Weekend Open Thread (2011-10-21)

Here is your open thread for the weekend beginning Friday October 21st, 2011. You may post random links and off-topic discussions here. Also, if you have an idea or a topic you’d like to see covered in an article, please make it known.

Be sure to also check out the forums, and get your word in the user-driven discussions there!

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About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.

30 comments:

  1. 1

    This Article Got SWE Going

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Unemployment-rates-fall-in-apf-4114591110.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=main&asset=&ccode=

    Yeah sure the stock market is rallying and SWE is making big money today, but why???

    They say unemployment is down for half the states [no matter how miniscule], how about the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett area????

    Unemployment YOY is flat for Sep 2011, in fact we gained 1100 month to month to the unemployment numbers since last August 2011, per BLS [if you even dare believe their rosy numbers].

    http://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.wa_seattle_md.htm

    http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LAUDV53426406?data_tool=XGtable

    Our Seattle area did see a 5% drop in construction employment from the total labor force in Sep 2011.

  2. 2
    Mike says:

    Not specific to Seattle, but in news from yesterday my forehead got better acquainted with my keyboard after seeing the proposal to give foreign buyers Visas if they invest $500,000 in US housing:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203752604576641421449460968.html

    As best I can tell the idea is that we’ll keep housing prices overly inflated by selling off real estate to foreigners so that we can rent it back from them and send even more dollars out of the country every month? Anyone on here able to explain how this is remotely a good idea? Maybe Seattle can be the next Vancouver. Time for real estate agents to go learn Mandarin.

  3. 3
    ChrisM says:

    No comment needed:

    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-10-21/senate-adopts-measure-to-increase-fannie-freddie-loan-limits.html

    “The U.S. Senate adopted a measure that would raise the maximum size of a home loan backed by mortgage companies Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration to $729,750.”

    Both WA Senators voted in favor:
    https://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=112&session=1&vote=00180#position

  4. 4

    RE: Mike @ 2

    But Our Wall Street Crook Run Government Has a Heart too

    They aren’t giving the minimum $500K foreign home investors green cards to replace us in the labor force….perhaps its a moot point, we’ll hand ’em Medicaid and DSHS social services [that we pay for] if they can’t get undocumented jobs????

  5. 5

    RE: ChrisM @ 3
    Like Kary and I Eluded

    Anyone who can afford a $1M type home is in the top 1% of Seattle households….like these “elite rich” need a Senate bailout????

    Sounds bi-partisan too, doesn’t surprise me at all….most of the Dem/Rep choices we get are funded/picked from the managers of the Wall Street Crook war chest. Then they later blame us for voting for them, as if we had a choice.

  6. 6
    Sweet Pea says:

    RE: Mike @ 2

    Mike – this did not go over well with me, either. If this passes, I just wonder how long this country can keep chipping away at the middle class (particularly its members who are actually fiscally responsible) until the s*** really hits the fan. It may take a while, but a long-term trend in this direction is not going to end well for anyone.

    I always figured people might start waking up when they could no longer purchase giant flat screen TVs and granite countertops willy nilly, although now I think the measure may be when they are forced to decide between buying the next Apple gadget, or putting gas in their car.

  7. 7

    Poor Citibank has agreed to pay 285 million dollars as a result of fraud they committed.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/20/business/citigroup-to-pay-285-million-to-settle-sec-charges.html
    In the 3rd quarter of this year, Citibank’s revenues were nearly 21 billion dollars, and their profits nearly 4 billion. This is the same bank that the US government bailed out three years ago. No criminal charges, and a “drop in the bucket” miniscule fine, especially considering the magnitude of willful fraud they committed. Bastids. They should hang ’em.

  8. 8

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 7

    You’re Right Ira

    The banks have had almost no prosecutions since 2008, but we’ve rewarded most of them with bonuses for throwing us in a depression.

    But if we overdraft our Citi account by 1 cent or the payment check for the credit card bill is delivered 1 minute late by the post office, they charge us a double steak dinner fee for the error.

  9. 9
    ChrisM says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 7 – I wrote about this yesterday, and expect the judge will stop this nonsense. From the NY Times article you linked: “The settlement may also have trouble getting approval from Jed S. Rakoff, the federal district judge in New York who must ultimately sign off on the fine and who has taken a hard line on S.E.C. settlements.”

    See much more at
    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/10/bank-of-america-8-5-billion-mortgage-settlement-successfully-removed-to-federal-court.html

  10. 10

    RE: ChrisM @ 9

    Ahhhh…For the Good Ole Days of Fiscally Responsible Ma and Pa Banks

    Not these too big to fall monsters that mostly walked away free, with bonuses.

  11. 11
    No Name Guy says:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/friday-afternoon-humor-jp-morgan

    The report in the above linked is titled: “Housing: A time to buy”.

    Hmmm. I wonder if the Alaska in flight magazine writer was reading some JP Wa Mu Morgan Chase when they put out their drivel.

  12. 12
    The Tim says:

    RE: No Name Guy @ 11 – Heh, stamped on every page: “FOR INSTITUTIONAL USE ONLY/NOT FOR PUBLIC DISTRIBUTION”

    Oops.

  13. 13
    No Name Guy says:

    RE: The Tim @ 12

    I noticed that. Bwahahahahahaha!

  14. 14
    Pegasus says:

    RE: The Tim @ 12 – That’s just an advertising trick to get people to read it and believe the baloney. Kinda like Viagra telling people to seek medical help if their erection lasts more than 4 hours. Hope springs eternally…..

  15. 15
    Pegasus says:

    RE: ChrisM @ 9 – The judge might up the ante a little but he isn’t going to put anyone in jail or make them return the stolen loot. SEC settlements are designed to let the perps off with a handslap so they can get back to work on the next con.

  16. 16
    ChrisM says:

    Oh, brother…

    http://finance.yahoo.com/focus-retirement/article/113679/cheap-retirement-homes-cnnmoney

    “Taking advantage of today’s beaten down home prices and record-low rates, baby boomers are buying their dream retirement homes — years before leaving the workforce. ”

    “It’s an opportunity that’s hard to resist: Home prices nationwide are down 32% from their mid-2006 peak, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index. Meanwhile, mortgage rates are at historic lows with the 30-year fixed-rate hovering around 4.2%.”

  17. 17
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 7 – Who rules the USA? You can have Obama or the average brain dead cretin Republican. Some choice. Like between Murray and Rossi. Welcome to the new Soviet Union.

  18. 18
    Blurtman says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 8 – Slave or free man. You decide.

  19. 19

    By Sweet Pea @ 6:

    Mike – this did not go over well with me, either. If this passes, I just wonder how long this country can keep chipping away at the middle class (particularly its members who are actually fiscally responsible) until the s*** really hits the fan.

    Part of it is the middle class’ own fault. When they all go to Wal-Mart to buy stuff made in China, pretty soon there’s no middle class left.

    Reportedly Henry Ford realized that wages would need to go up in order for his product to be successful. So he did something about that. That was a long time ago, and I don’t think I’ve seen anything like that in my lifetime.

  20. 20

    By Ira Sacharoff @ 7:

    Poor Citibank has agreed to pay 285 million dollars as a result of fraud they committed.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/20/business/citigroup-to-pay-285-million-to-settle-sec-charges.html
    In the 3rd quarter of this year, Citibank’s revenues were nearly 21 billion dollars, and their profits nearly 4 billion. This is the same bank that the US government bailed out three years ago. No criminal charges, and a “drop in the bucket” miniscule fine, especially considering the magnitude of willful fraud they committed. Bastids. They should hang ’em.

    Pegasus, what have you done with Ira!

  21. 21

    By softwarengineer @ 10:

    RE: ChrisM @ 9

    Ahhhh…For the Good Ole Days of Fiscally Responsible Ma and Pa Banks

    Not these too big to fall monsters that mostly walked away free, with bonuses.

    Again, who is to blame for this? Where does the middle class do their banking? Small local banks or big national banks?

    We have met the enemy, and he is us!

  22. 22
    Pegasus says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 20:

    By Ira Sacharoff @ 7:

    Poor Citibank has agreed to pay 285 million dollars as a result of fraud they committed.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/20/business/citigroup-to-pay-285-million-to-settle-sec-charges.html
    In the 3rd quarter of this year, Citibank’s revenues were nearly 21 billion dollars, and their profits nearly 4 billion. This is the same bank that the US government bailed out three years ago. No criminal charges, and a “drop in the bucket” miniscule fine, especially considering the magnitude of willful fraud they committed. Bastids. They should hang ’em.

    Pegasus, what have you done with Ira!

    Sooner or later you will all come around to reality………..

  23. 23
    Macro Investor says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 19

    “Reportedly Henry Ford realized that wages would need to go up in order for his product to be successful. So he did something about that.”

    Sounds like he was a bad businessman. He should have crammed down wages like any other good capitalist. The smart move would have been to extend credit for his product. Win on the car profit, win on the loan profit, win on creating a society of debt/wage slaves for his factories. /sarc

  24. 24

    RE: Macro Investor @ 23 – He should have outsourced to Korea!

  25. 25
    Sweet Pea says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 19:

    By Sweet Pea @ 6:

    Mike – this did not go over well with me, either. If this passes, I just wonder how long this country can keep chipping away at the middle class (particularly its members who are actually fiscally responsible) until the s*** really hits the fan.

    Part of it is the middle class’ own fault. When they all go to Wal-Mart to buy stuff made in China, pretty soon there’s no middle class left.

    I’ve made that same point here before; I don’t disagree. But when U.S. companies are willing to outsource semi-skilled and even skilled intellectual labor to India (e.g., customer service, data entry, form reporting, and even US tax return prep), that is the choice of management, not employees. And perhaps employees are more compelled to shop at Wal-Mart when cost of living here has increased steadily, but their real wages have not.

    And, don’t forget the rise of the machines, all the computer power that was supposed make “us” so efficiently productive, we could all have more free time and still complete the same amount of work. Well, we sure do produce more, but we also now work the same or more hours so that we can produce more in return for stagnant real wages.

  26. 27
    Leanne says:

    Brings to mind the slogan “I’ll believe corporations are persons, when a corporation goes to jail.”

  27. 28
    WillyNilly says:

    RE: Lake Hills Renter @ 26

    Nice one! Congratulations.

  28. 29
    Cheap South says:

    RE: Lake Hills Renter @ 26

    Congrats. Good to hear 3 musketeers from here were good to work with.

  29. 30

    Congrats Lake Hills Renter/Canyon Park Owner!

    Hey Tim, I’d like to shine the lights in the sky and call for Batman to come back to SB and write something about Occupy Seattle/Wall St….I’m pretty Eleua accurately predicted that people would be protesting in the streets a few years back.

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