Your Friendly Neighborhood Economist
Show #020 … And My Axe! or Yellen Like a Felon

Local News

Risa files for bankruptcy - Columbia-Greene Media: News:

Chapter 11 bankruptcy doesn’t necessarily mean the place is closing, but it does mean a reorganization, which could mean anything.

Craftech expanding, hiring - Columbia-Greene Media: News

Employees at Ginsberg’s set to hold union vote - Columbia-Greene Media: News

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Show Notes: Show #017 The Mode of Production That Ate Detroit



Spain unemployment drops to 26.26 pct in Q2, _ out of work total drops below 6-million mark - The Washington Post: What … great … news. The unemployment rate reached 25% in the United States during the Great Depression. The New Deal got us out of that mess. The opposite is still being prescribed for Spain (and Greece, and Portugal and Greece … )

Greece’s food crisis: families face going hungry during summer shutdown | World news | More “shared” sacrifice for Greeks. The people sacrifice while the bankers share the rewards.

UK GDP growth of 0.6% shows ‘Britain is on the mend,’ says George Osborne | Business | Well, it’s better than 0.3%, sure, but …

IMF predicts stronger growth in Germany next year, warns government not to be overly frugal - The Washington Post: Not to worry though, my fellow Germans are doing fine.

United States

March for Jobs and Freedom

"The sanctity of private property takes second place to the sanctity of the human personality" by digby - Hullabaloo: Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech was the last, but the first was given by A. Phillip Randolph, who organized train porters in the 1920’s forming the first mostly black labor union in the US.

Danny Glover Reads John Lewis (by arnove), including bits that MLK Jr. and A Phillip Randolph urged him to leave out of the speech he gave. Lewis talked about it with Bill Moyers.

Martin Luther King - I Have A Dream Speech - August 28, 1963 (by sullentoys)

Affordable Care Act

States find new ways to resist health law - The Washington Post: Small-government conservatives hate the Affordable Care Act so much that they’ll leave it to the Federal Government to enforce. Wait, what? (h/t Tim F.)

The GOP in Fantasyland by Eugene Robinson - Washington Post: “There is no chance the Senate or Obama would defund the act.” but you already knew that, right?

Doubling down on stupid by Digby - Hullabaloo

Monster at the door! by Ben Sargent, August 21, 2013 Via @GoComics

The Last Bad Idea: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act - The Center for Popular Economics: One of my old professors on healthcare.

"Medicare for All" Would Cover Everyone, Save Billions in First Year - The Center for Popular Economics: That’s right. A healthcare story. It’s been a while, so …

One Reform Indivisble - NY Times: The clearest summary of the Affordable Care Act’s main goal and how it gets there that I’ve read.

New York State

NY prepares for health-care exchanges Oct. 1 - Politics on the Hudson: Just one month away now, New York State’s health exchange has a new name. All those without insurance will be required to enroll or pay a penalty on their federal income tax.

NY leads nation in tax exodus: $45.6B lost to other states - Politics on the Hudson: … and statistics. Notice anything interesting about the chart (besides a number of errors I caught comparing the chart to their source data)? All the biggest numbers are from the most populous states. How do the net gains or losses compare to the total income in those states? For some reason that’s not on display here. If you look at the net gain as a percentage of total Adjusted Gross Income or AGI (as I did, using the average for 2004-2007, the only data I could get for free), the picture changes for many states, although not so much for New York. We’re still at the bottom with -4.9%*, but DC IS just below us at -5.2%. If you look at California and Texas, though, the picture does change: for California, the net loss of $29.4 billion was only 1.8% of the state’s average AGI, which moves it to 35th from 50th; Texas on the other hand gained 17.6 billion, but that was just 2% of average AGI, so they dropped from 3rd to 16th. Sorry, Rick. Either way you look at it Florida is the big winner. Too bad it will no longer exist soon.

* Of course, the financial meltdown that happened in the last decade may have something to do with this.

Senecas moving forward with potential Rochester casino - Politics on the Hudson

STAR re-registration now available - Politics on the Hudson: Many property owners will need to re-register for the STAR school tax reduction. Those who do will be getting a letter form the State this month.

Upstate business group calls for tax cuts for struggling counties, residents - Politics on the Hudson: Business group calls for tax cuts for businesses. A true shock. They’re talking about an $834 million reduction in state tax revenues, but not about where the cuts in spending or replacement revenues will come from. They have to come from somewhere though.

Siena: NY’s consumer confidence drops to 20-month low - Politics on the Hudson: People are worried about gas and food prices.


NY pension fund return for 1st quarter: 0.29% - Politics on the Hudson: Much better than last year, though.

Audit: State pension fund using computer code from the 1950s - Politics on the Hudson: Well, that’s reassuring.

Surprise! DiNapoli says pension rates will drop (slightly) - Politics on the Hudson: Well, this is one thing that the stock market recovery is actually helpful for…


Cuomo: No decision yet on hydrofracking - Politics on the Hudson: Cuomo says “[w]e understand the economic benefits.” Really? I guess she didn’t read the same report I did. Unless the implication that he sounds like he’s making, that the economic benefits are clear, are not what he’s trying to say. Because that report makes fracking look like a good idea from an economic perspective by counting the benefits and not all of the costs. When you do that, almost any idea sounds like a good one.

WGXC Newsroom · Cuomo: Fracking no cure for upstate economy: indeed.

Cuomo: Fracking’s economic benefits ‘inarguable’; wineries opposed - Politics on the Hudson: I don’t think they are inarguable at all, even before you bring in the environmental concerns.

VIDEO: President Obama greeted by anti-fracking protesters - Politics on the Hudson: Not fans of his pro-fracking position apparently.

Gas industry to NY: “Get on board” with Obama’s fracking stance - Politics on the Hudson

Marcellus Shale gas production soars in other states - Politics on the Hudson: More efficient production of gas from fracking means more gas despite fewer rigs. Unfortunately for the Southern Tier of New York, this means fewer people staying in hotels while working in Pennsylvania. According to the story from the Associated Press, only good things happen when fracking occurs.

Rising Hegemon : Oh I’m sure it is all TOTALLY safe too: Nothing to see here, folks, or I’ll SUE YOU!

Fracking And Money - The First Rule Of Negotiating With Energy Companies - Esquire: What’s that? Oil companies screwing landowners out of their fracking royalties? But weren’t they the ones who said how awesome it would be for people to get all those delicious monies from fracking? Hoocouldanode?

Theme Music:

Drops of H2O ( The Filtered Water Treatment ) by J.Lang

Provided under a Creative Commons Public License

Show #016 - Stone Soup

Show Notes

Hello and welcome to Your Friendly Neighborhood Economist Show #016 Stone Soup.

[sorry about the delay in transmission today. some problem with the wgxc archive meant that it wasn’t playing right. hopefully you were able to listen at 2pm]

In today’s show we will talk yet again about the, that’s right, Affordable Care Act. Then we’ll move on to income inequality, another topic brought up by the president, which has drawn a little more attention. On a related note, I interviewed two Italian Economists who have studied Americans’ attitudes towards redistribution. But first the news. But before that, this.

Sustaining Membership Drive

Have you considered becoming a Sustaining Supporter of WGXC? From August 11th through August 24th, we are challenging you to bring your support of WGXC to the next level:

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Show Notes - Show #015 Sabotage




WGXC Newsroom · Public speaks at NYSEG public hearing:

Recordings of the Ghent NYSEG meeting, thanks to WGXC volunteer Chris Bishop.

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Crowd slams NYSEG power line proposal - Hudson Catskill Newspapers: News:

Sounds like an unnecessarily devastating project.

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Lawmakers set to restore Coarc funding - Hudson Catskill Newspapers: News

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Lawmakers to restore $90M for developmentally disabled - Politics on the Hudson:

This should help CoArc out.

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New York State


WGXC Newsroom · State unemployment rate falls to 2009 level:

It’s always nice to hear about the unemployment rate dropping, but, let’s remember, kids, month-to-month changes are often meaningless. Year-to-year or rolling three month averages are better. The simple facts are that Columbia County gained about 100 jobs over the past year, while Greene County gained about 200. In April, the unemployment rate in Columbia County was 6.4%, down from 7.1% in April of last year, while Greene County’s unemployment rate dropped to 8.8% from 9.7% the previous April.

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Casinos and Tax-Free Zones

Business groups: Labor requirements in casino bill are not cool - Politics on the Hudson:

Business groups are upset that they might have to treat workers well.

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Tax-free plan to get lawmakers’ approval - Politics on the Hudson:

Tax-free zones are a business give-away. They’ll hurt the businesses already around in the tax-free zones. And they perpetuate the idea that taxes are bad, that they somehow subtract from the economy and our welfare, rather than paying for things that the private sector won’t provide (like universal quality education, for instance, but also safe roads and bridges, police and fire protection, etc.). It’s bad economics.

But, it’s great politics. When Gov. Cuomo is campaigning for President, he can say that he cut taxes in the most heavily taxed state in the country. Woo. Hoo.

Please enjoy this video.

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Report: Big bucks spent in Albany by gambling industry - Politics on the Hudson:

Completely unrelated to the Governor’s enthusiasm for casinos as an ‘economic development policy’ for upstate.

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Senate passes casinos, tax-free NY and most of women’s agenda - Politics on the Hudson:

Guess which part didn’t pass? The part bringing NY State law into line with Federal law on abortion.

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US Manufacturing and Construction Production Growing

US manufacturing activity grows in June as production, new orders jump; hiring declines - The Washington Post

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"Manufacturing Gains Strength, but Hiring in Sector Stays Weak" -

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News Summary: US construction spending up 0.5 pct in May, home building highest since 2008 - The Washington Post

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States’ versus cities’ unemployment rates

Steady hiring pushes down unemployment rates in half of US states - The Washington Post:

Half is better than none

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Unemployment rates rise in two-thirds of US cities as more Americans look for work - The Washington Post:

Unemployment rates, remember, are the ratio of people looking for work (not out of work) to those people plus the employed. So in some ways this is a good sign: more people are out looking for work, perhaps meaning they’re feeling  better about their chances.

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Sequester Hits the Long-Term Unemployed -

More bad news from the sequester. We’re shooting ourselves in the foot with an automatic rifle.

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Mandatory Federal Cuts Hurt Private Sector, Too -

Although the following sentence is weird, most of this article is just a predictable result of the sequester.

Congress’s $85 billion, across-the-board budget cuts may not have brought the economy to a halt, as many once feared.

The problem with this is that the author takes some hysterical hyperbole and treats it as though it was widely believed, which gives the impression that those who were warning about things like what the rest of the article thoughtfully explains were actually Chicken Littles, running around screaming that the sky was about to fall. Who was fearing that the economy would “come to a halt”? Nobody.

Beware a journalist whenever they use ‘many’ or ‘some’ as subjects of their sentences. The correct response is always “who exactly?”

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EU leaders win breakthrough on budget deal after overcoming British financial worries - The Washington Post:

Deal includes $6 billion for youth employment in 2014-5. Unfortunately, that’ll be a drop in an endless sea. But it’s something. And it’ll offset the spending cuts that the EU has adopted in this budget. The EU’s budget is small compared to the member countries’ budgets, of course. But spending cuts are counter-productive.

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Immigrant Song - Led Zeppelin


Immigration and Entrepreneurship -

Immigrants start more businesses, but mostly the higher-educated ones, and that is going to decline because of limitations on our end and better conditions in their countries of origin.

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Immigration and the Labor Market -

TLDR: new immigration law will not hurt US workers.

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Social Security and immigration: Put ‘em on the grid Part XXIV by digby - Hullabaloo:

I agree with the general idea: that immigration reform will help the pressure on Social Security by bringing more jobs into the formal employment system (rather than informal, under-the-table jobs). BUT, the immigration reform being proposed by Rubio is designed to make it harder on immigrants than it already is (apparently because Rubio thinks they get a walk in the park by coming here). One of the biggest problems I see is that under that ‘reform’ immigrants will be required to pay income and payroll taxes for over a decade without being entitled to any of the benefits paid for by those taxes unless they somehow manage to make it through the twisted maze that is the legalization process in this proposal.

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Immigration and Social Security -

More ways to balance the budget on the backs of undocumented immigrants! Woo-hoo! Please note: the preceding message contained sarcasm.

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Immigration and Fiscal Policy -

The immigration bill, which passed the Senate today, on its way to an unsure future in the House of Un-Representative Whackos, would reduce the deficit. It would also do some other things, like create a 13 YEAR process for people currently here without documents to get in the back of the line for legal immigrant status. In the meantime they would pay taxes (as they mostly do already) but not be eligible for any Federal benefits (though, as I said they’re paying for them). Say! Maybe THAT’s why it would be good for the deficit! Hm.

So, it would mean a whole lot of really bad things for the people who stay. I doubt very much that they’d be getting paid any more than they are now. And they’d be denied any Federal Assistance. What a great thing!

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Money (That’s What I Want) The Flying Lizards

Libertarian Lunacy

Markets Make You Less Moral - Sam Seder

Affordable Care Act part 682

Once again, poor people are the political footballs by digby - Hullabaloo:

Thanks to certain governors only a third of the people who were to get insurance through expanded Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act will be getting it. Great job, Governors! Rather let your people die than accept Federal Funds for Medicaid expansion. What’s that? You say you’re not turning down all the OTHER Federal Funds you get? You don’t say.

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Time to ask some questions » Balloon Juice:

More discussion of the brilliant strategy of some GOP legislators to sabotage the Affordable Care Act by … not serving their constituents. With good links to information on the ACA.

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Palling around with organizers » Balloon Juice:

Seriously, if you know someone living in one of these states, help them out. Pass along the link in this story.

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'Premium Shock' and 'Premium Joy' Under the Affordable Care Act -

Good breakdown of the impact of the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges on insurance premiums. Be warned! Contains algebra and jargon.

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Sabotage Beastie Boys

Inequality Update

A rightwing 1950s PSA about income inequality can teach us a lot by David Atkins - Hullabaloo:

As usual there’s a lot of mixing up income inequality and wealth inequality (as though income and wealth were the same thing), but this PSA is HI-LAR-ious. I especially love the “English Socialist”: you can tell he’s English because of the bad accent and the pipe; you can tell he’s a socialist because of the hat maybe. The point of the post holds though: the defenders of capitalism needed to point out that the distribution of income (or wealth, Millhouse; sigh), along with how it’s the moral, Christian (apparently non-Christian = immoral; hm) way to organize the provision of society’s material needs. Now all they have is to say “because Frreeeeeeeeeeddddommmmmm!”

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Income inequality in the U.S. is literally off the charts by David Atkins - Hullabaloo:

OK, a little dramatic. It’s obviously a choice how to set up the axes on any chart you make. But the US is quite clearly a standout in terms of the level of income inequality, compared to other advanced countries.

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Inequality and wage stagnation killed the economy—and are still killing it by David Atkins - Hullabaloo

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U.S. Households’ Finances Regain Lost Ground -

Total US household net worth is finally above where it was six years ago. But do you think everyone regained their wealth equally? Think again.

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It’s Always About The Money:


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Required reading: A 1 percenter tells the truth about “job creators” - Hullabaloo:

I’m sure this fell on a lot of deaf ears, Republican and Democrat.

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Jimmy Cliff - The Harder They Come

Show can be accessed here.

Theme Music:

Drops of H2O ( The Filtered Water Treatment ) by J.Lang

Provided under a Creative Commons Public License

Show #013 Of Sequesters, Scholars and Solidarity


Quick news and a couple of interviews this show.



NYS Unemployment Rate Drops to 7.8 Percent in April (Politics on the Hudson)

Greene Co. leads region in job growth in April (WGXC Newsroom)

Camping Out for Five Days in Hopes of a Union Job (NY Times)


The Fulfillment of Elites’ Fondest Dream (Digby)

Citizen King - Better Days (And The Bottom Drops Out)

Thomas Herndon on Reinhart/Rogoff

Fresh from his appearance on the Colbert report, Thomas Herndon, UMass Amherst Economics graduate student, tells us how he discovered that a paper by two Harvard economists had some serious mistakes. This is important because the paper has been widely used to trump up the case for austerity by arguing that high debt levels severely impact growth. The problem is, there’s simply no there there.

Some background (a lot of this is economists talking to each other, so sorry):

Galactic - Running man

Solidarity Economy

Interview with Emily Kawano, Executive Director of the Center for Popular Economics and Coordinator of the United States Solidarity Economy Network, which is a member of the international network RIPESS.

The Solidarity Economy is a set of economic practices operating as an alternative to free-market capitalism, joined by a foundation of a common set of principles for an economic system or organization: solidarity, participatory democracy, sustainability, equity in all dimensions, and pluralism. It is also a movement to build these practices. It’s a framework that is always developing and evolving.

Next Time, part II in which Emily describes an interesting project she’s been working on in Springfield along these lines.

Us3 - Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)

Theme Music

Drops of H2O ( The Filtered Water Treatment ) by J.Lang

Provided under a Creative Commons Public License

Archived show

Show Notes - Show #011 Attack of the Chargemaster


In this show, I break down the news from the last two weeks, including the latest employment numbers, a labor dispute in the courts involving a local pizza chain, and of course the dog and pony shows that are the Federal and State budget processes. Then I’ll do the first installment of at least two on health care in the US, focusing mostly on costs in this one and what we can do about them. Finally I’ll answer a couple quick questions about taxes.

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Show #009 Sequester? You jest, sir! Notes

This edition of Your Friendly Neighborhood Economist (Show #009) marks the beginning of our new, improved schedule, now with 100% more shows per month! This is an experiment, so we’ll see how it goes. In this show we’ll discuss the latest economic news, and then look at some highlights in a little more detail. We’ll talk about the upcoming sequester, the state of the union and Governor Cuomo’s budget proposal. In addition we’ll discuss the minimum wage, which featured in both the SOTU and the governor’s budget.

WGXC 90.7-FM mourns the passing of Terry Doyle, also a member of community radio station WIOX 91.3-FM Roxbury, New York.


Energy and Environment
Stuyvesant Hydro electric station producing power again
Fracking will make you rich! Billions in gas drilling royalties transform lives. Yes. Those are benefits. Do they outweigh the costs?
Fracking review consultant says in depth, national study needed
WGXC Newsroom · Shah: Health review of fracking needs more time:
Time for what, one wonders. They’ve had the responses from their reviewers for two months.
Health experts made fracking recommendations weeks ago
Council unites against hydrofracking - Hudson Catskill Newspapers: News

Premier Brands news:
IDA considering tax abatement proposal from Premier Brands
IDA clears the way for Premier Brands

Housing Resources looks to get word out on its services - Hudson Catskill Newspapers: News
AG: $1.8B already to NYers for mortgage relief - Politics on the Hudson:
Schneiderman reporting on where the $1.8 billion went. Sounds like a drop in the bucket to me.
NY housing sales up 9.5% in January - Politics on the Hudson:
Story includes embedded Scribd document with details about year-on-year changes in sales prices, etc, for January, also broken down by county. In Columbia County, sales were flat, but the median price was 22% higher and the unsold inventory was 30% lower than last January. For Greene County, sales were up but the median price was 20% lower, although the inventory was also 27% lower than last January. Overall, this is further confirmation that the housing market is returning to historical trends, with the local area still lagging behind, but doing slightly better than last year on balance.

Fiscal Peril for school districts

Representatives of 47 school districts meeting to tackle ‘Fiscal Peril’
New York State Education Department’s Fiscal Profile


A fine breakdown of the sequester at Ezra Klein’s Wonk blog
A history of US Debt-ceiling increases:
Not to worry, because Debt-B-Gone!
the real culprits behind our large federal debt, Wall Street, which created a financial crisis through systemic fraud, leading to a deep recession
A fine story in the Atlantic about Lloyd Blankfein’s sage advice for us slackers to work longer:
Tom Tomorrow with an excellent reminder about the see-through stupidity of the argument that we need to reduce Social Security benefits now, to avoid having to reduce Social Security benefits later maybe.
Daily Kos: The B.S. approach

Governor’s Budget proposal

The proposal itself:
Time Union Breakdown:
Details of Cuomo’s budget proposal
Greene County Administrator Shaun Groden unimpressed with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s NY budget
Comptroller sees risks, new borrowing in proposed state budget - Politics on the Hudson
1, 2, 3, 4: New York has a budget number war - Politics on the Hudson:
Cuomo’s budget director responds to Comptroller’s criticism of the budget proposal.
Syracuse Mayor Rips Cuomo’s Pension Plan - Politics on the Hudson:
Loud criticism from a fellow Democrat, but still missing the point: pension problems are caused in large part by Wall Street, but they’re not a part of the solution. Why not?

Lots of heat, little light about the pension proposal in the plan:
Pension option offers savings for localities
WGXC Newsroom · Teacher pension costs to jump 37 percent:
Teachers will pay more for Wall Street’s fraud.
Teachers union gives big boost to pension-smoothing plan (UPDATED) - Politics on the Hudson
State’s pension fund grew 1.7 percent in third quarter - Politics on the Hudson:
Finally, a story identifying the root cause of current pensions fund woes: Wall Street. But just ”due to declines on Wall Street.” Sigh. Yes, declines caused by systemic fraud. The Bank of Taiwan has taken a step our own government won’t: taking Morgan Stanley to court.
New York Gov. Cuomo’s Pension Proposal Puzzling

Zombie Titles

Working Class Hero - John Lennon

Show available from the WGXC archive

Creative Commons Public License

Theme Music:

Drops of H2O ( The Filtered Water Treatment ) by J.Lang

Creative Commons Public License


Ahem - Your Friendly Neighborhood Economist Show #006 - Election-palooza Show Notes

Show Notes #006 Election-palooza


Hi there and welcome to Your Friendly Neighborhood Economist show #006, Election-palooza. Today we will as always breakdown local and other economics news, then discuss some of the economic issues involved in the presidential race, as well as the congressional race between incumbent Chris Gibson and challenger Julian Schreibman. Finally we’ll hear my interview with Hudson City alderman John Friedman, in which we discuss the housing situation in Hudson and the recent meeting held to talk about some of the issues about landlord-tenant relations.

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Your Friendly Neighborhood Economist Show #007 “Fiscal Cliff Diving”

Show Notes


Welcome to Your Friendly Neighborhood Economist for December of 2012. This marks the end of the first year of the show, and I notice that I only managed to pull together eight shows this year. New years resolution: do better next year! In today’s show, I will, as usual, go over local, regional and national economics news. Then, I will discuss municipal finances, in other words I’ll explain how local governments get the money they use to operate and what they spend it on. Then I’ll move on to introduce a little bit of the economic picture in Turkey, where I was for a couple of weeks last month, and in the process explain how international comparisons of economic well-being are made. lots of exciting economics jargon to be broken down for you there! After that, I will address this Fiscal Cliff thingie all the talking heads on the TeeVee seem to be excited about anymore. Should you be excited? Hoarding canned goods? Apathetic? Stay tuned and find out! Finally a bit of face-palm on the radio as I discuss the different kinds of climate denial stalking the land and how we will all be taking another look at Waterworld and thinking that Kevin Costner is another Nostradamus (with gills, in this case). Beware Krampus because Your Friendly Neighborhood Economist is in.

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