The normally astute Bill McBride of Calculated Risk has joined the chorus of cheerleaders to argue that an alleged decrease in housing inventory means that house prices are near their ethereal bottom.
Living in W. Palm Beach, FL, the epicenter of the foreclosure crisis, it seems more likely that analytical ethics related to housing finance is the only element nearing a bottom, and only then because the home price pundits on which people like McBride rely can’t go much lower.
By Matt Stoller, the former Senior Policy Advisor to Rep. Alan Grayson and a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. You can reach him at stoller (at) gmail.com or follow him on Twitter at @matthewstoller.
Last week, Warren Buffett made some news with his folksy, charming as always shareholder letter. Most people focused on his admission that he was wrong about the housing crisis. Buffett pointed to his year ago statement that “a housing recovery will probably begin within a year or so.” And he said, graciously, that this prediction “was dead wrong.” This is rhetorically notable, because it’s so rare that our masters of the universe ever admit error. But it is just more PR dressing up bad policies.
Yes, this is something completely different, but I wanted to get away, just for a little while, from “who loses and who wins, who’s in, who’s out”, and consider a subject that’s beautiful and long-lasting and useful and tasty; and something that’s maybe in the political economy of all our futures, if we’re lucky: Edible forests (also called food forests).
In Greece, three-quarters of the independent doctors, lawyers, and engineers declare taxable income below the existential minimum. Tax fraud amounts to €20 billion per year (8.5% of GDP). And tax dodgers owe €63 billion in unpaid taxes (27% of GDP). The country is bankrupt and has been kept afloat by the Troika (EU, ECB, and IMF), of which Germany is by far the largest contributor. But there is a plan. And it’s not an endless bailout.
By Sell on News of Macrobusiness, a macro equities analyst. Cross posted from MacroBusiness.
We cannot say we were not warned. Many commentators about globalisation said that it would create an imbalance between labour and capital, for the simple reason that capital is free to move wherever it wants, and labour, except at the very top end, is not. And so it is turning out, with the middle classes of much of the developed world under extreme pressure, and shrinking.
I know it’s dangerous to judge an article by its synopsis, but Harvard Business Review articles, unlike their academic cousins, are designed to be easy-breezy, so there is much less risk in taking one of its previews at face value. Here is what the HBR says Yale economist Robert Shiller presents longer form in its January-February edition:
I’m late to the remarkable interview given by ECB president Mario Draghi to the Wall Street Journal. I find the choice of venue curious, since the Financial Times has become the venue for top European politicians and technocrats to communicate with English speaking finance professionals.
But Draghi’s drunk-on-austerity-Kool-Aid message was a perfect fit for the Wall Street Journal.
An anodyne seeming article at VoxEU, which I reproduce in full below, makes a straightforward seeming case for policies that bolster family ties in the face of a nasty combination of aging populations and high unemployment among the young.
It isn’t hard to see that this line of thinking is the policy equivalent of getting in front of a mob and trying to call it a parade.