Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Royal baby birth on the cheap? Why US births can cost much more. -

Royal baby birth on the cheap? Why US births can cost much more.
"For women without insurance in the United States, or for the 62 percent of women in private insurance plans that lack maternity coverage, the cost of maternity care could range from $4,000 to $45,000.
Comparatively, the cost of delivery at the duchess’s posh birthing suite, the same place where Princes William and Harry were born in the 1980s, reportedly costs up to £10,000, or about $15,300."

It’s Not Everyone’s Time to Buy a Home -

It’s Not Everyone’s Time to Buy a Home -

Carl Richards

There is absolutely no reason I should be making decisions based on something he said. The same is true for any other “expert” who decides to share his guess about what he thinks will happen next in the housing market.
The same holds true for the other three people who just happened to express similar concerns to me about buying right now. Two were convinced that if they didn’t buy a house now, they’d be priced out of the market, and maybe they will be. But I heard that argument a lot in 2005-6."
"So if you’re struggling with this decision to buy (or sell), take a minute to think through these questions and write down the answers, because I suspect you’ll need to refer back to them the next time somebody decides to share what he thinks will happen with housing market. This list is not meant to be prescriptive. It is meant to get you thinking about something other than forecasts and guesses.
■ Can you afford it, and do you have enough saved for a down payment? Make sure you include the cost for things like property taxes, homeowner association fees and utilities.
■ Can you qualify for a loan? If the answer right now is no, then you can stop torturing yourself, because it doesn’t matter if the market is about to take off. You can’t buy a house.
■ How long do you plan to live in the home? There’s some debate about the minimum time you should live in a home for it to be worthwhile, but if it’s less than five years, forget about it.
■ What guess are you making about housing prices? It is a painful reality that the one variable that makes a huge difference in this decision is unknowable. What is going to happen to housing prices in the short term is anyone’s guess. But for your own sanity, just assume that housing prices will continue to increase by about the long-term average of inflation, or 3 percent. You really can’t afford to buy a house if the decision depends solely on what the house might one day be worth."

Most in US say nation is headed off track: NBC-WSJ poll - Yahoo! Finance

Most in US say nation is headed off track: NBC-WSJ poll
"Some 61 percent of Americans polled say the nation is headed off on the wrong track compared to 29 percent who say it's headed in the right direction; that compares to the 53 percent and 41 percent, respectively, findings last December in the wake of President Obama's re-election.
Mr. Obama's own job approval has declined to 45 percent, with 50 percent disapproving; that's down from 53-43 percent in December. Congress drew its worst approval score in the quarter-century history, with just 12 percent approving and 83 percent percent disapproving. Americans rate House Speaker John Boehner negatively by a two to one margin, with 36 percent expressing negative views and 18 percent positive."
"In the wake of the Zimmerman trial for the shooting deal of Trayvon Martin, some 52 percent of Americans call U.S. race relations good, 44 percent bad. But that conceals an enormous racial disparity, since 58 percent of African-Americans describe race relations as bad. While 59 percent of whites say the U.S. is a place where people are judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin, on 19 percent of blacks agree."

Monday, July 22, 2013

Detroit, and the Bankruptcy of America’s Social Contract

Detroit, and the Bankruptcy of America’s Social Contract - Robert Reich
"It’s roughly analogous to a Wall Street bank drawing a boundary around its bad assets, selling them off at a fire-sale price, and writing off the loss.  Only here we’re dealing with human beings rather than financial capital. And the upcoming fire sale will likely result in even worse municipal services, lousier schools, and more crime for those left behind in the city of Detroit. In an era of widening inequality, this is how wealthier Americans are quietly writing off the poor."

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Goldman and Other Big Banks Should be Banned from Commodities Trading

Goldman and Other Big Banks Should be Banned from Commodities Trading
"Name me one market these banks haven`t tried to manipulate or Rig? Whether it is the recent settlements or future settlements in the Power Industry or the many manipulative practices discussed regarding “Metals Warehousing” to outright manipulation of key commodities by artificially taking supply off the market which has happened many times in the history of the oil markets.
The point is these firms cannot be trusted, their past behavior in anything market related from CDS, MBS to levering up their balance sheets by 40 to 1 ratios, should serve as a warning to any critical regulative body that it is a bad idea to let them “play” around in any essential commodity that consumers rely on for daily living purposes."