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fluffy666

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Posts posted by fluffy666

  1. Brilliant move by the Scottish;

    A few more Losers:

    The social rented sector that loses more homes

    Future generations now denied access to social housing

    People in genuine need of a long term secure tenancy

    I cannot understand why we still allow RtB in this country, it was one of the most disastrous legacies of Thatcher. The model of council housing was an inspired socialist idea, which now seems to have turned into a capalist dream for the very people who extol it's virtues, who in turn seem happy to deny this benefit to future generations.

    RTB would have been OK - ish IF the proceeds had been used to build more houses. The social engineering aspect was the deliberate preventing of this.

    Indeed.. A sane policy would be for governments to build lots of houses in recessions, when labour would be cheap and demand for social housing high, and sell them into booms to help keep a lid on prices. A counter-cyclical policy that has the overall social benefit of keeping rents and house prices down. But we don't do sane things, obviously.

  2. Well, I'm on my 7th MOOC.. for the specific purpose of a person in-work wanting to expand and improve their skills, they are great. Vastly better than normal training courses.

    As a university replacement, I'm conflicted on this. MOOCs have huge advantages of scale and accessibility, but there are elements of learning at University level - practicals, tutorials, fieldwork, that sort of thing - that are very hard to MOOC-ify. Programming does lend itself very well to MOOCS, other subjects less so.

    There is also the social aspect of university, which you may snort at but is still important.

    I suppose the danger is that the traditional University experience is shrunk in numbers and at the same time made fantastically expensive - basically it becomes an extension of private schooling with a few token talented-but-poor kids thrown in. And everyone else, if they are lucky, takes online courses and is told that they are just as good. Leading to totally predictable results, i.e. even more real-world exclusion.

  3. Think more in terms of the Weimar Republic-type problems and you'll get closer to what is going to happen.

    War is inevitable now, I think. Never before has the world been in this situation and not had a war (as Kyle Bass is fond of telling us). Life is not going to be normal for the vast majority of people.

    You mean a scary hyperinflation takes away practically all debt leaving the economy excellently placed for sustained growth powered by a Keynesian stimulus or two?

  4. Agree. They can't stop now. There are only two ways out - voluntarily stop the insanity and let everything collapse in a semi-ordered but mightily painful way, or carry on and destroy the entire financial system bringing down the entire structure in one massive explosion.

    It's worth remembering that money isn't actually real. A reset of the system might cause some disruption. But the people, the buildings, the goods.. they will still be there.

  5. But just look at that Inner London HTB spike! D'you reckon Osbourne looks on that with unalloyed pride or will there now be a hint of embarrassment?

    I think it might just be beginning to penetrate the thick skulls of our political class that - contrary to everything they have ever experienced in life - there are people out there to whom a £250k price tag looks gigantic.

    You wonder just how many of the cabinet/shadow cabinet have ever actually had to pay a mortgage for their main home out of a wage - with no expenses to cover it, and not just doing it for tax reasons, and with the real prospect of losing the property if circumstances change.

  6. My kids go to the same cub pack I went to as a child. In the early 80s it was 5p that you paid when you attended. Now it's £80/term (8 or 9 sessions) regardless how many you attend.

    The scout huts I used to go to were demolished as unsafe and the council sold the land for housing development, now they have a dedicated building by the sports centre, but they have to pay a significant rent. I'll bet insurance (if they even bothered back then) has gone from a token cost to something astronomical. Also the cost of regulatory compliance has gone up considerably (the volume of official forms is insane) not least of which is the cost of DBS checks.

    It's just another way that high house prices poison things. Because you can generally get planning permission to replace an existing building, even a dilapidated scout hut is suddenly extremely valuable. And since councils are permanently short of cash they shove up the rents.

  7. Piece on this on Radio 4 this morning. The presenter asserted that rising house prices are often presented as a good thing but are not good for everyone. The commentator he was addressing then countered that there were plenty of people rising house prices were good for and proceeded to list them: down sizers, buy to let investors, re-mortgagers. Mumbled something about first time buyers at the end maybe, couldn't tell.

    I heard that as well.. seemed to be an element of 'Allows people to withdraw equity' as well as 'Access lower interest rates'. Definitely got the impression that he didn't want to talk about it..

    (Almost as if the real winners from rising prices were the banks/building societies)

    Apparently, first time buyers are up, although I can't find any actual numbers.

  8. £700 pcm for food and consumables for a family of four seems very high to me, unless I have misunderstood what consumables are.

    My wife and I spend between £150 and £200 a month between two of us on food, toiletries and cleaning products (basically all the regular items we buy in the supermarket). We live abroad but food etc is about the same price as the UK. A big saving is only having meat once or twice a week. We don't buy branded cleaning products but use vinegar, soda crystals etc for cleaning.

    In fact, we recently increased the food budget so that we could buy more wholesome foods such as oat flour for making bread, more free-range meat etc, so we eat quite well. It is helped however by the fact that I only work part time so have more time to spend on making nice food etc, but then I've always wanted to work to live rather than vice-versa.

    This isn't intended to be a 'frugaler than thou' post - just that savings can be made to most budgets without a decrease in quality of life.

    Bear in mind that my numbers had no element of discretion.

    Think of it as £700 for food, other consumables, cash in pocket, days out, events..

    And although it is possible to live more frugally, it's often a case of trading time for money. Harder equation with kids around.

  9. This thread reminds me of a radio 4 play some years back. Basically lack of consumption was imprisonable and every household had to meet its target of consumption to keep the economy going. I think going to work gave you special dispensation from having to consume stuff. About time crashmonitor and some of the other skinflinteratti bloody well did their duty and got consuming.

    I reads that, it's an old SF story.

  10. According to Krugman and friends, wealth comes from consumption, not production.

    Pensioners by definition consume and dont produce, I dont know why we dont just import over 70s.

    Well, if we are going to use stupidly over-simplified arguments, than you must be claiming that if I make widgets, I can increase my wealth just by making more, even if there is no one to sell to.

  11. Well, speaking as half of a couple with 2 children.. a MSE style statement

    (Monthly)

    Mortgage £850

    Council Tax £150

    Gas/Electric £90

    Phone/Broadband £30

    Cars(2) Keeping on road (servicing+tax) £80

    Insurances £200

    Water £40

    Fuel £160

    Food+consumables £700

    Minimal cash savings (to replace big ticket items) £200

    =£2500

    Which is indeed equivalent to about £40k, but would be desperately tight.

    Problem is, it would be possible to cope on less than that, but you'd find that 'unexpected' items resulted in credit card bills that never quite got paid off before the next one turned up. Or you find that you can stick to a lower consumables budget for a couple of months, then clothes need buying and stuff starts running out..

    Anyway, as far as the article goes then yes, you need that much for a fairly basic lifestyle nowadays.

  12. Devils advocate..

    If 'investors' are prepared to pay current prices, and can easily afford current prices (just pay the interest out of rent payments), then why should there ever be a substantial crash, especially if rents are solid and supply restricted?

    Could be just be going down a road where most of the housing stock is owned by large trusts and private ownership tails off. Prices would never fall without serious political action. Even higher interest rates might not do much, if the companies/trusts involved simply do a debt restructuring when they get into trouble, without actually selling any houses. Essentially, we may have detached house prices from the whole concept of an average wage making it possible for a house to be bought outright.

    Houses may still be inherited - if not sold for care home fees - but if they are split between siblings who can't afford to buy the other share(s) then there would still be a gradual transfer to non-personal ownership.

  13. Not true.

    Accepting both your premises (redistribute, lopsided), we can reasonably conclude that a small proportion of households pay the majority of taxes. But your conclusion relies on an additional unstated premise which is hugely false. Namely, that tax is a zero-sum game with no net outflow. All those taxes that don't deliver benefits attributable to any household are going out of the system.

    Depends -

    Redistribution can include employing people, which would bring most of health and education into redistribution, and providing services as well as cash transfers. Even the armed forces have a redistributive function in the form of service wages and in-UK procurement.

    Although anything bought in from outside the country would be lost, yes, and debt repayment/interest.

    The other thing could be households that are in work but have no dependent children - either before having children or after chucking them out.. That's harder to account for, you almost need to sum these things up over a lifetime.

  14. It's actually a slight indictment of the system.

    A capitalist society only works if you redistribute* from rich to poor (relatively speaking), and given the very lopsided distribution of wealth and income, you'd expect most people/households to be net recipients. The fact that only ~50% are indicates that those at the top are contributing less than they should.

    *This redistribution can take a lot of forms, means tested cash transfers being one of the worst.

  15. Seems the DWP Pension dept is in a bit of disarray as well. I phoned them this morning to find out what State Pension I would receive when I reach retirement age in 2020 as it might have a bearing on deciding what sort of annuity I go for in a few months time when my private pension is due.

    They're not doing pension forecasts anymore and they can't tell me anyway at the moment because of the new flat rate pension system being brought in 'soon'. They have though booked me an appointment to speak to an advisor in 2 weeks time when they'll ring me back. No doubt it'll be another instance of back of a fag packet calculating. Heigh Ho.

    You just have to stop getting older whilst they sort it out.

  16. It's not just that

    There's no means to get the money out of them

    Socialists love going on and on about wealth inequality but have no answer as to how to achieve it without killing the golden goose

    They do love telling everyone to give them more money and then conveniently ignore the fact that their unworkable schemes just make everyone generally poorer, except them of course quaffing their champagne and talking sh1te

    Eg bailing out the bankers

    Bailing out the bankers was about as un-socialist as you can get..

    Corporatism - running the country for the benefit of large corporations and the very wealthy - is neither socialist or capitalist.

  17. Then they shouldn't take it.

    And if there are other better offers for people to take then the employer will need to raise their offer.

    If there are no better employment offers available or the prospective employee is unable to avail of them because they have little to offer to employers then that is a cause for regret but not handwringing consternation.

    Really we should be grateful that someone is able to provide paid employment to people with very low skills.

    And when pouring scorn on employers for the paucity of their offer ask:

    "How many jobs am I offering right now personally? How many am I offering through a private enterprise I own or control?" (Tax funded jobs don't count)

    If the answer is none then it's time to reconsider ones' position on the matter.

    So basically you think that people should shut up and scramble for any crumbs that are available? We've tried that; apart from minor issues like basic dignity or making sure that hard work is actually rewarded, allowing wages and conditions to sink to desperation levels has knock on effects on the wider economy, in terms of weak demand and growth.

    (Not sure what my or your personal status has to do with it, that's just a red herring)

  18. I cannot share your left wing philosophy. The problem exists and will get worse without Policing. Anyway, what cost is there if immigrants only become eligible for benefits after working for a number of years?

    As to being mean spirited, so what? People who have paid into the system are being denied a proportion of benefit if it goes to benefit tourists.

    Stupid? I and others are being ripped off and you want me to smile?

    Cost-Benefit analysis is now, apparently, 'Left Wing Philosophy'...

  19. People get paid for the value that they generate. If the employees get paid more than the value that they generate, the business will go bankrupt. Cleaning is a low value skill and is usually done by younger people (with lower skill) for a short time until they build up more skills and move on to bigger and better jobs.

    No. This is basically incorrect at the moment.

    IF we had full employment, THEN people would get paid according to the value generated. Indeed, you can actually see this in the 1950-70 full employment period - wages and productivity rise in lockstep.

    However, what we have now is a large pool of unemployed. Which means that wages can fall with no real lower bound - any lower bound then gets set by law, not market forces. Now, in a proper market, surplus labour would simply starve to death and resolve this problem (Well, there would be a revolution and the whole thing would be turned upside down, but I digress..)

    But still, in the current situation there can be a huge disconnect between pay and value generated, which gives disproportionate returns somewhere down the line.

  20. I'm sorry I really do not see the problem with this job advert, could someone please explain what I am missing?

    Because every possible externality has been shoved onto the worker. No guaranteed hours. Pay for own transport. No continuity. No holidays, sick pay, pension, whatever.

    And I'd bet that it will include things like 'You have 4 hours to clean this house top to bottom and if it's not good enough you won't get paid' so you end up taking 8 hours to do it.

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