April 15, 2016

For years Americans have heard about the dangers of the national debt from TV talking heads as well as politicians on both sides of the aisle. But what exactly is the national debt, and how does it differ from the deficit? And just how frightening are these figures that top out in terms of billions and trillions of dollars? Along with defining “the debt” versus “the deficit,” this quick video also explains why GDP plays a major role in any Continue reading

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August 5, 2014

Even though the U.S. has a gross domestic product (GDP) valued at nearly $17 trillion, that huge figure still doesn’t come close to providing a complete picture of the American economy. Each year billions upon billions of transactions go undocumented, untaxed, and ultimately unrecorded by official GDP statisticians. Whether it’s earning a few bucks by mowing a neighbor’s lawn or by selling drugs, these concealed deals all form what’s known as the underground economy.

Many economists have said that it’s Continue reading

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September 5, 2013

 

A peculiar statistic has been puzzling economists ever since the economy began its recovery. Retail sales have climbed steadily over the last four years despite the fact that gains in reported income have stalled. So if people still aren’t getting paid more, where is this disposable cash flow coming from? According to some, one need not look further than the underground economy.

Then again, the sum total of unreported U.S. income isn’t a thing you can easily track on Continue reading

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In today’s modern economy, statistics are supreme. GDP, unemployment and interest rates all play dominant roles in the allocation of the government’s budget. No spending bill can hope to pass into law without a battery of statistics and figures charting how such legislation will benefit the country. But just how accurately do those numbers reflect the world we live in?

Take GDP, for instance. The famous figure has only been reliably collected in the U.S. since the 1930s and didn’t Continue reading

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