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Economic things preventing us from sustainability

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Drive till you qualify drives sprawl. Qualify for a mortgage that is, and or just an affordable place to live.

Drive till you qualify drives sprawl

One of the most senseless realities of economics in regards protecting the environment. Drive out from the city till you find an affordable place to live. Drive out till you qualify for a mortgage. Lower income people having to move farther out usually means more driving and sprawl into rural environments. This may be one of the biggest environmental problems we face.

Arms race of raising top salaries among institutions

Map: The salary you need to buy a home in 27 U.S. cities. This post comes via Know More, Wonkblog's social media site.

Map: The salary you need to buy a home in 27 U.S. cities

Here’s definitive proof that San Francisco’s real estate market is insane. HSH.com, a mortgage research site, has estimated how much salary you need to earn to afford the principal, interest, taxes and insurance payments on a median-priced home in 27 metro areas. On a national scale, a buyer who puts 20 percent down would need to earn a salary of $48,604 to afford the median-priced home in America. But that total varies a lot from city to city. Pittsburgh, Cleveland, St. The site's calculations assume that a buyer spends 28 percent of gross monthly income on housing, including principal, interest, taxes and insurance, (in line with industry guidelines for standard "front-end" debt ratios) and makes a 20 percent down payment on a house.

The 5 states with worse income inequality are all on the coasts

Rising wealth gap and motivation. Knowledge Isn’t Power. Regular readers know that I sometimes mock “very serious people” — politicians and pundits who solemnly repeat conventional wisdom that sounds tough-minded and realistic.

Knowledge Isn’t Power

The trouble is that sounding serious and being serious are by no means the same thing, and some of those seemingly tough-minded positions are actually ways to dodge the truly hard issues. The prime example of recent years was, of course, Bowles-Simpsonism — the diversion of elite discourse away from the ongoing tragedy of high unemployment and into the supposedly crucial issue of how, exactly, we will pay for social insurance programs a couple of decades from now. Why the marketplace isn't likely to solve global warming. It would be a lot easier for the marketplace to react if peak oil was the only problem we faced.

Why the marketplace isn't likely to solve global warming

The price of oil would just go up as the true extraction cost of oil rose. For instance, oil prices could rise to reflect the cost of producing oil from sources like North Dakota's Bakken Shale where more has to be done to get the oil out of the ground. Eventually costs would rise so far that the marketplace would find cheaper alternatives. At first, it would shift to natural gas, coal and possibly nuclear, but eventually renewable sources such as wind and solar would be the cheapest alternatives as these other fuels run out or become too expensive. The market could adjust to these true production costs.

Senator James Inhofe tosses snowball in Senate chamber

We've made so much of it a rat race. Would a shorter workweek be good for the economy? Unemployment too high?

Would a shorter workweek be good for the economy?

Doesn't it make sense to distribute the work more evenly? Issues around healthcare financing. Quantitative Easing versus Moore's Law. I wonder if inflation can be viewed in terms of a balance point between these two factors.

Quantitative Easing versus Moore's Law

Quantitative Easing and Moore's Law? When central banks do Quantitative Easing, there is a tendency for inflation to increase as more money is created to chase the same number of goods and services. On the other hand Moore's Law and other technological advances has the effect of pushing down prices in many sectors of the economy. Increased efficiency of manufacturing and new opportunities for creating value at low cost; such as things like "crowd sourceing" on the internet keeps inflation low in other sectors of the economy. Prices and wages fall in some sectors of the economy due to the "Moore's Law" type forces of technology and globalization. Xerox copy price remains stable for decades.

Flaws in the brain drain theory of talent. Robert Reich: Why Americans are screwed and Europeans are not. The U.S. economy is picking up steam but most Americans aren’t feeling it.

Robert Reich: Why Americans are screwed and Europeans are not

By contrast, most European economies are still in bad shape, but most Europeans are doing relatively well. What’s behind this? Two big facts. First, American corporations exert far more political influence in the United States than their counterparts exert in their own countries. In fact, most Americans have no influence at all. Instead, American lawmakers respond to the demands of wealthy individuals (typically corporate executives and Wall Street moguls) and of big corporations – those with the most lobbying prowess and deepest pockets to bankroll campaigns.

The second fact is most big American corporations have no particular allegiance to America. When GM went public again in 2010, it boasted of making 43 percent of its cars in place where labor is less than $15 an hour, while in North America it could now pay “lower-tiered” wages and benefits for new employees. I’m not blaming American corporations.