The other American Dream of rising incomes—Horatio Alger stories One of my earliest and longest inquiries into upward socioeconomic mobility in America. 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.
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.
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 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.
The Citigroup Plutonomy Memos With key quotations from documents that are being disappeared. This post has been the #1 response to a Google search for "plutonomy memo."
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.
We don’t have a Social Security problem; we have an unemployment problem. But for chronic unemployment, there would be no Social Security problem. We should not raise the SS retirement age because that would increase youth unemployment. The current COLA formula is already unfair to seniors and the proposed change would make it more so.
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.
Comparative Advantage—The Unicorn of Free Trade Collection of sources and analyses demonstrating that the assumptions of classic Ricardian trade theory rarely if ever align with real-world conditions.
Offshoring manufacturing was a critical strategic blunder by the US. When manufacturing is offshored, related technical talent, R&D spending, and innovative success tend to go with it, according to experts at GE, MIT, and Harvard Business School. Links to more extensive Realitybase posts and other authorities on this theme.