John Irons's Blog


Economic News, Data and Analysis

Census data, main talking points

The census report on incomes, poverty, and health insurance coverage released yesterday was very dissappointing considering that we are 4 years from the end of the 2001 recession.
Top line:
First, we saw that the poverty rate remained approximately unchanged at 12.6 percent, with about 37 million people in poverty, including 13 million kids.
Second we saw that there was a slight improvement in median household income, which was up by about $500 to 46,000. However, we saw declines in incomes for those households headed by someone under 65 years old, and also declines for full-time, year-round workers, who saw their median incomes drop by about $800 for men, and about $400 for women. And we also saw that incomes are below where they were at the end of the recession. Since the peak in 1999, median income has dropped by $1,300.
Finally, we saw the number of people without health insurance increased by 1.3 million to 46.6 million. The rate of uninsured among children increased for the first time in five years, with 8.3 million children lacking insurance – or about one in ten. Also, the rate of employer coverage dropped, with 3 million people losing employer-based insurance.
For more details, especially the 2000-2005 trends, see:
Center for American Progress Budget Blog サ Archive サ New Census Data Show Deteriorating Income and Health Coverage – Center for American Progress

Filed under: Economics

Poverty, income, health insurance

Crossposted… Center for American Progress Budget Blog
Poverty 2005
Posted August 29, 2006 at 11:25 a.m. by John Irons
The Census department has released their annual report on incomes, poverty, and insurance coverage. More to come today, but on a first pass, things do not look good. Uninsured up, poverty rates flat, median incomes up slightly since last year, but still down by over $1,200 since 2000.
See Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage 2005.

Filed under: Economics

IRS Outsourcing

As I’ve said before, this is a bad idea…

TaxProf Blog
IRS Outsources Tax Collection
Interesting article in the New York Times: IRS Enlists Help in Collecting Delinquent Taxes, by David Cay Johnston:

If you owe back taxes to the federal government, the next call asking you to pay may come not from an Internal Revenue Service officer, but from a private debt collector. Within two weeks, the I.R.S. will turn over data on 12,500 taxpayers — each of whom owes $25,000 or less in back taxes — to three collection agencies. Larger debtors will continue to be pursued by IRS officers.
The move, an initiative of the Bush administration, represents the first step in a broader plan to outsource the collection of smaller tax debts to private companies over time. Although I.R.S. officials acknowledge that this will be much more expensive than doing it internally, they say that Congress has forced their hand by refusing to let them hire more revenue officers, who could pull in a lot of easy-to-collect money.

One of the three companies selected by the IRS is Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, a law firm in Austin, Texas, that has been under federal investigation for its collection practices. The firm’s web site is (the WSJ Law Blog reports that a Publican is “A collector of public taxes or tribute from the public”).

Filed under: Economics

Economists’ blogging

Economists’ blogs | The invisible hand on the keyboard |
Economists’ blogs
The invisible hand on the keyboard
Aug 3rd 2006
From The Economist print edition
Why do economists spend valuable time blogging?
“CLEARLY there is here a problem of the division of knowledge, which is quite analogous to, and at least as important as, the problem of the division of labour,” Friedrich Hayek told the London Economic Club in 1936. What Mr Hayek could not have known about knowledge was that 70 years later weblogs, or blogs, would be pooling it into a vast, virtual conversation. That economists are typing as prolifically as anyone speaks both to the value of the medium and to the worth they put on their time.

Filed under: Economics