Morning Report – Home prices increase 12% 3/4/14

Vital Statistics:

Last Change Percent
S&P Futures 1861.7 18.6 1.01%
Eurostoxx Index 3120.2 66.2 2.17%
Oil (WTI) 103.9 -1.0 -0.97%
LIBOR 0.235 0.000 -0.13%
US Dollar Index (DXY) 79.94 -0.137 -0.17%
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 2.64% 0.04%
Current Coupon Ginnie Mae TBA 106.1 -0.2
Current Coupon Fannie Mae TBA 104.9 -0.2
RPX Composite Real Estate Index 200.7 -0.2
BankRate 30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage 4.32
The market giveth, the market taketh away. Stocks are up (and bonds / MBS are down) on positive developments in the Ukranian situation. Expect more of the same until the situation resolves itself. LOs, be sure to explain to your borrowers that rates will be very volatile for the near future and floating is playing with fire.
Home prices rose .9% month over month and 12% year-over-year in January, according to Corelogic. Prices remain 17.3% below their peak in April 2006. We had seen a bit of a divergence between the indices, with Case-Shiller observing month-over-month decreases (would signal a flattening of the index) and FHFA still reporting month-over-month increases. CoreLogic’s numbers suggest Case Shiller is the outlier.
Obama is set to unveil his new budget today, which will increase spending and taxes. This is a political document, meant to frame the debate for midterm elections this year. It has absolutely zero chance of being implemented
Speaking of political acts, if you like your health care plan, you can keep it (at least through midterms). Obama is planning to delay another part of obamacare, which forbids non-compliant insurance policies until after the midterm elections. Side note, obamacare accounted for the big increases we saw in yesterday’s personal incomes and personal spending report.

87 Responses

  1. Two days in a row? Troll’s getting slow.

    FRIST!

    Like

  2. Who has a good snow blower recommendation. Cause shoveling blows.

    60 foot aggregate concrete driveway.

    Like

  3. Who has a good snow blower recommendation.

    Definitely go with a gas-powered one if your driveway is that long. How wide is it?

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  4. standard size .. 10? 8? feet.

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  5. This is the one I had when I had my three-car-wide, four-car-deep driveway and double-lot-wide sidewalk to clear. It may be more than you need, but I can vouch for it’s reliability and ease of use.

    And yes, shoveling blows. Yet another reason I love my townhouse! 🙂

    Like

  6. Thanks Michi! I’ll run Scott’s plan by the decider too.

    Like

  7. Gotta love social media as a check on corruption.

    http://rvamag.com/articles/full/23049/did-kaaatie-commit-a-crime

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  8. Heh.

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  9. Mine is an 8-speed 24-inch MTD. Does a fine job.

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  10. I shovel and count it as a workout instead of going for a run….

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  11. Hmmmmm.

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  12. I had to vacuum the pool yesterday because we had a little wind with our rain!

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  13. That’s rubbing it in, Lulu!

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  14. Yeah, well, we still have an open border here in CA!

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  15. jnc: OK, now I’m dying to know what IA finds out! Anything new this morning, or was that update from 8:11 pm the last one?

    Like

  16. That’s the last one. I love this description:

    “A man with a military build, salt and pepper hair, and a 1970’s style mustache ”

    Can we say police?

    Also, this calls for Beastie Boys:

    Like

  17. and a 1970′s style mustache

    Oh, yeah, I totally visualized a cheesy porn mustache there!

    Like

  18. Very nice defense of BitCoin.

    http://m.nationalreview.com/corner/372372/kudlow-vs-bitcoin-kevin-d-williamson

    You don’t need permission to engage in commerce.

    Like

  19. I like the idea of BitCoin. Ultimately, I don’t think it’s the answer to a decentralized digital currency but I think it’s the first critical move in the right direction. I should have devoted more time to mining bitcoins when I first heard about it. I could have made hundreds of dollars. Maybe thousands. Now, you’ll spend almost as much in power running your servers as you will make from generated bitcoins.

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  20. Holy Shit! Hack Sargent’s got breaking news on Immigration!

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  21. Hah!

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  22. So apparently it’s all Harold Ramis’ fault now.

    I started to read that piece yesterday (?) jnc, but thought the premise was a little silly. What did you think?

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  23. Shorter Salon,The Beatings Will Continue Until Moral Improves!

    Like

  24. @Troll: Rather that admit powerlessness, or complicity, you always gotta blame a bogeyman. In this case, the Bogey Kochs. “They hide in your closet, waiting to donate money to political campaigns that urge lower taxes and pro-business policies! It’s a nightmare.”

    Like

  25. Thomas Frank sounds like he needs to curl up with a warm cup of chamomile tea and watch Norma Rae…

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  26. @jnc4p: “The dick joke is not always what it seems to be. The dick joke is not always your friend.”

    Clearly, he didn’t expect anybody to take him seriously after that. That’s like coming out against sad-eyed hobos and orphans.

    Ah. The article was written by Thomas Franks, who wrote the very weak What’s The Matter With Kansas? which essentially says the problem with middle-America is that it has been tricked by big businesses to constantly vote against their own best interests.

    You can probably read my review of What’s The Matter With Kansas on Amazon here:

    http://www.amazon.com/Whats-Matter-Kansas-Conservatives-America/product-reviews/0805073396?pageNumber=40

    Please note that 16 of 65 people found my review helpful. 😉

    Like

  27. Thomas Frank sounds like he needs to curl up with a warm cup of chamomile tea and watch Norma Rae…

    *snort*

    Like

  28. How’s come Cruz is being back seated by the Kochtapus? Is the left only allowed one boogeyman? Or are they racist against Cubans?

    Like

    • Great line from Ace:

      This isn’t such a huge deal because Russia Today is the English-language propaganda arm of Russia. It’s not primarily for broadcast into Russia, but intended as an arm of pro-Russia indoctrination for areas of the English-speaking world that don’t receive the New York Times.

      Like

  29. Nooooooooooo!!!!! They’re going to have to rip turf-and-turf from my cold, dead hands!!!!

    Could too much protein put you on the path toward an early grave?

    For middle-aged people who consume lots of meat, milk and cheese, the answer could be a resounding yes, according to a new study published Tuesday in the journal Cell Metabolism.

    U.S. and Italian researchers tracked thousands of adults for nearly two decades and found that those who ate a diet high in animal proteins during middle age were four times more likely to die of cancer than contemporaries with low-protein diets — a risk factor comparable to smoking. They also were several times more likely to die of diabetes, and nearly twice as likely to die in general.

    [snip]

    Even as researchers warned of the health risks of high-protein diets in middle age, they said eating more protein actually could be a smart move for people over 65. “At older ages, it may be important to avoid a low-protein diet to allow the maintenance of healthy weight and protection from frailty,” another co-author, USC gerontology professor Eileen Crimmins, said in a release detailing the findings.

    Simple: invent time machine. Go forward in time and eat t-n-t. Reverse process and eat salad. Solved!

    Like

  30. Or are they racist against Cubans?

    Canadians. Them and their damned socialized medicine. We’re green with envy.

    Like

  31. Michi, I think it’s an interesting take, but my opinion is that those movies reflected the zeitgeist of the late 1970’s and 1980’s rather than caused it and in the case of Animal House is just a much part of the rejection of the societal norms of the 1950’s and early 1960’s as the whole hippie movement.

    Like

  32. “Michigoose, on March 4, 2014 at 2:35 pm said:

    Nooooooooooo!!!!! They’re going to have to rip turf-and-turf from my cold, dead hands!!!!”

    And she’s back on the libertarian side folks.Since we have the PPACA now, the progressives will argue that your selfish desire to eat meat imposes health care costs on others.

    Like

    • jnc:

      …the progressives will argue that your selfish desire to eat meat imposes health care costs on others.

      And they will be right.

      Like

  33. Re: Thomas – this is sort of a backhanded compliment:

    “I mean, who else makes fun of country club grandees except for us lefty authority-questioners?

    Well, free-market conservatives do. Google the phrase “Country club Republican” and what you will find, by and large, are right-wing types using it as a synonym for “RINO”: fake Republicans who are in it for the snobbery—not out of faith in the relentless, disruptive forces of capitalism.”

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  34. I wouldn’t worry to much about that study Michi.

    http://m.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/11/lies-damned-lies-and-medical-science/308269/

    I had no idea The Atlantic conducts a War on Science.

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  35. your selfish desire to eat meat imposes health care costs on others.

    Oh, Brent??!???

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  36. Salanti remained poised, as if the grilling were par for the course, and gamely acknowledged that the suggestions were all good—but a single study can’t prove everything, she said. Just as I was getting the sense that the data in drug studies were endlessly malleable, Ioannidis, who had mostly been listening, delivered what felt like a coup de grâce: wasn’t it possible, he asked, that drug companies were carefully selecting the topics of their studies—for example, comparing their new drugs against those already known to be inferior to others on the market—so that they were ahead of the game even before the data juggling began? “Maybe sometimes it’s the questions that are biased, not the answers,” he said, flashing a friendly smile. Everyone nodded. Though the results of drug studies often make newspaper headlines, you have to wonder whether they prove anything at all. Indeed, given the breadth of the potential problems raised at the meeting, can any medical-research studies be trusted?

    Yes and no. Humans are notoriously difficult to control for–but well-designed studies are generally pointing in the right direction.

    I’m beginning to worry about controlling for Libertarians, though.

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  37. What does your pull quote from the article say to you Michi?

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  38. your selfish desire to eat meat imposes health care costs on others

    They’ll impose a tax on meat to take into account the incremental health costs (though if you die early, doesn’t that imply less costs on the system?) and the negative externatlities to the planet due to cow farts.

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    • Brent:

      They’ll impose a tax on meat to take into account the incremental health costs (though if you die early, doesn’t that imply less costs on the system?)…

      Doesn’t matter whether it actually imposes a net cost. If people “feel” like it imposes a cost, and they will, then taxes, lawsuits, settlements…it’s all fair game. See the cigarette industry.

      Like

  39. I don’t personally care what other people eat and whether it costs me more or less. It’s silly to think we can control for every eventuality by taxing more or charging more or legislating more. What I do care about though is my own health and I do like to encourage others to care about theirs, at least a little.

    If that study is true, I’m poised to live a very long life. Oh, and there are lots of ways to get protein in without eating red meat……………………….just sayin’.

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  40. If I’m forced to be responsible for the consequences of some bodies decisions re eating, then why can’t I have a say in what they eat?

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  41. McWing, I hate cigarettes, motorcycles, red meat, jumping out of airplanes and guns, but I like swimming a couple of miles in the ocean, driving too fast and the occasional glass of wine or a shot of Maker’s Mark. I’ll leave the smokers and meat eaters alone if they’ll leave me alone. I think it all balances out in the end. I never agreed with all the extra taxes on cigarettes or alcohol, or a soda tax, or any of that, although I do sort of like smoke free public environments…………………..I know it’s wrong of me but it’s so much healthier that way. I figure the risks we all take with our health are factored into the cost of health care already!

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  42. They’ll impose a tax on meat to take into account the incremental health costs

    Dang! I thought they’d just charge you more so that I could enjoy my moocher status and eat turf-and-turf.

    Must do more thinking about this.

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  43. Dang! I thought they’d just charge you more so that I could enjoy my moocher status and eat turf-and-turf.

    I am sure there is somebody at the Center for American Progress analyzing the purchasing habits of libertarians and Republicans and devising excise taxes that would hit them disproportionally…

    Its for the children, you see…

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  44. See the cigarette industry.

    The left has to be salivating over a suit against the big fast food companies…

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  45. How come cigarettes are bad but a blunt is good?

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  46. analyzing the purchasing habits of libertarians and Republicans

    Ah, but jnc has declared me a fellow Libertarian! I expect delivery of my top hat any day now. . .

    Like

    • Mich:

      Ah, but jnc has declared me a fellow Libertarian!

      I think jnc must have been stoned or something when he said that.

      Like

  47. Heh. Got a reservation at barmini on the 21st.

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  48. Hah, I had to look up what a blunt was. I think they’re both bad but I don’t particularly care if you want to partake, it’s your life. Fine with me if they’re both legal and just a standard sales tax works for me.

    I’m probably not as much of a “lefty” as y’all thought. There are some issues I am one and others I’m not. I don’t think it’s all that unusual and so when you guys talk about “The left has to be salivating over a suit against the big fast food companies…”, I have to assume you’re not talking to me, but I’m never really sure. I quit taking the bait a long time ago……………….life’s too short to try to prove myself to you guys…………………hahahaha. As far as fast food, I simply don’t eat it, that seems like the most straight forward solution.

    See ya later McWing, I’m off to get healthy at the gym so I can live a really long time and cost y’all a lot of money in my old age!

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  49. More Republican War on Women.

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  50. I think jnc must have been stoned or something when he said that.

    Nah, he just sees past my gruff exterior to recognize my kindler, gentler inner-L.

    Like

    • Mich:

      Nah, he just sees past my gruff exterior to recognize my kindler, gentler inner-L.

      You make my point.

      Like

      • Question:

        If a state can require that out-of-state eggs be created under in-state standards before being sold in-state, why can’t a state also require that out-of-state marriages be created under in-state standards before being recognized in-state?

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  51. I think that Bitcoin’s infrastructure needs a little work. Can this be defined as “shovel-ready”?

    Flexcoin, a site that described itself as the “world’s first bitcoin bank,” has closed after it got hacked and all of the bitcoins it had placed in online storage were stolen, the site recently announced.

    Flexcoin was attacked and robbed March 2 of all coins in its “hot wallet”—a term that refers to bitcoin online storage—the site said in an announcement posted to its homepage. The attacker made off with 896 bitcoins, which at current prices across several exchanges would amount to roughly $600,000.

    Flexcoin also said it will return to their owners the bitcoins it had put in “cold storage,” which weren’t stolen because they’re held offline.

    The company will shut down immediately because it does not have the resources or assets to recuperate from the loss, it said. Flexcoin will work with law enforcement to determine the origins of the attack.

    Like

  52. “ScottC, on March 4, 2014 at 10:04 pm said:

    Mich:

    Ah, but jnc has declared me a fellow Libertarian!

    I think jnc must have been stoned or something when he said that.”

    I’m a big tent Libertarian. Once someone recognizes government overreach when it comes to something that they care about, such as Turf & Turf, it becomes easier to get them to spot it elsewhere.

    Like

    • jnc:

      it becomes easier to get them to spot it elsewhere.

      I think you are kidding yourself. Lots of people are completely unconcerned with internal consistency in their thought process, and so will make appeals to “overreach” when it suits their particular preference, while ignoring the same argument it when it doesn’t. In other words, government “overreach” isn’t an objective thing that they happen to spot and therefore object. “Overreach” for them is defined subjectively as “things I don’t want government to do”, while “things I want government to do” are by definition not “overreach”.

      Those people are not libertarian in any real sense, nor are they any more susceptible to libertarian arguments in situations where they think government can help them accomplish some desired goal.

      Like

  53. @Troll: “More Republican War on Women.”

    This is a specific woman, so it’s not, like, a war on all women, like Republicans conduct by lowering taxes and stuff.

    Look, if Bill Mahr clocked Ann Coulter with a two-by-four, he wouldn’t be seen as a bad guy, he’d be a fuckin’ hero on the left. In general, you stop being a protected class (be ye woman, Hispanic, or African American) when you vote for Republicans or support conservatives. Then you are just The Enemy.

    That being said: Alan Grayson “shoved her”. Unless it was down the stairs or out a window, I find it hard to be sympathetic. Did he say mean things, too? Seriously? Did he point at her in a threatening matter and poke her firmly? With his index finger?

    News on it: “The incident comes just less than two months after Lolita Grayson filed a divorce petition stating that their marriage of nearly 24 years was “irretrievably broken.””

    Uh-huh.

    “She told her husband not to touch her, then pushed him in the face and kneed him in the stomach “in order to protect and defend herself” before calling 911, her petition says.

    Yeah. You’re getting divorced, don’t show up and demand to talk, but I’m suspecting “Lolita” might not be the innocent victim here. Given that when you put that stuff in the petition, it’s because those are the places where he might be able to provide some evidence of the assault, or might have some documentation. Otherwise, you didn’t do anything, and it’s a miracle he didn’t kill you. The monster!

    Although is it just me or does Alan Grayson look like a fatter, more evil John C. Rielly?

    Like

  54. @ScottC: “If a state can require that out-of-state eggs be created under in-state standards before being sold in-state, why can’t a state also require that out-of-state marriages be created under in-state standards before being recognized in-state?”

    Because eggs aren’t sweet loving gay couples. Duh! Show me some eggs as charming and sweet as that adorable Cam and Mitchell on Modern Family, or as talented and funny as Neil Patrick Harris, then maybe we’ll talk. I mean, obviously.

    Like

  55. @lmsinca: “Fine with me if they’re both legal and just a standard sales tax works for me.”

    No, no, no. Should be like liquor and tobacco taxes. 100% tax. Cut other taxes. Still show a profit. Marijuana is just money for farmers and government coffers waiting to be accessed, once enough people get the stick out of their butt.

    Like

  56. @Troll: “How come cigarettes are bad but a blunt is good?”

    Blunts are horrible. Roll it up in normal papers or smoke it in a pipe or something. Blunts are like smoking a whole pack of cigarettes at one time.

    And cigarettes are an indispensable source of tax revenue now (I notice those “truth” adds never touch on that). More of the price of every pack of cigarettes goes to taxes than go to the tobacco companies. That’s tens of billions in tax dollars

    http://blog.turbotax.intuit.com/2010/06/22/how-much-is-the-government-making-off-of-tobacco/

    Like

  57. @Michigoose: “They also were several times more likely to die of diabetes, and nearly twice as likely to die in general.”

    They are twice as like to die in general? Which means what: that they are only half as likely as other people to never die?

    Article does not make it clear how these conclusions were reached. They are suggesting causation but could it be correlation? Did they control for alcohol consumption and exercise levels, etc?

    Did they control for overall calories consumed? You can’t tell me that someone who consumed mostly protein and eats 1500 calories a day is at the same risk for diabetes as someone who consumes mostly protein and eats 4000 calories a day.

    Like

  58. @ScottC: “I think you are kidding yourself. Lots of people are completely unconcerned with internal inconsistency in their thought process, and so will make appeals to “overreach” when it suits their particular preference, while ignoring the same argument it when it doesn’t. “

    Exactly. The reality is, everybody can see government overreach, and what’s bad about it, when it negatively impacts them (or sometimes even when they emotionally feel it does, even though it has no discernible actual impact on them, such as NSA spying).

    When the government passes a law that makes it impossible for you to run your recycled-organic grocery/medical-marijuana dispensary you just invested your life-savings in, you see what a tragedy that is, and what douche bags those government bureaucrats are. When these same folks take over your health insurance and your copay goes down five dollars, they are good samaritans, never mind the GPs they just ran out of town or out of business.

    Lots of times, people have no idea what government overreach is costing them, in terms of denying them access to innovations or products or services. My oldest daughter is a diabetic, and has to stick her finger about 6 or 7 times a day. There’s a technology that can get rid of the finger stick, but the company that has developed it can’t get approval for a prototype—they can only get FDA approval for the actual product. Meaning they have to build a hundred-million dollar factor to build the actual product so the FDA can take a year to approve it for the marketplace, or not . . . requiring hundreds-of-thousands to millions of retooling to remanufacture it, so the FDA can approve it . . . or not. The idea is to protect people, but the outcome is to also deny people access to useful technology that will improve their quality of life for no actual reason, as equipment to measure blood sugar will not accidentally kill you.

    And that’s just one example of where government regulation creates drag on innovation and lowers people’s quality of life without a lot of general awareness that it’s even happening. There are a lot more examples.

    And the response is generally going to be a shrug and “better safe than sorry”. Until government overreach impacts you. 😉

    Like

    • Kevin:

      And the response is generally going to be a shrug and “better safe than sorry”. Until government overreach impacts you.

      This is what distinguishes the libertarian. A libertarian opposes government intrusions out of principle, even if the government intrusion either doesn’t impact him or would actually have a positive impact on him.

      Like

      • @ScottC: And the libertarian is one of those “crazy kooks” until the average citizen finds themselves on the same side of the fence as the libertarian on an issue. Then they make sense . . . on that issue. That other stuff? They’re still crazy!

        Like

  59. Lots of times, people have no idea what government overreach is costing them, in terms of denying them access to innovations or products or services.

    This is one of the most important insights about modern progressivism. It has been called “what is not seen,” “the forgotten man” (the term picked up by Amity Shlaes), and, recently by a conservative pundit, “single-entry accounting.” Progressive government projects are always founded and maintained by pointing beneficiary groups toward the benefits they will receive, while ignoring or actively distracting from, lying about, diminishing, or just ignoring the costs to be extracted from them or, usually, others. That is the whole scam in a nutshell. Anyone who doesn’t get it in the wake of the Obamacare mess is dense beyond words.

    My oldest daughter is a diabetic, and has to stick her finger about 6 or 7 times a day. There’s a technology that can get rid of the finger stick, but the company that has developed it can’t get approval for a prototype—they can only get FDA approval for the actual product.

    If more people really understood just how awful and damaging the FDA is to our health and economically, there would be a revolution. We would run those people out of D.C. and Maryland with pitchforks in hand. I think many people would have a hard time believing that many of FDA’s rules, practices, and standards are for real. Draconian, Kafkaesque, vindictive — these are the kinds of words that decscribe much of what they do.

    Oh, I know, they protect drug safety, blah blah blah. They also keep huge numbers of effective and desperately needed therapies off the market, and make the ones we have incredibly expensive.

    Like

  60. There’s a technology that can get rid of the finger stick, but the company that has developed it can’t get approval for a prototype—they can only get FDA approval for the actual product. Meaning they have to build a hundred-million dollar factor to build the actual product so the FDA can take a year to approve it for the marketplace, or not . . . requiring hundreds-of-thousands to millions of retooling to remanufacture it, so the FDA can approve it . . . or not.

    It’s called “clinical trials” and every company out there knows that they’re going to have to do them. I fail to have any sympathy for the manufacturer–sounds to me like they were hoping to make an end-run using the loophole that allows some drugs/devices to be fast-tracked, and they are trying to elicit public support for that end-run.

    And I do have every sympathy in the world for your daughter and diabetics in general–I hate needles and can imagine few things worse than having to check my blood glucose levels multiple times/day.

    Like

  61. Another way of saying government regulation is barrier to entry. Lilly, Pfizer and Novartis spend a lot of money keeping good ideas marginized so that they can exercise more control of the market. There are consequences to more regulation and that is regulatory capture.

    Why should the FDA be concerned with efficacy? Why not just safety? Don’t we train doctors to determine which products work?

    Better yet, let’s teach laymen how to think critically.

    Like

  62. See, now I’m a nut because I want the electorate to have more control and, more responsibility.

    Like

  63. @Michigoose: ” I fail to have any sympathy for the manufacturer”

    I don’t, either, actually. In fact, at least the manufacturer is aware of the onus they are operating under, while the general public often has no idea what the cost of government overprotection might be costing them. My point was more for the public, which is often unaware (in all fairness, of benefits, as well) of the cost of government overreach, when it exists.

    In this case, the limitations and delays in production are pointless. There is no additional safety to be had for certain devices or technologies. That the same ruler is used for everything, no matter what, is a bad idea, in my opinion. Something a mile long should not be measured the way something an inch long is measured.

    But I also understand that motivations and drives are going to be very different when you are preparing guidelines in the FDA and that’s your context versus when you are trying to develop a technology to help people and that’s your context.

    Like

  64. @Troll: “Better yet, let’s teach laymen how to think critically.”

    Well, that’s the idea behind a lot of Common Core, especially in the lower grades, and I’m not sure it’s going to do anything to help anybody think better.

    “See, now I’m a nut because I want the electorate to have more control and, more responsibility.”

    What? I’m going to have to do stuff? I want daddy to take care of everything. While I go play X-Box. I mean, like, damn.

    Like

  65. @qb: “If more people really understood just how awful and damaging the FDA is to our health and economically, there would be a revolution. “

    I tend to think so. But nobody has any idea what sort of impact the FDA has on what sort of medical technology is available to them (and Big Pharma is not guiltless on that score, either, as generally the closer in size a company comes to being a small government, the more the decision tree begins to resemble a government agencies rather than an entrepreneurial marketplace competitor).

    Not that I’m never for Big Government. I totally think we should federalize gasoline formulations. States rights and all that, gasoline should be the same formulation everywhere. And there should be at least one grade of gasoline without frackin’ corn in it. But I digress.

    @qb: “Anyone who doesn’t get it in the wake of the Obamacare mess is dense beyond words”

    Tribal affiliation can trump all. My local hometown sports team can do no wrong. I’ve decided I am a Democrat or a Republican, and thus, no matter what, they can do no wrong. Or, I’ve decided I’m a liberal ideologue, so while a Democrat can do plenty wrong by failing to be liberal enough, there’s never anything wrong with sufficiently liberal legislation. Or vice versa.

    “vindictive”

    This is often a real problem in regulatory agencies. Policies are enforced selectively and either vindictively, or in a highly caste-conscious way: What? Who are you to come here and request approval for your product? Who are you to present your trinkets to the great and powerful Oz? Away with you until your company is worth at least a billion dollars and I can risk being seen with you.

    And so forth. A lot of the decision making process is not based on the mission of the regulatory agency (safe food and medicines) but on demonstrating power or peacocking or getting revenge or just being petty.

    The original structure of the government was one of checks and balances for a reason. The only reason we have any kind of democracy at all is not because democracy was awesome, but because it was another form of check on government power. Unfortunately, most government agencies operate without much in the way of checks and balances (often external or internal auditors, yes, but not the same thing), and the appointees that run the agencies are often hard to get rid of, are not-that-accountable, and are unelected, so . . . a great deal of government power now in agencies that are not accountable to the public in any real way. IMHO.

    Which makes it a mess. Eventually, technological innovation will win-out, but does it really have to be such a mess?

    Like

    • Kevin:

      This is often a real problem in regulatory agencies.

      I think it is often a real problem with any organization that 1) is staffed with human beings and 2) exercises government power. And the more government power that is concentrated in the organization, the bigger the problem is.

      Like

  66. @Troll: We could solve much of the wrongness problem, Ioannidis says, if the world simply stopped expecting scientists to be right. That’s because being wrong in science is fine, and even necessary—as long as scientists recognize that they blew it, report their mistake openly instead of disguising it as a success, and then move on to the next thing, until they come up with the very occasional genuine breakthrough. But as long as careers remain contingent on producing a stream of research that’s dressed up to seem more right than it is, scientists will keep delivering exactly that.

    That’s a good article. And it was in The Atlantic!

    Like

  67. … btw, on the blood-free blood glucose monitor: should be mentioned that testing strips for glucose monitors right now is a billion dollar industry that will evaporate overnight, once blood-free glucose monitors are widely available. So it’s likely not only the FDA standing in the way at this point, it’s no doubt Accu-Check (somewhere, somehow) doing so as well.

    Like

  68. @ScottC: “I think it is often a real problem with any organization that 1) is staffed with human beings and 2) exercises government power. And the more government power that is concentrated in the organization, the bigger the problem is.”

    I have nothing to add. I just wish there was a Facebook style “like” button. 😉

    Exactly correct, say I.

    Like

  69. “If more people really understood just how awful and damaging the FDA is to our health and economically, there would be a revolution. “

    Oh I get it… You want people to sell whatever they want with no restrictions, right bagger? I’ll bet you want to go back to the 1800s when people would sell tapeworms and snake oil..

    Like

  70. Oh I get it… You want people to sell whatever they want with no restrictions, right bagger? I’ll bet you want to go back to the 1800s when people would sell tapeworms and snake oil

    I especially hope to maximize harm to children.

    Once you have spent some time in the FDA and drug/device litigation world, it is hard to have any faith in the (risible) regime of FDA review of clinical trials to “ensure” safety and efficacy. Give me any blockbuster drug used by many people, and I can reliably tell you there will be litigation. How? If five million people use a drug, thousands of those people are going to have heart attackes, get cancer, have strokes, etc. Lawyers and phony experts will show up to claim the drug caused some or all of them. Studies will be all over the map. Judges will let it all in. Money will change hands. People will say tsk tsk the poor little FDA ws duped again by evil drug companies.

    I just called another one recently. It happened the day after I commented on it to some people during a meeting break. So, the drugs that FDA approves and safe and effective today will be in court tomorrow, and the FDA and the whole federal government will take the position that their review and approval means effectively nothing.

    Like

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