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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

October 29, 2010 at 10:20 AM

GDP can’t sustain jobs, plus the interesting, scary and soothing of the week

About the best that can be said about today’s GDP report: It could have been worse. But it’s hardly enough to create substantial numbers of jobs, and so the domestic anxiety and anger will continue.

To the extent that the number was a little better than expected because, as the Associated Press reports, “Americans spent a little more,” this is a mixed blessing. We need to be less “consumers” — especially from abroad — and more producers, savers, preservers of local businesses and (shocker) citizens.

Interesting data and commentary from the week:

  • The Tax Foundation released its annual assessment of the tax climate in the states. Washington came in at No. 11 overall, down from No. 9 the previous fiscal year. Oregon ranked 14 and Idaho 18.
  • Even as Intel continues to invest domestically, it is opening its biggest single chip plant in Vietnam. It’s a billion-dollar investment by the running dogs of capitalism received this rapturous story on the community party Web site.

  • No hint of inflation in the latest Labor Department report on worker costs. For the 12 months ending in September, wages were up 1.9 percent.
  • A couple of Halloween scares. David Cay Johnston, the distinguished former New York Times reporter, reveals on Tax.com, “Every 34th wage earner in America in 2008 went all of 2009 without earning a single dollar, new data from the Social Security Administration show. Total wages, median wages, and average wages all declined, but at the very top, salaries grew more than fivefold.” And according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, last year only 6.2 percent of employers offered health-care benefits for early retirees, vs. 11.3 percent in 1997.
  • Nice Work If You Can Get It: TechCrunch notes that Twitter is worth more than a billion dollars and it has yet to make a dime.
  • Has Dr. Doom waved his wand at President Obama and a looming fiscal “train wreck.” Decide for yourself in Nouriel Roubini’s FT column.

Today’s Econ Haiku:

Stellar, real profits

That’s Microsoft’s killer app

Wall Street downloads, yawns

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