Questions I would like to ask economists

1. The fact that some entities were “too big to fail” suggests to me that anti-trust policy is either ineffective or a thing of the past. True or false? Isn’t letting anti-trust die away a recipe for recreating the same economic conditions that led us to the bailouts?

2. The belief that we “have no choice but to save the dumb buyers”–people who bought high and with poor mortgage structures–suggests to me that US economy has little resilience and that a continued, long-term reliance on economic growth and home ownership portends a huge structural weakness. True? False? What’s the advantage of being so dependent on individual home ownership?

Am I just being dumb here ?

My colleague Richard Green as usual has some interesting stats that point out how people’s behavior has changed around home ownership and debt from 1989 to 2007:

Richard’s Real Estate and Urban Economics Blog: A little more on Mortgage Debt and Aging


Service animals and coming back to life

The NYT ran a story yesterday about dogs trained to help veterans learn to deal with anxiety and post-traumatic stress, enabling them to reduce or eliminate anxiety medicine: For the Battle-Scarred, Comfort at Leash’s End – NYTimes.com

I have a running list about why dogs are better than people. Yes, dogs do disgusting things and it’s important not to sentimentalize them (why it’s important, I’m not sure, but you have to say that otherwise people get on your case). But here’s part of my list:

1. Dogs don’t schedule pointless meetings on my outlook.

2. Dogs do not talk about themselves constantly.

3. Dogs don’t write shitty reviews.

4. Dogs don’t care about grades (though Border Collies and Dobies might);

5. Dogs derive tremendous utility from wandering around with you.

6. As a Dug from the movie Up points out: “I just met you and I already looooooooove you.”