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Government revenue since the recent tax reform

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 applies to taxes starting in 2018, and the first quarterly data on tax revenue are in. This graph compares current tax revenue categories with categories for the previous year. Most noticeable are a major drop in corporate tax income and the increase in taxes from production and imports. (In the latter case, both excise tax income and import duty income increased.) These changes are actually quite impressive: -35% for corporate tax income, +16% for production and import tax income. Personal income taxes are slightly down while taxes on foreign entities follow trend. How does all this pan out in the aggregate? The thick black line reveals that overall tax receipts are down by close to 5%. Will this persist or is this a one-time event? Revisit this blog post in the coming months to see how this graph updates.

How this graph was created: From the Federal Government Current Receipts and Expenditures release table, check the relevant series and click on “Add to Graph.” From the “Edit Graph” menu, make the first series black and increase its width to 4.

Suggested by Christian Zimmermann.

View on FRED, series used in this post: A074RC1Q027SBEA, B075RC1Q027SBEA, W006RC1Q027SBEA, W007RC1Q027SBEA, W008RC1Q027SBEA

A fertility map

Where in the world is the population replacing itself?

Populations can replace themselves by having children (fertility) and through immigration. Here, we focus on fertility. A general rule is that women must have an average of 2.1 children to maintain the population, with the extra 0.1 owing to the fact that some children will not reach the age of procreation.

This GeoFRED map of the world shows how each country stands with respect to replacing itself. The color white indicates the country is below its replacement rate, light blue indicates pretty much the minimum replacement rate, and the darkening greens move up the fertility scale from there.

It’s not news that many Western industrialized nations have low fertility, which they compensate for with immigration. Poorer countries, as expected, have higher fertility. But there are a few cases that aren’t so well known. For example, some South American countries have low fertility, as does Thailand. Iran is a low-fertility country in between two high-fertility countries, Iraq and Afghanistan. These latter two countries tend to have net emigration, which is not surprising given the waves of conflict there, and thus their populations don’t increase as fast as their fertility would otherwise indicate. And then there’s Eastern Europe: very low fertility and net emigration, leading to substantial population loss.

How this map was created: From GeoFRED, click on “Build New Map.” Under the “Tools” menu, enter “fertility” in the data search bar and select “fertility rate, total.” You can select your own color scheme (under “CHOOSE COLORS”) and your own range of values (under “EDIT LEGEND”).

Suggested by Christian Zimmermann.

Where is rail heading?

Tracking freight and passengers on U.S. railroads

What’s the story with trains? It turns out that U.S. railroad transportation has some nuances. The graph above shows that the amount of freight transported by train dropped during the Great Recession, as expected. But freight transport doesn’t appear to have gotten back on track since then. Passenger transport, however, rebounded in a big way after the Great Recession and has sustained levels well above those in the early-to-mid 2000s. What’s behind the disparity here? Passenger traffic in the U.S. is essentially driven by the Northeast corridor between Boston and Washington. This is where Amtrak introduced the Acela Express, a train that successfully competes with other modes of transportation. The gradual success of this train alone may explain the rise in passenger rail. Freight traffic appears to be less successful in matching its competition—mainly, trucking and waterway transportation. The graph below follows trucking and waterway, which seem to do better after the Great Recession than before.

How this graph was created: Search for “rail,” check the two series, and click on “Add to Graph.” From the “Edit Graph” menu, open the “Format” tab and place one of the series on the right axis. For the second graph, search for “tonnage,” check the two series, and click on “Add to Graph.”

Suggested by Christian Zimmermann.

View on FRED, series used in this post: RAILFRTCARLOADSD11, RAILPMD11, TRUCKD11, WATERBORNED11


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