Acutaries on Pensions, & Housing

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Re: Acutaries Cooked The Books on Pensions, (Maybe?)

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Sep 20, 2016 12:20 am UTC

sardia wrote:You mean stick with their actuaries. They fired their hedge fund specialists. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/09/busin ... -fees.html
They decided that passive investments, not hedge funds, is the way to go.

We're pretty deep into weeds, and I feel no closer to the truth. If I was a California Pensioner, should I be more worried than usual?


Nah, don't worry, because your value is apparently inversely proportionate to expected future lifetimes and you'll be able to keep your pension but fuck over the future generations to come, because fuck you millenials.

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Re: Acutaries Cooked The Books on Pensions, (Maybe?)

Postby Zamfir » Tue Sep 20, 2016 10:47 am UTC

sardia wrote:You mean stick with their actuaries. They fired their hedge fund specialists. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/09/busin ... -fees.html
They decided that passive investments, not hedge funds, is the way to go.

We're pretty deep into weeds, and I feel no closer to the truth. If I was a California Pensioner, should I be more worried than usual?

I'd say that this particular article should not be much reason to worry. It's about a specific issue -how to handle termination - and while the article attempts to draw wider conclusions, those attempts seem misguided to me.

Of course, that doesn't mean that the Calpers system is healthy. It looks mostly underfunded (at least by Dutch pension standards), which perhaps tells us more about Californian local governments than about Calpers. But you should look elsewhere for that information.

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Re: Acutaries Cooked The Books on Pensions, (Maybe?)

Postby morriswalters » Tue Sep 20, 2016 11:57 am UTC

What are Dutch pension standards?

edit

Never mind.

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Re: Acutaries Cooked The Books on Pensions, (Maybe?)

Postby Zamfir » Tue Sep 20, 2016 12:19 pm UTC

No good reason for you to care about them, but for me they are the natural reference frame. Pension funds are a big thing here. Compared to the economy, they are larger than anywhere else. As result, the government tends to watch them fairly strictly, and there is much public discussion about them.

For me, it's interesting to see how that plays out elsewhere.

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Re: Acutaries Cooked The Books on Pensions, (Maybe?)

Postby morriswalters » Tue Sep 20, 2016 2:49 pm UTC

I was just curious, however I was also being lazy. I looked myself. I turns out that they put out a document for English speakers. I was curious as to what they felt they needed if they had a plan similar to Calpers.

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Re: Acutaries Cooked The Books on Pensions, (Maybe?)

Postby DanD » Tue Sep 20, 2016 2:50 pm UTC

"SB 400, passed in 1999, increased pension payouts by 50% for California Highway Patrol employees, a move quickly replicated at other state agencies and local governments."


Still not a scam, but yes, if you increase payouts without increasing funding, you're going to have problems. It sounds like contributions need to be raised across the board. Doesn't change the fact that a static fund is going to have to be more cautious than one with continuing income.

And contrary to that article's claims, the dip in stocks was before June 30th. All three major indices are up since then, with NASDAQ being up almost 8%. And that's despite the last month also not being very good.

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Re: Acutaries Cooked The Books on Pensions, (Maybe?)

Postby morriswalters » Tue Sep 20, 2016 3:51 pm UTC

As I said it ain't my problem. But if you live in California it might well be yours at some point. They use the pensions as a proxy for things they can't do in normal budgets, such as those Highway Patrol figures. For me the interest is purely idle. My real point was that they need to put more into the system now(in my state, California can burn as long as I don't have to pay for it) to keep it solvent. If not taxpayers unborn will end up footing the bill. I'm assuming that is what drove this.
CorruptUser wrote:Nah, don't worry, because your value is apparently inversely proportionate to expected future lifetimes and you'll be able to keep your pension but fuck over the future generations to come, because fuck you millenials.
I'll give you an example of the wishful thinking involved. A friend retired after thirty years at full pay and with health benefits from a state job. Can you guess who is going to pay for it? Not me. I'm already retired.

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Re: Acutaries Cooked The Books on Pensions, (Maybe?)

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Sep 20, 2016 4:32 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:I'll give you an example of the wishful thinking involved. A friend retired after thirty years at full pay and with health benefits from a state job. Can you guess who is going to pay for it? Not me. I'm already retired.


That's why, as an actuary, I think it should be enshrined in law that all pensions should be fully funded. That is, future benefits must not be based on future contributions, except for minor adjustments (i.e., people living slightly longer or shorter). Otherwise you end up with managers, politicians and union bosses just pulling numbers out of their collective anuses (ani?) promising huge benefits later on to be paid for by the next guy in charge.

And especially none of this bullshit where Millenials and Gen Xers have to pay for their own pensions and Boomers and "Dah GRATEIST EVAR" Generation. Since the young tend to be less wealthy than the middle-aged, this is effectively a wealth transfer from the poor to the rich (I take issue with the ACA for similar reasons).

Then again, I'm not a Pension actuary, so what do I know.

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Re: Acutaries Cooked The Books on Pensions, (Maybe?)

Postby morriswalters » Tue Sep 20, 2016 4:39 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Then again, I'm not a Pension actuary, so what do I know.
You don't really need to be anything other than thoughtful to realize that.

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Re: Acutaries Cooked The Books on Pensions, (Maybe?)

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Sep 20, 2016 4:43 pm UTC

'scool, we'll get around to paying for that as soon as we're done with student loans.

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Re: Acutaries Cooked The Books on Pensions, (Maybe?)

Postby sardia » Tue Sep 20, 2016 4:58 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:'scool, we'll get around to paying for that as soon as we're done with student loans.

I know you're joking, but taxes are paid before loans. I don't think there's a student loan deduction, in contrast to the mortgage deduction.

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Re: Acutaries Cooked The Books on Pensions, (Maybe?)

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Sep 20, 2016 5:00 pm UTC

Wait, I thought the interest portion of all loans was tax deductible? Or is it just mortgages?

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Re: Acutaries Cooked The Books on Pensions, (Maybe?)

Postby morriswalters » Tue Sep 20, 2016 5:21 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Wait, I thought the interest portion of all loans was tax deductible? Or is it just mortgages?
Almost all deductions for interest were removed from the tax code except mortgage loans, I'm unsure about student loans.

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Re: Acutaries Cooked The Books on Pensions, (Maybe?)

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Sep 20, 2016 5:36 pm UTC

Looked it up. That's some serious bullshit; you are in effect subsidizing the rich homeowners (wtf, second mortgages exempt too?!) at the expense of poorer renters.

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Re: Acutaries Cooked The Books on Pensions, (Maybe?)

Postby sardia » Tue Sep 20, 2016 5:40 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Looked it up. That's some serious bullshit; you are in effect subsidizing the rich homeowners (wtf, second mortgages exempt too?!) at the expense of poorer renters.

Yes, but the mortgage deduction has great PR, back by the wealthy. Which makes it a lot like many deductions out there. For example, charities and churches don't need tax exemptions either, and are mostly used as vehicles to evade taxes.

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Re: Acutaries Cooked The Books on Pensions, (Maybe?)

Postby ucim » Tue Sep 20, 2016 5:42 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Looked it up. That's some serious bullshit; you are in effect subsidizing the rich homeowners (wtf, second mortgages exempt too?!) at the expense of poorer renters.
We're also subsidizing the poor homeowners at the expense of the rich renters. Also, second mortgages are not mortgages on second homes, in case you weren't aware of that.

The idea is to encourage home ownership by making it easier to pay for one. Behind this is the idea that home owners have (or at least feel) a greater stake in the country than renters do. Like anything, it can go too far, but I think the idea is sound.

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Re: Acutaries Cooked The Books on Pensions, (Maybe?)

Postby sardia » Tue Sep 20, 2016 5:52 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:Looked it up. That's some serious bullshit; you are in effect subsidizing the rich homeowners (wtf, second mortgages exempt too?!) at the expense of poorer renters.
We're also subsidizing the poor homeowners at the expense of the rich renters. Also, second mortgages are not mortgages on second homes, in case you weren't aware of that.

The idea is to encourage home ownership by making it easier to pay for one. Behind this is the idea that home owners have (or at least feel) a greater stake in the country than renters do. Like anything, it can go too far, but I think the idea is sound.

Jose

That true, but it's also bullshit. Imagine I'm a wealthy person with a tax deduction just like you, mr john C poorguy. You can deduct your shack mortgage for $70,000, and I'll deduct my $7,000,000 mansion, and my $1,000,000 yacht, which also count as a 2nd home. If you think that's still fair because we both deduct based on the same income tax rates, think about this: When the US government loses out on $7,070,000 in loss tax base, what happens? It'll either cut services by that amount*tax %, raise taxes, or go into debt(which is a fancy way of cutting services and raising taxes, but later). So now everyone suffers from reduced services, except the rich man got an extra $1 million dollars for it, while you only got 10,000 to 20k dollars.

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Re: Acutaries Cooked The Books on Pensions, (Maybe?)

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Sep 20, 2016 5:58 pm UTC

sardia wrote:
ucim wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:Looked it up. That's some serious bullshit; you are in effect subsidizing the rich homeowners (wtf, second mortgages exempt too?!) at the expense of poorer renters.
We're also subsidizing the poor homeowners at the expense of the rich renters. Also, second mortgages are not mortgages on second homes, in case you weren't aware of that.

The idea is to encourage home ownership by making it easier to pay for one. Behind this is the idea that home owners have (or at least feel) a greater stake in the country than renters do. Like anything, it can go too far, but I think the idea is sound.

Jose

That true, but it's also bullshit. Imagine I'm a wealthy person with a tax deduction just like you, mr john C poorguy. You can deduct your shack mortgage for $70,000, and I'll deduct my $7,000,000 mansion, and my $1,000,000 yacht, which also count as a 2nd home. If you think that's still fair because we both deduct based on the same income tax rates, think about this: When the US government loses out on $7,070,000 in loss tax base, what happens? It'll either cut services by that amount*tax %, raise taxes, or go into debt(which is a fancy way of cutting services and raising taxes, but later). So now everyone suffers from reduced services, except the rich man got an extra $1 million dollars for it, while you only got 10,000 to 20k dollars.


You can't get around the Alternative Minimum Tax like that however.

The secret to being a millionare is to not have any income what so ever. At least, technically income. If you just have a bunch of companies that happen to grow by $2 million dollars, your capital gains will be taxed at only 15%.
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Re: Acutaries Cooked The Books on Pensions, (Maybe?)

Postby ucim » Tue Sep 20, 2016 6:02 pm UTC

sardia wrote:Imagine I'm a wealthy person with a tax deduction...
Rich people have more money. If you find that's inherently unfair, then, well, life is unfair. It shouldn't be the government's job to even it out. At least not for its own sake.

A rich person is also likely paying more taxes overall, so any tax break is going to be more valuable in the same way that any tax increase is going to be more painful. That's just math.

And a tax break isn't a "gift" of money (more money for rich people). It's not money a person didn't have before. Instead, it's money that's not being taken away.

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Re: Acutaries Cooked The Books on Pensions, (Maybe?)

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Sep 20, 2016 6:02 pm UTC

sardia wrote:
ucim wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:Looked it up. That's some serious bullshit; you are in effect subsidizing the rich homeowners (wtf, second mortgages exempt too?!) at the expense of poorer renters.
We're also subsidizing the poor homeowners at the expense of the rich renters. Also, second mortgages are not mortgages on second homes, in case you weren't aware of that.

The idea is to encourage home ownership by making it easier to pay for one. Behind this is the idea that home owners have (or at least feel) a greater stake in the country than renters do. Like anything, it can go too far, but I think the idea is sound.

Jose

That true, but it's also bullshit. Imagine I'm a wealthy person with a tax deduction just like you, mr john C poorguy. You can deduct your shack mortgage for $70,000, and I'll deduct my $7,000,000 mansion, and my $1,000,000 yacht, which also count as a 2nd home. If you think that's still fair because we both deduct based on the same income tax rates, think about this: When the US government loses out on $7,070,000 in loss tax base, what happens? It'll either cut services by that amount*tax %, raise taxes, or go into debt(which is a fancy way of cutting services and raising taxes, but later). So now everyone suffers from reduced services, except the rich man got an extra $1 million dollars for it, while you only got 10,000 to 20k dollars.


Except you can only deduct on up to $1m of debt.

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Re: Acutaries Cooked The Books on Pensions, (Maybe?)

Postby morriswalters » Tue Sep 20, 2016 6:19 pm UTC

Sardia wrote:That true, but it's also bullshit. Imagine I'm a wealthy person with a tax deduction just like you, mr john C poorguy. You can deduct your shack mortgage for $70,000, and I'll deduct my $7,000,000 mansion, and my $1,000,000 yacht, which also count as a 2nd home. If you think that's still fair because we both deduct based on the same income tax rates, think about this: When the US government loses out on $7,070,000 in loss tax base, what happens? It'll either cut services by that amount*tax %, raise taxes, or go into debt(which is a fancy way of cutting services and raising taxes, but later). So now everyone suffers from reduced services, except the rich man got an extra $1 million dollars for it, while you only got 10,000 to 20k dollars.

The deduction isn't unlimited. I've linked to the relevant IRS document.

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Re: Acutaries Cooked The Books on Pensions, (Maybe?)

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Sep 20, 2016 9:12 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
Sardia wrote:That true, but it's also bullshit. Imagine I'm a wealthy person with a tax deduction just like you, mr john C poorguy. You can deduct your shack mortgage for $70,000, and I'll deduct my $7,000,000 mansion, and my $1,000,000 yacht, which also count as a 2nd home. If you think that's still fair because we both deduct based on the same income tax rates, think about this: When the US government loses out on $7,070,000 in loss tax base, what happens? It'll either cut services by that amount*tax %, raise taxes, or go into debt(which is a fancy way of cutting services and raising taxes, but later). So now everyone suffers from reduced services, except the rich man got an extra $1 million dollars for it, while you only got 10,000 to 20k dollars.

The deduction isn't unlimited. I've linked to the relevant IRS document.


And even if it were unlimited, it wouldn't be because of the Alternative Minimum Tax.

It doesn't matter how many deductions you take. You have to take at least the AMT.

Now, the home-interest credit on AMT will only apply on the mansion, not the yacht. Furthermore, you can only deduct the interest-payments on your $7-million mansion. FYI: spending $1 on interest to save on 28-cents (assuming you're applying to AMT) on income-taxes is really, really bad finances.
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Re: Acutaries Cooked The Books on Pensions, (Maybe?)

Postby sardia » Tue Sep 20, 2016 9:27 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
It doesn't matter how many deductions you take. You have to take at least the AMT.

Now, the home-interest credit on AMT will only apply on the mansion, not the yacht. Furthermore, you can only deduct the interest-payments on your $7-million mansion. FYI: spending $1 on interest to save on 28-cents (assuming you're applying to AMT) on income-taxes is really, really bad finances.

Yachts count as homes. http://www.boatus.com/pressroom/release.asp?id=760
You all bring up good points, but what I wanted to illustrate was the big difference between a tax deduction for the rich, vs a tax deduction for the poor. If the rich get most of the benefit from a tax initiative, why not appropriate money, and send out grants? Ask yourself why make it so broadly given? What goals are we trying to advance. Now if the goal was to say, deduct gym memberships in order to get everyone to exercise, then yea, maybe its not a big deal. But if the purpose is to advance home ownership among those without homes, then questions of who actually needs help getting a home are very valid if the rich get more value out of it.

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Re: Acutaries Cooked The Books on Pensions, (Maybe?)

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Sep 20, 2016 10:03 pm UTC

sardia wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:
It doesn't matter how many deductions you take. You have to take at least the AMT.

Now, the home-interest credit on AMT will only apply on the mansion, not the yacht. Furthermore, you can only deduct the interest-payments on your $7-million mansion. FYI: spending $1 on interest to save on 28-cents (assuming you're applying to AMT) on income-taxes is really, really bad finances.

Yachts count as homes. http://www.boatus.com/pressroom/release.asp?id=760


Read your own link again:

Sorry, AMT
For those who fall under the Alternative Minimum Tax, most deductions are unavailable. Boaters are urged to contact a tax preparer or financial advisor for more information.


The explicit point of the AMT is to prevent rich people from gaming the system too much.

You all bring up good points, but what I wanted to illustrate was the big difference between a tax deduction for the rich, vs a tax deduction for the poor. If the rich get most of the benefit from a tax initiative, why not appropriate money, and send out grants?


Because the mortgage interest adjustment isn't a "benefit". Its the "lack of a penalty".

If you have a $7 million home on a 30-year loan, you will be paying roughly $121,000 per year in interest (more early on, less later, assuming 3.6% rate... which is not how a jumbo-loan works but whatever, I forgot about that before using the mortgage calculators). You will also be paying that $7 million over those 30 years. (The $121,000 per year is straight profit from the banks). Its not like "the rich" are profiting from this sort of arrangement.

So its not like buying massive homes is a good way to "save on taxes", because you still end up owing tons of money to the bank anyway.

----------

The home mortgage interest tax deduction exists because we believe that people should be encouraged to own homes in America. (for better or for worse). Its applied to everyone equally, rich or poor. It still doesn't necessarily make big-home purchases affordable, nor does it magically stop payments to the bank (which is where the majority of the costs go). Its just a little bit of help to encourage home-ownership.
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Re: Acutaries Cooked The Books on Pensions, (Maybe?)

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Sep 20, 2016 10:58 pm UTC

Unless new homes are built, the supply for housing is fairly inelastic, so giving people more money to buy homes will just raises the price of existing homes. In effect non-homeowners are subsidizing not new homeowners, but the people lending out the additional money. The people who own a home think they benefit from higher home prices, until they sell and need to buy another home to live in. It's a myth that this deduction makes things more affordable.

And if new homes are built as a result? Urban sprawl is an environmental and economic nightmare that more than undoes any benefit from the new homes.

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Re: Acutaries Cooked The Books on Pensions, (Maybe?)

Postby morriswalters » Tue Sep 20, 2016 11:59 pm UTC

Say, it bought votes, three times quickly. And it makes people so happy that they would fire anyone who tries to take it away. And this is pretty much a description of the tax code.

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Re: Acutaries Cooked The Books on Pensions, (Maybe?)

Postby Diadem » Wed Sep 21, 2016 11:55 am UTC

Mortgage interest tax deduction is a terrible idea.

We have it in The Netherlands, and pretty much everybody across the political spectrum agrees that it's a bad idea. As CorruptUser points out, the number of houses is fairly fixed. So if everybody can afford a more expensive house, everybody will end up with the same house, just paying more for it.

Worse is that once you have such a system in place you're pretty much stuck with it. Abolishing mortgage interest deduction would crash the housing market, which would crash the economy. Everybody who currently has a mortgage is also against removing it, for very obvious reasons. Even just abolishing it for new mortgages would be disastrous, because it would still crash the housing market, and put all current home owners under water.

As a result the subject is pretty much taboo in Dutch politics, to the point that even mentioning the h-word (The Dutch word for mortgage is 'hypotheek') is political suicide. At the same time the majority of politicians seem to want to change the system. So there is some change, but it's extremely circumspect and glacial.
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Re: Acutaries Cooked The Books on Pensions, (Maybe?)

Postby jseah » Wed Sep 21, 2016 1:45 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:As CorruptUser points out, the number of houses is fairly fixed.

Why is this the case? New homes can be built fairly quickly and easily. Construction wise, there really shouldn't be any more than a couple of months lag between demand and supply.

Sounds like that is the problem to me.
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Re: Acutaries Cooked The Books on Pensions, (Maybe?)

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Sep 21, 2016 1:51 pm UTC

jseah wrote:
Diadem wrote:As CorruptUser points out, the number of houses is fairly fixed.

Why is this the case? New homes can be built fairly quickly and easily. Construction wise, there really shouldn't be any more than a couple of months lag between demand and supply.

Sounds like that is the problem to me.


Land is pretty finite. Yeah, you can, in theory, build new land by messing with the ocean or whatever, but that's usually not exceedingly cheap or easy.

Homes are also long term investments, which means that replacement rates are relatively low, and the number constructed is small compared to the overall supply. Yeah, a given house in a few months, sure, that's normal. But we don't have the manpower in the industry to double housing in that time or anything. Wouldn't make sense to.

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Re: Acutaries Cooked The Books on Pensions, (Maybe?)

Postby jseah » Wed Sep 21, 2016 2:09 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Land is pretty finite. Yeah, you can, in theory, build new land by messing with the ocean or whatever, but that's usually not exceedingly cheap or easy.

City densities are nowhere near the limit of what is possible. Even the most land starved cities can cram in much more people. (infrastructure will need upgrades but that goes hand in hand with housing construction)
And I doubt the US will run out liveable area any time soon.

You wouldn't need to double the number of houses anyway, even a few percent increase will make a large impact. Given unlimited construction permits, the market will quickly take care of the supply problem. (in practice you wouldn't let anyone build wherever they can buy land, but the principle is there)
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Re: Acutaries Cooked The Books on Pensions, (Maybe?)

Postby sardia » Wed Sep 21, 2016 2:15 pm UTC

jseah wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Land is pretty finite. Yeah, you can, in theory, build new land by messing with the ocean or whatever, but that's usually not exceedingly cheap or easy.

City densities are nowhere near the limit of what is possible. Even the most land starved cities can cram in much more people. (infrastructure will need upgrades but that goes hand in hand with housing construction)
And I doubt the US will run out liveable area any time soon.

You wouldn't need to double the number of houses anyway, even a few percent increase will make a large impact. Given unlimited construction permits, the market will quickly take care of the supply problem. (in practice you wouldn't let anyone build wherever they can buy land, but the principle is there)

It's neither lack of land not city density. The real issue is the people. Remember that when a developer tries to build a big shiny condo or apartment complex, there's tons of opposition from the locals who like living in inefficient spacious homes. They then codify their opposition with bureaucracy and ordinance limiting the height of buildings, etc etc. It's all adds together into really slow expensive building of new housing.

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Re: Acutaries Cooked The Books on Pensions, (Maybe?)

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Sep 21, 2016 2:30 pm UTC

jseah wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Land is pretty finite. Yeah, you can, in theory, build new land by messing with the ocean or whatever, but that's usually not exceedingly cheap or easy.

City densities are nowhere near the limit of what is possible. Even the most land starved cities can cram in much more people. (infrastructure will need upgrades but that goes hand in hand with housing construction)
And I doubt the US will run out liveable area any time soon.

You wouldn't need to double the number of houses anyway, even a few percent increase will make a large impact. Given unlimited construction permits, the market will quickly take care of the supply problem. (in practice you wouldn't let anyone build wherever they can buy land, but the principle is there)


As Sardia says, it's not that it's impossible to cram more people in, so much as that folks don't want more people crammed in.

Now, in the US, it's true that there are nigh-endless unorganized townships, etc where basically anyone can build, and it's fairly low hassle, but as you get into areas that are already populated, where people want to live(as shown by home prices), you do see a great deal of people not wanting additional crowding. Cost are imposed both in increasing land costs, regulatory burden, public opposition, etc.

Affordable housing initiatives in the city are a popular windmill to tilt at, but in practice, success is usually limited at best, and there's a resulting artificial cap on urban housing projects. These are sometimes structured, intentionally or not, to discourage high density, low cost housing as well. If you have to pay relatively flat fees per unit, for instance, that makes up a lower proportion of cost if you're building luxury housing. There may even be hard limits on height you can build to(such as in DC), or minimum areas for living spaces that result in quite hard caps on population density.

All of those factors combined result in a fairly obvious outcome.

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Re: Acutaries Cooked The Books on Pensions, (Maybe?)

Postby Dauric » Wed Sep 21, 2016 2:44 pm UTC

Square footage of solid land isn't the only issue, but you run in to other resource issues like power, water, and sanitation. Power and sanitation are largely functions of city construction and in theory at any rate an increase in municipal tax base should be going to increases in capacity (though these often run afoul of NIMBY*).

(*NIMBY: Not In My Back Yard. Nobody wants to live next to a power plant or a sewage treatment plant)

The resource that kills your ability to grow is water and water rights. Where you can build more power plants, even going to wind turbines and solar to achieve efficiency, aquifers that most municipal water comes from tend to be limited, they refill based on the upslope watersheds, weather (adequate rain or snowfall**), and over-pumping from an aquifer can actually destroy them as the water in the aquifer is often what is holding it open, over-pumping removes that support and the aquifer collapses on itself cutting the remaining volume.

** And adequate rain and/or snowfall, mostly snowfall, has been a major issue in the southwest of the U.S. where most states have been in extended and/or revolving droughts for the last few decades. Lake Mead is a typical example of drought issues with reservoirs, (and coincidentally enough also presents issues with power generation).
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Re: Acutaries Cooked The Books on Pensions, (Maybe?)

Postby morriswalters » Wed Sep 21, 2016 2:55 pm UTC

jseah wrote: (infrastructure will need upgrades but that goes hand in hand with housing construction)
This is the most massive understatement I have seen in years. You can add houses as quick as you can build them. And they build a lot. But that infrastructure is expensive. Some sewers in my locale are still brick. My sewer bill increases faster than my water bill, 6 percent each year, 20 to 25 percent if they can get it. And they are losing ground.
sardia wrote:They then codify their opposition with bureaucracy and ordinance limiting the height of buildings, etc etc. It's all adds together into really slow expensive building of new housing.
Move to Vegas, they have plenty of homes. Is there a housing shortage?

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Re: Acutaries Cooked The Books on Pensions, (Maybe?)

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Sep 21, 2016 3:11 pm UTC

Moving across the country is not a practical solution to a housing shortage for most people. Housing isn't a fungible thing. Living in Las Vegas is simply not the same as living in DC.

Usually, people are selecting from houses within a fairly short radius of work, possibly limited by other factors(geography, school availability, connectedness of roads, crime rate). More houses within that niche are helpful, but moving further away to add houses has rapidly diminishing effects.

Thus, the housing price in New York City is not greatly affected by the housing market in Detroit being abysmally low in comparison.

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Re: Acutaries Cooked The Books on Pensions, (Maybe?)

Postby sardia » Wed Sep 21, 2016 4:02 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Moving across the country is not a practical solution to a housing shortage for most people. Housing isn't a fungible thing. Living in Las Vegas is simply not the same as living in DC.

Usually, people are selecting from houses within a fairly short radius of work, possibly limited by other factors(geography, school availability, connectedness of roads, crime rate). More houses within that niche are helpful, but moving further away to add houses has rapidly diminishing effects.

Thus, the housing price in New York City is not greatly affected by the housing market in Detroit being abysmally low in comparison.

The benefits of low housing costs are similar to having good infrastructure. It nudges business to invest or set up in that location, which overall could improve housing as employees chase businesses. A very subtle and long-term process, which is of no help to those struggling to live in high cost cities.

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Re: Acutaries Cooked The Books on Pensions, (Maybe?)

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Sep 21, 2016 4:05 pm UTC

Oh, both are obviously beneficial, but the process of getting either seems to be commonly poorly done. There are endless areas that have talked about these things for ages, and still have systemic problems with both of them.

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Re: Acutaries Cooked The Books on Pensions, (Maybe?)

Postby sardia » Wed Sep 21, 2016 4:10 pm UTC

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Tyndmyr wrote:Oh, both are obviously beneficial, but the process of getting either seems to be commonly poorly done. There are endless areas that have talked about these things for ages, and still have systemic problems with both of them.

The big issue is that people don't want to be jerks by eminent domaining a stubborn fools house. Once you freely do that, you've made everyone's lives better and harmed the few. Nobody likes that.

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Re: Acutaries Cooked The Books on Pensions, (Maybe?)

Postby morriswalters » Wed Sep 21, 2016 4:28 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Moving across the country is not a practical solution to a housing shortage for most people.
Well somebody in another place and time had suggested it for what to do when losing a job. :twisted:
sardia wrote:The benefits of low housing costs are similar to having good infrastructure. It nudges business to invest or set up in that location, which overall could improve housing as employees chase businesses. A very subtle and long-term process, which is of no help to those struggling to live in high cost cities.
Except when business sets up housing becomes expensive, aka Silicon Valley, San Fransisco. And then the poor have to move out.
sardia wrote:The big issue is that people don't want to be jerks by eminent domaining a stubborn fools house. Once you freely do that, you've made everyone's lives better and harmed the few. Nobody likes that.
One of the Donald's favorite tactics. I once saw a city use eminent domain to take a number of high density apartments which were built like fortresses for a street widening that was going to benefit business and make the world better for those businesses. They tore down the apartments, the street never got built, and much later some was converted to low density housing, some was left vacant and some was returned to high density apartments which were more expensive and built worse than what was there before. Yea!!!!

They have experimented with high density subsidized homes and it doesn't seem to work. For high rise condominiums or apartment to work they need committed and intelligent tenets and managers. They are expensive to build and maintain and require discipline to work.

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Re: Acutaries Cooked The Books on Pensions, (Maybe?)

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Sep 21, 2016 4:43 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Moving across the country is not a practical solution to a housing shortage for most people.
Well somebody in another place and time had suggested it for what to do when losing a job. :twisted:


Moving for a job is common. But if you have a job, you kinda have to move near the job. There's no real way to combine the housing of Detroit with the jobs of New York City. If it were, society would look very different.

One of the Donald's favorite tactics. I once saw a city use eminent domain to take a number of high density apartments which were built like fortresses for a street widening that was going to benefit business and make the world better for those businesses. They tore down the apartments, the street never got built, and much later some was converted to low density housing, some was left vacant and some was returned to high density apartments which were more expensive and built worse than what was there before. Yea!!!!

They have experimented with high density subsidized homes and it doesn't seem to work. For high rise condominiums or apartment to work they need committed and intelligent tenets and managers. They are expensive to build and maintain and require discipline to work.


I agree that eminent domain is hardly the solution to everything. There are situations, such as roads or pipelines, where it perhaps must unfortunately be used, or otherwise one holdout would be able to get far more than a reasonable share because you need all of the plots in a path. Even then, I'd like to see it used sparingly. It's a tool with a high potential for abuse, or damage from even misguided optimisim.

It's far more common for it to be used to make, say, a sports stadium, than to solve low income housing troubles. There's money in the former, you see, whereas the poor are a cost. Better to drive them out.


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