This is your Obama economy, part oh-who-the-hell-remembers:

The residential real-estate rebound suffered a setback in June as housing starts unexpectedly fell to the lowest level in almost a year, curbing how much construction contributed to U.S. economic growth last quarter.

Believe harder and faster, people!

31 thoughts on “Unexpected

  1. Remember when reading stories on the housing market.

    They used to report it as “housing starts”, which meant houses. They now report it as “units permits”. This is because there are a ton of new apartment and condos being built and most cities now charge for a building permit for EACH apartment instead of one for the whole building. More revenue baby.

    So, when you read your articles on the housing market, are they saying homes? or units? or building permits?

    The condo and apartment building construction market is booming, look at all the cranes up around town.

  2. Mitch how many years ago was unemployment below 6%. After all George Bush was attacked for not creating enough jobs let alone full time and well paying jobs. All that silence taking place will suddenly show up again once a Republican is in the White House.

    Walter Hanson
    Minneapolis, MN

  3. Emery’s link breaks out the difference between apartment buildings and individual homes. It’s interesting to note that:

    1. Multi-unit structures are,plus or minus, at 40 year (or more) lows. We’ve obviously pushed people out of apartments by subsidizing stand alone homes.

    2. The lag between start and completion for apartments is much greater–about a year–than fo homes. The curves are moreover diverging lately. This indicates that apartment builders know something that the Department of Commerce does not.

    3. Given that these things are always unexpected, one wonders whether there is anyone at Commerce who is asking why all their models clearly aren’t working, and whether he (she, they) have permission to create new ones that do.

    Or, for that matter, maybe Commerce needs to use the models that people building apartments are using. I’m guessing they’re looking at the job advertisements in local papers and mapping out the eviction/forclosure rates and coming up with a somewhat different business case than Commerce does.

  4. C’mon bubba, you are bringing facts into EmeryTheSoci@listDegenerate’s talking points. That’s not fair.

  5. Yer right, JPA. I guess that makes me a sicko who just might go to the MOA and then ride the Death Train to see the Twinkies, too. Sigh.

    Seriously, I would have hoped that not only Emery, but also a lot of politicians, would be man enough to take a good look at the data and ask the serious questions on why government numbers make absolutely no sense.

    Of course, it would impede the twittitude ratio in government, but that’s also a good thing, I think.

  6. @bubbasan

    I thought you did a good job with your analysis of the data. Although I do take exception to your second paragraph in your last comment. Economics is a soft science that tries to be hard by using a lot of sophisticated math, but suffers from the same problem as all of the soft sciences: Often the data isn’t very good. There isn’t any way to control other factors, there may not be enough instances of the thing you’re studying for good statistics, and the data is rarely well behaved and normal. Economists rely on governments to collect their data, generally, and governments aren’t very disciplined in their data collection, and they generally have a bias with regards to what they are collecting. So much of economics is destined to remain sophisticated math on unrealistically simple models, or studies of real systems where the data to make firm conclusions doesn’t really exist.

  7. blah blah blah

    Translation: data is only good when it supports my argument, but otherwise, it is all crap if it proves me wrong.

    Par for the course for the degenerate mind.

  8. Emery; I’ll be glad to see your look at the data which indeed demonstrates that you’re understanding more of the implications.

    For what it’s worth, while economics is a “soft” science and I wholeheartedly agree with von Mises’ dictum that econometrics is all too often a fool’s errand, your comment about these statistics being “badly” assembled by the government simply suggests another question; why does the government suck so badly at this, and why doesn’t anyone care?

    Since the people doing this are not dumb–they have PhDs in economics and statistics and such–one has to assume that what’s really going on is that these poor statistics are useful to people in Washington–a way of propping up their Potemkin Village, perhaps. Maybe it’s time to ask some questions here.

  9. I think that by saying ‘Often the data isn’t very good’, you mischaracterize the problem, Emery.
    Economics is often affected by values, which aren’t rational.
    On a national scale, it might make economic sense to require that young people subsidize the medical care of old people. However, it’s not rational for an individual 25 year old to pay $6,000/yr for a comprehensive insurance policy.
    How can you model behavior that depends on irrationality?
    And then, there is the issue where the people studying the problem don’t want good data, they want data that makes it easier to argue their point. In my state, the government has steadfastly refused to finance a study of the costs to consumers of the Jones Act, because the people who make their living from the Jones Act (merchant seamen and longshoreman) are well organized and do not want to draw attention to the issue.

  10. The medical system should differentiate between quality of life and quantity of life. To a 20-year-old, or even a 50-year-old, the two are close to equal except in a very few cases. But to an 80-year-old, it is commonplace that care which emphasizes the quality of life can be very different than that which seeks to maximize its quantity.

  11. Emery said “The medical system should differentiate between….. ,

    Every so@ialist regime sooner or later develops the notion that there is among their population persons and groups of persons that are disposable and then sets about disposing about them.
    I have never met a so@ialist that doesn’t sooner or later delightedly reveal their personal plan for disposing of those least useful to the collective. You have marvelously articulated the murderous so@ialist credo in your post suggesting that we start liquidating the aged who are just taking up space anyway.

    Most emphatically ,The medical system should NOT differentiate between quality of life and quantity of life.. Why, because next after you liquidate everyone over 76 come the cigarette smokers, those who have more than 7 drinks a week, those with a BMI >31, those with gingivitis, those with cholesterol > 235, those with heart disease, etc. Any way you cut it institutionalized murder is the end result of you “suggestion”.

  12. Well Medicare as we know it is doomed, but that’s because its clearly unaffordable at almost any tax rate. There are two options:

    1. Limiting covered procedures/drugs by cost/benefit analysis in a one payer system (death panels). Keep to a budget by not doing expensive things, like the NHS but more drastic.

    2. Fixed rate (variable subsidy) Medicare provided by private medical groups competing on what services and procedures are on offer. A voucher program that forces the providers to be heartless economizers, rather than the government, which just limits the growth of the voucher.

    Or perhaps you’ll get to choose from the two options. But Medicare as we know it, where you can get anything you and your doctor want, and he gets paid fee for service, will be dead. As the saying goes, “Anything that can’t go on forever, won’t”.

  13. First of you disingenuous pos you were talking about Medicare not unlimited healthcare for all. If you were as knowledgeable as you pretend you would know that Medicare is not unlimited, that in fact of all the insurance plans available for any one of any age Medicare has the highest rate for denial of claims.
    Second, yeah I got a few ideas and none of them sound like your retread National So@ialist German Workers Party plan.

  14. You are missing an obvious solution to this problem, Emery.
    The Left never tires of telling us that every industrialized nation in the world has a healthcare system that provides better care at a lower cost than the US.
    So let’s send the old and sick to random Western European countries (or Canada)!
    Problem solved.

  15. @kel
    Countries that invest the surpluses of their workers in the old are in decline. Those that invest those surpluses in the young will thrive. When we sacrifice education and infrastructure to pay old age pensions and medical bills, we place ourselves inexorably on a downward spiral. It means that we must make difficult choices to treat maladies with public dollars when those treatments result in additional healthy, productive years of life, rather than a few months of painfully delayed decline towards death. If the baby boomers want to break with their established pattern of self-absorption and actually do something worthy, they’ll embrace limiting the transfers of wealth to the elderly, focusing on the children instead. I’ll not be holding my breath waiting for this to happen.

  16. @Terry
    This allows us to get back to the heart of what health care reform really means. It is a massive tax increase on young people and small business to pay for health care for old and poor people. The unpopularity of the mandate will translate into relatively small penalties for not joining. Companies will abandon their health plans, pay the penalty, and leave everyone to the exchanges, the subsidies for which will overwhelm the government in excess cost.

    And then we’ll see the real reform. It’ll probably look a lot more like Paul Ryan’s plan than Obama’s.

  17. Emery wrote:
    “It means that we must make difficult choices to treat maladies with public dollars when those treatments result in additional healthy, productive years of life, rather than a few months of painfully delayed decline towards death.”

    Lebensunwertes Leben

  18. I thought ‘lebensunwerten leben’ fit your comment, Emery. You could have been talking about infants born with severe disabilities as accurately as people suffering the unavoidable, dire consequences of advanced age.
    Having your worth as a human being judged by the market is not as bad as having your worth as a human being judged by the government, because the market doesn’t bear malice towards you. It doesn’t care if you live or die. The state, on the other hand, is very interested in whether you live or die.
    Human beings love and celebrate one another. All the state can do is manage you as a problem.

  19. Some predictions:

    1. Young people will find it cheaper to pay a penalty than buy health insurance, because the cost of insuring old people will be artificially shifted to young people’s premiums. Many will choose to pay the penalty. Emergency rooms will still provide free care on demand. Young families will be hurt badly by the cost of care because of the hidden subsidy caused by limiting the premiums of older Americans.

    2. Companies will find it easier and cheaper to pay the penalty rather than insure their workers. A few companies will send their employees to the exchanges, and as other companies see their competitors and neighbors doing so, the trickle will become a flood. The cost for Obamacare, which assumes no companies will give up their coverage, will soar. Penalties to companies not covering their employees will if anything be reduced, as the Obama administration struggles with low growth, low job creation, and an anti-business reputation.

    The real health care reform will happen when Obamacare is found to be unaffordable. Expect serious change by 2020. Real health care reform will only happen when medical companies are required to provide total care for a set price, and begin to compete on what they are prepared to treat (and not treat). As for Medicare and Medicaid, we will have to stop spending so much to give the old a few extra painful or addled months of life. When the government starts putting more indigent old people with dementia and painful cancers in cut-rate dormitories with third rate care, we’ll see the rise of voluntary euthanasia. Families and governments will be forced to choose between bankruptcy and letting grandma die sooner, and we’ll choose the latter.

    For the future, expect:
    1. Fixed fee, limited benefits healthcare.
    2. More do-it-yourself medicine, with doctors at arms length.
    3. Fewer doctors, more nurses and lower priced attendants.
    4. Fewer hospitals, more specialist clinics.
    5. Living wills specifying euthanasia in the event of dementia.
    6. Baby boomers voting for more money for old people.

  20. I agree with most of what you’ve written in your 09:26, Emery, except for expectation #5. It’s not in a patient’s best interest to kill him or her.

    Also, I hate this:
    Emergency rooms will still provide free care on demand.
    Go into an ER with a possibly malignant tumor and see what kind of ‘free care’ you get.
    And just because they can’t collect a fee, doesn’t mean that it’s free. Most hospitals will bill you and try to collect.
    I’ve heard Medved blather about free care from an ER, and Limbaugh. They should be ashamed of themselves, Limbaugh in particular should know better.

  21. @Powhatan Mingo
    My point is that folks should have “living wills”. This enables the individual and their family deal with the inevitable end of life situation. A DNR order is one such choice. Yes I agree, there is no free lunch at the ER. We all pay that bill, whether it’s hidden in the hospital’s pricing or in our own individual insurance premiums.

    I started with a question on a similar thread by asking; ‘would anyone support denying cancer treatments that average less than a 3 month extension of life to Medicare patients if that would lower taxes’. I still believe that question needs to be answered as we attempt to address the long-term care of our aging boomers. As you mentioned previously; not everyone will have a long-term care policy at their disposal.

    I defer to this response to my question.
    mnbubba says:
    /”SOMEONE is going to have to provide an answer to the question: given X resources and Y demands on those resources (where X < Y), what gets funded, and what doesn't? You can prefer individuals or the government as the answerer, but you cannot avoid the question."/

  22. Joe signs an advanced directive at 65 calling for his own euthanasia if he contracts severe senile dementia.
    When he is 70 he gets his first diagnoses of mild to moderate dementia. When he is 72, DSM changes its definition of severe senile dementia. At age 80 he gets his diagnosis and hospital personnel begin his ‘treatment’. His screaming attracts the attention of other patients, who call the police.
    The cops show up and ask the doctor why the upset patient believes that they are trying to kill him.
    “Because we are!” says the doctor.

  23. Countries that invest the surpluses of their workers in the old are in decline. Those that invest those surpluses in the young will thrive.

    Soylent Green it is. You repugnant Soci@list Degenerate!

  24. OK, if we’ve got to be off topic and discuss healthcare instead of the collapse of the housing markets, let it be noted that most of the cost of healthcare is not strictly speaking just for end of life care, but rather for care for things that could be avoided. We’re talking the heart disease, diabetes, cancers, and the like that derive from sloth, gluttony, and tobacco.

    So in a nutshell, the argument is currently in the wrong place. The correct question to ask is “how do we rearrange our government’s approach to health insurance so that individuals have an incentive to take care of their own health?”

    And the correct answer is “free markets in healthcare.” You can’t put huge incentives for comprehensive health insurance policies and have people incentivized to take care of their own health. The two things work against each other.

  25. No, Bubba, that’s not the “real reform” that Emery and his type want.

    They WANT Obamacare to fail. They intentionally set the penalty so low that healthy people would opt out and employers would dump coverage onto the exchanges, which would be swamped with sick people they can’t reject and mandatory coverage for everything. The plan is for health insurance companies to go broke.

    And then the government will say “See, we tried free markets but they failed, just as we told you they would. We must take over all medical delivery services completely. For the children.”

    Paranoid? Or prescient? Look at how poorly “single payer” works in Britain and consider that they’ve been trying to make it work for decades.

  26. Joe, I hope you’re wrong, as I’m sure you do too, but I’m having trouble coming up with a counter-argument. Will pray that we wake up before we’re running with Logan.

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