Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Some Trends Die Hard

Click to enlarge.

When they touch down, we'll blow the roof, they'll spend a month sifting through rubble, and by the time they figure out what went wrong, we'll be sitting on a beach, earning twenty percent. - Hans Gruber (Die Hard, 1988)

Source Data:
St. Louis Fed: Custom Chart


AllanF said...

Someone say rents? :-)

Semi-randomly came across this today, and immediately thought of Troy and how he's always bringing up rents. Thought he'd appreciate it.


It doesn't directly address the hypothesis that all taxes come out of rents, but I think it's in there. I think.

It's long enough, anything you want could be in there. :-)

Stagflationary Mark said...


Holy crap! I found Jimmy Hoffa in there. ;)

Troy said...

Thanks AllanF, that was an interesting read.

the nut:

"I’m afraid that the answer is both obvious and deeply depressing. Prices are skyrocketing in a handful of “star cities” because the rest of the country is dying."

is a good take-away, yes. Objectively, my life in Sunnyvale was in no way shape or form superior to my life in Fresno. In fact, it was often worse (the Sunnyvale & Mt View Costcos are always incredibly crowded, while the Fresno Costcos (there are two, serving the less-poor N half of the metro) are never crowded).

Save for those lucky souls who inherit land in-place, we all have to bid against ourselves to secure our tenure to land, whether it's fee simple or leasehold.

If someone would fund me I'd be perfectly happy modeling to the penny all the rents being extracted from the working (and dependent) class via ground rents.



dearieme said...

Have you thought of fitting a logistic curve to some of your data?

Troy said...

Speaking of logistic curves, I found one this week:


that green thing is the age 65+ population of Japan.

We hear how they're going to be a society of old people, and that much is true, but not because the number of old people is going to grow much more from here!

This is different from us . . . I look at our numbers and just shake my head . . .

Between now and 2050 the US 65+ population will more than double, from 40M to ~90M.

Heaven forfend if they actually cure cancer . . . they'll have to price the cure at all the extra pension payments the patient will be due to receive!

Japanese people entering retirement now smoked like chimneys their entire life, I wonder if that will help their retirement support burden.


Stagflationary Mark said...


I guess I'm just not THAT optimistic. Sigh.

Stagflationary Mark said...


The thought that we can reduce overall health care costs by lengthening lifespans was always a head scratcher to me. That said, I have no great desire to die early in order to prove my point!

Scott said...

The death rate per 1000 increases rapidly for cohorts over age 50. As the boomer generation ages, expect to see the death rate increase as there simply are more people in the age groups where death occurs. Not to be morbid, but it's just a basic fact.

AllanF said...

"reduce overall health care costs by lengthening lifespans"

Spurious correlation... centenarians are notable for not just living longer, but needing far, far less effort to get there.

But back to the correlation thing, researchers in the medicine industry are notorious for them. That said researchers are still treated with the same awe and reverence as Economists shows how ineffably stupid, corrupt, and lazy journalists are.

Stagflationary Mark said...


Spurious correlation... centenarians are notable for not just living longer, but needing far, far less effort to get there.

Show me the study that shows minimal health care costs from age 78 to 100 and I'll believe you.

Both my mother and my uncle are roughly 90 years old. If they had to pay for medical expenses out of pocket, it certainly would not be cheap.

AllanF said...

"it certainly would not be cheap"

Have you priced a statin prescription lately? Diabetes ain't cheap either. How about a round of chemo? Dialysis?

Centenarians aren't treatment success stories, they never got ill in the first place.

So while I don't have any cites, I'm sure there is something out there that compares the healthcare spend on 100+ to those that die in their 60's. I'd not be surprised if centenarians come out on top both in their 4 yrs and their 60's vs what I'll call the "morbid 60's."

In fact, it would be fun to track down.

Stagflationary Mark said...


My 90+ year old uncle has had diabetes for many years. I think you are seriously underestimating the medical expenses incurred as people age.

There's a reason medical insurance costs more the older we get.

dearieme said...

"Have you priced a statin prescription lately?"

Statins cost an average of GBP152.52 a year per patient. Call it 5 USD a week. What do they cost in the US?

dearieme said...

Googling further:

For example, a brand-name version of Atorvastatin costs GBP18.03 for a month's supply.

A generic version of Simvastatin, which many doctors say will do the same job for the majority of patients, costs GBP1.39.

That's a couple of bucks per month.

dearieme said...

Whether the stuff is worth taking for many people is another question.


dearieme said...

Dr Malcolm Kendrick:

I was visiting a lady of one hundred and one years old in a nursing home. The nursing staff asked me if I could change her statin from a tablet to a liquid form, as she was no longer able to swallow tablets. This lady was so severely demented that she could not speak, was unable to remotely recognise any of her relatives, and was lying immobile in her bed – doubly incontinent.

I felt that, in the circumstances, it was probably best just to stop the statin, especially as they are one hundred times more expensive in liquid than tablet form. So it all seemed like an expensive action in futility. For this action I was severely criticised by the nursing home, and another doctor involved in her care. I believe I was, at one point, accused of being ‘ageist.’ Well, I didn’t really know how to respond. I wondered where we drew the line with preventative medicine, and it appears we no longer draw the line, anywhere.

We carry on forever. We give drugs to the terminally ill, the extremely old and severely demented. Once started we never, ever, stop, no matter what, until the patient is dead. Perhaps at that point I should scatter statins on their ashes, just to make absolutely and completely certain that I am not missing a trick. After all, I would hate be thought of as ‘deadist’.

AllanF said...

Very well, I'll stand corrected. As for statins in the US, I remember reading one popular one was at around $200/month.

I should double-check that.

When dealing with those in the healthcare complex I'm reminded of the Upton Sinclair quote "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."

AllanF said...

I wouldn't take a statin if you paid me. I rather suspect the woman's dementia was _a result of_ her statin.

As for statin costs in the US, the top link at Google.us shows Lipitor at $126/month.

Generics are considerable cheaper.

Stagflationary Mark said...

dearieme & AllanF,

I think we're all in agreement when it comes to questioning whether the unintended consequences of many prescription drugs offset the intended consequences.

Heck, researchers don't even really know for sure what to say about salt!

As for me, I like salt and I'm not planning to change.

AllanF said...

Yeah, I'd heard that about salt a few years ago.

Sorry if this is a little off-color -- haven't seen our lady commenter around in a while -- but a buddy of mine (really! this isn't mine) was convinced wide-spread use of viagra was in response to all the "salt conspiracy". Big-pharma pays the nanny-researchers to vilify a common essential nutrient so that they can sell a prescription for treatment of the deficiency.

While I'll admit to being amenable to a number of conspiracy theories, I don't buy into that one. It gives Big-pharma too much credit. Not that they wouldn't do it if they knew how, but that they aren't that smart. :-)

Stagflationary Mark said...


Somebody needs to do a salt to viagra ratio. It's certainly not staying up! Hahaha!

I can't believe I went there. ;)