High, Wages Just Hit An All-Time Low shows in three neat graphs how corporate profits are at an all time high, fewer Americans are working now than any time in the past three decades, and wages as a percent of the economy are at an all time low.
-Is America In A Depression? shows the number unemployed, the number of long term unemployed, the 40% loss of wealth for most Americans, the increase in wealth for the rich, and the dramatic increase in student loan and credit card debt.
-Also supporting how bad the unemployment problem is are these 7 Graphs and Unemployment and the Spin Cycle and Alternate Unemployment Charts. Dr. Krugman (see below paragraph) has called this the lesser depression for some time. Let us hope it does not become the greater depression.
-If you are willing to wade through the details, Ben Bernanke Is Bankrupting The Social Security Trust Fund illustrates how the democrats are destroying social security in a way the republicans could never get away with.
-The Purchasing Power of the Dollar Over the Past 76 years has Declined by 94% is illustrated.
-What the Economic Crisis Really Means (animation) is an excellent 12 minute animation that illustrates how we are on the wrong side of several economic and environmental trends and what we can do about it.
-These articles on Health Care and Poverty is Getting Worse also illustrate alarming trends.
-These 7 Graphs illustrate how bad we are economically. Other indications that it really is that bad follow.
-40% of Americans Now Make Less Than 1968 Minimum Wage
-Less than 100,000 Payroll Jobs, a 58.5% Employment-to-Adult-Population Ratio Exactly Where It Was a Year Ago, and Labor Force Participation Down by 0.5 Percentage Points in the Past Year
-Here’s what chained-CPI really means: Up to $849 less for someone who retired in 2001
-More Than 101 Million Working Age Americans Do Not Have A Job
-Arts of Magnification, Minimization, And Intimidation (Fooling people with statistics)
-Which Side Are Your Senators on in Obama’s Social Security Cuts?
-The U.S. ranks 2nd in child poverty
-Unemployment Really is that Bad
II. The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Poorer as We Become a More Unequal Society
-The Triggers of Economic Inequality on the Bill Moyers website has an excellent graph charting actions by the democratic/republican Uniparty that gave rise to such wide inequality in the United States over the last 40 years. Click on the orange arrows at the top for further info.
-See also Top 1% Share of Total Pre-Tax Income 1913-2007.
- Annual U.S. Income Share of the Top 1% is a chart from 1910 to 2010 and illustrates how very far off course we are.
-Income Inequality & Educational ‘Performance’ shows the relationship between inequality, education, and health.
-Income Inequality: Physical Health and Life Expectancy also explores the relationship between income inequality and health. The point is not that poorer people do not do as well. The point is that when there is more equality as a society everyone - from the top to the bottom - does better. Unfortunately the United States has been increasingly on the wrong side of these graphs for years. Both articles are from Wilkinson & Pickett’s book: "The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger."
-The Death of the Liberal Bargain shows how since 1970 huge gains in productivity are not followed with equal gains in hourly compensation.
-Wealth is Being Transferred From Us to Them shows through a series of graphs how the standard assumptions we learned in Economics 101 do not apply. Wealth is being transferred from the poor and middle class to the rich because of laws and regulations, not because of the laws of supply and demand Adam Smith envisioned.
-The Great Capitalist Heist: How Paris Hilton’s Dogs Ended Up Better Off Than You illustrates how through the years laws and regulations either peculate wealth to the top or spread it out more equally. It clearly shows the last several decades have been devoted to making the rich richer at the expense of the middle class and poor.
-The United States is not immune from this Graph of Food Shortages and Riots.
-These Ten Key Charts About Inequality illustrate useful and disturbing information as do these two graphs about Unions and Shared Prosperity.
-Bowles-Simpson Social Security Proposal Not a Good Starting Point for Reforms: Relies Far Too Much on Benefit Cuts, Makes Other Problematic Changes shows through a series of graphs that this "bi-partisan" way we have chosen is not a good path.
-1953 and 2011 Economic Comparison shows we are on the wrong path and have been for decades.
-Harvard Business School has this interesting bar graph about income inequality.
-See also Growth in the Share of Income Held by the Top 1 Percent in Developed Countries, 1979-2007 and this Graph of Corporate Profits and Wages. (profits at an all time high while wages are at an all time low)
- The Great Prosperity vs. The Great Regression illustrates how pay rose with productivity from 1947 to 1979 and then did not from 1980 to the present. Other charts and graphs illustrating our growing inequality follow.
-Share of Total Income going to Top 10%
-U.S. Wages Aren't Keeping Up With U.S. Productivity, Economic Policy Institute Says
-Global Wage Gap Continues to Widen
-In This Recovery, the Rich Get Richer
-Recovery in U.S. Is Lifting Profits, but Not Adding Jobs
-President Obama Wants to Give a Bigger Hit to Seniors on Social Security than He Did to the Wealthy on Taxes
-The Vanishing Middle Class
-Inequality in the Social Security Debate
-Income inequality in the United States (Wikipedia article)
-Income Growth For Bottom 90 Percent Of Americans Averaged Just $59 Over 4 Decades: Analysis
-The Poor Pay the Most Taxes
III. Thoughts by a Nobel Laureate
All of the graphs and comments in this paragraph are by Nobel Peace Prize Winner in Economics Dr. Paul Krugman. In recent interviews he supports Obama, a policy which is not justified by his earlier sound writings. A set of excellent graphs that clearly shows we are on the wrong path can be found at Austerity Recovery, Continued. In Floodgates this graph and explanation illustrate that the floodgates of inflation are not about to be opened. For decades those who have predicted this have consistently been wrong. In Screw Your Analysis to the Sticky Point Dr. Krugman shows there has been no real wage growth for the vast majority of Americans in many years. Reactions and Overreactions shows how serious unemployment really is and illustrates why it is way too soon to stop efforts to revive the economy. In Year Five of the Slump: What Have We Learned? Dr. Krugman has a series of excellent graphs. While some are perhaps overly technical for an internet debate, there is a lot of usable information available. The Secret of Our Non-success shows that rather than expanding government spending, Obama has presided over a policy of unprecedented austerity for our GDP and unemployment numbers. In Myths of Austerity, written in July of 2010, Dr. Krugman's predictions have proved to be accurate. Was Greed Good? shows that while our output went up, wages for the average worker decreased, our trade balance worsened, and the rich gained an undeserved windfall. Sensible Nonsense illustrates how bad our unemployment really is. Guess Who’s Emerging From the Crisis? shows that Iceland's plan to replace their government and forsake international bankers worked out pretty well. In The Hobbled Recovery a graph plots government spending alongside business investment. It is clear the economy is hobbled by premature austerity policy pushed by both parties rather than government spending. Other illustrations by Dr. Krugman of economic principles though charts, tables, and graphs follow.
-Exchange Rates and Austerity
-Naive Fiscal Cynicism
-Researchers Finally Replicated Reinhart-Rogoff, and There Are Serious Problems. (validates what Dr. Krugman has shown earlier about the austerity "plan")
-Tax Cuts Don't Lead to Economic Growth, a New 65-Year Study Finds (also validates Dr. Krugman)
-Krugman: 1% Have “Warped Our Political System” and What It Means uses Dr. Krugman's figures to illustrate with three graphs how the overwhelming trend remains to expand the rich at the expense of the poor and middle class. Though he concludes that the Democratic Party must reform itself (very little likelihood of that IMHO), the graphs and charts are good.
IV. The Rich and Corporations are Paying Dramatically Less
-This graph clearly demonstrates how federal taxes are at the lowest rate since the Hoover administration over 80 years ago.
-Another graph comparing real US tax rates (after "deductions") with other countries is here.
-Cutting taxes drastically for the rich and corporations since 2000 has resulted in a declining economy, declining middle class, and expanding the number of those in poverty. Only the rich and corporations have benefited.
-No More Corporate Tax Breaks shows how drastically corporate taxes as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product have declined since 1945 from 7.2 to 1.2 percent and illustrates how further cutting those taxes is not the answer even if the democratic/republican Uniparty want it.
-If you needed more proof, Surprise: Tax Data Shows Top Earners Not Paying Their Fair Share is a neat bar graph showing that the rich really don't pay their fair share.
-US Corporations Are Taxed Less also illustrates this.
-Between 2008 and 2010 30 Big Corporations Spent More Lobbying Washington than They Paid in Taxes shows how much corporations are paying for lobbying and how little for taxes.
-This graph shows how much goes to corporate profits and how little (1%) goes to wages.
-This chart from 1918 to 2012 illustrates how lowering taxes for the very well off gets us into trouble rather than creating jobs.
-These charts illustrate US Debt from 1790 to 2011 and put much of the panic talk about needing to cut benefits into perspective.
-See also who is "advising" us at Who's "Helping Us" With the Fiscal Cliff?.
Other charts and graphs illustrating how the rich and corporations are paying dramatically less - sometimes nothing while collecting huge amounts of subsidies and taxes - can be found at the following.
-US Financial Industry Share of GDP
-Cumulative Change in Real Income, by Income Group, 1979-2007
-US Corporations Are Earning Higher Profits But Contributing Less Tax Revenue
-These Two Charts Show How The Priorities Of US Companies Have Gotten Screwed Up
-Six Rigged Rules Corporations Use to Dodge Taxes
-Corporations Pay Less
-Record High Corporate Profits, Record Low Wages
V. There is Enough Money, We are not Over-Spending on the Poor
Contrary to what republicans and democrats repeat incessantly, the cause is not overspending on welfare, medicare, and social security. There is enough money. For verification, compare us with other countries in terms of individual wealth with the following three references.
-Stunning Data on Maldistribution of Wealth in U.S.
-Are Canadians Richer Than Americans?
-Credit Suisse Research
The cause of the budget not being balanced is both over spending on wars and under taxation and loopholes which let the rich and corporations dramatically and unconscionably increase their wealth at the expense of everyone else. Throughout most of the twentieth century we knew the proper balance of taxes for a good infrastructure and growing economy. It is not a mystery. Chinese, Greeks, and Romans knew and practiced such a relationship over two thousand years ago. It is only when Bush with both parties instituted and Obama with both parties eagerly followed this failed experiment of allowing great inequalities in wealth in hopes that would help prosperity. It did not then and has not throughout recorded history. See
-Tax Cuts, Wars Account for Nearly Half of Public Debt by 2019
-Social Security Does Not Add to the Debt
-US Federal Budget Pie Chart for 2013
VI. The Diminishing Dream of Education
One major factor in our economic success is public education for all and easy access to graduate education. Public education is now under a major assault by for profit charter schools who are not required to play by the same rules. See Education Under the Democratic/Republican Uni-Party and Does It Pay to Become a Teacher?. The situation is equally grave for higher education. At one time a financially secure student loan system had the government lend students money at small interest rates. The result was a huge increase in productivity. Now banks lend students money at high interest rates and the loans - unlike corporate loans - are not dischargable in bankruptcy even if no jobs are available. The result increasingly looks like a system of indentured servitude. This is illustrated in the following.
-Student Loan Debt Crisis Continues to Escalate
-Huge Increases in Student Debt
-Downward Mobility Haunts US Education
-More Disturbing Education Statistics
-As Tuition Rises, Opportunities Shrink
For a general discussion see Labor Under the Democratic/Republican Uni-Party. See also:
-As Unions Decline, Inequality Rises shows the clear relationship between the two.
-State-Level Policies Threaten to Further Weaken Unions
-Death of Organized Labor: Death of Middle Class Here compare graphs on productivity, compensation, and union membership. They are all clearly related.
VIII. Other Insights
Funding a National Single-Payer System illustrates through an extensive series of graphs how single payer is the most efficient as well as the costliness and inefficiency of any other method. We remain the only major industrialized country to leave primary health care to for profit businesses. Germany, hardly a country known for inefficiency, has had single payer since the 19th century. See also Health Care under the Democratic/Republican Uniparty
Corporate Political Donations: Investment or Agency? has many tables and formulas to show political contributions lesson good corporate governance.
The Sunlight Foundation uses the power of the Internet to catalyze greater government openness and transparency. It is continuously designing graphics to assist the public. Their collection can be seen in Data Visualizations.
Connect the Dots has a nice series of slides and graphs. Though sometimes it tries a little too hard to blame republicans while giving democrats a pass, the information presented clearly shows what a long term problem this has been and how much of it was caused (and could also be remedied) by government action.