Most read Realitybase posts in July 2013
Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 01:52PM

While Some Cities Conquer Economic Issues with High Tech Masters Programs, Others Struggle. (Guest Post) Education researcher Bree Hernandez says there is projected to be good jobs growth for STEM graduates but these jobs are destined to be concentrated geographically. She suggests that low-tech communities can improve their chances of becoming technology hubs by establishing STEM programs in local colleges and universities.

The Dysfunction and Corruption of Our Healthcare System, Its Damage to the National Economy and other Basic Healthcare Matters (Guest Post) Describing a system that is destroying global competitiveness of American business, that violates fundamental insurance risk principles, and that has inherent conflicts of interest preventing quality national health care delivery and cost efficiency; and proposing a solution.

US health care efficiency did not go off the rails until about 30 years ago. Updates to this post show that the rate of increase in US life expectancy at birth, especially for females, abruptly slowed in 1982 and that this was apparently unrelated to healthcare spending which continued rising at a very steady rate.

US job creation has been declining since April 2000 and is now in freefall. Discussion around a dramatic graph showing the US employment-to-population ratio strongly increasing until 2000 followed by a devastating loss in 10 years of all the gains made in the previous 20 years.

The American Dream died in February 1973. With graphs showing stagnation of inflation-adjusted middle class incomes since the 1970s after strong and steady post-WWII growth.

What's killing American females? A recent study shows that Americans rank last in life expectancy in a group of 21 high-income countries, that American females are falling behind much faster than American males, and that Americans rank near the bottom in almost all causes of death. Several charts.

The history of US per-capita petroleum consumption will surprise you.  A graph and other data show US per-capita consumption of petroleum is down substantially from the 1970s, has been very stable since 1983 because of CAFE standards, and has fluctuated only slightly with retail price changes.

How mortgage backed securities increased systemic risk The securitization of mortgages and other debt obligations gives senior tranche holders less risk of individual defaults, but increases the risk to a general economic downturn. The increase in systemic risk was not generally appreciated but is demonstrated by Coval, Jurek, and Stafford in The Economics of Structured Finance. The paper contains exceptionally lucid descriptions of how structured finance works and uses simple examples to demonstrate the sources and magnitudes of systemic risks. This post is my summary of the paper. 

H-1b, the "Outsourcing Visa" How H-1b and L-1 visas are being used and abused by US employers to outsource millions of high-tech jobs and to bring in low-wage indentured servants to fill jobs vacated by firing high-wage citizen incumbents.

The other American Dream of rising incomes—Horatio Alger stories One of my earliest and perhaps my longest inquiry into upward socioeconomic mobility in America. Spoiler alert: The rate of upward mobility has been declining since 1980, and Horatio Alger stories are now more likely to occur in Denmark, Norway, Finland, Canada, Australia, and other advanced nations than in the US.

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