Test Post for JSON Object Export

Wealth and Income

The slow trickle, post-2008,9 rebound

The 2008 downturn affected the quintiles very differently. The top 5%, top quintile and second highest quintile saw a dip in income levels in 2009 and 2010 but reached new peaks in 2011. The dip for the top 5% was 11 percentage points, compared to less than 4 points for the top and second highest quintiles. 

[Draft  –  Relative income by quintile with top 5%]

In contrast, the 3rd highest saw a dip of 5 points, the 4th almost 9 points and the bottom quintile dropped more than 14 points. The 3rd highest quintile didn’t surpass it’s 2008 level until 2012, the 4th barely did in 2012 and the 5th saw a relative drop of 15 percentage points and didn’t recover until 2014.   

Post 9-11 impact hit the wealthy hardest

Unlike the 2008 aftermath, the wealthy groups saw the biggest impact in income after the 9-11 terrorist attacks. The top 5% dropped almost 13 percentage points in relative income and took two years to recover. The top quintile and bottom quintiles saw a quarter of that impact. The 2nd through 4th quintiles saw little or no downturn. 

Deeper into the slope of the line  –  How the difference between each race/quint and the median has changed since an indexed point at 1972.


Wealth data

Difference between ACS and CPS

CPS uses less statistical methods but questions get into more detailed variety of income

“Because of its detailed questionnaire and its experienced interviewing staff, the Current Population Survey (CPS) Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) is a high quality source of information used to produce the official annual estimate of poverty, and estimates of a number of other socioeconomic and demographic characteristics, including income, health insurance coverage, school enrollment, marital status, and family structure.”

Metric Race Quints.csv

Non-inflated measure of percent of each race-quint household income (Race Quint Income) off of the median each year. As a ratio, it is not affected by inflation and should be compared to inflation-adjusted metrics. 

Data relationships to explore:

Data list/links 

Measures affected by inflation:

  • ​​SNAP benefits
  • GDP B
  • Producer price index Total manufacturing
  • DJIA year close
  • Imports
  • Net exports
  • Exports
  • Fed expend non-produced net asset
  • CPI less food and energy
  • Federal expenditures
  • Fed defense spending

Current set starts at 1970 for most comparisons. Race quints start at 1980 now becuase of white category, should be updated if possible to 1970 and all to 2019 or 2020 as available.

First pass at correlations (rough, non-inflation adjusted, etc.):

Adjusted inflation factors adjusted, with further expanded slope-of-line using index of percent off median … In other words how each group has changed in their relative relationship to median since 1972, same scale across all rows:

Python, plotly view:

Volatility, year-over-year percent change in metrics:

Volatility, absolute value of year-over-year percent change in metrics:

Volatility, measured by percent change between min and max WITHIN a year (daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly measures)

Removing time-dependant variance

The high levels of correlation (>90%) among MOST of the data leads to the consideration of a time-dependent effect that year over year is larger than the control for inflation. For instance, the inflation-adjusted value of GDP has still increased 3x since 1972.

To get a better handle on the correlations here I used a time-controlled metric  –  flattening the increases over time to find correlations beyond time. These lead to correlations that are a more valid place to look for connections between wealth gaps and other metrics. This step is taken with a measure of caution … it’s possible that these over time increases are driving the wealth gap more than the factors that show up when time is controlled. For instance, the 3x increase in GDP could be part of the basis or connected to a wider wealth gap and that controlling for it finds other, potentially less significant, correlations. 

The resulting correlation matrix has correlation values that are more expected of actual variance, maxing out in the 60% range with lots of <1% values. Another interesting facet emerges that shows large differences between the correlation effects based on race (it’s important to remember that quints are not absolute across races: The 4th lowest white quint makes more than the 4th lowest Black quint). This difference can be better visualized as line charts among each race. Keep in mind these are correlation values, not some series that you would normally expect with a line chart, but in this case, the line helps weigh the shape of the correlations based on quints for each race.

In this view it’s clear that some of the correlation facets are REVERSED based on race. Increases in the DJIA have a negative effect on lower –  and mid-income whites and positive for upper income whites. That effect is flipped for Hispanics, while Blacks show a positive relationship between income and the DJIA across ALL quints, highest among the lower.

The difference between races is perhaps more starkly seen when we measure the gap between the highest and lowest quintiles: 

This measurement comes with another caveat that likely helps explain the starker contrasts between races. Unlike the previous measurements that were based off a difference between quint income and total median income, this is a measure of the gap between top and bottom and therefore is untethered to other races. A reasonable potential effect is that changes to certain facets have a strong positive effect on the top white quint, increasing the white gap and at the same time a stronger positive effect on the lower Black and Hispanic quints, decreasing those gaps  –  or vise versa. 

The shapes from the correlation line charts can help find connections between the data. The 30-year mortgage rate and 10-year treasury bond are known to move in tandem because they share the same marketplace. The correlation lines of those two facets mimic each other:

The lines can find other, less intuitive connections, such as the tie between imports and exports, which would be expected to both be affected by changes to topline GDP, etc. (contrary to the recent focus on the ballance between those two):

Indeed, looking at the trade balance of net exports, we see that higher net exports actually is associated with LOWER income for mid- and upper-income whites, with opposite effects for Blacks and Hispanics.

Here we evaluate a basic premise in the data so far: Using a normalizing metric across all race/quints, we have so far evaluated the income of that race/quint in relation to the median of all, which can be sensitive to changes in the median. To get a view of absolute income effects in each race/quint, I reran the analysis using straight, inflation adjusted income amounts rather than a ratio to the median. The resulting correlation shapes are very similar, but the lines have shifted on the Y-axis, in other words, some positive correlations are negative while previously negative relationships are more so, for some facets. Shapes for import/export without consideration of median income relationship:

While decreasing the differences between extremes/ flattening the variance between race/quints, this metric gives a truer view of positive/negative relationships between facets and race/quint income.

The full chart:

Many of the values here are related to the same story: the strength of the economy. Three basic measures of the economy – Industrial production, GDP and the DJIA provide insight at differences between race/quints. While overall positives in each of these have positive effects on peoples’ income as a whole, there are some deep counter-intuitive effects for certain race/quints: 

More production and higher GDP, is related to lower positive and even negative effects for the  Black 4th and top quintiles. Another mystery, which could be some deeper-seated issue within the data, is that the 4th Hispanic quintile is often an outlier to the rest of Hispanics. That this aberration is reflected to a lesser degree in the 3rd and 5th quintiles weighs in on the side that this is a real effect. Either way it bears further analysis. 


  • Evaluate strongest effects and other aspects line by line
  • Look at race differences in Voli using time controlled inflation numbers and not off median metric. (Volatility is dependent on magnitude of baseline (or is it %?)).

A Crisis of Trust in America

By Bennet Harvey

Americans’ overall trust in mass news media has been on a steep decline since the late 1970s, according to Gallup Group polling.  In 2022 the percentage of Citizens stating No Confidence in all exceeds both those with a Great Deal / Fair Amount, or Not Very Much trust and confidence in mass media news reporting.

When broken down by Citizens’ political affiliation, the picture is quite different.  Democrats have always had the most trust followed by Independents and then Republicans.  All Citizen trust descended in near parallel paths until 2016.  However, at that point the parties’ paths diverged dramatically.  In 2015 the gap was about 25%.  By 2018 the gap reached nearly 60%, and by 2020 it was 65%.

From 1996 to 2003 biannual election year data consistently shows Democrats’ movement of trust moving in the opposite direction from Republicans and Independents.  Beginning in 2003 all three political groups move together in the same direction, up or down, much more frequently than before 2003.  

The data below clearly shows the distribution of trust in news media acros the political spectrum.

The Gallup Trust Data by party totaled from 2020 to 2022 are broken out below by Age, Political Ideology, and Education.  

  • By Age the data shows that trust increases by age for Democrats and Independents, but for Republicans the middle age range is lowest by more than half.
  • By Political Ideology Democrats have consistently high trust in news media.  Independents trust declines from liberal to moderate to conservative.  Moderate Republicans trust in news media is twice the level of conservative Republicans.
  • College Education does not distinguish between Democrats or between Republicans.  College Educated Independents have nearly 50% more trust than Independents without college education. 

Declining trust in news media is accompanied by news fatigue across the political spectrum.  Lower rating of news quality aligns with greater news fatigue.

Republicans more than Democrats feel they are misunderstood by news media.  Among Democrats, lower interest in the news corresponds with a greater feeling of being misunderstood by news media.

The Gallup data below from July 2017 shows the consistent decline in trust across public institutions.  Only the Military and Small Business saw gains in trust in recent decades.  All others saw dramatic declines.  News media is near the bottom spot held by Congress. 

  • Trust in Newspapers declines by 27 points from 51% to 24%.
  • Trust in Television News declined 25 points from 46% to 21%. 


Context Videos


How do Americans view economic inequality?

From Pew Research Center


Do Americans trust their elections?

From Pew Research Center


Do Americans trust the news media?

From Pew Research Center


Do Americans trust the police?

From Pew Research Center


In the age of COVID-19, do Americans trust science?

From Pew Research Center

ReNews Will Demonstrate a New News Media Ecosystem

By Bennet Harvey

Outside the login, this site discusses the erosion of the critical role of news media in American Democracy.  This page documents the problem with a wide range of articles and studies by many of the leading news media foundations, think tanks and research organizations.

If you recognize that this is a critical problem for our democracy, and you are prepared to share responsibility for creating a new, sustainable and Citizen-centric news media, then please Request a Login and let us know how you’d like to help.

Inside the login, we offer qualified Citizens and organizations a confidential preview of ReNews’ dramatically new Citizen experience and economic model for news in American democracy.  [Read More]

Under the old news media model, news publishers and political advertisers have bought and sold Citizens, their data, and their civic responsibilities to the highest bidder.  

ReNews has rearchitected this ecosystem to give each Citizen control over the information they consume, and over all uses of their personal private information.

If you find that ReNews is a worthwhile path forward please join us:

  • Download our iOS and Android Apps or use the ReNews.us website (Available early 2023). 
  • Use ReNews to maintain full visibility into all US news, issue areas, and policy proposals specifically relevant to you.
  • Monitor influence campaigns embedded in news and political ads which constantly try to convince you to vote against your best interests.
  • Use ReNews’ context engine to confidently build your own data-driven positions on policies across the political landscape. 
  • Manage your civic responsibilities and action opportunities, whatever your political background.
  • Make a tax-deductible donation to support ReNews Context Services, a 501c3 non-profit and non-partisan Context Journalism newsroom. 
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With Whom Are We Competing? – DRAFT

There is a long standing business school argument that a ‘perfect market’ or perfectly competitive economic system can be trusted to always make the correct allocation of society’s resources.  

But the discussion rarely gets to questions like ‘correct based on what objective?  Equity?  Merit?  Privilege?  Race?  Gender?  Age?  Geography?’  A marketplace which favors any one of these dimensions can never be  justified morally, measured accurately, or protected against self-serving corruption.

Public policy regarding allocation of resources is usually positioned as being about fairness for society vs. freedom for the individual.  If an individual is able to play within the established legal and regulatory system and create unprecedented personal wealth, does that mean it should entirely belong to them?  A long history of tax policy affirms society’s commitment to some level of collective responsibility. The only question is ‘what should be the formula?’ 

Perhaps it should be guided by the words of  Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, “every billionaire is a failure of policy.”    

The ideal of a merit-based economic system may have been expressed most compellingly for Citizen consumption in the 20th century in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, but that novel also shed transparency into what she idolized as merit – creative inspiration. 

What is Inspiration?

The word “inspiration” means ‘to breath into.’  Humanity has clearly understood and documented in its very vocabulary the assumption that many, if not all, creative insights come from a source outside the individual.  

Some think of religion.  Others visualize the influence of a demi-god muse as being the source of creativity.  In another vein, the term ingenious refers to ‘natural capacity.’  Is the natural capacity of a member of our species to receive the vast majority of the benefits of our natural capacity?  Every other species in nature demonstrates otherwise.

In all of these cases, and in centuries of memoire and literature great writers and scientists have expressed the belief they were a vehicle for some other creative source, more than taking credit as the sole creator themselves.  This belief may be held by the majority of those we call creative. 

The very nature of the concept of inspiration is embedded in human consciousness.  Can we not, as humans, therefore accept this truth to be self-evident?  Can we agree that inspiration which changes society for better or worse, does in some way belong to society?

Allocation of Inspiration

Can we better and more clearly define a range within which both the individual and society may benefit from inspiration?  Is it the role of the individual in choosing to give away their wealth, as suggested by the Billionaire’s Giving Pledge?  Or do Citizens need to take back responsibility for better defining and regulating the excess or insufficient allocation of wealth to find a fairer path forward?

History demonstrates that these decisions have been made again and again across societies. And yet the gap between extreme rich and extreme poor is approaching midieval levels..



The Case for Broader Sharing of Societal Innovation

The fruits of any single person’s inspiration are founded on their shared humanity, not their independence from society.  Today’s innovations are built on the shoulders of giants of history.  No single Citizen may claim ownership of that history.  Why should they be able to claim exclusive ownership of what is, by definition, an incremental improvement?

Arguments for this position span domains, including:

    1. The use of prior innovations in the creation of new ones.
    2. The use of publicly funded infrastructure to make the operation of any innovation possble.
    3. The costs of unintended consequences are rarely, if ever, charged back to the creators and funders of innovations, and are usually borne by the broader population of less privileged members of society.
    4. The venture capital and private equity ecosystems value capital more than intellectual property or management effort, through egregious preferred stock terms usually unavailable to the common Citizen.
    5. The venture capital and private equity ecosystems have evolved legal and financial methods to extract controlling interest from those with the original inspiration, and equity participation from Citizen workers who deliver the innovation to customers.

What Do the Inspired Believe?

Those who have perceived a glimpse of the future usually refer to it as a gift granted by some undefined creative process which is as likely to have come from outside the self as being created from scratch by the individual’s sole efforts.

A foundational question for any democracy is the extent to which rewards should be exclusively granted to a limited few or more broadly.  Society must also decide whether constraints on personal wealth will be voluntary or legislated.

Society’s laws and regulations are what determine the extent an individual may personally benefit from their own inspiration.  To date, the laws of ‘developed’ countries have granted extensive ownership rights to individuals for their inspirations.  Capitalism rewards those who have been blessed with inspiration (or financial control of inspiration) in several ways: 

    1. 20-year patent rights,
    2. copyright for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years, and
    3. near-monopolistic corporate rights until legislation and regulation are able to catch up with new technology (now a nearly impossible feat). 

Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard said “Every billionaire is a failure of policy” and willed his company to benefit society and the environment in perpetuity.  Chouinard voluntarily removed Patagonia from ever being sold in the venture capital and private equity ecosystem, but his company remains a for-profit benefit corporation for the sole benefit of society through the environment.

Time Out!

At this moment, in our period of history, the readers of this article will be about evenly divided in reacting either “Of course!” or ” Communism!”  This is conditioning we have received through our divisive news and political advertising.  Not to mention the far more influential social media.  

Society has always decided how resources are allocated and that allocation has never been equitable in any economic system.  Democracy, Communism and Fascism have all demonstrated a tendency to aggregate power and resources among a small minority, so it is difficult to judge between economic systems based on political systems.

Examples of Conscious Governance

Instead of accepting the conventional competitive positionings of economic and political systems as the only solution, Reconstitution creates demonstrations of alternative collaborative approaches.  our frameworks are often focused on data transparency and application of the scientific method to identify the policy levers most likely to drive intended outcomes.

A number of countries including the US have measured their societal and public policy landscapes extensively and consistently for decades and even centuries, making academic study and experimentation possible. 

By applying analytics and policy experimentation to this data a number of societal insights have become apparent, particularly in more progressive countries in Europe and Scandinavia.  In these countries societal measures have emerged revealing effective levers to improve public policy outcomes in education, excesses of corporate profits and executive pay, trends in public health and many other ‘hard news’ topics important to the average Citizen. 

We created ReNews because we believe this kind of trustworthy contextual information is important for Citizens to have close at hand when making important decisions about what to believe, and in choosing their positions on policies.  ReNews is designed to put the right information in each Citizen’s hands at the moment it’s needed.  

The magnified reach and availability of trustworthy information in each Citizen’s context will clarify Citizen best interests.  This added clarity can only help to transform today’s political and economic competition into a more collaborative process of public policy development. With greater collaboration will come fewer unintended consequences, and overall better outcomes.

We propose this solution become a utility of the news industry.  It will serve to enhance:

    1. the news consumption experience for Citizens,
    2. the news gathering experience for journalists,  and
    3. the ability of non-profit and local news publishers to focus on the editorial product.

ReNews is a demonstration of the magnified transparency news media could provide to Citizens.  

The ReNews Hypergraph Context Engine will allow ReNews to study the extent to which this greater Citizen transparency into societal analytics reinforces or undermines conventional US public policy approaches.  Anonymous Citizen profiles will allow us to understand exactly which beliefs of specific segments of society are impacted.


By enacting policies to directly influence these societal metrics, these countries have begun to solve problems that seem intractable in countries like the US. 


The format, depth and readership of US news coverage has fallen to the point that 


whether inspirations come into being for the benefit of the individual, or if the individual is the medium through which an inspiration to one person for the benefit of society.  Surely the medium deserves reward for nurturing themselves to a state in which they were prepared to receive inspiration.  But do they deserve to wield, for all time, the benefits of “their” inspiration?  Or is it their responsibility to pass the benefits of their inspiration on to society?

Reconstitution was founded as a demonstration of Citizens defining an alternative path forward independent of government legislation or regulation.  Reconstitution has chosen to balance societal benefit and investor benefit in a way that is fully compliant with current law, but which challenges the conventional wisdom of our economic system.

We are not trying to make billionaires of a few of our investors or employees.  We are not trying to run up an inflated valuation in order to sell and walk away from our responsibility.


And what is society’s duty to the inspired?  Is it to stymie or harvest the benefits of that inspiration and leave the inspired as an empty husk, a head on a pike on the castle walls as a warning to those who might also dare to bring change to society?  Or do we grant all benefit of inspiration to the medium, their associates and friends, leaving virtually nothing for broader society?

The Inquisition epitomized the former choice.  Today, America’s version of democratic capitalism represents the latter.

There is another, perhaps middle, path.  Society’s best interests may be to nurture the inspired and their methods so they may channel further inspiration. Perhaps society should support the medium in their specific field of inquiry. 

Presenting them with immense wealth and infinite options to manipulate that wealth outside their field of expertise and inspiration has repeatedly resulted in behaviors and outcomes unconnected to inspiration, but grounded in the sins and omissions of humanity’s weaknesses.

The force most responsible for contaminating the ‘perfection’ of markets is corruption, whether in industry or government.  There is plenty of both to go around in the American version of democratic capitalism, and all other versions in practice today.  Therefore the desired perfection of markets can never be perfect.  Therefore capitalism cannot be trusted to function ideally without guidance – regulation.  Regulation of a competitive economic system does not equate to a non-competitive non-merit-based communist system.

Where does that leave our democracy?  With an existential need for effective legal and regulatory design and enforcement. 

Reconstitution believes the critical societal function of regulation can also be guided by inspiration. 

There are those among us who have nurtured themselves to receive inspiration regarding process, analytics, and unintended consequences.  Some of these people are able to anticipate outcomes many generations in the future. 

Society needs to nurture those mediums of regulatory inspiration as much as it celebrates those who innovate the ungoverned technologies which run rampant across society in their early boom days. 

Society’s need is for a conscious balance between these opposing forces.  Instead of allowing speculative technologies like non-asset-backed currencies, trademark- and patent-violating generative technologies, and privacy-corrupt merchandising of Citizen identity which bring wealth to an influential few, and eventually extract wealth from the majority who have little comparative transparency or insight into the future of these innovations once the boom is over. 

Policy-Driven Experience of News




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