Data, Depression, Discourse, and Decepticons

Quadruple D’s this morning:  Let’s start off with the data part which deals with the Census report on housing starts:

Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,039,000. This is
5.7 percent (±2.0%) below the revised February rate of 1,102,000, but is 2.9 percent (±0.9%) above the March 2014 estimate of
Single-family authorizations in March were at a rate of 636,000; this is 2.1 percent (±0.9%) above the revised February figure of
623,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 378,000 in March.
Privately-owned housing starts in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 926,000. This is 2.0 percent (±13.0%)* above the
revised February estimate of 908,000, but is 2.5 percent (±11.5%)* below the March 2014 rate of 950,000.
Single-family housing starts in March were at a rate of 618,000; this is 4.4 percent (±12.3%)* above the revised February figure of
592,000. The March rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 287,000.
Privately-owned housing completions in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 823,000. This is 3.9 percent (±10.4%)*
below the revised February estimate of 856,000 and is 5.8 percent (±10.2%)* below the March 2014 rate of 874,000.

There are almost ALWAYS more permits than starts so the real YoY numbers – actual starts and actual completions, are where the disruptive technology bites – which I will explain in a moment.. 

Usually in a “recovery” housing is rolling by now, but what are you reading, hmmmm?  The simple answer is housing is under pressure – and that deserves some deeper thought:

The problems of housing are manifold.  Ure’s Notes shows why housing isn’t going anywhere fast as a number of bullet points:

    • People don’t have enough disposable income to let oodles of people buy new homes.
    • Thanks to the last housing bubble, people have decided not being in debt up  to Ure ass is a smart thing, not dumb.
    • At some point, someone besides you-know-who will figure out that the LBGT movement is a very good approximation of a disruptive technology.  How so?  Think about it:  People once single by gender choice can now cohab, get tax breaks, and halve housing cost.  Out the other end (if you’ll pardon the ill-advised  pun) there are no kids, so who needs schools…
    • And besides, even with kiddies, with home schooling and a PC who needs schools, and so who needs to move to….  (rinse, repeat and let’s save the forests while we’re at it…maybe Ted and Jane can buy up some more ranch land…)

    Well, you kinda see how all this piles up.  Now toss in a double handful of job insecurity because gubmint is just too damn dumb to demand technology impact statements, and then here come the robots to do everything and Uretopia is almost here.

    More, or less….


    And this gets us to the second headliner this morning:  Depression and in deflation.  We label tomorrow Prices and Anagram day because Consumer Prices will be our lead item tomorrow and we can hardly wait for my favorite economic anagram at 10 AM Eastern tomorrow, the LEI – also known as leading economic indicators.

    But in the spirit of Depression, here are a few you can ponder.

    First, my consigliore is absolutely hysterical about the WSJ story about how “ Tumbling Interest Rates in Europe Leaves Some Banks Owing Money on Loans to Borrowers– Subzero rates have put some lenders in an inconceivable position.

    Yeah, I’d say that’s a nice Depression marker.  Banks paying people, in effect, to keep their loans.

    Other samplings:

    UK narrowly misses deflation, price growth steady but let’s check in a month or three…

    Greece deflation slows, but doesn’t stop as prices fall 2.1% YoY in March 2015

    And in Forbes: Excellent News; The Next Recession Could Bring Wage Deflation

    Since the idea of working as hard – or harder – for less, is depressing, we’ll call this section self-evident.

    Discourse (De Plane!  De Plane!)

    With our airplane in annual maintenance, things of a skyward nature have my attention.  Especially when a couple of wing bracket attach point rivets are being updated to Jo-bolts in compliance with an airworthiness directive (AD).

    So when the search area for MH-370 is about to be doubled because no wreckage has been found yet, I prefer to cast the whole search in the light of what happens around here when I misplace the tractor keys.

    Seems like everything is in the last place you look, and it may work out that way for 777’s. Not just car keys.


    It used to be that the Decepticons were “…the main antagonists in the fictional universes of the Transformers storyline and related comics and cartoons, and the enemies of the Autobots.”

    No longer.  Instead, they are all running for office.

    Buzzfeed is taking  a buzz saw of SOWWDS’s ability to recall where ere grandparents were from.

    What’s the old story?  Oh, yes, don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story…especially when you can buy the election with a war chest of almost $38 per vote.

    The big joke in America continues:  It’s illegal to “buy votes” in ‘Merica.  Yet she has how much and if THAT ISN’T BUYING AN ELECTION…what is?  eBaying it would be so much more forthright instead of playing feed-the-media-middlemen.

    And speaking of lies and politics, how about this ‘un? “New laws force doctors to lie to patients about abortion…”

    Let’s see…more lies?  How about “Kirsten Powers claims Rand Paul lied over opposition to Israel aid…”

    Damned if I can figure out why The Daily Liar isn’t updated more often.  Surely it can’t be for a lack of material…

    The Good News of the Day

    People often bemoan the lack of good news on any particular day.  But the reason for that is painfully evident:  Bad news sells.  Hits, eyeballs, and newspapers.

    Still, I thought I would try putting an occasional piece of good/non-cynical news in columns now and then.  So this morning we begin by pointing out David Brooks’ piece in the NY Times about The Moral Bucket List.”

    It’s all about those people you run into occasionally who are deeply good.

    I’ve heard of these people – a true danger to us reclusive cynics – but a word from the other side is good now and then.

    5 thoughts on “Data, Depression, Discourse, and Decepticons”

    1. Sorry, while I can respect your problem with Clinton (and the Republicans have a problem with nominating viable candidates), getting upset at her memories of her grandparents is the last thing I would worry about – my grandmother who was born in the U.S.A. – spoke Swedish as a young child – her parents came here via Canada from Sweden and Norway. Does that impact my life? No, but the hardships she endured raising six living children (at least one died) during the Depression then WWII while my grandfather was in the Merchant Marine, now that was more relevant . . .

      I am more interested in how candidates handle adversity, how they treat the people that they represent, and whether they can be relied on to keep promises . . . it would be good if they could ‘balance the budget’, but circumstances play havoc with results.

      Right now is the ‘silly season’ – everyone and their cousin will declare that they are running for office. The test will come when they have to finance said campaigns . . .

      • Well…my great-grandparents on my Dad’s side came from Lebanon and I know when they got here and how and what languages the spoke. My great-grandparents on my Mother’s side I know where they came from, too. My Grand parents (my parents parents) I know all about them, too and would NEVER make a mistake like that. The fact that she can boldly stand up there and make up a lie or believe i,…..IS a point of concern. If she can lie about something she SHOULD know about, then what else is she capable of lying about? Everything it would seem….especially after her initial efforts to blame the guns going into Mexico on Americans (she was the forerunner of Fast and Furious)….and then her little ‘what difference does it make’ tirade on Benghazi. Yeah…I expect better and so should you!

    2. Hillary is a proven liar and a criminal. But many women will vote for her simply because she is a woman (at least nominally). So many voters in this country vote for emotional reasons rather than rational or logical reasons. Many, perhaps a majority, don’t even understand how the government works or what its doing.

      The article on Rand Paul is a hit piece. I can see they’re treating him much like they treated his father. Slamming his conservative (fiscal/foreign policy) views, casting him as a bad guy because he thinks something called ‘blowback’ might be a valid concern. And that he’s ‘crazy’ for wanting to real in the empire and bring the troops home.

      Ergo, he has no chance of getting elected because so few Americans vote logically or understand what’s happening outside of their TVs and smartphones (IADs — introspection avoidance devices).

      The idea that people who are completely ignorant are allowed to vote is not a good one. Voting is power.’

      Also the idea being propagated across this country that the USA is a democracy is hogwash and also equally dangerous. For what is a democracy but tyranny of the majority?

    3. Not to be too picky about your LGBT housing conclusion, but…

      823,000 housing completions on an annualized basis. According to census info, 67% of the adult population live in owner occupied homes for a total of around 80 million houses. By this we can assume that 1% of our 67% are buying a new home on an annualized basis.

      It is estimated that somewhere between 3.5 and 45 of the population is gay. That counts up to around 8 million adult gay souls in this fair land of ours. ( Yes I restrained myself with the play on the word “fair”. It could have been much worse with the addition of a “y.”) I digress … At any rate if we can compare apples to apples then 67% of the adult gay population would also be in owner occupied housing at some point down the road. That would be 5.4 million give or take a feather or two. Now to further boil this down to an annualized purchasing rayte we can assume that just light the hetero crowd, only 1% of those are buying a new home every year for a total… what’s that 550 happy folks. Hmm, could we also assume that most of those would be married, cutting our total to just 235 new gay owner occupied houses a year?

      I could have screwed up my math here but if not gay owner occupied new homes on an annualized basis is hardly going to make a dent in the big picture. 827750 vs 225…

      • taht would be 3.5% 4% of the adult population is gay.

        PS you need an edit option on the comments

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