Morning Report: Construction spending disappoints

Vital Statistics:

 

Last Change
S&P futures 3092 -21.25
Oil (WTI) 55.39 -0.54
10 year government bond yield 1.78%
30 year fixed rate mortgage 3.98%

 

Stocks are lower this morning on negative trade talk out of the White House. Bonds and MBS are up, following German Bund yields lower.

 

Home Prices rose 3.5% YOY in October, according to CoreLogic. “Nationally, over the past year, home prices are up 3.5% with the rate of growth accelerating from September into October,” said Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “We expect home prices to rise at least another 5% over the next 12 months. Interestingly, this persistent increase in home prices isn’t deterring older millennials. In fact, 25% of those surveyed anticipate purchasing a home over the next six to eight months.” CoreLogic conducted a survey with RTi Research regarding to consumer-housing sentiment and found that millennials are largely unconcerned about qualifying for a mortgage.

 

Construction spending disappointed in October, falling 0.8% on a MOM basis and rising 1.1% on an annual basis. Residential Construction fell 0.9% on a monthly basis and was up only 0.5% year-over-year. Despite the lousy number, the National Association of Realtors is optimistic that homebuilding will step up in 2020. “This housing cycle is definitely unique in the sense that it’s been a decade and we’re not back to normal in terms of home building,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Many small-time builders are still out of the game. It was small-time builders in the aggregate that built many more homes than the big builders, and they’ve hesitated to get back in, even though it appears there is a money-making opportunity….All the factors that contribute to higher home sales like the job situation are terrific, and of course mortgage rates are critical to buying a home and those are favorable,” Yun said.” Note that construction loans increased 0.8% in the third quarter.

 

The Fed is considering raising its inflation target above its 2% target, according to the Financial Times. The idea (called the “make-up” strategy) would be to temporarily raise the target level if inflation comes in below 2% (the current target). The Fed fears deflation more than inflation, and has been utterly vexed by their inability to push inflation up to their target rate. This would be a signal to the markets that the Fed intends to keep rates lower for longer, although many members are worried about communication issues with the markets.

 

HUD has put out a request for information regarding affordable housing development, specifically which laws, regulations or administrative practices are inhibiting building. “Owning a home is an essential component of the American Dream. It is imperative that we remove regulatory barriers that prevent that dream from becoming a reality,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson, who is also Chairman of the White House Council on Eliminating Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing. “Through this request, communities across the country will have the opportunity to identify roadblocks to affordable housing and work with State, Federal, and local leaders to remove them.”

 

 

24 Responses

  1. This is funny.

    Like

    • It seems kind of dumb to me. Although it is kind of funny.

      He only discusses the obvious remedy to a limited regulatory state with a weird example. Congress can pass laws and stop delegating authority—this is straightforward, but he gives an example where congress passes a law mandating coal plants use one specific anti-pollution technology, when Congress would not have to do that (and should not) to mandate levels of pollution—and can briefly revisit the law at some future point when better levels are reasonably possible.

      Then he devolves into a lengthy complaint about Democrats getting inadequate representation—-basically complaining about the constitutional form of government that had worked in their favor many times, but now that it might not its a big problems. And also—of course—ignores representation of the states and complains only about the inadequate representation of (presumably) Democrats.

      Though of course there are very good reasons that states should have representation—and, indeed, our system protects political and community minorities from the tyranny of large-population-state majorities. And I’m pretty sure the author would not be making this complaint if California was MAGA country.

      Like

      • i always get a kick out of the fact that the party that calls itself “democrats” accomplishes its dirty work mainly through the distinctly non-democratic regulatory agencies and courts…

        Liked by 1 person

        • He does dip into how state-based representation is bad, clearly advocating for a national popular vote deciding everything, and representation being determined solely by population. So that’s an argument for democracy–although I’d argue pure Democracy is not a great idea, and if every citizen doesn’t get a vote on where their taxes go then it’s still not a frickin’ democracy.

          Like

  2. I like John Oliver. Last Week Tonight–IMO–is an awesome show. I know he’s a partisan with an axe to grind but it’s interesting to me that a comedy show does the kind of (admittedly biased) investigative reporting on actual topics one would have previously expected from, you know, actual journalists.

    I also used to like the Daily Show–and Oliver is so much better than Jon Stewart, IMO.

    This was a good one from my position:

    He actually soft-pedals how awful Pearson is, and what a huge industry these testing/curriculum companies represent. He doesn’t really touch on how expensive these products are for school districts. But still, it was amazing to me to see anyone giving it any kind of accurate coverage.

    Years ago, we had a blended learning pilot that was a fancy repackaging of existing online textbooks and testing meant to sucker school districts into paying money for their crap. And, of course, why wait until you have a product to sell it? We literally paid millions of dollars for vaporware. It never worked. It was a huge waste of time and money and the only thing it did was negatively impact the education of the kids involved with it.

    I could go into another rant about how dysfunctional urban school districts waste insanely huge amounts of money and are not good stewards, IMO, of the taxpayers’ money. And how a lot of that is just structural–the folks involved want to do a good job and educate kids and improve performance, but there are so many structural problems at the administrative level that we can’t get out of our own way. But that’s another discussion.

    John Oliver should do a bigger deconstruction of No Child Left Behind. Not only has it not accomplished anything (performance is down a little bit), the remedies have been uniformly worse than the cure. Charter schools are a good idea in concept, but have been terrible in execution. The private companies (and individuals) moving in to suck money out of the system for charter schools are not much better than the companies moving in to run private prison. It’s about accumulating bodies and get that sweet, sweet tax money.

    The “state takeover” of “failing schools” is even worse. Those companies–and they are almost all companies–cost the tax payers more money and for the most part perform at the same or worse levels than when the schools were run by the district.

    No Child Left Behind is the Obamacare of education reform.

    What we should do is nuke the state takeover of failing schools, end the charter school program, and offer school vouchers. The problem there is that there are now so many companies and often politicians with a financial interest in maintaining the status quo that I don’t see charters or corporate takeovers of failing schools changing.

    A little inside baseball, I know.

    Like

    • The problem always goes to “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” And if standardized tests are not the way to measure performance, what is?

      Like

      • I think the problem is–and he kind of touches on this–how they are executed, how awful and unanswerable many of the questions are, and how the licensing can work to prevent public review of how poorly many of these tests are put together. Also, as one teacher points out, the target or predicted score can actually be higher than the possible score, so there is literally no way to succeed. Also the amount of standardized testing is becoming excessive, IMO, to the point where it’s actually impinging on the educational part of the school day.

        In Language Arts, common core has been poorly executed. The questions are frequently unanswerable and, IMO, are terrible at evaluating actual reading comprehension. I don’t know how they are coming up with those questions in particular, but they aren’t measuring anything, ultimately, because they are so poorly designed. The tortoise and the pineapple is an interesting example from the video, but more common are questions that give you four “meaning” options that could literally all apply (thanks to the ambiguity of English)–but there’s only one right answer. So what’s it’s testing is which of the for vague answers the person who designed the question thinks would be best, in their opinion.

        Which doesn’t even get to the automatic assessment of written answers.

        Eh, it is what it is.

        Like

        • Granted you are closer to this than I am, but this quote from the Atlantic piece strikes me as the likely outcome of getting rid of standardized testing entirely:

          “Something else about the opt-out movement troubled me. Its advocates claimed that the tests penalized poor and minority kids. I began to think that the real penalty might come from not taking them. Opting out had become so pervasive at our school that the Department of Education no longer had enough data to publish the kind of information that prospective applicants had once used to assess the school. In the category of “Student Achievement” the department now gave our school “No Rating.” No outsider could judge how well the school was educating children, including poor, black, and Latino children. The school’s approach left gaps in areas like the times tables, long division, grammar, and spelling. Families with means filled these gaps, as did some families whose means were limited—Marcus’s parents enrolled him in after-school math tutoring. But when a girl at our bus stop fell behind because she didn’t attend school for weeks after the death of her grandmother, who had been the heart of the family, there was no objective measure to act as a flashing red light. In the name of equality, disadvantaged kids were likelier to falter and disappear behind a mist of togetherness and self-deception. Banishing tests seemed like a way to let everyone off the hook. This was the price of dismissing meritocracy.”

          Like


        • Granted you are closer to this than I am, but this quote from the Atlantic piece strikes me as the likely outcome of getting rid of standardized testing entirely

          We should not get rid of standardized testing entirely, although at some points assessments could be reduced. They are often large and lengthy assessments, so a large portion of the school year has to be tailored to test preparation. When you have four or five or six significant assessments a year, then that becomes the content of the entire school year.

          Additionally, the threat of state takeover or reduction in state funds tends to make the schools pressure the teachers and students, which leads to some of the concerns people have about the impact of the testing culture on students. That might be adjusted as well.

          Also, the language portions need to be addressed. They are terrible for assessing language comprehension–at least many of them are.

          Which is not to argue there shouldn’t be testing. There definitely should be. Just perhaps not quite so much, quite so often, and with fewer impossible to answer (or intentionally misleading) questions.

          Like

    • “I know he’s a partisan with an axe to grind but it’s interesting to me that a comedy show does the kind of (admittedly biased) investigative reporting on actual topics one would have previously expected from, you know, actual journalists.”

      The problem with getting your news from Oliver and before him Stewart is that as “comedians” they don’t feel compelled to even attempt to provide any kind of balance or fact checking. And too many people view them as actual authoritative sources.

      Like

      • The problem with getting your news from Oliver and before him Stewart is that as “comedians” they don’t feel compelled to even attempt to provide any kind of balance or fact checking. And too many people view them as actual authoritative sources.

        This is literally the problem with all mainstream news sources, as well. And I’d put Oliver up against ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN or Fox any day of the week when it comes to accuracy. Balance is another issue, but again, I don’t think he’s worse than CNN on that front.

        Which, to be clear, absolutely shouldn’t be the case.

        Like

        • On the issues where he’s commented on that I have directly personal knowledge of, I’m always struck by how much he lies by omission.

          Even more so than regular news to the point that it’s not just balance but accuracy that’s impacted.

          Also, Jon Stewart always seemed to have more self awareness, but that’s probably also my perception being clouded by his ending his run and giving interviews like this:

          “AMANPOUR: What do you make of that? Because I asked you because you were sort of the gray beard of journalism, almost. I know you hate that. But when anchors started to be less authoritative than they used to maybe, you know, 20 years ago, you were, for better or for worse, considered somebody with authority every night.

          STEWART: I think we were the protest vote to a large extent. We were none of the above. So, people would say, you know, “Who’s the most trusted news anchor?” And they would list the four network anchors and then they would throw in, you know, my name, none of the above and everybody’s like, none of the above and then circle it. That would go there.”

          http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1810/30/ampr.01.html

          Like


        • On the issues where he’s commented on that I have directly personal knowledge of, I’m always struck by how much he lies by omission.

          Our knowledge bases are different, but I’ve found that to definitely be the case with just news in areas where I have direct knowledge. Not saying comedians should be considered a reliable news source, just that I haven’t found the regular news to be much better. And specifically I’m addressing the long form pieces Oliver does, which I generally find to be really good, though obviously biased.

          Like

    • Speaking of standardized testing, did you see this piece in the Atlantic?

      https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/10/when-the-culture-war-comes-for-the-kids/596668/

      Part of it covers the new opt out movement.

      Like

      • Man, does it read like an indictment of NYC to me. And this guy was going through all this voluntarily.

        Later that afternoon we spent an hour on the phone. She described all the harm that could come to our son if he took the tests

        That’s just nuts. I would hate to have a kid in an NYC school, public or private.

        I don’t disagree with wanting to change and improve the standardized test, and perhaps not have quite so many.

        Of course I may be biased–I’m the guy who has to make our report cards reflect the results of all those tests and aggregate that into “criteria” points to display a students current status, which is a huge amount of work to display data for parents who almost certainly won’t understand it, and for good reason: the scoring is too frickin’ complex and our criteria points system (which aggregates quarterly grade performance with various assessments to calculate points that count to 2nd-to-3rd grade promotion) is without any kind of analog in traditional grading that will make sense to parents . . . like the adoption of standards grading in Kindergarten (which means some form of mastery or non-mastery “grade” for 150+ standards), it’s just nuts.

        Too many people with Phds in education putting their theoretical concepts into practice with no real basis to believe it does anything but complicate the education process. Ah, well.

        Like

      • The school didn’t inform parents of this sudden end to an age-old custom, as if there were nothing to discuss. Parents only heard about it when children started arriving home desperate to get to the bathroom after holding it in all day.

        Yay, identity politics!

        But not informing parents of radical changes is pretty much par for the course.

        A student holding it in all day just proves the parents are imparting transphobic values to their children. Bad parents!

        One called for the elimination of urinals.

        Normally, I don’t believe in punishing people for speech, but anyone who seriously wants to take away the urinals should be fined and arrested. Joking. Sort of.

        Because if urinals are outlawed, only criminals will have urinals.

        At times the new progressivism, for all its up-to-the-minuteness, carries a whiff of the 17th century, with heresy hunts and denunciations of sin and displays of self-mortification.

        At times? There’s a time when it doesn’t “carry a whiff” of the 17th century? And “a whiff”? What about “overpowering, all-pervasive stench”?

        Liberals are always slow to realize that there can be friendly, idealistic people who have little use for liberal values.

        That’s promising, but I feel there may be too few of these folks around.

        Donald Trump could sneer at Mexicans and rail against Muslims and kick dirt on everything decent and good

        As opposed to, say, the schools reducing every student to their race and gender-preference? If it’s a competition between De Blasio and Trump in kicking dirt on everything decent and good . . . eh, De Blasio could win that contest.

        When our daughter saw pictures of the actual Founding Fathers, she was shocked and a little disappointed that they were white.

        I think the author might be parenting wrong.

        The morning after the election, the kids cried. They cried for people close to us, Muslims and immigrants who might be in danger, and perhaps they also cried for the lost illusion that their parents could make things right. Our son lay on the couch and sobbed inconsolably until we made him go to the bus stop.

        OMG. They are definitely parenting wrong.

        A few weeks after the election, our daughter asked if Trump could break our family apart.

        This gets worse and worse.

        He’d been painfully aware of climate change throughout elementary school—first grade was devoted to recycling and sustainability

        Again, so glad I don’t live in New York.

        “What are humans good for besides destroying the planet?” he asked.

        OMG.

        Our daughter wasn’t immune to the heavy mood—she came home from school one day and expressed a wish not to be white so that she wouldn’t have slavery on her conscience.

        They are (or were) frickin’ awful parents.

        I wished that our son’s school would teach him civics. By age 10 he had studied the civilizations of ancient China, Africa, the early Dutch in New Amsterdam, and the Mayans. He learned about the genocide of Native Americans and slavery. But he was never taught about the founding of the republic.

        Again, glad I don’t live in New York, though I don’t know that any school system is great on this.

        The teaching of civics has dwindled since the 1960s—a casualty of political polarization, as the left and the right each accuse the other of using the subject for indoctrination—and with it the public’s basic knowledge about American government.

        This is not remotely what happened. When the left couldn’t get textbooks to lie about the founding, they did what they could to remove any discussion of it all.

        The fifth-grade share, our son’s last, was different. That year’s curriculum included the Holocaust, Reconstruction, and Jim Crow. The focus was on “upstanders”—individuals who had refused to be bystanders to evil and had raised their voices.

        That’s awesome. A school that decides curriculum by whose elected president? Was one of the after-school clubs also Antifa?

        Instead of hope pendants around the necks of teachers, in one middle-school hallway a picture was posted of a card that said, “Uh-oh! Your privilege is showing. You’ve received this card because your privilege just allowed you to make a comment that others cannot agree or relate to. Check your privilege.”

        So glad I don’t live in New York.

        We had faced this problem with our daughter, who was reading far ahead of her grade in kindergarten and begged her teacher for math problems to solve. When the school declined to accommodate her

        This is a frickin’ horror story.

        Just in case the implication of racism wasn’t enough to intimidate dissenters, when the presentation ended, and dozens of hands shot up, one of the speakers, a progressive city-council member, announced that he would take no questions.

        De Blasio’s schools chancellor, Richard Carranza, has answered critics of the diversity initiative by calling them out for racism and refusing to let them “silence” him. As part of the initiative, Carranza has mandated anti-bias training for every employee of the school system, at a cost of $23 million.

        The New York City public schools are going to implode.

        One training slide was titled “White Supremacy Culture.” It included “Perfectionism,” “Individualism,” “Objectivity,” and “Worship of the Written Word” among the white-supremacist values that need to be disrupted.

        Fabulous.

        Like

        • One called for the elimination of urinals.

          Normally, I don’t believe in punishing people for speech, but anyone who seriously wants to take away the urinals should be fined and arrested. Joking. Sort of.

          Because if urinals are outlawed, only criminals will have urinals.

          heck, the USS Gerald Ford doesn’t have urinals. While she was commissioned in early 2017, that has obama’s fingerprints all over it.

          Like

        • Are the heads unisex? If not, what’s the point?

          Like

        • Are the heads unisex? If not, what’s the point?

          Nope, because the showers are in them too.

          what’s the point? Ask NOW. They call the shots.

          Like

        • It’s so crazy it just might work!

          Like

        • what’s the point? Ask NOW. They call the shots.

          What’s the point? Seems to me the point is a “fuck you” to men.

          Looking forward to future military recruitment ads in 2030 full of strong women doing meals-on-wheels with the tag line “The New American Military: Men Need Not Apply!”

          Like

    • KW:

      What we should do is nuke the state takeover of failing schools, end the charter school program, and offer school vouchers.

      Yes!

      Liked by 1 person

      • As is often the case when on sides is desperate to hold on to government control of something, I’m 100% sure school vouchers would cost less and be less of a drain on public school districts than charter schools–and probably do more to help students individually and collectively.

        But because the left (and, frankly, public school districts) wanted to keep a certain amount of control and wanted to hold on to individual students and keep them out of private schools, it’s been an administrative mess that has turned out to be a lot more expensive than just offering school vouchers would be.

        No doubt a voucher system could be exploited . . . but I still think it would be a much better system for both students and public school districts.

        Like

Be kind, show respect, and all will be right with the world.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: