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Comment Vibrant economy? (Score 1) 54

Regarding "The country's IT industry is booming in Brazil -- still Latin America's most vibrant economy", I think one can make a better case for Chile.

Brazil's 5-year compound annual growth is 1%, and last year GDP growth was -3.8%. Brazil GDP per capita is $15,615, most recent unemployment was 12%, and inflation is 9%.

Chile's 5-year CAGR is 3.9%, and last year GDP growth was 2.1%. Chile GDP per capita is $23,460, with unemployment 6.8%, and inflation 4.3%.

IT outsourcing is more mature in Brazil than Chile, and Brazil's overall GDP is six times larger than Chile's, yes. But is Brazil's economy really "vibrant"?

Comment Re:Globalization vs. Protectionism (Score 4, Informative) 202

[This entire post regards the United States]

Uh, 5% unemployment at historically-high labor force participation rates? We're not at peak, but we're above the 59% historical labor force maximum participation rate.

See US Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate which is currently 62.9%, down from a peak of just over 67% 1998-2000, now back to a level reached in mid-1977. It has been flatlined for about 2 years.

But yes, the labor force participation rate is higher than when women worked in the kitchen barefoot & pregnant...

You might be thinking of the Civilian Employment-Population Ratio which is at 59.9%, a level equivalent to Dec. 1984. It has been rising since July, 2011.

Regarding wages, Average Hourly Earnings of Production and Nonsupervisory Employees: Total Private is currently at an all-time high, $21.84/hour.

If you'd like to adjust for hours worked and inflation, and look at a median instead of an average, Employed full time: Median usual weekly real earnings: Wage and salary workers: 16 years and over is also at an all-time high of $348 1982-84 CPI Adjusted Dollars, but frankly that isn't too much higher than $335 in 1979, but above the lowest point of $309 in 1981.

Over the last 10 years, the following costs are up: food, health care, child care, vehicle maintenance, and college is way up. On the other hand these prices have fallen slightly: housing, personal care, clothing, cell phone service, and these are much less expensive: toys, computers, televisions.

Unemployment was 0.1% higher in January 2017 than December 2016--no surprise, there's always that slump.

At least the total number of jobs has been increasing since March, 2010.

Comment Re:Good on him (Score 1) 225

If he really wanted to improve US transportation he'd invest in some 200+mph railways that europe and japan have had for decades which have pretty much killed off a lot of short distance air routes.

It is a far longer drive from LA Union Station to SpaceX than LAX to SpaceX...

Comment Re:Harsh Rental Practices (Score 1) 490

We have multiple vacant homes for every homeless man, woman, and child in this country, as a result of the mortgage scam bailout.

Most recent data on US home vacancy rates is 1.8% in 2015, down from a max of 2.8% in 2008. Current home vacancy rates are no different than they were in say 1989 or 2001. Thus, I suspect that your theory on mortgage bailouts is probably not correct.

That said, your numbers are right - average nightly homelessness in the US is about 500,000, whereas there are probably 2.2 million vacant homes. 1.56 million people are homeless at some point in a year.

Purchase Only House Price Index for the United States is at an all time high now, after recovering from a bottom in 2011, suggesting little slack in the housing market.

But yes, I am sure there are some places like Detroit where you can't even give away a house. But we don't have enough housing built where people can have high-productivity jobs.

Comment Re:Quads are good in small scale due to propeller (Score 1) 47

A 10 foot prop makes over ten times as much thrust as a 3 foot prop, so having four props of 3 feet each is very inefficient compared to a single 10 foot prop.

But I bet that quadcopters have less blade-vortex interaction interaction noise, or at least it is at a less annoying frequency than "whop whop".

Comment Re:The Housing Supply is TOO DAMN LOW! (Score 1) 490

Or, you know, don't live in cities. Many of us don't like them...Why is a city the only answer?

I don't think there is any reason to force people to live in cities. Everyone has a different set of trade-offs, that is what the free market is all about.

However there also is no reason to have high levels of housing construction regulation to artificially reduce city populations. And these regulations specifically damage the overall economy.

Regarding cities, three quarters of aggregate U.S. growth between 1964 and 2009 was due to growth in second-tier cities (such as Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Washington DC).

Labor productivity and labor demand actually grew most rapidly in New York, San Francisco, and San Jose thanks to a concentration of human capital intensive industries like high tech and finance. However, these cities were not able to best turn that productivity into high levels of economic growth because tight housing supply constraints effectively limited employment growth in these cities.

Comment Re:Harsh Rental Practices (Score 4, Informative) 490

And there still isn't any inventory to buy.

Did you vote for a politician who promised to lower regulatory barriers to home building? I'm sure the Libertarian Party of Orange County would welcome you, because I can assure you that Democrats and Republicans there are both against any new home building.

Irvine City Council candidate Courtney Santos said:

Increase supply of housing
Dialogue with developers and UCI to better understand barriers to building housing that they have experienced
Ensure efficiency in the permitting process
Be mindful that developers will pass on fees incurred during permit process to renters or buyers
Remove legal or zoning barriers to affordable, sustainable microhousing and tiny houses
Support zoning more high-density areas to allow modern solutions for living spaces for single professionals and students, such as micro-apartments and studios
Deregulate duplexes - for example, why can't property owners determine for themselves how much floor space to devote to a second unit? "The floor area of a second unit shall not exceed 30 percent of the floor area of the existing living area" (Zoning Ch. 3-26-3).
Encourage dialogue about innovative housing practices like co-housing and cooperatives
Orange County in general has a massive housing shortage (estimates vary; 40,000 to 100,000 more units may be needed countywide). Irvine is one of the cities with highest demand.

Comment The Housing Supply is TOO DAMN LOW! (Score 2) 490

The BIGGEST problem in the US is the over-regulation of residential building in the most productive cities that keeps the housing supply artificially low.

In the study "Why Do Cities Matter? Local Growth and Aggregate Growth", the authors show that lowering regulatory constraints on housing in high productivity cities like New York, San Francisco and San Jose to the level of the median city would expand their work force and increase U.S. GDP by 9.5%. That is three or more years of current economic growth rates "for free".

Increasing density in these cities is simple. For example, see these reasonable designs for enhanced density while maintaining green space and livability. You don't have to be like Toronto with 37 residential towers over 46 stories. You can achieve a density of 100,000 people per square mile using a mix of buildings up to 8 stories tall.

To see how screwed-up things have become, 40% of buildings in Manhattan would be illegal to build today, because of height, too many residential units, or too much mixed-use between residential and commercial.

More people living in the most productive cities will also increase the tax bases there, allowing for more investment in transport, education, etc. However transport needs would decline (or at least stay the same) if most new residents live inside these cities instead of the distant exurbs.

Comment Re:Hard Numbers (Score 3, Insightful) 307

Humanity has basically no experience with radiation levels this high.

There are higher radiation levels inside an operating reactor. And humanity deals with spent fuel pools with similar level of radioactivity all the time. The difference is that those situations have the spent fuel sealed inside fuel rods and safely shielded by lots of water rather than spread out across the floor, in the air, etc.

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