Character is that which reveals moral purpose, exposing the class of things a man chooses or avoids.

– Aristotle


Median house value is the US.

Business Insider estimated the median house value for each of the Census Bureau’s Public Use Microdata Areas. These are a way of slicing up the country into areas that contain around 100,000 people. For densely populated cities, these correspond to neighborhoods, or groups of neighborhoods. For less densely populated areas, like in the Mountain West, they can be entire groups of counties.

Here’s the area with the highest median house value in every state:


Changing distribution of income growth during periods of economic expansion.

Changing distribution of income growth during periods of economic expansion:

distribution of income

For a long time, most of the gains from economic growth went to the bottom 90% of the income distribution. And, after all, the bottom 90% includes the vast majority of people. Since 1980, that hasn’t been the case. And for the first several years of the current expansion, the bottom 90% saw inflation-adjusted incomes continue to fall.

Source: Pavlina R Tcherneva.

Student debt and wages.

Graduating college continues to have significant economic benefits, despite the rising costs and weak job market. However, the gap between costs and returns appears to be diminishing.

student debt

student avg pay

Notes: (1) student debt covers 25 year old’s, while median pay covers 25-25 year old’s. (2) Student debt is an average, while median pay is a median (average pay does follow the same trend).

Source: New York Fed; Vox.

IMF: the importance of being boring.

The role of the IMF, how it’s perceived, and who it is influenced by.

The International Monetary Fund is an immensely useful organization, able to deliver substantial amounts of financial and technical assistance at short notice to almost any place in the world. It also has the great advantage of almost always being perceived as incredibly boring.

Unfortunately for the IMF, it now needs a slightly higher public profile to convince the US Congress to agree to some important reforms. […]

In the realm of international economics, being perceived as boring confers power to the extent that it allows major decisions to be made without a great deal of external scrutiny. […]

Of course, in countries receiving assistance – such as Greece in the last few years – the IMF excites great passion. But in the halls of the US Congress, few people pay any attention.

In the highly charged partisan atmosphere of Washington, DC, this is without question almost always an advantage. Imagine if the disbursement of all assistance to countries in trouble required Congressional approval, let alone spending from the US budget. Nothing good would ever happen – and certainly not for the US.

The IMF is founded on the premise that it represents cooperation between all of the countries of the world. The reality is that it stands for and operationalizes US power, in cooperation with America’s closest allies.

The US does not dictate what happens at the IMF, but it does have a disproportionate influence. […] One major goal in recent decades has been to shift representation at the IMF somewhat away from Europe and toward the world’s emerging markets. […]

Original post: Project Syndicate.