Friday, November 28, 2014

Too Soon!

So, what did I get?  A 128Gb USB 3.0 flash drive for $28 and a 480Gb SSD for $149.  I'm definitely not doing my job stimulating the economy.  

Oil Prices as QE4

First a little math.

VMT per capita this year 9400 miles.  
Rough average price per gallon for 2014; $2.90. Average fleet fuel mileage 22 mpg.
After all that call it $100 per month per person.
A 10% price decline is $10/mo/pers. 

Maybe this poor thing could buy new clothes that fit with her equivalent of a 2% raise.  

Thursday, November 27, 2014

First 1% First World Problems

Mistaking your $90,000 all electric car for someone else's $90,000 all electric car. 

Wordspeak of the Year

Over at CR Bill has nominated "employment" as his word of the year.  His claim is:

In May 2014, employment
and 2014 will be the best year for 
employment since the '90s.

I guess if by employed you mean a job, any job no matter how meager. 

Here's the truth about the recovery in "jobs":

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Sore Thumb Sticks out in New Home Sales

Little noticed in the 26, Nov '14 Census Bureau release of New Home Sales is an interesting change in month over month numbers.  It's a shame there isn't a decent econ blog out there to call attention to this stuff.  

September '14 Median Sales price $261,700
September '14 Average Sales price $314,200

October '14 Median Sales price $305,000
October '14 Average Sales price $401,100

Am I the only one who thinks a 20% jump in the median price is unusual?

Latest New Sales release.  PDF updated monthly.  

Early Market Close With Painted Ticker

The fast data are taking a pause in the end of year run up.  Case-Shiller paused as expected.  New home sales and mortgage apps are down more than might be just noise.  We see holiday spending plans are down yoy after being down yoy.  Part of that however is the massive "baby bust" fallout from the extended recession so don't worry.  Other datums are likewise not as extreme as the raw numbers would suggest.  The very rapid strengthening of the dollar causes lots of distortions.  The huge influx of foreign capital likewise.  And don't forget medium and long interest rates going "the wrong" way due to low inflation.  And full circle; low inflation (deflation) means putting off the 75" flatscreen until it is 40% cheaper next year.  And the poor retailers, offering 0% interest?  That's not good enough.  

Lots to discuss.  Suggestions for the extended weekend are welcome although in the interests of comity I may limit weather discussions to one no holds barred knock down drag out post so everyone can bitch or gloat as is their wont.  

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Banking Concentration Just like GINI

Do I need to draw you a picture?  The rest of the pdf is Table 1177. FDIC...

Peripheral Tunnel/Canal, Same Thing

I wonder how many people realized what they were voting for when they approved the bond measures.  

Mercury News:
The overall cost for the tunnels is politically sensitive. State voters will be asked to approve a water bond to pay for parts of it in November, and polls have shown that the more government projects cost, the less likely voters are to support them. Water agencies around the state would sell bonds to pay for much of it also, and the higher the borrowing costs, the higher they will have to raise water rates on the public.
Many large public projects are funded with money from bonds. But the tunnels project would rely on bond borrowing to cover a huge percent of its costs: roughly 85 percent. By comparison, the financial plan for Brown's other major project, high-speed rail, relies on state bonds for only 12 percent of its funding -- $8 billion of the $68 billion price tag -- with the rest, he hopes, to come from Congress, private companies and others.

EDIT:  Hat tip to sm_landlord for this pdf file "The Time the Canal was Defeated."  This also proves the old saw of politics; yes means yes forever and no means until next time. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Rural Gentrification and How Fast Things Change

This from last year but worth the wait as another year of no water is making things worse(better?).  

The LA Times reports: "There's too many doctors and lawyers moving in here and putting in their Chateau Cashflow," said Zan Overturf, owner of a Paso Robles plant nursery who has seen local business dry up because of the water shortage. Battle lines have been drawn. On one side are wine producers, who feel besieged and undeserving of all the blame. On the other are rural residents, who worry over their housing values and ask how soon before their faucets cough dust? In normally placid Paso Robles, some residents are privately boycotting the offending wineries. One homeowner was shocked to find his "Save Our Wells!" bumper sticker torn off his car. "We used to think we were so lucky to live here," said Jan Seals, 60, a Bay Area tech-industry transplant whose well water dropped 70 feet in the decade she and her husband have lived outside Paso Robles. "Now we've got two choices: drill another well or put our house on the market. But I wouldn't buy our house given the situation with the basin."
Funny and sad. Where to begin? Chalk it up to first world problems of the 1%. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Go Ahead Insult Your Hosts

Despite warnings from his own embassy Obama ripped into the Australian administration for walking back their climate change policies.

From "The Australian":

Despite repeated Australian requests, White House officials refused to provide a text of the speech to their Australian hosts in advance, and did not provide a summary of what would be contained in the speech.
Mr Obama’s repeated references to the climate change debate in Australia, his accusation that Australia was an inefficient user of energy and his repeated references to the Great Barrier Reef, which has figured heavily in the climate change debate, have led observers to conclude that the speech was a deliberate swipe at the Abbott government.
Historians of the US-Australia relationship are unable to nominate a case of a visiting president making such a hostile speech for the host government.

And the pushback courtesy Radio Australia:

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has criticised US president Barack Obama for a speech in Brisbane last weekend in which he claimed climate change threatened the Great Barrier Reef.
Speaking to 7.30 from New York, where she is attending a meeting of the United Nations Security Council, Ms Bishop said "there was an issue regarding [Mr Obama's] statement" and she could "understand the Queensland Government's concern".
In a speech at University of Queensland, Mr Obama had said that: "Here, a climate that increases in temperature will mean more extreme and frequent storms, more flooding, rising seas that submerge Pacific islands ... The incredible natural glory of the Great Barrier Reef is threatened."
Ms Bishop told 7.30: "We are demonstrating world's best practice in working with the World Heritage Committee to ensure that the Great Barrier Reef is preserved for generations to come.
"I think that President Obama might have overlooked that aspect of our commitment to conserving the Great Barrier Reef."

I understand the dynamics of a failed Presidency but I don't understand the seeming deliberate attempts to destroy the institution in the process.  

Housing as Part of Just Getting By

Housing sometime around when inflation took off started to take a bigger and bigger bite out of the household budget. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Las Vegas Is Not All Bright Lights

This is the Valley of Fire State Park. I have a dozen more tedious tourist type photos if anyone requests. 

Additional perspectives:

Demographics for Liberal Apologists

Bill over at CR was making slow progress in accepting the new reality of working longer and at greater rates into old age but appears to have relapsed.

This is hopefully going to put the issue to rest. It won't of course because there is a strong need to deny just how radically the US job market has changed and worse how much worse it compares to most of the rest of the developed world.  In this respect it is as much an embarrassment as is how we treat retirement. 

this Made Me Laugh

Friday, November 21, 2014

I Bow to the Will of the People

I've highlighted the "priority" President Obama has chosen to address.  Whose priority? 

A Better Employment Estimate

A look at the last ten years of employment counting Full Time equivalents.

Now.  How about another look?  This time adjusting for working age (16-64) population growth?