US Economic Wellbeing

US Governments Helps Everyone Improvement is Not Linear

1. U.S. Well-Being Analysis

2. Appropriate Measurements Paint a Better Picture

3. Personal Income increased continuously, if not always rapidly

4. Society's Stability, Continuous Since Civil War

5) Stability and Achievements are Cumulative

and Makes Life Easier

6. Safety Net Spending Up and has Unrecognized Benefits

7. Spending Almanac

8. Living Better Than Parents

See One-Page  Economic Issue Studies




1. US Governments Helps Everyone
Everyone Gets: US Has High Economic and Social Stability:
 Think 20th Century Russia, China

Wealthy Get: Tax Breaks
Middle Get: Help Moving Up
Poor Get: Safety Net

Note: Much Unhappiness caused by
Poor Use of Economic Data

2. Improvement is Not Linear
CV-19 Halted Positive Trends
Interesting How Populism Returned Just As
Long-term Wellbeing Trends Left Their Normal Positive Direction
Is it possible to have majority of satisfied voters in a Democratic Federalist Capitalistic Republic?

See Special Report  U.S. Wellbeing: The Good & The Bad

3. People are Always Unhappy With Government


US Well-Being Analysis

150 Years of Better

Production, Wages Up 4.5x

We Pay Lowest Taxes


Still People Are Unhappy

1) Society's Stability, Continuous Since Civil War

2) Production Up, Our Recent Economic System is Fine

3) Scientific achievements have continuously added to citizen well-being.

4) Stability and achievements are cumulative

5) Personal Income increased continuously, if not rapidly.


1) Society's Stability, Continuous Since Civil War, has allowed U.S. productivity to consistently increase. This is the key to individual well-being. Think how the public safety net has increased since the 1930's and the success of the federal children's bureau. Who wants to give up SS and Medicare? Why do some always want to cut other guys government benefits? Think economic distress in Russia, China, most  advanced nations including Germany, France, Great Britain and Japan all had very unstable periods.. See  "Why [How Has] Hasn't Economic Progress Lowered Work Hours More?"  42 min. video T. Cowen, Hayek Lectures

2) Production Up
Our Recent Economic System is Fine

Log Scale link

Current Economic Unhappiness =
Political Problems + Human Problems


3) Stability and Achievements are Cumulative


have continuously added to citizen well-being.
Think health, smart phones, streaming audio-video, Gillette Stadium ...
See New Weather Satellites, Health Problems Solved


so the young people of today will enjoy both past progress
 and will add their own contributions.


5) Personal Income increased continuously,
 if not always rapidly.

Think Russia, China, and
Europe's really slow recovery from the Great Recession. 

Source Is The Country In Trouble?

6) Will High Wellbeing Continue?
Has America Lost her greatness? Will wellbeing begin to fall?

See Child and Youth Well-Being
Economic Future of Our Children  
Was life better in the 1970s? graphs video from VOX
How Work Got Better from The New Economy
Needed: A Neilson sample of wellbeing of poorer people.



Income Distribution is a Political Question.
Some Feel Envy.
Assistance to Top and Bottom Caused
Populist Movement
See Why is Poverty Controversial?

Please Use to Educate and Share!

Hours Worked Down

Editor's Note:
One reason German workers produce 80% of US workers is
 they work about 80% as long as US Workers. you should know about



Proper Poverty Measurements
Paint a Better Picture



Social Safety Net Has Increased Wellbeing  source

Editor's Note:

We spend a lot of money helping the needy
without an independent audit as to program duplicity
and wellbeing of recipients.
 Is the US Congress not interested in economic efficiency?



as share of U.S. level

  Income Welfare
United States 100 100
France 70 91
Sweden 79 91
Japan 71 83
Norway 113 81
Germany 74 77
Ireland 96 70
Hong Kong 83 59
Singapore 117 57
South Korea 58 45

Source: Jones-Klenow study THE WASHINGTON POST


Safety Net Share Constant


Download the PDF (6pp)


We Help Our Poor
Headline Poverty Rate Poor Measure of Wellbeing



Science Contributions Will Help Grow Our Wellbeing



Science Helps Us Live Longer









Some Live Longer Than Others
Only the Poor Die Young



World Has Made Progress
But Next Step Will Be Difficult


Science Makes Life Easier

Household Appliances Cost Per Hour Worked Down 85%
Thanks to Science and Cheap Imports 
11 Household
Hours Worked
Hours Worked @$3.95 Price
Hours Worked
Washing Machine $210 101 $285 72 $480 24
Refrigerator $350 168 $370 94 $500 25
Coffee Maker $23 11 $37 9 $30 1.5
Vacuum Cleaner $95 46 $90 23 $140 7
Color TV $267 128 $400 101 $250 12
Totals $945 454 1182 299 $1,400 69.5
    (454 -299)  ÷ 454 =  34%    
Percent Decrease     (299 - 69.5) ÷ 299 = 77%
Numbers Rounded     Editor's Note: Since 1957 the cost measured in hours worked has dropped 85%See Life of American Workers in 1915 from BLS  is quite deplorable and Trans Pacific Partnership Currency Manipulation Trade and Jobs shows a large loss of jobs with not attempt to quantify their value added (wage).

Many Unrecognized Benefits

The Great Inflation Hurt Many Government Helped
With Cost Of Living Increases about Political Control of the Middle East


Hours Worked Have Been Dropping


Spending Almanac

How Some Spend Concerns SOME

Bigger Houses

Lottery Winner is State Government

US Produces a Lot

U.S. Real Rich Get More of Lots

1993 - 2013 berkeley.ed

Top Half of Top 1% Really Make Lots
The top 1/10 of 1% make the top 1% a poor measure of income inequality!

It's Accumulating
Q2 2019: $130 trillion

Some Measure Wealth Accumulation at Bottom but these Calculation Ignore the Wealth Associated With SS and Medicare!


Drug Costs

"They found that the highest prices were, indeed, paid by Americans.
The median monthly retail price in the United States was $8,694 for patented drugs like Avastin, Gleevec and Herceptin, and $654 for generic drugs like docetaxel and paclitaxel. Of the countries looked at, India paid the least for its patented drugs ($1,515 a month), and South Africa the least for generics (a tiddly $120).

Dr Goldstein went on to look at how the prices of these drugs measured up in terms of affordability. To express this he calculated the monthly price as a percentage of gross domestic product per person at purchasing-power parity (GDP atPPP).\




Healthcare Becoming Our Biggest Need


Editor's Note: I know everyone is upset over rising health care cost but as a society becomes wealthier shouldn't the utility from feeling good and living longer supersede the need for more things or must all the additional production go to lowering our perceived fear after 9/11 attack of 2001? It's time to lower Defense, Homeland Security, a massive prison system.

If I hear one more person say "be safe I'll scream" Listening to the Whether Channel in Florida they talk as if I'm in extreme danger from tornados in Kansas  or a developing low near the Yucatan Peninsula that could be a hurricane and attack the US.


We Help the Poor But

Poor Pay Little for Food


But They Die Young and

The New York Times also reported recently concerning inequality in life expectancy across race. See Currie and Schwandt paper for more analysis. produced and some of the data issues with making these estimates. It’s a must read for those interested in these issues.

Collect Little Social Security

See Middle Class Calculator
Recent Decades Ranked By Problems


Misery Index Has Improved

Inflation + Unemployment at Sixty-Year Low


Editor's Note: The Great Inflation lasted ten years beginning in the early 1970's. It significantly hurt US bond holders (older citizens) and 1975 COLA adjustments helped SS recipients though payroll taxes were not significantly increased until 1982. People wanting to make wage growth appear lower than actuality use the CPI adjusted inflation  index which rose dramatically after 1972. See Price index used dramatically changes result.


We now have a new effort to solve these problems. Two Stanford University economists — Charles I. Jones and Peter J. Klenow — have devised a way to relate a nation’s economic well-being to four factors: 1) consumption per person, adjusted for inflation; 2) inequality, reflected in differences of per-person consumption; 3) health, expressed as life expectancy; and 4) leisure time, derived by subtracting adults’ working hours from total hours. The result: a single number that supposedly reflects a country’s overall welfare."



How- Well-off are Typical Americans 1984-2015

Consumer Spending is Up

Nominal U.S. National Dividend per Consumer Unit, 1984-2015


Discretionary Speeding Increasing

Huston! Do We Have an Attitude Problem?



visualizingeconomics has a great coffee table book.




I taught my first college econ class in 1966 when the math guys took over economics and it has been down hill ever since.

Both the Undoing Project and The Black Swan have demonstrated how today's economists are causing more problems then they are worth.


19 good things that happened in 2019


1.Scientists announced a new therapy that seems likely to benefit 90 percent of people who have cystic fibrosis, until now a terribly debilitating disease. As we noted in an editorial, the achievement is the result of a generation of persistence by patient advocates and scientists who never threw in the towel, even when the goal seemed impossible.

2.Another frightful disease may be checked by a new vaccine protecting people from the Ebola virus. The director-general of the World Health Organization called the progress in vaccine development “a triumph for public health, and a testimony to the unprecedented collaboration between scores of experts worldwide.”

3.The U.S. economy continued to grow, now more than a decade after the Great Recession, and unemployment fell to near-record lows.

4.Galvanized by proposed legislation that would have allowed Hong Kong residents to be easily extradited into Communist China, hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong citizens mobilized to fight for the rule of law and democracy. Despite pressure and vilification from Beijing, they demonstrated, mostly peacefully, month after month — and last month took to the polls in record numbers to support pro-democracy candidates in local elections.

5.In another inspiring mobilization, women in Latin America and then throughout the world rallied against the continuing pandemic of anti-female violence. Young people in many countries mobilized to demand action on climate change. And young people in the United States continued to demand progress on gun-law reform.

6.Reports this year showed that Americans gave $428 billion to charity in 2018, 2.1 percent of the country’s total economy and more than the entire national economy of Norway. Figures for 2019 won’t be available until next year, but it’s a fair bet that the generosity continued.

7.Same-sex marriage became legal in Taiwan, proving again that human rights are not a “Western” value, as well as in Ecuador, Austria and Northern Ireland. Legal recognition is granted to such marriages now in 30 countries on every inhabited continent.

8.People power began to haltingly bear fruit in Sudan, whose population of 43 million suffered for years under the murderous dictatorship of Omar Hassan al-Bashir. After months of courageous, often dangerous, protesting, citizens won a commitment for a three-year transition leading to elections. And Mr. Bashir was sentenced to two years in prison for corruption.

9.The U.S. women’s national soccer team inspired our nation by winning the World Cup — and then using their celebrity to campaign for gender equity on the soccer pitch and beyond.

10. Staying in sports, we celebrated when the Mystics and Nationals brought home championships. Even non-Washingtonians could take some pleasure in what our columnist Thomas Boswell called, when the harrowing baseball playoffs and World Series were finally over, “the most remarkable October run the sport has ever seen.”

11.The U.S. constitutional system showed its resilience as judges acted to check overweening executive assertions of power in areas ranging from the census to immigration policy to the president’s ability to keep secrets from the public.

12.The public got a glimpse of another aspect of democracy at work when a series of current and former public servants courageously defied insults from the world’s most powerful man to give honest witness at the impeachment hearings. History will remember former Russia adviser Fiona Hill, Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, former ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and others for stepping forward to do their duty at a difficult time.

13.In 1990, 82 children younger than 5 died around the world for every 1,000 children born. By last year, as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation reminded us, that rate had fallen to 37 — still too high, but remarkable progress nonetheless. In fact, as a Gates Foundation report notes, “Health and education are improving everywhere in the world” — a too-little recognized fact that should spur us to continue investing in progress.

14.In January, a record number of women, 102, took their seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. (Unfortunately, the progress was all on one side of the aisle, as Democratic women increased their ranks from 64 to 89, and Republicans fell from 23 to 13.)

15.In November, a similar phenomenon played out in the off-year elections in Virginia, where, come January, women will occupy the two most powerful positions (speaker and majority leader) in the House of Delegates. As our editorial noted, “In its 400-year history, fewer than 100 women have been elected to the General Assembly, as against more than 9,000 men. Forty-one of those women will be among the 140 lawmakers who convene in Richmond in January.”

16.And with the April election of Lori Lightfoot in Chicago, a record number of black women (eight) were serving as mayors in the United States’ 100 largest cities.

17.The continuing progress of science was exemplified by the first-ever image of a black hole — defined by our science writers Sarah Kaplan and Joel Achenbach as “a bottomless pit in the fabric of the universe from which not even light can escape.”

18.In 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported some of the most encouraging news about the deadly drug use epidemic in years — a decline of 5.1 percent in the number of people dying from drug overdoses from 2017 to 2018. As we wrote, “The raw numbers of deaths — 68,577 in 2018, vs. 72,224 in 2017 — are still unconscionably high. But the progress shows that the federal, state and local mobilization against drug addiction, which has emphasized treatment and availability of the life-saving opioid antidote naloxone, is producing results.”

19.Much was written about a “democratic recession” around the world, and with reason. But that made all the more impressive the many popular uprisings on behalf of liberty and free expression. Even with the United States abdicating its traditional role as an advocate for freedom, and with China and Russia pressing their authoritarian models, people rose up and spoke up against corruption and for dignity and self-expression, often at great risk and against great odds. This happened not only in Hong Kong and Sudan but also in Algeria, Lebanon, Bolivia, Chile, Iraq and even Russia (Moscow) and the United States (Puerto Rico).

The Post's View

19 good things that happened in 2019




(Washington Post illustration/Images by stock)