Peter Coy at Businessweek wonders why we’re so optimistic when we have nothing to be optimistic about. Good question. Is it, “the timeless confidence of youth”? Our “digital lives” (heh)?
The Federal Reserve of New York released some numbers last week that show — surprise! — student loan debt is higher than ever. Sam Frizell at Time talks about how student loans aren’t just bad for our own personal economies, they’re bad for THE economy.
Statistics have long shown that if you’re married, the likelihood of you living below the poverty line is much lower. The unfairness of this correlation annoys me, as well as the deceptively simplified way it’s often presented, wrung into prescriptive “marriage promotion” campaigns that bemoan kids being born out of wedlock and so on.
Alert: the current issue of Pacific Standard includes a thoughtful piece about millennials and diversity from beloved journalist Michael Dang (!). In “This Millennial Story is Different” Mike points out that when we’re talking about a generation that is, according to a Pew Research Report, “the most ethnically and racially diverse cohort of youth in the nation’s history,” it’s ridiculous to keep on coming back to the same old broad-sweeping narrative.
Our own Logan Sachon interviews a handful of people who are making it work with part-time work, for the Guardian. She talks to customer service reps, an adjunct, a swimming coach, and a guy who works for a distillery. Go read it!
Janet Yellen was finally confirmed as the Federal Reserve Chair, which means she and her flawless bob will be gracing the cover of this week’s TIME.
Zimbabwe’s per capita GDP is the third lowest in the world, yet the prices of items in the country—$2 for a Coke, $4 for a jar of peanut butter—is comparable to prices in large cities in the U.S. Why is that?
If you’re a writer who’s willing to relocate, an organization called Write-a-House in Detroit, Mich., wants to GIVE YOU A HOUSE:
WAH Author-in-Residence will receive the deed to a house. For two years prior to receiving the deed, the WAH Author-in-Residence will live in the house rent-free. They will only be responsible for insurance costs and property tax costs. After two years, the deed will be given to the awardee as long as the selection committee and WAH Board agree that certain terms and conditions have been met.
The catch? Well the catch is that you have to live in Detroit. Also these are formerly abandoned houses, and while they’ll be 80% renovated, you are responsible for renovating it the rest of the way (which frankly, sounds kind of fun) (says someone who has never renovated a house).
The WAH Author-in-Residence will also be expected to:
contribute content to the WAH blog on a regular basis. participate in local readings and other cultural events use the home as their primary residence. In general, they will be responsible home owners, engaged neighbors, committed city residents and good literary citizens.
Data from the 2013 Census Bureau shows that 4.8 million Americans moved across state lines last year, as compared to 5.7 million in 2007 and 7.5 million in 1999—the number of people who are moving have dropped by half since the ’90s. Why is that? Annie Lowery says in the Times magazine that a shift in our economy and labor market may have something to do with it—the rise of the internet has made it easier for people to access information about jobs, and there are far fewer people moving for manufacturing and service jobs because manufacturing jobs have decreased dramatically in the last two decades.
The Atlantic asked 41 reporters and economists from across the U.S. what the most important economic story of 2013 was according to data and graphs. Here’s Heidi Moore:
Here’s why I love this chart: it nails the issue with the inequality at the center of our economy right now. Corporate profits are our only consistently rising metric of economic success. Everything else that matters is bumping along the bottom. Job openings have only modest gains, and nowhere near what we had before the crash. Personal income is stagnant. Unemployment is still absurdly high. That leads to the policy question: is it our goal as a country to fuel only corporate profits? Or do we have some other responsibility to the citizenry?
And here’s Eddy Elfenbein from Crossing Wall Street:
Here’s the Medicals Costs portion of the CPI divided by the Core CPI. This trend has been rising for decades, but it’s slowed down recently. It’s still too early to call is a trend. But obviously, if healthcare inflation soon becomes like regular inflation, then it’s a game changer.
There’s a lot more and a lot of interesting data to think about here, but basically, the labor market has not been great, but the stock market and corporate profits did well in 2013.
It’s a funny world when T.V. show creators write long diagnostic pieces about how to fix the broken state of capitalism in the United States, but hey, this dude did create The Wire. The essay is broad, sweeping, reductive, and makes some great points. I kind of love it.