Links for October 2012
12,199 retired California government workers receive pensions in excess of $100,000 from CalPERS. They’re all listed here.
Urban Growth and Decline: The Role of Population Density at the City Core.
We look at four decades of census data and show that growing cities have maintained dense urban centers, while shrinking cities have not. There are reasons to think that loss of population density at the core of the city could be particularly damaging to productivity. If this is the case, there could be productivity gains from policies aimed at reversing that trend.
Although the U.S. poverty rate was the same in 2000 as it was in 1970, the geographic distribution of the poor has become more concentrated. A higher concentration of poor in poor neighborhoods is a concern because it may mean the poor are exposed to fewer opportunities that affect their outcomes in life, like employment and income. We show where and how poverty has become more concentrated in the United States, and who is most likely to be affected.
Historical Marriage Patterns, US Census Data.
US Federal Tax Receipts.
The Villain. The left hates him. The right hates him even more. But Ben Bernanke saved the economy—and has navigated masterfully through the most trying of times.
US National Debt & Interest Expense by Presidential Term, Percentage of GDP.
The Facts About Budget Deficits: How The Presidents Truly Rank.
The Limits of Means Testing:
But means-testing also has some serious drawbacks, especially when it comes to how the policy might shape Americans’ financial decisions. Means-testing entitlement benefits could punish the very people who work the hardest and save the most, depressing economic activity and discouraging good behavior. The cure for our fiscal problems could thus end up being worse than the disease.
If reformers are to reduce the costs of Medicare and Social Security without inviting counterproductive side effects, they must pay careful attention to the design of their policy reforms, and remain open to solutions that go beyond simple means tests. Embracing the idea that the rich should receive less generous entitlement benefits than the poor could help avert America’s entitlement crisis — but the devil, as always, will be in the details.
The Economics of Fiber to the Home.
$1,000 per home passed to build, $5/month to operate. Assuming they get a decent take rate and meet their construction budget, Google will be profitable charging $70/month in Kansas City. But the payoff requires thinking more than three to five years, unlike most corporations. Here’s the data behind that conclusion.
The Scotch Pronunciation Guide.
Sometimes it is difficult to understand the scope of American military power relative to that of the rest of the world. This graphic illustrates America’s aircraft carriers, and those of the rest of the world. Each icon is an accurate depiction of the flight deck of the ship as seen from above, all to a common scale. Each of the middle column of ships is roughly the size of the Empire State Building.