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

BUILDING PERMITS
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
1,010,000.
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.
HOUSING STARTS
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.
HOUSING COMPLETIONS
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….

Depression

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.

Decepticons

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.

Coping: Life at the “End of the String” ElectriPrepping
Coping: With Karesansui