Wednesday, December 28, 2011

SAR #11362

Pepper spray - don't leave home without it.

Numbness: US houses have lost another $680 billion in value this year. That's 35% less than the $1.1 trillion they lost last year, according to Zilow. Ignore last year's Zilow report that claimed 2010's loss was $1.7 trillion. And back in 2008, houses lost 2.6 trillion or maybe $3.6 trillion – again according to various Zilow reports. It was all pretend money, it's gone, move along.

Priorities: Big Pharma spends twice as much on marketing as on research. But they maintain their high prices are needed to pay for their profits research.

Saying & Doing: Wannabe Rick Perry, who is still being paid as governor (and as a retired governor), while running around the country debating the other wannabes, has billed Texas taxpayers over $1.4 million for his travel costs. He maintains his travels “promote Texas”, especially when he's giving speeches about welfare cheats living off the taxpayers' money.

Coming Attractions: At least some of Russia's media are growing bolder, losing their fear of Putin's authoritarian reach. The latest blow finds Russian TV openly lampooning him. Russia has always mocked their dictators, but not openly. It is fear of the regime, not the regime’s actual ferocity, that keeps dictators in power. If his henchmen lose their fear, it'll be all over.

Borrowed: Here's a middle of the road set of predictions for 2012's economic, political and social adventures. Pessimism abounds. And that's among the optimists. I'd only add that things can appear deceptively close. Social upheaval may take some time. Wall Street bankers and their European cousins can kick the can a few more times before we all end up in the gutter. All the bad stuff will probably happen ,just not as quickly as some expect.

Railroaded: Capitalism at its best, isn't.


Demetrius said...

Railroading, this was very interesting indeed, I have linked to it with a hat tip to you. A lot of the same might well apply to the UK shipping era as well.

Blissex said...

«US houses have lost another $680 billion in value this year.»

They have that much in price not value. What is their value is not sure, but that it is not related to their price is pretty much sure, as their price is mostly related to interest rates, between pretty wide boundaries.

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

Blissex - You're right that price doesn't equal value, but that's true of almost anything on any market except those in economics textbooks.

Demetrius - thanks for the link reference. If I had ever known - or remembered from "A Peoples' History" - quite how rapacious the RR magnates had been, I'd forgotten. It was a refreshing read for me.


Blissex said...

That price of house does not equal value of houses is however very highly relevant.

Because house (that is: land) price changes do not signal or involve any change in value added (GDP or GNP), they are pure income redistribution.

They look like wealth redistribution, but a change in house prices does not redistribute wealth, because the ownership of those houses does not change because the price is changed.

All that house price changes do is to give free capital gains (or losses...) to the owners, and capital gain are income.

When house prices double, income is redistributed upwards, as no new value has been created, and the purchasing power of those with a $1m house has increased by $1m, and that of those with a $100K house has increased by $100K, and that of those who don't own houses has not increased at all, and there was no production of new value in terms of extra goods or services, never mind one proportional to the capital gains.

This is a very important "detail" because 30 years of asset price bubbles and reduced taxation of capital gains have been designed to boost the income of proprietors at the expense of that of earners.

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

Blissex - Thanks for the post.Your observations are appreciated, but not quickly digested. I've got to think on this a while - probaly with pen and paper at hand.