May 1, 2011

Econ-Related Quotes of the Day (050111, Morning)

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:51 am

Men like O’Neill and Geithner think they’re quantitatively easing American decline.
They’re not. They’re quantitatively accelerating American collapse.

Mark Steyn at National Review (“Discredited — The Fed’s policy
is quantitatively accelerating American collapse”)

More from Steyn’s read-the-whole-thing column:

(Former George W. Bush Treasury Secretary Paul) O’Neill popped up the other day on Bloomberg Television to compare debt-ceiling holdouts to jihadists. “The people who are threatening not to pass the debt ceiling,” he said, “are our version of al-Qaeda terrorists. Really.”



“They’re really putting our whole society at risk by threatening to round up 50 percent of the members of the Congress, who are loony, who would put our credit at risk.”

But hang on, generally speaking, when you hit your “debt ceiling,” your credit is at risk.

… At this stage, nothing does more damage to our “full faith and credit” than business as usual. If you’re going to bandy glib, witless al-Qaeda analogies, the conventional wisdom Paul O’Neill represents is the real suicide bomb here.


The nation deserves an explanation as to why the president’s appointees
are doing the machinist union’s dirty work on the backs
of the businesses and workers of South Carolina.

– South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, on the National Labor Board’s decision to sue
Boeing to prevent the company from building its latest jet at its non-union
South Carolina plant instead of in one of its unionized Washington State
facilities, in Friday’s Wall Street Journal

Other observations by Governor Haley:

In choosing to manufacture in my state, Boeing was exercising its right as a free enterprise in a free nation to conduct business wherever it believed would best serve both the bottom line and the employees of its company. This is not a novel or complicated idea. It’s called capitalism.

… The actions by the NLRB are nothing less than a direct assault on the 22 right-to-work states across America. They are also an unprecedented attack on an iconic American company that is being told by the federal government—which seems to regard its authority as endless—where and how to build airplanes.

If there is a legal basis for what the NLRB is doing, the WSJ’s editorialists couldn’t find it. An administration that is serious about improving the economy wouldn’t be doing this.


Wal-Mart has noticed a pattern during the recession where its core customers will
typically shop in bulk at the beginning of the month when their paychecks come in.

– Aaron Levitt, at

Levitt is dissembling. Most workers, certainly the vast majority, are not paid once a month. They are paid once a week, once every two weeks, or twice a month.

The things that “come in” at the beginning in the early days of a month are Food Stamps and welfare checks/direct deposits (thanks to commenter Lily S for the detail; food stamps are debited to the related plastic just after midnight when the monthly calendar turns). Update, 5:30 p.m. — As she noted, Social Security checks and direct deposits are spread over three different days during the month.

The retail cycle of Wal-Mart and other retailers is being affected by the growing cycle of dependency on government handouts and entitlements. One would expect in turn that retailers are hiring more part-time and temporary help to handle the early-month rushes, while staying lean on full-time help because of the slower month-end time frame.



  1. “The things that “come in” at the beginning of a month are Social Security
    checks and direct deposits, Food Stamps, and welfare checks/direct deposits.”

    Regular SS beneficiaries are paid on the 2nd, 3rd or
    4th Wednesday of the month depending on their
    birthdate. Older SS beneficiaries [prior to May 1997]
    or those receiving both SS and SSI are paid on the 3rd of
    the month. Only those who are soley on SSI are paid on
    the 1st of the month. SSI is funded by general tax revenues.


    Comment by LilyS — May 1, 2011 @ 10:58 am

  2. #1, thx for the detail. I modified the language a bit in the post. Clearly, there’s a bunch-up of handouts and entitlements in the early days of a month, and Wal-Mart and other retailers are seeing the impact.

    UPDATE: Whoops, had to re-clarity on Social Security checks. That’s now done.

    Comment by TBlumer — May 1, 2011 @ 12:27 pm

  3. I like the new format for displaying the quotes, it makes them easier to read and they also stand out better.

    #1, Seems a bit of a nitpicky criticism of Tom there. Surely the “beginning” of the mouth can cover 2nd Wednesdays and 3rds day of the month? Even with your qualifier, it’s apparent that for the vast majority of people SS checks come in within the first three days of a month.

    Comment by zf — May 1, 2011 @ 3:18 pm

  4. #3, I have to re-recorrect the Social Security because I didn’t note that are spread over three different days a week apart (2nd, 3rd and 4th Weds.) instead of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th days of the month.

    Comment by TBlumer — May 1, 2011 @ 5:35 pm

  5. #4, Understood. But I would think that older beneficiaries and those on SS and SSI and those sorely on SSI who all get their checks ((according to her info)) within the first three days of the mouth would vastly outnumber ‘regular’ beneficiaries who are on the staggered Wednesdays system, since obviously a lot more people were born receiving benefits before May 1997 than after and are closer to SS age. So I think it’s a pretty safe assumption that for a large majority of those with SS their checks come within the first three days of the month. So your original point regarding SS is still valid. Perhaps you could change the sentence to something like:

    “The things that “come in” in the early days of a month are Food Stamps, welfare checks/direct deposits and for most individuals their Social Security checks.”

    Comment by zf — May 1, 2011 @ 8:44 pm

  6. #HERE is SocSec’s fact page.

    Correlating the payment schedule with these stats, the people paid in the very early days of the month are:
    - All SSIs. (8 million plus 2 million dependents)
    - All retirement and SSI beneficiaries who started receiving benefits before 1997 (some undefined % of the 35 million retirees and, logically, almost none of the dependents.). I’d say at most that there are 10 million pre-1997 retirees out of the 36 million.

    On balance there’s some weighting towards the early part of the month, but it’s not huge.

    The far bigger early in the month influences would be food stamps (44 million, all at the first of the month as far as I know) and traditional welfare (4.4 million as of Sept. 2010).

    As to your thought on the quote presentation, I just did it this weekend because it seemed there were so many pointed statements. I am going to consider doing more with this format because it does seem to drive certain points home effectively with (who, me?) excessive verbosity.

    Comment by TBlumer — May 1, 2011 @ 9:22 pm

  7. Re: #5 – “since obviously a lot more people were born before May 1997″

    It’s not that they were born before May, 1997 that is the factor that
    determines whether they receive benefits on the 3rd of the month. They
    must have been receiving benefits before May, 1997. That would mean
    they would be at least 76 today if they took benefits at age 62 or 79
    if they took benefits at age 65.

    Comment by LilyS — May 1, 2011 @ 9:34 pm

  8. Thanks, Lily. I’ve changed the text. I didn’t type what I was thinking — an obvious case of Blogheimer’s. :–>

    Comment by TBlumer — May 1, 2011 @ 9:52 pm

  9. Apparently, The Washington Post has reinvented fiscal history of how we came to be in the red.

    Running in the red: How the U.S., on the road to surplus, detoured to massive debt

    -No mention of a GOP run Congress forcing spending priorities to achieve a balanced budget by 2000
    -No mention of welfare reform
    -No mention of Clinton and Dems screaming and kicking against those priorities.
    -No mention that the budget deficit which initially went up due to the Dot com bust and 911 was brought down by the tax cuts
    -No mention of the TRILLION dollar per year additional revenue the tax cuts brought in
    -No mention that in 2007 when Reid and Pelosi took control of Congress they doubled the budget deficit for 2008 over 2007
    -No mention Reid and Pelosi doubled the budget deficit for 2009 over their doubling of 2008

    It’s all a set up for tax hikes, READ MY LIPS NO NEW TAXES is what the Dems are going to pull on the GOP again. They are going to go full throttle to force a tax hike no matter how trivial for the HW Bush replay.

    Comment by dscott — May 1, 2011 @ 10:27 pm

  10. #7, Sorry, I assumed “birthday” because the mention of recipients after May 1997 came after you mentioned ‘regular’ recipients getting money based on their birthdate. My mind merged the two.

    HOWEVER (smile) it’s still not inaccurate to state that among the entitlements handed out on the first or beginning of the month is SS checks. Because the SS website clearly states that at least *some* beneficiaries get their check on the first day of the month. And to say *no* social security checks occur at the beginning of a month is *completely* inaccurate.

    And don’t even think about throwing that keyboard at me!

    P.S. I’m hearing Osama Bin Laden is dead! I’m glad we are rid of that inhuman monster piece of garbage. Of course, now we will be treated to Obama and his sycophants taking all the credit for it.

    Comment by zf — May 1, 2011 @ 11:17 pm

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