With Oktoberfest in full swing, The Economist charts the amount of work required to buy a beer:
Analysts at UBS, a Swiss bank, have calculated that it takes a German earning the national median wage just under seven minutes of work to purchase half a litre of beer at a retail outlet. At the bottom of the pint glass, low wages and high taxes mean that boozers in India must toil for nearly an hour before they have earned enough to quench their thirst.
Bill Bishop examines public opinion on immigration in rural America, which leans Republican:
Rural voters are all over the map on the immigration issue. Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) say immigration is "good for America." A slight majority (45 percent to 42 percent) say immigration is good for the U.S. economy.
Seven out of ten rural voters, however, support laws "like the ones in Arizona and Alabama that allow local law enforcement officers to check the papers of people they suspect are illegal immigrants." But they also support a "path to citizenship" for undocumented immigrant children and they oppose (62 percent to 31 percent) a constitutional amendment that would eliminate citizenship for children of illegal immigrants.
Josh Lehner compares America's great recession to other financial crisis recessions:
All told, the recent U.S. financial crisis looks very similar to the historical crises as detailed by Reinhart and Rogoff – your “garden variety, severe financial crisis.” However the US labor market has performed better than 4 of the previous Big 5 crises and Japan’s economic and employment experience over the past twenty years is unique in its own right.
Joe Weisenthal uses the chart to argue that "bailouts worked." Derek Thompson, on the other hand, points out that "there is no chart that can authoritatively tell us what policymakers and politicians would like to tell us: And that is, where the U.S. is today versus where it would be if their policies and ideas were law."
Krugman breaks down tax paying by age:
Thanks to the child tax credit and Earned Income Tax Credit, a fair number of working families with young children pay no income tax; thanks to the exemption on Social Security, many older Americans pay no income tax. But in middle age, close to 80 percent of the population pays income taxes, and even more, of course, pay federal taxes of some kind.
So the notion that almost half of our citizens are grifters isn’t just vile; it’s also based on a complete misunderstanding of tax realities.
(Chart from the Hamilton Project.)
Mark Perry checks in on the decline of newspapers:
The blue line in the chart above displays total annual print newspaper advertising revenue (for the categories national, retail and classified) based on actual annual data from 1950 to 2011, and estimated annual revenue for 2012 using quarterly data through the second quarter of this year, from the Newspaper Association of America (NAA). The advertising revenues have been adjusted for inflation, and appear in the chart as millions of constant 2012 dollars. Estimated print advertising revenues of $19.0 billion in 2012 will be the lowest annual amount spent on print newspaper advertising since the NAA started tracking ad revenue in 1950.
Whatever else this says, it indicates a lop-sided party system that weakens America.
Dave Noon reviews the archive of party platforms:
1. The 2012 GOP platform is a total outlier, presumably designed to intimidate the Saracen hordes biding their time for Obama’s re-election.
2. Judging entirely by the text of its platforms — for by their words, or works, or whatever, ye shall know them — the party clearly had no use for God from its founding through the 1960s. By my sophisticated calculations, the godlessness of the Republicans from 1856-1956 likely accounts for the successful passage of 93 percent of Progressive Era legislation and 97 percent of the New Deal.
That's also a superb graph revealing just how new the God fixation is in American politics. Of course there was always constant, rote invocation of the Almighty in decades passed – but the neurotic quality of rigid, truth-denying fundamentalism is waxing particularly strongly right now, and not just in Christianity. Head to the West Bank settlements or Timbuktu. It's real and it's in America too.
Bradford Plumer passes along some bad economic news:
A new report (pdf) from the National Employment Law Project finds that low-wage jobs, paying $13.83 per hour or less, have dominated the recovery to date. In many cases, they appear to be replacing higher-paying jobs that were lost in the first place.
Daily Intel presented 50 GOP delegates with a multiple-choice quiz. Above is one of the results:
In case it's not obvious, this is not a completely representative polling sample. That said, there are some interesting nuggets in here.