Your Friendly Neighborhood Economist

It’ll be interesting to see what happens. They’re talking about a bigger jump in the minimum wage in a more confined area than usual.

This is an issue that comes up in other areas of economics, such as environmental economics, as well. For example, how much should society pay to reduce pollution? If we look at the cost in terms of live-years saved per dollar, there has to be some point at which we should draw the line. If you don’t think so, ask yourself if we should shell out $1 billion (about the same as the increase in school aid in the NY State budget this year) to extend one person’s life for an extra year? How about $1 trillion? We have to draw a line somewhere, and exactly where is the tricky part. Of course the other question here is how to foster innovation. The intersection is tricky, because health care is different from automobiles. People don’t need to buy a Tesla to live, but they might need to buy some health services: the question of exit from the market, as economists would put it is very different for automobiles and health. To say the least.

School Aid for Columbia and Greene Counties

Broken down by district and courtesy of Hudson Valley Area Labor FederationColumbia County and Greene County. For Greene County as a whole, the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) has been reduced from $5.7 million last year to $4.2 million this year. For Columbia County, the GEA was reduced from $5.8 million to $4.2 million. That Gap Elimination Adjustment is entirely due to low revenues from the recession, which have been exacerbated by tax cuts since the end of the recession. The GEA is over 7% of the total state school aid for Columbia and Greene Counties. This is what I was talking about in my show earlier today.

Obvious point that doesn’t get made often enough

Medicare for all would’ve been a lot simpler to implement, although with a lot more worker dislocation, as insurance companies and medical offices laid off the legions of clerical workers who deal with the current arcana of health insurance claims.

Can you feel it?

But it’s down locally:
- Columbia County’s unemployment rate for February was 6.7 percent (ninth lowest in NY State) down from 6.4 percent in January. This is down from 7.9 percent in February 2013, which is due to a drop in the number of unemployed of 400, evenly split between an increase in the number of employed and a decrease in the number in the labor force.
- Greene County’s unemployment rate for February was 8.1 percent (twenty-ninth lowest in NY State) up from 7.8 percent in January. This is down from 9.9 percent in February 2013, which is due to a drop in the number of unemployed of 400, split between a small increase of 100 in the number of employed and a larger decrease in 300 of the number in the labor force.
So in the listening area overall, we saw an increase in the number of jobs of about 300 over the last year, while the labor force shrank by about 500.