The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
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Tens of millions of lost jobs, the largest trade deficits in history, the sharpest GDP decline in modern American history--and yet business applications are booming. The figures are staggering: Nationwide, business applications are up over 82% from the same time last year, with every single state recording double-(or triple-)digit percentage increases. Seems a little strange,... Read More
Extrapolating from these poll results, well over 100 million Americans do not expect the Trump administration to go gently into that good night after Joe Biden is declared the president-elect: The 12% of respondents who answered "not sure" are included in these results of the residuals that are not shown. Among those with an opinion,... Read More
The Democrats are increasingly the party of the rich and poor, Republicans of the middle and those at risk of sliding out of it: Like other demographic trends--racial, educational, religious, marital--this bodes well for Democrat electoral prospects in the future. The ranks of the top are growing a little, the ranks of the bottom are... Read More
the Fed stands alone, hi low the dollar goes, the Fed stands alone: China may gradually reduce its holdings of US Treasury bonds to about $800 billion from the current level of more than $1 trillion, as the ballooning US federal deficit increases default risks and the Trump administration continues its blistering attack on China,... Read More
Sharing the COTW consulship, dfordoom raises an objection familiar to proponents of American political dissolution: I’m unsure of how political dissolution leads to "Whitestan" (or Whiteland, to hew closer to its cultural antecedents and has already been imagined in the future). The closest thing to an active independence movement in the US is explicitly multiracial.... Read More
216's COTW suggests a more palatable term for political dissolution than "secession": It will be especially rhetorically effective with Biden as president. His signature foreign policy plan in the late aughts was to softly partition Iraq into three federalized states so each could function effectively on its own instead of trying to force three separate... Read More
Tom Schmidt's COTW: There is a big difference between this extorted wealth and the productive capacity that deteriorates as a consequence of receiving it. Swiping your credit card in return for consumer goods and services is a nice way to live while it lasts, but it induces a habituation of living beyond your means. When... Read More
More evidence UBI is coming. It's implicitly already here. It's a question of when, not if, its perpetual recurrence becomes codified into law: It is almost unheard of for an action explicitly tied to Trump to be this popular. Even Democrats are split down the middle. To say it's a winning issue for the president... Read More
COTW from nebulafox on where the real power center of the modern Democrat party lies: After the GOP transitions into a perennial minority opposition party following this November's elections, the progressive wing of the ruling party will begin its process of pulling away from the neo-liberal establishment in earnest. While the progressives are still outnumbered... Read More
Does your faith in the integrity of the electoral process need shoring up? Spend more time in academia: Four other responses--"a moderate amount" (28%), "only a little" (15%), "none at all" (11%), and "not sure" (11%)--were offered, so maybe it's not as bad as it looks at first blush. On the other hand, if Americans... Read More
The COTW consulship begins with Dissident on equality of outcome and equality of opportunity: Diversity, liberty, or equality: Choose one. Or radically decentralize political power and maybe, just maybe, the first two can be simultaneously enjoyed. And if some of those localized polities want to heavily emphasize the third, it's conceivable we might have all... Read More
A tale of four charts: In late 2018, the Fed timidly tried to raise rates. The market went into free fall. The Fed promptly reversed course by cutting rates close to zero. The repurchase market went haywire several months later. The Fed intervened to prop it up. When coronavirus hit, the market collapsed again. With... Read More
Until a sufficiently effective vaccine is available, the basic activities that characterize life in the modern West will remain unavailable. "Not sure" responses, constituting 16% of the total, are excluded: Over the last few months, $3 trillion in wealth was taken from the unconnected lower and middle classes and transferred to the well-connected, richest, and... Read More
Each category is mutually exclusive so there is no double counting (Jews may be of any race but all other groups are non-Jewish and Hispanics may be non-Jews of any race but the other racial groups are exclusively non-Hispanic). Social class is self-reported. It correlates with income, education, and occupational prestige but not perfectly so.... Read More
DforDoom is true to his handle: There has been nothing like a massive backlash in South Africa, and the situation is far more dire there. On the other hand, the Afrikaners are facing hard repression. That's not the case in America, where things are by necessity softer. If the hundreds of millions of Americans who... Read More
The Federal Reserve is stuck. There is no way to raise interest rates without crashing the market. That was made clear in late 2018. The Fed balance sheet must continue to rise towards infinity in hopes that it is enough to goose the financial system forever. Even that hasn't been enough for the repurchase markets,... Read More
Kamala Harris is the people's choice: Her advantage over Elizabeth Warren runs the demographic gamut. The only exception is among voters under thirty years of age, a notoriously unreliable cohort. Harris even beats Warren among Democrat primary voters who self-describe as politically liberal. Harris has a huge advantage over Warren among Hispanics (37% to 16%),... Read More
The following table shows the percentages of reported stolen property that ends up being recovered and returned to its rightful owner: In just 1 out of every 25 jewelry thefts, the stolen jewelry is recovered. Those dismal percentages are for items victims bothered to go through the process of reporting. The recovery rates for filched... Read More
Most Americans aren't buying Woke Capital's pledge to Be Better in the War on Racism: There are only two possible responses to "In the wake of the protests against the deaths of African Americans during encounters with police, many companies have responded by making anti-racism statements that include commitments to equality, instituting new diversity initiatives... Read More
Defunding oppressive cops, protests against perceived brutality, five-fingered discounts, cities on fire, the formation of autonomous zones, BLM's corporate cashout putting Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Push Coalition to shame, and the shameless cultural appropriation of corrupt geriatrics haven't been enough to turn reparations into a popular cause, at least not yet. "Not sure" responses, constituting 22%... Read More
UK's COTW: Yes, it is fundamentally immoral (a word I do not use ever) that the S&P 500 should be so fully secured by the state that it can be at its record high from equity super-boom October of just last year. It really is a case of playing at the casino, keeping your winnings... Read More
For growth in personal income, anyway: Incomes are up, consumer prices are down, the dollar is invincible, and only nonsensical doomerists think deficits matter. Extend the CARES act unemployment provisions set to expire at the end of July, make the stimulus checks recurring, and prosperity is here to stay. We cracked the code. We're richer... Read More
When the US began shutting down in response to fears about an impending coronavirus catastrophe, we asserted the health effects would pale in comparison to the economic carnage the pandemic would initiate. That take drew equal amounts of derision and incredulity. Clarifying that coronavirus was the match starting the conflagration rather than the dry brush... Read More
UBI, junior addition, is wildly popular: The senior addition is pretty popular, too: Republicans, led by the president, initially got to the left of Democrats with the onetime payout to all tax-filing American adults. As the extent of the economic carnage comes into public focus, congressional Democrats are pivoting past the ground the populist wing... Read More
Food prices are going up: That monthly increase puts the US on pace to see a 20% increase in food prices over the next year. The consensus is to dismiss that extrapolation as doomerist nonsense. I guess I'm a doomerist. To repeat: Consumer price increases are coming. The total CPI declined because travel, lodging, and... Read More
Percentages of Americans, as of the end of April, who say restaurants should probably or definitely re-open, with the 6% answering "not sure" excluded so that the residuals are those why say they should probably or definitely remain closed: Though a sizable minority wants to open back up, most people want to keep things closed.... Read More
COTW from nebulafox: How could the coronavirus be leveraged to this end, that of allowing those who want to work hard and to work honestly to support a family with dignity? The Fed and Treasury have pledged as much monetary and fiscal stimulus as it takes to get through this crisis--a crisis that is going... Read More
From the GSS 2010 onward (N = 7,886), the percentage of native-born Americans who belong to or have spouses who belong to labor unions is 13.1%. For foreign-born residents, the figure is 9.3%. Natives are thus over 40% more likely to be union members than immigrants are. The AFL-CIO and Jeff Bezos are both big... Read More
COTW two-fer, starting with an anecdote from Jay Fink: These unemployment-plus benefits are in place through July. Does anyone think that, three months out from the general election, anyone from either party is going to oppose extending them through the end of the year, or of even making them permanent? If we wanted to conjure... Read More
Bold Brian or Callous Kemp? Mostly the latter, though it depends on who you're asking. If it's people who voted for the Georgia governor, there's an elevated chance for the former, but the odds are still long. The following graph shows the percentages of Americans who believe it will be safe to fire things back... Read More
Crude oil for May delivery plunged into negative territory today, the first time such a thing has ever happened. We have negative interest rates so why not negative rates for other prices? After all, an interest rate is fundamentally the price of money. I'm being facetious--mostly. The indications are everywhere. The global credit system is... Read More
Amazon ships food, but the company doesn't grow it. Netflix has plenty of cooking shows, but the company doesn't do any cooking. While backyard gardens are quaint, serious food production isn't something that can be done by people who are sheltering in place. Domestic production is being disrupted: Similar production problems are happening in other... Read More
Rusted Wardrobe? Rotted Retailville? Coin something as memorable and pithy as the phrase "Rust Belt" and you'll have made a lasting contribution to the lexicon, because the service sector shuttering is upon us. The desolation of the country's brick-and-mortar retail spaces, including bars, restaurants, botique shops, and the like will change the face of the... Read More
Majorities favor closing everything putatively non-essential. The following graph shows an index by sex, race, and partisan affiliation who maintain the minority position and think various things should remain open. It is calculated by taking the simple average by demographic characteristic across the thirteen things the survey asked about keeping open. The subsequent table shows... Read More
There is strong bipartisan (and non-partisan) support for showering the country with money. From the redwood forests to the gulf stream waters, this helicopter money was made for you and me. Yeah, ideally the Imperial capital's theater would be cut out, but it's a giveaway that can be overlooked. Support, by partisan affiliation, for various... Read More
Having just talked to a friend who sees piling into dollars as a way to make a quick buck (heh) from the current economic downturn provides an excuse to put down a record of a stream of consciousness for posterity's sake--my own and the critics'. His argument, in short, is that inflation can't happen here... Read More
Lowe raises a couple of interesting points in favor of the conventional understanding of the credit economy: This doesn't describe the technology sector in general or consumer electronics in particular. Computers, smartphones, televisions--these items are all more expensive today than they will be tomorrow, yet sell they do. More significantly, this should hold true for... Read More
Countering the fairly strong correlation between coronavirus cases and the size of the ethnically Chinese population at the state level come a pair of polls from SurveyUSA (N = 1,850). The organization asked respondents if anyone they know--a friend, a relative, a colleague, or a neighbor--has been diagnosed with coronavirus. The percentages who responded in... Read More
A week later, in a poll taken from March 13th through March 15th, the percentage of Americans who think "the coronavirus is a hoax" remains unchanged, at 13% (nearly 1-in-7). This is subsequent to two presidential addresses, the funds rate cut to zero, quarantine edicts, steadily rising case loads, etc. As mentioned previously, the binary... Read More
If the economic collapse is exclusively a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic and the western countries in its path are able to follow something like South Korea's trajectory, we should be on the way back to business as usual by summertime. Terribly sad for the elderly victims and their friends and families, but minimal loss... Read More
Largely lost in the sauce of a hectic and scary week was president Trump's announcement of an allegedly temporary suspension of interest payments on outstanding student loan debt. That means student loans are now both interest-free and guaranteed by the the Federal Reserve. The Fed funds rate is also going to zero. The chance that... Read More
A COTW twofer this time. Cloudbuster gives a lively Econ 101 refresher on the consequences of price floors: As the wage floor moves up, the IQ ceiling comes down. The old horse-and-buggy response is irrelevant, and not just because the specifics are antiquated. A buggy maker who was put out of work could go find... Read More
is a lot lower than the blue state rate. From The Council for Community and Economic Research: The following table ranks states, colored in accordance with their 2016 US presidential vote, in ascending order by their cost of living indices: COL index 1) Mississippi 2) Oklahoma 3) Arkansas 4) Missouri 5) Michigan 6) Alabama 7)... Read More
The inverse correlation between a state's housing affordability ranking and the percentage of its population that is foreign-born is a rigorous .62. This is not because bringing people in boosts demand for and thus the cost of housing, of course. That would be xenophobic. It is the unaffordable housing that in fact attracts the immigrants... Read More
The idea of a strong efficient-market has always been more academically entertained than actually believed, and whatever supporters it had have been hemorrhaging away over the last couple of decades. It is implausible on its face–and it would be even without federal monetary policy scrambling market signals. The intention isn’t to puff myself up by... Read More
Z Man also suspects things are coming to a head: The Federal Reserve is cornered. It cannot go to nominally negative in
Last week, YouGov included a couple of interesting but clumsy questions about jobs and trade. The organization has released a new poll this week with a much cleaner question that cuts to the chase. It asks respondents if "free trade is good or bad" for the US. The following graph shows, for selected demographics, the... Read More
It's yet to be seen whether Trump's stamp on the Republican electorate will be indelible or wash away once he's gone. Since becoming the de facto spiritual leader of the party in late 2015, though, immigration has jettisoned to the top of the issue importance list and free trade has come to be seen if... Read More
Are there any municipalities in the US that provide home owners the option of making a lifetime property tax payment exempting them from property tax liabilities in the future? I'd envision something like this--a property is assessed at $100,000 and the county rate is 1.5%. The owner's annual property tax bill is thus $1,500. The... Read More
COTW from Charles Pewitt: The Fed attempted to gently increase the federal funds rate in 2018 with the stated intention of raising them four consecutive times in 2019. The result was one of the worst Decembers in the history of the American stock market. Instead of raising, the Fed has cut three times this year.... Read More