Wednesday, July 21, 2010

You thought we had a housing bubble?

In Beijing,
Real, constant quality land values have increased by nearly 800% since the first quarter of 2003,....

Keynes was right. For an example, see how well Germany is doing.

From Der Spiegel:
During the worst of the global financial meltdown, Berlin pumped tens of billions of euros into the economy and spent hundreds of billions propping up German banks. Now, the country is reaping the benefits as Germany is once again Europe's economic motor.

Why can't some politician see Economics as a science rather than as a political philosophy?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

It's good to be really really rich; everyone else is out of luck.

The Disequilibria blog has a post up that neatly breaks down all of the income gains for the last 10 years or so.

They all went to the top .1% of earners. The top one tenth of one percent. They made great fistfuls of money.

The rest of us are poorer. This is why we're in a recession/rapidly shading to depression. No one has any money to buy anything but for a handful of aristocrats.

The blog Naked Capitalism has more, here, "58% of real income growth went to top 1% since 1976."

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Marvin Gaye for the 4th

The Star Spangled Banner, what else?

And a little Jimi comin' over, showing us what the whammy bar, and the US, is really about

When I was at BYU, we were all supposed to pause at 8:00 when the Star Spangled Banner was playing. Needless to say, I often didn't. This is the version I really wanted coming out of those loudspeakers.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Someone really really rich gets it.

The great depression was ended by a class traitor. Franklin Delano Roosevelt came from one of the richest families in America. But, he caught polio as a youngish adult and couldn't walk. He could, however, drive. He drove everywhere, zigzagging across
America. He'd stop his car and talk to people on the road, just average citizens, and somehow learned what it was like to not live in the bubble of wealth. When he became president, he was not beholden to his family or his (extremely upper) class. Taxes on the rich went way up, laws to protect the poor were enacted.

We're back to the same class structure as existed just barely before the great depression--a huge amount of the wealth in the country is in the hands of just a tiny handful of people.

Here's how one person describes the inequality:

If we divide the wealth of the US into thirds, we find that the top one percent own a third, the next nine percent own another third, and the bottom ninety percent claim the rest. (Actually, these percentages, true a decade ago, are now out of date. The top one percent are now estimated to own between forty and fifty percent of the nation's wealth, more than the combined wealth of the bottom 95%.)

When half the wealth of the entire country is concentrated in a tiny percentage of the population it impoverishes the other 99%. One percent of the population simply cannot go out to dinner often enough to support restaurants, cannot go to the theatre enough to support the arts, cannot buy enough clothes to support clothing stores, and so on. The engine of our economy is the middle class. We know what happens when the middle class doesn't have enough money to spend because it's being hogged by a tiny handful of people, because it has happened before: it was called the Great Depression. Currently, the distribution of money betwixt and between the rich and poor is just about the same as it was in 1929. How fun.

Andy Grove, one of the founders of Intel and a genuine rich person understands the quandry we're in. Read about it here. I doubt that he'll run for public office, however.