gov
As the presidential candidates debate the role of government, the Reason-Rupe poll finds 55 percent of Americans believe the federal government has too much influence over their lives, 36 percent say the amount of influence is about right and just 7 percent say the government does not have enough influence.

Over two-thirds, 67 percent, of likely voters say it is not the government’s responsibility to reduce income differences between Americans, while 29 percent say it is the government’s responsibility. Similarly, 61 percent of likely voters tell Reason-Rupe that today’s levels of income inequality are an acceptable part of America’s economic system, 35 percent say income inequalities need to be fixed.

Today, 59 percent of voters believe all Americans have equal opportunities to succeed, whereas 39 percent do not believe everyone has equal opportunities.

When asked if they are better off than they were four years ago, 44 percent of likely voters feel they are better off, 41 percent say worse off.

Reason/Rupe Poll results as reported by Emily Ekin in “Obama Leads Romney 52-45 In New Reason-Rupe Poll; In Three-Way Race Obama Leads Romney 49-42, Johnson Gets 6 Percent”

Relevant:

image

As Basilisc reported here on Tumblr:

Ezra Klein points to an intriguing polling result, above. Even though more people think they’re worse off today than four years ago, it’s also the case that more people think they’re better off because Obama won four years ago. In other words, a plurality thinks that, if McCain had won in 2008, they would be even worse off now. 

Not only are people’s ideas about whether/why they are/aren’t better off interesting, but so are the majority’s opinions on government influence, income inequality, and equality of opportunity as reported in the above quote. In all three cases, the majority favors the rhetoric we hear most often from the Republican side — and yet the same poll showed Obama with a seven point lead over Romney.

— Bonnie

(via election)

theatlantic
theatlantic:

No-Vacation Nation: Why Don’t Americans Know How to Take a Break?

If something must exist for it to be broken, then U.S. national vacation policy cannot be broken, because there isn’t one. Here’s a graph of federal paid annual leave policies across advanced economies in the OECD. Look to the far right. See us? We’re the one at zero.
So, America is exceptional. But not wiser, perhaps. The science of productivity is pretty clear that anything from a coffee break to a two-week vacation can make us better workers by replenishing our energy and attention and allowing our brains to make new connections that are obscured in the daily grind. Even at companies that offer vacation time (the vast majority of them), Americans often don’t take advantage. We like working, or at least we’re so afraid of not working that we deny ourselves breaks that might, paradoxically, make us more productive in the long term. Are we crazy?Since it’s August, and you’re either on vacation yourself or barely working at your desk, I wanted to turn the question over to you. Instead of focusing on the national level, l want to hear from your personal experience. What kind of vacation and time-off policy does your company offer, and — most importantly — do you agree with it?

Let’s hear what you think, Tumblr: Is there a smarter way for companies and employees to work together to create a schedule and vacation policy that maximized both our happiness and even our effectiveness?
We’ll collect the best answers and publish them later this week. As always, the longer and smarter your response, the more likely we’ll publish it.

theatlantic:

No-Vacation Nation: Why Don’t Americans Know How to Take a Break?

If something must exist for it to be broken, then U.S. national vacation policy cannot be broken, because there isn’t one. Here’s a graph of federal paid annual leave policies across advanced economies in the OECD. Look to the far right. See us? We’re the one at zero.

So, America is exceptional. But not wiser, perhaps. The science of productivity is pretty clear that anything from a coffee break to a two-week vacation can make us better workers by replenishing our energy and attention and allowing our brains to make new connections that are obscured in the daily grind. Even at companies that offer vacation time (the vast majority of them), Americans often don’t take advantage. We like working, or at least we’re so afraid of not working that we deny ourselves breaks that might, paradoxically, make us more productive in the long term. Are we crazy?

Since it’s August, and you’re either on vacation yourself or barely working at your desk, I wanted to turn the question over to you. Instead of focusing on the national level, l want to hear from your personal experience. What kind of vacation and time-off policy does your company offer, and — most importantly — do you agree with it?

Let’s hear what you think, Tumblr: Is there a smarter way for companies and employees to work together to create a schedule and vacation policy that maximized both our happiness and even our effectiveness?

We’ll collect the best answers and publish them later this week. As always, the longer and smarter your response, the more likely we’ll publish it.

kileyrae

kileyrae:

“I think this is one of his ‘Etch A Sketch moments.’ I don’t think anybody takes that seriously. People remember his position which was, ‘Let’s let Detroit go bankrupt.’ Had we followed his advice at that time GM and Chrysler would have gone under and we’d have lost probably a million jobs throughout the Midwest.” - President Obama on Mitt Romney taking credit for the revival of the U.S. auto industry.

pantslessprogressive
From 1978–2011, CEO compensation grew more than 725 percent, substantially more than the stock market and remarkably more than the annual compensation of a typical private-sector worker, which grew a meager 5.7 percent over this time period.
pantslessprogressive

pantslessprogressive:

No chance it’ll pass, but you should know about it anyway. Some of the highlights, from The Hill:

  • Aims to cut $11 trillion and achieve a $111 billion surplus in FY 2017
  • Changes to Medicare: ” The lawmakers said they would turn Medicare into a premium support plan that would give seniors the same healthcare plan as members of Congress. They say this would save an estimated $1 trillion over 10 years.”
  • Alter Social Security by increasing the retirement age and indexing benefits based on individual incomes
  • Medicaid, SCHIP, food stamps and child nutrition programs would be funded through block grants
  • Cut discretionary spending to FY 2008 levels
  • No national defense spending cuts
  • Freeze foreign aid spending at $5 billion/year
  • Eliminate the Department of Commerce, Education, HUD and Energy
  • Privatize the TSA
  • Repeal the Affordable Care Act and Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform
  • Establish 17 percent flat tax for individuals and corporations

Read more.

pantslessprogressive
pantslessprogressive:

“Nearly 10% of bank customers switched to another financial institution last year, with a third saying onerous fees prompted the move, a J.D. Power & Associates study found.
The 9.6% who moved their money compared to 8.7% in 2010 and 7.7% in 2009 – an increase the study attributed to a backlash against increased fees, coupled with poor service and unmet customer expectations.
‘It is apparent that new or increased fees are the proverbial straws that break the camel’s back,’ said Michael Beird, director of Power’s banking services practice.
‘More than one-half of all customers who said fees were the main reason to shop for another bank also indicated that their prior bank provided poor service.’ […]
Among banks with more than $33 billion in assets, annual switching rates are now running at 10% or more on average, Power said. The defection rate for small banks and credit unions now averages only 0.9%, a significant drop from 8.8% last year, it said.” - E. Scott Reckhard
Bank switching movement is real

pantslessprogressive:

“Nearly 10% of bank customers switched to another financial institution last year, with a third saying onerous fees prompted the move, a J.D. Power & Associates study found.

The 9.6% who moved their money compared to 8.7% in 2010 and 7.7% in 2009 – an increase the study attributed to a backlash against increased fees, coupled with poor service and unmet customer expectations.

‘It is apparent that new or increased fees are the proverbial straws that break the camel’s back,’ said Michael Beird, director of Power’s banking services practice.

‘More than one-half of all customers who said fees were the main reason to shop for another bank also indicated that their prior bank provided poor service.’ […]

Among banks with more than $33 billion in assets, annual switching rates are now running at 10% or more on average, Power said. The defection rate for small banks and credit unions now averages only 0.9%, a significant drop from 8.8% last year, it said.” - E. Scott Reckhard

Bank switching movement is real

pantslessprogressive
pantslessprogressive:

“President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob.” - Rick Santorum, in Troy, MI Saturday (h/t washingtonpoststyle)
Above, unemployment rates from the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report.
The Wall Street Journal elaborates:

Some 1.8 million more college graduates have found work since January 2010, when the recovery began producing jobs, but about 128,000 high-school dropouts lost work in the same period, according to the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Less than 40% of the 25 million Americans over age 25 who lack a high-school diploma are employed. And those who are working don’t earn much. High-school dropouts earn about $23,400 on average, compared with $33,500 for those with a college degree.

The only snob here is the one who is too demagogic (pardon the Newtism) to acknowledge the positive effects of a college education.

pantslessprogressive:

“President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob.” - Rick Santorum, in Troy, MI Saturday (h/t washingtonpoststyle)

Above, unemployment rates from the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report.

The Wall Street Journal elaborates:

Some 1.8 million more college graduates have found work since January 2010, when the recovery began producing jobs, but about 128,000 high-school dropouts lost work in the same period, according to the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Less than 40% of the 25 million Americans over age 25 who lack a high-school diploma are employed. And those who are working don’t earn much. High-school dropouts earn about $23,400 on average, compared with $33,500 for those with a college degree.

The only snob here is the one who is too demagogic (pardon the Newtism) to acknowledge the positive effects of a college education.

kileyrae

The number of people seeking unemployment benefits in the U.S. fell to the lowest point in almost four years last week, the latest signal that the job market is steadily improving.

Weekly applications for unemployment benefits dropped 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 348,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. It was the fourth drop in five weeks and the fewest number of claims since March 2008 - six months before Lehman Brothers collapsed and only a few months into the Great Recession.

The four-week average, which smooths out fluctuations in the weekly data, fell for the fifth straight week to 365,250. The average has fallen nearly 13 percent in the past year.

The consistent decline indicates that companies are laying off fewer workers, and hiring is likely picking up further. When applications drop below 375,000, it usually signals that hiring is strong enough to lower the unemployment rate.