John Irons's Blog


Economic News, Data and Analysis


Making minor improvements… but want to redesign to incorporate twitter, posterous.
Also thinking about moving from movable type to a hosted platform to better cross-post.

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“Extended Warranty Fund”

Best idea I’ve heard in a while…

ยป Create Your Own “Extended Warranty Fund”

Create an “extended warranty fund”
Instead of buying warranty after warranty, why not create an “extended warranty fund.” In other words, whenever a retailer offers you an extended warranty, simply transfer that amount of money into a dedicated savings account*.
If/when problems arise, you can simply pay for the repairs (or replacement) out of your warranty fund. And once the fund builds up to a sufficiently healthy size, you can back off on your contributions.
There are two main benefits to self-insuring in this way. First, you’ll get to earn interest on the money as it accrues. Second, you’ll be the one that gets to keep the cash when your stuff doesn’t break.
Sure, there are bound to be some instances in which you would’ve been better off with the extended warranty, but remember… These warranties are designed to be profitable. Thus, more often than not, you’ll come out ahead by skipping them entirely.

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Found it!

I’ve been trying to track this article down for months… must read for those interested in setting the record straight.

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Recovery Act funding for Community Health Centers

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John Irons (jsirons) on Twitter

John Irons (jsirons) on Twitter


Now live on Twitter…

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Employment opportunities at EPI

We’re hiring a labor economist at EPI… see link for details on how to apply…

Employment opportunities at EPI

Living Standards/Labor Economist
The Economic Policy Institute is looking for an experienced economist for our flagship Living Standards program. In that position, the successful candidate would work with the Living Standards team to undertake a variety of research and analytical projects. They would be responsible for monitoring and commenting on current economic conditions, including labor market conditions; trends in income and wage outcomes; factors that impact low- and moderate-income workers; and others. They would also be expected to analyze and comment on related economic policies.
The position also includes a significant component of research dissemination and communication; working with EPI’s external/communications team to communicate findings to the media, public-interest organizations, the academic community, and policy makers in Congress and the administration.
The successful candidate would also help set the direction of the program by identifying new areas of inquiry and shaping programmatic activities.
The position reports directly to the Research and Policy director, but will also work closely with EPI’s president.

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Number of jobs created by Obama’s stimulus

Romer/Bernstein estimate job impact to be between 3 and 4 million… see The Job Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan.

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A rescue plan for Main Street

Just posted at EPI…

A rescue plan for Main Street

A package that provides funding for infrastructure, aid to states, and other provisions would begin to reverse our economic course by creating jobs while meeting national priorities. The package should also include a down-payment on longer-term reforms, as well. This memo outlines some elements that should be essential components of a more comprehensive recovery package and briefly examines the impact it would have on the economy and job creation.

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The GAO is out with its first report on the Treasury’s TARP/CPP program. Implementing the transparency and accountability requirements should be a high priority for the new administration.
(Also, be sure to check out the nifty TED spread chart on page 50, and the bond-treasury spread on 51. And, if you want to scare yourself, the foreclosure chart on page 55.

Through the capital purchase program (CPP)–a preferred stock and warrant purchase program–Treasury provided more than $150 billion in capital to 52 institutions as of November 25, 2008. GAO recognizes that TARP has existed for less than 60 days and that a new program of such magnitude faces many challenges, especially in this current uncertain economic climate. However, Treasury has yet to address a number of critical issues, including determining how it will ensure that CPP is achieving its intended goals and monitoring compliance with limitations on executive compensation and dividend payments. Moreover, further actions are needed to formalize transition planning efforts and establish an effective management structure and an essential system of internal control.

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From the “I told you so” department

Irons/Bivens – May 1, 2008:

While it will be many months before an “official” recession is declared, evidence shows that the economic expansion that began in 2001 has almost surely ended.1 Furthermore, if these trends continue, the start of a new recession will likely be dated either at the end of the last quarter of 2007, or at some point during the first quarter of 2008.

Business Cycle Dating Committee, National Bureau of Economic Research – December 1 2008

The Month of the Peak
The committee identified December 2007 as the peak month, after determining that the subsequent decline in economic activity was large enough to qualify as a recession.

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