Current Political Economy Controversies 

Which Poverty Data is Correct?
Is Enough Being Done to Help the Poor?

Educating the Class of 2030     

Middle Class Well-Being 
Is Investing in Education the Answer to Income Stagnation?

Should Americans Continue to Follow the Money?
Is the Current Great Dissatisfaction Explainable?
Is Politics About the Money?
Do People Vote Their Pocketbook?

Worst 20th Century Decades Was?
Criticism of Modern Capitalism

Which Poverty Data is Correct?

Poverty Down a Little Over Fifty Years

See War on Poverty, Was it Lost?

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Poverty Down a Lot Over Fifty Years

This chart "...provides a first approximation of how correcting the 2013 poverty rate for noncash food and housing benefits, refundable tax credits, and upward bias in the CPI-U would change the 2013 poverty rate. With these corrections the official poverty rate falls from 14.5 to 4.8 percent, making the 2013 rate roughly a quarter of the 1964 rate (19.0 percent). If we were to lower the poverty threshold for cohabiting couples to match that for married couples the 2013 poverty rate would have fallen even more." Examples of noncash benefits include food stamps SNAP), discounted school lunches, subsidized rent, Medicaid, and Medicare. See Source

And the Answer Is?  U.S. Government Defined Poverty
from Distributing Income may help with your answer.
The More Relevant Question is
How has the lifestyle and well being changed for the bottom deciles?

Is Investing in Education the Answer to Income Stagnation?

Median Income Has Stagnated
Up 19% Over 45 Years

household income percentile 2011


Since 1971 middle-class dropped from 61 to 51 percent.
                     upper tier rose from 14 to 20 percent
                     lower tier rose from 25 to 29 percent

Data from  
Middle Class: A Candle Burning at Both Ends  
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Supply of Graduates Exceeds Demand

American colleges push out graduates even though supply was outstripping demand and fewer young people were benefiting financially from more college.

41% of our 18- to 24-year-olds are enrolled in college (source)
27% of expected jobs need formal education beyond HS (chart)
14% oversupply means wage decreases for many.

"In October 2014, 68.4 percent of 2014 high school graduates were enrolled in colleges or universities, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported..." 4/16/15 Many are enrolled to collect Pell Grants for spending money.

Wages Down for All But the Best and Brightest

Companies figured out that in one department there were stars worth a lot more than the average Joe. These companies looked for stars and paid them bigger dollars. In finance, high tech, management the spread began to widen between those in the middle and the STARS.


And the Answer Is?

Educating the Class of 2030
& Education as Welfare
may help with your answer.

The More Relevant Questions are How much should I sacrifice to invest in college? and Are there better investments?

What and Where Count!
Is Enough Being Done to Help the Poor?

2005 and 2015 Poverty Health and Human Services
States Determine Program Eligibility Based on H.H.S. Guidelines.

Family of Four Guidelines Increased 26% Over ten Years

What Nebraska Does

Persons in
Family Unit

48 Contiguous


$ 9,570















For additional
person, add


SOURCEFederal Register, Vol. 70, No. 33, February 18, 2005, pp. 8373-8375.

Persons in family/household  48 Contiguous
1 $11,770
2 15,930
3 20,090
4 24,250
5 28,410
6 32,570
7 36,730
8 40,890
For additional
person, add

And the Answer Is?


The More Relevant Question is Exactly how do the poor live, their wellbeing?

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program eligibility  (SNAP)

In Nebraska multiply is 130% to get eligibility unless elderly /disabled person then 165%

Income less than $31,125 for a family of four qualifies for Snap or

$40,013 with elderly /disabled person     Max is $649.00/month     Source

Other Nebraska Programs
AABD (Ass.-Aged, Blind, or Disabled) ADC (Aid to Dependent Children) Cancer Drug Repository Program
Child Care Support (Subsidy)
Child Support Enforcement
CSFP (Com. Sup. Food Program) EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) Emergency Assistance
Employment First
Energy Assistance
Every Woman Matters
Financial Services Administration
Food Distribution Program
In-home Services (SSBG)
CHIP (Children's Health Insurance)
Medicaid / Medicare
SSI (Supplemental Security Income)
WIC (Women, Infants & Children Program)


Author's Comments will be in red. Good luck with coming up with an answer. We know what Joe watched on TV but not how well he lives. A   stratified random sample by the GAO or the CBO or the PEA please!


Should Americans Continue to Follow the Money?

US First In Producing Stuff


See  From 1979 to 2011 after tax income for top 1% grew at 3.5% per year
vs. bottom quintiles growth of 1.2 percent.


 Taxes Are Not the Problem Because Only 20% Contribute
20% Are Neutrally and 60% Are Receivers


How can people are unhappy when government supplements 60% of them.
In addition many of those that do pay in do not pay much.
 If and when the bill comes do, life will be much more difficult.
The trade deficit of about $1,700 per person
also added to how well citizens live and
 will hurt if debt forced inflation increase the cost of imports.

First in Production, Freebees From the Government Plus Borrow Is Up


Yet We Are First in Unhappiness

Map showing countries shaded by their position in the Happy Planet Index (2006). The highest-ranked countries are bright green; the lowest are brown.  Happy Planet Index
And the Answer Is? Please e-mail suggestions

 Is Politics About the Money?

A few years ago well-respected columnist and Public TV personality David Brooks seemed to be acting like Chicken Little. Was sky falling? Was political animosity at an all time. Had partisan politics reached historical proportions. Why were so many respected people saying that the money interest were in charge and causing a stagnate Congress? I looked to political economy for answers. Recently Mort Zuckerman also a Public TV personality and billionaire began talking of the historically slow recovery from the Great Recession. I was confused. Economic history indicates that our current  balance sheet recession was very average and seems worse only compared to recent mild inventory recessions.

In the Beginning It Was About the Money.

From the earliest days this country has been about money. Jamestown was founded by moneyed interest and Plymouth had financial backers who expected a return on their investment. The world of Plymouth was just settling down when English religious tolerance increased, immigration stopped and some inhabitants returned to England. The population declined, asset  values plunged and Plymouth had one-hundred years of economic stagnation. The talented moved north to Boston. It was a brain/talent drain. Gresham's Law that bad paper money chases good gold coins also applies to people.  A bad economy chased the most talented people toward Boston's economic opportunity. See  All  Immigrates Welcomed By 1654 New Amsterdam and THREE Roots of Revolution

By the middle of the 18th century colonial trade with other nations was flourishing and very wealthy smugglers like John Hancock did not want to pay taxes for British military protection.  He financed the Minutemen and eventually the colonies won their independence. The Revolution was  about the money. See Instigators Finely Hit a Nerve With The 1773 Boston Tea Party

Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton embodied Jefferson deepest republican fear that some would  sacrifice liberty for the expedience of absolute authority. Alexander plans for a national financial system which would assume all national and state debt caused much turmoil as many southern states had paid their debt and many of the national and state bonds had been sold at a discount by veterans to wealthy easterners who would earn a substantial profit. Hamilton, who wanted to put the federal government at the center of nation's financial system and further secure the federal establishment standing, got Madison to end his disapproval of Hamilton's debt plan by agreeing with  Madison's desire to move the nation's capital to a site along the Potomac River. The debt assumption caused some in Virginia to charge Congress with an unconstitutional act.   Source THE FIRST SECRETARY OF STATE 1789-1792

Before leaving office Washington had to put down a rural revolt of whiskey producers who didnít want to pay taxes. In addition there were threats of impeachment because many felt Washington had broken the constitution when he signed  the Jay Treaty. Southerners disliked England whose goods thy felt were too expensive and supported France. The Northeast want England's industrial good to expand manufacturing.

President Washington served well and feared a political party system would not only develop, it would be dangerous. But two plus parties were inevitable. Federalist like Adams and Hamilton wanted tariffs to protect their business interest. Moneyed wealthy business owners oligarchs were friendly to England wanted a strong central government. Jefferson, Madison and other wealthy southern Oligarchs who wanted low tariffs so they could buy cheap European merchandise. This required low tariffs and a Republic run by the people and not a country tied to Northern manufacturing. It was about the money. See Part VII Leader of the Opposition from Meacham's Thomas Jefferson

In the Middle It Was About the Money

President John Quincy Adams easily lost his 1828 reelection bid to Andrew Jackson, who was dead set against extending  the  Second Bank of the United States charter and its condescending President, Nicholas Biddle. Jackson felt the bank had  excessive power over farmers, mechanics, and others unconnected to the eastern ' " moneyed aristocracy" '  Land speculation losses in Tennessee made Jackson feel that "debt, bankers, and paper money --' "ragg money" '-- were all the devil's work." He felt the bank had used its ' "golden favors " ' to help Adams be elected.  Largely owned by foreigners autocracy, he felt the bank was corrupt. See Presidential Courage Andrew Jackson

"... in the fall of 1902, he [Teddy Roosevelt] tried to stop the coal strike  that threatened, more than any event since the Civil War, to divide the country." For months, over 100,000 Pennsylvanian miners had been striking. There was sabotage, riots and murder. The leader of the United Mines Workers suggested a Presidential commission but railroad man George Bear refused to bargain with ' " instigators of violence and crime." ' 

The Tennessee Valley Authority did a lot of good but the area is still poor because many talented people left for economic opportunity. Areas losing talented people need specially designed programs and not those that are needed for the brain drain destination. One size does not fit all. See Educating the Class of 2030

And the Answer Is?

Author's Comments will be in red.





Recently It Has Been About the Money.

California opened its energy markets in 1996 and 24 states follow by end of 2000.

When Bush 2 was running for governor and when Enron executive Kenneth Lay turned down the job as Huston campaign chairperson he named Enron's President and CO Richard Kinder to the position.

"Enron was Mr. Bush's biggest political patron as he headed into the 2000 presidential election. In all it has made $623,000 in contributions to his campaigns since 1993, when he was raising money for his first Texas gubernatorial race, according to the Center for Public Integrity, another watchdog group." Source

Enron had sales of 6.1 billion in 1992, $31 billion in 1998 and 139 billion in 2001. 

By 2000 California faced serious blackouts as prices spiked to 50 times normal. See California electricity crisis

As Bush's 2's presidency approached Enron stock had hit a high of 80. Enron executive began quietly unloading. By October the stock had fallen to 20 to as administration efforts like refusing to cap energy prices in California and putting  pressure on India money owed to Enron failed.  Enron declared bankruptcy in late 2001.

In 2001 VP Chaney's energy task force predicted a 12% decline in U.S. oil production by 2020 compelling the U.S. to import two-thirds of its needs.  Politics is also about fear.

Today the Four G's Want the Status Quo

Today the four Gís of Guns, God, Greed and Greenspan's free market philosophy all want less government. Wealth has been produced in substantial amounts and income has floated to the top. The Guns and God group want limited government which allows their simplistic lifestyle so hey vote Republican.

The Greed and Greenspan group wants no change in their share of the pie. Keep military, education and elderly spending high with no increases for anyone else. It's about the money.

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Some say history repeats itself. Fifty years ago my father said people change very slowly and have changed very little since Cain and Abel. Both statements are true. I am sure it is more than just the money but money is always a good place to begin.

Do People Vote Their Pocketbook?

Some Do
As SS and Medicare  Gets All The Money
for the High Voting Elderly

Some Don't As Rural South Votes Less Government Check Out our State Which States Are Givers And- Which Are Takers

Many people are from poor rural southern states where many do not have insurance but they have an issues that are so important they give up economic gain.
1) Antiabortionist   
2) NRA advocates
3) Rural limited government advocates who want a sedimentary life
4) Working poor, usually not insured, need to dislike the lowlifes below
     them that are gaming the system by collecting welfare. These people
     don't want a handout until they or someone they know gets sick and
     then they too game the system. These working poor do not mind that
     the upper middle class and rich game the system the most because
     the top is something to strive toward.
5. People who need to feel good about what they have accomplished by
    despising those on the bottom. Some climbed the latter, others work
     for daddy. 

Southern European states-- Italy, Greece, Portages, and Spain insist on voting their pocketbook to the detriment of society and
rich states--Germany and other northern European states do not want to pay the bill. In contrast, US, southern states do not only
not vote their pocketbook; they refuse help like Obamacare coming from the north. US south easily defeats the European south
in the economically stupid war!
Special Notes:
Many poor people don't collect Social Security because the die and while science will keep even poor people alive longer,
 their debilitating diseases will make them miserable and cost Medicare a fortune.

And the Answer Is? Please e-mail suggestions

Is the Current Great Dissatisfaction Explainable?

What Happened

American business faced little competition for twenty-five years after WWII. Companies and workers enjoyed extraordinary economic wellbeing because Great Brittan, Germany, and Japan had lost much of their  industrial base.

Then the OPEQ oil oligopoly became successful and pushed up oil prices. Foreign manufacturing competition especially from Germany and Japan increased. America's industrial giants, unions and governments were slow to adjust which created less profitable companies known as the Rust Belt

How would America compete with Japan and Germany? Eventually Great Brittan would develop a very competitive financial industry. How would Wall Street adjust?  Then many Asian countries grew their manufacturing industries.

American Executives maintained their profits and high paying jobs by cutting wage and quality though competition from overseas made this more and more difficult., Unions leaders also wanted to maintain there high paying jobs so they encouraged member givebacks by having replacement workers come in at lower wages. Then companies moved work overseas then they worked on trade agreements to bring goods produced into American markets. Wages stagnated but profits were maintained.

facing a lower standard of living began using credit cards to make up for loses. Then banks changed the name of home improvement loans to home equity loans. Stagnate wages were again compensated for by spending the savings represented by equity.  Spend now rather than build a retirement nest egg. Retirement would be delayed.

Financiers increased demand for their services with exotic products such as Derivatives and Credit Default Swaps.

bought votes with expanded Social Security, Medicare, and an expanded Safety Net for the poor..  The Republicans catered to conservatives desires for less regulation.  Democrats catered tom liberals with expanded home ownership for the poor by expanding credit.

The business community found current profits were so large that long term economic stability was not needed to maximize economic returns.

heir parents, retirement plans and society's safety net which along with Medicaid helps the poor.

The Result

Many Americans are better off. Many Older Americans have been pulled out of poverty by SS, Medicare, Medicaid and an expanded safety net. There has been a dramatic post WW II increase in wealth.  Children are better off because childhood diseases were cured as was polio.  Seat belts, bike helmets, and school transportation improvements all help keep children safer.  Many baby boomers received an inheritance that was much larger than that received by their parents.

Dissatisfaction with capitalism politicians, educators, and business resulted because previous increases in the standard of living were not sustainable. Debts of all aspects of society increased though the federal government got the most static.

The last Great Dissatisfaction was caused by financial liquidity problems at the end of the 1920's. They caused the Great Depression which required federal WWII debt to cure the economy. WWII solved the problem of Fascism but all the debt accomplished little as we were left with Communism and the Cold War. t was never paid back because GDP growth eased the refinancing cost. Recent debt has been to make life more enjoyable.

Fear that economic growth will not make current and future debt easy to refinance has people apprehensive. The  question is whether productivity improvement resulting from digitally educated Millennials will create the U.S. monopoly power required to rapidly expand the economy.

Predicting the Future
Politicians will not act until the expense of carrying an ever increasing debt has a political cost.. The dollar will remain in demand and keep interest rates in the US low because the economies backing the Euro and  Renminbi will not be able to compete any time soon. Voters are receiving too a large benefit from annual deficits and want only expenditures going to the other guy discontinued or lowered.

Millennials are charged with future solutions and as the first digital generation, they just might do it by using technology to increase production and demand for US goods. With GDP increased the relative size of all U.S. debt and more importantly their interest cost will as usually, be minimal. If not, expect inflation because of federal government money printing will lower standards of living for many as the real value of pensions and safety nets are reduced.
And the Answer Is?
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Worst 20th Century Decade Was?
19th Century Ended with Monarchs in control, liberal economic thought expanding, and increased migration to U.S.
Decade Grade Decades Terrible Events1

Bad Events

Not Good Events Rest of the Story

1 and 1A

1930-39 Great Depression
Dust Bowl
  Keynes wins battle with classical economics
1940-49 War II  

Cold War

Marshal Plan rebuilds Europe helping U.S economy
Truman Doctrine hopes to contain fears about  communism


4 Assassinations
Massive Social Unrest

Vietnam War

war and segregation turmoil dominate the decade




Labor unrest
Red Scare

Progressive Era continues as US slowly changes
5 1950-59

Korean War

Segregation Turmoil 2 small recessions 
Red Scare
Economic Expansion and the rise of the middle class



  2 Small Wars Great Recession
2 tax cuts and one health care acts Medicare expansion  ease pain from
7 1900-09  

Unions Social Unrest
A Sever Recession

Progressivism begins the movement away from Oligopoly toward the people
8 1980-89  

A Sever Recession

  RR cuts taxes and deregulation starts debt explosion middle class wages stagnate
9 1920-29     Small Post WW I recession Economy expands as Wall Street and business rebuild Europe.
10 1990-99         Free trade and capital markets expansion continues middle class stagnation
11 2010-04       Great Recession quickly because government prints money
Health Care Expands, Many With Government Health Insurance abhor Changes

1The devastating affects of war on the human condition make it the most terrible event.
  The devastating affects of unemployment on the human condition make it the second most terrible event.