Morning Report: New Home Sales soar

Vital Statistics:

  Last Change
S&P futures 3225 -12.6
Oil (WTI) 39.87 -0.16
10 year government bond yield   0.66%
30 year fixed rate mortgage   2.94%

Stocks are lower this morning on no real news. Bonds and MBS are flat.

New Home sales topped the 1 million seasonally adjusted annual rate in August, according to Census. This is the highest number since June 2006. There are only 282,000 new homes for sale at the moment, which translates into a 3.3 month supply.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is new-home-sales.jpg

The rise in new home sales should hopefully trigger a similar increase in housing starts. Housing has been the missing piece of the puzzle in the US economy since the bust of 12 years ago.

Loan Depot filed to go public yesterday. That makes Rocket, United Wholesale, and Loan Depot as big mortgage banking IPOs in 2020. Loan Depot planned to go public about 5 years ago, and scrapped the plan at the last minute. Initial estimates would value the company at somewhere between $12 and $15 billion. While the mortgage origination business is certainly hot, stock market valuations are not. Quicken is trading at a 2020 P/E of about 6, and PennyMac is trading with a 2020 P/E of about 3.5. Like Quicken, it looks like Loan Depot is going public with a dual voting class structure.

Durable Goods orders rose 0.4% last month, which was a bit below expectations. The core capital goods orders number, which is a proxy for capital expenditures, rose 1.8%.

104 Responses

  1. I feel like Sullivan must have felt under some pressure to come out as clearly opposing Trump?

    https://andrewsullivan.substack.com/p/yes-this-is-the-face-of-a-tyrant?token=eyJ1c2VyX2lkIjo4NTc0NzI2LCJwb3N0X2lkIjozMzI5MzIwLCJfIjoiaWpVaUEiLCJpYXQiOjE2MDEwNTUxOTcsImV4cCI6MTYwMTA1ODc5NywiaXNzIjoicHViLTYxMzcxIiwic3ViIjoicG9zdC1yZWFjdGlvbiJ9.mJmsDJvCnRulGOhDbeB7PkCzQNxS8z66MBL-tY_t18A

    I’m told he’s been ineffective even as a tyrant, so no worries. To which I can only say: really? Once you realize he doesn’t give a shit about any actual policies, apart from doing all he can to wipe the legacy of Barack Obama from planet earth, he’s been pretty competent. Note how he turned Congressional subpoenas into toilet paper; how he crippled and muzzled the Mueller inquiry; how he installed a crony at the Department of Justice to pursue his political enemies and shield him from the law; how effectively he stymied impeachment; how he cucked every previous Republican opponent; how he helped destroy the credibility of news sources that oppose him; how he filled his cabinet with acting secretaries and flunkies; how he declared fake emergencies to claim the power of the purse assigned to the Congress; and how he has reshaped the Supreme Court with potentially three new Justices, whom he sees solely as his loyal stooges if he comes up against the rule of law.

    I think there’s a lot of trouble with that, but the most notable one is: how many times has Trump been stymied? On the travel ban? On building the wall?

    How exactly did he muzzle Mueller? Really? And Barr might be the perfect AG for a Trump–but I see little evidence that’s because Barr is a Trump crony who is deciding things in Trump’s favor because he’s a crony for Trump. I get more of a sense his philosophy just seems very amenable, generally, to what Trump would like out of an AG.

    Not sure there’s anything unique to declaring fake emergencies (Federal government has done it before, hasn’t it? And recently governors and mayors have been doing it aplenty, with more draconian edicts than Trump’s ever issued).

    Finally–and given his recent departure from the Atlantic this one amazes me from Sullivan–“how he helped destroy the credibility of news sources that oppose him”.

    That’s not on Trump. That’s not remotely on Trump. It far pre-dates Trump the politician and will continue to be a problem long after Trump is gone. And his dismissal of them as “fake news” would be largely meaningless if they weren’t in fact propaganda/ratings-gathering outlets that shape their narrative around their ideology (or the ideologies of people important to them, commercially or otherwise) and the needs of advertisers (which are pharmaceutical companies, financial companies, etc–which clearly impacts their coverage of stories in many cases).

    Trump is blameless in the increasingly low opinion of the news media in the general public. That is all on the news media itself.

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    • Despite a mountain of criticism, he has not conceded a single error, withdrawn a single statement, or acknowledged a single lie.

      This something president’s do very much? Jimmy Carter, maybe? And so why do they tend not to withdrawal statements or acknowledge lies?

      Politicians are generally pathological narcissists. Acknowledging lies is something they rarely if ever do.

      Think of his greatest policy failures: the appalling loss of life in the Covid epidemic and the collapse of law and order in the cities.

      How are these Trump policy failures? How does a rational, thinking person consider what is basically the CDC response to COVID–and then local responses, including awful ones such as forcing infected patients into nursing homes, something I would not have guessed I had to have a policy about had I been president–as something Trump could have prevented or implemented some magical policy to prevent a new virus from spreading?

      Not saying better things couldn’t have been done–not putting people on ventilators would have been a start–but it was a wholly new situation where we had no established protocols for preventing or treating the virus and, unsurprisingly, a lot of the stuff we were doing was wrong. How is that any single person’s fault? I’m not even going to hold Fauci accountable.

      And as far as holding Trump responsible for the violence in the cities? What could he do, aside of sending in the military? With governors, cities, and DAs doing everything they could to expand and grow the violence, what was Trump supposed to do, exactly?

      His administration came up with a great strategy of deputizing the state police so criminals could be indicted on federal charges and not be immediately sprung by complicit DAs. And that seems to be the best tool in the toolbox thus far, and so far from seeing him as the guilty party here I see him as the only person (or, his administration as the only entity) actively making any kind of positive difference.

      So he has made it abundantly clear that if the results of the election show him the loser, he will not accept them.

      Not only has he not said this (although perhaps he has poorly answered gotcha questions, made in bad faith by “reporters” looking to reach this conclusion a priori), he has actually said the opposite at least once.

      This is more the position of Biden (or at least his supporters) than Trump. While both sides are clearly arguing that the election will be tainted if the other side wins.

      Because most mail-in ballots will take more time to count, and several swing states have not changed their laws to allow for counting before election day, and mail-ins are easily challenged, it is quite likely that much of Biden’s vote will remain uncounted or contested

      As an aside, there is some much prediction of this that I’m beginning to think it’s not remotely going to happen–either states get mail in ballots counted VERY quickly or most states show margins that make mail in ballots largely irrelevant to the outcome or after a day of counting it becomes clear the mail in ballots largely reflect early voting and election day voting.

      Like

    • No, he’s been going on about Trump for a while.

      Like

    • We are tethered to Trump at this point because he is the legitimate president: the man who cannot control himself is in control of all the rest of us.

      This makes me feel that Sullivan, despite dismissing that he is suffering from TDS, definitely is. Or doesn’t understand that the president is.

      And that’s why I desperately want to appeal to right-of-center readers at this point in the campaign to do everything they can to vote and to vote for Biden.

      Right-of-center voters are getting radicalized by BLM, antifa, and the mainstream media. Oh, and local Democratic dictators mandating lockdowns and economic shutdowns.

      Sullivan is appealing for a behavior change to the wrong people.

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  2. Good read:

    “Correcting the misinformation about Breonna Taylor

    Opinion by Radley Balko
    September 24, 2020 at 4:50 p.m. EDT”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/09/24/correcting-misinformation-about-breonna-taylor/

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    • That was a good read. Thanks!

      Alas, he’s referring to reform or changes in practice . . . not enough. Police must be abolished for their to be justice.

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      • The Constitution has been amended 27 times, the last was 1992. I’m not aware of even the most strict constructionist who would say that the Constitution cannot be changed. In fact, strict constructionists would argue that that is how it should be done rather than by judicial fiat.

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    • Good read. If the unreleased forensic evidence demonstrates no deadly bullets fired from the first cop to enter, then on the basis of returning fire in a closed space no murder indictment could properly survive. And it might not even survive if the first cop’s bullet was deadly to her.

      But what a freaking mess created by the LPD. Could probably support a bunch of lesser charges like the only one in the case.

      Strange also that apparently the prosecutor used only defendant cop testimony and statements before the GJ, and perhaps forensics, that is unclear. Typically defendants do not testify to the GJ. I may have that bit wrong but that would be because what has been reported is wrong, as Balko points out has been rampant.

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  3. I liked this piece in The New Yorker.

    The Founders were men of property and eighteenth-century views. In his book,“The Framers’ Coup: The Making of the United States Constitution,” from 2016, Michael J. Klarman, a professor at Harvard Law School, explains that they “had interests, prejudices, and moral blind spots. They could not foresee the future, and they made mistakes.” Largely drawn from the landed class, they had little interest in empowering the common man, and no interest at all in empowering women and Black people. But, unlike many latter-day “constitutionalists,” they were aware of their own shortcomings. Although they tussled long and hard over the system they created, they didn’t consider it a perfect solution or something that couldn’t be altered in the future, depending on the circumstances and exigencies of the time. “As Jefferson would have recognized,” Klarman writes, “those who wish to sanctify the Constitution are often using it to defend some particular interest that, in their own day, cannot be adequately justified on its own merits.”

    https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/trumps-selection-of-amy-coney-barrett-for-the-supreme-court-is-part-of-a-larger-anti-democratic-project?utm_source=nl&utm_brand=tny&utm_mailing=TNY_Cassidy_09252020&utm_campaign=aud-dev&utm_medium=email&bxid=5e625c4ecff06b3f6a385c07&user_id=60228433&hasha=a3fcbe9bf7fd03bfbef30ff4dbbfc853&hashb=0acfcedb23b26b12fc23697522a0d40b89366e79&hashc=42cbb700b4c94c455e205b1100f6742a77c925fa520302799fc071e73580eaa5&esrc=Cassidy_NL_page&utm_term=TNY_Cassidy

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    • lms:

      Cassidy is a bit confused. First of all, no one loses the popular vote, because there is no such thing. Talking about losing the “popular vote“ is like talking about losing the “most runs World Series” or the “most points Wimbledon Championship”. Also worth noting, only because he conspicuously does not, is that Trump got both more total votes and a higher percentage of votes than the president who appointed Cassidy’s liberal icon, the sainted RBG.

      He’s also confused about the nature of the Senate, the purposes of which was not to represent the interests of individuals, but rather to represent the interests of states. Hence, giving states equal representation despite population differences is not “anti-democratic”. Nor is the Electoral College or the Senate “unrepresentative”. They are each representative of what they are supposed to represent, ie states, not individuals.

      Lastly, he is confused about the Constitution, which exists as protection against people exactly like him. Although come to think of it, given his apparent disdain for the Constitution, maybe he isn’t confused about that after all.

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      • “First of all, no one loses the popular vote, because there is no such thing. Talking about losing the “popular vote“ is like talking about losing the “most runs World Series” or the “most points Wimbledon Championship”.”

        The implicit argument being made every time this is brought up is that the popular vote should be what decides the presidential election, not the electoral college. It’s argument against the legitimacy of the college.

        The real point that should be argued in response is whether or not “democracy” is a means or an end.

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        • jnc:

          It’s argument against the legitimacy of the college.

          It is that, although I think it is really just an attempt to win that argument by avoiding it. It ignores and/or presumes away the Constitutional structure of the federal government, and the reasons for it. And it is upon that which the legitimacy of the electoral college system rests.

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        • The implicit belief is that Democrats would always win the popular vote if the electoral college was abolished, which I don’t think is necessarily true.

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      • The senate thing drives me nuts. Would they argue that California should have 7 governors and big cities should get two or three mayors?

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    • Jefferson would have agreed, but he was also optimistic about the French Revolution. He though America should tear up and redo the constitution every generation. He would have likely thought it absurd we were still enamored of the original constitution.

      I think it’s something he was deeply mistaken about, but I still like Jefferson. And think he was a great president.

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    • If American democracy is at its core a conceit of the flawed property-owning white men who founded the country without concern for the common man, what does it matter if Trump is attacking it?

      Feels a little like trying to have their cake and eat it, too.

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  4. Were the Ds on the Judiciary Committee smart they would not attack ACB personally or criticize her religious views. They would put a gag in Feinstein’s mouth.

    Instead, they would discuss ACA and health care with her, certainly not anticipating a clue as to how she would vote and not actually for that purpose. Instead, they would use the platform to educate the public to the fact that the Trump Admin is attempting to have ACA repealed by the Supremes right now in the middle of a pandemic.

    Most people do not want it repealed. Many do not know that DJT is trying to repeal it because they listen to him say he will have a new perfect health plan in two weeks, as he has been actually saying for years now. This is the perfect pre-election platform to spread the news, and because ACB is a done deal, there is no point in trying to convince anyone she is a bad choice.
    Just use her as an appropriate witness to demonstrate the immediate probability of loss of near universal health care insurance.

    However, I think the Ds on the Committee are dumb enough to go after her personally and make a circus that will alienate Roman Catholic voters in a way that nothing else could. Rather than making hay while the sun shines they are likely to burn hay and start a grass fire they cannot contain.

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  5. is anyone else finding 9mm? it’s just impossible to get

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  6. Useful perspective. I had forgotten about the timing of this:

    “Adams chose a new chief justice just before leaving office. Jefferson was furious.

    The Founders clashed over the Supreme Court in 1801, more than two centuries before the fight to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

    By Ronald G. Shafer
    September 25, 2020 at 7:00 a.m. EDT

    John Adams was in the final weeks of his presidency when Chief Justice Oliver Ellsworth announced he was retiring from the Supreme Court for health reasons.

    It was December 1800. Adams had just lost a bitterly contested presidential election to his fellow Founder Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson was Adams’s vice president, but the two men were rivals with entirely different political views.

    Federalists urged the president to find a replacement before Jefferson took office on March 4, 1801.

    In late January of 1801, Adams filled the vacancy by appointing Secretary of State John Marshall as the new chief justice.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2020/09/25/adams-jefferson-supreme-court-rbg-trump/

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  7. Interestingly enough while new homes sales are soaring, existing home sales seem to be soaring in So Cal at least. We started out thinking to list our rental at $450K and have already upped it to $459K and our realtor thinks we might actually have a bidding war on it.

    I’ve worked my butt off over there painting and cleaning and paying our contractor to do the hard stuff but it will be ready for pics on Thursday. Trying to keep Walter from doing too much as he’s still in a precarious position regarding his heart. I’ll just be glad to get this one thing off our plates for now and then I can work on this house and maybe unloading the business………….wish me luck.

    I’m dreading the election and worrying about health care and so many other things that I can barely sleep at night. I’ll be glad when the process is over for all of us.

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  8. And they take the bait from Trump’s SCOTUS nomination. This is ideal for his reelection campaign as it reminds people on the fence of who the other side is:

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  9. In a survey of likely voters taken in the week leading up to Mr. Trump’s nomination on Saturday of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the high court, 56 percent said they preferred to have the election act as a sort of referendum on the vacancy. Only 41 percent said they wanted Mr. Trump to choose a justice before November.

    More striking, the voters Mr. Trump and endangered Senate Republicans must reclaim to close the gap in the polls are even more opposed to a hasty pick: 62 percent of women, 63 percent of independents and 60 percent of college-educated white voters said they wanted the winner of the campaign to fill the seat.

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    • lms:

      I guess we are supposed to take it from this article that pushing ACB through will make a Trump victory in November less likely. You must be pleased, then, that they are going to do it!

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    • Lulu, the ACB elevation to the Supreme Court is assured. Ds are now committed to the appropriate course of not attacking her personally – indeed, ther is no reason to attack her personally. They will question her views on popular/contentious legal issues, but they will emphasize health care insurance and the loss of the current structure that provides for preexisting conditions and no lifetime caps to which repeal or nullification would lead.

      Again, I hope your senior Senator keeps quiet and your junior Senator uncharacteristically refrains from bullying cross examination.

      There was never even an iota of reason to believe McConnell was doing anything but stifling BHO on Garland so that he could reach this point.
      The phony debate over timing is somehow deemed newsworthy by the idiots on 24/7 entertainment news. And it is not surprising that a majority of Americans wish Trump did not get to have this choice. Basing it on McConnell’s lame excuse last time is just a rationalization of the desired outcome now, as it was then for him.

      Joe and Scott – the electoral college is not going to be changed by Constitutional Amendment. It can be greatly changed by statute increasing the size of the House of Representatives. As Scott says, the electoral college is part of the bargain with the states and among them. But diproportionate representation in the House is not. That bargain is in the Senate. Go back to the Constitution’s original intent and we would now have between 650 and 10000 congresspersons. I would go for the @650, based on WY getting one and working up from there, rather than 30000/congresscritter.

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      • Mark, I understand that her confirmation is a done deal I just think it’s interesting that so many Americans believe installing a new Justice should wait until after the election.

        Scott, I can’t figure out all the ramifications of this nomination and confirmation regarding the election, pros or cons for R’s or D’s, that would all be speculation.

        My point in linking the article is that according to this polling MOST Americans are not in favor of the changes that will probably be coming along after her confirmation. A 9/3 court is a tough hurdle on the issues that a lot of us care about.

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      • Mark:

        There was never even an iota of reason to believe McConnell was doing anything but stifling BHO on Garland so that he could reach this point.

        Exactly.

        Go back to the Constitution’s original intent and we would now have between 650 and 10000 congresspersons. I would go for the @650, based on WY getting one and working up from there, rather than 30000/congresscritter.

        I agree that the House should be much larger, and that each Rep should represent vastly fewer people. However, if we go back to the Constitution’s original intent, I would have a lot less reason to care about the size of the House because the power of the federal government would be vastly more limited. For one thing, the Commerce Clause would be limited to actual interstate commerce. And the due process clause of the 14th amendment would guarantee a process, not whatever outcome SCOTUS prefers.

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    • To quote my long-held belief as a revised quote of Mark Twain’s “Their are lies, damned lies, and statistics. Then polls. After that, forecasts.”

      Might be true but not meaningful even if the polling sample was meaningful.

      Vast majority of people who put the Republican senators in their seats are going to want them to get a new SCOTUS judge in and that’s what matters.

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  10. BTW, LOL on Trumps taxes the last 10 years………….Walter and I have him beat big time and will owe minimum of $105,000 this year from selling our retirement rental. Most of us middle class folks are a bunch of suckers………….so sad.

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    • Really rich people tend not to pay taxes. One of the many benefits of being really really rich!

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      • KW:

        Really rich people tend not to pay taxes.

        Not according to the NYT article.

        In 2017, the average federal income rate for the highest-earning .001 percent of tax filers — that is, the most affluent 1/100,000th slice of the population — was 24.1 percent, according to the I.R.S.

        Over the past two decades, Mr. Trump has paid about $400 million less in combined federal income taxes than a very wealthy person who paid the average for that group each year.

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    • lms:

      I didn’t see any reference to the last 10 years, but over the last 18 it says he’s averaged $1.4mm annually. If you have that beat, then you aren’t likely middle class.

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      • On Trump taxes Rosanne points out that Ds and media do not understand the loss carry forward provisions and how necessary they are to businesses of all sizes and types.

        From what has been reported, criticism should be levied at his extravagant use of the business deduction for personal expenses. That has been pretty amazing, but again the media is on the wrong scent, Rosanne says. The hair care deductions while he was a TV host could be appropriate, depending [on whether these were contractual, required, reimbursed, not reimbursed, and limitations to % of AGI] all of which are beyond the ken of 24/7 entertainment news and critics who aren’t tax people.

        However, for salient example, total business deductions of all expenses relating to his Long Island home is BS. You try it even if you have a home office and see how that flies.

        The tax refund case is another cause for scrutiny. His tax preparers are also on the hook for the kinds of deductions that were taken and eventually they will talk. If they have not already. After all, the NYT got these documents for the entire Trump Org somewhere.

        Liked by 1 person

        • The got them from the NY AG. Has his taxes ever resonated outside of left-wing circles?

          Liked by 1 person

        • The got them from the NY AG

          Really? Do you know this or are you guessing? AFAIK none have been turned over to NYAG UNLESS ONE OF THE ACCOUNTANT SOURCES is rolling over to save himself/herself/themselves. That would be a good guess.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Pretty sure they have them now. All other possessors of the data have held firm. I’m just connecting the obvious dots.

          Liked by 1 person

        • BTW…isn’t it illegal to disclose someone’s personal tax returns? And beyond the legality, isn’t an accountant turning over returns to the NYT akin to a lawyer breaching client confidentiality?

          Liked by 1 person

        • isn’t an accountant turning over returns to the NYT akin to a lawyer breaching client confidentiality?

          No, not like an attorney – no privilege. But accountant would violate ethics disclosing without a subpoena so George’s scenario, combined with mine:

          Accountant-to-NYAG under subpoena or perhaps just as the State tax collector’s lawyer- to NYT makes sense.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I haven’t followed this like Rosanne – she says the idiots in the media are acting as if the depreciation is a scam and they also do not understand cost basis, either. I asked her who could have had these original documents in full aside from the Accounting team and Trump and she said “Melania” and “IRS”. Now that would be a hoot. She too is curious about the route to publication. Aside from accountants cooperating with NYAG investigation, IRS would have turned them over on NYAG request except MNUCHIN ordered IRS not to. So they probably did not.

          Liked by 1 person

        • IRS would have turned them over on NYAG request except MNUCHIN ordered IRS not to. So they probably did not.

          Yes, because the POTUS commands complete obedience from all parts of the Executive branch.

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        • Surprising his accountants would do that. Would you do business with with anyone who leaked their client’s taxes to the press and the authorities? I sure as hell wouldn’t.

          And, I am sure Trump made them sign a CA to access his financials, so he can come after them.

          Sounds like professional suicide if you ask me.

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        • “On Trump taxes Rosanne points out that Ds and media do not understand the loss carry forward provisions and how necessary they are to businesses of all sizes and types.”

          In this case I think the opposite of the usual rule applies.

          I.e in this case, don’t explain by incompetence what can be explained by malice.

          The goal of this is to change the media narrative from Trump’s SCOTUS pick on the eve of the debate, not provide accurate coverage of his business and tax dealings.

          The one person who I would like to read their take of Trump’s taxes would be Steve Pearlstein.

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        • jnc:

          I.e in this case, don’t explain by incompetence what can be explained by malice.

          You corked me. I was going to say exactly the same thing.

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        • What is the left arguing here, exactly? That Trump shouldn’t use deductions like depreciation and tax loss carryforwards?

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        • Some of them actually are arguing that kind of shotgun stuff when a .22 cal rifle would be more enlightening, never mind honest. Joe thinks it is malicious and it may be but Rosanne delightedly points out the flaws in tax reporting to me on all sorts of non-political issues as well. These journalists are ignorant of tax issues of whoch every small businessperson is at least dimly aware so I might buy malfeasance but I absolutely buy ignorance.

          I also hope Pearlstein chimes in after he has had a chance to look at the source material.

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        • Rosanne delightedly points out the flaws in tax reporting to me on all sorts of non-political issues as well.

          Does she know about Gell-Mann amnesia?

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        • That those deductions are “scams” and “loopholes”.

          These are the three reporters who wrote the NYT story. Note that they are not business reporters.

          “Russ Buettner

          Russ Buettner is an investigative reporter for The Times. Since 2016, his reporting has focused on the personal finances of President Donald J. Trump, including articles exploring Mr. Trump’s record of failure in Atlantic City and overstating revenues from his businesses.”

          “Susanne Craig

          Susanne Craig is an investigative reporter who writes about the intersection of politics, money and government. Ms. Craig has won numerous awards during her career, including a Pulitzer Prize in 2019 for work that shattered Donald Trump’s myth that he is a self-made billionaire.”

          “Mike McIntire

          Mike McIntire is an investigative reporter, author and editor. As a member of the investigative unit at The New York Times, he shared the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for reporting on covert Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election.”

          The goal isn’t to provide accurate information or context. It’s to “expose” Trump and discredit him heading into the election.

          This graphic is telling about where the NYT’s commercial incentives are now that 91% of it’s readers identify as Democrats. Only MSNBC is ahead of them on that score.

          https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/04/01/americans-main-sources-for-political-news-vary-by-party-and-age/

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        • “I also hope Pearlstein chimes in after he has had a chance to look at the source material.”

          The NYT refuses to release it under the grounds that it could compromise their source.

          So you have to take their word for it.

          “We are not making the records themselves public because we do not want to jeopardize our sources, who have taken enormous personal risks to help inform the public.”

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        • Does the NYT specify what risks the leakers are exposed too?

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        • Or why? Did they scrawl their name all over the tax documents?

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        • Then I’m just going to roll my eyes at the whole thing. Really, can’t redact it sufficiently to hide the source? But you’re reporting on it anyway? But only you get to see the source material–well, you, and maybe other fellow travlers?

          Meh. I remain unimpressed.

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  11. The dog that didn’t bark in Trump’s tax returns:

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  12. Scott, trust me, we don’t make anywhere near what Trump makes or is supposedly worth. That’s all capital gains tax selling a rental that we’ve owned for 41 years and has been completely depreciated except for the land value. Part of that is state tax (I think about 9% and the rest Federal.

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    • lms:

      Scott, trust me, we don’t make anywhere near what Trump makes or is supposedly worth.

      You seemed to be claiming that over the last 10 years you paid more taxes than Trump. My point was simply that no one who is actually middle class will have paid more taxes than what even the NYT says he paid over the last 18 years (they didn’t mention 10 years).

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    • And commercial property (which is what Trump is investing in) generally doesn’t appreciate in price, certainly not the way residential single family properties do.

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      • Of course, so much of a golf course is non-depreciating. But I would bet that the Trump Org got initial contractual valuations on those properties that included high side valuations on club houses, guest houses, pools, etc. Usually contractual valuations are negotiated in a way that doesn’t hose one side or the other. The seller, having depreciated the property, would want a low value on the buildings and a high value on the land. The recaptured depreciation, if any, is treated like ordinary income and the land sale gain as CG. But if these were distressed at the time of sale as has been reported in some cases then the TO could have named the valuations within reason.

        It does not surprise me that the golf entities are reportedly hemorrhaging. I suspect that golf clubs have not been solid assets this last decade. Is that right, Brent?

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  13. Good thread on how Trump paid $750.00 in taxes over 2016-2107 is fact-free meme-age.

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    • I think this is a semantic argument. The Times argument is that Trump’s tax liability was $750 which is what the “line 56” is in reference to.

      If he made estimated payments in excess of that, then those would either be refunded or rolled forward as payments for future taxes (which is apparently what was done).

      Saying he “paid” $1 million if it was then due to be refunded isn’t the same as owing $1 million in taxes.

      But since they refused to release the source material and make cute references to the individual line items in isolation, it’s very hard to parse through it and figure out what’s actually going on.

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  14. Interesting analysis of the Rittenhouse shootings:

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  15. This bodes ill:

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    • I remember the election of 2000 and voting in the East Village. The voting machines were “broken” and we had to hand fill a ballot that was then handed to motley crew of liberal activists manning the station..

      Not that it matters – but even if Biden wins the popular vote in a landslide, I would bet most of that difference was places like NY and CA running up the score with bogus votes..

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  16. From Taibbi’s latest about Trump’s Tax Returns “bombshell”:

    “As infuriating, disturbing, and ethically absent as Trump often appears to be, he’s sustained by his opposition being as unashamed to lie as he is, and being humorless, hectoring bores besides (witness Hannah-Jones, in the middle of the “true founding” double-down, insisting with a straight face that “truth is the goal” and “transparency and accountability are essential to a functioning democracy”). It’s the only possible thing that could give him legitimacy, which is starting to feel intentional. Either that, or the core of this is turf war: having snuck past the usual gatekeepers to the White House, Trump appropriated the reality-distorting power the political establishment reserved for itself. You don’t get to lie to the public, that’s our job! Hence the venom, which feels too intimate to be anything but professional jealousy.”

    https://taibbi.substack.com/p/the-bombshell-memory-hole

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  17. Desperate overheated red faced man, ill mannered, liar, would not shut up, on the left of the TV.

    Normal guy making decent points when able to complete a sentence on the right of the TV.

    Moderator without a button to cut off the mike of the nominee who did not have the floor.

    Normal guy didn’t so much win as desperate red faced guy lost.

    Minimal effect, probably in favor of normal guy in the suburbs.

    Next debate, town hall style, the moderator needs a button to cut off the mike of the nominee without the floor.

    Otherwise, another shit show.

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    • Well, that had to be one for the record books. Another embarrassing performance by our President who will not pick up votes from last night I don’t think. Those who like him probably still will. All I saw was a bully with a list of grievances who wouldn’t let his opponent speak a complete sentence without interrupting him. Biden lost his cool and resorted to name calling at times but when he spoke into the camera I thought he was effective. Not sure I’ll watch any more of them. Trump is too predictable for me and I seem to lose sleep over his shenanigans. At this point I think I’ll just sign up to get the vote out and possibly be an election volunteer.

      Agree completely with your assessment Mark.

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    • I didn’t watch it, but based on what I’ve read both from the media and friends on Facebook who did watch it, Mark’s assessment seems correct.

      I suspect that means that Trump really is on track to lose this time, provided there’s no intervening event or overreaction that alters things.

      I think it would be a mistake to cancel the rest of the debates as some are advising Biden to do.

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      • Serious question, why would advisers counsel Biden to cancel the rest of the debates if it helped him?

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        • Any D advising JB to cancel is an idiot. JB knows that and will not cancel. I have only heard some pundits say that, not JB’s advisors, btw.

          Brent, I am sure no committed votes were changed.

          I was describing who was likable. I don’t recall any debater for POTUS less likable than DJT was last night. Usually both candidates are likable or only somewhat unlikable [2016]. Sometimes a candidate radiates likable, e.g., RWR. This was the first radiant unlikable.

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        • the cancel the debate crowd just wants to signal that it’s above such things. it’s a WWE event and people who like that? well, they’re not our sort, dear.

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        • They are worried about the risk, since the moderators can’t control Trump.

          It’s live too so the media has a harder time spinning it in real time.

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        • What’s he gonna do, walk over and slap Biden?

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        • I’m not even sure the WWE crowd likes it this time.

          Trump did better in the Republican primary debates in 2016.

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        • He was already dead man walking since he fucked his base with the moronic quarantine.

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        • Because humans are not omniscient and they are going on their own experience of the debate more than any objective reality.

          Also, certain politicos really want to destroy all norms, and “under the cover of Trump” is a great opportunity to do that while complaing about “muh norms”.

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    • Team Red thinks Team Red won. Team Blue thinks Team Blue won.

      It will come down to which team hates the other more…

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      • I don’t detect the enthusiasm from Team Red for this performance.

        I think they will still vote for him despite it, not because of it.

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        • I don’t think anyone is persuadable at this point

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        • There’s got to be at least a percentage of really politically agnostic people who still vote who can probably be moved one way or another by something completely immaterial before they walk into the voting booth. I don’t know that they decide many elections. I think there are some persuadable people, but they are more likely to be persuaded by events or possible people close to them–not stump speeches, debates, or political ads.

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        • I think there are people that are persuadable, but they mostly don’t pay attention to politics.

          I had an interesting experience last week where I took my favorite waitress from a cigar lounge that I frequent boating and let her invite three of her friends (violating my rule about no friends of friends on the boat) along with some other friends of mine.

          The waitress and her friends are all black women in their early thirties and eventually a politics discussion broke out between them and another black woman friend of mine who is more along the classic progressive/liberal alignment and actually works for the state government and is older. We all know each other from smoking cigars at the lounge.

          Sparks flew when some of the younger women declared that they preferred Trump because “at least you know who he is. You can’t trust Biden at all.”

          I was surprised (and amused) at the back and forth that went on, that was eventually resolved when they said they had no intention of voting anyway and then played the “OK Boomer” card on my other friend (who is actually Gen X).

          I viewed it as a useful reminder that there’s a large number of people in this country whose political views don’t fit neatly into the two camps that the media has grouped everyone into.

          This is also a good read long those lines:

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        • Agreed. The fact Biden could have made a stronger case from Trump than Trump can, and yet Trump could not keep himself from interrupting constantly and letting Biden have as much rope as he needed . . . Trump literally rescued a floundering Biden more than once by interrupting. He was not quite as bad as Wallace about that, but he wasn’t good.

          Like

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