Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The National Bureau of Economic Research: Social Security and Economic Poverty

Social Security is often mentioned as a likely contributor to the decline in elderly poverty. Enacted in 1935, the Social Security system experienced rapid benefit growth in the post-WWII era. In fact, there is a striking association between the rise in Social Security expenditures per capita and the decline in elderly poverty, as Figure 1 illustrates (with both series scaled to fit on the same figure).

Three if's.

If I were single and monthly Social Security checks were my only income, I'd be living "comfortably" above the poverty level of $11,173 (that's $214.87 a week), but an annual income of $19,440 ($373.85 a week) would require living on a strict budget. 

If I lived in my own (i.e., current) home, property taxes would take a 23% chunk out of my annual income.

If this were the financial state of my life, it's unlikely I'd have any savings or other cushion.   (Or be living in a house, for that matter.)

Gallup Poll: Retirement Savings Are America's Nightmare.  (Money News, 4/24/2014)

*That's $14,400 annually, $276.92 per week.
According to the AARP, Social Security payments, which average only $1,200* per month in the United States, are the principal source of income for nearly half of older Americans.

2010: Scott Walker Pledges to Get Government Out of the Way

So this news shouldn't come as any surprise.

Most Frac Sand Mining Facilities In Wisconsin Have Not Undergone Air Quality Evaluations. (Wisconsin Public Radio, 9/29/2014)

Scott Walker delivers.
A frac sand company must get an air permit from the DNR before building a mine, processing center or rail-loading facility. Once operating, it’s up to the agency to do a full compliance evaluation to prove the company is following the rules. However, the number of frac sand operations in the state grew more than tenfold between 2010 and 2013 and the DNR wasn’t able to do any full compliance checks on most operations during those years.

Other mining posts:
More hills posed to go away.  (9/27/2014)
A personal account of the impact of frac sand mining.  (9/26/2014) 
Report: Communities At Risk: Frac Sand Mining in the Upper Midwest.  (9/26/2014) 
Makes you wonder: Do campaign contributions pay for a license to pollute?  (9/15/2014)
Maybe it has something to do with the hardhat.  (8/9/2014)
In other words, Kevin, people don't want to live near a frac sand mining operation.  (8/7/2014) 
UPDATED: Scott Walker continues his "Thank You for Your Contributions" tour.  (8/3/2014)
What a mere $8,000 will buy you in the Scott Walker House of Favors,  (3/30/2014)
Frac sand mining and property values: Homeowners vs. landowners.  (3/30/2014)
Nevertheless, transparency would have been in the general pubic's best interest.  (3/15/2014)
Wisconsin Towns Association has second thoughts about that "gentler" frac sand mining regulation bill. (3/4/014)
Scott Walker likely to support Tom Tiffany's new mining bill.  (2/27/2014)
The vision of Trempealeau County as one big mining operation -- nipped in the bud.  (2/20/2014)
Glenwood City Council members defeat their recall challengers by a hair.  (12/18/2013)
Wyoming's Republican Governor has a message for Wisconsin mining industry's "Tom Terrific".  (11/24/2013)
The mining industry's "Tom Terrific" gets pushback from his Republican colleagues.  (11/18/2013)
In so many words: Dear Sen. Tiffany, Your bill sucks, Sincerely, Pepin County Board.  (11/13/2013)
Follow the Gogebic money.  (11/7/2013)
Sand mine industry leaders put our minds at ease.  (11/5/2013) 
Scott Walker donor promises jobs, permanence for Independence and Whitehall residents.  (10/29/2013) 
Sen. Tom Tiffany's sand mine bill a hot potato.  (10/28/2013) 
Another Walker campaign donor for SB349.  (10/25/2013)
Expensive to the Tune of $430,505.49 (as of June 30, 2013).  (10/25/2013) 
The Nipper Chronicles: The frac sand mining masters speak.  (10/18/2013)
Things aren't so tranquil in Glenwood City Wisconsin lately  (10/10/2013)

Kenosha County: Public Library Circulation and Program Attendance, 1996-2013

2010 population:  166,426  

Public libraries in Kenosha County

                % change (1996-2013)
                • Circulation:  10.7%
                • Program attendance:  62.5% 

                  Line graphs data sourceWisconsin Public Library Service Data

                  Related posts: (with 1996-2013 % changes)

                  Adams County.  (9/1/2014)
                  • Circulation:  320%
                  • Program attendance:  132%
                  Ashland County (9/2/2014)
                  • Circulation:  13.5%
                  • Program attendance:  116%
                  Barron County  (9/3/2014)
                  • Circulation:  32.1%
                  • Program attendance:   237%
                  Bayfield County (9/4/2014)
                  • Circulation:  127%
                  • Program attendance:   (7.2%)
                  Brown County (9/5/2014)
                  • Circulation:  35.2%
                  • Program attendance:   (22.3%)
                  Buffalo County (9/6/2014)
                  • Circulation:  1.9%
                  • Program attendance:  812%
                  Burnett County (9/7/2014)
                  • Circulation:  104%
                  • Program attendance  466%
                  Calumet County (9/8/2014)
                  • Circulation: (32.7%)
                  • Program attendance  20.0%
                  Chippewa County (9/9/2014)
                  • Circulation: 24.6%
                  • Program attendance  28.8%
                  Clark County (9/10/2014)
                  • Circulation: 21.6%
                  • Program attendance  86.5%
                  Columbia County (9/11/2014)
                  • Circulation: 40.5%
                  • Program attendance  84.2%
                  Crawford  County (9/12/2014)
                  • Circulation: 58.1%
                  • Program attendance  (28.3%)
                  Dane County (9/13/2014)
                  • Circulation: 83.0%
                  • Program attendance  246%
                  Dodge County (9/14/2014)
                  • Circulation: 53.9%
                  • Program attendance  186%
                  Door County (9/15/2014)
                  • Circulation: 23.2%
                  • Program attendance  (7.1%)
                  Douglas County (9/16/2014)
                  • Circulation: 81.1%
                  • Program attendance:  33.9% 
                  Dunn County (9/17/2014)
                  • Circulation: 14.2%
                  • Program attendance:  178% 
                  Eau Claire County (9/18/2014)
                  • Circulation: 23.7%
                  • Program attendance:  86.6% 
                  Florence County (9/19/2014)
                  • Circulation: 251%
                  • Program attendance:  195% 
                  Fond du Lac County (9/20/2014)
                  • Circulation: 24.2%
                  • Program attendance:  72.6% 
                  Forest County (9/21/2014)
                  • Circulation: 68.4%
                  • Program attendance:  261% 
                  Grant County (9/22/2014)
                  • Circulation: 44.3%
                  • Program attendance:  87.9%
                  Green County (9/23/2014)
                  • Circulation:  14.4%
                  • Program attendance:  111% 
                  Green Lake County (9/24/2014)
                  • Circulation:  33.8%
                  • Program attendance:  125%
                  Iowa County (9/25/2014)
                  • Circulation:  39.8%
                  • Program attendance:  122% 
                  Iron County (9/26/2014)
                  • Circulation:  5.4%
                  • Program attendance:  121% 
                  Jackson County (9/27/2014)
                  • Circulation:  57.3%
                  • Program attendance:  52.3%
                  Jefferson County (9/28/2014)
                  • Circulation:  19.9%
                  • Program attendance:  68.3% 
                  Juneau County (9/29/2014)
                  • Circulation:  41.9%
                  • Program attendance:  166% 

                  Wisconsin Fall Election Preview: Assembly District 43

                  Democratic incumbent vs. Republican challenger

                  Andy Jorgensen, Democratic incumbent

                  Leon Hebert, Republican challenger

                  Hebert won the August 12 Republican primary.

                  43rd Assembly District (includes portions of Rock, Dane, Jefferson, and Walworth counties)

                  Public libraries in the 43rd Assembly District
                  Edgerton Public Library
                  Irwin L. Young Memorial Library, Whitewater
                  Milton Public Library
                  Oregon Public Library (service area)

                  Related posts and notes:

                  1st Senate District  (9/6/2014)

                  2nd Senate District.  7-term Republican Rob Cowles (Green Bay) is not up for re-election this year.   Cowles also served in the Assembly from 1982 to 1987.

                  3rd Senate District:  3-term Democrat Tim Carpenter (Milwaukee) is running unopposed.

                  4th Senate District.  Three-term Democrat Lena Taylor (Milwaukee) is not up for re-election this year.

                  5th Senate District (9/8/2014)

                  6th Senate District.  Freshman Democrat Nikiya Harris Dodd (Milwaukee) is not up for re-election this year.
                  • 16th Assembly District.  11-term Democrat Leon Young (Milwaukee) is running unopposed.
                  • 17th Assembly District (sorry, somehow got lost in the shuffle; need to re-do)
                  • 18th Assembly District.  Freshman Democrat Evan Goyke (Milwaukee) is running unopposed.

                  7th Senate District.  (9/9/2014)

                  8th Senate District.  6-term Republican Alberta Darling (River Hills) is not up for re-election this year.   Darling also served 2 1/2 years in the Assembly (May 1990-January 1993)

                  9th Senate District.  (9/15/2014)

                  10th Senate District.  4-term Republican Sheila Harsdorf (River Falls) is not up for re-election this year.  Harsdorf also served 12 years in the Assembly (1989-2001)

                  11th Senate District.  (9/22/2014)

                  12th Senate District.  First-term Republican Tom Tiffany (Town  of Little Rice) is not up for re-election this year.  (Tiffany also served in the Assembly for 2 years -- 2011-2013.)

                  13th Senate District.  (9/23/2014)

                  14th Senate District.  3-term Republican Luther Olsen (Ripon) is not up for re-election this year.  (Olsen also served 10 years in the Assembly, first elected in 1994.)
                  15th Senate District.  (9/29/2014) 

                  Monday, September 29, 2014

                  Like Many Stores Before It, Kmart Sez Goodbye to Warren Mall

                  The entrance to Big K in 2008

                  Goodbye, Kmart.  Anchor store leaving mall on Dec. 7.  (Warren Times Observer, 9/25/2014)

                  Kmart press release
                  Store closures are part of a series of actions we're taking to reduce on-going expenses, adjust our asset base, and accelerated the transformation of our business model.  These actions will better enable us to focus our investments on serving our customers and members through integrated retail -- at the store, online and in the home.
                  Translation:  We're a dying brand.

                  No surprise here.

                  Some other Warren Mall photos from 2008.

                  An uninviting main entrance.

                  The center court with mustard-colored tiles.

                  Looking north toward Big Lots. 
                  (Big Lots leaving
                  .  Warren Times Observer, 10/25/2013)

                  Losing Big Lots as an anchor store = reaching rock bottom.

                  Looking north toward Big K.  
                  In case you're wondering, yes, the mall was open when I took these photos.

                  Warren, Pennsylvania.  No longer "home of 15,000 friendly people".