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Here's something else Krugman has got partly right recently: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/25/opinion/paul-krugman-wrong-way-nation.html "Supply of housing" really matters. He also got this right in 2005: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/08/opinion/08krugman.html?_r=0 There was no house price bubble in "flatlands", it was all in "the zoned zone". The fact that Krugman has largely stayed off this subject, is a give-away. There are too many libbewwal orthodoxies on save-the-planet urban planning, and too many libbewwal-supporting vested interests in big property investing (Rockefellers, Soros, etc) who are the primary beneficiaries of the inflation of urban land rent by planning.
The "Best" of........! Reminds me of the Australian singer-comedian Kevin "Bloody" Wilson - his compilations of "hits" are entitled "The Worst of Kevin Bloody Wilson"......
But Gaza has a border with Egypt. Why is Israel to blame for the consequences of an "embargo"? It is possible for nice modern buildings etc to get built in Gaza; this is happening. It is like two different systems mixed up - there is an element that would be perfectly happy to turn it into Dubai if left to themselves and given the opportunity to do so; but add Hamas et al into the mix and it is very difficult for these decent elements to do anything. On top of that, decent elements risk being targeted by Hamas extremists for "decadence" or suspected collaboration.
In response to:

America: The Ostrich Years

Phil from NZ Wrote: Aug 24, 2014 3:32 PM
I think it was Mark Steyn who said, when Obama was elected, "it is Sept 10, 2001 in America again".
Henry Kissinger's realism was right. Some cultures are incompatible with liberal democracy. It is unrealistic to expect to be able to spread liberal democracy and it is mistaken to have a conscience about "supporting dictators". if you let a Kai-Shek fall you get a Mao. If you let a Batista fall you get a Castro. If you let a Shah fall you get a Khomeini. The only rational approach is: "does this dictator fear us and not cause us any problems outside his own borders - yes/no"? If "No" - THWACK!!!!!!!
“25 percent [of GDP] as the maximum tolerable proportion of taxation may be exceedingly near the truth.” - John Maynard Keynes From Vito Tanzi and Ludger Schuknecht, “Public Spending in the 20th Century”, page 54
“25 percent [of GDP] as the maximum tolerable proportion of taxation may be exceedingly near the truth.” - John Maynard Keynes From Vito Tanzi and Ludger Schuknecht, “Public Spending in the 20th Century”, page 54
Elasticity of housing supply is actually everything. For decades, housing affordability improved in the entire western world, home ownership increased, homes improved even as the real price of them fell, and there was cyclical stability, with prices remaining stable and supply varying as necessary. This is how free markets WORK. All the problems more recently stem from regulations and planning that strangle the supply of greenfields housing beyond the urban fringe. This is the case all over the western world. Mostly it is explicit "save the planet" urban planning, but in some parts of the USA there are identical problems as a result of rural zoning by municipalities exercising their "local democratic right" to stop an adjacent city expanding into their area. It is a total waste of effort and argument to talk about reforms other than those that have to do with the elasticity of housing supply; it just diverts attention from the real problem. There is no problem in Texas, caused by "loose credit" or low interest rates or the CRA or mortgage securitisation; and there was no problem anywhere in the 1950's when governments threw subsidised, low-interest loans at young couples - because developers were allowed to just get on and built freakin' houses. The result is exactly the same for cars and computers today - lower interest rates don't make the prices go up, do they? Supply and competition takes care of that.
In response to:

What We Women Want

Phil from NZ Wrote: Jul 25, 2014 3:46 PM
One of the things women should get concerned about, is the way that regulations end up consigning double-income couples to mortgage slavery by making the supply of housing inelastic, which makes the prices go up even faster than interest rates are lowered. Elizabeth Warren's presentations are worth watching, on the subject of "The Coming Collapse of the Middle Class", but of course being a libbewwal she won't ever have a clue that "save the planet from urban sprawl" regulations are the cause of the crisis in housing costs and mortgage related bankruptcies that bedevil certain parts of the USA - and the same thing is a much, much worse problem in most other first world countries, that don't have cities like Houston that young couples can flee to.
Quadrant Magazine, Australia, is a great publication with some great writers. Here is Peter Smith on Piketty: http://quadrant.org.au/magazine/2014/06/questionable-equations-thomas-piketty/
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