The decline in U.S. fertility


A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle
I wonder why this photo was chosen for the article?

The decline in population growth in the U.S. from 2010 to 2020 is part of a broader national trend linked to falling birth rates, but also immigration changes and other factors. In May of 2021 the scope of that change became clear, with a record low of 55.8 births per 1,000 women of childbearing age in 2020, a 4% drop from 2019. Other countries are facing similar slowdowns in population growth.

This shift has been underway in the U.S. for many years.

Economic opportunities, social norms and changing gender roles – especially expanding education and employment options for many women – help to explain why fertility has slowed in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. That change has repercussions for trends in workforce numbers, employment, health care, housing and education.

And that’s about as much of this article as I care to reproduce (pun intended!). Maybe I missed something; but, the authors avoided the everpresent question in our young(ish) republic. Do we continue to obey the instruction set we receive from religious leaders — or not!

When my father’s family moved here from Canada they hadn’t yet reached their ultimate family size of 10. That’s Grandma, Grandpa, and eight kids. My parents had two of us. Birth control overruled the priest at St.Charles Church on East Main Street. And after my sister and I related our first-day-in-catechism class…how fortunate we were not to be whipped by the nuns who performed that task for the priest in charge…that Sunday morning journey came to an end. My mom…very much self-taught like my dad…picked society-oriented books, fiction and non-fiction, for us to read every week and we discussed them Sunday mornings instead of taking that walk to church.

Over time, we went different ways, different conclusions. My sister married and had two lovely children. I eventually decided marriage could work. My parents example proved that to me. I had no interest in children since I didn’t set out to set the world on economic fire, anyway. Stronger political struggles in the (then) new and growing post-war civil rights movement served as primer for an ever-expanding materialist philosophy. Got a vasectomy when I was 22 years old. The Doc just about freaked out. I never looked back.

Read both the articles I linked to. Make up your own mind. It’s your life to build.

Ray Dalio’s perspective on China

Couple of quick notes:

Recently, I read reviews of Ray Dalio‘s essays on China and investing and that was what I was looking for. That is over here. In the course of my search for an easily accessible link, I came across this video. ‘Nuff said.

It’s long for my usual liking, though, there’s nothing slow or boring about it. Whenever he is on one of the (very few) TV channels I ever watch, I try to catch his appearance. I always learn something useful to managing the comparatively small retirement account I have to backup Social Security.

A mast year for acorns in New England

❝ If you have oak trees in your neighborhood, perhaps you’ve noticed that some years the ground is carpeted with their acorns, and some years there are hardly any. Biologists call this pattern, in which all the oak trees for miles around make either lots of acorns or almost none, “masting.”

In New England, naturalists have declared this fall a mast year for oaks: All the trees are making tons of acorns all at the same time…

❝ For trees like oaks that depend on having their seeds carried away from the parent tree and buried by animals like squirrels, a mast year has an extra benefit. When there are lots of nuts, squirrels bury more of them instead of eating them immediately, spreading oaks across the landscape.

❝ Whatever the causes, masting has consequences that flow up and down the food chain.

For instance, rodent populations often boom in response to high seed production. This in turn results in more food for rodent-eating predators like hawks and foxes; lower nesting success for songbirds, if rodents eat their eggs; and potentially higher risk of transmission of diseases like hantavirus to people.

If the low seed year that follows causes the rodent population to collapse, the effects are reversed.

Please, RTFA for discussion of other cause-and-effect relationships, possibilities…even maybe’s

Annual Growth in Personal Income Since the Great Recession

The second-longest U.S. economic expansion has played out unevenly across states. Growth has been strongest in North Dakota and a group of mostly Western states and weakest in Connecticut, as measured by the rate of change in each state’s total personal income since the start of the Great Recession. In the first half of 2018, all but a couple of states shared in widespread gains.

The national recovery has been long-running, but growth in total U.S. personal income is still off its historic pace. As of the second quarter of 2018, the combined personal income of U.S. residents rose by the equivalent of 1.9 percent a year over the 10-plus years since the recession began, compared with the equivalent of 2.3 percent over the past 20 years, after accounting for inflation.

The rates represent the constant pace at which inflation-adjusted state personal income would need to grow each year to reach the most recent level and are one way of tracking a state’s economy.

RTFA, Check the map. Maybe even wander back through newspaper archives and check out what your state politicians said their “solutions” would provide. Versus what you ended up with. Like in supply-side Republican bastions like Kansas.

Truman’s economy grew more than 3 times faster than Trump’s — So What?

He didn’t waste our time patting himself on the back!

❝ Based solely on a few headline numbers, the American economy looks good. But it would be a mistake to read too much into the data — or to give too much credit to President Trump.

In fact, the most spectacular economic growth since World War II occurred nearly 70 years ago, when Harry Truman was president. But Truman didn’t cause it, and it wasn’t particularly good news.

❝ First, let’s look at where we find ourselves now. Avid supporters of Mr. Trump attribute good economic tidings to him. His policies — tax cuts, curtailment of immigration, reduction in regulations — and confidence-building talk are seen as driving faster economic growth.

But that is largely a misreading of the way modern economies work. They have a tendency to alternate between booms and recessions for reasons that are imperfectly understood but involve changing popular narratives, the contagion of ideas and emotions, and circumstances that are mostly outside a president’s control…

❝ Whatever caused it, it doesn’t seem to have been presidential magic…this president was a modest and courteous man, who did not ask to be treated as a genius, and virtually no one treated him as one. The Times, rather politely, called his speeches “down to earth.”…

❝ We have to be careful not to give too much credence to interpretations of the economy’s strength offered by the president, who focuses on his policies and ignores many other kinds of factors. Something — probably a variety of circumstances, narratives and emotions — has pushed consumption spending up a smidgen more than usual. That, from the long perspective of history, is really no big deal.

In fact, there could soon be a reversal of this strong-economy story, a sudden recession. But, if so, it won’t disprove Mr. Trump’s claims any more than the high growth of the second quarter proved him right.

Among leading economists, Bob Shiller was one of the first to point out the cracks in the investing schemes that led to the “Great Recession” we’re still climbing up and out of. We’ve inherited the inequities of class-based incomes and the power of the wealthy has increased. Politicians are as subservient to the almighty dollar as ever. Especially the thug in the White House.

In China, Slower Growth Is Acceptable to Tackle Debt, Smog


Click to enlargeChinatopix

China can achieve a goal of doubling the size of its economy by 2020 even if annual expansion slows to 6.3 percent, according to a senior Communist Party official, signaling a greater willingness to tackle debt and pollution at the expense of growth…

In its blueprint for 2016 to 2020, China set a minimum annual growth target of 6.5 percent for the five-year period to achieve the goal of doubling gross domestic product from 2010 levels…Over the weekend, Yang Weimin, an official from the Communist Party committee overseeing economic policy, said annualized growth of 6.3 percent in 2018-2020 would do.

Based on current economic performance, the 2020 target won’t be a “huge barrier,”…China is seen growing 6.8 percent this year and 6.5 percent in 2018, according to economist estimates compiled by Bloomberg…

Yang’s remark is “a heads up on how the new thought will be implemented,” said Zhu Ning, deputy director of the National Institute of Financial Research at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

There have been times when the United States was governed and advised by technocrats, economists and, yes, even politicians who understood the value of adjusting the course of government to benefit most of the people. Not just the moneybags who could afford to belong to the Fake President’s country club.

Alberta energy revolution begins with largest solar project in Western Canada


Alongside the Trans-Canada Highway

There usually isn’t much to look at driving the Trans-Canada Highway through southeast Alberta, aside from the occasional bobbing pumpjack, the odd herd of cattle and the abundance of brown prairie grass.

That’s one reason why a new solar project outside the city of Brooks is so jarring. Seeing the 30-hectare site filled with solar panels is not only a sharp contrast to the landscape, but also to the province and its massive oil and gas industry.

The Brooks project, which launched last week, is the first utility scale solar facility in Western Canada, far surpassing any other solar project currently operating. This is the first of several renewable energy projects to be constructed in Alberta as the province shifts away from coal power plants.

They need a windbag like Trump to blow away the snow.

One egg a day could help babies grow bigger and taller


Click to enlargethereallygoodlife.com

❝ We may be lucky enough not to think about it in much of the United States, but worldwide there are tens of millions of children with stunted growth. Most of those kids are impoverished and often live in areas where access to nutritious food is limited. The World Health Organization has tried to ameliorate this problem by supplying fortified food products to underserved areas. The trouble is that those products are fairly expensive—potentially too expensive for poor families to afford — and distribution may not even reach more remote areas of the world. That’s where eggs come in.

❝ Eggs are cheap. They’re relatively easy to come by in many low-income areas, because people in those parts of the world often raise chickens and other poultry. They’re also high in protein, vitamin B12, riboflavin, and choline, plus they have significant amounts of a ton of other vitamins and minerals. And for a little baby, they can offer over 50 percent of critical daily nutrients. Eggs are an incredible, edible supplement to an impoverished kid’s diet.

❝ So a team of public health researchers from all over the U.S. and Ecuador decided to see just how much of an impact an egg a day could have. They just published their results…in the journal Pediatrics. The group traveled to a poor province in Ecuador, gathered up mother-infant pairs, and split them into two groups. One group gave their babies (aged six to nine months) an egg each day, while the other group gave no eggs. Researchers showed up at their houses to provide the eggs every week and used that visit to gather information about how the babies were doing. They took their weight and height, plus asked about any other medical problems the infants might be having. At the end of six months, they found the kids who ate eggs were significantly taller and larger. An eggy diet appeared to reduce stunting by 47 percent, and babies fed on the incredible edibles were 74 percent less likely to be underweight.

RTFA. Makes sense, nutritionally [obvious] and economically. Might not seem that way to Grocery-fodder giants selling overpriced supposedly supplemented wonder-foods. No tears from here.