Morning Report: Is the Midwest making a comeback? 8/21/15

Stocks are lower this morning again after yesterday’s bloodbath. Bonds and MBS are up small.

Some people think the bond market’s strength is telling the Fed not to hike rates. I agree that bonds are pricing in the view that inflation is never, ever, ever going to come back. However, the US interest rate market is so manipulated by central banks (indeed all bond markets are these days) that I don’t think bond prices are the reliable signal they typically are.

Foreclosure inventory is down 24% year over year, according to Black Knight Financial Services. The delinquency rate has fallen to 2.2%, pretty much a post-crisis low.

Is the rust belt making a comeback? House prices are rising again in the Midwest as the auto industry recovers and the place becomes simply too cheap for business to ignore. Of course parts of the Midwest were ground zero for CRA lending, especially places like Detroit, which is filled with abandoned homes worth $10,000 with $100,000 mortgages on them. If you want to see what economic collapse looks like, check out this video of Toledo Ohio, my hometown. Most of these houses are worthless, and this is why I have always thought the fears of the big foreclosure inventory were overblown. These houses may count for the foreclosure numbers, but they certainly are not competing with anything and are probably never going to sell.

26 Responses

  1. I’ve got meetings all day! Yay, government work! …

    Frist!

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  2. This is pretty good:

    “In a perverse way, Trump has restored a more pure democracy to this process. He’s taken the Beltway thinkfluencers out of the game and turned the presidency into a pure high-school-style popularity contest conducted entirely in the media. Everything we do is a consumer choice now, from picking our shoes to an online streaming platform to a presidential nominee.

    The irony, of course, is that when America finally wrested control of the political process from the backroom oligarchs, the very first place where we spent our newfound freedom and power was on the campaign of the world’s most unapologetic asshole. It may not seem funny now, because it’s happening to us, but centuries from this moment, people will laugh in wonder.

    America is ceasing to be a nation, and turning into a giant television show. And this Republican race is our first and most brutal casting call.”

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/inside-the-gop-clown-car-20150812?page=10

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    • From Taibbi:

      The irony, of course, is that when America finally wrested control of the political process from the backroom oligarchs, the very first place where we spent our newfound freedom and power was on the campaign of the world’s most unapologetic asshole.

      I think Taibbi is just pissed that he’s got some stiff competition for the title.

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  3. @Scottc1: “I think Taibbi is just pissed that he’s got some stiff competition for the title.”

    I know, right?

    I don’t read Taibbi that much; I don’t read RS unless I’m following a link. So when I’m reading comments on the Plum Line about this article written by Taibbi and what a genuine, great human being just trying to do a really good job he is, and I follow the links to read the article that this “genuine article” whose just a gee-whiz writer trying his best to write thoroughly, thoughtfully, and well . . . I find an admittedly well-written and well-constructed opinion piece written by an obvious douche bag.

    So I am wondering when the language of “he’s one of the good ones” and “he strikes me as a really sincere, hard working wordsmith” came to mean “well-spoken, well-read dude who is also a major asshole, but that’s okay because he’s being such a giant prick about people we don’t like, because they are members of the wrong tribe”.

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  4. He may be an asshole, but he’s our asshole.

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  5. the left loves to pretend their combatants aren’t combatants…

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  6. FYI Brent:

    “An Internet Mortgage Provider Reaps the Rewards of Lending Boldly
    By PETER EAVIS
    AUG. 22, 2015

    You have substantial assets, but your income is erratic and your finances are what in polite company would be called “complex.” Your credit history may contain a smudge or two. Yet you would like to buy one more luxury apartment.

    Major banks like Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase are not eager to give you the $3 million mortgage you need, nor are any traditional banks that specialize in making big-dollar home loans to higher-income clients.

    If that’s your profile, Gregory Garrabrants may be your man”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/23/business/a-internet-mortgage-provider-reaps-the-rewards-of-lending-boldly.html

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  7. Thanks, jnc… We do business with these guys..

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  8. Progressive mentality on display. Keeping taxes low “robs the state of revenue”.

    “Robert Reich: Corporate welfare is ravaging American taxpayers
    The former secretary of labor examines California’s Proposition 13 and how it’s robbed the state of billions

    Saturday, Aug 22, 2015 11:00 AM EST”

    http://www.salon.com/2015/08/22/reich_leveling_the_playing_field_for_all_businesses_will_make_the_california_economy_more_efficient_partner/

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  9. “The giant corporations that are currently exploiting the loophole for their own profits obviously don’t want it closed, so they’re trying to scare people by saying closing it will cause businesses to leave California.”

    this statement is idiocy…

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  10. Pretty funny stuff. Page was a little flustered.

    https://ricochet.com/actress-launches-failed-gotcha-moment-on-ted-cruz/

    The pork chop was a nice touch.

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  11. The left lives in such a bubble, where they think Republicans are by definition intolerant trailer trash bible thumpers and they don’t know what to do when Republicans don’t conform to that stereotype..

    You see it all the time on PL..

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  12. Scott, how confident are you that Morality is something other than a survival instinct (for example, morality as an organizing principle) for human beings?

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    • McWing:

      Scott, how confident are you that Morality is something other than a survival instinct (for example, morality as an organizing principle) for human beings?

      Not very. In fact I suspect that it is very likely related to survival instincts. Which, it seems to me, would make it an objective reality. That is, actions that enhance our well-being and improve our long-term survival chances do so regardless of whether we think they do. They are not a function of our will for it to be so.

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  13. Ok, then I’m not sure I disagree with you. I think I was misunderstanding your position/opinion. I thought you claimed that there is a Universal Morality, a let of morals that is objectively true and (eventually) knowable, and that some of these UM’s were in fact know to us.

    Now I’m understanding you to be saying that Morality as we know it is probably a Survival Instinct, as in a set of rules that can and do change depending of the conditions at the time.

    Is that a fair assessment?

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    • McWing:

      Now I’m understanding you to be saying that Morality as we know it is probably a Survival Instinct, as in a set of rules that can and do change depending of the conditions at the time.

      The principles (rules) do not change. Our articulation or perhaps even understanding of them may be incomplete, but the principles themselves do not change. For example, we may articulate a principle as “Do not kill other people.” What, then, of someone who kills in self-defense? You might say that to acknowledge that it can be moral to kill in certain circumstances (self-defense) is to acknowledge there really is no principle. But I would say no, the principle has simply been incompletely articulated.

      To find seeming exceptions to an otherwise generally applicable rule/principle does not necessarily mean there is no principle. It could just mean that the principle needs to be better or more narrowly expressed.

      However, as ever, I am not that interested in convincing you that morality exists and is knowable. I will just settle for convincing you that to speak in moral terms (to do X to him is wrong, he has a right to do Y), is to assume that it does and is. Basically, I think that to declare that morality does not exist or is not knowable is, necessarily, to exclude from your arsenal of arguments in advocating for this or that policy any ability to make an appeal to moral notions.

      For example, if you reject the existence of objective morality, then I don’t think you can ever sensibly make an appeal that to kill a newborn baby (or, frankly, anyone) is “wrong”, or that the newborn baby (or anyone) has a right not to be killed.

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  14. However, as ever, I am not that interested in convincing you that morality exists and is knowable. I will just settle for convincing you that to speak in moral terms (to do X to him is wrong, he has a right to do Y), is to assume that it does and is. Basically, I think that to declare that morality does not exist or is not knowable is, necessarily, to exclude from your arsenal of arguments in advocating for this or that policy any ability to make an appeal to moral notions.

    Ok, fair enough, but what’s wrong with making the argument that my personal moral code is made up of my personal preferences and those preferences are guided by the idea that it makes human social interaction more peaceful which allows increased economic trade?

    For example, if you reject the existence of objective morality, then I don’t think you can ever sensibly make an appeal that to kill a newborn baby (or, frankly, anyone) is “wrong”, or that the newborn baby (or anyone) has a right not to be killed.

    But I could make the argument that the more people there are the more economic productivity improves and improved economic activity benefits me personally and society secondarily.

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    • McWing:

      Ok, fair enough, but what’s wrong with making the argument that my personal moral code is made up of my personal preferences…

      Because morals are an entirely different concept than preferences. If you mean mere preferences, then call them that. To elevate them to the level of “morals” is to place them into a category that gains its rhetorical force precisely because of the presumption that they exist as an objective standard, and are not simply personal, subjective, preferences. And that is a presumption which you claim is a false one.

      The statement “I prefer that people don’t kill each other” is an entirely different statement, with an entirely different meaning, from the statement “I think killing other people is immoral,” just as the statement “I prefer not to eat broccoli” is an entirely different statement from “I think eating broccoli is immoral.” If you mean the former, then you shouldn’t say the latter.

      But I could make the argument that the more people there are the more economic productivity improves and improved economic activity benefits me personally and society secondarily.

      You could make that argument, but it would be fairly easy to defeat. One could easily demonstrate that there are some people whose existence definitely does not increase economic productivity, and in fact their existence almost certainly reduces economic productivity, as their maintenance requires that others, who would otherwise be economically productive, forego that productivity. If a declared “preference” for more rather than less economic activity was the determining factor, I would imagine that far from a general ban on the killing of other people, a policy of targeted killing of certain, unproductive, demographics would actually be in order.

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  15. The statement “I prefer that people don’t kill each other” is an entirely different statement, with an entirely different meaning, from the statement “I think killing other people is immoral,” just as the statement “I prefer not to eat broccoli” is an entirely different statement from “I think eating broccoli is immoral.” If you mean the former, then you shouldn’t s

    I disagree, I believe that people think morality is a special category but base their morality on personal preference. People believe that what they prefer is moral and what they don’t like is immoral. It sucks but I believe it to be true.

    As for my argument re population/economic activity you went from the general (growing populations tend to lead to increased economic activity) to arguing a specific, that this individual or that individual might refuce economic activity. So what if one person reduces it? In the aggregate I’m right which is what I was arguing, that if I think murder should be illegal (or abortion) because in aggregate, increased population leads to increased economic activity your specifics argument did nothing to counter that other than to say you countered it.

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    • McWing:

      I disagree

      Let’s clarify what exactly you disagree with.

      Do you agree that, generally speaking, the claim “I prefer not to eat broccoli” is an attempt to communicate an entirely different idea from the claim “Eating broccoli is immoral”? Forget about whether you think the ideas are actually the same. Would you agree that the speaker is intending to say indicate two distinct things?

      I believe that people think morality is a special category but base their morality on personal preference.

      Isn’t this the same as saying that people presume that objective morality exists, but you believe that presumption is wrong?

      People believe that what they prefer is moral and what they don’t like is immoral. It sucks but I believe it to be true.

      But that is obviously not true. I prefer not to smoke cigarettes, but I don’t think smoking is immoral. I don’t like eating peas, but I don’t think eating peas is immoral. I prefer that the Patriots lose every game this season. But I don’t think it is immoral for the Patriots to win.

      Likewise, a Catholic priest may prefer homosexual sex, but think it is totally immoral to engage in it. Or a pedophile may prefer sex with 10yr old girls, while hating himself because he thinks it is immoral.

      It is definitely not true that what people “prefer” they necessarily think of as moral, and what they don’t like they necessarily think of as immoral. As I have been trying to point out, the concept “preference” and the concept “moral” are two totally different concepts, even if you think the latter is an empty concept with no connection to reality.

      And that is not to say that you are wrong about morality being unconnected to reality – it may be – just that you are wrong to necessarily equate “preferences” with notions of morality. It would be perfectly reasonable to say that a unicorn is myth that doesn’t actually exist, but it would be wrong to say that therefore equate unicorn with horse and assume that anyone who spoke of a unicorn actually just meant to refer to a horse.

      As for my argument re population/economic activity you went from the general (growing populations tend to lead to increased economic activity) to arguing a specific, that this individual or that individual might refuce economic activity.

      No. I’m not disputing your claim that a larger population produces more economic activity. I am disputing your claim that because of that, it makes sense to oppose killing as a matter of law. You presented that fact as a logical justification for an opposition to killing other people. I was simply pointing out that it isn’t a logical justification. Killing another person does not necessarily deprive you of increased economic activity, therefore your preference for increased economic activity does not necessarily lead to an objection to killing other people. And, in fact, if your preference is determinative, it actually does logically justify a policy of targeting certain unproductive demographics for killing.

      Since I am sure you don’t support targeting such a population for killing, I am also pretty sure that your reason for opposing killing other people lies elsewhere.

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  16. Do you agree that, generally speaking, the claim “I prefer not to eat broccoli” is an attempt to communicate an entirely different idea from the claim “Eating broccoli is immoral”? Forget about whether you think the ideas are actually the same. Would you agree that the speaker is intending to say indicate two distinct things?

    of course, as is saying “I prefer to eat only broccoli.”

    Isn’t this the same as saying that people presume that objective morality exists, but you believe that presumption is wrong?

    Yes, correct.

    You presented that fact as a logical justification for an opposition to killing other people. I was simply pointing out that it isn’t a logical justification. Killing another person does not necessarily deprive you of increased economic activity, therefore your preference for increased economic activity does not necessarily lead to an objection to killing other people. And, in fact, if your preference is determinative, it actually does logically justify a policy of targeting certain unproductive demographics for killing.

    Killing indiscriminately, which is what we talked about a few threads back (in the context that indiscriminate killing as bad is probably one of those Moral Truths you believe exists) would be completely detrimental and I could argue that selective killing of non-productive people would have a chilling effect on the productivity of those that are productive. Also, I’m pretty sure I used the word “murder” which has a different meaning than “killing,” cant we agree? My position remains entirely logically justified.

    I’m also back to being confused, are you saying there are timeless moral truths that are knowable? If so, what would be the benefit of following them?

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    • McWing:

      of course

      Ok. So we agree there is an intended difference. What do you think the intended difference is?

      I think the difference is that “I prefer not to eat broccoli” is intended to communicate a claim about one’s own mindset which has no bearing on or relevance to anyone else’s actions. But “Eating broccoli is immoral” is a claim, actually a judgement, about the actions of other people. Certainly that is the difference intended by me in my use of “preference” and “moral”.

      Killing indiscriminately, which is what we talked about a few threads back…

      Actually this strand of the thread derived from my statement:

      For example, if you reject the existence of objective morality, then I don’t think you can ever sensibly make an appeal that to kill a newborn baby (or, frankly, anyone) is “wrong”, or that the newborn baby (or anyone) has a right not to be killed.

      It was in response to this that you introduced your “more people means more economic activity” justification. I assumed you were using this to justify saying that killing a newborn baby (or anyone) was “wrong”, where “wrong” means not in accord with your preference for promoting economic productivity. And, again, in that event I think it obviously doesn’t justify it because there are easily identifiable instances where killing a newborn (or even grown adult) would be perfectly in accord with, or even demanded by, a preference for increased economic productivity.

      If so, what would be the benefit of following them?

      My sense is that it increases one’s chances of a fulfilling, satisfied, rational life. But I also think that most people have some innate sense of right and wrong that cannot necessarily be intellectualized. That’s why we have notions such as “conscience”. And it is also why we have the notion of psychopaths, to identify the rare instances of people who don’t seem to have that innate sense.

      Like

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