Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for June 18th, 2007

Republican immigration policy: it works

Posted by Charles II on June 18, 2007

republican_immigration_brainstorm.jpg 

From The Seven Wonders of the World [Image by Huelgera and Hernandez, probably from La Jornada, but found here.]  The title reads in part, “The surprising work of George the Barbarian to stop the idiots who menaced his empire…” 

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Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments »

Up is down for the Bush Bureau of Labor Statistics

Posted by Charles II on June 18, 2007

Via Barry Ritholtz, we learn of a comment by investment advisor William King  that kinda changes things.  A major chunk of what is called “core inflation,” or inflation disregarding food and energy is what is called Owner’s Equivalent Rent, or OER.  And how does the BLS calculate OER, which is then used to calculate the Consumer Price Index, a major index of inflation?  Consider:

“They supposedly net out utility payments. So if your rent payment stays constant but utility bills go up, that yields a lower net implied rent. In other words, utility prices going up caused rental prices and CPI to go down.”  

This is only a part of the problem.  Most Americans, as Ritholtz points out, own their homes and therefore do not experience a rate of inflation connected to rentals.  Ritholtz says that in May,

Credit for the lowered core rate goes primarily to Owners’ Equivalent Rent (OER), which rose a scant 0.1%. Housing is 42% of the the CPI (33% of the core), with the Owner’s Equivalent Rent 24% of CPI, and over 30% of the core rate. Did Housing prices suddenly get much cheaper? There’s little evidence of that. … (Ironically, we came across this headline this morning: Heating bill delinquencies jump — and its now well past heating season).

 So how did OER moderate so much? My guess: Excess supply. All of those condos, purchased pre-built, all of the speculators who couldn’t find a chair when the music stopped, and those oh-so clever home flippers — these folks have become involuntary landlords.

In short, as you knew, inflation is up.

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

Congratulations!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 18, 2007

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Jeff Fecke, of Blog of the Moderate Left fame, now is one of the the gang over at Shakesville (formerly Shakespeare’s Sister), thus continuing the trend of Minnesota Bloggers Taking Over The World (or something like that).

Wahey, Jeff!

Posted in blogs and blogging, Good Things | 2 Comments »

Good News Comes In Many Disguises

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 18, 2007

At first I was inclined to be pissed off at the oil companies for using the ethanol boom as a pretext for scaling back on their refinery-building so they can keep enjoying the same $3-a-gallon gas that’s helping to strangle our economy.  (I mean, really:  20 to 30% profits should be enough for anyone.)  But then I realized that this might be the impetus for what’s left of the Big Three automakers to finally get serious about getting more fuel efficient or ditching the internal-combustion engine altogether in time to avoid utterly cooking the planet.

Memo to car companies:  The oil companies are not your friends.  The sooner you recognize this, the better.

Posted in capitalism as cancer, climate change, greed, Oil | Comments Off on Good News Comes In Many Disguises

 
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