The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

How Over-priced Is the US Housing Market?

This is one answer:

The bottom line, then, is that it’s more overbought than it was in 2008.

If the government had not intervened to keep it over-inflated, it would likely have reverted to mean, but trillions of dollars were spent, and many laws were bent and indeed, broken, to keep house prices up.

Indeed, 2008 was used as a buying opportunity: Distressed homes were bought up at cents on the dollar, then rented or sold at inflated prices.

The entire economy is crooked: It is designed to favor the rich no matter who else that hurts.

There are little people who win, but they are fewer and fewer. And virtually no one below the age of 40 is a winner in this unless they are professionally involved, i.e., in on the scam.

Housing should never have been thought of as an investment. Houses should be for living in, and people who own them to flip them should be heavily penalized. Those who own them and leave them empty should have them seized by the government and auctioned. And, yeah, some form of rent control is needed in most places.

Of course foreign buyers must be kept out of the market. Housing is for people who live in the country; foreigners can rent.

As for mortgages, they should be dead boring; for most people fixed rated mortgages of 20 to 30 years fit.

None of this should be objectionable. But there are people making a lot of money out of the misery of other people, and parasites don’t like letting go of their hosts.

Parasitical economies–and most developed countries have one–exist by immiserating people.

This is the real reason for the current push for basic income: The parasite class is scared they may be about to kill the host, and want a government infusion to keep the poor and the (reduced) middle class stumbling on.

I don’t oppose a basic income, but understand that billionaires aren’t supporting it out of the goodness of their hearts. They expect to take every cent the government gives you.

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Baked In, Baked Off: The Trump Administration Climate “Admission”


Open Thread


  1. Lemonhead

    Do you mean more “overbought”? Oversold is a term used to mean we’re at a price bottom.

  2. Ian Welsh

    Yeah, woops, thanks.

  3. Hugh

    I think the housing bubble burst in August of 2007 with the associated recession beginning in December of 2007 and the great financial meltdown in September of 2008.

    That’s a great graphic. About the only flippers I would allow would be those who added substantial, not just cosmetic, new value to a property. I have no problem with someone who has a principal residence as well as a vacation home if they can afford one, but if either is rented or airbnb’ed out for any part of the year, it should be taxed at a higher rate both in terms of property and income taxes. This should also be true of pure or mostly rental or airbnb residences. You can use zoning and tax policy to hit somewhere in between for gray areas, such as houses turned into multiple units in some urban areas and around college campuses where apartments may be in more demand than residential housing.

    I agree with pretty much everything else.

  4. robotpliers

    Housing as an investment post-WWII wasn’t such a bad idea. Encourage the full utilization of the mechanized economy, spread growth around by helping more people hold an investment that grows in value over time. Etc. The problem, in my likely uninformed opinion, is that we doubled down on it when we should have eventually transitioned. In the face of oil shocks, climate change, wasteful sprawl, and upward wealth redistribution, something new was desperately needed.

  5. V

    It’s been pretty much proved that buying a house in the U.S. is a longterm losing proposition.
    Renting is best for all but the wealthy.
    The worst part is; one never truly owns their home in the U.S.; property taxes are forever…
    My wife and I just payed off our house after 14 years and with zero property taxes, we own it lock, stock, and barrel.
    Oh, and we don’t live in the U.S.. 😉

  6. Oh, but this time is different, Ian. My realtor friends assure me this time is different because this time prices are not based on fiction but are due to a very real shortage of houses. Which means, of course, that prices are based on absolute fiction, but you cannot tell realtors that, nor will the buyers and present owners of houses ever recognize it.

    What I cannot quite figure out is why the owners of these fabulously valuable houses are not tapping the “equity” of these treasures and causing an economic boom through consumer spending, as was the case in 2006-07. If the government has cracked down on HELOC lending sufficiently to prevent that, they certainly aren’t bragging about it. Well, they wouldn’t, would they?

  7. Webstir

    I can’t find it now (maybe someone can help), but I remember reading somewhere that the 30 yr. mortgage was instituted (in 1938 with the FHA’s creating of fannie mae) as means to combat the rising labor power. The theory being that tying workers to their homes would deprive them of the power to walk out because they would lose their homes without a continuous wage stream.

    After coming across the idea, I remember thinking that the strategy could potentially monumentally backfire in today’s environment. For example, see 2008. The conservative base is largely comprised of property owners carrying mortgages. Take those people’s homes and they likely won’t remain “conservative” much longer. They instead, today, look like an angry mob of populists. As Ian intimates, this is the bind the elite class finds itself in. It owns all the property and the masses have nothing to lose.

    Trouble for the elites in the long run methinks.

  8. Lemonhead

    This is a great article, thank you Ian for writing.

    There is one huge driver of all this that is seldom mentioned. Ian hints at it with “overseas buyers”.

    In the U.S., real estate is one of the very few assets you can buy that don’t require KYC/AML checks.

    Meaning it’s a damn good way to launder money.

  9. Ché Pasa

    After renting for many years, we finally bought a house and a bit of land at the height of the previous bubble. Because it wasn’t in a fashionable area, however, the price was low and despite the crash and the subsequent reinflation of the bubble, it’s value hasn’t substantially changed. It wasn’t lower after the crash, and it isn’t higher by much now. Mortgage payments are less than 1/3 of the current rent of the house we lived in before purchasing real estate.

    In fashionable areas, of course, the situation is very different. The real estate market is currently overheated where we once lived, and prices are going up every month, or daily in some cases. The house we rented is appreciating about $10,000 a month, $120,000 a year — or so it would seem. A house down the street from it was recently flipped for a profit of $140,000. Crazy.

    But it won’t last. And I think everybody knows it, which is one reason why so many are bidding up prices so much and so quickly. They’re trying to make as much as they can before the coming crash.

    Where we live now, a house or a house and land is considered someplace to live and maybe grow some food, have an animal or two, and stay kind of put. Go fifty miles north or west, and the situation is very different. If you’ve got a place, you might be looking to sell it and make some money while you can. If you don’t own your own property, you’re probably looking to buy a place if you can afford it and make some money selling it in a year to somebody else. Repeat. Until you can’t.

    Should it be that way? Parts of whole economies are based on it. Look at Southern California or the Pacific Northwest or Toronto. And yet large swaths of the US and Canada do not participate in the real estate boom-and-bust cycle. There’s a key to more or less lasting stability right there. Oddly, these places are not on the coast. Hmmm.

  10. Daniel A Lynch

    Meanwhile in Canada …

  11. bruce wilder

    On basic income, I concur: it is almost always proposed in a way that side-steps reforms that attack parasitism and predatory practices.

    Banking regulation ought to explicitly target the process of house price formation: banks should have to calculate mortgages on the basis of appraisals that heavily weight local household incomes. Banks should not be handing out mortgages willy nilly that drive a bubble by crediting expectations of rising prices in calculating the likelihood of repayment.

  12. Willy

    Undocumented labor is often used by these real estate speculators. Many of us empathize with images of the nothing-but-clothes-on-their-backs family trying to escape horrific situations in their native lands. And everybody’s heard the meme that American youth are lazy and too good for such labor. But then there’s reality. There’s a negative side.

    Most non-native ‘businesses’ I’ve dealt with operate the same:

    1. Fake credentials. Business cards I gather rarely ever check out with state regulatory agencies. Fake names and fake license numbers are very common.

    2. The going rate. Regardless of where they come from, they usually know the going rate for any job. They will then charge exactly that, minus any taxes, insurance, and other fees which their competing legitimate tradesmen must pay.

    3. Speed. For most of these crews, speed is everything. They accomplish this by doing 95% of the job (where the trickiest 5% can take 25% or more of the total job time) and ignoring the rest. They will blow through primary structure, ignore best practices, are oblivious to problems they’ll cause for follow-up contractors, and eventually the final homeowners themselves.

    4. Apparent quality is good enough. I’ve seen unlicensed base trim installers grind down concrete piers holding up the house, instead of taking the time to come up with an elegant boxing-around solution, to save themselves time. The ignorant owners applauded this, until the house failed the existing non-comforming part of the occupancy inspection. $$$ to fix.

    5. Referrals and networking. They almost always refer their compadres who are also not legit. Since cost and speed are critical for house flippers, the local trade business eventually turn black market, eliminating career avenues for working class natives and a significant tax base.

    Just one example. Your typical legitimate drywall journeyman makes $25/hr working for a legitimate contractor. They are usually expert craftsman, skilled in all areas of their trade from framing repair to finish texturing. Your typical undocumented crew doesn’t work that way. They use specialist crews. For example drywall hangers only know how to hang drywall, and usually ignore things like straightening framing, using shims, and best practices such as ‘picture framing’ around doors and windows (cracks will appear later). They may look impoverished traveling four to a hoopty truck, but they can be making $50-$100 an hour, each.

    I once saw a crew of hangers refuse to hang drywall in a tricky ceiling transition area, where the framer, also an undocumented untrained ‘specialist’ had only done 95% of the work. A legitimate contractor had to be called in to design and create framing which respected the laws of geometry, so that grand entry didn’t look like children had designed it. All of the savings over a legitimate taxpaying contractor was eaten up on just that one repair. There were many other repairs to do in that house, including a 1.5” bowed-out exterior wall in the kitchen which fortunately was cleverly hidden by a legitimate trim craftsman, at significant expense.

    And we wonder why so many tradesmen voted for Trump.

  13. Peter

    Buying a home is still the best longterm investment most people can make. Especially now that renting often cost more than buying so people can save living costs while paying off their mortgage so they are housing debt free when they retire. About 30% of Americans have paid off their mortgages, myself included, but even those who haven’t will often pay lower mortgage payments than rent payments. The people who mined their home equity, about 5 trillion dollars worth before the housing bubble burst, spent their retirement investment before retiring and will pay for that until they die.

  14. Hugh

    I was curious about the ratio of cash sales to mortgages in the US. I found reports that cash sales accounted for about 40-45% of home sales in 2013-2015 versus 19% in 2005, but nothing more recent.

  15. nihil obstet

    The major property owners in the U.S., especially in cities, should be community land trusts.

    I’m a big UBI supporter, but as you point out, it can’t just be providing funds for predators to loot. It should be part of a decent society. There are interim steps to get there. Increase Social Security and lower the full benefits age. Provide income for caregivers (2 years family leave for births, family medical leave for caring for the elderly), students, the unemployed . . . . Provide enough welfare for the recipients to have genuine dignity. Meanwhile, develop the economic, physical, and social infrastructure necessary to prevent corporate looting: community land trusts for housing and land based necessities, national health service, government payment systems (post office banking).

  16. different clue

    How does one penalize people who buy houses to flip them? Can one even tell which housebuyer has bought the house to flip it before he/she has flipped it? Or is it easier to see and identify the act of flipping a house and therefor punish that act . . . which would de facto punish the one who did it?

    Is it possible to deter the buying of houses with intent to flip?

  17. Stirling Newberry

    It is the rule of bubbles: a bubble which does pop is allowed to rise again.

  18. Willy

    I know homes owned by foreigners who will in all likelihood will never set foot in them, or even visit the country. Sean Hannity owns over 900 single family homes. Realtors favor the ease and rapid deals to be had with these speculators, over time/cash constrained actual residents.

    In most “hot” cities, buying a home to be ones best long term investment will soon become impossible, even for white collar professionals. Service professionals like teachers and firefighters in places like San Jose can’t afford the rent anymore and move away, raising residential taxes to pay for replacement service professionals, as well as to make up for tax revenues lost to an increasingly black market construction economy.

    Change-caused chaos is the savvy wealthy mans friend, as there is much opportunity to be had from rapid change. Why would they want to change anything?

  19. Ed

    @different clue

    When I lived in Maryland, I looked at houses in a large neighborhood co-op. It had two interesting rules. The first was that it had to be owner-occupied. It was illegal to rent. The second rule was that as part of your contract in buying the house, you pledged to not sell it in less than two years. If you did, you had to offer the exact price you’d bought it for.

    Extend that two years to five years and you have a way to stop house flippers.

  20. Webstir

    The thread got me thinking about the face of home ownership in the years to come. And please, bear with me b/c I’m going to go down the generational road again here.

    1. Boomers overwhelmingly own the lion share of homes in the U.S.

    2. As the boomers were coming of age THE expectation pushed upon them was home ownership. It didn’t matter how you got it. Many could get it without an education. But we hollowed out well paying union jobs, and thus, a massive segment of homeowners were eliminated. That’s bezzle #1.

    3. Beginning with the X’ers, THE expectation shifted. It was, and continues to be, education. At minimum, the bachelor’s degree is the marker of coming of age in the U.S. But, that’s just to get a job. No mention has been made of home ownership yet. And b/c one must borrow so heavily to get said education, most will never own a home. That’s bezzle #2.

    4. Who is going to be buying all of these homes left vacant by the boomers over time? Because of the size of the demographic, the U.S. is likely to be severely overstocked, not to mention, without need of one of it’s largest economic segments, housing starts.

    5. So, bezzle #3 is universal income? Because I’m not seeing the bezzle; the definition if which is, to quote Galbraith:

    ““In many ways the effect of the crash on embezzlement was more significant than on suicide. To the economist embezzlement is the most interesting of crimes. Alone among the various forms of larceny it has a time parameter. Weeks, months or years may elapse between the commission of the crime and its discovery. (This is a period, incidentally, when the embezzler has his gain and the man who has been embezzled, oddly enough, feels no loss. There is a net increase in psychic wealth.) At any given time there exists an inventory of undiscovered embezzlement in – or more precisely not in – the country’s business and banks. This inventory – it should perhaps be called the bezzle – amounts at any moment to many millions of dollars. It also varies in size with the business cycle. In good times people are relaxed, trusting, and money is plentiful. But even though money is plentiful, there are always many people who need more. Under these circumstances the rate of embezzlement grows, the rate of discovery falls off, and the bezzle increases rapidly. In depression all this is reversed. Money is watched with a narrow, suspicious eye. The man who handles it is assumed to be dishonest until he proves himself otherwise. Audits are penetrating and meticulous. Commercial morality is enormously improved. The bezzle shrinks.”

    6. I’m having a hard time getting from Universal Income, to the bezzle, Ian. There is no promise at the end of a loan allowing the dupe to invite the “parasites” to feed.

    Need a little help here. Maybe I’m thick.

  21. Fair is fair: Piter got one right. Don’t believe him, but he got it right.

  22. V

    Nobody, not one; spoke to the costs of ownership of a home (with a mortgage).
    Roofs wear out; siding corrodes; plumbing deteriorates; paint fades and peels, heating systems fail; and the list goes on.
    Smart people I talk wth, say it doesn’t add up to a plus; but rather a negative in the long run.
    Renters avoid this expense.
    Serious inquiries will diserne the facts; and know what is what…

  23. Hugh

    It’s about what kind of a society you want to live in, one where homeowners predominate or one filled with renters. And if it’s renters, who are the owners and why do they get to be the owners, other than by some riff on divine right and controlling the political system?

  24. Webstir


    That depends. We bought a place on 5 ac. built in the mid 80’s around the first of July this year. The previous owner was an older widower who, as you say, couldn’t keep up with the work (monetarily of physically) and parts of the house suffered. We took that into account, but still came with a full offer, with exceptions based upon inspection. She took the full offer. Then came the inspection. All told, about 6k in work was done prior to our taking possession. We liked her, and let her off the hook for about 6k more the inspection identified. I’ve been banging away at getting that extra 6k, and more I’ve discovered that the inspection did not. I’m almost done, and I doubt I’ve spent over 1.5k at this point. Why? I’ve done 95% of the work myself. My last project is replacing the water damaged framing plate around our garage, which yes, my Dad and I will do together when he comes to visit in the middle of October (good father/son bonding time).

    Moral of the story? It pays in life to be a jack of all trades and master of none. Sure, time is money, but I can work and still find time after to tackle my home repair projects.

  25. Ché Pasa

    Sure there is a cost of property ownership beyond the mortgage. Assuming you have a mortgage. Note what Hugh said: a substantial number of home purchases these days are for cash. No loans involved. This is true of flippers as well as owners who intend to live in the home.

    Whether it’s more financially advantageous to own or to rent a home depends on many factors. Homeowner maintenance costs depend on the property, its age, condition, location, etc. As a rule, those costs are higher for individual homeowners than they are for landlords, but individual homeowners have the advantage of being selective about what kinds of maintenance are done when and at least have some control over maintenance expenses.

    Landlords also add in profit to their rents; you’re paying not just for your own shelter but for the landlord’s as well.

    In the end, one may or may not gain a financial advantage from home ownership. But shelter isn’t really about that, is it?

    Well, for some people it is.

    Also, it’s pretty easy to identify flippers especially in a hot market — not sure they even bother with stable markets. People and companies who flip houses for income are generally well-known in the real estate community. There’s little mystery about them. People trying to break in to the house flipping business don’t necessarily find it easy, though. They may luck out, but may lose their shirts. Not for the faint of heart.

  26. Billikin

    I suppose that the current inflation of housing prices is largely the result of a failure to invest in domestic businesses. Corporations are buying back shares, which gives their shareholders a lot of money, much of which ends up in the housing market. In addition, people are still selling their houses because they need the money, and people with money are glad to snap them up.

    I don’t pretend to divine the motives of others, but I wonder if one aspect of the UBI is to remedy a problem with the current structure of globalization. It has for some time been a kind of three person game between the world’s poor, the world’s super-rich, and the developed countries’ middle income classes. In relative terms the world’s poor, who play the role of the workers in this game, have done well, earning a pittance, but more than they used to; the super-rich are making out like robber barons; but the middle group, who play the role of consumers in this game, are running out of money. A “rational” globalization would have shared the advantages of trade fairly evenly across all groups, but the game has been played as a coalition of the top and bottom against the middle. If the middle cannot afford to buy, the game stops. A UBI does not directly pay the middle group, but it gets to them pretty quickly, as the recipients of the UBI spend it. (OC, changing the structure of the game would be better all around.)

  27. S Brennan

    As a “boomer” I bought my first home in the 2001 recession, I was 44yo.

    Webstir doesn’t know the history of the 70’s, that is why he generalizes so glibly. Just substitute the word Jew for “boomer” and you’d have another Hitler struggling to write a Mein Kampf. Don’t you just love folks like Webstir who will determine what groups of people are “unworthy of life?”

    I had been saving since ’96…when I retired my student debt from my delayed education, which required earning the GI bill to fund the university portion. At the time I bought I was told not to do it, “house values will fall further”. It was a tear down that I fixed up by gutting it to the outside studs, worked on it every week-end and by the time I had finished it two years later, the “market” said it was worth 3X what I paid. I spent $80G on it, paying as I earned it, oh yeah, I paid the note off as fast as I could, I didn’t know anywhere I could make a 7% return on an investment guaranteed…paying off debt is a great “investment”.

    Most 20-30 somethings with disposable income I knew in 2009 did not “buy” because:

    1] It could go lower; 2] Rents are really cheap; 3] Why should I move away from a hipster haven, with prices dropping everywhere…surely the wealthy will sell cheap…soon; 4] & most importantly, I don’t want to crimp my spending habits.

  28. Webstir

    S Brennan:

    “Just substitute the word Jew for “boomer” and you’d have another Hitler struggling to write a Mein Kampf. Don’t you just love folks like Webstir who will determine what groups of people are “unworthy of life?”

    And Godwin’s law makes an appearance.

    Speaking of glib …

  29. Webstir

    I guess we can’t talk about the impact negative political impacts that boomers have had on this country without being compared to Hitler. And S Brennan, you know the walk in front of a bus comment was tongue and cheek. I’m certainly not advocating a geriatric cleansing. I said what I’m advocating — all of your best thinking got us where we are today. Time to get out of the way and let the new adults in the room have a whack at it.

    But no … you guys are still hard at it stealing jobs from teenagers at Wal Mart and blaming millennials for being lazy.

    Fuck you.

  30. Webstir

    And yeah, S Brennan, you got an education and the ability to buy a house b/c you were willing to toadie up to the MIC and go kill people for them for money. You signed up to be a mercenary.
    Congratulations. Everyone who would rather not sign up to kill other people for their education (and go into massive debt doing so) is sooooo proud of you.
    How’s that system (you guys put in place post Viet Nam) working out for our country?
    Seems to me like killers get a free ride, while moral people are forced into penury.
    Par for the course.

  31. DMC

    Maybe its White Males that need to get out of the way…
    How about a Constitutional Ammedment barring White Males from elective office in the US for a period of not less than 50 years from adoption. That should even things out for everybody else and you have to admit that if there’s one group that has been historicaly overrepresented in elective office in the US, its White Males, hands down.

  32. Willy

    White males are easy to spot, but other powerless white males with small johnsons would start marching. It’s what they do to feel some sense of control. And they don’t always march well with others.

    I’d ban anybody testing high on the PCL-R, since the common motivation from all of their kind is enjoying the “ruining of others” (look it up).

  33. hvd


    I don’t want to get caught between you and S. Brennan but first I think that your language is a little bit more than intemperate, and second that your anger against boomers is sorely misplaced. You totally ignore the comment in a previous thread in which more than half of the present Judiciary committee are identified as pre-boomers (The Silent Generation), sort of the golden children of the GG’s. Power and wealth went to them far more than to the Boomers. They were able in significant measure to increase their stake in society during the inflationary 70’s because they had already been employed, were homeowners and investors riding the rush of those inflationary times. The boomers on the other hand, who had little or no capital at that time and who were just entering the work force were largely excluded from the gold and power rush. They did better in the 80’s and 90’s which I suppose made them more susceptible to the snake oil pushed by Reagan and the Clintons, one a member of the GG and the other an early boomer, but never enough to catch up to the golden ones.

    We all play the cards we are dealt by those who came before. We all get some things right and somethings wrong but mostly we try to make the most out of the hands dealt us. We all in equal measure suffer and benefit from those things. The actions of the GG were determined in large measure by the good and evil done by their parents as were those of the golden children, the boomers, the GenXers and GenYers. We all get some things right and screw up others. but they all have ineluctably drawn us to where we are today.

    We all do better by focussing on the things done right and the things done wrong than we do by blaming categorically the cohorts doing the right and wrong things.

  34. Ché Pasa

    When did Boomers become monolithic? It’s as true now as it was 50 years ago and more that there is a variety of points of view and a range of power within the Boomer or any other generation. They don’t all believe the same things, and they absolutely don’t share the same level of power — currently or ever.

  35. Willy

    What was the gilded-age generation called? …the one where children were working in coal mines under extremely dangerous conditions just to help their families survive while making a tiny handful of elites even richer? Whatever it was they had, or did not have, seems to be what Gens X,Y and Z don’t want. I attribute that first modern industrial go-round with worldwide moral insanity to mass ignorance with a little boiling frogs syndrome thrown in. This time around the same thing, but with more psycho-social cheats and tricks.

  36. highrpm

    god, how much tee bee have you been watching lately. bad whitie. i thought commenters on this site were above mass propa.

  37. Duck1

    It seems like this country (USA) doesn’t know how to do much besides invasive computerization, mic spend, and the real estate racket. Got ot of SF which was rather insane to PNW whereit appears half the big rigs seem to haul gravel, dirt, trees and sawn wood. Oh well, at least the GG built some freeways so the cars imported from Asia can sit in jams burning Saudi oil. Geniuses around spout about more lanes, bridges and ring roads, san taxes of course. Maybe they are on to something, how did we pay for the ME war extravaganza, MMT?

  38. Webstir

    hvd: Yeah, I get it. I understand all the intellectual arguments.

    What I don’t think most people over 50, or so, understand is the simmering resentment among those who are largely (very largely) still unrepresented in the halls of power across this nation. Just watching, and waiting, as those who are over represented in the halls of power continue to drag this country down.

    Note, too, that the X+ generations are more highly educated, and in debt, than any that came before. And we understand too, that our future is being screwed harder, by those who have less future, than any preceding generations.

    I’ll tone down the language. You’ve all been served.

  39. Webstir

    “We all play the cards we are dealt by those who came before.”

    Yup. You got the best cards the world ever had.

    And then what happened?

  40. Webstir


    Thanks man. You get it.

  41. hvd


    Several demurrers. I don’t deny the simmering resentment of the over-schooled under-educated recent generations, taught to believe they deserve the world handed to them on a silver platter because of time served in our failing institutions. And I am willing to share in the generational blame (with the GG’s and golden ones) for allowing “education” in America to continue becoming a training center for wage slaves believing that their indoctrination entitles them to a life free of thought, conflict or struggle. I am also willing to share in the generational blame, together with those previous generations, in allowing you over-schooled young’uns to forget your solidarity with all those under-“educated” miserable blue-collar wage slaves.

    But simmering resentment doesn’t get anything done. And I see damn little effort to do anything other than whine and complain. I suppose part of that comes from the fact that the Boomers acquiesed to the enormous theft of resources by the GG’s and the golden ones that happened in the ’70’s. We gave up on our activism, put our noses to the grindstone and tried to catch up. Our silence as you grew up must have conveyed all the wrong messages. You also were undoubtedly confused by the lessons about gender, race equality and “its a wonderful day in the neighborhood” we tried to convey.

    I could go on and on about generations, and like all stereotypes, they convey some part of the truth. But generational stereotypes are largely the result of the historical moment which, of course, are shaped by those who came before. The sins of the father/mother are passed on in a dialectic somewhat beyond the control of those generations. And, as a consequence, when we focus on this sort of generational analysis we invariably bring ourselves to a dialectic based on resentment of the father/mother rather than on one based on the more significant historical forces that shape those generations.

    I read Ian and the Comments here because most of the time the focus is on the more significant historical analysis that takes place here. Nature, wealth and power have far more to do with shaping where we are than do the individual actions attributed to generations or patriarchies or whatever persons we choose to resent because of their immediate relation to us in this historical moment. I value the perspectives offered here, but really hate it when the discussions go off the rails into those resentments.

    I apologize for the negative characterizations I indulged in above but did so to try and make a point about our resentments. I would rather be talking about how our “education” system has failed us (by the by largely starting with the “education” of the golden ones (my own very personal resentment)). I would rather be talking about the pernicious effect of wage slavery in a world dominated by money (or better capital). I would rather be talking about why we act as if we believe greed is good rather than our instinct for sharing. I would rather be talking about how and why we let markets get out of control as Ian did to start this thread. These things are the fundamental drivers of who we are, GG’s, Golden Ones, Boomers, GenXers or Yers.

  42. Webstir


    You need to have words with your maker. Not me.
    Funny how the only ones disputing my arguments are boomers. Yes, funny that.
    Get in touch with your guilt. Make amends. Don’t defend your cohort.

  43. Webstir

    “I am also willing to share in the generational blame, together with those previous generations, in allowing you over-schooled young’uns to forget your solidarity with all those under-“educated” miserable blue-collar wage slaves.”

    No. That’s you guys again. Go on over to Eschaton and witness all the centrist, Hillary supporting, “screw labor I’ve got mine” boomer voters that won the primary for Hillary. Boomers. X+ is where the center of the progressive movement is at.

    Get a clue.

  44. Webstir

    Here is a little anecdotal evidence of what I’m talking about:

    I live in a small, rural, N. Idaho town. The Mayor is in his mid-forties, and an engineer by his schooling (I know, worthless degree, right?). He ran as a Republican, and beat the old corrupt boomer democrat mayor. Our Mayor is not a Republican. He’s not a Democrat. He’s a pragmatist. My 501(c)(3) works with him all the time on any number of projects that would probably be deemed by most of the local populace as progressive. He refuses to get caught up in the Republican/Democrat bullshit that is all the boomers know.

    The City Admistrator — early 40’s. Apolitical. She just doesn’t care. She just wants what is best for ALL of the community. The Economic Development director — same story. Together, we are remaking, from the ground up, a community that has been mired in political dogma for at least the last 40 years.

    City council, however? Old people, doing nothing, without ideas, sucking up the benefits that come with the job. We are so much better educated, and able to act on our ideas, that we convince them of the propriety of our actions, or, go around any obstacle they put in our way. And we do so with a quiet nod and a wink because we know they’re just filling space until their end. As well as the voters that support them. We’re remaking our world locally, right on top of your bones, in a way that makes sense for OUR future. Not yours.

    I’m telling you, there is overwhelming merit in favor of viewing the world’s problems from a generational standpoint. You guys just can’t see it b/c you’re not us. Same as it ever was. The problem, is that there are still so many of you. Your myopia has an incredibly outsized impact when it comes to voting. And invariably, liberal or conservative, the “me” generation votes for it’s own interests. If you think the healthcare situation is dire now? Wait until we have to keep you all in Depends for the next 40 yrs while you continue to vote your selfish interests.

    God help us.

  45. Webstir

    You’ve been the height of selfishness in regard to the legacy you’re leaving future generations. Do not be surprised when we are less than kind to you in your twilight.
    As I said, start making your amends now. There’s still time.

  46. “The bottom line, then, is that it’s more overbought than it was in 2008.”

    The chart you provide would seem to refute that statement. The margin between the CPI and the Case Shiller lines in 2008 is 280% points, while in 2018 it is only 240% points. That’s from measuring the chart in a fairly small scale, but the difference is sufficient that the point seems valid regardless of measuring error. Yes, It’s overbought now, and badly so, but not yet as badly as it was in 2008.

  47. Webstir

    And finally, hvd, your arguments are wasted air. It doesn’t matter what you think. It matters how we FEEL. And I’m telling you, not arguing, that this is the way the X+ generations feel. Why protest me telling you this? We don’t care about you … just as you didn’t care about us. The difference is that we do care about the future, because your policies have obviously placed our future in jeopardy.

  48. Julia Versau

    Glad someone else is on to the trick: “I don’t oppose a basic income, but understand that billionaires aren’t supporting it out of the goodness of their hearts. They expect to take every cent the government gives you.”

    I remember interviewing two laid off steelworkers doing mandatory retraining (to get benefits) at a local community college. They tipped me off to the way this shit works. When I mentioned that they should be happy because their Pell grants had gone up by $2000 for the next semester, they told me: “Yeah, and the college raised the tuition $1875.”

    The money is always for the already wealthy. Always.

  49. hvd

    Well webstir if you won’t take me up on having a serious discussion about serious things I will respond in kind.

    I am not exactly quaking in my boots. Aside from your anecdotal report of a single Xer who is a pragmatist and gets something done you have shown me nothing that suggests that your utterly feckless generation(s) is(are) capable of any action whatsoever. You mumble and whine but basically all I see is a slavish capitulation to what is. You see I can say nasty but true things as well, but they are very much beside the point.

    And by the by I could point to boomer pragmatists who, in my experience, get things (positive things) done but that would also be mere anecdote. I could also tell you about my life experience but of course that would prove absolutely nothing about my generation.

    Eventually you will grow up and realize that your present situation is not all daddy’s fault and will take some responsibility for your condition. But I’m not holding my breath. Poor little victims.

    As to your blaming us and only us for your problems you keep ignoring what I say which is that we as you, as my older siblings, as my parents and their parents before them, and on and on, are all responsible for not fixing the systemic problems that cause us to be who we are and leave us all somewhat beaten down by the weight of history and circumstance. For the most part we are all less than what we would hope to be.

  50. Webstir

    You miss the point entirely. You’re rationalizing your past. I’m living my future. You have no future. Your future, is the one the X+ generations let you have.
    You reeeeeeally don’t get it, do you?
    You’re a walking anachronism.
    Buh bye.
    Please don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.

  51. Trent

    You’re asking the wrong question. Based on your chart housing should fall back to GDP growth. My question: how overpriced is USA GDP?

  52. Webstir

    hvd says: “Well webstir if you won’t take me up on having a serious discussion about serious things I will respond in kind.” And continues: “your language is a little bit more than intemperate.”

    Well, hvd (said in my best faux sophisticated snobby urbanite voice).
    I would never, ever, deign to have a ‘serious discussion’ about ’serious things’ with one who is so obviously more temperate than a humble N. Idaho hick.

    What a white bread wad.
    Say what you mean, and say it efficiently.

    Back on topic.
    Sorry hvd & S Brennan had to jack it back to comments made articles ago.

  53. hvd

    Listen Webstir, I know that my years are limited. You are certainly not telling me something I don’t know – but thanks anyway for the reminder.

    In the meantime I would guess that in my present position I have a hell of a lot more influence on the future than you do. Generally, I try to be a positive influence. I try to be aware of the weight of history. I plant trees whose shade I will never enjoy.

    I work very, very hard to leave something of value for the Xers and Yers in my employ. I try to share with them. But if you are right about the way you all feel about me why shouldn’t I just say I got mine f**k you and just steal all the remaining value.

    I try to drag you away from your pouting and daddy blaming and into a discussion of real things but you would rather not go there. Oh well.

  54. Peter

    I read a recent report on how some possibly many younger people are fleeing the overpriced housing markete of the blue costal cities and migrating to the Midwest where solid older homes can be purchased for about $60K. Their skills and training are needed in the old rust belt towns and cities to help revitalize these depressed economies. Fortunately for all of us there seems to be more younger people with this type of attitude than the demented ones displayed by Web and a few others. There is no need to push your mother in front of a bus to get her house or blame old warriors for past wars.

  55. Willy

    I’m thinking most daddy’s were conned. Most easily done when the target’s experienced adversity has been minimal.

    My in-law fully believes that all of his succe$$ was a gift from Jesus, besides being a product of his ‘hard work’. But I see the network nepotism which gave him massive advantage over his obviously more talented competitors. The difference in viewpoint probably comes from my being burned by nepotistic corruption (and thus I’m far more sensitive to it), while he’s had a pretty easy ride thanks to it. It’s not rocket science. With the help of defense mechanisms, we tend to project what works/ed for us onto the world.

    Boomers had it easy. Other generations not so much. It affected their worldview. Character really does come from adversity. The most naturally rational and empathic among us may be better at this thing – being able to see past one’s own nose. But we’re in the small minority. Baltasar Gracian said some pretty good stuff in his Worldly Wisdom series, aimed (I believe) towards that minority. I have yet to fully understand how our kind can un-con the conned, though.

  56. Willy

    Peter, it’s the commodification of housing that’s the problem, mostly benefiting those who aren’t even American citizens.

  57. GlassHammer

    “Character really does come from adversity.” – Webstir

    That seems like a very romantic view of toiling/suffering your way through life. Monsters are born out of toil/suffering just as frequently as good men and women. Trust me, adversity doesn’t always result in stellar character.

    “The most naturally rational and empathic among us” – Webstir

    Empathy is a tricky thing with its own blinders. It’s very hard to say when/if you need to be more demanding vs. more empathetic.

  58. Willy


    That was me. Character, adversity, rationality, empathy… are variables in a large equation – an equation which reasonably proficient abstract reasoners (who’ve pondered along human temperamental/experiential lines) can sense, but haven’t been able to quantify yet.

    Students of human temperament still debate over what Hitler was born with, let alone how they impacted his experiences. Obviously, that ‘science’ has got a ways to go yet.

    Anybody know a skilled breeder of hunting dogs?

  59. Willy

    I know a guy who breeds German shorthairs. Even with champion bloodlines, he still gets duds.
    Meaning, he still gets the occasional puppy that doesn’t like doing what their breed ‘wants’ to do as much as a paying duck hunter might want. Gives em away as pets.

    Maybe the Russian Fox Experiment has gotten as far as knowing what adversity does to different temperaments.

  60. Ché Pasa

    Boomers had it easy.


    How old are you, son? You can’t mean that if you know anything about the era the Boomers grew up in, anything beyond the saccharine images of perfection on TeeVee shows, anyway.

    I don’t think any generation has it “easy” in the US, but until the 1980s, each following generation tended to have a somewhat better material life than the previous one. It’s not been true for the two most recent generations, but it’s not because of Boomers as a generation.

  61. different clue


    Which boomers had it easy? Not the ones who had their jobs and industries shipped to China, Mexico, Bangladesh, Vietnam, etc. And not the ones who had their 401ks turned into 201ks and then 000k-lesses in the bonfire of the securities.

  62. Billikin

    Ché Pasa: “until the 1980s, each following generation tended to have a somewhat better material life than the previous one. It’s not been true for the two most recent generations, but it’s not because of Boomers as a generation.”

    What is maddening about that is that the US has had increasing prosperity, which the average person has not shared. A lot of the blame can be laid on the preceding generation, on Carter and Reagan and Bush I. We have had tree Boomer Presidents, Clinton, Bush II, and Trump. Clinton and Bush II were largely instrumental in setting the stage for the recent financial crisis and , IMO, depression. Why does the richest country in the world have lousy infrastructure? Because its leaders, at all levels of government, have been irresponsible. And it happened on the Boomers’ watch.

  63. Billikin

    Let me add that I am a Boomer, and I have been apolitical nearly all my life. Not to excuse myself, but to say that I am one of those who let it happen.

  64. Tom

    Wow, an entirely predictable outcome of outsourcing your manufacturing. If it hadn’t been discovered, China could have potentially shut down entire swathes of the US Military’s computer networks and defense systems.

    No wonder Trump is ramping up tariffs and sanctions. The US Military is demanding it after this was discovered. Then again why they don’t manufacture their own weapons and equipment is beyond me as they have all the means to do it, and can do it cheaper, with Rock Island Arsenal being a wholly US Military Factory that supplies ordinance and artillery tubes.

  65. realitychecker

    Is there no limit to the contempt I must feel for the modern manifestation of the “left’?

    The ungrateful children can show their ‘integrity’ by declining to inherit all the good things that currently exist in the world due to the efforts of those who came before. Ya know, all those desirable things they did NOTHING to create or otherwise EARN.

    Just start all over, from scratch, just like Adam and Eve did (allegedly). I’m laughing just thinking about how that would work out.

    Ungrateful children are the best argument for keeping abortion legal, IMO. Thanks for the demonstration, Can we make abortions retroactive?

    So glad I decided to live my own life rather than spawning such ungrateful, safe-space-addicted trash. Who do you think created a world where you could even IMAGINE such a thing as a “safe space”? Only humans could have such a thought. Think about that.

    No, don’t thank us, just keep whining and drowning in your impotent self-pity.

    (And maybe go to a meeting. Hint, hint. Meant to be constructive. Show these comments to your sponsor and see what he says.)

    Or, if you just can’t wait to inherit after your parents die a natural death, maybe just kill your parents right now. Yeah, that’s the ticket. It’s the only way to be sure you can feast on the carcasses of those who gave you life, and with it the opportunity, NOT THE GUARANTEE, of having a wonderful, effortless, painless, risk-free, life experience.

    In a world where a dozen families own half the planets wealth. it seems surpassingly silly to blame a generation rather than the relative few who managed to accumulate everything through means not limited to merit.

    The divide and conquer strategy here reaches its zenith. Congratulations. Here’s your participation trophy.

    Who benefits?

  66. bruce wilder

    In a world where a dozen families own half the planets wealth. it seems surpassingly silly to blame a generation . . .


  67. Webstir

    See what you did by defending boomers, S Brennan?
    You summoned reality checker, to try and check my reality check of all you oldsters on here. Unfortunately, he’s as old as dirt too and, therefore, not in the best position to have an opinion.

  68. realitychecker

    Most intelligent people would have figured out by your age that you really don’t know or understand very much about how the world really works, Webstir. And about how our ownselves really work, Webstir.

    Maybe all those years lost to alcoholism slowed your personal development down some? Ya think???

    I really meant it when I suggested that a conversation with your sponsor might be in order. Just show him your ravings, and see what he has to say about it.

    In my ancientness, with my healthy liver, I have had much opportunity to observe that nobody is better at blaming others than an alcoholic.

    Carry on, I don’t live here anymore. You probably forgot that you invited me to not be a stranger here just a few days ago. 🙂

  69. Webstir

    First of all, I love how the boomers on here are all personifying my arguments. If my arguments don’t apply to you because you did everything right, then why defend those that didn’t. Remember, I’m talking about the biggest demographic to ever be born in the U.S., here gang. But it is fascinating to watch the tribalism. Man, those wheelchairs circled quickly to defend their turf. My point.

    Second. Like respect, scorn can also be earned. The boomers collective legacy leans much harder toward scorn, than respect. Am I wrong?

    Also interesting is the fact that hvd in no way even attempted to address the merits of my comment upthread about boomers being victims of the 30 yr mortgage bezzle, just like the generations that followed were victims of the student loan bezzle.

    Finally, reality checker said “In a world where a dozen families own half the planets wealth. it seems surpassingly silly to blame a generation rather than the relative few who managed to accumulate everything through means not limited to merit” to great plaudits from bruce wilder. But, let’s do a simple breakdown. X+ generally wasn’t old enough to vote for Reagan. Remind me again RC? When did the massive concentration of wealth really get rolling? Oh, yeah. Reagan. Who voted for Reagan in a landslide? What nation did those voters live in? And, did that nation during the early 80’s still have an incredibly outsized impact upon global politics? And who allowed the shipping of all that manufacturing overseas and to the non-union south that created this current class of international billionaires?

    So, while your argument looks sexy on first glance RC, upon a little thinking* it becomes obvious you’ve made a specious rhetorical argument. The U.S. (through the Chicago school of economics) led the charge into neoliberalism and the rest of the world pulled up to the trough. The current NY/London financialization fiasco is the result.

    *thinking: it’s hard.

  70. Webstir

    Also worth noting are all the attacks from different commenters in this thread that the only reason the X+ generations want the boomers gone is so that they can inherit their stuff. My argument was that we want you out of power so we can fix the mess you made. No mention of inheritance, at all. Ever.

    Your collective projection* reveals you for who you really are at root. Materialists. The good ol’ ‘me’ generation. An appellation you once wore proudly and now attempt to project upon your critics.

    But, thank for playing, y’all. This has been a revealing trip into your present psychology. The children of Dr. Spock are able to do no wrong.

  71. realitychecker

    Webstir, you are the one missing the point.

    Not all boomers voted for Reagan, just as not all boomers were on the wrong side of everything you decry.

    Yes, thinking is hard, and overgeneralizations are no substitute.

    I remember being young and thinking I already knew everything. That’s where you are now, Webbie.

    Indulge yourself in delusions of grandeur if you must. To me, it just looks like what I call Small Frog In A Small Pond Syndrome. I can’t imagine a smaller pond than small-town Idaho lol.

    I’m 67, and will never be younger, That is true. Enjoy deriding that if you like.

    But it is also true that you will soon be my age, if your liver holds up, and you will be an old alcoholic. So, look to yourself.

    Reality bites. 🙂

  72. Webstir

    Oh, and here come reality checker’s ad hominem alcoholism attacks.
    If you don’t have an argument, attack the person. Right ol’ buddy?
    Didn’t that get you banned for a while?
    I’d hate to see it happen again.
    I generally enjoy your thoughts.

  73. realitychecker

    No desire to inherit, you say???

    No cities, no roads, no museums, no internal combustion engines, no electronics, No psychology. No freedom from infection, polio, smallpox. No modern medicine at all.

    No thousands of years of accumulated civilizing influence to produce a safe enough environment that all your pathetic entitlement claims might be found by some others of your “tribe” to be credible.

    Ingratitude seems to be your greatest virtue. But you are also disingenuous. You do want to inherit everything good that was produced before you, you just also want to shit on those who produced it.

    Your tribe will leave a worse world than we did. Guaranteed.

    I’m done with this conversation.

  74. Willy

    Che and DC, it’s all relative. By comparison with other generations they held the peak of American civilization in their hands (such as it was), and yes, then the younger ones amongst them allowed it to be taken away. Except for maybe the phones and the coffee almost everything is worse today.

  75. Peter

    I would hope some others can see the irony in what our web-footed friend is proposing. We oldsters should turn over power to a minority of youngsters who wish to impose very old failed marxists utopian claptrap on the masses. We are supposed to believe that they are enlightened and they will rule with a generous light hand not the iron fist and crushing boot of a totalitarian NWO.

  76. realitychecker

    Right, Webbie-boy, you slurring others because of their immutable age, A-OK. I am “old as dirt,” and therefore irrelevant. Right? That was what you said just above. That was you, right? Don’t get all virtuous on me now, little frog.

    But me mentioning the truth of what you are, as you have proudly shared here, not OK. Got it. (eye roll)

    You will always be an alcoholic, and you are acting like one on this thread.

    That’s why it gets mentioned.

    You know what the world you leave will probably look like when you are my age? No Soylent Green For You, most likely. Maybe your own darling children will build on what you are doing here, and they will keep you for their own kitchens. And you can be so proud of them.

    Good luck.

  77. Willy

    Every human has the quality of control freak inside them. It’s part of the survival impulse. It’s a good thing for societal advancement, since everybody wants more, easier and better. But it has its limits. Problems happen when people short on the qualities of empathy and rationality attain great power.

  78. Willy

    … and sometimes are allowed back onto the comment sections of websites.

  79. realitychecker

    Willie, I was never banned, you a-hole.

    And I don’t come here anymore mostly because you became the most prolific (masturbatory) comment writer, with your endless inanities and clown act. It was like wading through a diarrhea pond having to put up with your deliberate stupidity. Congrats.

    BTW, you forgot to mention the Internet, above, as one of the things you are grateful for.

    Wherever would you be without the Internet, one wonders. Conducting the psychopath census?

    This time i’m really out.

  80. Willy

    No rc, you’re never out, because you always have to have the last word.

    Your problem is that you continuously muddy your points with all the personal attacks. Maybe muddy is wrong. More like soil. As in soiling your pants. Soiling your pants may get you the attention you crave, but it doesn’t make your point more credible. You do add the comedic element of stomping about on the soilage that’s come down you pant legs, oblivious to the growing mess on the floor, but that kind of comedy only goes so far.

    Wouldn’t it be smarter to just clearly and pithily state your message?

    One of your habits is to continuously rationalize standard conservative views, then tell all us “lefties” that we’re the ones being irrational for not accepting those views.

    Have you ever been to a conservative website? Lefties may be goofy, but righties are just plain nuts. We accept a messy debate process. They even don’t debate – it’s all lockstep soilage. They elected, then worship as a god, somebody who clearly displays a lack of empathy, rationality, and a host of other mental disorders. Some here also did so to send a message to a nearly equally corrupt Democratic party establishment. Maybe those people are pleased that Gen XYZ is turning socialist, possibly as a result of that vote.

    Wouldn’t such things be of much more interest and value to discuss, instead of always soiling up the place?

  81. S Brennan

    Hey Webestir, check up-thread, you’re pegging the ol’ hypocrisy meter.

    “If you don’t have an argument, attack the person. Right ol’ buddy?” – Webstir October 5, 2018

    “S Brennan…you kill people for money…killers get a free ride, moral people [one presumes Webstr] are forced into penury.” – Webstir October 3, 2018 in reply to my comment*.

    My comment was in response to Webestir’s, stating that people born from 1945-65 are monolithic and all identically sharing great wealth/privilege and…when “these people” [people born from 1945-65] are exterminated, the USA will once again be great for people like himself and his generation.

    *I was only able to purchase a house after clearing my student loans and saving for 5 years…at the age of 44.

  82. Webstir

    Looks like a self admitted factual statement to me, S. Brennan.
    Are you having issue with my interpretation of what it means to enter a contract with Uncle Sam to kill people … and then go to school on that money? Because, entering that contract to kill, by definition, makes one a killer, right?
    All I’m doing is removing the flag humping dross our nation hangs over the military.
    Nobody ‘serves their country’ by contracting with the military. They serve the MIC.
    As soon as the draft was gone, so was service. Therefore, designation as a mercenary is strictly correct.
    Remind me how all of this is insulting? Seems to me you simply lack culpability for your choices.

    Please, S. Brennan. Let’s do have this discussion …

  83. S Brennan

    Hey Webestir, you’re pegging the ol’ hypocrisy meter.

  84. Webstir

    Again, S. Brennan, how is that an ad hominem attack? I just interpreted what you told me from the stance of a moral human being.

  85. Webstir

    And for crying out loud … on the larger issue of ad hominem attacks.
    I’m guilty. Yeah, occasionally I snipe.
    We all do it.
    But who here is seriously going to dispute that it became a problem because RC was taking it to a level heretofore unseen — except maybe over at zero-hedge — on the internet?

    Jeeze louis …

  86. Webstir

    See how that works, RC/S Brennan?
    Things I learned in AA.

  87. Michaelmas

    ‘Things I learned in AA.’

    Not on the evidence. On the evidence, you’ve apparently learned nothing.

    What you are is a whiney little wanker, junior. Grow up.

  88. hvd

    Didn’t comment on the bezzle because you were pretty much right there. I would have had nothing interesting to add.

  89. someofparts

    With irritating trifles out of the way, the discourse just soars.

  90. Webstir

    There, there. Let it all out, Michealmas.
    I understand.
    A good insult is cathartic every now and again.
    Reading about how dim a view other people have of your crowded generation for the first time can be a bit discomfiting.
    Get used to it.

  91. Webstir

    Alrighty then. Back on topic.

    By way of insult, Reality checker said upthread:
    “To me, it just looks like what I call Small Frog In A Small Pond Syndrome. I can’t imagine a smaller pond than small-town Idaho lol.”

    Thank you. I will take that as a compliment. I’m just another small frog in a small rural town.
    And that’s the point, right?
    Think globally, act locally?
    Or, better stated, for the purposes of both Ian’s post and the U.S. — Think globally, act rurally?
    Shouldn’t we all be trying to embody that pithy, but profoundly true, instruction?

    For the purposes of Ian’s post, I’ll again relate by anecdote.
    I just bought a 5 bed two bath two car garage plus giant garden and two outbuildings and old growth timer home on two-acres in some of the most pristine land in the U.S. for just over 1.5k. So, I’m not sure Ian has asked the right question.
    Maybe the question should be: Why are ordinary people willing to pay exorbitant prices to live in — hell?
    Kunstler is not wrong.
    So many on here forecast a system doomed to fail, and yet live in the epicenters of failure.
    Why would thinking globally, and acting rurally be taken as an insult?

    In regard to why thinking globally, and acting rurally makes sense for the U.S., I give you our electoral college system.
    Short of its amendment, what’s the most effective way to effect the change so many on these threads long for?
    Move rurally. Pound for pound, the heartland voters own you urbanites. Want to strengthen your voice and your vote — move rurally.
    And as a progressive insurgent who is actually fighting in deep red rural country, I’m damn proud. I’m the type of person I want my Son to grow up to be.

    You insult yourself reality checker.
    I’m sorry.

  92. Webstir


    I hate slapping bugs as much as the next guy.
    Hoping my last comment gets things back to, at least, ambling discourse.

  93. and, the resident troll is back. thus proving that for intelligent conversation to occur on a website, comments need to be moderated somewhat. or this place turns to garbage.
    can’t you just boot trolls permanently? i would be willing to be banned permanently if i never had to read that crap again. you and i and everyone knows that when that guy shows up, it’s just to insult people and try to drag them into arguments.

  94. V

    anon y’mouse
    October 6, 2018

    There is an old saying: Never argue with an idiot, they’ll drag you down to their level and beat you up everytime.

  95. Tom

    And Brett Kavanaugh will be confirmed.

    Susan Collins states she will vote, and Flake has also signed on.

    Susan explaining why notes that Kavanaugh struck down Hamadan’s conviction by a military tribunal as illegitimate (Ironic as Bush thought he would uphold it), upheld Roe v Wade as established precedent stating it is for the legislature to decide to overturn it (something people keep forgetting), upheld access to contraceptives, etc.

    Susan notes that presumption of innocence applies to job interviews and allegations with no corroboration or evidence must be dismissed. Combined with the hired Independent Prosecutor’s notes, it makes a compelling case Dr. Ford lied under oath and she is lucky she won’t be charged after ruining someone’s good name and forcing his family to ride around in an armored van.

    She also rejected the notion Kavanaugh lied, as he admitted to drinking to excess as a teenager, and slang and its meaning varies by person, place, and time, and is not an indicator of lying. It is possible for two people to interpret things very differently and tell the truth.

    That said, if Roe v Wade is really in danger of overturning, the Republicans in Congress can gather up the votes anytime and overturn it with provisos that would make it hard for courts to overturn it. They don’t need the Supreme Court to do it and no case is currently before them that they could even potentially overturn it with.

    All this theater did was mobilize the GOP base and screwed Democrats up for re-election. As usual they chose the wrong fight and the wrong strategy. Americans in the heartlands don’t give a damn about SWJ politics. They care that they have jobs which earn a decent living so they can live a comfortable middle class lifestyle. If Democrats don’t tailor their strategy to that, they will lose in 2020 again with the Rust Belt voting for Trump again.

  96. Hugh

    OT the BLS jobs report covering September 2018. September is end of summer and characterized by job losses in the private sector. Seasonally unadjusted, there was a decline of 618,000 jobs, compared with a loss of 624,000 in 2017 and 329,000 in 2014, my benchmark year (solid not great jobs growth). Net job creation (year to date job growth minus December-January job loss) was 1.508 million versus 1.273 million last year and 1.889 million in 2014.

    Looking at total nonfarm jobs (public and private sectors), private side losses are offset by return to school job gains in September. Seasonally unadjusted, 350,000 jobs were added in September versus 376,000 last year (2017) and 687,000 in 2014. Net job creation so far this year was 1.211 million versus 907,000 in 2017 and 1.520 million in 2014.

    In September, production and nonsupervisory jobs comprised 82.41% of all jobs. This reflects the 80/20 split in our society. It has slowly been rising.

    Real wage data for September won’t be out until the 11th.

  97. Hugh

    Maybe Ian could have another Kavanaugh thread where we could vent our spleen against a corrupt system as opposed to each other.

  98. Willy

    Webstir, northern Idaho? A long while ago I knew a forester who got stationed near Sandpoint, who wasn’t a wimpy guy but was visibly half of something “other”. He loved the scenery but last I heard he moved back to No. Cal. first chance he got. I was in Sandpoint not long ago and didn’t hear any alt-right Deliverance banjos. Seemed nice enough. Would it be hard being a progressive ‘half-other’ out there these days?

  99. Willy

    Maybe Ian could have another Kavanaugh thread where we could vent our spleen against a corrupt system as opposed to each other

    He and his seemed the bullies you could never get along with in college because you committed the crime of them sensing the ethical integrity in you. I see their kind as being in the small minority, but for some reason they ally together more effectively. I would think all of the various people from all of the diverse causes and protest marches we’ve been seeing would at least have a hatred of that specific kind of primitive subhuman in common.

    And don’t trust anybody who pretends to be one of you, but is really a chaos-creating dissembler. Bannon himself has already said that this is how they roll.

  100. Webstir

    Sandpoint, Ketchum (sun valley), and boise are all leftie tolerant. Big out of state coastal money. Not so much as soon as you cross into county jurisdiction. The state legislature is actually passed laws (very similar to our electoral college) that make it nearly impossible for boise to impose its will upon the rest of the state.

    But don’t let ‘em scare ya off. Most are good kind folk with odd political ideas. Highly libertarian typically. But then there is the strong Morman influence down south. Again, kind people with regressive politics.

  101. Webstir

    But, Willy. Wherever that coastal money is … so go the property prices. I’m up in Bonners Ferry. The next little burg north of Sandpoint. Totally different political world, but even more beautiful.

  102. johnm33

    Basic income is not a bad idea and I agree if the ‘money’ is borrowed into existence by the Gov. from the rich then it would only serve the rich. If it was new ‘money’ created by fiat by a contract between Gov. and the citizen with interest charges the same as those paid by the bankers .5% for instance, then it would neither be a hand out nor a burden on general taxation/the real economy. You may need a new public bank to administer it, but if every transaction incurred a fee of 2.5% which went towards paying down the debt, and once you owed more than a years worth of ‘basic income’ then the transaction fee would go to 5% which would go to pay down the oldest debt. 3 years 7.5% and so on.
    Once established, credit could be extended to reflect the amount of transaction tax paid, this could be either as an increase in the ‘universal credit’ payment or could be a reserve of credit which could be accessed in an emergency. Thus there would be every incentive to participate in the economy by providing some service to others.
    If the overburden of debt is to be paid down we have either the lampost option for the creditors or some new way of bringing ‘money’ into the economy.

  103. cripes

    Generation scapegoating is on a par with race-baiting. Only a superficial and vindictive mind would parrot this transparent divide-and-conquer propaganda. It only serves the elites of every generation well-crafted plan to get you to do their dirty work for them. While they shear the wool from your sheepish back.

    Boomer-bashing, promoted by stenographers in the media, is cultivated by outfits like Pete Peterson’s “Fix the Debt” campaign; a crude plot to discredit and defund social security for the COMING generations, like Webstir! So they can feed trillions in SS money to Wall Street filled with Millineal bizniz grads who are assholes just like their predecessors. Like Martin Shkreli, and millions of his millineal clones. Better to worry about them, they’ll be here to screw you long after your parents are gone.

    “Boomers” and everyone else in the 1980’s had their Social Security contributions doubled to cover the benefit bulge. Still waiting waiting for millenneals, like Webstir, to start clamoring to double their contributions to cover their even larger demographic bulge.

    No the “Boomers” didn’t wear the Me Generation label proudly, it was just some New York Magazine cover story for a Tom Wolff article looking for attention. Stop ingesting propaganda.

    Soaring medical expenses and near 0% savings interest, wiped out 401k’s after the crash and, YES, borrowing to fund their children’s overpriced edumacation so they can qualify for barista jawbs, have contributed to a tripling of bankruptcy for Americans 65-74.

    For Millennia, the elites have carefully cultivated racism, sexism, anti-immigrant-ism, religious conflict, language discrimination, ageism and other witchhunts to maintain their death-grip on all the power and money they can grasp. And for just as long, an army of mindless dupes has taken their marching orders from them.

    Talk about carrying water for the 1%.
    What. An. Asshole.

  104. Willy

    Webstir, I’ve long thought that flyover country is what’s between all cities, and not between the coasts as advertised. Should be obvious given all the red/blue county maps available. I’m guessing that in rural areas people eventually come to know everybody, and a sort of self-regulating meritocracy is encouraged, while in high density/population environments more of the wrong factors happen which causes a demand for more government. And the culture spreads out from there. I never saw anything wrong with that, until people started proclaiming the other side as evil, instead of ‘the other’ just living under different life circumstances with different needs. To hear that northern Idaho isn’t the racist survivalist haven it was rumored to be makes me distrust mainstream news sources even more.

  105. Willy

    Generation scapegoating

    It’s time for a more insightful generation speculation. The question I repeatedly asked, wasn’t only: how did the boomers allow their (somewhat) representative government and capitalistic meritocracy (such as it was) to slip away, but also how to reverse this trend. Emotion-raising namecalling adds nothing to any speculations.

    My speculation was that various conditions and characteristics endemic to that specific generation were exploited by an ever present elite kleptocracy (which is ever tricky) which all societies and generations must maintain a vigilance against. The elite kleptocrats have proven themselves skilled and well-funded at disseminating plausible lies which apathetic boomers rationalize or apathetically accept.

    Other generation, such as Greatest, Silent or Millennial… appear/ed more resistant.

    Three quarters of the Republican Party is currently evangelical. To me, this seems a viable starting point. If I was to scapegoat, I’d choose them, and blame the mental flabbiness of faith-based reasoning to which they’re accustomed, for the ease with which kleptocrats can deceive working Americans.

  106. nihil obstet

    The Powell memo is a good starting point. It marks the start of the reseizure of corporate power after the New Deal, through think tanks, lobbying, corporate workplace “education” about the evils of unions, and a conservative Supreme Court. The following year the average annual pay of workers started down. Falling pay made workers susceptible to ginned up explanations of how government was taking away all their money to give to the undeserving and was making it impossible for business to pay decent wages because of all the regulations.

  107. different clue


    The Deep State Assassinations are another good starting point. Numerous young (at the time) boomers looked to people like Dr. King and Robert Kennedy for leadership and guidance. Deep State ( or “para-government” if you prefer) assassins killed them and many others to decapitation-strike the general movement they were leading society towards. After enough such leadership-assassinations, the young boomer masses would of course mill around hopeless and helpless.

    And smooth operator scum like Bill and Hillary Clinton could slither up out of their moral and ethical sewers to fill the leadership vacuum.

  108. Willy


    I almost believe that stuff. There are plenty of would-be mass shooters who might be coerced into gaining even more infamy by going after a famous target. All a deep state operative would have to do is drop better bread crumbs.

    I saw a version of the “deep state” in the corporate world. They were far less tight knit clubs, than they were cultures of drinking buddies who lived by the Goodfellas code of conduct, including kangaroo courts to decide which potential threats should be eliminated. Their entire goal and focus is to make their own lives as enriched as possible without having to do the hard work and risk-taking that’s usually required to get there.

    I think people like Alex Jones do a disservice to understanding their kind by making them sound far too conspiracy theory. Socially destructive good ole boy networks are real.

  109. Webstir


    The comment section is the thing, to catch the conscience of a king.

    It seems the cripes doth protesteth too much.

  110. Webstir

    “I’m guessing that in rural areas people eventually come to know everybody, and a sort of self-regulating meritocracy is encouraged, while in high density/population environments more of the wrong factors happen which causes a demand for more government.”

    There is definitely something to everyone knowing everyone else’s business. Conversely, there can be no doubt debauchery is more easily disguised among the masses. As one who’s been on both sides of the street, it’s a whole lot easier to be an alcoholic in a big city. Get 86’d from one bar and you just move to the next and set up shop. I’m certain this holds true among the infinite variety of vice.

  111. cripes

    Generation-bashing is a media/think tank tactic widely debunked here and elsewhere for those wiling to do a little homework.

    It provides cover, among other things, for destroying social security in particular and social net institutions generally, for ruinous student debt, for un-affordable housing bubbles and so on. Like border families in the Civil wearing Union and Confederate uniforms, it pits sons against fathers and brother against brother. Or negroes against crackers; same play, different players.
    I can assure you Obama’s kids and Zucks kids won’t be concerned with such nonsense. They will know where they really stand.

    Will you?

    This commenter concisely explains why generation-bashing is a cover for numerous ongoing injustices:
    “Stereotypes are especially insidious when they’re seized upon justify penalizing policies – millennials are entitled? Then I don’t feel so bad my state cutting education funding and making them borrow more for college. Baby boomers are all wealthy and staying in the workforce for too long? I guess age discrimination in hiring is no big deal then. Stereotypes tend to be negative and they tend to be used to justify some injustice or maltreatment that’s already occurring”

    Or listen to “The Media’s Bogus Generation Obsession”

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