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September 05, 2006



Yep, wouldn't it be neat if the Dems proposed abolishing the mortgage interest deduction?

Another train that is leaving the station is SS/entitlement reform. As the boomer's retire, reform will likely require a catastrophe.


The Fair Tax plan eliminates the mortgage interest deduction, but it is worth it.


...greater unionization and repealing saving incentives."


That oughta' work great.

Are there any ideas beyond wealth redistribution that these people could agree to?

Just askin'?


on the market now for three months.

Three months? My goodness, an eternity to sell a house. (/sarcasm off)

Wilson's a Liar

It does suck if you get caught trying to sell your house when the housing market turns. I've been lucky every time I have sold a house and when I've bought, but I know plenty of people who haven't. And they survived.

The single most powerful lobbying group in the U.S. right now is the National Association of Realtors. So you don't need to worry about anything happening to the mortgage interest deduction. Even Charlie Rangel won't go there if he ends up chairing Ways and Means.

Lost my Cookies

I think it's interesting that the Wapo went looking for "Mortgage Moms" who were worried about the future and came up with a judge and an assistant clerk of court.



Real estate markets are always local. So it could tank in some spots but not in others.

That said I've always thought this real estate market would tank. Which I'd admit isn't exactly a feat of prediction. The issue being the ARM, and other even more questionable mortgage vehicles, mortgages coming due with rate hikes and vastly increased tax assessments because of wildly inflated home values.


Yes, but they don't tell you what condition the house is in. What the asking price is. Where it is located. Just they have had it on the market for 3 months.


At NewsBusters, Mark Finkelstein wrote of Boston Globe article insulting WalMart Workers:
"Wal-Mart claims its low prices saved the average family $2,300 last year. Which is great, until you compare it to that $3,200 premium unskilled workers could make if they had a union shop."

Here the Globe engages in some classic static analysis. They apparently assume that if Wal-Mart were to pay each worker $3,200 more per year, everything else would remain the same. But the roughly $3.8 billion in higher labor costs such a raise would represent [given Wal-Mart's 1.2 million employees] would invariably translate into higher prices, reduced sales, and in turn fewer jobs, in a cycle that could ultimately send Wal-Mart the way of Woolworth's.

Note the faulty logic. What is truly inane about using a court clerk for the housing piece is we know she's not getting transfered to another city/state. We also know that she is rather a dim bulb as this is now Sept. Do you know many parents that suddenly decide to sell a house and hope to be into a new one in June? Most parents are most concerned about school schedules unless they are determined to stay in same school district.
In that case our court clerk with house on market for 3 months, if only looking for more space in same area can reduce her asking price knowing that she will also be able to reduce her offering price for any larger home in the same area/school district.
Any one want to bet both Judge and court clerk are Dems/Dems appointee/Dem patronage job.

Florence Schmieg

When don't the Dems "see an opportunity". This election season is already getting boring.

Daniel DiRito

Mom's Mad...Somebody's In Big Trouble!

If soccer, security, and now mortgage moms are all angry; someone better look out. While the GOP plans to invoke national security and the fear of terrorism, issues that worked well in 2002 and 2004, it is hard to imagine they would be sufficient to overcome what holds the most weight with moms, the economic security of their own families.


Paul Zrimsek

I've been following this debate on various economically-inclined blogs and I can't begin to tell you how bemused I am by the whole thing. All these years I've looked down my nose (spitefully!) at the less open-minded, more partisan confreres who've been telling me that liberalism is motivated by envy; but what's the point of giving the devil his due if the devil refuses to accept it?

Krugman seems to be making a career out of refusing to learn from his own experience, doesn't he? You'd think that being surrounded by people who are consumed with envy for reasons having nothing to do with money would cure him of the idea that we can fix envy by moving money around.

Patrick R. Sullivan

Hmm. Any academics ever engage in intellectual status-seeking, conspicuous consumption, within their profession? I think I just read an article about which economists are the the most cited in the profession.

I've even heard of some intellectually insecure professors deleting comments from their blogs that made the professor look not quite as intelligent as he thought he was.


I've always felt that the center-left academic and journalistic obssession with inequality and the superrich, with status and envy, is a form of projection. Most normal people don't begrudge big-shot salaries and perquisites--they just want more stuff themselves.

Speculation 1: The NY factor. New York City (esp. Manhattan) is more of a zero-sum place than anywhere else in the US. The shortage of space means that getting a few more square feet in your apartment is a big deal, and there really isn't much room to enjoy consumption goods for their own sake. When people want to get together with friends, they have to go out to restaurants and bars because their abodes are too darn small. So having the right friends and getting into the right places is disproportionately important.

Speculation 2: "If you're so rich, why aren't you smart?" Journalists and academics confuse a facility with words and/or abstract concepts with overall intelligence and sagacity. They also confuse economic value with intrinsic merit. Hence they get upset when those they perceive as intellectually inferior have a lot more stuff than they do.

Speculation 3: Academics and journalists are especially dependent on peer recognition for advancement and job security. Hence, they are extremely sensitive to rankings of all kinds.

Try your own hand at unsupported speculation! It's easy and fun!

Joe Mealyus

Actually, the "reader revolt" was pretty weak stuff, except for the two amazing James Galbraith mini-lectures on Thorstein Veblen.

"Please excuse the conspicuous erudition displayed here. It's the poor academic's one little weapon..."

If Galbraith wasn't funny enough, there's always the fact that Delong actually links to a comment by "Blissex" at Jane Galt, by saying that "Blissex takes on the role of Apostle to the Gentiles, and tries to shed light on the issues."


"To me this is is a thoroughly vile and utterly dishonest misrepresentation of the position of DeLong.... Shame ''Jane Galt'', shame on you, and shame on Mankiw too...."

Is the "Apostle to the Gentiles" usually used as shorthand for "thuggish toady?" (How about "Blissex takes on the role of Ed McMahon doing a small, mean favor for Johnny?")


Funny about the jets and envy.

It reminds me of my old boss, when he was going to his 10 year High School reunion in a working class town. He bought an expensive suit, expensive watch, and got himself a Porsche. At the reunion, however, all his classmates were too awed by another classmate's new Firebird to notice his foreign car.

There is also the flip side of the envy argument. How many middle class people have been reminded to not "put on airs" and not "sell out"? Isn't there often some pressure to remain in your own social class?

Tom Maguire

If Galbraith wasn't funny enough, there's always the fact that Delong actually links to a comment by "Blissex" at Jane Galt, by saying that "Blissex takes on the role of Apostle to the Gentiles, and tries to shed light on the issues."

That was classic.

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