Sunday News Patrol – June 1, 2014

ImageTurns out the predatory business structure commonly known as the Ponzi scheme is ubiquitous and difficult to regulate. A Ponzi scheme is simply using new revenue from new investors to pay old investors so it looks like they are earning returns on their investment. One must grow the pool of new investors exponentially in order to avoid collapse. Ponzis always collapse, eventually, but it is almost impossible to predict when, given the relationship between the schemers and schemees. It’s not just the huge Madoff-class frauds out there, though. Actually, the whole economy can mimic Ponzi-like behavior. has a gif of an unemployment map from 1978 to today. You can see Louisiana crash right after Katrina.

New studies show it costs taxpayers $30k in services to have one person homeless, $10k to give them a home. Granted, these are Florida homeless people and Florida studies, but the idea sounds pretty sane.

Data-people and policy-makers are using Google search terms and tweets to develop real-time economic analysis. While government reports can only show us economic trends (unemployment, consumer/producer price changes, etc.,) from a couple months ago, some analysts are trying to use online data to measure trends in what actual people are searching for. For example, there may be more people tweeting the word “layoff” during a time when the economy is shedding jobs. And there seems to be some “adult” googling going on among the unemployed! Data!

30% of workers have to be licensed.  it was 10% a couple decades ago. Are we turning low- and middle-skill workers into victims of burdensome bureaucratization? What the fuck? To cut flowers???

The US has been ranked in with the bad half of the world in terms of workers’ rights.

Here is a good explanation of Thomas Piketty’s explanation of the lame accusations made against his math in his bestselling book, Capital in the 21st Century. Turns out there is no catastrophic problem with his maths.

Watch Thomas Piketty and Senator Elizabeth Warren take questions from MoveOn.Org on Monday Night.

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