Weekly Economic Snapshot 7/30 - 8/3
Economic Facts for This Week
- The uninsured rate among elderly was 48 percent prior to Medicare, today it stands at 1 percent. Republican efforts to undermine Medicare threaten the foundation of health care for 58 million seniors and individuals with disabilities.
- The evidence that stricter Medicaid or SNAP work requirements would be ineffective and harmful continues to mount. New research shows that beneficiaries of these programs typically work, but are often in volatile jobs that see little wage growth.
- President Trump’s proposed auto-tariffs would raise the price of an entry-level compact car by between $1,408 and $2,057, squeezing consumers and reducing demand. An estimated 195,000 American workers would lose their jobs.
- Large gains for a small group can keep total income (GDP) growing, even while many or even most Americans see their incomes stagnate or shrink. A new JEC report explains why the latest GDP release does not validate Republicans’ claims about the tax cuts.
Chart of the Week
New rules from the Trump administration are expected to allow states to weaken protections that prevent insurers from discriminating based on pre-existing conditions. This would potentially expose half of nonelderly Americans, 133 million in total, to denial of coverage or unaffordable premiums because of pre-existing conditions. This would affect Americans of all ages, including 17 million children, although it would disproportionately impact older Americans, who often suffer from more chronic health issues.
Tracking Trump’s $4k Promise
During the tax cut debate, the White House claimed that the average American household would see an income increase of $4,000 a year because of the tax cuts. Below are some indicators looking at whether or not Republicans are living up to their promise:
- Average weekly wages for production and nonsupervisory workers are just 2 percent higher than they were before the new tax law, before accounting for inflation.
- After adjusting for inflation, the average hourly wage for all workers was the same in June 2018 as it was in June 2017. For production and nonsupervisory workers, it actually decreased over this time period.
- Meanwhile, stock buybacks are at record highs – with public companies announcing nearly $700 billion in stock buybacks in the first two quarters of 2018.
- The Center for American Progress has a list of ways that wealthy individuals and businesses are working to game the new tax law.
- Seventy-one million Americans have debt in collections, according to a new estimate from the Urban Institute.
- In 2016, 16.5 percent of households with children did not have consistent access to adequate food.
Coming This Week
- Tuesday 8:30am: Employment Cost Index (for Q2): https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/eci.pdf
- Tuesday 10:00am: Personal Consumption Expenditures deflator (inflation, for June): https://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/national/pi/2018/pi0518.htm
- Friday 8:30am: Establishment Survey (jobs report, for July): https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.toc.htm