So what’s the economic or political answer to ‘rents’?

This evonomics article points out the harsh truth that LAND value increases in the UK are largely what’s responsible for most of the economic ‘growth’ there. (Read the piece!) After reading it, I understand what the author sees as a problem in that ‘owners’ are getting an unearned windfall while those that don’t own land are being screwed. But what is the economic, in this case actually POLITICAL, answer to this ‘problem’?  I’m not sure there is a way out of this trap.  Capitalism often has to be ‘saved’ from the capitalists by politicians, but this time the capitalists have made damn sure they own the means of ‘politics’. Who’s going to save capitalist from themselves this time and how?

So much for the integrity business.

Really wish I could believe that SOMEDAY those responsible will pay, but I don’t.

Just read Matt Taibbi’s latest piece about the ratings agency’s complicity with the financial crisis.

A ‘money’ quote:

2008 was to the American economy what 9/11 was to national security. Yet while 9/11 prompted the U.S. government to tear up half the Constitution in the name of public safety, after 2008, authorities went in the other direction. If you can imagine a post-9/11 scenario where there were no metal detectors at airports and people could walk on carrying chain saws and meat cleavers, you get a rough idea of what was done to reform the ratings process.


He ends with this:

But we know now that it was no accident. What happened to the ratings agencies during the financial crisis, and what is likely still happening within their walls, is a phenomenon as old as business itself. Given a choice between money and integrity, they took the money. Which wouldn’t be quite so bad if they weren’t in the integrity business.

Money from nothing.

Dire Straits said musicians were getting their ‘Money for nothing’ but when you mix Finance, Statistics and sometimes a lottery or two you get Money FROM Nothing.

“the Selbees have already claimed nearly $1 million in prize money this year”


If this is a known thing (and it is) you’d think they’d change the rules.


Hat Tip to Jimmy Graham

Quick oil/gas question

I keep hearing everywhere that oil storage is full to bursting because even though production is down demand is even lower. They are even starting to use their supercarriers to simply store the oil at sea until demand picks up.  If all that is true, and I have no reason to think NPR is lying to me, THEN WHY THE FUCK IS MY GAS PRICE GOING UP EVERY THREE DAYS?

Gas was around $1.89 last month. It’s $2.17 now. That is around a 15% increase IN ONE MONTH WHEN DEMAND IS DOWN!

Blame Game

“It’s the Democrat’s fault for this economic crisis because they forced lenders to make ridiculous loans to high-risk borrowers under penalties for not complying it is a Dodd and Frank legacy.”

I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard variations on this theme from conservative voices around the net. If it’s not the Democrats fault its all those sub-prime borrowers fault for taking out loans they couldn’t handle.

I want this nonsense stopped. No doubt the sub-prime lending was a contributing factor, but the total amount of money involved on all sub-prime loans is 1.2 Trillion dollars. Go to the Federal Reserve itself and look it up if you like.

Now lets look at how much the government has given to banks, AIG and general ‘stimulus’ since December of 2007 via Slate. So far a total of $5.568 trillion dollars has been thrown around and the economy is still in the dumps. So even if EVERY SINGLE SUB-PRIME MORTGAGE FAILED (hint: they didn’t) it’s not nearly as much as the government has spent in stimulus or trying to ‘save’ Wall Street.

I guess you can look at this in one of two ways. You can  believe that the banks and AIG were so highly leveraged that ANY downturn in the housing market, would cause this huge house of cards to come crashing down, or you can believe that the difference is ‘proof’ that the Democrats are just ‘stealing money’. {Feel free to throw your “third way’s” at me.}

One way of looking at this requires you to believe that Wall Street was HIGHLY leveraged, using unregulated derivatives and securitized investment vehicles no one really understood, which had such highly inflated values, that basically they were just inventing fake money, which was used to line their own pockets.

The other way of looking at this requires you to believe that the Democrats are just shoveling money to their friends or pet projects, because they can, the whole economic downturn is just a huge conspiracy and if we could just stop the Democrats from stealing from our kids futures then everything would go back to normal.

Personally I believe the former. When you have people like Dick Durbin telling us that basically banks ‘own’ the congress it’s REALLY easy to believe. Why? Because it makes a lot of ‘important’ people happy. It looks like the US GDP was going up when it really wasn’t[Politicians/economists happy], it made a lot of very rich people vastly more rich[Top 5% of wealth happy], and it caused even more money to be funneled as ‘lobbying’ to congress to make sure the gravy train could continue[Top 5% AND Politicians happy, a two fer!].

So, the next time you hear someone trying to blame this ‘economic mess’ on poor people, point out the vast difference in value of the entire sub-prime housing market and the amount of money thrown at Wall Street. So far it’s a difference of almost 5:1 and trust me the ratio will go even higher before this is over.

We desperately need banks and the derivatives market to be regulated, but the one thing where many conservative and liberal people will agree in all this, is that our congress may be so far in the bank’s pocket that we won’t be able to save our way of life. I’m told we get the government we deserve because votes MATTER. I’m simply at a loss for how finance was allowed to get so far out of hand and somehow NO ONE EVER NOTICED. I know I didn’t until recently.

Will Wall Street see the need for changes or will they simply think they can go back to business as usual? I’m betting on BAU.