Builders: No Soup for You! Come Back One Year!

What is funnier than this, I cannot imagine. My sides ache from reading it. (Dear Lord, please make it stop!)

To wit:

"The lobbying group representing homebuilders is cutting
off contributions to federal congressional campaigns, saying lawmakers
and the Bush administration have not done enough to stabilize the
housing market.

The National Association of Home Builders said
Tuesday its political action committee has decided to stop making
contributions to candidates for Congress "until further notice."

1990, the trade group has given nearly $20 million to federal
candidates, with 35 percent going to Democrats and 65 percent to
Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

and the Bush administration, "have not adequately addressed the
underlying economic issues that would help to stabilize the housing
sector and keep the economy moving forward," the trade group’s
president, Brian Catalde said in a statement. "More needs to be done to
jump-start housing and ensure the economy does not fall into a

Gee, weren’t these the same folks who were begging for rate cuts in 2001/02? Didn’t they keep cheering when Greenie took rates down to 1%?

The builders group must be saying to themselves: How could you have made us build all those homes! What were you thinking?

I guess the concept of personal responsibility has little meaning to lobbyists. . .

Builders: No More Campaign Contributions
Tuesday February 12, 5:58 pm ET
Homebuilders Lobbying Group Cuts Off Contributions to Federal Congressional Campaigns

Category: Fixed Income/Interest Rates, Politics, Real Estate

Retail Sales Show Inflation, Not Growth

Category: Consumer Spending, Data Analysis, Retail

WTF Headline of the Day: “Dow 18,500? Believe It”

Category: Earnings, Economy, Investing, Markets, Psychology, Valuation

1-888 Foreclose-B-Gone !

Category: Credit, Politics, Real Estate

Jack Johnson: Sleep Through The Static

Sleep_through_the_staticWe’ve mentioned Jack Johnson many times over the years.

I was surprised this week, when not one, but 4 copies of Sleep Through The Static arrived in the mail from (AMZN).

I thought it was an ordering glitch, but actually, its a bit of a flaw in their wish lift system. I ordered a copy for myself, and several of you sent it as a holiday present. But because the CD wasn’t released until last week, I never removed it from the wish list.

You would figure that Amazon would/should pull a wish list item once its been ordered and sent to the wish list holder’s address.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to listening to this — thank you for the gift(s)!

click for Video


Taylor (from On And On)   
amusing video with Ben Stiller

Category: Digital Media, Music, Video

AIG: Don’t Try to Catch the Falling Knife

Category: Derivatives, Quantitative, Technical Analysis, Valuation

Media Appearance: CNBC’s Morning Call (2/12/08)

Category: Media



“The purpose of studying economics is not to acquire a set of ready-made answers to economic questions, but to learn how to avoid being deceived by economists.”

-Joan Robinson, Cambridge University


One of the things that really perturbs me are disingenuous, intellectually indefensible commentary consisting of willfully misleading tripe. Up until recently, that territory has been owned by the WSJ OPED pages. This past weekend, the NYT was seen elbowing its way into the same space.

I call this approach to economic analysis Hackonomics.

An OpEd in the Sunday Times is classic Hackonomics. Unfortunately, it takes little craft to slip junk past the editors at the Times OpEd section. Impressive-looking academic or government credentials seems to be all that is required. (Its a shame they don’t have, say, a professor from the Princeton Economics department on staff).

Perhaps there is a fear of looking silly or economically ignorant, rather than asking anyone else about any of these “analyses.” What we get instead are pieces like You Are What You Spend. The authors are Michael Cox, and Richard Alm, chief economist and senior economics writer at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. As my British colleagues would delightfully articulate, “their work is shite.”

To wit: These two gentlemen press forward the idea that the proper manner to review economic inequality should involve looking not at income differentials. Rather, this Fed duo favors a more direct measure of economic status: household consumption. They claim “the gap between rich and poor is far less than most assume, and that the abstract,
income-based way in which we measure the so-called poverty rate no longer applies to our society.”

Their analysis is so problematic and their theory so full of holes, that, if time permitted, we could identify errors in nearly every paragraph. That sort of critique is best reserved for serious intellectual analysis of major importance. For Hackonomics, we will simply identify 3 major flaws, and then get on to more pressing and important work.

Let’s take a closer look at their arguments:

1. Income Disparity: Abstract? There is nothing “abstract” about income-based measures of poverty or wealth inequality. Merely calling income comparisons “abstract” does not make it so, nor does it make their position any less absurd. Instead, it reads as a
transparent attempt by the authors to avoid any income discussion.

Why not discuss income? Perhaps the data is the reason: The share of national income of the wealthiest 1% rose from 14.6% five years ago (2003) to 17.4% in 2005 (Emmanuel Saez, University of California-Berkeley). And since 2005, the wealth disparity has grown even further.

Indeed, as several commentators have already pointed out, these same authors previously tried to make an income based argument that “the gap between rich and poor is far less than most assume” – and crashed and burned.

Next attempt, please.

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Category: Consumer Spending, Data Analysis, Economy, Wages & Income

I’m Optimistic . . .

Category: Economy, Television

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