Links 11/24/13

It’s a ladybug’s life! Photographer captures the tiny world of insects in crystal-clear detail Daily Mail

Iran Deal

Obama: Iran nuclear deal limits ability to create nuclear weapons CNN (synopsis; Presidential statement).

Iran, world powers reach historic nuclear deal WaPo

Progress, if Modest, in Holding Back Iran’s Nuclear Program David Sanger, Times

Israeli officials blast deal with Iran as ‘self-delusional’ LA Times. MRDA

Catherine Ashton, activist turned powerful diplomat at the heart of the nuclear talks Haaretz

Obama launches sales job on Iran nuclear deal Reuters (!).

Russia and Iran: A Balancing Act The Diplomat

Exclusive: Secret Talks to Save Syria Begin Foreign Policy

Historic defeat for EU as Ukraine returns to Kremlin control Daily Telegraph

U.N. climate talks impasse ends as China and India drop demands WaPo

Fukushima Undergoes First Successful Fuel Rods Removal, Tepco Reports Reuters

Huge area around Fukushima to be waste disposal site UPI 

Murdoch’s feud with Blair over wife Wendi: ‘Terminal’ end of friendship over claims of ‘multiple encounters’ between ex-PM and tycoon’s wife Daily Mail. Oh my!

An Orgy of Thieves Counterpunch

Today’s ranking of the world’s richest people Bloomberg. Keen interactive graphic.

End the 1 percent’s free ride: Taxing land would solve America’s biggest problems  Salon

Why privately-financed public parks are a bad idea Felix Salmon, Reuters

Ventra Capitalists Jacobin. Rahm’s very own IT debacle. Also too, privatization.

ObamaCare Launch

Sticker shock hits health exchange shoppers USA Today. Headline doesn’t tell the story: “The average prices for the most popular plans are twice as high in the most expensive states as those with the lowest average prices, according to a USA TODAY analysis of data for 34 states.” Ahem.

Nearly Retired? Facing a Huge Increase in Healthcare Costs? More on “Opting Out” of Obamacare Global Economic Trend Analysis

Healthcare industry vested in success of Obamacare  LA Times. Especially the insurance industry.

Berwick Platform: ‘Seriously’ Explore Single Payer, Review Cost Control WBUR. Berwick, now running for MA governor, is former chief of Medicare in the Obama administration.

A universal income is not such a silly idea FT

Guest post: The precariat needs a basic income FT Alphaville

What It’s Like to Fail Priceonomics

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

NSA Denies Their Existing Domestic Cyberdefensive Efforts, Again emptywheel

NSA infected 50,000 computer networks with malicious software

N.S.A. Report Outlined Goals for More Power James Risen and Laura Poitras, Times; report here. From the Vision Statement: “Through innovation and personalization we will advance the SIGINT system.” Not that I’m foily, but “personalization”?

In Miami Gardens, store video catches cops in the act Miami Herald

Why spies never discover anything useful John Quiggin

Analysis: U.S. businesses back Tea Party Republicans after shutdown Reuters

The University of Bitcoin Rises in Cyprus Online WSJ

China’s villages vanish amid rush for the cities Telegraph

Toynbee Suite Lushlife, Shaking Through. Philly arcana!

Doctor Who: How Norfolk man created Dalek and Tardis sounds BBC 

Try Not To Weep When You Listen To These Five Nouns Upworthy Generator

More worn out ideological prattle from R&R Bill Mitchell. Nobody could have predicted….

Antidote du jour (via):


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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


      1. coboarts

        Love that opening shot on the tank – because high art!
        The upcoming Sunni vs Shia war, if we can skip that one it will be one thing O got right. The upcoming war(s) in Asia, yeah, but I’m thinking that Africa is where we’re really going to be able to dispose of some excess youth.
        … color me cynical

      2. Synopticist

        That footage has been floating around the net for ages. It’s typical how the BBC has threaded it together, added a pinch of pro-rebel spin, and made it look like serious journalism.

        The people in those videos are clearly part of a small mission-they have no heavy weapons, can’t call in air or artillery support, and can be seen scrounging food and equipment. The Iranian govt have never denied they have trainers and intel people in Syria.

    1. diptherio

      Murdoch has Blair’s phone bugged, discovers his wife having an affair…we call that poetic justice…

      Fitzgerald: The rich are different from you and me

      Hemingway: Yes, they have more money.

      1. Emma

        It’s interesting to see the media reaction on this.

        Everyone seems to be (misguidedly) applauding Wendi Deng because of an intense dislike for either (or both) Blair or Murdoch.

        Cherie Blair, her kids, and those of Wendi and Rupert, are unspoken about, including the negative impact this may have on them thanks to the actions of Wacko Wendy and Bouncy Blair.

  1. CuriousCorey

    Please, if possible, add Bitcoin news to every new daily link-post.
    These are hilarious, it’s like real-life social experiment with Religion & Money, and dare I say, Pyramid-building.

    Early adopters (=true believers) are free to shoot me now.

  2. Jan Milch

    Krugman on Sweden — as informative as junk mail before election day-Professor Lars Pålsson Syll-Malmö Univesity Sweden

    Although it’s not that often that yours truly disagree with Krugman on empirical matters, here I definitely think he’s wrong. It is indeed possible to see the story as similar.

    Look at the figure, which shows how the distribution of mean income and wealth (expressed in year 2009 prices) for the top 0.1% and the bottom 90% has changed in Sweden for the last 30 years:
    would say the development in Sweden is deeply problematic and going in the wrong direction. The main difference compared to UK and US is really that the increasing inequality in Sweden (going on continuously for 30 years now) took off from a lower starting point.

    The rising inequality has probably to do with income and wealth increasingly being concentrated in the hands of a very small and privileged elite – in Sweden as well as in the UK and the US.

    So, I’m sorry Paul, but Sweden is no longer the model country it once was, in the heydays of the 60s and 70s. It’s no longer the country of Olof Palme. Neoliberal ideologies, economists and politicians have crushed the Swedish dream that once was. It’s sad. But it’s a fact.

  3. Jan

    Krugman on Sweden — as informative as junk mail before election day-Professor Lars Pålsson Syll-Malmö Univesity Sweden

    Although it’s not that often that yours truly disagree with Krugman on empirical matters, here I definitely think he’s wrong. It is indeed possible to see the story as similar.

    Look at the figure, which shows how the distribution of mean income and wealth (expressed in year 2009 prices) for the top 0.1% and the bottom 90% has changed in Sweden for the last 30 years:
    would say the development in Sweden is deeply problematic and going in the wrong direction. The main difference compared to UK and US is really that the increasing inequality in Sweden (going on continuously for 30 years now) took off from a lower starting point.

    The rising inequality has probably to do with income and wealth increasingly being concentrated in the hands of a very small and privileged elite – in Sweden as well as in the UK and the US.

    So, I’m sorry Paul, but Sweden is no longer the model country it once was, in the heydays of the 60s and 70s. It’s no longer the country of Olof Palme. Neoliberal ideologies, economists and politicians have crushed the Swedish dream that once was. It’s sad. But it’s a fact.

  4. diptherio

    Re: The precariat needs a basic income ~FT Alphaville

    I hate to admit it, but there does appear to be some validity in mainstream macroeconomic analysis. To be precise, Paul Samuelson’s contention that wages (along with capital returns) in different countries would equalize over time, given free movement of goods, seems to be legitimate.

    For some strange reason, one thing that “free trade” advocates never mention is that the wage increases in low-income countries (which they tout continually as a humanitarian benefit of neo-liberal policies) will be offset by wage decreases here. Our wages here in the US and the wages of people in Vietnam are expected to converge, which obviously means we’re gonna have to come down a lot.

    But we’re told that globalization is great because all of the sh*t we buy will become cheaper…which is a good thing, I suppose, since we can expect our incomes to decline sharply as well.

    On a personal note: I was doing my Econ B.A. when NAFTA was put in place. All of my liberal, democrat-voting professors loved it and talked up free-trade as an unmitigated good. Shortly after NAFTA was signed into law, I took an intro to macro course. On day one, the prof asked the class what the U.S.’s biggest export was and I quipped, “jobs.” He looked at me like I was crazy and went on to explain how we actually import mostly the same stuff we export which he claimed to somehow be proof of the efficiency of our economic system, although I never could see the logic in that…

    1. Jim Haygood

      Serious question: having visited some of the poorer parts of Asia yourself, are you advocating that they be kept that way via rich country import restrictions?

      1. diptherio

        Well, I can only speak to Nepal, and they don’t do much in the way of exporting to “rich” countries. Most all of their trade is with India and China, mostly India.

        My position is that trying to improve the circumstances of people living in less-developed countries through neo-liberal trade policies is simply wrong-headed. Development needs to occur in a context of local sustainability, which is antithetical to long distance trade. And development is not synonymous with mirroring Western consumption patterns.

        I do think that we need to drastically reduce our consumption in this country, but I don’t think immiserating our poorest citizens is the way to go about that. As for my friends in Nepal, what they need the most are quality public services; namely sewage treatment and clean water. All the free trade in the world isn’t going to provide toilets for the people of Challing, where I built the school. If we’re actually concerned with improving the quality of life in these countries, we should be funding public works projects, not pushing for “free” trade.

        1. Antifa

          Our casual ability to make our excrement go away with a simple flush is one of the chief facades of our civilization. It lets us to imagine ourselves not as intelligent primates running amok upon our biosphere, using up every resource as fast as we can.

          No, we are Consumer Man, nature’s greatest creation, or we are beyond nature now, lords of technology, each of us pursuing individual profit as we will, each a self-contained captain of our fate with no need to glance left or right at others, nor to look behind us.

          Or ahead.

          But let the toilets back up and we discover that we’re just camping out in our condos and McMansions and tenements and lofts and skyscrapers. They’re uninhabitable without that flush thingy. We remember that the number one product of all human activity is sewage, closely followed by garbage.

          All our activity leads to those two results.

          Our species used to find or make more food than garbage. Nowadays, much of our food is effectively garbage before it hits the supermarket shelves, and the vast majority of it is really made from petroleum-sourced fertilizers, so it is factual to say that we eat and poop oil more than anything else.

          It’s becoming apparent that we may run out of phosphorous fertilizer and clean water before we run out of oil, but at current consumption rates, we will most definitely run out of all three in this century.

          When the zombie apocalypse arrives, I won’t mind the hungry hordes in search of brains. They’re just common libertarians, after all, going for what they want without a second thought.

          What I’ll really mind is not having that flush thingy.

          1. diptherio

            I’m not talking flush thingies, I’m just talking out-houses with septic tanks. Low-tech, but far superior to crapping out in the open, which I’ve had to do plenty, thank you very much. There are sustainable ways to have basic amenities, like a place to poop inside with a contained system for dealing with the waste. Engineers Without Borders does a lot of good work in this area (far more than “free trade” ever did).

            I have a friend who only recently found a tourist willing to pay for his family to build an outhouse. You would be amazed at how happy it made him, and how much it increased the quality of life for him and, especially, for his sister and sister-in-law.

            1. direction

              Good for you with the school and good on them for the shitter. If you ever want to organize an ecotour, sign me up. I’d love to go build shitters in Nepal. Was there in 1990, saw the need, and it’s been on my bucket list ever since.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        Even more serious question: Are you suggesting that the populations of rich countries can reduce poverty in poorer countries by impoverishing themselves?

        1. diptherio

          No, definitely not. But that’s the neo-liberal claim. Unsurprisingly, it turns out to be BS. See from Mexico’s reply to my reply below for details.

          What we need is redistribution of purchasing power downward, from capital to labor, in all countries. Then we also need to make communal efforts to reduce consumption by existing locally to the greatest extent possible and investing in energy-saving tech…imho.

          I think the Basic Income Guarantee might be another way to decrease consumption, but that’s another comment string altogether.

          Nice handle, by the way. Did you see this yesterday?

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            I had not seen that. Many thanks for the heads-up.

            And here’s “hoping” that “popular young adult science fiction” will not be wasted on the young (which I am not.)

            Katniss has many other names, but none of them are Hilary.

      3. anon y'mouse

        why are they poor? that would be a better question. pillage by local elites? foreign ones? colonialism?

        ARE they poor? why do you need an iPhone to live a life of quality? I would argue we’re the poorer, thinking we need to buy all of this dreck.

        what about energy constraints? how long can we keep sending each other the same crap we make (or can make) locally over and over?

      4. from Mexico

        dipterhio makes an empirical claim which is demonstrably false, and you are quick to jump on it and capitlaize on it.

    2. from Mexico

      diptherios says:

      For some strange reason, one thing that “free trade” advocates never mention is that the wage increases in low-income countries (which they tout continually as a humanitarian benefit of neo-liberal policies) will be offset by wage decreases here. Our wages here in the US and the wages of people in Vietnam are expected to converge, which obviously means we’re gonna have to come down a lot.

      That’s not really true.

      I often hear the argument trotted out by the neoliberal faithful that, because of issues of fairness and justice, wages in the US must come down so that wages in Vietnam can go up.

      Of course that’s not the outcome neoliberal practices, in practice as opposed to in theory, bring about. In practice wages in both the US and Vietname go down.

      The only winners to the imposition of mandatory “free” markets are those who make up the transnational capitalist class.

      The assertion that wages in the US must go down so that wages in Vietnam can go up is, in my estimation, neoliberalism’s BIGGEST LIE.

      Empiricism is a real bitch for those in love with theory, or for the paid liars of the transnaitonal capitalist class.

      1. diptherio

        Maybe you’re right…I’ve just never had a discussion where decreasing wages domestically was claimed to be a benefit of “free trade” policies. Mostly, the topic is just avoided.

        But I agree with you, the benefits have flowed primarily to the capitalist class. I would love to see some empirical data, if anybody knows where to find it, showing wage changes in Mexico following NAFTA. Was their any bump at all from all those GM jobs we sent south?

        One thing, anyway, is for sure*: wages of US auto-workers have declined more than wages for Mexican auto-workers have increased. The difference, of course, is more profit, which was always the idea anyway. The end result of so-called free trade policies is a net transfer of income from labor to capital.

        *well, probably for sure…again, I haven’t seen any actual data…anybody else?

        1. from Mexico

          Here you go:

          Between 1991 and 1998, the share of workers in salaried[1] jobs with benefits fell sharply in Mexico. The compensation of the remaining self-employed workers, who include unpaid family workers as well as small business owners, was well above those of the salaried sector in 1991. By 1998, the incomes of salaried workers had fallen 25%, while those of the self-employed had declined 40%. At that point, the average income of the self-employed was substantially lower than that of the salaried labor force. This reflects the growth of low-income employment such as street vending and unpaid family work (for example, in shops and restaurants). After seven years, NAFTA has not delivered the promised benefits to workers in Mexico, and few if any of the agreement’s stated goals has been attained.

          –NAFTA AT SEVEN: Its impact on workers in all three nations

          That was in 1998, seven years after the implementation of NAFTA.

          Since then, the earning power of workers in Mexico has continued to fall. All in all, since the neoliberal roll out in Mexico 1982, salaried Mexican workers have lost 50% of their purchasing power, and the minimum wage has lost 71.3% of its purchasing power:

          1. from Mexico

            And the 12 million people born in Mexico who have fled to the United States, despite what the MSM’s neoliberal mythmakers say, did not choose to go north because they wanted to. Very few people are so adventuous that they voluntarily pick up stakes and leave their families, friends, culture, home and country behind.

            Most of those 12 million went to the US because they had to.

            Of course all of this is hidden from the US public, because to admit it would be to admit what an utter and outrageous failure neoliberalism is.

            I was reading something the other day that said this mass migration from Mexico to the US is the largest one in human history, and by far dwarfs the current mass migrations going on in the Levant.

            I’ll see if I can chase down the article.

          2. diptherio

            Thanks for the research! Gotta love the NC comment section.

            It’s not surprising that the promised wage equalization has been entirely one-sided, i.e. wages here have gone down without wages elsewhere going up.

            For the record, I wasn’t trying to make an empirical claim about wages elsewhere going up, just commenting on apologist’s framing of ‘factor-price equalization.’ It’s similar to the way interest rate increases (back when we had them) were always framed as “fighting inflation” rather than “increasing unemployment,” even though the two things are synonymous according to mainstream economic theory (the Phillips Curve, for the uninitiated).

            Granted, the theory is bull, but that’s a separate matter from the rhetorical framing of the theory. I don’t think the empirical data supports the Phillips Curve theory, but that won’t stop me from pointing out how perverse it is, even on it’s own terms.

            So, in my defense: I’m just pointing out that we never see headlines proclaiming: “President Seeks Trade Agreement: Promises Lower Wages All Americans” or “Fed Announces Decision to Increase Unemployment.” That’s all.

    3. from Mexico

      And furthermore, once you make the debate about “wages” you’ve already conceded the debate.

      The concept of “employment” and “wages” is foreign to most traditional ways of social organization. Since so many of the people still living in traditional communities don’t “work” for “wages,” their “wages” are nonexistent, which makes them seem very poor if we accept capitalsim’s vocabulary for measuring human flourishing and well-being, that is “wages”

      1. Antifa

        An allowance for every citizen will be spent, of course. Which means it will gradually be harvested by the capitalist classes, just as all consumer spending is gradually siphoned upward now.

        This is partly because our “free market” system is rigged to siphon assets to fewer hands, and partly because our money is issued as debt instruments by private bankers — it is not issued as a simple token of value, like one of Lincoln’s greenbacks. Private bankers get a little bit of interest off of each dollar loaned into existence, so they get richer by consumer spending as inevitably as water runs downhill.

        That’s theft from the body politic, and it’s not necessary.

        We need simple money. Seashells or pieces of paper or paperclips. Anything, just so that it is not issued with “interest due” to its creator.

        And then we need to find all this money to issue as allowances to every citizen so they can eat, and have shelter, and health care, and educate themselves and have lives above the misery and desperation of poverty.

        There is no need to create this allowance money. Just set a limit on how much any capitalist or corporation can accumulate and hoard. Let no individual human being be worth more than $10 million, or $100 million even. Tax the rest and spread it back into the garden of the body politic. If an individual has all they need for their life, they need no more. Let others live.

        If money is a public utility, then we see the utility of not letting a few individuals or companies grab it all for themselves.

  5. peace

    Iran deal = signals historic loss of Israeli influence and significance?

    Also a win for negotiating perseverance by the E.U.’s Ashton (kudos!)

    1. Jim Haygood

      Despite the damage done to the Iranian economy by sanctions, its estimated per capita GDP (on a PPP basis) of $12,986 is in the same ballpark as Venezuela and Costa Rica.

      By comparison, occupied Palestine estimates its per capita GDP at $1,679, almost eight times lower than Iran’s.

      Incredibly, Israel was allowed to count alleged 9% GDP growth in the occupied West Bank in its (successful) application to join the OECD rich country club. Evidently, crime pays.

  6. Juneau

    Upworthy Generator site won’t play video but link seems to be good. Vid is frozen. May be my computer problem, not sure…

  7. ambrit

    Re. The Doctor.
    You’ve got to love the Beeb. “Norfolk Man.” What, a relative of Piltdown Man you say?
    (These people are too sophisticated not to have figured that one out in advance.)

  8. tongorad

    Re the land tax article on Salon, happy to see Michael Hudson mentioned in a middle-brow liberal rag. Progress?

  9. Jackrabbit

    Interim Agreement with Iran

    I think critics are right that Iran gains more from this deal. From what I have read, the many restraints imposed by the deal are not really adequate. For example:

    * The Iranians can’t use their new centrifuges – but they can still manufacture them.
    * The Iranians have to ‘freeze’ enrichment – but not development of delivery vehicles (e.g. missiles)

    The flaws should be weighed with regard to what the West accomplishes in this ‘first-step’. As described in the Administration’s summary of the deal:

    … without this phased approach, the international sanctions coalition would begin to fray because Iran would make the case to the world that it was serious about a diplomatic solution and we were not.

    Given fraught history of negotiations over the Iran nuclear project, I would expect that the negotiations will take all of the six months and more. During this interim period, whether the Iranians are serious about reaching a final agreement or not, they have an incentive to redouble their efforts in every area not specifically disallowed by the interim agreement so as to be prepared for the possibility that a satisfactory final agreement is not reached. Critics will seize on any advances (that become public) as evidence that the Iranians are NOT serious and just playing for time. Cynics might say that the leeway allowed in this deal is designed for exactly that purpose: to give Iran enough rope to hang themselves.


      If the odds can be overcome, maybe we can go on to limit France’s nuclear program using the same model.

      And then on to China’s nuclear program.

      And India’s, Britain’s, etc.

      That’s the best case hope for humankind…not Hawking’s space exploration.

    2. ohmyheck

      Interesting. I also wonder how a guy goes from starting World War 3 in August, to peace with Iran in November.

      This article starts out well…”Let’s not forget that Obama was minutes away from blasting Syria into the Stone Age, but as he stared into the abyss of war he blinked at the last moment….And now suddenly Obama is acting uncharacteristically rational. He’s agitating for peace among his anti-Syria coalition of close regional allies…”and then loses its point.

      Another interesting article:

      Just tossing out un-read links here, from Gareth Porter, who has an interview posted at Sibel Edmond’s site, which is subsctibers only, but I tend to trust her.

      If faux-Doves Scowcroft and Brzezinski urge an Iran accord, something is fishy.

  10. Bridget

    Re: land taxes

    Is the author possibly unaware that states, counties, municipalities, school districts and such already tax land?

      1. Propertius

        Regardless, it would be a direct tax without apportionment – which would require passage of a constitutional amendment to implement.

        I think it’s unreasonable to expect ratification of such a tax to succeed, particularly when it might be viewed as poaching on a revenue stream that has traditionally belonged to local governments.

  11. Bridget

    Re: land taxes

    What a brilliant idea. It’s a wonder that every state, county, municipality, and school district in the country hasn’t thought of that already

    1. from Mexico

      I disagree.

      More here:

      Mr. Krugman also does not advocate shifting taxes off labor onto property. The implication is that California can afford its Proposition #13 – the tax freeze on commercial property and homes at long-ago levels, which has fiscally strangled the state and led to an explosion of debt-leveraged housing prices by leaving the site value untaxed and hence free to be pledged to banks for larger and larger mortgage loans instead of being paid to the public authorities. There is no hint in Mr. Krugman’s journalism of a need to reverse the tax shift off real estate and finance (onto income and sales taxes), except to restore a bit more progressive taxation.

      The effect of Mr. Krugman’s suggestions is for the government to subsidize the existing financial and tax structures, leaving the debts intact and ignoring the largely regressive, unfair and inefficient system of taxation. It is unfair because the profits of the rich – and even worse, their asset-price (“capital”) gains are taxed at lower rates and riddled with tax loopholes and giveaways. The wealthy benefit from the windfall gains delivered by the public infrastructure investment advocated by Mr. Krugman, but there is not a word about the public recouping this investment. Governments are indeed able to create their own money as an alternative to taxing, but some taxes – above all, on windfall gains, like locational value resulting from public investment in roads or other public transportation – are justified simply on grounds of economic fairness.

      So it is important to note what Mr. Krugman does not address these issues that once played so important a role in Democratic Party politics, before the Wall Street faction gained control via the campaign financing process – even before the Citizens United case. For over a century, economists have recognized the need for financial and fiscal reform to go together. Failure to proceed with a joint reform has led the banking and financial sector – along with its major client base, the real estate sector – to scale back property taxes and “free” the economy with taxes so that the revenue can be pledged to the banks as interest to carry larger loans. The effect is to load the economy at large down with private and public debt.

      –MICHAEL HUDSON, “Paul Krugman’s Economic Blinders”

    2. optimader

      “What a brilliant idea. It’s a wonder that every state, county, municipality, and school district in the country hasn’t thought of that already”

      (Note to Bridget.. Some don’t so sarcasm very well here..)

      Instead of screwing around w/ putting all the tax burden on land, why even have private property? If the State just owned the land outright, they could just charge Rent and we wouldn’t have to mess around with Taxes! Heck, that worked pretty damn well in Russia for centuries!
      err.. hold that thought

      1. Elliot

        Hudson needs to get out more. Not only do states and counties and towns have taxes on property, in many states (mine is one), most of local and state budgets come from property taxes.

        The which, by the way, are largely exempted for big businesses with lobbyists or owned senators and reps in the statehouses…. leaving homeowners and small landowners (actual farmers, remember us?) to pay for education, roads, libraries, sewerage, fire protection, pensions for state officials, etc.

        Increases on property taxes would have the (fully intended I am certain) effect of removing the less than worthy (poor) from the land. Clearances for the 21st century.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          Arguing against property taxes with the inbuilt assumption that they must or will be flat rate ignores that whatever degree of progressivity is desired can be written in just as they can be for income. Small farmers could be to some degree exempted, particularly where land is locked into agricultural use and there is no speculative pressure on property values from developers. &c &c. It’s an interesting idea.

          1. Propertius

            And such exemptions will doubtless be gamed by legions of highly-paid lawyers, accountants, and lobbyists so that they no longer benefit anyone but the 1%.

            The game may change, but the rules will most assuredly remain the same.

        2. from Mexico

          Yea, I guess we should do away with federal income taxes too, since the hedge fund operators have managed to pervert those too. They currently tax the hedgies’ ill-gotten and inordinate gains at a lower rate than regular income is taxed.

          The bottom line: That just leaves sales and value added taxes, the most regressive form of tax posible.

        3. Yves Smith

          You clearly did not read Hudson, or not carefully.

          He said land, quite specifically. NOT “property”.

          In the US. typically over 80% of the value of property taxes on properties with domiciles on them is attributed to the building. Hudson proposes taxing the land, and at vastly higher rates.

      2. Elliot

        (Apologies if this is a double post; I posted and got a 524 server-side error (something about your cloudflare?) but it went by so fast I could not read it.)

        Hudson needs to get out more. Not only do states and counties and towns have taxes on property, in many states (mine is one), most of local and state budgets come from property taxes.

        The which, by the way, are largely exempted for big businesses with lobbyists or owned senators and reps in the statehouses…. leaving homeowners and small landowners (actual farmers, remember us?) to pay for education, roads, libraries, sewerage, fire protection, pensions for state officials, etc.

        Increases on property taxes would have the (fully intended I am certain) effect of removing the less than worthy (poor) from the land. Clearances for the 21st century.

      3. from Mexico

        @ optimader

        It’s good to have you around to poke fun at and make a mockery of anyone who tries to come up with solutions to ameliorate our grotesque inequality, which is growing more grotesque by the day.

        And you’re right, “Some don’t so sarcasm very well here,” especially your kind of sarcasm, which seems to invariably be in the service of the 0.1%

        1. optimader

          from Mexico,
          And I enjoy my glimpse into the thought process of a class warfare Socialist. Not be sarcastic here, it takes all kinds and I’m pleased you have the opportunity to express yourself in this capacity.

          Personally I find your sort of class warfare unproductive, those efforts I feel would be more productively directed toward unwinding criminal behavior in our (United States) political process with the modest objective of enforcement and prosecution of fraudulent behavior. Ultimately (IMO) jazzing around with the “US taxcode” is a rearrangement of deck chairs until that train is put on the rails.

          On an optimistic note, you should feel fortunate that things are pretty well sorted in the Estados Unidos de México and you have time to offer solutions to what isfckd up in this country.

          BTW , still curious about your thoughts when we last had a “free market system” in play?

          1. from Mexico

            So anyone who challenges the US’s grotesque inequality, either economic or ethnic/racial, is “a class warfare Socialist”?

            Gosh, where have we heard that before?

            Can we say Tea Party?

            1. optimader

              “So anyone who challenges the US’s grotesque inequality….. blah blah blah”, as I’m redundant to your strawman, I’ll let you debate yourself on this

              1. from Mexico

                Au contraire!

                Your comments don’t need any embellisment or exaggeration.

                They speak loud and clear for themselves. And the message is not a pretty one.

            2. Propertius

              So anyone who challenges the US’s grotesque inequality, either economic or ethnic/racial, is “a class warfare Socialist”?

              If the choice is between being “a class warfare Socialist?” and being a “neoliberal toady of the ownership class”, I’ll take class warfare Socialist any day of the week ;-). After all, why should class warfare be the perquisite of the 1%?

            3. Propertius

              Can we say Tea Party?

              We could, but then we’d just be playing the game our Lords and Masters want. Their biggest fear, I think, was always that Occupy and the Tea Party might figure out that they have a common enemy.

              Fortunately for them, they’ve been able to distract everyone with enough wedge issues and unflattering caricatures to insure that will never happen.

          2. from Mexico

            optimader said:

            Ultimately (IMO) jazzing around with the “US taxcode” is a rearrangement of deck chairs until that train is put on the rails.

            Yep. I can see how making rich people pay more taxes would be antithetical to someone of your political and moral persuasion.

      4. Bridget

        Not just Russia. Look at the pollution in Eastern Europe post Soviet Union. Look at China today. Look at some of our military bases. I see no evidence that State ownership of real estate leads to better stewardship of land than private ownership coupled with state regulation. Quite the contrary.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      Following up on optimador’s comment on sarcasm….

      Pro tip: It’s best to deploy sarcasm when you’ve familiarized yourself with the subject matter.

      In this case, had you read the article, you would have seen that the Land Value Tax (LVT) isn’t identical to what we know was “property taxes” at all.

      1. Optimader

        Follow up on lambert’s comment. My property tax is calculated with a formula that taxes the (unimproved and improved) land value as wel structures and other permanent improvements

      2. optimader

        “Land Value Tax (LVT) isn’t identical to what we know was “property taxes” at all.”

        Don’t know about you Lambert, but my primary residence Property Tax conveniently decomposes into discrete components that include “Land Value Tax” and “Improvement Value Tax” and “Building Value Tax” etc..

        The “Land Value” portion has been increasing as the building value took a step function down and is now slowly appreciating again.

        So yeah., in my case Land value is a discrete component of “Property Tax”.


        BTW as an aside, I would be interested to see a link for this assessment:

        “..the land value of New York City alone exceeds that of all of the plant and equipment in the entire country, combined.” assuming this is relevant to a LVT taxation model.

        1. Bridget

          I live in Texas. We don’t have an income tax, but every square inch of land is taxed, along with improvements. Agricultural land gets special valuation, and there are breaks for primary residences, the disabled, and the elderly, but all land value is absolutely taxed . There is no state property tax, but counties, school districts, and municipalities are all heavily reliant on property taxes.

        2. Yves Smith

          You are missing the point. Hudson is proposing to tax the land only and at vastly higher rates. You are ignoring what he has written and are trying to shoehorn it into your experience.

          1. skippy

            Pretty funny – the Austrian – neoclassical are bandying on about taxing the consumable on top and not the land… mewonders why.

          2. Propertius

            Color me skeptical.

            If these “vastly higher rates” are uniform, I see substantial increases in rents in urban areas, and devastated rural economies (with associated increases in food prices and a decline in agricultural exports).

            If there are exemptions or favored treatment for agricultural use (for example), I see high rises in Manhattan incorporating hydroponic or rooftop gardens (not a bad idea in and of itself) in order to secure classification as “farms”.

            Regardless, I see the paper wealth of the Blankfeins and the Dimons completely untouched (although Trump may have to file bankruptcy yet again) and I see seniors on fixed incomes with paid-off houses rendered homeless as their properties are seized for nonpayment of taxes they cannot afford on their negligible incomes.

            If there are exemptions for senior citizens, I see the land beneath Manhattan high-rises transferred at nominal cost to nursing-home residents, while the current owners retain the “improvements” and benefit from inexpensive, long-term land leases.

            Let’s have a 1% tax on the nominal value of derivative trades, instead.

          3. Bridget

            I should add that I am sympathetic to the larger point that the value of much of the land in the US is attributable to public improvements. I have long thought that my state, and the counties and municipalities within, should charge for the curb cuts that enable private land to access public roads, and should charge a lot more than they do for utility hook-ups and such.

  12. Jerome Armstrong

    “But for someone with little money or assets, why not take the chance (opt-out)? Bankruptcy is always an option.”

    I think this is basically the lesson that Obama has taught (by his actions) to the young voters that supported him. They saw him bailout the banks, and hold no accountability to anyone, and make lie after lie, flip-flop after flip-flop, and so on.
    It’s a lesson, not of “ask what you can do for your country” but, “take what you can whenever you can from your country”.

    And if you get big enough, you can demand a taxpayer bailout if it doesn’t work out as planned.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      While Obama is guilty of many things, inculcating the “precariat” with the idea of bankruptcy in the management of financial risk is not one of them.(See United Airlines or Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital for reference.)

      You are guilty here of the selective use of “morality” or “patriotism” as a population management mechanism. The precariat (I LOVE that word) population, that is.

      This woman’s evaluation of her situation is actually quite financially savvy and is a breath of fresh air. The public-at-large has been victimized by the existing, “morality” justified financial double standard for far too long.

      Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein call it “risk management” or “hedging,” I think, and it’s time the PRECARIAT grabbed a piece of that action.

      1. Antifa

        Some 47% of Americans do not pay Federal taxes.

        The IRS tax penalty on people who do not purchase health insurance is levied by reducing your tax refund.

        How do they figure to reduce a refund that isn’t?

        Constitutionally, the government can tax citizens who do not participate, but they cannot fine you. SCOTUS said so.

        Will they have a line that says, “Enter your ACA tax on this line” and see if it holds up to court challenge? Or will they just let these people go without paying the penalty?

        No one is talking about this giant hole in the insurance subsidy program called the ACA.

        If a whole lot of people opt out, and have no refund to carve up, insurance premiums will go far higher over the next year or two.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          It is amazing to me that the right has not advocated tax resistance, especially given that the ObamaCare fine (sorry, “individual responsibility” payment) can’t be enforced with a lien.

          A sign, despite all the frothing and stamping, of the fundamentical ineffectuality and compliance of the Republicans, I suppose. They’re supposed to hate taxes, but they can’t even leverage their brand! The Overton Window really is very narrow.

      2. Jerome Armstrong

        Well, abnegation takes many forms.

        It seems obvious that the executive branch will move the IRS penalty to a withholding tax.

  13. diptherio

    Re: An Orgy of Thieves ~Counterpunch

    “Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand. They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves. Even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us, they still think that they are better than we are. They are different.”

    F. Scott Fitzgerald, from The Rich Boy

    1. DakotabornKansan

      An orgy of thieves…Tired of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer?

      This America, man.

      The government spent billions of public dollars to bail out the very institutions that brought the global economy to the brink of ruin. We willingly hand over our cash to the big corporations and financial institutions that use our money to realize short term financial gains at any cost.

      But as a Baltimore witness explained to Detective McNutty on The Wire, that’s how America works:

      DETECTIVE JIMMY MCNULTY: This kid whose mama went to the trouble of christening him Omar lsaiah Betts? You know, he forgets his jacket so his nose starts running, and some asshole instead of giving him a Kleenex, he calls him “Snot.” So, he’s “Snot” forever. Doesn’t seem fair.

      WITNESS: Life just be that way, I guess.

      DETECTIVE JIMMY MCNULTY: Let me understand you, every Friday night you and your boys will shoot crap right? And every Friday night your pal Snot Boogie he’d wait ’till there was cash on the ground and then he’d grab the money and run away? You let him do that?

      WITNESS: If we’d catch him we’d beat his ass but ain’t nobody let it go past that.

      DETECTIVE JIMMY MCNULTY: I gotta ask you, if every time Snot Boogie would grab the money and run away why’d you even let him in the game?

      WITNESS: What?

      DETECTIVE JIMMY MCNULTY: Snot Boogie always stole the money, why’d you let him play?

      WITNESS: Got to. This America, man.

      1. direction

        Alexander Cockburn’s been dead for over a year now. Are they releasing old work? Is it still newsworthy?

  14. JTFaraday

    re: Murdoch’s feud with Blair over wife Wendi: ‘Terminal’ end of friendship over claims of ‘multiple encounters’ between ex-PM and tycoon’s ex-wife, Daily Mail. “Oh my!”

    “Tycoon and his TV girl: Mr Murdoch and glamorous Wendi in 2011. They met in China when she worked on his satellite network.”

    Looks like there’s a job open at NewsCorp!

      1. JTFaraday

        Something tells me it’s going to be a banner year for media gawking.

        That reminds me. Soon it will be the Year of the Horse and the one thing that stands out in my mind about that is that the Horse is a tremendous gossip.

  15. Debbie

    World’s Richest?

    Where are the Rothschilds? They’ve been making money off of wars and national debt since the 1800s at least.

    Think of the compounding.

  16. rich

    Regulating Shadow Banking

    Streamed live on Nov 22, 2013
    Commercial banks — the traditional focus of financial regulation–no longer stand at
    the center of the financial system. In the run up to the financial collapse of 2008, new
    forms of credit assumed an ever larger role, creating an unprecedented web of
    complexity and interconnectedness. The crisis revealed that broker-dealers, money
    market funds, asset managers, and insurance companies have become key actors in
    the financial system, with the potential to shake the stability of the whole economy.

  17. Dromaius

    The USA Today article on Obamacare:

    They always talk about what a small portion of the market we just outside of subsidy level are. But if that’s true? Why the hell didn’t they just leave us alone. If we mean nothing to their system, give us one of our own.

    That person who is going from $450 to $750+ premiums? They may not mean much to Obama’s grand scheme of things or to the Obamabots, but that person can’t buy insurance anymore…which is apparently not an issue to anyone. We have been paying into the system all along. Obama has priced us out of the system now. And we have no one fighting for us. It is pure, unadultered evil.

    I solemnly will fight to make sure that Democratic politicians are THE LOSERS in 2014. And I will fight for anyone who promises in a believable way to overturn this horror. It has to be overturned.

  18. Hugh

    It was actually something of a surprise that this Administration, for whatever reasons, had the sense to dump the rush to war with Syria and to go for the much more important goal of dialing back tensions with Iran. It makes me think there could still be a few grown-ups left in government. Probably just a fluke though, unfortunately.

    The EU never did squat to integrate Ukraine into the West. Listen if the EU was willing, even enthusiastic, to leave countries like Spain, Italy, and more and more even France twisting in the wind, what was it ever going to do for Ukraine? The headline here could have been “Ukraine treated like sh*t by EU, wakes up, smells the coffee, and looks elsewhere”.

    The healthcare industry’s interest in the “success” of Obamacare is much like the vested interest bank robbers have in their next heist.

    Re spies, the last significant CIA intelligence coup occurred back in 1962 when it found missiles in Cuba. Of course, if the CIA had not sponsored the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion 18 months before, those missiles probably never would have showed up in Cuba. About that same time, the CIA found a “missile gap” that didn’t exist. It completely failed to foresee the breakup of the Soviet Union, which is an existential fail considering that spying on the USSR and knowing what was going on there was its raison d’être. It missed Egyptian plans to take back the Sinai, the 1973 Yom Kippur war; Saddam Hussein’s plans to invade Kuwait in 1990; the Iranian Revolution of 1979; Pakistan’s nuclear tests in 1998. And of course, it missed Osama bin Laden’s plans to attack the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001. It missed or chose to ignore that Saddam Hussein did not have WMD or a nuclear program or any connections to 9/11. And it took 10 years to find bin Laden.

    Operationally, the CIA has a solid record of brilliant successes that turn into disastrous monsters for all concerned. The ouster of Mossadegh in Iran followed by the brutal and inept dictatorship of the Shah followed by the Iranian Revolution, the hostage crisis, and years of enmity, for example. Or its errors in Iraq which led to two wars and a lengthy, costly, and ultimately pointless occupation. Or its backing the mujaheddin against the Soviets and then having various factions of these turning into al Qaeda and the Taliban, oh yes, and another lengthy, costly, and ultimately pointless occupation. Or its spiffy drone wars together with its embrace of torture which have created far more anti-American terrorists than they have killed. All this before the NSA and the surveillance/police state it representsis are even mentioned.

    1. optimader


      A bit of nuance on “…About that same time, the CIA found a “missile gap” that didn’t exist… ”

      The missile gap fiction was formulated by RAND Corp, the spawn of the Pentagon. Not like the CIA prevailed as the contradicting source of strategic intelligence. RAND’s influence is what later prevailed as a white paper to the POTUS outlining a strategy to allocate ever increasing resources into what we now refer to as “the military/industrial complex”

      “…Besides advising the Air Force and the U.S. Government on policy matters related to nuclear conflict with the Soviets, RAND employees began to become involved in presidential politics. Many at RAND were not happy with the way the Eisenhower administration was handling the so-called missile gap. People from RAND insisted that the Soviets had over 500 Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, while sources in the CIA and photos from spy planes showed that the Soviets had no more than 50. Some members of RAND fed information to the Kennedy Campaign emphasizing the 500 missile figure (which proved vastly excessive – there were only 41). Kennedy used these bogus figures in his speeches to decry the administration policies regarding a slow buildup of the U.S. missile inventory. Eisenhower could not respond openly to Kennedy because he did not want to compromise intelligence sources.1 Eisenhower’s famous warning about the military-industrial complex was said to have stemmed from this disagreement with people in RAND…”

    2. Yves Smith

      You have one wrong. Saddam asked the US for permission to invade Kuwait. They were pumping way more than their share out of a ginormous oil field that both countries could access and didn’t cut back when asked to. Saddam told American emissaries that he wanted to go in and got a sorta-kinda approving message.

      So he was set up. This is not even conspiracy theory, it was in the Economist.

      1. optimader

        A worthwhile bookmark:

        On July 25,President Saddam Hussein of Iraq summoned the United States Ambassador to Baghdad, April Glaspie, to his office in the last high-level contact between the two Governments before the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on Aug. 2. Here are excerpts from a document

        TARIQ AZIZ: Our policy in OPEC opposes sudden jumps in oil prices.

        HUSSEIN: Twenty-five dollars a barrel is not a high price.

        GLASPIE: We have many Americans who would like to see the price go above $25 because they come from oil-producing states.

        HUSSEIN: The price at one stage had dropped to $12 a barrel and a reduction in the modest Iraqi budget of $6 billion to $7 billion is a disaster.

        GLASPIE: I think I understand this. I have lived here for years. I admire your extraordinary efforts to rebuild your country. I know you need funds. We understand that and our opinion is that you should have the opportunity to rebuild your country. But we have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait.

        I was in the American Embassy in Kuwait during the late 60’s. The instruction we had during this period was that we should express no opinion on this issue and that the issue is not associated with America. James Baker has directed our official spokesmen to emphasize this instruction. We hope you can solve this problem using any suitable methods via Klibi or via President Mubarak. All that we hope is that these issues are solved quickly. With regard to all of this, can I ask you to see how the issue appears to us?

        My assessment after 25 years’ service in this area is that your objective must have strong backing from your Arab brothers. I now speak of oil But you, Mr. President, have fought through a horrific and painful war. Frankly, we can see only that you have deployed massive troops in the south. Normally that would not be any of our business. But when this happens in the context of what you said on your national day, then when we read the details in the two letters of the Foreign Minister, then when we see the Iraqi point of view that the measures taken by the U.A.E. and Kuwait is, in the final analysis, parallel to military aggression against Iraq, then it would be reasonable for me to be concerned. And for this reason, I received an instruction to ask you, in the spirit of friendship — not in the spirit of confrontation — regarding your intentions.

        I simply describe the position of my Government. And I do not mean that the situation is a simple situation. But our concern is a simple one.

        Essentially a tacit endorsement for SH to sort it out as he sees fit. George Bush Sr. and Zapata petroleum’s relationship w/ the Kuwait royal family are well known of course, apparently someone should have told Saddam.

        An interesting sidebar is that Gillespie graduated from from Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in 1965

        Of course Paul Nitze was the author of the National Security Council Report 68 (NSC-68) which was the policy paper that initiated the Cold War arms race that established the military/industrial complex franchise.

        It’s fun to play connect the dots, and there’s a galaxy worth of dots here

      2. Jackrabbit

        Saddam asked what the US position was regarding Iraq’s dispute with Kuwait. The US Ambassador’s reply was essentially that the US had no position/was neutral. Saddam took this to mean that the US would not interfere and thus he had a free hand to resolve the dispute with Kuwait as he saw fit.

        It seems likely that if the US had advanced warning about what Saddam was planning, that the US would’ve warned him against such action.

  19. down2long

    Bring it on!

    Tonight’s FT reports the big banks will start charging for deposits if the Fed stops paying money on their “reserves” held at the Fed.

    One executive revealed the whole game when he said “It’s not like we’re suddenly going to start lending to small and medium sized enterprises,” because, as the ratfker line goes, “there is no demand there.” Of course it would have something to do with having destroyed all the small businesses.

    There will always be covenant-light lending to big and medium size corporations until they blow up.

    Meanwhile, Americans may finally get smart and vote with their feet to other banks that don’t feel the need to charge you for the pleasure lending out your money to other people at exorbitant interest rates.

    Of course, through preposterous fees, most small retail customers are already paying to have a bank hold their deposits.

    Oh please God, let the banks go through with this. Their hubris really is astounding!! Maybe Americans will turn off their TVs and wake up. Right.

    Which brings up one of my favorite #AskJPM tweets (not mine): “We charged you just enough to piss you off, but not enough for you to get off the couch.”

  20. anon y'mouse

    Miami Gardens police story—this is the attitude of most cops I encountered or witnessed interacting with people in the ghetto.

    note the “dominance” action in the store, where an entire squad shows up and intimidates the shop owner while one guy symbolically urinates on him (“just stopped by to use your restroom, thanks”).

    witnessing interactions like this, on an individual scale, is what makes me so anxious around cops. even in the ‘better’ neighborhoods, if they show up in your store and you don’t drop everything and give them a significant discount, they will be miffed. if you both live and work in an area, it is better to not tick one off by making rude comments about your STD’s, because you will be seeing them again. and they will remember. and chances are, they will make you pay for it sometime down the line if they are able.

    best to make them your friend if you can, or come across as totally non-interesting, non-threatening if you can’t. look at that poor store clerk–caught with marijuana, yet stopped every week just to keep up the numbers. and because he “looked right”, and was most definitely the “wrong” race. treating the shop-owner like he has paid them protection money (or failed to, it was truly unclear) by putting a sign up in his store window about “zero tolerance”.

    how they confused “zero tolerance” with broken window theory is beyond me.

  21. Bridget

    In Texas, every parcel is separated into land value and improvement value. The appraisal districts are quite good at their jobs, and when land values are high, they usually know it and value it aggressively.

    I have reread the article several times and have been unable to find what sort of rates the author has in mind, but I can see several unintended consequences of taxing land at extremely high rates. The first is devaluation followed by abandonment. The second is incentivization of ill conceived development to produce income to pay taxes. One of the main reasons for the favored valuations given to agricultural land in Texas is to prevent development of prime farmland.

    I’d like to see the data on which the author bases his claim that most real estate is owned by the fabled 1%. He might need to get out more.

    1. Propertius

      I’m sure that in certain tiny and thoroughly unrepresentative enclaves (Manhattan, parts of the Bay Area, etc.), most of the land *is* owned by the 1%. This is just another example of bicoastal provincialism – the assumption that everyplace in the country is either just like NYC, or really wants to be.

Comments are closed.