The Mess That Greenspan Made - Part 19

Though you can put up with a lot of things when you’re young, it’s hard to imagine what life must be like for Daniel Gretz as detailed in this story at the Guardian, but for the more affluent folks in the Bay Area who can afford to work there and live there, that new parental leave law must be pretty sweet.

Spending more than three hours in a car each day is not unusual for Daniel Gretz. Gretz works as a security guard in Milpitas, which is in the southern part of California’s Bay Area. Each morning, he gets in the car and drives about 97 miles up Route 101 from Greenfield where he lives with his brother’s family.

Gretz had grown up in nearby Cupertino and has over the years seen housing and rental prices sky rocket.

“There are more and more people moving outside the Bay and then commuting to work,” says Gretz. Five years ago, when he first moved to Greenfield, his commute was “an hour and 15 minutes max. Now, on a good day, it’s an hour 45 minutes. On Friday, I leave work at 4:30 and not get home until 7 o’clock.”

Trying to survive on hourly pay of $15 an hour, Gretz feels he has no choice but to make the daily trek up and down the 101. Moving closer to Milpitas and San Jose would mean renting a place that would swallow up the majority of his monthly paycheck.

As California becomes the first state to approve a proposal for $15 minimum wage, the question becomes: is $15 an hour enough?

The situation appears to be similar in New York, where $15 an hour will also become the minimum wage, it’s just that the commutes are a little shorter.

Wednesday Morning Links

The Secret Life of Panama City – New Yorker
Fallout From Panama Papers Echoes Around The World – NPR
The Panama Papers’ Sprawling Web of Corruption – NY Times
The Sharing Economy Doesn’t Share the Wealth – Bloomberg
Why oil price slump hasn’t boosted global economy – yet – The Week
San Francisco approves fully paid leave for new parents – Los Angeles Times
What does California’s minimum wage buy? A long commute and a room – Guardian
Workers in NY, California Are Guinea Pigs in a Grand Experiment – Fiscal Times
Cruz win in Wisconsin leaves Trump damaged front-runner – AP
Clinton Can Shrug Off Wisconsin. Trump Can’t. – Bloomberg
Hillary Clinton has had enough of Bernie Sanders – Politico
Trump, We Knew Ye – WSJ

Stocks: 5 things to know before the open – CNN/Money
Street to scour Fed minutes for rate clues – USA Today
This could be a historic moment in the Treasury market – CNBC
The Coming Default Wave Is Shaping Up to Be Among Most Painful – Bloomberg
Labor Department rule sets new standards for retirement advice – Washington Post
Here’s the truth about a controversial new law to protect investors – Marketwatch
Gold retreats as stock market steadies, dollar index rebounds – Reuters
NYU Graduates Seeking $11 Billion of Gold in Ransacked Mine – Bloomberg
Gold Had Its Best Quarter in a Generation. So Where Are the Investors? – US Funds
Why Goldman’s commodity chief wants investors to bet against gold – MarketWatch

U.S. Economic Confidence Index Edges Up to -10 in March – Gallup
There really are too many stores. Just ask the retailers. – Washington Post
How Can a Jobs Recovery So Historic Be So Disappointing? – Atlantic
Long-Term Trends in Employment by Age Group – Advisor Perspectives
European economies show gloomy results in the first quarter – RT News
UK jobs popular with Europeans, but Brits won’t work on the continent – Telegraph
Toronto, Vancouver housing markets continue record-setting pace – CBC
Refinance reboot pushes mortgage applications up 2.7 percent – CNBC
Biggest Banks to Face Tougher Debt Limits to End Too-Big-to Fail – Bloomberg
Janet Yellen’s caution reflects limited room for manoeuvre – FT


We’re Number One?

Via this AP story, something that will keep at least a few people from moving here, which would be a good thing considering that Gallatin County growth rate ranked 24th in nation.

Yes, it’s mostly about guns…

In Montana, with the highest rate, suicide prevention coordinator Karl Rosston acknowledges some frustration as the toll rises, including the recent deaths of several teenagers who used guns from their own homes.

One of Montana’s hardest-hit areas is the city of Butte and surrounding Silver Bow County, where, according to local health director Karen Sullivan, the rate of gun ownership is far above the national average.

Tuesday Morning Links

Greece: Endgame for the IMF-EU Feud over Greece’s Debt – Spiegel
Lagarde Sees Political Dangers Galore With Global Economy Tepid – Bloomberg
The Panama Papers leak, explained with an adorable comic about piggy bank – Vox
The real welfare queens are our legislators, not food-stamp recipients – Washington Post
Gov. Brown Admits $15 Minimum Wage Does Not Make Sense –
The boomer retirement meme is a big lie – The Burning Platform
Is Ted Cruz Still the Anti-Establishment Candidate? – Slate
Why Bernie Sanders will be irritating Hillary Clinton thru July – Telegraph
‘It Was Riotous’: An Oral History of the GOP’s Last Open Convention – Politico
Economic models predict GOP White House, even with Trump – The Hill
Trump’s debt-elimination plan is simply bonkers – MSNBC
Donald Trump’s German Flop – Handelsblatt

Stocks: 5 things to know before the open – CNN/Money
CEO ‘outlook’ is key to this earnings season – USA Today
Technician: Market in ‘Slow-Grinding Bear’ Until 2017 – FSO
Oil prices slide, dent stocks ahead of confab to freeze output – Marketwatch
Oil glut up close: How Cushing copes with full crude tanks – Reuters
Goldman Questions Rally, Fears Event Risk Amid Record VIX Longs – Zero Hedge
Wall Street is betting the ‘great dollar correction’ is just beginning – Marketwatch
Gold snaps two-day decline as European stocks slide – Reuters
A Warning for Gold Bugs: This Rally Won’t Last – WSJ
Hedge funds aren’t wavering on gold price rally –

A capitalist critique of consumerism – The Week
The consequences of Brexit for UK trade and living standards – voxeu
A History of Technology, Via the Consumer Price Index – Atlantic
Food prices have stabilized, but analysts see another crisis on the horizon – Quartz
India’s fast-growing economy just got a shot in the arm – CNN/Money
Subprime-Housing Risks Raise Red Flags in China – WSJ
Differing Views on Long-Term Inflation Expectations – SF Fed
BOJ’s Kuroda says he is ready to ease more – Fiscal Times
Fed’s Evans: Market more pessimistic on U.S. rate hikes – Reuters
Bond yields and helicopters – Coppola Comment


Demographic Trends – No Joke

My guess is that a lot of people in the U.S. would like for the chart below, from this Pew Research study on demographic trends, to be some sort of a joke. It’s not.

Living in California a decade or more ago I recall when the White population there dropped below 50 percent and the headlines read “Whites now a minority”. This trend has continued and, last year, the headlines read “It’s official: Latinos now outnumber whites in California“. Absent some major cultural changes, expect more of the same.

There’s lots more in the report, such as two-parent households dropping from 87% to 69% over the last 50 years and, of course, major shrinkage of the middle class during that time.

© 2010-2011 The Mess That Greenspan Made