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Linkfest (January 1, 2010)

In other news..

Which states are facing the worst budget deficits in 2010? A good read.

“Unless you’re North Dakota, you’re probably a state that has had some degree of difficulty or crisis involving finances,” says Arturo Pérez, a fiscal analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), which released its survey of state budget situations earlier this month. “It’s the worst situation states have faced in decades, perhaps going as far back as the Great Depression in some states.”

China Property Bubble May Lead to U.S.-Style Real Estate Slump Anybody surprised?

If he finds the right place, preferably a two-bedroom in the historic Dongcheng quarter, near the city center, he hopes to buy immediately. Act now, he figures, or live with Mom and Dad forever. In the last 12 months such apartments have doubled or tripled in price, to about $400 per square foot. “This year they’ll be even higher,” says Li in the Jan. 11 issue of Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

Harsh lessons we may need to learn again Rugged self-made free-market individualists (lucky conmen) will not like this article.

The first lesson is that markets are not self-correcting. Indeed, without adequate regulation, they are prone to excess. In 2009, we again saw why Adam Smith’s invisible hand often appeared invisible: it is not there. The bankers’ pursuit of self-interest (greed) did not lead to the well-being of society; it did not even serve their shareholders and bondholders well. It certainly did not serve homeowners who are losing their homes, workers who have lost their jobs, retirees who have seen their retirement funds vanish, or taxpayers who paid hundreds of billions of dollars to bail out the banks.

More ammo for the bazooka Have we not seen this show before? We are so fucked!

Treasury has reloaded its bazooka and stands ready to shock and awe the housing market.Though, Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller data showed a fifth month of improvement yesterday, analysts still expect prices to fall 10 percent or more next year as various government supports wind down. Political pressure ahead of midterm elections will likely force the administration to do something in response and Treasury’s Christmas gift of nearly unlimited support for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac gives them a powerful weapon to do so.

“Is Our Tax System Helping Us Create Wealth?” No, but the sheeple still believe otherwise. It is ironic that those screwed over by the idle rich are so willing to defend their oppressors interests.

“Reviving Confidence in the American Economy – China, Investment and the Deficit Hawks” Stating the obvious..

Since the early 1980s, rises in the living standard of middle class United States citizens have not kept up with the gains in labor productivity. Wages in the middle class have been close to flat. At the same time, consumer spending continued to grow abetted by innovations in consumer finance that supported ever-higher levels of consumption for any level of income. The credit crisis of 2008-9 has ended and unmasked the contradictions inherent in this unstable system and also in the international commercial system that has relied upon U.S. consumers as the buyers of last resort since the Second World War. American consumers cannot be both under downward pressure from outsourcing competition and relied upon to be the locomotive of worldwide economic growth.

Why Powerful People, Many of Whom Take a Moral High Ground, Don’t Practice What They Preach Now get a job you lazy, violent non-white man or woman.

Ultimately, patterns of hypocrisy and hypercrisy perpetuate social inequality. The powerful impose rules and restraints on others while disregarding these restraints for themselves, whereas the powerless collaborate in reproducing social inequality because they don’t feel the same entitlement.

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