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SanFranciscoJim
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Yes, all network traffic should be encrypted by default. Everyone should have a right to privacy as default and then chose to share what they want to share. I am astonished that anyone has a problem with that. Should your phone conversations be a matter of public record unless you specify otherwise?
So O is not the liberal so many imagined him to be. He is still not Bush III. That statement is too absurd to be worth bothering with.
Toggle Commented Aug 18, 2009 on "The Public Option as a Signal" at Economist's View
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The Democrats are actually winning this one, if you pay attention to the polls, and not the few blowhards on Fox News. Look at the polls for Congressional Leadership, Pelosi hit a low on 5/31 and has been steadily increasing since then. Boehner hit a peak on 6/25 and has been going down ever since. The American public has listened to the well-financed, very vocal opponents of any kind of health care reform and are now turning against them. You can bet that Congress knows how to read poll numbers, too.
Toggle Commented Aug 17, 2009 on "The Public Option as a Signal" at Economist's View
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You needed to talk some folks out here in the Real World circa 2005-7. Back then, "they" couldn't build more land, the sky was the limit and demographics were just sure to drive real estate prices upward into perpetuity. Practically everybody knew this to be true, it was the common knowledge of the day and it took a lot of intestinal fortitude to avoid being one of them. ------- Two anecdotes here: both my father and my father-in-law mortgaged themselves to the hilt during the housing boom. In about 2006 I advised both of them to cool it, but I think parents are even less likely to take the advice of their children than visa versa. My father at one point had five homes in the California High Desert area, or at least mortgages on five homes. He is bankrupt now. My father-in-law, who has more financial resources to fall back upon, has foolishly been tapping his 401k to feed his six properties. He has also been finding out that being a landlord to a bunch of Section 8 tenants is a lot of work. On top of this, he pulled his son and one of his daughters -- though not my wife -- into his crazy scheme and both of them are holding a mortgage on a money losing investment property. My brother also has been buying about one investment home every other year for about a decade. He had the good sense or perhaps good luck to sell his home in the San Luis Obispo area when prices started to go down, so he has avoided the worst of the carnage, though I am sure he is underwater of some of his properties. He has a good income as a lawyer, so he can eat the loss, however.
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"Risk adjusted real returns on [investment] assets ought to equalize across markets through arbitrage, so shouldn't housing yield a real return similar to stocks (adjusting for risk)?" Residential real estate is not really an investment asset, it is a durable consumable good, or at least some mix of consumable and investment good. It is also confusing to people because in some regions, over some pretty long periods of time, real estate prices have gone up. In California, for example, real estate prices have gone up at a 3% real rate (over inflation) since WWII. The amount of land in the United States may not be in danger of running out, but all the desirable places to live are already occupied. Places with temperate weather and easy access to water have been settled since before Columbus.
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"Risk adjusted real returns on [investment] assets ought to equalize across markets through arbitrage, so shouldn't housing yield a real return similar to stocks (adjusting for risk)?" Residential real estate is not really an investment asset, it is a durable consumable good, or at least some mix of consumable and investment good. It is also confusing to people because in some regions, over some pretty long periods of time, real estate prices have gone up. In California, for example, real estate prices have gone up at a 3% real rate (over inflation) since WWII. The amount of land in the United States may not be in danger of running out, but all the desirable places to live are already occupied. Places with temperate weather and easy access to water have been settled since before Columbus.
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Why do I have to log in to comment now? I didn't used to have to do this and it appears that some people still can comment anonymously. Did something change?
Toggle Commented Jun 7, 2009 on Sidebar Changes at Economist's View
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I follow ECRI quite closely and they warned of economic weakness quite a few times in late 2007. Check out this article from Reuters: http://www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idUSN2022052120080320 Unfortunately, all their archived articles are for paying members only. I used to pay the $199/yr for the "light" subscription, but they have even eliminated that and only make available to the general public that very thin data set I pointed you to. The "Pro" package is $2000/yr, which is more than I can afford. Sorry for the terse response earlier Anne, I was juggling two little ones at the time.
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http://www.businesscycle.com/resources/
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The economy is assuredly improving, this can be affirmed by looking at a number of factors. The guys over at ECRI, who have correctly called each recession since 1987 (and not incorrectly called any) say that we should be back to positive growth by this summer. Their index of leading indicators has been shooting upward, though admittedly it is still not positive.
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Well, it is easy to be flip about these things, but I have to ask, do you have children of your own, Merle? Because when you do, you become less willing to have social experiments for the somewhat dubious benefit of society performed on your own children. I am doing my best to keep my kids in public schools, stay in the city, and expose them to a wide variety of people and experiences. But if it gets to the point where it compromises their education or their safety, I will do whatever it takes to make sure that they are okay. If that means putting them in private school, if I can afford it, then it means putting them in private school. If that means high tailing it for the suburbs, then so be it. I would rather not do these things, especially since my children are mixed race, I think they will be better off going to school here, but it all depends on the circumstance. And I am pretty darn liberal and committed to public education. And why do I have to log in to post now? I used to be able to post pseudoanonymously, but no I cannot. Why is that?
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"All of this following Ben's frantic expansion of the money supply while the housing bubble was forming. Ben was apparently fighting off the Great Depression back then too, and only succeeded in magnifying the bubble to historic proportions." I think you are confusing Ben with Greenspan. Bernanke has only headed The Fed since 2006, when the housing bubble was already starting to pop.
Toggle Commented May 3, 2009 on Who's Afraid of Depression? at Economist's View
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Paulus said: "Resulting in 500.000 unemployed + an astounding 1 million people permanently unfit for work due to "illness" (don't call it unemployed)." Actually The Netherlands has the lowest unemployment rates in The EU, currently at 2.8%, according to the BBC. They have consistently had some of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe and even lower than the US. No doubt this is partially because of so many on disability, but their labor force participation rates are about the same as the US, especially when you factor in how many we have withdrawn in the military and in prison.
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