Sunday, February 07, 2016

The Economy

I was reading an article on how the Federal Reserve, and just about everyone else, isn't sure whether the economy is doing well or about to tank.

That was bad enough but then I read the comments.

I really love the comments. It's amazing how the government is hiding things when all of the information is publicly available and literally hundreds of people are analyzing that information and often coming to different conclusions.

It's also amazing how everyone seems to know more about economics than those whose career is the study of economics. Luckily I don't have to make a living from being an economist but I do have a degree in economics. Let me tell you, an exact science it's not. Let's start with understanding that the economy is always uneven. It's always the case where some people are doing well and others aren't. The so-called "indicators" attempt to measure whether more people are in the first group or the second group.

The economy is "healthy" if as many people as possible are in the first group and it's growing. That doesn't mean there won't always be people in the second group. Right now the East and West are doing better economically than the Midwest and South. The top five states in median household income in 2014 were Maryland - $70,004, Alaska - $69,825, New Jersey - $67,458, Connecticut - $65,753 and Massachusetts - $64,859. The lowest five states were Mississippi - $36,919, West Virginia - $38,482, Arkansas - $38,758, Kentucky - $41,141 and Alabama - $41,415.

And yes the cost of living in the states with the higher household incomes is higher but it's not that much higher. It's around 25%-30% higher than in the lowest states and a lot of that comes from housing.

So this is part of the problem. Not only is the situation murky but the recovery has been uneven. This is reality and it's what the article is saying. At least consider what the experts say. Don't accept it blindly but do your homework first before you reject it out of hand like I see a lot of people doing. 

We seem to have this knee jerk reaction to immediately reject anything that isn't dripping of bad news and impending crisis. Yes, be skeptical, but accept the facts as well.

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