Cauliflower Gone Wild
The new "designer" cauliflower comes in bright neon colors. I saw all of these colors at the Minneapolis Farmers' Market 2 weeks ago.
Professor Mark J. Perry's Blog for Economics and Finance
More data above in the chart (click to enlarge) from Swedish think tank Timbro to support economist Walter Williams' claim that:
There is some lively discussion in the comments section of this recent post about poverty, Sweden, income inequality, etc. One issue is about the unemployment rates in Sweden vs. the USA, which are displayed in the graph above. Over the last 15 years, the average jobless rate in Sweden was 7.3%, more than two percentage points higher than the U.S. average of 5.2%. I think it would safe to assume that if Sweden was a U.S. state, it would have had the highest unemployment rate in the country since 1993, higher even than Mississippi, Michigan or Alaska.
Yes, John Edwards, there really are "Two Americas": One America for those who work for the government and make almost $62,000 on average (wages and benefits), and another America for those saps who work in the private sector who earn $6,000 less on average ($55,470), see chart above (click to enlarge).
From the Hispanic Pundit, in response to this CD post "Our Poor Are the Envy of the World's Poor:"
The Department of Commerce reported today that disposable income, adjusted for inflation, grew by 3.9% in September compared to the same month a year ago (Table 10 in the report), which marks the 14th consecutive month that real disposable income has increased by 2.9% or higher (the approximate average growth rate since 1970, see horizontal line in graph above).
The Internet is a tightly controlled privilege in Cuba, reserved for the trusted elite. Private citizens are prohibited from buying computers or accessing the Internet without special authorization. Access in Cuba is limited to citizens who can prove they are engaged in research or connected to an accredited and approved institution.
It was first reported in the Indian press that "A record-breaking performance by India's stock markets has put the industrialist Mukesh Ambani at the top of a list of the world's richest people.
NY Times Editorial Sugar’s Sweetheart Deal:
The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting richer, says George Mason economist Walter Williams:
Get ready, it's coming soon. Read about it here at Forbes.
CNBC featured the CD chart above on Larry Kudlow's show last night, based on this CD post.
Fortune has an excellent article about subprime mortgages, with a detailed analysis of a specific $494 million mortgage-backed security (MBS) issued by Goldman Sachs (GSAMP Trust 2006-S3) in 2006 backed by second-mortgages, probably typical of many other MBSs issued by Goldman Sachs, Merrill-Lynch, and other investment banks. Here are some details of the GSAMP Trust-2006 S3 MBS:
Number of individual second-mortgages in Goldman Sachs' GSAMP Trust 2006-S3 MBS: 8,274
Average equity that the second-mortgage borrowers had in their homes: 0.71%
Average loan-to-value of the issue's borrowers: 99.29%
Percentage of loans originated in California: More than 33%
Percent of loans that were no-documentation or low-documentation: 58%
Number of tranches created in the MBS: 13
Number of tranches that were originally investment-grade: 10 (see chart above)
Percent of the MBS originally rated investment-grade: 68%
Number of tranches currently investment-grade: 3
Number of tranches currently in default: 6
Moody's projection of Moody's projection of loans that would default: 10%
Actual number of loans in default in September 2007: 18%
Read the article for more details, it's fascinating.
Bottom Line: Given that most of the original borrowers had no equity in their homes, the only way this story could have turned out positive is if home prices had continued to appreciate. It's also amazing and surprising that Moody's and and S&P could have rated 68% of the issue investment grade.
From economist Thomas Sowell's op-ed Political "Solutions":
From the WSJ's editorial today Wall Street Reckoning: A CEO gets "marked to market":
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette -- When the housing market slows, some home sellers drop their asking price. Others give buyers allowances to cover the cost of upgrades or offer help with financing.
From the Minneapolis-St. Paul StarTribune:
Hindustan Times: The Indian-American community passed another milestone with the election on Saturday of Bobby Jindal to the governorship of Louisiana, the highest US political post any Indian community member has won.
From "Making Sense of Income Inequality" by Diana Furchtgott-Roth: