Monday, July 2, 2012


Via Slow Speed Rail and the Infrastructure Deficit, "Back on Tracks": "Another notorious set of choke points is in Chicago, America’s rail capital, which is visited by some 1,200 trains a day. Built in the nineteenth century by noncooperating private companies, lines coming from the East still have no or insufficient connections with those coming from the West. Consequently, thousands of containers on their way elsewhere must be unloaded each day, "rubber-wheeled" across the city’s crowded streets by truck, and reloaded onto other trains. It takes forty-eight hours for a container to travel five miles across Chicago, longer than it does to get there from New York. This entire problem could be fixed for just $1.5 billion.."

Why do condos even exist? "So in theory, carving a building into condos should diminish its property value. All buildings are depreciating assets [but] when you own property in fee simple you can replace the buildings on it, ideally with bigger, more valuable ones [...] This option basically doesn’t exist for condos and co-ops (which for the purposes of this discussion are the same). One would think that dividing a building into separately-controlled residential condos would be so damaging to property values that nobody would ever do it, and yet, at least in the United States, it happens quite often."

Stabilizing prices is immoral: "[R]estraining prices in the face of a supply shock effects a transfer from debtors, taxpayers, and marginal workers to creditors and secure workers. A policy of price restraint is a form of insurance for creditors and secure workers, who are absolved of the risk that the purchasing power of their nominal assets will suffer an unforeseen decay. It is financed with a guarantee written by debtors, taxpayers, and marginal workers, who are put at risk by the policy."

Barron's - China: "Power and wealth have become one in the same—a kleptocracy of insiders skimming off part of the prodigious money flows sluicing through the Chinese economy through relatives strategically placed in state companies, consulting firms, and various financial institutions."

The 'Busy' Trap: "Like most writers, I feel like a reprobate who does not deserve to live on any day that I do not write, but I also feel that four or five hours is enough to earn my stay on the planet for one more day."

Gary North on Chief Justice Roberts, Economic Fascist: "A tax in America prior to last week was a payment by the citizen or legal entity to an agency of civil government. Not so in the new, improved American fascism, as articulated by Chief Justice Roberts. In fascism, a compulsory payment to a private, profit-seeking entity is considered a tax. You can pay it to an insurance company, or you can pay a fine to the federal government. Take your pick. They are both taxes."

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