Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Buying vs Renting

Alex Tabarrok on the subject. This is an excerpt though it is most of the post. Click for the whole thing.

Housing is overrated as a financial investment. First, it’s not good to have a significant share of your wealth locked into a single asset. Diversification is better and it’s easier to diversify with stocks. Second, unless you are renting the basement, houses don’t pay dividends. Stocks do. You can hope that your house will accumulate in value but don’t count on it. Indeed, you should expect that as an investment your house will appreciate less than does the stock market. You didn’t expect to get a great investment and a place to live in the meantime did you? TANSTAAFL.
Another problem with houses is that home ownership locks people to location making it harder to move for jobs. The problem is especially severe because no one likes to sell at a “loss” even when it is rational to do so. So when jobs disappear and home prices fall instead of moving, people hold on for too long just hoping that things will get better. It’s troubling that both across states in the United States and across countries higher home ownership predicts higher unemployment rates. See Does High Home-Ownership Impair the Labor Market?So why do so many people buy houses? Houses are lovely if you enjoy interior decorating, backyard barbecues and talking to your neighbors. Houses today also come bundled with a significant side asset – access to so-called public schools. One argument for school vouchers, by the way, which isn’t emphasized as much as it should be, is that vouchers would break the strong connection between where you live and what schools you attend. Poor people would have a better chance at attending good schools if schools and housing weren’t bundled together so closely

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Leave Trump

The Leave Campaign and the Trump following are part of the same phenomenon, and we continue to mock and insult it at our own peril.

In the UK, both major parties: Tory and Labour, were officially for Remain. There were elements in both parties who supported Leave and they went against party line. In England, Leave won.

In the US, neither party wants Trump in power: need I remind so many that the republican party did not take him seriously at first and have since done everything they can to keep him away from a victory.

In both cases: the political classes are so far removed from the will of the people, we are wandering blind here. This is not conservative vs left, this is people. They are angry and they are loud and they are winning.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Bel Canto

Surpassing their shared disadvantage,
to communicate they must manage.
No grammar or words,
will need to be heard:
Just music - their one common language

Bel Canto

Bel Canto
by Ann Patchett

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Align your legislation

One of the rules of the new health insurance landscape in America is that all policies are calendar year, and consumers have a window of about 2-3 months in which to purchase policies.

The government has ever-so-thoughtfully decided not to legislate the actual insurance companies in the same way - consumers must be regulated, companies can negotiate with government, we call this cronyism. So half way through the year it is acceptable for our insurance provider to drop the main health provider we use because of unsuccessful negotiations.

Government health experts, care to explain this one?

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Euro 2016 - and we begin

With France-Romania

Haide Romania!

Respect Romania, some great chances and you made them sweat and that made me happy. We also found the most amazing Romanian supporter who was wearing France's colors and thus is either a trolling genius or completely clueless. Take your pick.

Today, at the airport, streaming Albania-Switzerland, as you do.


Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Proof: The Science of Booze

Millennia of consumption and history,
experiments in science and artistry,
biology, chemistry, geology,
neuro-science agriculture, archaeology,
And yes still: booze is a mystery

Proof: The Science of Booze

Proof: The Science of Booze
by Adam Rogers

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Lions, gorillas and parents. Oh my.

Never mind the drone wars. airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, and the general uncertainly "about who will die".To name but a few. This points only to American aggression, bear in mind that the aggressors currently at work on the world stage are numerous. Add them up.

Hint: you are looking for the term "civilian deaths".

But seriously man, how are the lions??

Update, H/T Ornella