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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Oh, Lord.

posted by on October 23 at 1:54 PM

What is it my mother always used to say? "A man is not a plan"? Still, according to a new report, single women are hit hardest by economic downturns:

According to analysis of data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics for individuals 25 to 61 years old, female-headed households have twice the likelihood – 13.5% - of seeing a 50% greater drop in their income than male-headed households’ probability – 6.6% - of such a drop. The probability of a major income drop for female-headed households has risen in the last two recessions.

Female-headed households are at a distinct disadvantage in recessions because they have fewer savings to draw upon. In an analysis by Harvard Professor Mariko Chang of the net worth of all unmarried women, he found that their median net worth was $12,900 – less than half the $26,850 for unmarried men. He found that the wage gap is the primary cause of this inequality of wealth – accounting for 39% of the disparity for never-married households and 18% of the disparity for divorced households.

More than half of all poor adult women - 54 percent - are single with no dependent children. Twenty-six percent of poor adult women are single women with dependent children

For more on the wage gap, see the Center for American Progress's October 2008 report, The Straight Facts on Women in Poverty.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Art-chitecture It's Not (Neither's the "Art")

posted by on October 22 at 8:00 AM

Nicolai Ourousoff gives Zaha Hadid a tongue-lashing for her complicity in this Chanel consumption-vomitorium in Central Park, designed to house artworks made in homage to a quilted Chanel bag.


That's just gross.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Drill, Bebé, Drill!

posted by on October 17 at 10:10 AM

Who just found a bunch of oil under its soil?


Friday, October 10, 2008

Economic Apocalypse Data for 10/10/2008

posted by on October 10 at 1:18 PM

Ladies and gentlemen, I want metrics.

In the spirit of objectively tracking the downfall of the global economy, I've decided to begin a semi-regular post conglomerating data on the (non-)functioning of the financial system. If I'm going to panic, I want evidence backing it up.

Rather than focusing on the stock market (equity), like most daily coverage of this crisis, I'm going to focus on liquidity. The inability of companies, big and small, to borrow seems the most likely thing to impact people on a day-to-day basis. (For those of you seeking to retire shortly, well, this might not be the case. My apologies. You can read about the implosion of the stock market elsewhere.)

I've included the TED spread, US bond yields, Corporate bond yields, and a spread of the two I've crafted. If you know of an index that you think I should include here, please let me know. I fully admit I'm out of my depth here. Instruct me, and I'll modify the post. A ton of data is available. Help me coalesce it into something coherent.

I've also included a subjective "beaker scale of economist panic" based on my sense of relative state of fear on experts writing about the crisis. As I get a set of objective data together, I plan to make this a calculated value--an SI-unit of doom.

(It's all after the jump.)

Continue reading "Economic Apocalypse Data for 10/10/2008" »

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

McCain's Insanely Stupid Bailout Plan

posted by on October 8 at 11:40 AM

During last night's debate, I was astonished by the stupidity of McCain's plan for dealing with the mortgage crisis.

Don't take my word for it. Here's University of California Berkeley professor J. Bradford DeLong's take:

* The Paulson Plan: Have the government buy up distressed securities at market value, thus reducing the supply of high-yield debt securities that the private sector must hold. When you reduce the supply of anything you raise its price. Hence the Paulson plan's $700 billion purchases will push the prices of risky debt securities up, and so companies will then be able to sell their bonds again and so hire more workers, and depression will be averted.

* The Elmendorf Plan: Have the government directly invest in and take an equity stake in troubled banks, thus reassuring their depositors and creditors that they are sound. The banks will then be able to profit by buying up distressed securities--hence raising their prices--and by directly lending to companies that will then be able to hire more workers, and depression will be averted.


The McCain plan is:

* Take $300 billion.
* Pay double current market value to banks that have troubled mortgages on their books, thus:
o Give a present of $100 billion to the bankers who made the loans.
o Acquire and regularize the mortgages of only two-thirds as many homeowners as could have been accomplished if the $300 billion were invested wisely.

There's a big difference here: Democrats want to prevent depression and support the financial markets by investing taxpayer money in banks with troubled assets. Republicans want to give taxpayers money away to the shareholders and managers of banks with troubled assets.

I would say that this is unbelievable, but I do believe it.

Cronyism, indeed.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

At Last, I Feel Loved

posted by on October 7 at 5:04 PM my bank! My new bank, that is: Bank of America. I went in to make a deposit for the first time, and the teller sent me a HAND-WRITTEN THANK-YOU NOTE. IN THE MAIL!



ADORABLE. You never sent me a card, WaMu. NOW it's emotional! Thank YOU, Christine!

Sign of the Times

posted by on October 7 at 12:24 PM

Prime Capitol Hill location:


The site says they were previously priced at $389,950. What will they go for now?