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Monday
Sep022013

Most read Realitybase posts in August 2013

The Dysfunction and Corruption of Our Healthcare System, Its Damage to the National Economy and other Basic Healthcare Matters (Guest Post)  Describing a system that is destroying global competitiveness of American business, that violates fundamental insurance risk principles, and that has inherent conflicts of interest preventing quality national health care delivery and cost efficiency; and proposing a solution.

The American Dream died in February 1973. With graphs showing stagnation of inflation-adjusted middle class incomes since the 1970s after strong and steady post-WWII growth.

U.S. aircraft carrier and 15 other Navy ships sunk in the Strait of Hormuz in 5-10 minutes Reporting on the results of US war games when attacked by large numbers of speed boats and missiles such as Iran has in the hands of Revolutionary Guards reputed to be "cowboys," and suggesting still other ways we might get into an all out war with Iran by accident.

The Citigroup Plutonomy Memos With key quotations from documents that are being disappeared. This post has been the #1 response to a Google search for "plutonomy memo."

The history of US per-capita petroleum consumption will surprise you.  A graph and other data show US per-capita consumption of petroleum is down substantially from the 1970s, has been very stable since 1983 because of CAFE standards, and has fluctuated only slightly with retail price changes.

In reporting about a rigorous statistical analysis showing different rates of intergenerational income mobility, NYT leads with stuff they just made up. The article bungles the reporting of a significant new study by saying that commuting difficulties were found to cause reduced intergenerational income mobility. The study does not say anything like that, as the author (David Leonhardt) clarifies in a blog post pointing out a striking similarity between the map of immobility and the map of race. The Executive Summary of the study is quoted in my post.

Comparative Advantage—The Unicorn of Free Trade Collection of sources and analyses demonstrating that the assumptions of classic Ricardian trade theory rarely if ever align with real-world conditions.

What's killing American females? A recent study shows that Americans rank last in life expectancy in a group of 21 high-income countries, that American females are falling behind much faster than American males, and that Americans rank near the bottom in almost all causes of death. Several charts.

How mortgage backed securities increased systemic risk The securitization of mortgages and other debt obligations gives senior tranche holders less risk of individual defaults, but increases the risk to a general economic downturn. The increase in systemic risk was not generally appreciated but is demonstrated by Coval, Jurek, and Stafford in The Economics of Structured Finance. The paper contains exceptionally lucid descriptions of how structured finance works and uses simple examples to demonstrate the sources and magnitudes of systemic risks. This post is my summary of the paper. 

US job creation has been declining since April 2000 and is now in freefall. Discussion around a dramatic graph showing the US employment-to-population ratio strongly increasing until 2000 followed by a devastating loss in 10 years of all the gains made in the previous 20 years.

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