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.
Robert Reich is at Reddit this morning doing an AMA and promoting his film Inequality for All.
jelvision: “Do you see a closing of the gap or will it only get wider?”
robert reich: We’re coming close to a tipping point where, if income and wealth become any more concentrated at the top, the economy can’t function (the middle class and poor don’t have enough purchasing power) and our democracy can’t function (so much money corrupts it from the top that the majority of Americans give up on it). So we have no choice, realistically, but to reform the system — unless we want revolution.
The value of infrastructure to a local economy can be found in the aftermath of last week's bridge collapse in Burlington, Wash., where businesses are now struggling to find customers
. Cars still go through the town, but the traffic is now so thick due to detours that few people want to stop.
One big reason the deficit is falling faster than expected is a surprising—and surprisingly durable—drop in health care spending
, the source of most of America's long-term fiscal problems. The seemingly inexorable rise in health care costs has been near the center of every big political and economic debate since Obama was elected. But the fact that it's finally slowing down was deemed worthy only of page B3 by editors at The New York Times