San Diegans on bringing in the feds

Local unemployment 10.2 percent in August versus 9.1 percent in the nation

Mark Cafferty likes Obama’s jobs plan.
  • Mark Cafferty likes Obama’s jobs plan.

Late last month, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said long-term unemployment is a “national crisis.” And it’s urgent that government give more help to the ailing housing industry.

San Diego’s unemployment and housing problems are worse than the nation’s. Housing prices have plunged 38 percent since their peak in San Diego versus 32 percent in the nation. Local unemployment was 10.2 percent in August versus 9.1 percent in the nation.

But local economists have problems with past and proposed government plans to expand employment and help housing out of the doldrums.

Some here would welcome federal help. Mark Cafferty, chief executive of the San Diego Workforce Partnership, likes President Obama’s jobs proposal, which would reward companies that hire the long-term unemployed and put young people to work, among many things. “People are graduating from college that have never worked a day in their lives,” says Cafferty. “Young people who have money spend it immediately,” thus stimulating the economy. “I am a student of what was done by [President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s] Works Progress Administration. Every day I see structures built by unemployed workers during those [Depression] years.”

The San Diego County Workforce Index rose slightly in August after falling for two straight months, and Cafferty is hopeful. But he realizes that sufficient help won’t come from Washington: “Locally, we have to incentivize companies to bring more workers on board.”

SANDAG’s Marney Cox wants infrastructure projects.

SANDAG’s Marney Cox wants infrastructure projects.

Marney Cox, chief economist of San Diego Association of Governments, has questions about some government stimulus schemes, but he is in favor of the infrastructure programs. Some economists contend that such programs don’t put people to work quickly because there’s a long lag before they go into effect. But in San Diego, “We have projects that have been through the vetting process, such as roadways that will improve border crossing, lower wait times, and be worth $7 billion to the economy.” Similarly, there are airport- and water-expansion plans and sewer upgrades that are ready to go.

But, says Cox, politics sometimes gets in the way of efficient ameliorative programs. After the housing bubble burst, “There were five states in which the construction industry and employees took the brunt of the problems.” One state was California. But the federal programs to help housing were aimed at all 50 states — thus lessening impact where it was needed. “We should be doing away with the generalized policies that are open to everyone. And mortgage subsidies are a bad idea. When you bail out people of bad decisions, it sets in motion more of these types of decisions.”

Garry London: housing construction is what’s needed.

Garry London: housing construction is what’s needed.

Politicians are touting programs that subsidize so-called green, clean tech industries. But Gary London of the London Group says that only growth in construction can pull San Diego out of the slough.

Will construction ride to the rescue? “In 2009 and 2010, we had the lowest number of housing units under construction since World War II,” says Kelly Cunningham, economist for the National University System Institute for Policy Research, noting the county has lost 40 to 45 percent of its construction jobs. “[This year] housing construction will be up some but will also be one of the lowest in years. Our houses are among the most unaffordable in the nation, and we need more housing. But we are not building, partly because of the overhang of foreclosures; we have to work through that.”

Kelly Cunningham: we need more housing.

Kelly Cunningham: we need more housing.

But Cunningham is critical of federal programs to jack up housing. The federal homebuyer tax credits of 2009 and 2010 goosed sales in the short term but just stole transactions from the future, not changing the long-term trend of the housing market. “I see these gimmicks, government trying to encourage banks to refinance, do short sales. But the market has to adjust to equilibrium.” Prices should get low enough to attract buyers, including speculators who may buy or build a home and rent it out.

Nationally, the homeownership rate, or percentage of homes occupied by owners, has fallen from 69.2 percent in mid-bubble 2004 to 65.9 percent, according to Zillow Real Estate Research. San Diego’s rate is a mere 54.1 percent, and “it could drop dramatically as the foreclosure process continues,” says Cox.

He believes housing prices locally will fall another 5 to 10 percent over the next year. Thus, more speculators will buy homes that are seized by banks and discounted or sold at auction and turn them into rentals. That’s another reason why government programs that prop up prices can be counterproductive.

Alan Nevin expects 15,000 new jobs for San Diego.

Alan Nevin expects 15,000 new jobs for San Diego.

According to the September issue of MarketPointe Realty Advisors, the San Diego apartment rental market continues to show strength. Average rents peaked at $1344 a month in the fall of 2008, then began dropping. They began picking up last year and now have bounced back to a new record high, $1364 per month. Alan Nevin, who just joined the London Group as a principal, says, “Rents could go up as much as 4 percent this year. A year ago there were two- to four-week concessions on rent upon moving in. Those concessions have disappeared. Giving up one month of concessions is equivalent to 8 percent of rent.”

Nevin is counting on San Diego gaining 15,000 to 20,000 jobs over the next year. “There are 50,000 San Diegans between the ages of 25 and 34 who during the recession went to live with Mommy and Daddy. Now they are getting jobs, moving out, and renting.”

But Cox and Cunningham are skeptical about that job growth. Cox notes that jobs appear to be growing, but then the statistics are revised and go negative. “Last year we went from jobs being up 15,000 to being down 10,000. Today’s trend is not good.”

Says Cunningham, “I thought I was being pessimistic early this year when I predicted slight employment growth. It’s been lower than my low expectations. Growth has been stagnant at best.” And government programs won’t help, he says.

Share / Tools

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • AddThis
  • Email

More from SDReader


I don't find any logic, let alone facts, behind those who claim that government hiring doesn't reduce unemployment right now. The unemployed should be hired, if business won't do this, government should. Right now state and local governments are firing tens of thousands every month, more than the Federal Government is hiring.

i have heard this strange theory, that the government can"t help by hiring, repeated many times, I would like to hear the logic behind this, if there is any.

Direct government hiring of the unemployed for infrastructure projects is one idea that should have been put in place three years ago. It works. History shows that. Obama should have gone for massive infrastructure projects instead of pushing for the healthcare bill early in his incumbency. Best, Don Bauder

The early 2009 stimulus bill contained infrastructure spending, but not enough if we look in hindsight. We should remember that it's the largest jobs bill ever passed. Many thought it would cause excess inflation.

I would blame Congress for the inept handling of the Health Care Bill, the result was an improvement on the present disaster, but the way it was passed made obvious that the insurance companies wrote most of the bill.

The Congress seems broken, unable to pass anything to fix these problems. Government hiring eases unemployment. This is fact.

Yes, Congress gets much of the blame. But when Obama assumed office, his party controlled Congress. Best, Don Bauder

Here, as elsewhere, the 1% super-rich have sucked up so much money that their middle-class workers no longer can afford homes. The rich have shot the golden goose. It's dead. They sent the good jobs to Asia to get short-term profits. New home sales, my key prosperity measure, are toast.

If we can't re-distribute wealth peacefully, this country's going to blow up. If CEO > janitor income ratios can't get more like Japan or Denmark, the greedy 1% will simply have their wealth confiscated by desperate people.

You are correct: top management greed in this country destroyed the middle class. Thus, business killed off its own market, and still isn't smart enough to realize it. Best, Don Bauder

Has the middle class really been destroyed? Has business killed off it's own market?? These statements, while sounding passionate, must be tested. While there is much anecdotal evidence supporting these contentions, the actual data doesn't support the statement of the middle class being destroyed.

If you look at the middle class's share of the pie, Labor's share of output has stayed pretty constant at roughly 70% from 1950-2008 with expected fluctuations from economics cycles. Find all kinds of data here. Robert J Gordon at my alma mater has made similar observations in several papers.

If labor's share isn't shrinking, it must be something else...It's obviously the inequality of the distribution. Noted economist Emmanuel Saez described income changes of the top 10% relative to the bottom 90%. He showed the share of income earned by the top 10% declined from a peak of nearly 50% in 1928, the height of the Roaring '20s, to a plateau of around 35% until about 1982. After that decline, the share of the top 10% took off, reaching nearly 50% by 2006. What was very evident from the data was not the decline of the middle class(which stayed relatively constant), but a new, gilded-age of the super rich.

There are extensive arguments in the literature about the impact of tax cuts, about extraordinarily high CEO compensation, corporate greed, and more. But the recent research(Saez et al) does not seem to support these as major causes. The most compelling argument for this dramatic increase in income has been the overwhelming technological change. Those with the human capital to take advantage of the new technology gained, and continue to gain, at the expense of those who don't have it. The fact that this income disparity has increased in most of the richest countries is also consistent with this explanation.

There is a slippery slope for policy makers here, and not buying into the conventional wisdom fallacies is important. Attempts to redistribute income levels, share the wealth...respond to populist sentiment and make a more fair and level playing field and attenuate social discord could backfire and stifle innovation. Instead of stifling innovation, we need policies(or an absence of) that will encourage innovation, which will ultimately minimize class differences.

But I digress, while the middle class might be under pressure, it is by no means destroyed.

I read Saez, Gordon, Stiglitz, Domhoff, Krugman -- any number of economists on this killing of the middle class. Stiglitz says the top 1% owns 40% of the nation's wealth. The bottom 80% owns 7%. Stiglitz shows this is much worse than in the past. Just 25 years ago, the top 1% owned 33% of national wealth. The richest 1% take home almost 25% of national income. In 1976 that was 9%. The top 1% owns half of financial assets and has only 5% of the nation's personal debt. The bottom 90% has 73% of that debt. Over the last two decades, middle class inflation-adjusted income has been basically flat, while the top 20%, and particularly the top 1%, have seen huge growth. From 1980 to 2005, more than 80% of the total increase in Americans' income went to the top 1%. Productivity has soared, but ordinary Americans have not shared in this improvement. The middle class is being destroyed. Income distribution was far less unequal in the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, until the mid-1970s. That's when the unequal distribution began to escalate, and economic growth slowed. It hasn't stopped. Best, Don Bauder

But I digress, while the middle class might be under pressure, it is by no means destroyed.

= The middle class is GONE. Go educate yoruself, the notion that the middle class has not been destroyed, when their income levels today are LOWER than they were in 2000 in a joke.

And while your wild claims that the rich are getting richer through technology-with no source to back this whopper up whatsoever- is good GOP talk, but it is simply false. The REASON the rich are gettign richer is the same reason public employees are getting richer, they are buying off the politicians and getting the laws built and bent to support them and hurt everyone else.

There are 42,000 registered lobbyists in Washhington DC, and all they are there for is to get favorable legislation-usually in the tax code- to benefit their clients, major corporations and the top 1%. THAT is the reason the rich are gettign richer. The tax code is what makes rich people rich and poor people poor.

What's next Jeff, are you going to tell us the AIG bailout was not done for the sole purpose of keeping Goldman Sachs solvent?? GS would be OUT OF BUSINESS today if not for the TARP bailout of AIG.

You'r eno economist, and your wild comments are from another universe.

Advancing technology is one reason among many why the upper 5% or 10% gets filthy rich while the middle class is being destroyed (or stagnating, depending on your passion.) Other factors: tax policies favoring the superrich beginning with Reagan; corporations sending jobs overseas for the sake of short term profits; well-paid lobbyists influencing sticky-fingered politicians, etc. etc. Best, Don Bauder

Has the middle class really been destroyed? Has business killed off it's own market?? These statements, while sounding passionate, must be tested. While there is much anecdotal evidence supporting these contentions, the actual data doesn't support the statement of the middle class being destroyed.

By nokomisjeff 6:43 a.m., Oct 17, 2011

"David Cay Johnston: Ridiculous Corporate Subsidies Creating Middle Class 'Wealth Destruction'"

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston says it's no accident that the middle class has been shrinking.

In fact, in a recent conversation with Aaron Task and Daniel Gross on Yahoo's Tech Ticker, Johnston argues that the middle class is a direct result of a maze of subsidies and sweetheart deals that states and cities have doled out to big companies. (Johnston is the author of "Free Lunch: How The Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves At Government Expense (And Stick You With The Bill.")

*"We've changed the government rule book in tremendous ways this enormous growth of incomes at the top is not the result of market forces," *Johnston says, "it's the result of all these rules nobody knows about."

"Johnston, a New York Times investigative reporter, has spent his 40-year career exposing collusion between government officials and private sector entities as they enrich the rich and ignore consequences for middle-class laborers and the poor*. In Perfectly Legal , he focused on hidden inequities in the tax system."

" At the base of Johnston's journalistic indictment are the highly paid lobbyists working Congress, state legislatures, county commissions, city councils and government regulatory agencies.**"

"What "Perfectly Legal" does is show how our national myth that the rich are heavily taxed to benefit everyone else is untrue and that the middle class and the upper middle class, those making $30,000 to $500,000, are heavily taxed to subsidize the super rich."

"You will learn that the income gap is vastly greater than you ever imagined -- the top 29,000 Americans have as much income as the bottom 96 million. And tax burden for the richest Americans has been falling sharply while everyone else's has risen. Most people making $60,000 pay a larger share of their income in federal taxes than the top 400 Americans, whose average income in 2000 was $174 million each. They paid just 22-cents on the dollar in federal taxes and under the Bush tax cuts would pay just 17.5 cents on the dollar."


David Cay Johnston is a brilliant analyst and his books are well worth reading. He sees the scams that so many journalists are blind to. Best, Don Bauder

Pup, you just don't get it. Funny how I can control you, and you don't even realize I've made you my bitch. All I have to do is post, and there you are, just like a trained barking seal looking for a snack. I will say that you've given me a lot of laughs. On a professional note, I hope you serve your clients better than you analyze economic and taxation trends and statistics. Also, you better hope that none of your clients read your rants, put 2+2 together and find out who you really are.

I have spanked you so hard Jeff your ONLY reply is how you "control" me, the only thing you control is your sub IQ brain, and I OWN it, in fact I am own so much of it you should charge me RENT for living there.

Little puppy, your cognitive dissonance and your delusions are becoming legendary....and quite entertaining by the way. I would charge you rent, but I suspect that you could not afford it.

Stiglitz and Krugman have weighed in considerably on the "Killing of the middle class." I read everything they write, and note that their articles on this are editorials, and not peer reviewed academic papers. Both have considerable expertise, but not in this area which falls way outside their purview. Articles in the NYT and Vanity Fair are not the same as academic papers. Plus, Stiglitz made those claims, without citations and it is intellectually lazy for a reader to take claims like this as gospel without checking the raw data. Here's some raw data that disputes their editorials. Domhoff....isn't he a sociologist with a big mouth?

Anyways, there is evidence that the middle class is under pressure, but evidence of it being destroyed simply doesn't jibe with the actual data.

The mention of personal debt by the bottom 90% suggests some behavior modifications are needed by that class. Remember, there's two kinds of people in the world, those who pay interest and those who collect it. The top 10% collects it and that's a good reason why they're part of that top 10%.

Furthermore, the 70% share of output that's remained pretty constant over 50+ years is what kills those premature obituaries.

I think you are killing the messengers -- particularly Stiglitz and Krugman. If you write for the NY Times and Vanity Fair, you are not using footnotes. But they cite references in their academic work. In my mind, Saez, who specializes in such data, seems to have a point of view that would agree with Stiglitz and Krugman. Best, Don Bauder

Anyways, there is evidence that the middle class is under pressure, but evidence of it being destroyed simply doesn't jibe with the actual data.

The mention of personal debt by the bottom 90% suggests some behavior modifications are needed by that class.

You're such a kook it aint even funny.

Please show us your research that PROVES "the bottom 90%" need "behaviour modifications". More BS with no support whatsoever, just your wild, speculative, uniformed OPNION.

The middle class has already been destroyed, and that has been proven over and over and over again. Why not educate yourself, go read some of David Cay Johnston's books, he has several out there, and he uses offical IRS data and the evidence is crystal clear, the poor have been gettign poorer, the rich gettign richer and the middel class nearly gone.

The bottom 90% IS going through behavior modification. It's called deleveraging, and it will have a profound effect on the economy, since consumption is more than 70% of GDP. Best, Don Bauder

Little puppy, Why read someone else's books when I can analyze hard data myself. Unlike you, I have the intelligence to do my own thinking and don't need to look through the lens of someone else. Did you ever realize, all the time you spend dissing me, you could be studying statistics and really getting to that graduate level, not the imaginary level in what in your case, passes for a mind.

Interesting point, but you tell us all the time how many books and reports you read. Best, Don Bauder

I read books for enjoyment and analyze hard data to make business decisions. Editorial from books doesn't usually have a place in making profitable trades(unless you might be doing the opposite of what the pundit is calling for), but government reports and peer reviewed academic papers have a huge impact on market direction. This has been quantified:)

Little puppy, Why read someone else's books when I can analyze hard data myself.

The data has alread been crunched, thousnds of hours of it, and Johnston has doen thgat by cuklling millions of tax returns over decades. You CANNOT do that, as much as your mini brain and giant ego keep yelling it out.

Once agaio, educate yourself, and that does not mean reinventing the wheel when the data is already out there.

And NO you have not, will not today and never will be able to analyze the of data Johnston has. You do not have the brain power for it.

I love how you cite editorial and let others crunch data for you. Keep up the entertainment.

Since I am admittedly stupid and don't have the brain power to analyze anything, and you are smart, and since you know 10X more than I do in statistics, we need to test this to see exactly how much smarter you are than I am. Remember you weaseled out of the last little easy test, and I had to give you the answer...this time your feet are being held to the fire and your fans will think you are a big fat blowhard if you don't get the answers within a day.

Here are 3 easy ones.

One day, a person went to dog racing track, Instead of counting the exact number of humans and dogs, he instead counted 74 heads and 196 legs. Yet he knew the number of humans and dogs there. How did he do it, and how many humans and dogs are there?

You have two blocks of plastic in cube form and the edges are 10 cm. How many spheres with a radius of 5 cm can you make with that amount of plastic?

My favorite..What is the sum of all the positive integers?

This time, answer the problems and don't try to wuss out like you did the last time. We want to see your brain power in action....and show your work.

"Rents could go up as much as 4 percent this year."

This despite everyday I walk the sidewalks of the city and see a new 'vacant' sign. Take a walk around the city.

The 4% is Nevin's forecast and he is sticking with it. Best, Don Bauder

When you dbauder walk the city do you see more vacant signs! Just yesterday I noticed a new vacant space in the Ralph's shopping center in Hillcrest,

nokomisjeff wrote --

"Remember, there's two kinds of people in the world, those who pay interest and those who collect it."

Well, I'm part of a third group, trying to follow the old saying: "Neither a borrower or lender be."

I don't see Wall Street acting in my interest. Perhaps we need a tax on every stock and hedge-fund transaction, to repatriate some of the money to the government where it can be used for the public good.

When did the government start doing anything for the public good? All they use public funds for is to get re-elected.

Perhaps we need a tax on every stock and hedge-fund transaction, to repatriate some of the money to the government where it can be used for the public good.


We do need that tax, but Refried is correct, the only "good" gov would do with new tax dollars is funnel it into gov employees back pockets in the form of bigger and better pay checks and benefits.

It is pathetic to see Wall Street's reaction -- or non-reaction -- to Occupy Wall Street. The nabobs just don't get it. Even after we bailed them out to the tune of $13 trillion, they think we should love them. They are living in a bubble -- a bubble that extends to Washington, D.C. Best, Don Bauder

@jon, Wall Street was never set up to act in your interest. Wall Street only acts for it's own interest, for the interest of the players, exchange members, etc. They get this privilege because the government cannot exist without the primary dealers and there's a big quid pro quo.

Question, you said, "Well, I'm part of a third group, trying to follow the old saying: "Neither a borrower or lender be." If you don't borrow nor lend, I assume that you don't have any bonds or money in the bank....where do you put your money, all in stocks or commodities?

during the great depression no one would put their money in the banks

they buried it in shoe boxes in the back yard

Wall Street says it is helping finance business. But look at the 1990s, when most IPOs were utter scams. LBOs are also scams -- ditto most M&A activity. These Wall Street actions set the economy backward, rather than thrust it forward. Best, Don Bauder

An stock analyst friend of mine wrote this in 2001 about IPO's done in the 1990's.

With the help of Thomson Financial/Securities Data and Wilshire Associates we tracked the 4,567 companies that went public between Jan. 1, 1990 and Dec. 29, 2000. Our research excluded initial offerings valued at less than $5 million or below $5 a share. We also excluded foreign stocks, blind pools, real estate investment trusts, limited partnerships and closed-end funds.

Bolstered by Cisco, the average new issue in our survey is up 111% since going public. (For those issues that were acquired during the course of our study, we calculated their performance up to the day they were acquired, using the acquisition or merger price.) Measured against the S&P 500, this universe of initial public offerings has a relative performance of 104, slightly better than an S&P-matching score of 100.

But take out Cisco and the other top nine new issues—a list that includes AOL (now AOL Time Warner), JDS Uniphase and Veritas Software—and the remaining 4,557 stocks had an average gain of 74% and a relative performance of just 92. The median performance data are even more revealing: For all 4,567 stocks—including Cisco and the other nine best-performing issues—the median new issue is down 31% and has a relative-to-market score of just 40.

In short: If you bought all 4,500 stocks you made money; if you bought any four you probably lost money.

Which begs the question....If you bought all 4500 stocks and made money, does that mean that most IPO's are utter scams? I mean, they beat the S&P and it would be a stretch in saying the S&P index was an utter scam.

One more thing, 3 of my proprietary stock market indicators just went bullish on the S&P(@1220)

With the help of Thomson Financial/Securities Data and Wilshire Associates we tracked the 4,567 companies that went public between Jan. 1, 1990

Which begs the question....If you bought all 4500 stocks and made money, does that mean that most IPO's are utter scams? Dec. 29, 2000.

And when did you do a valuation of these stocks, 2000???? I would like to see their valuation TODAY.

BTW-are YOU claiming that YOU did this study, or just "your friend".

My friend wrote that and I make no claim to authorship. And what would it matter anyways what the stock prices are in 2011 anyways after 2 complete cycles? The market is basically flat for the decade and Nasdaq is even below what it was 10 years ago. Can't you read? To reiterate, I said that a friend wrote this with help from Thompson and Wilshire. Get it, a friend wrote this.....Geez, not only have you demonstrated cognitive dissonance, you have trouble with the written word. I'd get an MRI of your brain if I were you...stat....maybe you have a tumor or some sort of syphilitic lesion on the frontal lobe of your addled brain.

Shakespeare advised "Neither a borrower or a lender be" in Hamlet. Polonius was talking, as I recall. Back in Shakespeare's day, you could follow that advise. It's tougher today. Best, Don Bauder

The character of Polonius is a pompous climber whose trite advice is windy at best.

Hamlet stabs him "through the arras". He deserved it.


Fred "2B+/-2B(?)" Williams

"All the Devils Are Here" tells the tale very well, but even McLean and Nocera don't quite lend the elephant in the room all the emphasis it needs, and y'all have come very close too (correct me if I missed it). "The nabobs just don't get it."

Just keep repeating it . . . and REPEATING IT. That’s the beauty of the “human voice” approach—it can be heard ‘round the world roundly.

Re: By dbauder 10:20 p.m., Oct 17, 2011

The nabobs don't get it because they are comfortable -- monetarily and psychologically -- existing in their bubble. Best, Don Bauder

The middle class is not yet destroyed. It's on its way though...

Technological advances DID make boodles of money for a few, but not so much for those of us who actually created it. Most of the profits went to upper managers and investors.

Jeff, what you may be failing to see is the moral aspect of this. Parasitic traders, not actually needed in any sense in the creation or delivery of goods or services, weasel their way into the middle to exact rents from the productive members of society.

Financial intermediation, according to Wall Street's defenders, is essential to our modern economy and day to day life. That justifies them taking such enormous slices of our production. Some estimates of finance's share of the US economy have gone as high as 40%.

All of us who produce goods of real value, rather than merely trading contracts on speculation, are paying that extra 40%. We don't mind paying something for the lubricating effects of liquid markets...but it seems that today it's far out of proportion to what's needed or appropriate.

Worse, a lot of us suspect that a lot of that 40% is frothy nonsense, fake money, no basis in reality...but we're still expected to pay off the financiers as if it represented something real. (Municipal finance is an under-recognized player in this scam...for example see:,_Alabama#Sewer_construction_and_bond_swap_controversy)

We're on the hook to pay for something that was never real...just a bunch of guys gambling with each other (sometimes with our pension funds) who now expect us to bail out the losers AND allow the cheating winners to keep all their ill-got-gain.

The middle class must pay for this, by actually producing something of value.

This is not a financial question or an economic question so much as it's a moral question. Classical economists, as you know, were moral philosophers. We need that type of insight to understand why the 99% are beginning to find their voice and protest against this immoral system.



40% sounds high but 25% to 30% is still enough to drown us. We are mourning the death of a billionaire, Steve Jobs. He CREATED things, as capitalists are supposed to do. As you point out, Wall Street is a gambling den -- keep the money if you win, let the taxpayers take the losses. Great deal. Best, Don Bauder

Fred, it's interesting that you bring up the concept of "Parasitic Traders." My role as a parasitic trader is indirect. Along with thousands of other traders, I try to predict the prices of common goods a day or two or a few months in the future. If I think the price of an item will go up, I buy today and sell later. If I think the price is going down, I'll sell at today's higher price. The miracle is that in taking care of myself, my speculations somehow ensure that producers all over the world will provide the right quantity and quality of goods at the proper time, without undue waste, and that this meshes with what people want and the money they have available.

When a harvest is too small to satisfy consumption at its normal rate, speculators come in, hoping to profit from the scarcity by buying. Our purchases raise the price, thereby slowing consumption so that the smaller supply will last longer. Producers encouraged by the higher prices further lessen the shortage by growing or importing to reduce the shortages. On the other side, when the price is higher than we think the facts warrant, we sell, which reduces prices, thus encouraging consumption, exports, and helping to reduce the surplus.

Bureaucrats and other central planners have little incentive to improve, invest or innovate. They might have a price for everything, but they know the value of nothing. When speculators are wrong, we are punished severely for their mistakes by losses of our own money.

If left unchecked, the tendencies of our modern governments to interfere with the natural working of the marketplace might lead to destruction. But speculators, searching for profit, send signals to producers and consumers to modify their behavior which ensures a supply. It might not be a perfect system, but it works.

Governments always attempt to bypass speculators in the name of a higher good(usually lining their own pockets instead of allowing the speculator to do his job). Central planning leads to unintended consequences, and usually not good ones.

Imagine a world where there was no speculator as a counterparty to a voluntary exchange. Who would the farmers and other producers sell their product to? Without the speculator to make a year round market, a loaf of bread would cost a nickel at harvest time and $50 six months later on. Other seasonal crops would be similarly affected. Without speculators making a market, one would not be able to freely exchange currencies, to get a mortgage without a call provision, a term life policy would be difficult, the US government would have trouble financing its debt, and interest rates might approach 1907 levels. There would be scarcities much of the time of money, credit, food, lumber, coal, iron, rubber, oil, etc. We get called nasty things all the time, but you couldn't live without us.

When speculators are wrong, we are punished severely by losses of our own money? Come now. The Fed/Treasury financial industry bailouts amounted to $13 trillion, perhaps more. Taxpayers picked up the tab. Investment banks, which were supposed to take risks, were converted to commercial banks (see Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley) and can get money for almost zero percent now. This is risk? Best, Don Bauder

I've seen this justification before. And it used to hold a lot of truth...

But today, you're not buying individual small holder's futures contracts. You're buying collateralized, pooled, bundled, derived, and highly leveraged SIDE BETS on the nominal value (many times artificially amplified, WITHOUT the wheat or corn itself changing its quantity, quality, or location, or any demand/supply fluctuating) which in turn is produced by the combined psychological gamesmanship of the traders trying to outsmart each other.

This system is quite different from what you describe above.

Please disabuse me of my misunderstanding. Show me that the market gyrations reflect REAL changes in value rather than factors like momentum or rumors of big players' trading positions or other insider/arcane and non-agricultural/transport/retail factors.

Today, I believe the side bets far outway the influence of the underlying assets when it comes to market pricing, and it's likely to get worse...and then people starve.



That's real easy. If you look at the numbers in the monthly Commitments of Traders report from the CFTC, you will find that the trade has an overwhelming influence on the markets. The numbers demonstrate that the side bets don't have the impact on the markets that you suggest. Furthermore, if the speculators thought that the prices were too high and they sold the market down(crude oil 2008, sugar 2010, wheat, corn, soybeans 2008 for example), would you be consistent in your criticism or do you just want to have your cake and eat it too? In your opinion, then what would be a better system than the present one?

The various commodities pits are gambling casinos and regulation is ineffectual. Could it be done better? We haven't tried. Best, Don Bauder

Wouldn't a commodities gambler be surprised when a truck pulled up to his house and dumped tons of grain or pork bellies on his yard? Best, Don Bauder

You get warehouse receipts, and have to pay for them at delivery time. Incidentally, the old pork belly contract is gone, completely kaput.

Fred, it's interesting that you bring up the concept of "Parasitic Traders." My role as a parasitic trader is indirect. Along with thousands of other traders, I try to predict the prices of common goods a day or two or a few months in the future.

By nokomisjeff 8:32 a.m., Oct 18, 2011

Hey Jeff, the next time you "cut and paste" a long, rambling propagonda piece, can you at least attribute the work to the correct author, instead of PLAGERIZING it and try not to pass it off as your own;

Thank you,

Your online posting buddy,


Pup, sometimes having an eidetic memory is a curse, especially when something so profoundly written becomes part of my id. In retrospect, that article must have been a muse to me, but no more a muse than the Chiffon's song, "You're so Fine," to George Harrison when he wrote "My Sweet Lord."

I have been following this until you brought up George Harrison who, I believe, was a Beatle. That is a subject I know almost nothing about. Best, Don Bauder

"Pup, sometimes having an eidetic memory is a curse, especially when something so profoundly written becomes part of my id."

And sometimes you get owned in one of your lies.

Just like your little cut and paste job.

Your presence here is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot. But then again, you are living proof that man can live without a brain. Bwaaaahhhhh!!!

When is your next "cut and paste" job coming Jeff?????? Are you going to try to pass it off as your own work again?

Here's your last cut and paste. You should be careful because the stones are ruining your glass house.

Can we call you "nokomixCut&Paste" now?

Hey, at least now you're not claiming these comments as your own, a big improvement.

A careful review of the history of your comments shows much cutting and pasting in the past on your own end. That being said, from now on I will not respond to you or your sophomoric invective.

An "eidetic memory"?

Uh, yeah. Right. Sure. Can you also leap over tall buildings at a single bound?

Yes, Jeffies "eidetic memory" is perfected by right clicking his mouse and "eideticing" the cut and paste function of his computer.

Just like the right clicking of thew mouse that you do. Don't throw stones when you live in a glass house. Have you figured out those easy little math problems yet or are you just a blowhard?

Calumnies are multiplying. Best, Don Bauder

the have become a couple of brats hurling semibullying verbal bones at each other Don

but i think they're enjoying it

they don't seem to mind disrespecting each other

oh well as they say "some peoples kids"

as long as no one draws blood "what the hey eh"

Don, you're comparing apples to oranges.

I take it that you don't believe the accuracy of my statement??? Does the government socialize my frequent losses? I don't think so.

Furthermore, If GS can get money at near zero percent and you allude to there being no risk, then why Did Goldman just report a 3rd quarter loss of 428 million? If there is no risk, common sense would dictate that there should be no loss for the company as a whole. According to their CBS statement they lost money in lending and investment in a Chinese Bank. They make no mention of a government bailout for last quarter. Note on the balance sheet that last quarter, Goldman paid 1.9 billion in interest expense. So much for the almost free money theory.

If GS can get money at near zero percent and you allude to there being no risk, then why Did Goldman just report a 3rd quarter loss of 428 million?

Because their OTHER divisions LOST money Jeff. Without the spread on treasuries it would have been double the $428 million, or maybe even triple.

"Goldman Sachs, the U.S.'s largest investment bank, lost $428 million during its third quarter reports Reuters. "It’s only the second quarterly loss for Goldman since the investment bank went public in 1999," writes Dealbook's Susanne Craig who noted that just last year the company posted a $1.7 billion profit. Goldman's loss comes on the heels of Bank of America reporting a $6.23 billion profit in its third quarter and Citigroup Inc.reporting a 74% increase in earnings."

"Craig writes, **"Goldman, widely considered the savviest trading firm on Wall Street, saw a significant revenue drop in key divisions like fixed income and investment banking amid the market turmoil."****

But what about that little 1.9 billion of interest expense? And if you had studied their CBS that I supplied, you wouldn't be embarrassing yourself like this. Furthermore, why would you read editorial from the Atlantic instead of pouring over the balance sheet yourself? Could it be that you can't read a balance sheet?

Little Pup, I have noticed that when you post, you make a lot of misspellings and write a lot in caps. Is this by design or by accident? A neutral observer could make a believable case that you are writing this stuff while intoxicated on something. This sure would explain your extreme cognitive dissonance, excessive invective, horrible use of logic, and off the chart bombastic behavior.

Frankly, I don't think it's anything like that...I suspect it's something more like penis envy.

Whose penis does SP envy? Expatiate, please. Best, Don Bauder

Obviously, from the flamboyant, over the top reaction he projects on me personally, I suspect that it's mine he's envious of. I've been known to evoke strong reactions from fringe players before, but this guy is off the chart. I kind of am entertained by him, but on the other hand, I feel real sorry for him.

LOL....yes, your regular spankings by me here would cause you to be envious.

Do you think he is envious of your intellect and not your sex organ? Best, Don Bauder

We live on 36 acres filled with trees and friends express tree envy. Best, Don Bauder

This chorus of this song perfectly describes the strange morphology inside his head.

Profits of banks, as well as other kinds of companies are very misleading -- a brew of phony assumptions. Best, Don Bauder

Just because Goldman can borrow at near-zero percent from the Fed doesn't mean it won't suffer losses. No one said it gets ALL its money at the Fed window. The Fed set up the system in great part because GS was on the brink of BK during the Great Recession. We bailed them out. Best, Don Bauder

That near zero interest rate that GS got turned out to be 1.9 billion last quarter. If their interest payments were at the number you earlier threw out there(0.25%) that would suggest that their total borrowing was 3.04 trillion dollars and we all know the balance sheet does not reflect anyways near that. And I agree that GS should be able to suffer losses. However, the way you all couched it was that they had risk free money....which is not accurate. Plus, their annual report for 08 suggested that they borrowed 69 Billion from the window, plus another 30 billion and change in swaps and repos with the treasury. Of course this is not counting the preferential treatment they got from getting paid at par from the AIG bailout of 89 billion.

That was a monstrous bailout in any case. And the money they received from the Fed at 0 to 0.25% was essentially risk-free. All they had to do was buy a T bond and make out like gangbusters. Best, Don Bauder

But a T-Bond is 30 years and the discount window is overnight. How can that transaction you described earlier be risk free? A T-bond price can easily move 2 points in a day, 10 points a week, and an adverse move in the bond price can wipe out any profit in the transaction. Borrowing short and lending long.....a recipe for disaster.

It will take a few 'Occupy Rancho Santa Fe' days to start sorting things out in San Diego. Or perhaps 'Occupy Mille Fleurs'.

However, nokomisjeff, you could hedge this dismal future by creating a new soft drink (or beer) called '99%' ... which of course would sell for 99 cents.

The name 99%, unless it refers to the percent of alcohol, wouldn't sell in Rancho Santa Fe. Best, Don Bauder

I believe the word is "gangster." It's what happens when power is concentrated, and the weak must do it to survive. It gives them power, but not strength--THAT one has to EARN.

"Corporations as individuals" is absurd on its face. Still the little manipulators will continue growing more and more beautiful as their picture grows uglier and uglier.

Did I mention "All the Devils Are Here" by McLean and Nocera? "The Image" by Kenneth Boulding? Well, not from the 19th century, but still a good little read (except it makes the self-deluded nervous as hell . . .)

Re: By dbauder 12:34 p.m., Oct 19, 2011

Yes, gangsters may have been a better word than gangbusters in that post. I agree: corporations as people is an absurd concept concocted by a Supreme Court in business's and Wall Street's pocket. Best, Don Bauder

the real word is Fascism...remember that i'm afraid ur all to young to remember that one

except Don of course

Insider info! World Economic Crisis SOLVED by Greek innovation!!! You can find this at the Borowitz Report archives (Page No. 16) This site will not permit its links to be copied, so you'll have to do a bit of insightful searching for this incredible insight.

Did the Greeks rioting in the streets harken back to Aristotle's logic? Best, Don Bauder

The Greeks don't like the consequences of concentration of power more than anybody else. Trouble is, when you're already austere, picking a modicum of betterment over poverty, further austerity leads to desperation.

I sympathize with protest movements such as Occupy Wall Street, but I do not sympathize with the Greeks. Their welfare state is ridiculous, and tax-dodging is rampant. They need austerity. Best, Don Bauder

Perfecktion ain't congruent with reality. Ya gotta fight absurdity with the community you got, not the community you'd like to have.

Would you accept an offer to become secretary of defense, Twister? Best, Don Bauder

Twister is a good name for any politician or cabinet member-- Twister as in Truth Twister. Best, Don Bauder

Something makes me feel Obama announced the “withdrawal of all troops from Iraq” because of policy advice. If he didn’t do something, the people would. The Occupy Wall Street movement could have easily morphed into anti-war demonstrations. Then Obama would have had to look like he caved in to protesters when he finally would withdraw troops. He didn’t want an anti-war march on his lawn.

Let’s see what Obama really does. The fact is that at least 5,000 people will remain in the world’s largest embassy in Baghdad. And how many private contractors and mercenaries will be “working” in Iraq?

Obama was supposed to end these treasury depleteing wars 3 years ago, the guy is a flop, wont be re elected IMO.

Obama is certainly a disappointment. Would you prefer a nitwit like Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann? Best, Don Bauder

I agree: watch what he does, not what he says he will do. Best, Don Bauder

I formerly joked that George W. Bush was the greatest mind in the Republican Party, I once thought he won his job through family connections. Now I see that, compared to todays Republican candidates, W; possesses a great Republican mind.

You mean you don't want Perry, Cain or Bachmann? Can't blame you. Best, Don Bauder

Secretary of War, maybe. I could really rake it in from war-contractors.

In re: By dbauder 8:23 a.m., Oct 22, 2011

We don't call it Secretary of War anymore. It's Secretary of Defense. The other country is always the aggressor. Best, Don Bauder

I ain't happy with Barack neither. But rather than throw out born-in-Hawaii baby with the rest of the sludge, let's try to hold his feet to his own fire-breathing and hope he grows up. Or that he goes back to his pre-election rhetoric so we can hold him to it this time.

Yes, I would like to see him go back to his pre-election rhetoric. But maybe he never believed it. Maybe he is just a Chicago pol. I hope not. Best, Don Bauder

Obama has been one of the biggest let downs of my life.........

"In The Middle", George Skala And The Great Americans (2011)

Hanging like a picture on the wall Hanging by a nail trying not to fall Yeah, I've been hanging in this place for oh so long Feeling like a mouse upon a wheel Spinning round and round, I’ve had my fill Yeah, I’ve been running for my life but standing still I’m in the middle, in the middle with you If it hurts just a little then it’s got to be true I’m in the middle just a face in the crowd It’s a long way up and a short way down I’ve been getting by on just a thread Paying all my bills like I’ve been bled And I’m feeding everyone before I’m fed With my own blood and sweat I’m in the middle, in the middle with you If it hurts just a little then it’s got to be true I’m in the middle just a face in the crowd It’s a long way up and a short way down Oh does anybody notice me, does anybody care Take a good look around I can see you there Feeling like a flag upon a pole I get ripped to shreds while I stand tall And my tattered flags been waving far too long I’m in the middle, in the middle with you If it hurts just a little then it’s got to be true I’m in the middle just a face in the crowd It’s a long way up and a short way down Long way up a short way down I’m in the middle, monkey in the middle Hurts more than a little being in the middle I’m in the middle, monkey in the middle I’m in the middle, yeah

Long way up and short way down. That's the so-called middle class. Best, Don Bauder

The American Dream has been a nightmare for far too many for far too long.

Get content with frugality, with fulfilling needs, not fantasies and luxuries and diversions. Remember how nice it was when the SDG&E lights went out? Barter and share, give and receive. Do not look outside for entertainment; support your local musician, make your own beer, and stop feeding the corporate parasites. Opt for local merchants when you can, but eschew fanatic, mindless self-loathing. These are times of transition--transition toward an eventual, gradual transformation to a fully adequate, but not luxurious and wasteful way of living.

Boycott the very worst of them, encourage the fence-sitters with moderate consumption of their products, and work gradually to an increasingly and truly sustainable mode of consumption.

That way, we can let this destructive and wasteful system down slowly, and avoid the extremes of tit-for-tat squabbles--especially those on larger and larger scales. Forgive, be patient, and expect more of ourselves and less of others. "They" will eventually come around. It will be in "their" self-interest to adapt.

Twister, I applaud your optimism.

I do wonder how this era of capitalism is going to be viewed in fifty years. During the cold war, talk of class conflict was seen as quasi-treason. After the collapse of Russia, the triumph of capitalism was assumed, and talk of class conflict was seen as passe.

Yet communism did serve a purpose. It acted as a counterweight to the worst excesses of capitalism. When it vanished as a political force, what replaced it? On the left, mostly "tribal" isssues, expanding rights for interests groups, but challenging the economic status quo was verbotten.

Economic policy, for most of the world rich or poor, is focused on promoting growth. Endless ever expanding growth.

In a living organism, we call endless growth cancer.

Keynes compares the economy to a machine that can be regulated and tinkered with to change its performance. Hayek compares the economy to an organic system which is best left alone and flourish in its own way.

Strangely, it's the Hayekians, deep free market advocates, who are most blind to the growth as cancer analogy.

What comes in fifty years? Will our children look back in shame at our wasteful indifference to the future? Will they forgive us for ignoring the obvious?

I enlisted in the Navy at 17, in large part to fight against communist totalitarianism. Now I think our fight has to be against capitalist totalitarianism, a cancer that is growing out of control, enriching primarily parasites.

Interesting times we live in...unfortunately.



Capitalism definitely needs reformation, Fred. Best, Don Bauder

In one word 'Default"

Feds already have defaulted on 2.7 trillion borrowed from Social Security. Next default on loans from world powers. China etc.

If we default on China there will be real trouble. Best, Don Bauder

I'm not certain that the Hayek-Cancer analogy is accurate. Think of economics as a big giant river. Keynes would have built a dam. Hayek wouldn't have.

Hayek thought markets were free, not rigged. In his day, that was generally a sound observation. He would be shocked to see today's markets. Best, Don Bauder

Yes, economists and politicians of both parties want to stimulate people to consume. But consumption is already more than 70% of the economy. That's too much. Americans are too much in debt. They are now deleveraging. While it will hurt in the short run, it's what we need. Best, Don Bauder

But...while everyone is all for consumption, they are wrong, as the true road to riches for a society is in increasing production ie:the more you produce, the richer you are:)

Agreed: we need production and not more consumption. But we have already given away our manufacturing base. Now what? Best, Don Bauder

If we've given away our manufacturing base, then why do we produce more manufactured goods than ever?

Well Baby Eisnstein we do not produce more manufacturing goods than ever. We produced 89% of all manufactured goods in the late 40's, today we produce 12%.

The total output today is nothing compared to years past, we have had huge population growth and massive automation which obviously destroys your dumb comments without me even doing a (wait for it) "cut and paste" off of Google.

Go home junior, my paw hurts from spanking you once again.

As recently as 1965, manufacturing was more than 50% of the U.S. economy. Now it is under 10%. Best, Don Bauder

As a percentage of GDP, or any other measure you choose, manufacturing has declared sharply. Best, Don Bauder

Jeff, your source is a pro business front group whose main purpose is to get cheap labor at the expense of working class Americans-thanks turncoat, pay particular attention to whom they state to benefit in US-China trade;

"USCBC's mission is to expand the US-China commercial relationship to the benefit of its membership[as in Big Business, not working class Americans Jeff] and, more broadly, the US economy. It favors constructive engagement with China to eliminate trade and investment barriers and develop a rules-based commercial environment that is predictable and transparent to all parties."

This debate over so-called free trade will never end. The fact is that we really don't have free trade. Best, Don Bauder

Manufacturing's percentage of the total U.S. economy, and of employment, has declined drastically. You know that. Best, Don Bauder

But while percentages have gone down, the total dollar amount has gone up, and the dollar amount/unit time, even accounting for inflation and population increase. I'm glad the manufacturing % has gone down, as that shows that the economy is dynamic. Manufacturing is cheap compared to 30-40 years ago and perhaps it's better that some of it is outsourced.

"But...while everyone is all for consumption, they are wrong, as the true road to riches for a society is in increasing production ie:the more you produce, the richer you are"

Wow, who did you steal that from Jeff-ME????

More ironic since you yourself Jeff produce NOTHING.

And as a lawyer, you are also parasitic in nature, and around here, all you produce is hot air and cut and paste jobs. Over 6000 ought to get a life.

Without throwing pejoratives around, I believe we can lament that while manufacturing was cratering as a percentage of GDP, financial industries were doubling. Financial industries do produce something, but too much of Wall Street's activities -- LBOs, M&As, e.g. -- is counterproductive to society. And far too much is pure gambling that is a zero-sum game. Best, Don Bauder

Can you imagine a society without the ability to raise capital, borrow money, sell stock, hedge risk, buy and sell currencies, sell crops, buy crops, finance government?

Why are the speculators and Wall Street beaten up when the market languishes? I wonder if you would be beating up on Wall Street if the S&P was at 2500? Actually you all would probably be beating up the street because you missed the move and wanted the government to do something to equalize this to give you a fair chance.

That's what Wall Street did at one time: helped people and companies raise capital, borrow money, hedge risk, buy and sell currencies, sell commodities, finance government. That was before it became a gambling casino. A Wall Street pro once told me, "There's an old Wall Street saying. You only do business with those you know, and still you get cheated once in awhile. If you do business with those you don't know, you'll get cheated every time." I was told that back in the early 1970s, when the joint was less dirty than it is now. Best, Don Bauder

Can you quantify that Wall Street was less dirty than today, or is that anecdote? Remember, there were quite a number of major scandals back then from Robert Vesco to Equity Funding and on and on.

And your contention that Wall Street wasn't a gambling casino back then.....Is it your contention that it was less risky to invest in the market in 1970 than today? Or are you saying that execution costs are higher? Has the bid/ask widened since then? Are commissions higher today?

Are you saying that you can't raise capital, borrow money, hedge risk etc anymore? That's what it sounds like to me. If you don't know your broker, or the other side of your trade, are you getting cheated every time? If you have a profit in your position, are you still being cheated?

Wealth--in terms of EXCESS, is a transitory phenomenon. If one looks back on one's life and all one can do is brag about one's acquisitions--well, it's a lonely place. We're all gonna be dead, dead, dead. Bragging is not fulfilling--it is hot air that impresses no one. Buckchasers, those who are obsessed only with that, lead lives of bleating desperation . . .

Each of us has a choice. We can BE what ever we ARE, and whatever we make of ourselves. If we want to be totalitarian capitalists, we can be that, but we must sell our birthright for that amassment of shekels, rather than actually PRODUCE. Croesus was not powerful, he was scared out of his wits.

A new motto might be "It's not the capitalism PER SE, stupid, it's the totalitarianism (it's the egoCENTRISM,* it's the HIERARCHY, it's the willingness to subordinate, to reduce your BEING, to numbers, stupid." You might say it's a ZERO sum GAME, and at the end, you're OUT!

And ZERO is your score.

In Re: By Fred_Williams 9:02 p.m., Oct 22, 2011 (and others)

*Thinking that you're the center of the Universe.

You're referring to the old axiom, "I don't want to be the richest person in the cemetery." Have you noticed that while most people retire at 65, the big money people -- like orchestra conductors, they keep going until they drop dead? That's because money creation has become an addition to them. Best, Don Bauder

The building industry produces no "permanent" jobs; its product is limited by demand--by an ever-increasing population. San Diego will realize an out-migration as the squeeze increases on rents. There will increasingly be multi-family households, with occupants per square foot rising as rents increase and slumlords buy up foreclosed properties. They can't sell them, so they'll have to rent them, and many renters are on the brink of moving into cars and under bridges already.

It isn't only the one-percenters who are insensitive to the realities of the bottom, the majority of the whole GD population is insensitive to everybody below them on the scale (except the truly impoverished, who have not forgotten, or will soon learn, that it's MUTUAL support that keeps them going). They don't buy stuff from the upper x-percenters, they trade, they share, they re-write their own social contracts. And they find that it beats the hell out of being at each other's throats.

So the uppers will find that there's simply nothing left to squeeze, and that they can't get blood out of a turnip.

Remember the guy who threw the typewriter through the window of the VA several years ago? Naw, you probably don't. Remember the march on D.C. after WWI? Remember MacArthur's trashing of their tents and lean-to's? Remember the night police raids on the protesters, the tossing of their meager belongings into trash trucks? Remember the repression of "Fourth Amendment" rights around the world?" Remember Kent State? Remember Tiananmen Square?

In the Great Depression, my grandmother boiled a sack of potatoes on the banks of the Colorado River to get them through the Agricultural Inspection Station at Blythe. When they got to the migrant (Dust Bowl refugees) camps, she traded with those who had something to trade (capitalism) and gave to those who didn't (proportional taxes, if you insist). My father got a good job for fifty cents a day, working on "infrastructure improvement," i.e. the highway to Ojai. The worse-off gleaned the fields and scraped up grains along with rat turds from the floors of grain elevators. We will cry when our I-phone craps out and we can't pay our tithe to AT&T.

Remember the guy who threw the typewriter through the window of the VA several years ago? Naw, you probably don't.

Actually I do remember that. He was having trouble with the VA and his medical.

Funny how these things stay in your mimd.......

Frank Rich, ex-of the NY Times, now with New York Magazine, has an excellent piece on the bonus march on DC early in the Great Depression. Best, Don Bauder

ERROR! Amendments in [brackets]: "The building industry produces no "permanent" jobs; its product is limited by demand--by an ever-increasing population [and an ever-decreasing ability to consume it.]"

I could have added a lot more, but the post was long enough already. The end result, btw, is a decline in owner-occupied "dwelling units" and an increase in "absentee owners," aka "slumlords," and INSTITUTIONAL ones at that. No one can safely presume that patterns of the past will be the patterns of the future. There are CRUCIAL distinctions that are persistently ignored, not the least of which is the mindless opportunism that continues to make our urban "design" and infrastructure increasingly, not decreasingly, efficient. And professional planners are primarily romantic, if not effete, window-dressers for an industry that concentrates on draining the cup rather than filling it.

In re: By Twister 12:08 a.m., Oct 24, 2011

As San Diego has seen, there is a danger when an economy is reliant on housing and commercial construction. As you point out, the employment gain does not last long, and housing, in particular, does not generate sufficient further gains in the economy. A factory keeps adding to the economy; generally, a home does not. Best, Don Bauder

Don, I guess I'm particularly dense tonight, but I honestly don't understand this statement:

"Have you noticed that while most people retire at 65, the big money people -- like orchestra conductors, they keep going until they drop dead? That's because money creation has become an addition to them."

By dbauder 12:56 p.m., Oct 25, 2011

I meant addiction -- not addition. Sorry, I have been ill the last couple of days. Best, Don Bauder

I may be off, as I'm working from faulty memory, but SANDAG's projections, upon which it is selling a transportation plan of dubious origin, that the San Diego region will add 1.x million people by 2030.

Where will the water come from and what will it cost? (Just one little example of foreseeable flaws. But hell, what does THAT matter. The same gang will clean up).

How can any such transportation "system" work, superimposed as it is planned to be, on an urban geography that has neither the distribution nor the distributed density to function efficiently or financially? I was set to do a paper on this at a planners association meeting in the 1970's, and a local professor was so opposed that he filibustered me. No one objected. That's where the state of "planning" was then, and it appears that that's where it remains. Oz.

In re:By dbauder 1:49 p.m., Oct 25, 2011

You raise an excellent point with water. We don't have enough water for a fast-growing population and may not have enough for the current population. Best, Don Bauder

I am reading a good book. "Race Against The Machine."

Tell us about this book. There are so many books I want to read, but so little time. Best, Don Bauder

Don, I just found an interview of Jeff on the BBC, he parrots EVERYTHING Jeff says-or vice versa.....who knows!

Some of his message is similar to Jeff's, but not identical. Let's face it: every knowledgeable person should be afraid of a worldwide calamity, and it is clear that international leaders are panicked about the possibility. Best, Don Bauder

Actually, that guy was a fraud and there was a brouhaha among market participants for a day or so when this guy went viral. Still, he does bring a couple of valid points. I am called heartless because of my uncaring attitude about markets, but I am realistic and I am not rooting for the market to move in any direction, ever. I only hope it moves, either way and I get a crack at it. I only care what the market will return for me, and if I have to sell 1000 S&P contracts short and hope the market goes south, so be it. Of course if I'm short 1000 contracts and the market rallies, I ask for no pity. The markets are bigger than governments and there's nothing for an individual or government to do to stop the Mistress of the Market when she gets on a tear, so the key is to go with the flow. The market is going to do what it does and the Fed and government might influence it in a shorter term, but longer term, it's going to do what it does.

Yes, if you are short and the market rallies, you get no pity. But if Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley et al bet the wrong way, they get bailed out. Protesting this is what Occupy Wall Street is all about -- ditto Occupy San Diego, Occupy Whatever. Best, Don Bauder

But that's not necessarily true that they always get bailed out. GS didn't get bailed out last quarter and they lost big time.

A world divided against itself cannot stand.

Yet the world is ALWAYS divided against itself and keeps stumbling along. Best, Don Bauder

Don, sorry to hear you were ill. If it's any consolation, so have I. Hope you get better, whatever it is. I will bathe my tongue in a substance which the doctor has prohibited . . . TO YOUR HEALTH!

In re: By dbauder 9:51 p.m., Oct 25, 2011

Mine was severe case of flu. Lasted two days and appears almost gone. Best, Don Bauder

Wise comment, Don. But the Big One is about a century overdue.

By dbauder 7:31 p.m., Oct 26, 2011

For now, though, flu flew. Best, Don Bauder

ERROR CORRECTION: In my 7:47 p.m., Oct 26, 2011 post, it appeared that I was referring to Don's illness. I also failed to preface my reference to Don's post as "In re:" to "By dbauder 7:31 p.m., Oct 26, 2011."

The Reader Geeks (and my trying to circumvent their insistence upon controlling us) have struck again. (But oh, Great Geeks, we, the Great Uncomputerized, are ever grateful for the work you do! We can live with it if you insist.)

"Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life."

I thought in that post you were referring to a flu pandemic. Best, Don Bauder

Or you were bitten by the flu bug, as I was. Best, Don Bauder

Did you get flu vaccination? I did, but it might have been a different bug; they either mutate so fast or the population is variable enough that selection is lightning-fast. My symptoms are much attenuated, but I'm still not back to normal after a month.

On the day I was scheduled to get a flu shot I was down with an awful case of the flu. I'll get the shot as soon as I feel completely over this. Best, Don Bauder

Well, I hope we're both back to normal soon; I won't detail my symptoms here tempting though it may be to draw invidious allusions . . .

Log in to comment

Skip Ad