Category Archives: Econ & Money

Taking (and Giving) the Punch

Krugman: “in today’s world, the crucial credibility central banks need involves, not willingness to take away the punch bowl, but willingness to keep pushing liquor on an abstemious crowd.”

À propos the Swiss revaluation of the Franc (which triggered the bon mot quoted above), what I want to know is how many Swiss banks had hints this was coming, and how big a killing they made on the markets.

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It’s Where The Money Is

wage_theft_vs_bank_etc_robberies

Plus, there’s no significant risk of jail.

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A Mystery: Miami Property Values Seem Immune to Climate Change Risk

There’s been a lot of news recently about the dire effects climate change can have on Miami, yet not only has the risk not been priced into real estate but values are rising. What’s up? Are climate change deniers that rich, or is something else going on? Is the risk seen as so far out as to be discounted to zero?

It’s flat here, there’s a lot of coastline, and a sea level rise of only a few feet would turn Coral Gables into New Venice. Even a foot and a half — which apparently has a decent change of happening in the next decade or three — would be very bad for Miami Beach, and also for much of South Florida in that it could impact water supplies and swamp power plants.

How then to explain why none of this is priced into the real estate market? Not only are house prices mostly going up after perhaps over-reacting to the the foreclosure crisis, but so too are waterfront land prices, as evidenced by this $100 million/acre sale of the last piece of undeveloped waterfront in downtown (total price for 1.25 acres was $125 million).

Yes, it could be a bubble. Yes, it could be the musical chairs phenomenon where the buyer thinks they can flip it, or develop it, before the music stops. Or it could be that the buyers watch too much Fox News, or have their own climate scientists.

I’d really like to know what’s going on here — if only because I (co)own a house. Any ideas?

Posted in Econ & Money, Miami | 4 Comments

The Basement Is Safe

The Misguided Freakout About Basement-Dwelling Millennials

More than 15.3 million twentysomethings—and half of young people under 25—live “in their parents’ home,” according to official Census statistics.

There’s just one problem with those official statistics. They’re criminally misleading. When you read the full Census reports, you often come upon this crucial sentence:

It is important to note that the Current Population Survey counts students living in dormitories as living in their parents’ home

Spotted via Calculated RISK.

Of course, living in South Florida, we don’t even have a basement…

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Guess the Country

Rations Reduced as Demand Grows for Soup Kitchens.

You only get one guess.

Posted in Econ & Money | 2 Comments

See How Your Bank’s Privacy Policies Compare

Lorrie Faith Cranor put me on to this new site she’s built, that allows you to compare banks according to their privacy policies.

It’s a great tool, but not a great reality. Here, for example, is what I got when I searched for large banks in Florida with adequate privacy policies (allowing opt-out from all categories of information sharing):

Search result

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Tax Day

“Taxes are what we pay for civilized society,” wrote Justice Oliver Wendel Holmes (in dissent); it seems I’ve been misquoting it for decades as “taxes are the price of civilization.”

They’ve even got the Holmes version on the front of the IRS building in Washington:

inscription03

Just for fun, here’s another good tax quote, from the IRS:

People who complain about taxes can be divided into two classes: men and women.”
— Unknown

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