Random Things Of Interest

I’ve been distracted for the last couple of days and catching up on things today. Briefly, a few items that I found interesting.

  • Herb Greenberg who is relocating to San Diego writes that the housing market is mimicking the mid-2000s. Prices are soaring and listings are sold within hours. The difference this time; the all cash buyer is dominating the market. Take a look at his post and pay particular attention to Mark Hanson’s analysis which posits a significant and possibly rapid turn to the market, not to the good side.
  • Adam Levitin, a law professor at Georgetown University, makes his case for prohibiting the sale of the Detroit Institute of Art’s collection. He thinks that preserving the collection will aid in the resurrection of the city by attracting tourists and new businesses. Whatever. Anyway, the crux of his argument is that liquidating the art collection would result in a windfall for Detroit’s creditors. Perhaps he’s forgotten that among those Wall Street creditors one can also find Detroit’s civil servants.
  • Tim Carney wants to know why JP Morgan Chase is being investigated for hiring the family member of a Chinese government official. Carney professes to be confused since this is standard operating procedure in Washington. I agree. After all, how else are the progeny of our elected class going to maintain the lifestyle they grew up in.
  • It seems that state revenue officials are none too happy about Native Americans selling cigarettes on tribal lands. It seems as if the states have the right to tax the sales but not to enter reservations to enforce the tax, and with the imposition of higher and higher taxes on tobacco products the Indians have seen and exploited a business opportunity. Given the past treatment of this group of people it seems as if a little forbearance might be in order, and perhaps our elected officials might take this as a lesson on the limits of taxation. There is a point at which a tax on any activity will begin to generate less revenue.

He notes that no demographer would have predicted the “baby boom” based on this data, so is there likely to be another. The data would say no, but that’s what it said from 1800 to 1946.


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