It’s come to my attention that I probably don’t post anywhere near often enough. I think this mostly stems from a hyper-perfectionist tendency that borders on obsessive (also a common AD/HD feature, though probably tied more to co-morbid depression and anxiety), and the fact that I just suck at setting aside writing time probably doesn’t help.
My old friend Aaron (Thanks for lunch, BTW) made the point that frequency and brevity are both essential parts of blogging, and most of the literature I’ve found on the subject agrees whole-heartedly. In that interest, I’m setting out here to post without my usual prep and polish time. It’s not like there’s any shortage of topics I can cover; I guess I’m just trying to get used to the idea of throwing up posts that are more opinion- and reaction-based, even if they end up being less than my usual standard of unrealistic quality. (That is, of course, assuming you see any quality there in the first place.)
I’ve still got a big NSA-related piece in the works, but it’s grown in scope considerably along the way. Hopefully the matter will still be in people’s minds by the time I finish. At any rate, I suppose the Agency itself will be reading, so I’ve got that going for me…
#DTA! ; )
Here’s a quick update on the housing story from a couple of months back. The incredible Yves Smith from (also incredible) Naked Capitalism has some data on the Phoenix area that took me a few tries to swallow:
Reader Scott sends us further confirmation by e-mail from his buddy George N, which he took from the website of Silver Bay Management Company:
Take a look at the number of houses for rent in Phoenix…The snap shot above was taken today [July 22nd] off of their website.
The following is a snap shot I took on March 18, almost exactly 4 months ago.
How the hell can they be making any money when there are so many empty houses cooking in the desert sun?
Just in case you had any doubts about the scale of stupidity at work here, several other markets (Vegas, Atlanta, parts of Texas and Florida) are displaying similar dynamics. I mean, God for-fucking-fend some of that cash find its way to the parts of the economy that might actually need it! Unfortunately, this is both a cause and consequence of the highly uneven wealth distribution in modern America, and that isn’t getting any better.
The big thing a lot of people forget about market mechanics is that they derive their accuracy (in terms of capital allocation) from aggregate intelligence. Or, if you prefer English, that basically means that markets are “smarter” when they have more individual investors making decisions. A hypothetical market made of 100 investors with $100 each is significantly more useful than a market of 10 investors with $1000, even though it’s the same size. Squeezing out small and mid-sized investors may make the remaining companies wealthier and the investment process more “efficient,” but it also makes the market dumber in aggregate, and more likely to produce shitty overall outcomes.
Now, can anybody guess which way we’ve been headed for 30+ years? All that Reaganomics and Objectivist philosophy is catching up with us, and the nation’s economic brain is rotting in its skull as a result. How much uglier are we willing to see this get before we start demanding a better strategy?