Tuesday, April 29, 2008

We're boned

More than 6 million homes will go into foreclosure before this housing collapse is finished, and the number of houses now sitting empty in America has reached a staggering 18.6 million — including 2.3 million currently on the market.
Imagine every housing unit in the entire state of California suddenly empty. That's about how many houses are vacant today.
Columbia professor and Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz did an interview with CNBC on Friday. Guess what he said about the combination of food and energy inflation plus the housing collapse?

"This is going to be one of the worst economic downturns since the Great Depression."

Two points:
1)Wonkette adds, with typical snark, "And this is why we need to take a long, hard look at Jeremiah Wright's religious sermons about black people." I'm not so sure I agree with their implicit point (i.e., that just maybe there are more important things the candidates should be discussing.) The thing is, based on everything I've heard about the candidates' economic positions, the question really seems to be: whose underinformed, ill-conceived, special-interest-pandering-to economic policy will make the upcoming crisis the least worse?
2)My generation doesn't really have a work ethic, from what I can tell. There was a spate of trend pieces a few years ago about how people around my age joining the workforce for the first time were pissing off their supervisors by whining too much and expecting praise for their every action. Recent studies indicate that a vast majority of my peers want to be famous, and I'm pretty sure the percentages just increase as the kids get younger.

I'm making a prediction: in 2011, President Obama announces that he's rescuing the economy by nationalizing MTV and making everybody the star of their own reality show.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I can't believe I'm blockquoting Bill Maher

But I am (apparently):

There's a seemingly dry headline this week that is a lot scarier than it looks: Bank of America's profit declined 77% this quarter. They're a big bank. They're a consumer-oriented bank. And it turns out their losses are not just coming from the subprime mortage crisis. They're coming from small business loans, construction loans, and simple credit card debt. Bottom line--people can't pay their bills.

The time for arguing over whether or not we're in a recession is not only past, it seems almost quaint now--a little math game that we had the luxury of playing back when things seemed like they might improve at any moment. Whether or not the eventual numbers reveal that this is technically a recession, professional and amateur economists alike can now agree that the economy is technically "in the shitter."


I'm pretty sure that the Iraq war is significantly contributing to this recession. It's costing us hundreds of trillions of dollars, the costs to local governments and businesses to comply with various bizarre 'anti-terrorism' regulations is onerous, and the already-rising costs of health care are only going to be pumped up to incredible new heights by the demand from veterans—both military and civilian (in the form of contractors and volunteers)—who have been both physically and psychologically wounded by their experiences. It's a god-damned shame.

I'm pretty sure Frederique Bastiat is loling in his grave right now...