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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Are We Happy Yet?

According to the recent Pew Research Center study on happiness:
The correlation between happiness and family income is very strong indeed - reported happiness rises in a nearly straight line through eight levels of annual family income. At the highest income category -- $150,000 and above - fully 50% of respondents report being very happy; by contrast, just 23% of those who have a family income below $20,000 say they are very happy.
According to the Washington Post:
In the District [of Colombia], the richest families had incomes 12 times higher than the poorest ones early this decade, compared with seven times higher in the troubled economy of the early 1980s. The major reason for the widening gap: The highest incomes are growing more sharply than the lowest ones. Incomes at the top fifth rose 81 percent during those two decades, to an average of $157,700. Those at the bottom went up 3 percent, to an average of $12,700.
According to the Pew Research Center study:
Blacks (28%) are somewhat less likely than whites (36%) or Hispanics (34%) to report being very happy.
According to the Associated Press:
The Justice Department will not file civil rights charges against a white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man, which led to the city's worst race riots in decades.
Immediately after the shooting, [Officer] Roach told officers at the scene that "It just went off," Kim noted. But when interviewed by investigators, Roach said he believed that Thomas reached into his waistband and pulled out an object he feared might be a weapon.

Later, Roach said he had not actually seen a weapon, but fired when Thomas suddenly jerked his hands from his waist.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
St. Louis police should further restrict pursuits, activists suggested Tuesday after a fleeing van killed a [Black] minister on the way to church the night before. But Police Chief Joe Mokwa insisted that officers have to draw the line when someone threatens officers with a gun.

"We cannot allow criminals to take over our streets," the chief said. "I won't tolerate it."
"Was the capture worth the lives of innocent citizens?" asked Harold Crumpton, head of the St. Louis chapter of the NAACP. "I think not."
Also According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
A Belleville man wrote me asking that I encourage "black groups" to hold press conferences against senseless violence. He went on to say that 90 percent of the listeners who called KMOX (1120 AM) Tuesday morning agreed with host Charlie Brennan's suggestion that the state authorize police beatings after car chases.

"It's true," Brennan said, responding to my e-mail. "I said it should be the responsibility, not just the right, of police to beat the living daylights out of drivers who lead them on high-speed chases."
Several readers wrote me to say that Monday's crash should have changed my views. I saw the tragic story on the TV news that night. But I saw other disturbing reports as well. Like the story of the Scott Air Force Base airman who prosecutors said shook his 18-day-old infant to death. Another report told of a St. Charles woman, 26, who police suspect had sex with several men without telling them she had been diagnosed as HIV positive. Then there was the story of the mayor from a small Missouri town facing drug charges for methamphetamine possession.

Where are the livid calls for legalized shootings of whites who've killed babies or HIV-infected women who sleep with multiple men? Are all whites to blame for the rise of meth? Should radio hosts and columnists push for pre-emptive laws that mandate the shooting and beating of certain white criminals?
According to the Pew Research Center study:
The pattern in happiness by work status is a bit more complicated. Retirees (36%) and workers (35%) are equally likely to report being very happy, and both are happier than those who are not employed (26% very happy).
According to the Kansas City Star:
“Our perception is that the workforce is pent up with waiting for rewards for ‘doing more with less’ for years,” Winer said. “We’re waiting for that to bubble over. We know that employees are open to job shifting.”

Unfortunately, Winer said, CEOs often tend to devalue employee engagement surveys.

“Oh, they want to get paid more. Imagine that,” he mimicked some managers’ responses. “But it’s important that they see the proven tie between employee engagement and financial results…Engagement drives results.”

To help win employee engagement, Winer said, doubting Thomases in the managerial ranks need to: take interest in employee well-being; provide training and development opportunities; improve front-line management; differentiate and reward top performers; and communicate, communicate, communicate.
According to the Winston County Journal:
Twenty-seven counties reported unemployment rates equal to or lower than the state's rate, with DeSoto posting the lowest unemployment rate at 4.6 percent, marking the only county in the state to post a figure lower than 5 percent. Rankin and Lamar counties followed with a rate of 5 percent.

Fourteen of Mississippi's 82 counties reported double-digit unemployment figures, with Jefferson County posting the highest at 14.7 percent. Noxubee County posted the second-highest at 13.1 percent.
According to FXStreet.com:
"Tight labour markets could lead the Central Bank to push interest rates up further in an effort to ensure the economy does not ‘overshoot’ its potential and generate inflation," indicated Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve chairman in testimony to Congress on Wednesday.
And, according to Reuters:
Moderate wage gains suggest that the U.S. labor market is not as tight as it appears, and there are risks of lower inflation as well as higher inflation, a senior Federal Reserve official said in an interview on Tuesday.

Although the U.S. labor market may be nearing full employment, moderate wage gains and solid productivity growth suggest inflation pressures are not rising, said Jeff Fuhrer, director of economic research at the Boston Fed.

"We are probably close to full employment ... but there is some risk we are a little shy of full employment.

"If you look at the evolution of wages, prices and productivity all taken together, you'd have to think those were not signifying a tight labor market," Fuhrer told Reuters.
Who's happy?


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