GSEs failing again?

From HousingWire:

Compass Point: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac will need another bailout

The disappointing third quarter results for Fannie Mae, which saw its net income cut in half, and Freddie Mac, which took a comprehensive loss of $501 million, have many already questioning whether the current financial status of the government-sponsored enterprises is stable.

Richard Bove, vice president of equity research at Rafferty Capital Markets told clients earlier this week that Freddie Mac is “insolvent” and “playing financial games that are not acceptable.”

Others, including the two prominent groups of community lenders and several major civil rights groups are calling for the recapitalization of Fannie and Freddie because the GSEs are in danger of needing another bailout from the government.

New analysis from Compass Point Research & Trading suggests that it’s no longer a question of if the GSEs will need another bailout. Now, it’s simply of a question of when.

In the new Compass Point report, analyst Issac Boltansky writes that Freddie’s loss in the third quarter reduced its total equity from $1.8 billion to $1.3 billion, adding that due to the 3rd Preferred Stock Purchase Agreement requires each GSE to reduce its capital buffer by $600 million a year until hitting $0 in 2018.

“To that end, the potential for the GSEs to take another draw from the U.S. Treasury increases each year as the capital buffers steadily decline to $0 while accounting-related earnings variability persists,” Boltansky writes.” Our view remains that under the current terms of the bailout agreement it is a matter of when, not if, the GSEs will be forced to take another draw.”

Freddie Mac CEO Donald Layton, for his part, told HousingWire earlier this week that he was not concerned about the loss, referring to the loss as “accounting noise.”

“[The loss] is not the real economics going on,” Layton said in a telephone conversation with HousingWire, where he dismissed any accusation of inappropriate risk management. The GSE did grow its single-family guarantee business 50% annually in the third quarter.

In a statement Layton added: “This $0.5 billion loss was caused mainly by the accounting associated with our use of derivatives, whereby the derivatives are marked to market but many of the assets and liabilities being hedged are not.”

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107 Responses to GSEs failing again?

  1. The Great Pumpkin says:

    What the hell are we doing to our kids? Sometimes competition is a bad thing. Only get to be a kid once, and we are taking that away from this generation in the name of competition. Competition created by fear mongering. Fear mongering just to sell you something so that a dollar could be made. Like the bs myths of comparing our students to foreign students.

    “Over the last couple of decades, I discovered, childhood has transformed into a performance. Not limited to the classroom or the ball field or the tal­ent show stage, and knowing no socioeconomic or geographic boundaries, our collective focus on scores and numbers, awards and trophies, is robbing our kids of their childhoods, their health, and their happiness. This early experience with life-as-competition is shaping their nascent identities. Para­doxically, it’s also swindling them out of their inborn enthusiasm for learn­ing, challenge, and growth, thus dimming the brightness of their futures.”

    http://www.salon.com/2015/10/31/were_destroying_our_kids_for_nothing_too_much_homework_too_many_tests_too_much_needless_pressure/

  2. The Great Pumpkin says:

    “International test scores have been used by reformers like Arne Duncan, Jeb Bush, Joel Klein, and Michelle Rhee as a fear tactic. During the 2016 presidential campaign, you will surely hear much wailing and gnashing of the teeth about how our scores on international tests are undermining our global competitiveness and economic growth.

    Horsefeathers!

    Here is a post that I wrote in 2013; I updated it. It explains why those international test scores don’t matter, except to tell us that if we really wanted to raise them, we would reduce poverty. Let me say that again: if we reduced poverty, we would have higher scores on international tests.

    “The news reports say that the test scores of American students on the latest PISA test are “stagnant,” “lagging,” “flat,” etc.

    The U.S. Department of Education would have us believe–yet again–that we are in an unprecedented crisis and that we must double down on the test-and-punish strategies of the past dozen years.

    The myth persists that once our nation led the world on international tests, but we have fallen from that exalted position in recent years.

    Wrong, wrong, wrong.

    Here is the background history that you need to know to interpret the PISA score release, as well as Secretary Duncan’s calculated effort to whip up national hysteria about our standing in the international league tables.

    The U.S. has NEVER been first in the world, nor even near the top, on international tests.

    Over the past half century, our students have typically scored at or near the median, or even in the bottom quartile. And yet during this same period, we grew to be one of the most powerful economies in the world. How could that be?

    International testing began in the mid-1960s with a test of mathematics. The First International Mathematics Study tested 13-year-olds and high-school seniors in 12 nations. American 13-year-olds scored significantly lower than students in nine other countries and ahead of students in only one. On a test given only to students currently enrolled in a math class, the U.S. students scored last, behind those in the 11 other nations. On a test given to seniors not currently enrolled in a math class, the U.S. students again scored last.

    The First International Science Study was given in the late 1960s and early 1970s to 10-year-olds, 14-year-olds, and seniors. The 10-year-olds did well, scoring behind only the Japanese; the 14-year-olds were about average. Among students in the senior year of high school, Americans scored last of eleven school systems.

    In the Second International Mathematics Study (1981-82), students in 15 systems were tested. The students were 13-year-olds and seniors. The younger group of U.S. students placed at or near the median on most tests. The American seniors placed at or near the bottom on almost every test. The “average Japanese students achieved higher than the top 5% of the U.S. students in college preparatory mathematics” and “the algebra achievement of our most able students (the top 1%) was lower than that of the top 1% of any other country.” (The quote is from Curtis C. McKnight and others, The Underachieving Curriculum: Assessing U.S. Mathematics from an International Perspective, pp. 17, 26-27). I summarized the international assessments from the mid-1960s to the early 1990s in a book called National Standards in American Education: A Citizen’s Guide (Brookings, 1995).

    The point worth noting here is that U.S. students have never been top performers on the international tests. We are doing about the same now on PISA as we have done for the past half century.

    Does it matter?

    In my last book, Reign of Error, I quote extensively from a brilliant article by Keith Baker, called “Are International Tests Worth Anything?,” which was published by Phi Delta Kappan in October 2007. Baker, who worked for many years as a researcher at the U.S. Department of Education, had the ingenious idea to investigate what happened to the 12 nations that took the First International Mathematics test in 1964. He looked at the per capita gross domestic product of those nations and found that “the higher a nation’s test score 40 years ago, the worse its economic performance on this measure of national wealth–the opposite of what the Chicken Littles raising the alarm over the poor test scores of U.S. children claimed would happen.” He found no relationship between a nation’s economic productivity and its test scores. Nor did the test scores bear any relationship to quality of life or democratic institutions. And when it came to creativity, the U.S. “clobbered the world,” with more patents per million people than any other nation.

    Baker wrote that a certain level of educational achievement may be “a platform for launching national success, but once that platform is reached, other factors become more important than further gains in test scores. Indeed, once the platform is reached, it may be bad policy to pursue further gains in test scores because focusing on the scores diverts attention, effort, and resources away from other factors that are more important determinants of national success.” What has mattered most for the economic, cultural, and technological success of the U.S., he says, is a certain “spirit,” which he defines as “ambition, inquisitiveness, independence, and perhaps most important, the absence of a fixation on testing and test scores.”

    Baker’s conclusion was that “standings in the league tables of international tests are worthless.”

    I agree with Baker. The more we focus on tests, the more we kill creativity, ingenuity, and the ability to think differently. Students who think differently get lower scores. The more we focus on tests, the more we reward conformity and compliance, getting the right answer.

    Thirty-two years ago, a federal report called “A Nation at Risk” warned that we were in desperate trouble because of the poor academic performance of our students. The report was written by a distinguished commission, appointed by the Secretary of Education. The commission pointed to those dreadful international test scores and complained that “on 19 academic tests American students were never first or second and, in comparison with other industrialized nations, were last seven times.” With such terrible outcomes, the commission said, “the educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people.” Yet we are still here, apparently the world’s most dominant economy. We still are a “Nation and a people.” What were they thinking? Go figure.

    Despite having been proved wrong for the past half century, the Bad News Industry is in full cry, armed with the PISA scores, expressing alarm, fright, fear, and warnings of imminent economic decline and collapse.

    Never do they explain how it was possible for the U.S. to score so poorly on international tests again and again over the past half century and yet still emerge as the world’s leading economy, with the world’s most vibrant culture, and a highly productive workforce.”

    http://dianeravitch.net/2015/04/02/why-international-scores-dont-matter/

  3. The Great Pumpkin says:

    3- cont.

    “From my vantage point as a historian, here is my takeaway from the PISA scores:

    Lesson 1: If they mean anything at all, the PISA scores show the failure of the past thirteen years of public policy in the United States. The billions invested in testing, test prep, and accountability have not raised test scores or our nation’s relative standing on the league tables. No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top are manifest failures at accomplishing their singular goal of higher test scores.

    Lesson 2: The PISA scores burst the bubble of the alleged “Florida miracle” touted by Jeb Bush. Florida was one of three states–Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Florida–that participated in the PISA testing. Massachusetts did very well, typically scoring above the OECD average and the US average, as you might expect of the nation’s highest performing state on NAEP. Connecticut also did well. But Florida did not do well at all. It turns out that the highly touted “Florida model” of testing, accountability, and choice was not competitive, if you are inclined to take the scores seriously. In math, Florida performed below the OECD average and below the U.S. average. In science, Florida performed below the OECD average and at the U.S. average. In reading, Massachusetts and Connecticut performed above both the OECD and U.S. average, but Florida performed at average for both.

    Lesson 3: Improving the quality of life for the nearly one-quarter of students who live in poverty–and the 51% who live in low-income families– would improve their academic performance. If we had less poverty, we would have higher test scores.

    Lesson 4: We measure only what can be measured. We measure whether students can pick the right answer to a test question. But what we cannot measure matters more. The scores tell us nothing about students’ imagination, their drive, their ability to ask good questions, their insight, their inventiveness, their creativity. If we continue the policies of the Bush and Obama administrations in education, we will not only NOT get higher scores (the Asian nations are so much better at this than we are), but we will crush the very qualities that have given our nation its edge as a cultivator of new talent and new ideas for many years.

    The fact is that during the past 13 years of high-stakes testing, American scores on the PISA exam have not budged at all. If anything, they have slipped a few points. Test and punish failed! No Child Left Behind failed! Race to the Top failed! Who shall we hold accountable? George W. Bush? His advisor Sandy Kress? Secretary of Education Rod Paige and Margaret Spellings? Barack Obama? Arne Duncan? Congress? They forced states and districts to spend billions of dollars on testing, and all of this testing didn’t move the needle on the PISA tests. What if those billions had been spent instead to reduce class sizes? To provide health clinics for schools in poor communities? To create jobs? We need a new approach, and sadly, our policymakers continue to push the same failed ideas. The fact is that we have intolerably high levels of child poverty, and children who are poor register the lowest test scores. There is a simple but obvious formula: Reducing poverty will lift test scores.

    Higher test scores should not be our national goal. Healthy, imaginative, curious children should be. Rather than focusing on test scores, I prefer to bet on the creative, can-do spirit of the American people, on its character, persistence, ambition, hard work, and big dreams, none of which are ever measured or can be measured by standardized tests like PISA.”

  4. D-FENS says:

    Ugh I know. My 4 year old is so lazy. I wish she would get a job and start paying some bills around here.

  5. 1987 condo says:

    Guess= 141k

  6. Fast Eddie says:

    First night in the new house. I cannot believe the amount of stuff one accumulates. It’s an explosion of things all over and the moving truck couldn’t even fit everything. I still need to move items out of the old house. Omg! And here’s a twist, I’ve learned that queen size box springs don’t always move through stairwells. :) Yup, went to the local sleep center real quick. Who knew there was such a thing as split box springs? The biggest plus? I had internet/cable/phone by 8:00 PM.

  7. 1987 condo says:

    Actual- 271k 5.0 UE–Rate Hike!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. The Great Pumpkin says:

    See any unicorns yet?

    Fast Eddie says:
    November 6, 2015 at 8:29 am
    First night in the new house. I cannot believe the amount of stuff one accumulates. It’s an explosion of things all over and the moving truck couldn’t even fit everything. I still need to move items out of the old house. Omg! And here’s a twist, I’ve learned that queen size box springs don’t always move through stairwells. :) Yup, went to the local sleep center real quick. Who knew there was such a thing as split box springs? The biggest plus? I had internet/cable/phone by 8:00 PM.

  9. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Yup, job numbers are good, here comes the rate hike talk for the next month.

  10. Fast Eddie says:

    Pumpkin,

    Lol!

    One took a sh1t on the front lawn last night.

  11. 1987 condo says:

    Gary, What town did you pick? Or is that still hush?

  12. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Creativity is everything. It’s the reason we kicked the crap out of all these nations that supposedly do “better on tests”. We have all seen the Indian IT guys at our workplace. Is that what we want for our children? Some book smart individual, that has no ability to create, think outside the box, have fun, joke, or socialize. But hey, they can work for hours straight, or even days straight.

    “I agree with Baker. The more we focus on tests, the more we kill creativity, ingenuity, and the ability to think differently. Students who think differently get lower scores. The more we focus on tests, the more we reward conformity and compliance, getting the right answer.”

  13. Fast Eddie says:

    1987 Condo,

    It’s in the Pascack Valley. I’m sort of reluctant on mentioning the town; I don’t all the progressive loonies on this board stalking me. ;)

  14. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Lol.. Lucky you, heard unicorn sh!t on your lawn adds another 100,000 to the value of your home.

    Fast Eddie says:
    November 6, 2015 at 8:40 am
    Pumpkin,

    Lol!

    One took a sh1t on the front lawn last night.

  15. D-FENS says:

    @dredlockedrepub: Soc1al1sm works so well that Apple was invented in Cuba, Microsoft was founded in Russia, & Facebook started in Greece. @BernieSanders

  16. Another thread ruined from the get by Punkin.

    Peace out.

  17. Fast Eddie says:

    By the way, I locked in at 3.875% on a 30 year. You guys and gals lost a lot of money hedging your bets against me moving. ;) He11, I was almost positive it wasn’t gonna happen.

  18. chicagofinance says:

    Sounds plausible, but is factually wrong. Setting aside your comments on me, which are frankly ridiculous. Solar panels become inert in less than 20 years. Let’s also set aside the environmental poisoning caused by their fabrication, and worse, the disposal. The power you generate is sold into an artificial market created by regulation……who pays? anyone that uses electricity in NJ……who installs solar panels? The 1% and also commercial real estate property owners. Talk about robbing from the poor and give to the rich……..you are a gadfly and troll…..

    Fabius Maximus says:
    November 5, 2015 at 11:51 pm
    #89/81 Chi
    “I don’t know why this climate change thing stick in my craw so much, but it really does.”
    “because the technology is patently uneconomic in its current form……”

    I think the answer here is that you have a problem taking an objective view. You can’t seem to look at certain issues and see it purely from your work environment. Fracking to you seems to be a pure money discussion. The only time an outside factor, such as the environment comes into play, is the cost paid to hedge, or pay out on environmental impact from the business.
    Saying Solar is “patently uneconomic in its current form” is wrong. A truer statement would be that “Solar , will not give you a sufficient ROI in a time frame that will get you to invest”.
    If I put panels on my roof, I may break even in 6 years with subsidies, 12 without, By year 15 I’m in profit. By year 25 at the expected end of life of the panel, its in almost pure profit. If I roll in a replacement policy for the panels and batteries as they age, its a nice long term investment. But you are not in that game.

  19. NJCoast says:

    Ha a bigger house for your stuff! George says it perfectly.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvgN5gCuLac

  20. Ben says:

    Higher test scores should not be our national goal. Healthy, imaginative, curious children should be. Rather than focusing on test scores, I prefer to bet on the creative, can-do spirit of the American people, on its character, persistence, ambition, hard work, and big dreams, none of which are ever measured or can be measured by standardized tests like PISA.”

    I’ve now taught approximately 700 students in my career. Anyone who spouts that creativity over academics is just making up crap to try to win the argument. Creativity is largely an inherent property of one’s personality. It’s not something that you teach and learn. You can put them in an environment where their creativity will flourish. At the same time, others fall by the wayside. Think about art class. Kids who are naturally talented produce amazing work in high school. Others that don’t have that gift produce garbage that they themselves will throw it the second they get home.

    In order for kids to flourish, you need to give them a solid FOUNDATION to do so. That means, you need them to focus on academics to build their knowledge. Touting creativity over academics is putting the cart before the horse. I had one student who was probably the most creative kid I’ve ever met. No one taught him to be that way. He entered a bunch of physics competitions and robotics competitions. He always lost but he had a ton of fun trying to apply things he learned in class (those things being, physics concepts, which he learned at a very high level). He ended up going to Duke and studying engineering. In his freshman year, he came in 2nd place in some competition where he built a vehicle that traveled a full mile on 14 food calories or something like that. At 19, he was able to get a meeting with the board of directors of Tesla.

    Sure, creativity and ingenuity will trump academics when talking about how well someone is going to do. But it’s putting the cart before the horse. You need to solid background and understanding of your field before you want to get creative in it. In a well functioning society, not everyone is supposed to be the inventor or business owner. In fact, those people are in the minority. And to be honest, they don’t learn how to be that way in school.

  21. The Original NJ ExPat says:

    [14] Congrats gary! I was betting that you decided to pay up and move to Glen Rock with your brother. I never really thought of the Pascack Valley as being a “thing”, but I’m looking at it on a topographic map and it is a real valley. I also didn’t know Woodcliff Lake used to be called Woodcliff, but they changed the name circa 1903 when they dammed the brook to create Woodcliff Lake Reservoir.

    It’s in the Pascack Valley. I’m sort of reluctant on mentioning the town; I don’t all the progressive loonies on this board stalking me. ;)

  22. Ben says:

    Another thing, anyone touting that education is great all over the US is living in an isolated bubble in the Northeast. It’s awful everywhere else. I moved to Florida in 4th grade. The school was a trailer park and they were 2 years behind the schools in NJ.

  23. The Original NJ ExPat says:

    [21] Excellent post Ben!

    Now if we could just figure out how to un-teach cut and paste skills that anon and punkinpuss spend the better part of their day practicing in public.

    I’ve now taught approximately 700 students in my career…

  24. yome says:

    DXY 99.23 What will it be after rate increase? Export will suffer.Wider Trade Deficit

  25. The Original NJ ExPat says:

    [23] The same goes for even the wealthy suburbs in Texas. My sister and her family had to live there for 2-3 years when my BIL got transferred there about 10 years ago. She said her kids only had to learn to say “Yes, ma’am” and “No, ma’am” to be the equals of kids two grades ahead of them.

    Another thing, anyone touting that education is great all over the US is living in an isolated bubble in the Northeast. It’s awful everywhere else. I moved to Florida in 4th grade. The school was a trailer park and they were 2 years behind the schools in NJ.

  26. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Ben, it’s a two way street. I agree and understand what you are saying, but you are missing the point. Why do Asian learners lack creativity? They kill it at math, but why are they socially awkward (the smarts ones) and lack any type of creativity. They are great at being given a set of directions and then following protocol. That’s why they resort to robbing western technology then coming up with their own technology. They are good at modifying, not at creating. I think this has to do with their childhood and how they were brought up. A creative mind doesn’t just happen, it must be molded and taught that it’s okay to be wrong, and from wrong comes right. It must be taught that there really is not a “right answer”, but many ways of looking at a problem. That’s more valuable than being taught that this is the “right answer” and the “right way of doing something”, which you clearly do with your teaching. Sure build up the foundations, but present it a way that will allow the mind to wander and critically think about what they are learning about. That’s real learning. Learning to be able to think for yourself and be able to understand the different position on each issue, and that no side is right. Instead, foundation learners are told this is the right and only way to do it. They become a machine that only follows the path it was taught to do instead of creating their own path, and in here lies the difference.

  27. The Great Pumpkin says:

    My point, a mind taught to think critically and creatively knows no boundaries. Therefore, it’s limitless to what they can do. A learner not taught how to be creative is tied by constant boundaries of this is not the way to do it, or this can’t be done.

  28. The Great Pumpkin says:

    You also bring up an important part about art. A creative mind does not have a set standard for what makes good art. A mind focused on boundaries, judges art on what he/she was told good art looks like. They are creating art on what they were told good art looks like, not what they think it should look like. Here in lies the problem.

  29. Comrade Nom Deplume, the anon-tidote says:

    [11] eddie,

    Here you go, unicorn sighting.

    http://www.squattypotty.com/unicorn-g/

    The guy who came up with this ad must be a regular here.

  30. Essex says:

    Ben criticizes an entire state or region educationally. And because he is a teacher it is somehow viewed with gravitas. Still an overgeneralization. Based on B.S. Thanks

  31. Comrade Nom Deplume, the anon-tidote says:

    [26] moose,

    I’m feeling the love, how about you?

  32. Ben says:

    Why do Asian learners lack creativity? They kill it at math

    They don’t. You are perpetuating the same bs stereotype that I hear from everyone else. I’ve had over 200 Asian students. Just because everyone remembers the quiet asian girl in the corner getting 100s on everything, they assume they are all like that. It’s complete nonsense.

  33. Ben says:

    Ben criticizes an entire state or region educationally. And because he is a teacher it is somehow viewed with gravitas. Still an overgeneralization. Based on B.S. Thanks

    It’s not an overgeneralization. You look at the stats. The Northeast public schools in every suburb buries any non-magnet school west of Pensylvania or south of Maryland.

  34. Ben says:

    That’s why they resort to robbing western technology then coming up with their own technology. They are good at modifying, not at creating.

    Have you ever been to Japan?

  35. Comrade Nom Deplume, the anon-tidote says:

    [32] SX

    FWIW, I agree with Ben, both on the anecdotal evidence and his recitation of what is known in education. Just as I will believe an officer in the field over a policy wonk at the Pentagon on the true state of a war zone, I believe those in the trenches (a.k.a. classrooms) over armchair commentators.

    That said, do I agree with Pumpkin’s sources that there really isn’t a problem? No, and I think that Mr. Market is sorting that out for us. Public schools really are graduating idiots on a conveyor belt and industry really is finding it hard to locate intelligent graduates. Further, I see no conflict btwn Ben and Pump’s sources as they are talking about different hemispheres on the same orb.

    Anyway, gotta head into the mines early today.

  36. The Great Pumpkin says:

    First, Japan is as americanized as they come. South Korea too. I don’t think of japan like all the other asian countries. An American will have no problem living in their society, and they will have no problem living here. I’m talking about the Asians that take our IT jobs. Those are the Asians I’m talking about. The Japanese are not coming to America. I have never met a Japanese IT guy, and doubt that I ever will.

    Ben says:
    November 6, 2015 at 10:24 am
    Why do Asian learners lack creativity? They kill it at math

    They don’t. You are perpetuating the same bs stereotype that I hear from everyone else. I’ve had over 200 Asian students. Just because everyone remembers the quiet asian girl in the corner getting 100s on everything, they assume they are all like that. It’s complete nonsense.

  37. Ben says:

    First, Japan is as americanized as they come. South Korea too. I don’t think of japan like all the other asian countries. An American will have no problem living in their society, and they will have no problem living here. I’m talking about the Asians that take our IT jobs. Those are the Asians I’m talking about. The Japanese are not coming to America. I have never met a Japanese IT guy, and doubt that I ever will.

    Japan’s technology in terms of personal devices and network capabilities sh!t all over the crap we have developed domestically. You’ve never met them because they are busy in their own country developing technology. Not stealing it like you claim.

  38. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Ben, are people born with creativity, or is it learned? Can creativity be restricted? Were Americans just born creative, or did their society help foster it?

  39. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Why are Japan and South Korea so different than their asian counterparts? Why are they not like the rest of Asia being exploited for slave labor and why are they leaders in technology?

  40. 1987 condo says:

    #41…I guess WWII and Korean war…

  41. Fabius Maximus says:

    Congrats Fast Eddie and welcome to the hood. Let me know if you want to take a break from the unpacking and we can go to Starbucks on Kinderkamack and check our privilege over a Tall Skinny Mocha Frappuccino.

    That unicorn p00p is actually diesel emissions coming from the cars going in and out of the Merc and BMW HQs in Park Ridge.

  42. Ben says:

    Ben, are people born with creativity, or is it learned? Can creativity be restricted? Were Americans just born creative, or did their society help foster it?

    American society was originally built upon principles of economic freedom. People in general are creative. Do you think all those marvelous inventions in the 1800s that propelled society upwards were the result of a thriving education system that fostered creativity? Same goes for first half of the 1900s? America went from a fledgling country to the premiere economy in the world in about 150 years of its existence.

    It’s amazing the gains you can make on everyone else when you don’t pay tribute to the king and aren’t involved in conflicts with your neighbors invading you every 30 years.

    Your preaching this creativity over academics reeks of you listening to one too many Ted Talks.

  43. The Great Pumpkin says:

    44- Ben, you are an educator, and you are sitting here telling me that the American public education system played no hand in the success? Come on man, you are arguing for the sake of arguing. You just want to be right. Why do you think education became such a got damn global competition? Everyone wants to be like America. That’s where these Asian countries like India and China got it wrong. In order to beat us at education, they set up militaristic style classroom that eliminated creativity. They were efficient at memorizing math, but they could never come up with cutting edge theories in math? Why? Sure they can kick the shi! out of Americans at memorizing and performing math problems, but that just makes you a robot, and we already have robots that can do that. You need creativity damn it! It’s what makes the difference. If everyone acts like sheep and just thinks the same way, where the hell does that get us? We need to be wrong, but we need to learn from wrong, that’s when learning is best. Tests focus on people being “right”. It creates a legion of robots afraid to be wrong, who all act and think the same way. If you are afraid to be wrong, how can you be creative and think outside the box? A test tells you that you are wrong, and therefore a “stupid failure”. Tests are bs, and the sooner people realize that, the better off we will be as a species. So keep following stupid tests to judge who our best students are….it’s almost laughable, but you can’t laugh, this is guiding our society right now…..some stupid competition with foreign students on test scores. Completely idiotic. It makes me sick to my stomach because the test results are meaningless, just like this global warming issue based on false data. Why can’t you see this?

  44. Fabius Maximus says:

    #19 Chi

    “Solar panels become inert in less than 20 years.”
    I think you have been drinking the “K0chAid”! The industry standard is that, the panels come with a warranty that guarantees 80% efficiency after 25yrs. The reality is that they lose 5% efficiency in the first year and 1% per year after that.
    The market for electricity is a separate discussion. If you put in a system that meets 100% of your needs, you are hedging your costs across the lifetime of the system. What’s uneconomic about that?

  45. joyce says:

    Fabius,
    Are you prepared to install a system and untie from the local grid?

  46. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Nom, I also have bone to pick with your statement about kids coming out of school not being job ready. Who the hell is job ready? You learn on the job. People complaining are full of it, they don’t know how to train their employees, or better yet, they are too lazy to train them.

  47. Ben [35];

    All the more reason to get out of dodge. After you get past race-based ‘diversity’, national colleges look for geographic diversity in their freshman class, too. If I can give my kids an easier shot at name-brand colleges by moving to flyover country, and save myself big bucks in the process, why wouldn’t I?

  48. chicagofinance says:

    Dude….I am quoting a fcuking salesman from a solar installation company…..his CPA was there talking about how to depreciate it too…….as%wipe you are….

    Fabius Maximus says:
    November 6, 2015 at 11:38 am
    #19 Chi

    “Solar panels become inert in less than 20 years.”
    I think you have been drinking the “K0chAid”! The industry standard is that, the panels come with a warranty that guarantees 80% efficiency after 25yrs. The reality is that they lose 5% efficiency in the first year and 1% per year after that.
    The market for electricity is a separate discussion. If you put in a system that meets 100% of your needs, you are hedging your costs across the lifetime of the system. What’s uneconomic about that?

  49. 1987 condo says:

    Woops….. apparently Ben Carson made up getting a West Point scholarship

  50. chicagofinance says:

    “….a system that meets 100% of your needs…” sure if you live in the Mohave Desert and have a square block of batteries to store your power overnight…..are you even capable of drawing on facts, or do you just sit it a room and channel Al Gore’s pedantic debate team style pablum?

    Fabius Maximus says:
    November 6, 2015 at 11:38 am
    If you put in a system that meets 100% of your needs, you are hedging your costs across the lifetime of the system. What’s uneconomic about that?

  51. Fabius Maximus says:

    #47 joyce

    I rent my primary so its not an option. I have a cabin upstate I am refurbishing that is off the grid. I also do a lot of camping at sites without hookups. I run a lot of 12V on marine batteries with solar charges and generator backups.

    Living off the grid is not that difficult if you prepare. You watch your volts like you watch pennies.

  52. chicagofinance says:

    Are you tall enough to reach the counter without platform shoes?

    Fabius Maximus says:
    November 6, 2015 at 11:12 am
    Congrats Fast Eddie and welcome to the hood. Let me know if you want to take a break from the unpacking and we can go to Starbucks on Kinderkamack and check our privilege over a Tall Skinny Mocha Frappuccino.

  53. walking bye says:

    Ben, a quick look at usnews rankings for high schools and it has FL and Ohio higher than NJ. Matter of fact I count 5 non northeast states higher than the coveted NJ system. Yes I know give me a list and I could always find the data to back it up.

    Maybe other states are uninformed about NJ, maybe we feel privileged, but most feel folks from Jersey/NYC are well, just dumb. Could also be that television, specifically MTV (jersey shore) has not been kind to us. Just an alternate perspective from fly over country.

  54. The Original NJ ExPat says:

    Today’s jobs report breakdown:

    – Workers aged 55 and over: +378,000
    – Workers aged 25-54: -35,000 <—- That's a minus sign!

    “In October the age group that accounted for virtually all total job gains was workers aged 55 and over. They added some 378K jobs in the past month, representing virtually the entire increase in payrolls. And more troubling: workers aged 25-54 actually declined by 35,000, with males in this age group tumbling by 119,000!”

    I guess that means 84,000 new jobs for women 25-54 were added while 119,000 jobs for men 25-54 went away, net -35,000 for that age group? Lot’s of guys approaching middle age in their parent’s basement I guess. I’m pretty sure punkinpuss is one of them.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-11-06/most-surprising-thing-about-todays-jobs-report

  55. yome says:

    Does this destroy his credibility?

    Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson’s campaign admitted Friday that the former neurosurgeon fabricated a story about applying to and being accepted at West Point. Carson’s campaign made the admission in response to an inquiry from Politico. West Point has no record of Carson applying for admission, Politico said. In Carson’s book “Gifted Hands,” he says he got a “full scholarship” to the military academy.

    What else is in the book that is fabricated?

  56. joyce says:

    At least your non-answer wasn’t a condescending poor attempt at humor this time. With my question, I wanted to point out that the typical person will not un-tie from the grid. Therefore, on top of what chicagofinance said, the cost of maintaining and operating the current on-demand grid system is part of going solar.

    Oh so your cabin and a few camp sites are off the grid, great. If everyone in a similar circumstance did likewise, what % of the country’s population would that account for? Also, I anxiously await for you to move full time to a place off the grid giving up some of the modern amenities along with it.

    Fabius Maximus says:
    November 6, 2015 at 12:13 pm
    #47 joyce

    I rent my primary so its not an option. I have a cabin upstate I am refurbishing that is off the grid. I also do a lot of camping at sites without hookups. I run a lot of 12V on marine batteries with solar charges and generator backups.

    Living off the grid is not that difficult if you prepare. You watch your volts like you watch pennies.

  57. phoenix1 says:

    Biggest issue with off grid solar is the batteries- they are expensive and have a short life.
    You can do it if you are a minimalist, I ran my entire household when my power is off with one 2000W honda portable generator and a computerized switching panel that sheds loads automatically.
    Some people must be able to have every light on, heat every room, watch their 4k tv,
    sit in their hot tub, and have the AC on full blast during a hurricane.
    Those people need 15kw standby generators.

  58. joyce says:

    Yes, phoenix. I didn’t mention that but you’re spot on. (for those reasons, Musk’s “powerwall” is very uneconomical… but hey, marketing will make it popular anyway)

  59. phoenix1 says:

    And staying on grid– when you size your panel array, you size it by how much you normally consume. Don’t expect the electric company to pay you the same amount for your electricity as they bill you for what they are selling you. They pay you peanuts for what you give them, so you should plan to generate only as much as you use. You give to the grid, it gives you back. If you put up too many panels, you start losing money…..

  60. Comrade Nom Deplume, the anon-tidote says:

    surfacing with housing related IRS news although I am pretty sure no one here cares unless you are reading this on your bommaphone.

    https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-15-77.pdf

  61. phoenix1 says:

    Joyce, efficiency is key. LED backlight monitor/tv uses way less than even fluorescent lcd. Use less, need less. If I weren’t married I could probably get my electric bill so low it would cost more for the delivery of energy than the actual amount I use.
    Can’t explain to some people how to only run the dishwasher when it is full, or how to even load it correctly, or why you should. Some people are loathe to clotheslines, when nature can do everything for you. Some can’t remember to turn off the tv or the lights when they are done, or be taught that when you are cold turning the thermostat to 100 is not going to make you warmer any faster than turning up 2 degrees at a time.
    This goes on in many households all the time, every day…..

  62. phoenix1 says:

    Also, Nat gas fuel cells may become the future. But as I stated earlier, efficiency and (more than anything else) the MINDSET, is the key.
    Some humans are just wasteful no matter what you do.
    The most efficient people are the ones that never had anything to begin with and learned how to make do with what they have. Shut off most American’s power for a week and watch them whine and whimper. Sandy proved that.
    Then the muppets bought 10k generators, cranked them up and could not get fuel for them.
    Inverter generators are MUCH more efficient a partial loads……

  63. 1987 condo says:

    #63..ha ha, had a hot tub once, set to 104 degrees. BIL came over got into his swimsuit, went in, said, wow hot! Where is the knob to turn the temp down?..ha ha, like 400 gallons of water was going to “chill” down 20 degrees in a minute or 2!

  64. Essex says:

    55. there is that and then there is “what exactly are they measuring”….seriously.

  65. Comrade Nom Deplume, the anon-tidote says:

    From my FB feed today. This would be on Jay Leno’s Headlines:

    “Dead Body Found in Weymouth Cemetery”

  66. Fabius Maximus says:

    #53 Chi

    Your Alma Mata stuck 2.2MW on 10 acres upstate. Not exactly the Mohave up there, but a reasonable sized system on a small land footprint. Maybe you need to go back to school to do some due diligence.

    http://energyandsustainability.fs.cornell.edu/util/electricity/production/solarphotovoltaic/default.cfm

  67. Bystander says:

    Blump,

    I doubt you’ve spent one minute in Japan to make a statement about their “Americanization”. Their social, professional and family structures are wholly different. Their companies are fierce protectonists. Their ability to move up in society is limited and pressure to conform socially is overwhelming. Of course, all these things allow them to create superior products with superior quality. America has not exactly infiltrated their society. They are still closed off mostly but people and landscape are awesome. Non-threatening but not like US at all. Shoot, the women don’t even shave their tw@ts. How American. (filling in for JJ)

  68. Ben says:

    Ben, a quick look at usnews rankings for high schools and it has FL and Ohio higher than NJ. Matter of fact I count 5 non northeast states higher than the coveted NJ system. Yes I know give me a list and I could always find the data to back it up.

    Most likely magnet schools. Furthermore, US News rankings are a joke. They value passing rate on AP exams over percentage of 5’s. A school with a high participation rate getting all threes is better than a school with a slightly lower participation rate with all 5’s. I wouldn’t put any value into any rankings when the formulas are generally just made up with no logic to back them up. That’s why you see no consistency in the NJ school rankings between different publications.

    You go look at performance on AP exams as a whole state by state. Northeast buries every other state. Even the mediocre suburbs here do. That’s not even taking into account that the states outside of the Northeast have an additional month of prep time for those exams.

  69. Ragnar says:

    Ben,
    I wish my daughter could learn history from you.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about things you understand.

    BTW, I think most people totally misunderstand “creativity”.
    Outside of art, much of what people would consider super-innovative and creative, would be described by the inventor as simply connecting two things that he or she already understood, but in a way that nobody had thought to connect before. As Edison said “genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration”. Most of the work is preparing the mind to understand a broad array of knowledge, but that one spark of connecting things together creates the new innovation.

    I have a theory about why Asian cultures haven’t historically been as good at creativity – namely that they focus on memorization over actual knowledge accumulation. Too much parroting, not enough understanding. And one must actually understand something to be able to connect it to other knowledge, and see what things fit together, and what is contradictory. The Chinese education system outside of the hard sciences forces kids to memorize and accept contradictory stuff. I worry that the US system is also moving this direction. “Social Studies” grade 1 though 8 (so far) has been mostly garbage, with a couple of exceptions, for my kid. I guess it was for me too.

  70. Ragnar says:

    Ben,
    What would you say were the top schools for educating kids in NJ? Do any take an approach that is significantly better than the typical school? Or is more about the % of kids, parents, and teachers that are competently engaged?

  71. joyce says:

    Fabius,
    What a great informative article lacking any mention of the economics of their investment. I see you’re back to your old commenting ways. That didn’t take long.

    And look Morris County is trying to divest itself from its Solar Power project:
    http://www.nj.com/morris/index.ssf/2015/04/morris_county_consultants_resign_in_wake_of_solar.htm

    Does this mean I won the argument? I mean I did find one random Internet link.

    Fabius Maximus says:
    November 6, 2015 at 1:52 pm
    #53 Chi

    Your Alma Mata stuck 2.2MW on 10 acres upstate. Not exactly the Mohave up there, but a reasonable sized system on a small land footprint. Maybe you need to go back to school to do some due diligence.

    http://energyandsustainability.fs.cornell.edu/util/electricity/production/solarphotovoltaic/default.cfm

  72. Ragnar says:

    So FabMax, what is the IRR of this solar plan, even after subsidies and price supports?
    What is the NPV of the project using an 8% discount rate?
    Please note other key assumptions.

  73. yome says:

    #74
    Boomers born 1943 to 1954, full retirement age is 66 instead of the custom 65.
    boomers born after 1954 full retirement age is adjusted to upto 67. This was done during the Reagan SS reform. Boomers in this age group still have 12,years before they can fully retire at 67. And,yes boomers got their FRA adjusted too

    “Rubio defended the idea that future workers will need to retire later or receive fewer benefits from those safety-net programs than current retirees. “Everyone up here tonight that’s talking about reforms,” he stipulated, was “talking about reforms for future generations. Nothing has to change for current beneficiaries.””

  74. Ben says:

    What would you say were the top schools for educating kids in NJ? Do any take an approach that is significantly better than the typical school? Or is more about the % of kids, parents, and teachers that are competently engaged?

    Any middle class to upper middle class school is more than adequate as long as they offer the appropriate AP classes (AP Calc BC, AP Physics 1, 2, Mech C, E&M C, AP Chem, AP Bio and whatever liberal arts you are looking for) and curriculum. School ranking is more a function of student population than anything. Although, I have to say, if you are looking for the better teachers, go look at the average teacher salary within the district. Any district that doesn’t pay much, despite performing high, is likely under performing, no matter how good they appear. The higher paying districts have better teachers, and its not a coincidence. It’s common sense. I’ve taught in 2 districts that were ranked #1 in the state as far as non-magnets go. The students are amazing. That being said, I’m more than comfortable sending my kids to the local district, despite the fact that I could have sent them to the top district int the state for free. In the end, what’s important is that your kid is performing at his/her level. Not her peers.

  75. chicagofinance says:

    You have to be more cynical……the rankings are by definition insidiously biased because no one in the Northeast reads these magazines anymore….as a result, why not skew the results to where a greater proportion of their current readers reside? Pander to your best customers…….good business….

    Ben says:
    November 6, 2015 at 2:11 pm
    Ben, a quick look at usnews rankings for high schools and it has FL and Ohio higher than NJ. Matter of fact I count 5 non northeast states higher than the coveted NJ system. Yes I know give me a list and I could always find the data to back it up.

    Most likely magnet schools. Furthermore, US News rankings are a joke. They value passing rate on AP exams over percentage of 5′s. A school with a high participation rate getting all threes is better than a school with a slightly lower participation rate with all 5′s. I wouldn’t put any value into any rankings when the formulas are generally just made up with no logic to back them up. That’s why you see no consistency in the NJ school rankings between different publications.

    You go look at performance on AP exams as a whole state by state. Northeast buries every other state. Even the mediocre suburbs here do. That’s not even taking into account that the states outside of the Northeast have an additional month of prep time for those exams.

  76. phoenix says:

    Rags,
    We can’t even get the lottery to turn a profit in N.J.
    That should be a no brainer. Take in 100,pay out 50 ,profit –right? If you cannot profit from that, you never will from solar panels. ……….

  77. Gluteus and Pumpster both upchucking here is just too much to take.

  78. Essex says:

    78. that is legitimate and sound advice.

  79. Essex says:

    I would add that you have a plethora of options for educating the child outside of schools. But I think where they are most formed is inside the very homes they occupy. You are in essence, home schooling a child — even though they get x amount of hours instruction a day in a school. Your work ethic, attitude, even the type of cereal you eat is all a part of the process.

  80. Essex says:

    What intrigues me Ben is the variability of the numbers used to measure performance state by state. Are you saying that New Jersey’s middle-ranked kids are better than Alabama’s Top high-middle group? Or is that oversimplifying…?

  81. The Great Pumpkin says:

    “One of the most intrinsic cultural bonds that the United States has formed in its long history is also an often overlooked one. The cultural ties between the United States and Japan are immense even at the most basic level and weave their way into dozens of subcategories of both countries’ cultures. These can be from the mundane political level to the expansive entertainment level. As such, this paper will examine the intricacies of the diffusion that has taken place. In general, the focus will be around why exactly the diffusion has proceeded as it has, how the diffusion has affected both states, what categories of diffusion are involved, and visible examples.”

    http://dexomega.kinja.com/cultural-diffusion-between-the-united-states-and-japan-1484640071

  82. The Great Pumpkin says:

    How Japan Copied American Culture and Made it Better

    Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/how-japan-copied-american-culture-and-made-it-better-180950189/#bgEWYeQ2GDmaADqO.99
    Give the gift of Smithsonian magazine for only $12! http://bit.ly/1cGUiGv
    Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter

  83. Ben says:

    Not sure since I’m not looking at hard data right now. I’d say that New Jersey’s middle ranked kids probably come in with an education on par with Alabama’s top kids (magnet schools aside). The reason these other states create magnet schools is because it would be a crime to send kids with their talents through their regular high schools.

    I can’t tell you how many of my students mock their freshman year roomates in Calc or Physics. They are rooming with the valedictorian of their high school and laugh at watching them flounder on crap they learned 2nd week of September their junior year. Of course, the best of the best end up making up for those shortcomings pretty quickly at the university level but the fact remains, NJ’s educational system typically found in the suburbs, regardless of its flaws (and believe me I can complain all day about the problems), puts just about every other states to shame.

  84. The Great Pumpkin says:

    The Americanization of Japan and the Japanization of East Asia

    http://www.academia.edu/11861516/The_Americanization_of_Japan_and_the_Japanization_of_East_Asia

  85. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Ben, I agree. I’ve said it on here before, but you are at a disadvantage if you raise your kid outside the northeast. I don’t know if people think I’m exaggerating, but the education in some of these states is a total joke. The Carolina’s are a complete mess, just heard a horror story this week about their inability to get teachers in the classroom. That’s what happens when you pay the teachers a joke salary, but hey, your taxes are cheaper.

    Ben says:
    November 6, 2015 at 4:23 pm
    Not sure since I’m not looking at hard data right now. I’d say that New Jersey’s middle ranked kids probably come in with an education on par with Alabama’s top kids (magnet schools aside). The reason these other states create magnet schools is because it would be a crime to send kids with their talents through their regular high schools.

    I can’t tell you how many of my students mock their freshman year roomates in Calc or Physics. They are rooming with the valedictorian of their high school and laugh at watching them flounder on crap they learned 2nd week of September their junior year. Of course, the best of the best end up making up for those shortcomings pretty quickly at the university level but the fact remains, NJ’s educational system typically found in the suburbs, regardless of its flaws (and believe me I can complain all day about the problems), puts just about every other states to shame.

  86. Ben says:

    Pumpkin,

    we still need a reverse on the Abbott decision or at the very least, modify the funding formula. That’s why NJ people are getting creamed on their taxes. NJ, for the most part, pays their teachers crap as well.

  87. The Original NJ ExPat says:

    You’re not positing that stable and intact family units with an emphasis on education and honest accomplishment within the homes of children is important, are you? Can’t we just pour enough money into the schools such that the home life doesn’t matter?

    I would add that you have a plethora of options for educating the child outside of schools. But I think where they are most formed is inside the very homes they occupy. You are in essence, home schooling a child — even though they get x amount of hours instruction a day in a school. Your work ethic, attitude, even the type of cereal you eat is all a part of the process.

  88. Please do not bother Pumpkin with nuance or detail.

  89. Fabius Maximus says:

    #73 Joyce,

    The point of that article was that you don’t need to be in the Mohave desert to put together a decent size array.

    As to your project in Morris County. Is that really a reflection of economics of Solar or more an example of the ineptitude of the project team.

  90. joyce says:

    While I won’t be voting for him, he is the most qualified candidate… right? He’s a neurosurgeon. And if you’re smart in one subject, you’re smart in them all.

    http://njrereport.com/index.php/2015/11/02/bye-bye-bungalow/#comment-703834

    yome says:
    November 6, 2015 at 12:34 pm
    Does this destroy his credibility?

    Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson’s campaign

  91. Fabius Maximus says:

    #76 Rags
    I have no idea. The initial point I made to Chi was that amount of return and the timeframe may not suit him, that does not nescessarily make a project uneconomical.
    If an IRR is negative does that mean that a project should not go ahead. If a project doesn’t break even until 15 years in of a 25 year expected duration, is that uneconomical?

  92. Fabius Maximus says:

    #94 Joyce

    Hes just a little off key.
    http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/nov/05/ben-carson-egyptian-pyramids-were-grain-stores-not-pharoahs-tombs

    John Kasich is the only one with a chance of winning. It all comes Ohio and he is the only one of them that can deliver it.

  93. Juice Box says:

    re# horseshit – Trump can buy anybody he said so himself.

  94. Comrade Nom Deplume, living well off the carrion of the left says:

    Just catching up but some decent threads today from people whose opinions I typically don’t respect. And from my perspective, the opinions aren’t as far apart as the protagonists think

  95. Comrade Nom Deplume, living well off the carrion of the left says:

    [89] pumps

    The northeast ends at the Mason-Dixon Line. Literally. It passes not far from me and schools just across the line in DE absolutely suck

  96. Comrade Nom Deplume, living well off the carrion of the left says:

    [81] splat

    A rare disagreement. I actually found Rory to be less offensive than usual, and agreed with his points. And even pumps made more sense than usual. Even if you had to mine for it.

  97. Comrade Nom Deplume, living well off the carrion of the left says:

    [57] yome

    Some reports have politico back pedaling now. And I think it comes down to semantics. From what I read, Carson never said he applied, only that some folks offered to get him in. And if you get in, it’s a full boat. So if he turned down the effort, is it accurate to say he turned down a full boat?

    For my part, the dean of the Accounting program at my alma mater’s notoriously exclusive business school took me aside and asked me to switch to Accounting and said he’d get me in (intraschool transfers were impossible). I declined. So did I turn down admission to an elite business school? I never applied to it. You tell me.

  98. joyce says:

    So nice that were less than twelve months from the general election, looking forward to more posts than usual of FabMax demonstrating why he’s the dumbest one here… and more of Comrade bending into a pretzel to defend all things republican.

  99. The Original NJ ExPat says:

    LOL

    First the pre-game:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRyoE60Sd3g

    Then (I imagine that 5 year old might regret the selfies at some point)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37adXYp5Cr8

  100. Juice Box says:

    Posted without comment from Curbed NY, only $1200 a month in Brooklyn.

    https://newyork.craigslist.org/brk/roo/5299506032.html

  101. Ragnar says:

    Good thing Hillary has never said anything false or misleading over the past 25 years, otherwise the media would really be going after those stories and investigating her past.

  102. Ragnar says:

    Inadequate IRR and negative NPV is exactly what makes a project uneconomical. Because otherwise you aren’t economizing capital.

Comments are closed.