Most read Realitybase posts in March 2014
Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 10:41AM

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.

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. 

Obama's Legacy—If Any Just before Obama's second inauguration, I examined pundits' lists of first term accomplishments and concluded, "If Obama is going to be remembered as other than a seat-filler, it's going to have to be for something he does in his second term."

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.

We don't need a stimulus package—just more tax cuts for the well off—say 36 Republican Senators. When the fate of the stimulus bill was on the line in February 2009, 36 Republican Senators and nobody else voted for an amendment to strike out the entire contents and substitute nothing but permanent tax reductions benefitting high income individuals and corporations.

Will we bring back manufacturing or outsource innovation too? Business leaders and economists agree that innovation needs to be collocated with manufacturing and that good American R&D jobs and most of the benefits of innovation are increasingly moving to Asia. I updated this post with supporting material many times, mostly in early 2010.

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."

US health care efficiency did not go off the rails until about 30 years ago. Updates to this post show that the rate of increase in US life expectancy at birth, especially for females, abruptly slowed in 1982 and that this was apparently unrelated to healthcare spending which continued rising at a very steady rate.

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.

Consensus, the ultimate dog's breakfast. In praise of just enough votes. Arguing that supermajority requirements and efforts to achieve bipartisan support for legislation tend to make the results worse, not better, in a legislature where there is little or no ideological overlap between the parties. Obamacare is an example where many diluting, counterproductive, and complicating concessions were made to Republicans but no Republican votes were received in exchange.

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