my personal blog

April 15, 2008

U.S. Satisfaction, 1980 through 2008

Filed under: politics,thoughts — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 6:58 am

Gallup posted their latest polling results on overall U.S. satisfaction yesterday. Here is full story, and here is their chart:

Gallup U.S. Satisfaction poll, 1980 - 2008

The first thing I noticed looking at this chart was that, lo and behold, satisfaction increased during Ronald Reagan’s and Bill Clinton’s terms, and decreased during both George H.W. Bush’s and George W. Bush’s terms. An unscientific estimate—I squinted my eyes and looked at the chart really closely—shows that Reagan inherited an abysmal 17% satisfaction level and left with a 50% satisfaction level. Bush inherited that high satisfaction level and left with it at 29%. Clinton inherited that level and left with it at 53%. And under the younger Bush, it’s gone to a pre-Reagan era low of 15%.

Gallup U.S. Satisfaction poll, 1980 - 2008 with arrows depicting trend during various presidential terms

A terse translation: Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton inherited shit and turned it to gold, and both Bushes took that gold and turned it back to shit.

July 2, 2006

Keep the Penny

Filed under: business — Tags: , , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 7:16 pm

If we stop circulating the penny (as discussed in this news story)we can expect merchants to round-up their prices. Yes, proponents claim otherwise, but history does not agree.

After the introduction of the Euro currency, it was commonplace for merchants in Euro area countries to round-up their prices across the board to retain “attractive” numbers such as .99 in their prices. Although it had only a minor effect across the board, this caused a decrease in consumer spending that put a slight damper on economic growth related to the introduction of the new currency.

Mark my words, despite claims, prices will increase slightly across the board, causing slight price inflation that will hit the “working class” average Joe. For example, if a product currently costs 2.91, expect it to go up to 2.95, not 2.90.

March 18, 2005

N. Gregory Mankiw

Filed under: business,politics,school — Tags: , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 2:16 pm

Mr. Mankiw was until recently George W Bush’s chief economic advisor. He also wrote the texbook for my applied macroeconomics class, obviously titled Macroeconomics, 5th ed.

I’m reading through the textbook right now, and I cannot help but think about his position while reading it. The textbook is great, well-written for the most part, pretty concise, and easy to understand. But I can’t help but think that Mr. Mankiw is preaching “do as I say, not as I do” in this textbook. Either that, or he really needs to read his own book.

This is the same guy made famous for his report praising the trend of “outsourcing” of American jobs to foreign countries and partially responsible for the Bush administration’s perennially sunny economic forecasts.

In the few mentioned of George W Bush I found in the textbook, one implies his tax cut was sound Keynsian economic policy, and another blames the bleak economic picture on 9/11, but the book is pretty free of Fox-News-Syndrome (e.g. too much political commentary). I look forward to reading one of the textbook’s last chapters, which is exclusively about government debt.

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