Key Policy Data

Today, in partnership with VisiGov: Visible Government Online Inc., I have launched a new website called Key Policy Data. The goal of the website is to visualize data in order to promote better public policy using the innovative Qlikview platform–check out our unique tax burden appgovernment workforce app, federal tax and spend app, cost-of-living app, demographics app, federal tax and cost-of-living app, federal pension app, and federal payroll app. I hope you find the website useful and please friend us on Facebookfollow us on Twitter, Circle us G+, or follow us on LinkedIn to stay up-to-date on new features and blog posts.

And check out our Youtube videos like this one:

Mark Steyn Says America is Committing “Slow Suicide”

While I haven’t had a chance yet to read Mark Steyn’s new book “After America,” from what I’ve read and heard about it he is right on. Below is a 10 minute interview that he did with Sun News that does an excellent job of summarizing his positions. BTW, Mark Steyn lives in New Hamsphire . . . where America’s few remaining tax havens still exist.

The State of America’s Private Sector 30: March, 2012

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis recently released their monthly personal income data for March, 2012 (pdf). The chart below shows the private sector share of personal income from January 1959 to March 2012. For March, the private sector share of personal income was 71.27 percent.

While the private sector continues to claw it’s way back up (after cratering in May, 2009 at 69.06 percent), the current level is still well below the pre-Great Recession level of 74.48 percent set in June 2007. With the aging of the baby boomers and Obamacare looming, it’s doubtbul that we will ever get back to pre-recession levels. We will all be poorer as a result of a smaller private sector.

 Chart Showing Private Sector Share of Personal Income by Month from January 1959 to March 2012

However, while the private sector has been gaining ground, there is other less rosy news. The chart below shows, on a monthly basis, the contributions paid into Social Security and Medicare (red line) via the payroll tax versus the benefits paid-out by Social Security and Medicare (green line). While contributions are finally growing again, benefits paid-out have been growing faster.  In fact, in March, the gap between the two set an all-time record of $351.6 billion–more benefits being paid than taxes being collected.

Chart Showing Growing Gap Between Contributions and Benefits for Social Security and Medicare January 1959 to March 2012

Escalators and HealthCare

What, you may ask, has escalators got to do with healthcare? Simple. Keeping escalators in working order should be infinitely easier than keeping America’s healthcare system in shape . . . yes/no? Yes.

Well, check out this video from Reason TV showing that our nation’s capitol cannot keep their metro escalators in proper working order. Now, what happens when Washington, D.C. starts calling the shots on your healthcare . . .

Here is another look at D.C.’s metro system brought to you by Remy . . .

Now You Can Be an Economist and Forecast the Unemployment Rate

Now you can pretend to be Ben Bernanke . . . check out this cool interactive app which lets you choose the parameters of the economy and then it plots the future unemployment rate.

What I really like about this app is that you can clearly see how changes in the labor pool affect the unemployment rate. The fact is that the unemployment rate has only been falling because more people have been dropping out of the labor pool.  Actual job growth has been minimal.

Hat tip to Mish (see this link for more information on the state of unemployment in America)