Fannie’s Mae and Freddie Mac’s Stealth Economic War on the Millennials

During the past 35 years we have had a buy now, and hope someone else will be stuck paying later economy. And as a result the generations born after 1957 or so have been left much poorer. But leaving the generations born after 1957 or so much poorer is apparently not enough for those older and more powerful to get everything they have promised themselves, but refused to pay for.

The millennials already receive lower pay, have higher debts, will be forced to pay higher taxes, will need to pay privately for what older generations had received as public services, and will need to save for what older generations had received as public old age benefits, at their expense. But for Generation Greed to finish cashing in, the millennials also have to keep spending money they do not have – to prop up consumer sales so the economy doesn’t finally collapse.  And to prop up stocks prices and housing prices at a level high enough for Generation Greed to sell. I recently found out just how crazy things have gotten just to keep the party going just a little bit longer. It is now federal policy that young homebuyers should pay so much for houses that 50 percent of their income goes for debts. Think I must be joking? Think that can’t be true?  Read on.

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Will New Jersey’s Phil Murphy Be the First To Tell The Truth about Generation Greed?

Coming into office eight years ago, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie faced a fiscal disaster, following decades of shortsighted but popular policies that robbed the future. He talked like a problem solver, and could have made difficult choices to raise taxes and tolls, and reduce public services for everyone, not just for transit riders.   But since the majority of New Jersey residents don’t follow state and local government closely, this would have meant Christie received all the blame for all that had gone before. So he punted, and shifted costs from the past further into the future, to the extent that this was possible. As a result he won a second term. But the future continues to become the present, and the bills continue to come due. He is leaving office as one of the most despised politicians in the country.

Coming into office today, therefore, New Jersey Governor-elect Phil Murphy also faces a fiscal disaster, this time at the peak of an economic cycle rather than in a deep recession. A fiscal disaster that is certain to get even worse when the next recession hits and the stock market corrects to something like fair value. And he faces those same two options. Raise taxes, cut services, and perhaps tell his public employee union supporters that they have to give up more to get back in solidarity with their fellow state residents. And be blamed for all of the above. Or hope that state residents have gotten used to how bad things are under Christie, kick the can a little further, and try to sneak into a second term before the additional bills come due. And then leave office as despised as Christie and outgoing Connecticut Governor Malloy.

But there is a third option.   Interested Phil?

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The Executive/Financial Class, the Political/Union Class, and the Serfs, Redux

Two kinds of people have been getting richer. The top executives who sit on each other’s boards of directors and vote each other a higher and higher share of private sector pay, to the detriment of investors, consumers, and other workers. And retired and soon-to-retire public employees in places like New York City, who cut deals with the politicians they control to retroactively increase their already rich pensions, to the detriment of public service recipients and taxpayers. There is the executive/financial class, the political/union class, and the serfs.

The serfs continue to become worse off, adjusted for whatever point we are in the economic cycle. Today they may be a little better off than the were in 2010, but they will still end up worse off than they were in 2007, at the prior peak, which was worse off than they were in 2000, the one before, which was worse off than they were in 1987, etc. The next bottom can be expected to follow the same pattern. And the serfs continue to be lied to and manipulated by the executive/financial class, the political/union class, the media, and “truth telling” professions such as public employee pension actuaries, city and state comptrollers, certified public accountants, stock analysts, bond raters, and executive pay consultants.

This post uses recently released Local Area Personal Income data through 2016, from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, to document the trend. We had better use it while we have it, because the falsification of federal statistics in the interest of the entitled over-privileged is the logical next step in the direction of our society. And if you are a serf who rides the subway who really wants their blood to boil, be sure to read through to the commentary at the end of this post.

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Thanksgiving Excerpts from Two Books

Those who read this blog or know me personally know that a relatively small share of my contemporaries, and a those in generation or two older, think like I do. There are, however, some people who have some ideas in common, and below I’ve excerpted from books by two of them.

Amy Dacyczyn lives in a rural area and set out to prove that by using resources efficiently she could eventually have a home with plenty of space and nice stuff, and stay home to care for her children rather than work elsewhere. An urban dweller, I value ease and experiences, sought a minimum of space that needs to be cleaned and maintained, and see things that have to put away the say way Jacob Marley saw links in his chain in A Christmas Carol. I have never even been in a fistfight, or at least not one where I threw any punches back. Andrew Bacevich is a former Army colonel. As for the perspective we have in common, the excerpts follow.

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Quick Takes on American Community Survey Economic Characteristics Data for 2006 and 2016: NYC Vs. The U.S.

Rather than repeating a detailed analysis of American Community Survey data, after doing one last year, I’m just making some quick observations on data for New York City and the U.S. for 2006 and 2016, two economically similar years.   The prior post was on data from table DP02, “selected social characteristics.”

This one is on DP03, “selected economic characteristics.” (DP04 is “selected housing characteristics”). I’ll just quickly run through the tables in the spreadsheet and tell you what I see. You can a download the DP03 spreadsheet for NYC and the U.S. in 2006 and 2016, once again, here…


and follow along and note what the data shows on the series of tables from top to bottom. Perhaps you’ll catch something I didn’t.

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Medicaid and the State and Local Government Tax Deduction: The Federal Government Re-Declares War on New York City, Joining the Rest of New York State and New York City’s Political/Union Class

The Republican tax plan includes a repeal of the federal income tax deduction for state and local income taxes, and a partial repeal of the deduction for local property taxes. The Economist magazine likes the idea.

Republicans have since come to view the state and local deduction as something that encourages big government, rather than deterring it. It subsidizes Democratic-leaning states that set their taxes high…States are surely capable of balancing their budgets without receiving a federal subsidy for doing so. There is no real justification for distorting their fiscal decisions one way or the other.”

There is one justification, though no politicians on either side have an incentive to point it out. Thus making the policies that really shift money, and the identify of the beneficiaries, once again the “unsaid.” One reason that high tax states are in fact high tax states is that the federal government drains money out of them. This deduction of state and local taxes from federal personal income taxes is sort of a partial make-good.

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Quick Takes on American Community Survey Social Characteristics Data for 2006 and 2016: NYC Vs. The U.S.

Last year I wrote a long post, with many charts, and some follow-ups based on American Community survey released at the time.

I compared the 2015 data with 2005, a similar economic year. I don’t want to repeat myself and am under some time pressure this fall, so I’m not going to do that again this year. Charts and pretty tables set up to print are a lot of work.

But I did download some of the data for New York City and the U.S. for 2006 and 2016, also economically similar years, to see what it looks like, and I might as well provide it to those interested. What follows is links to two spreadsheets, one from table DP02, “selected social characteristics,” and one from file DP03, “selected economic characteristics.” (DP04 is selected housing characteristics). I’ll just quickly run through the tables in the two spreadsheets and tell you what I see.

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