Rappin’ economists, round 2. Yes, rapping. Yes, round 2.

The great economists Hayek and Keynes continue their rap encounters. This time they go to a congressional hearing and wind up in a boxing ring.

Check out Fight of the Century at EconStories.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTQnarzmTOc&feature=player_embedded#t=447s]

Some of my favorite lines:

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Is inflation back?

Various news reports suggest that inflation is returning to the economy.  See this article from the AP for one example: That’s pricey: 13 items that cost more, or will.

Officials of the Federal Reserve indicate the recent price increases won’t be sustained. 

I decided to do some checking on my own.

I pulled down the CPI data for a look-see.  See this post for links to get the data yourself.

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Comparing GDP of US states with foreign countries

You’ve played the word game — if California was a separate country, it would be the Xth largest economy in the world.   

The Economist magazine has revised the game with a graph that matches the GDP of each state with another country with the closest GDP.  Map is here.  The ‘population’ button at the top changes the map to match each state with a country with the closest population size.

A few fun observations:

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Why are cartoons such a popular explanation of economics right now?

Amity Shlaes, in her current Forbes column, Economics by Cartoon, points out that the cartoon Quantitative Easing Explained and the rap debate between Keynes and Hayek have received 3.5 million and 1.7 million hits on YouTube, respectively.  I’ve mentioned these videos here on this blog and here on my other blog.  (Just checked – the QE cartoon is up to 4.0 million visits.)

Over 5.7 million hits on YouTube video explanations of what is going on?  Why?

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Economic development makes every country healthier and richer

Incredible visualization of 200 years of economic development and improvements in health around the world.  A professor creates an entertaining visual of how health and wealth has increased in 200 countries over 2 centuries.  Does it all in under 5 minutes.  (more…)

New blog – attestationupdate.com

I started a new blog today, Attestation Update, www.attestationupdate.com. It will provide news and updates to the CPA community on audits, reviews, and compilations.  Some posts are only at the new site and some attestation posts will be left here. In the future, posts that are focused more on the CPA community will be at the new site.

Why make this change? I realized there are very two distinct audiences for my writing:  the non-profit community and CPAs. While there is a lot of overlap, particularly with the CPA firms in Southern California with whom I count as friends at the same time as competitors, the interests are very different.  Thus, two blogs.  This will allow for more focused attention by time constrained readers.  Enjoy them both!

Easy-listening explanation of Quantitative Easing

Quantitative Easin’ is a new song in easy listening style that explains what the Fed is planning for the very near future.  Fun explanation.  Watch out for the depressing graphs though.

The singer, Curtis Threadneedle, is on facebook here.

Update: Fed announced the QE2 will be for $600,000,000,000 spread in $75B purchases per month of longer-term treasuries. Typo in title of this post corrected.

Rapping Economists debate how to improve the economy? Rapping? On economics?

As news reports indicate the Fed plans a half trillion dollar quantitative easing, it is a good time to revisit the Hayek and Keynes debate.  If you would like a rap explanation, check this out: “Fear the Boom and Bust”. Yes, Hayek presented in rap. (more…)

10 leading causes of death in 1850 and 2000

Fascinating display at the Reuben Fleet Science Museum in San Diego listing the top 10 causes of death in 1850, 1900, and 2000 caught my interest while on vacation.  Focus of their discussion is on the change over time, particularly the change from infectious disease to other causes.  Look at this list (more…)

The recession officially ended in June 2009

The people who make the official call for the start and end point of recessions, which is the National Bureau of Economic Research, announced on September 20 that the recession officially hit bottom in June 2009.  We need to look at what that actually means.  The bottom point of the economic cycle is considered the end of a recession.  The Bureau calculated the low point, or the trough, was in June last year.  Since then the economy has been recovering, although slowly. (more…)

Data on unemployment & GDP changes available on-line

If you are so interested, lots of economic data is available from the federal government on-line.  Two items of interest to me are unemployment data and GDP changes.  Those are fairly major pieces of the economic picture.

Unemployment data:  Alternative measures of labor utilization – table A-15 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Of particular interest are U-3 and U-6. The most quoted information is the U-3 measure, which is a calculation of unemployed people as percent of the civilian labor force.  This is the official number you hear about. The broader data is the U-6 measure. That is based on the total number unemployed plus people only able to work part-time, plus people who want to work but have dropped out of the market.  Or at least that is my casual interpretation of the data.

Changes in GDP:  Percent change from preceding period in real Gross Domestic Product – table 1.1.1 from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. 

There are several frequently requested tables from the BEA.

http://www.bea.gov/national/nipaweb/SelectTable.asp?Popular=Y