The Census Bureau released its American Community Survey this morning. Here's some insight into Minnesota:
Speaking English:17.9% in the 5th Congressional District (Minneapolis) speak a language other than English -- the highest percentage in the state. Only 3.4% of people in the 8th District -- northern Minnesota -- speak a language other than English.
Home-grown Minnesotans:Eighty percent of the people in the 6th District were born in Minnesota. Only 64% in the 5th District were born in Minnesota. 84.4% of the people in Stearns County are Minnesotans by birth. Twenty percent of Brooklyn Park was born in another country.
Need a lift? 77.8% of the people in the state drive to work alone. Scott and Anoka County residents drive to work alone most often. (84%). Almost 9% of the metropolitan region carpools to work. Washington County has the highest percentage (10.1%) of carpoolers.
Sherburne County residents have the longest mean commute -- 32 minutes. The median commuting time in Minneapolis and St. Paul is about 22 minutes.
I get around: Just over 17% of the people in Ramsey County and St. Louis County lived in another house one year ago.
Five brides for seven brothers: There are more unmarried men per 100 unmarried women in Minnesota in Northern Minnesota (123) than in any other part of the state. But Carver County has the highest single-man ratio (134).
Sixty something: The youngest median age in Minnesota is the 2nd Congressional District. The oldest is the 8th District. The 7th District has more people over 65 (17%) than any other part of the state. Of the major counties, St. Louis County has the highest percentage of residents over 65 (15.9%). 18% of Bloomington is over 65.
High school: Stearns County has the lowest percentage of people 25 or over who completed high school or received a GED. (89.9%)
The poor: 9.5% of the people live below the poverty level. The highest is St. Louis County (14.9%). Twenty-three percent of St. Cloud lives below the poverty level.
It's Carver! The median household income is $55,802. It's $78,975 in Carver County. The median family income is $69,172. It's $96,885 in Carver County. The median cost for housing per month is $1,500.
The highest median housing value of an owner-occupied home is in Washington County ($282,500).
34.6% of mortgage owners spend more than 30% of their income a month on housing. The highest percentage, however, is in Sherburne County (41.6%).
"Let them fail!" As people get a more in-depth look at the (at least) $700 billion bailout of the nation's biggest financial institutions, it's a cry that is growing in volume. Today, the government bosses who were responsible for getting ahead of the financial crisis -- and clearly didn't -- went to Capitol Hill to sell the plan to increasingly skeptical politicians, who also were in office while the crisis grew.
"Rage Sweeps over Middle America," the Times of London blared today.
Richard from Anchorage, Alaska, was typical of many when he wrote on CNNMoney.com: "NO NO NO. Not just no, but HELL NO."
Anna from Denver wrote on the same site at the weekend: "This is robbery pure and simple." Claudio from Plainville, Connecticut, added: "It's our money! Let these companies die."
It's settled, then. Let them die rather than pass along the cost of keeping them on life support, which -- by the way -- is $5,354 per taxpayer, and still -- depending on who you believe -- may not work.
The dialog around the issue this week is very much like the one that surrounds the war in Iraq. It doesn't matter anymore how we got there. We're there. Now what are our choices?
What does "let them fail" look like on Main Street?
"Jobs will be lost, ... our credit rate will rise, more houses will be foreclosed upon, GDP will contract, ... the economy will just not be able to recover in a normal, healthy way," Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said today.
Megan McArdle, writing on The Atlantic's Web site, suggests the damage isn't limited to the fat cats and stupid consumers. She says companies -- like yours, perhaps -- that used credit sparingly, will go from a short-term bad economy, to a long-term bad economy.
The problem is, the effects of really rapid contractions don't last a couple of months. They last years. Can your company withstand the bankruptcy of some major clients with large outstanding accounts? How many people will it have to fire if its order book drops 40%? Can it cover its fixed expenses even on half staff?
I talked this afternoon to Gary Krueger, the head of the Economics Department at Macalester College about how "let 'em fail" would impact you and me. "You'd drastically reduce the size of the financial sector. There'd be a panic. A good chunk of our savings is foreign. They'd be less willing to lend in the future, they'd stampede out of the dollar-dominating (financial) instruments, he said."
"You wouldn't be able to get a mortgage, the value of a dollar will drop, the price of oil and gasoline will go up," he said. Russia in the '90s provides the best example of an economy without a functioning credit market. "It wasn't pretty. People lived hand to mouth," he said.
Student loans? Forget 'em under "let 'em fail," according to Krueger. "If you had to pay for things hand-to-mouth, you could afford to take one class a year every year and 32 years later, you'd have your degree. Or you could use the credit markets to graduate in four years and begin taking advantage of it," he said.
Another option, he said, is one employed by Japan in the '90s in which the government would occasionally intervene in the stock market, and make balance sheets look better than they really are. The economy didn't grow for 15 years. "It's slow water torture and the government creates fiscal stimulus with low-rate-of-return projects. I just talked to a friend who was in Tokyo and he says there are post offices in Japan the way Starbucks is here," Krueger said.
Part of the reason for a "let 'em fail" recommendation by people in "Middle America" may be that financial calamity takes a couple of years to work its way to Main Street. The stock market collapsed in 1929 and the depth of the Great Depression was 1933. The savings-and-loan crisis hit around 1989, and America went into a recession in 1991.
No matter what "American savings has to increase and consumption has to fall," says Krueger. The savings, however, will come involuntarily. You and I simply won't be able to afford to spend money because the credit will be too tight to make us want to.
What does Krueger's gut tell him? "In Bernanke I trust," he said, even though he doubted the Fed chairman earlier this year when he lowered interest rates, a move which seems now to have been the right call. "He's a student of financial crisis," Krueger says.
The best advice for average people? Krueger says don't hit "update" on your Quicken program. "Go buy an ice cream instead."
Gov. Tim Pawlenty and his education commissioner, Alice Seagren, are flying around the state today to talk about his education reform proposals for the 2009 legislative session.
The pair drop into an airport, do some interviews with the local media, get back on the state airplane, head to the next stop and do more interviews. Rinse. Wash. Repeat. Flying around the state is a good way to get your mug -- and point of view -- on TV, newspapers, and radio around the state.
How much does it cost?
It started its day at St. Paul's Holman Field, flew to Moorhead, then Duluth, then St. Cloud, and then back to St. Paul, on to Winona, then Albert Lea, and back to St. Paul.
A 2003 survey put the hourly fuel use of a twin-engine King Air 200 at 106 gallons per hour.
It took 52 minutes to fly to Moorhead, 44 minutes to fly to Duluth, 41 minutes to St. Cloud, and 22 minutes to St. Paul, according to FlightAware.com.
Flight planning software that calculates today's winds shows the plane flies at an average speed of 201-250 miles per hour (it can fly much faster and does in cruise but, obviously, flies slower during takeoff and landing). So its flights to Winona, Albert Lea, and back should last 29 minutes, 28 minutes, and 21 minutes for a total flying time today of about 4 hours. Add in 15 minutes in each location for taxiing and you're left with about 5 hours and 45 minutes at 106 gallons of fuel per hour.
Fuel at St. Paul Downtown Airport (where, by the way, it's ridiculously overpriced compared to other airports) is about $6.50 a gallon or $689 per hour.
Total cost? For fuel: $3,755.05, or about $1,500 more than a teacher can earn in performance pay under the governor's Q-Comp program.
How often is the plane used? Not that often (based on filed flight plans). Total in-flight time in the last 4 months: 47 hours.(13 Comments)
If you've ever raised a teenager, you probably know the shame of occasionally thinking, "if I could just give him/her away." It goes with the territory, and it goes away after a few minutes.
But in Nebraska, it's the real thing. Parents are abandoning their teenagers under the same safe-haven law that most states have set up to protect unwanted newborns.
"All children deserve our protection," said Sen. Tom White, who helped revise the safe-haven law in Nebraska.
On Saturday, a 13-year old was dropped off at a hospital. She's the third teen to be so abandoned in a week.
In other states, to be fair, the fact there is no program in place doesn't mean parents aren't still abandoning their teens.(1 Comments)
My colleague, Steve Mullis, is putting together some graphical depictions of how much $700 billion is -- the current estimated amount of the big financial bailout being debated in Congress. This isn't one of them, but this is the largest bill in U.S. currency. $100,000.
It would take 7 million of these to make up $700 billion. These bills are not in circulation. And, besides, only 42,000 of these were printed.
So we'd have to use these:
We'd need 7 billion of them, of course. Each bill weighs one gram. Four-hundred-fifty-four bills equals one pound. So $700 billion in $100 bills weighs 15,418,502 pounds -- 7,709 tons.
At current weight limits, it would take
24 51 railroad freight cars to deliver the cash.