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hurricane US Economy Expansion

The
million (or should we say 'billion' now) dollar question is whether or not the
United States' economy will stay in it's record 107 month expansion (according
to the index of leading indicators) or come out of the boom and take a downturn
into a recession. Nobody, including the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan
Greenspan has a crystal ball to provide insight as to what will happen if
interest rates are raised, lowered, or left alone. However, Economists have
developed a set of indicators to aid in predicting when a recession is about to
occur and when the economy is in one. Indicators should not be mistaken for
predictors. They are simply forecasting tools, and like any forecast can be
misleading. The index of leading indicators that is reported in the popular
press shows our economy is still in an expansion. For the purposes of our
evaluation of the economy, we chose the Principle Economic Indicators tracked by
the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Census Bureau under the Economics
and Statistics Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce. There are
thirteen Principle Economic Indicators, and they fall into five major
categories: National Output and Income; Orders, Sectoral Production, and
Inventories; Consumer Spending; Housing and Construction; and Foreign Trade.
National Output and Income The first of the five major categories directly
relates to measuring the growth of the U.S. economy. National Output and Income
consists of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Personal Income, and Corporate
Profits measurements. GDP is the primary measurement of growth and measures the
total amount of goods and services produced by governments, businesses, people,
and property located within the United States. Both real (adjusted for
inflation) and nominal (current value in dollars) data is collected for
computing the GDP. The base year for the real data is 1997. The GDP is normally
reported as an annualized quarter-to-quarter change. The reason this measurement
is vital to tracking the growth of the U.S. economy is self-explanatory. When
the economy is growing, both total income and total output are increasing.
Furthermore, a steady increase in the GDP is healthy for the economy. According
to the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. economic output has grown at an annual
rate of 2.5 to 3.5 percent since 1890. The preliminary estimate of GDP in the
fourth quarter of 1999 rose at a 6.9 percent annual rate, which is the strongest
gain since a similar increase in mid-1996. This is an increase from the initial
estimate of 5.8 percent and is consistent with the expectations of analysts. It
is also a reflection of the widespread upward increases among the major spending
components, including consumer spending, goods exported, and state and local
government spending. In the third quarter of 1999, GDP rose 5.7% as a result of
increases in Personal Consumption Expenditures, nonresidential fixed investment,
and exports. Personal Income is a measurement of total pretax income earned by
individuals, non-profit organizations, and private trust funds. It is expressed
at an annual rate also. The more Personal Income increases the greater the
potential for the American people to spend and save money, which directly
influences the growth of the U.S. economy. Personal Income rose .7 percent in
January, following an increase of .3 percent in December. The average monthly
increases in 1999 were .5 percent. Some extenuating factors affected income in
recent months, including cost of living increases in federal transfer payments,
a federal pay raise, and agricultural subsidy payments in January. Real
disposable income, income after taxes and adjusted for price changes, increased
by .7 percent. There was no change in December. The individual personal saving
rate rose from 1 percent in December, which was its low, to 1.4 percent in
January. Savings rates generally go down in the months October through May due
to Holiday spending (includes "paying off" credit cards). There are
two methods in which Corporate Profits are reported by the government.
"Tax-based" profits are derived from corporate tax returns, and
"adjusted" profits reflect earnings from current production. Just as
increases in Personal Income are vital to the growth of the U.S economy,
increases in Corporate Profits are just as important on an even larger scale.
The greater the profits, the more potential for growth. This in turn has a
direct effect on employment rates, spending, etc. Profits reported from current
production increased $3.7 billion in the third quarter of 1999. This is a
dramatic improvement from a decrease of $6.5 billion in the second quarter.
Profits would have been about $10 billion more than they were in the ... more

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Against Still Life

In the poem Against Still Life, poet Margaret Atwood fascinates us by weaving
her words into descriptive feelings we can all relate too, especially women.
Atwood is a well known poet and novelist who has a certain way of grabbing the
attention of the reader and throwing the readers thoughts around without her
even realizing it. In Against Still Life for example, Atwood opens her poem with
an orange, nothing more than an orange. By the end of the poem she has got the
reader pondering what men think about. It is assumed that Atwood is the speaker
of the poem and the setting is simply a situation most of us can find ourselves
in often. The speaker of the poem is Margaret Atwood herself. She describes
thoughts that would only belong to her. Atwood uses the word I to describe
herself in the poem and you to describe a second party other than the
reader, who we later find to be a man. The poem, seems as though it is directed
as a thought to the man, not a conversation or a poem for him to read, but
Atwoods desire to know this mans thoughts. Atwood is clever, and describes
feelings and the frustrations that any woman has felt about a man. This makes us
really wonder if Atwood truly feels this way, or if she is just describing
feelings that a general woman have about a general man. I believe Atwood did
this on purpose not only to more easily relate to the reader but because she
once said in a lecture, Plato said that poets should be excluded from the
ideal republic because they are such liars. I am a poet, and I affirm that this
is true. About no subject are poets tempted to lie so much as about their own
lives I of course -- being also a novelist -- am a much more truthful person
than that. But since poets lie, how can you believe me? (Atwood). This
suggests that maybe Atwood doesnt really feel this way about a man, she could
have made the whole thing up simply to please and relate to her readers, but
then again, she could be telling the truth. Atwoods attitude in the poem is
very demanding and unknowing. She is a woman who wants answers about a man. She
is having a hard time understanding this man and wants to know whats going on
inside his head. This happens to describe Atwood perfectly because she once said
her husband (who is also a writer) was [b]etter than a dentist. At least
another writer knows why you are being so strange. And you can take long
vacations (Author Profile). In the poem, Atwood compares an orange to the
man. It is said that Atwood often writes of food in her publications because she
feels as though women have come to feel uncomfortable with themselves and food.
"Atwood probes the prohibitions on the public display of female appetite
and the social taboos which surround women and food in terms of the politics of
eating" (Parker). I believe Atwood does this to make herself and the reader
feel more comfortable with the frustrations she describes. She can only see the
outside of the orange in the same way that she can only see the outside of the
man. But she wants more than that, I want to pick it up in my hand I want to
peel the skin off; I want more to be said to me than just Orange: want to be
told everything it has to say (Muller 255). She wants to know all she can
about the man, and it is driving her crazy not knowing whats really going on
inside that head of his. There is a constant battle in our world; men want to
know how women really work and think, and women want to know what men really
work and think. Atwood even mentions that she knows the man is thinking the same
thing she is, and she wants to make him say it out load. [M]ake me want to
wrench you into saying: now Id crack your skull like a walnut, split it like
a pumpkin to make you talk, or get a look inside (Muller 256). She knows that
this man has the same thoughts about her. She knows that he has this
overwhelming desire to understand her by knowing everything and anything about
her. It frustrates her even more ... more

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  • R: Against Still Life R: Against Still Life Against Still Life In the poem Against Still Life, poet Margaret Atwood fascinates us by weaving her words into descriptive feelings we can all relate too, especially women. Atwood is a well known poet and novelist who has a certain way of grabbing the attention of the reader and throwing the readers thoughts around without her even realizing it. In Against Still Life for example, Atwood opens her poem with an orange, nothing more than an orange. By the end of the poem she has got the reader po...
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