Posts Tagged ‘chart’


As it turns out, people on food stamps eat pretty much the same way as everyone else—both poor people who don’t get SNAP benefits and richer people.

In other words, SNAP recipients’ diets are marginally worse than everyone else’s diets, which are terrible to begin with. When researchers controlled for demographic differences between beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries, the differences in diet quality disappeared.


As Andrew Flowers reports,

If it seems like big business is getting bigger, it is. Over the last two decades, the largest U.S. companies have grown faster than the economy as a whole. And it’s the biggest of big businesses that are making up a larger and larger share of the growth.

By the same token, perhaps it’s time to start worrying about the downwardly rigid prices of increasingly large corporations (and the upwardly rigid wages they pay to their employees), instead of the downwardly rigid wages that have been so much the focus in recent years.


Here’s another chart from the AFL-CIO Executive Pay Watch, which illustrates the fact that, over the long term (between 1962 and 2013), productivity has increased by 388.2 percent while real hourly compensation for workers has risen only 107.4 percent. During the same period, U.S. Walmart stores expanded from zero to 4,625.

The “Walmart model,” which has so enriched the Walton family, has three important dimensions: First, Walmart pays low wages in its own stores. Second, Walmart’s competitive contracting keeps wages low for the workers who produce the goods sold in Walmart stores. And third, the fact that the consumer goods in Walmart stores are sold at relatively low prices means that U.S. employers can pay less, even as productivity has risen, to purchase workers’ ability to work throughout the U.S. economy.

In other words, the enormous growth of Walmart stores has boosted profits not only for Walmart itself (by capturing a large portion of the surplus from the workers who produce the goods that are then sold in Walmart stores by poorly paid Walmart workers), but also the profits of all the corporations across the economy whose workers are forced to have the freedom to sell their ability to work and then use their wages to purchase goods in Walmart stores.

That has kept wages low and profits high—for Walmart and for many other large corporations—since Walmart first burst on the scene four decades ago.


And there’s a fourth dimension to the growth of the Walmart model: to the extent that the growth of Walmart stores has come at the expense of other, smaller retailers, the workers who were laid off have been forced to look for jobs elsewhere, thus putting further downward pressure on all workers’ wages—thereby boosting profits of Walmart and of many other corporations.

Chart of the day

Posted: 13 May 2015 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,


As the Wall Street Journal explains,

A series of mergers since 2008 have left four U.S. airlines controlling about 80% of domestic seats. The combinations–plus some trips through bankruptcy and lower fuel prices–have created more profitable and efficient businesses. But the mergers haven’t necessarily produced more on-time flights or fewer lost bags.

Or, for that matter, better service for the majority of us who are forced to have the freedom to travel in cattle coach class.

payday1 payday2

As Sarah Kendzior explains,

Payday loans are part of the new economic landscape, along with pawn shops, title loan outlets, and rent-to-own furniture stores that stand where retailers selling things once stood.

Poor Americans no longer live check to check: they live loan to loan, with no end in sight.

Fees for payday loans vary widely from state to state due to differing regulations. The average cost for a $300 five-month loan ranges from $172 in Colorado, where such loans are strictly regulated, to $701 in Texas, where lenders on average charge an annual percentage rate of 454 percent. Even on-line lenders, such as LendUp, charge exorbitant interest rates, of 145 percent.

But that’s just the start. As Stephen Stetson, a policy analyst with Alabama Arise, explains,

“By design these loans are intended for the borrower not to be able to repay them, they want the borrower to come back in and roll the loan over. They come back and pay another round of fees and buy themselves another 2 weeks, so time after time, loan after loan you aren’t getting additional money, just paying fees.”


Talk about stress! The class of 2015 will soon be graduating from colleges and universities across the country as the most indebted class ever.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the average graduate with student-loan debt will have to pay back a little more than $35,000.


Not only has average debt risen to a new record, but more students are taking out loans to finance secondary education. Almost 71 percent of bachelor’s degree recipients will graduate with a student loan, compared with less than half two decades ago and about 64 percent 10 years ago.


What this means is, total education debt (including federal and private education loans) will reach nearly $68 billion this year for graduates and their parents—a more than ten-fold increase since 1994.

Higher-Ed Ladder Fig. 6

According to a new study by Demos, the major cause of the rise in college tuition costs is not, as is often believed, administrative bloat or construction binges, but the decline in state funding for higher education.

In the past, state funding for education often rose and fell along with the economy: since higher education funding is viewed as “discretionary” spending, it is often a target for cuts when states are forced to close recessionary holes in their budgets. However, in the past decade, state funding for higher education has diverged from that trend. Six years after the great recession, state higher education funding per student remains 27 percent below its pre-recession level. Unfortunately, declining state support for higher education means that many students today have no choice but to take on significant debt to finance their educations, the negative effects of which are increasingly evident in young people’s lives.

The fact is, public higher education in the United States no longer exists. Because more than half of core educational expenses at “public” 4-year universities are now funded through tuition, a private source of revenue, they have effectively become subsidized private institutions.


Higher-Ed Ladder Fig. 2

The other interesting piece of information in the Demos study is the enormous increase in part-time faculty. As Figure 2 shows, the number of employees per thousand students changed little between 1991 and 2011. But the composition of universities’ staff has changed dramatically. At both types of institutions, the relative number of full-time faculty has remained approximately constant and the number of executives and administrators has actually slightly decreased relative to the size of the student body. However, both types of institutions are employing substantially more part-time faculty (as well as professional staff—admissions and human resources staff, IT workers, athletic staff, and health workers). At the same time, the relative number of non-professional staff—workers providing clerical, technical, skilled craft, or maintenance services—shrank dramatically.