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Everything posted by dgul

  1. IMO they'll reintroduce a form of miras if they have to more than trivial interest rate rises. Actually, I think they might make it apply to all debt, not just mortgage.
  2. Hedge funds tend to be clever enough not to short beyond the number of shares expected to be readily available for trading. The VW incident was moronic, as so many of the shares are held by a couple of strong shareholders who could (cleverly) muck about and force the short squeeze.
  3. DiBlasi fold well - (sort of) the Brompton of the trike world. But they're expensive, as are most decent trikes*. There is an electric variant, but it is even more spendy. You're better off struggling on a bike if you possibly can. (although, that said, I've converted a couple of bikes to electric using cheap Chinese motor kits -- I'd guess you could convert a cheap 2nd hand trike using an electric front wheel for much less than an electric trike would cost) [* there is, of course, no such thing]
  4. I mainly agree, but IMO the slowness of housing purchase timescales, along with the leveraged nature of the purchase, will slow things down considerably. Government intervention will also hinder progress. I see a long downwards grind, somewhat hidden by inflation, and with multiple false dawns along the way. I wouldn't be surprised if the bottom came around 2030.
  5. A bit of the rise is due to the inheritance-tax efficiency of being a 'farmer'*. Perhaps there are fewer rich folk coming along that want to buy a place in the country that they can pass down? My view of land prices (in Wales) is that they're not going down, but perhaps that is due to not really seeing the peak that happened (in the linked dataset) in 2015. [* IMO the relief of farmland is far too generous. I'd be content to see it remain at 100% but only up to the first £1m or so (of agricultural value) and also have some kind of taper (ie, you have to have farmed it for 30 years before getting 100% relief). This would absolutely protect the incomes of historical farming hard-working families**, but would stop the proliferation of farmland as a tax-dodge and also hinder those landed gentry that somehow manage to be treated differently than industrial families -- who, probably, do more to enhance the UK's wealth.] [** I know some people would say 'f*ck them', but I mean this in terms of keeping the full stated goals of the policy while removing the side effects.]
  6. Why do you think they stopped at the base rate with S24? They'll even out the field with base rate MIRAS. It isn't out of the question that they'll extend it to all private debt repayments.
  7. I'll throw in an alternative way of thinking. All the clever people I knew back in the day who didn't go to university have now got pretty good jobs, mostly doing things they enjoy. All the dullards who did go to university are stuck as middle income teachers, 'third sector', etc. Perhaps your earning potential is about you and your ability to work, not so much about education. Sure, you need a degree to do your current job, but even without it you'd have worked your way into a different job with potential for greatness. Perhaps the actual beneficiary of your getting a degree is the UK/government*, who likely have you doing a job that they wouldn't be able to get you to do otherwise. [I do, however, think that things have become more difficult for the current generation -- getting a degree is a certificate saying 'I can sort of apply myself and am capable of turning up when it is demanded of me', with the pain in the argument being that someone without this certificate is plainly incapable of applying themselves and/or turning up on time. Thus the only way to get 'a decent job' without a degree is to start your own business -- something which I see a good proportion of clever 18ish doing at the moment] [*I don't mean a job in gov, or a teacher, etc. More like, for example, you might be in engineering and the UK benefits from having engineers. Without a suitable degree you'd have done something else which didn't benefit the UK so much. Doesn't matter what -- maybe started a shop selling bicycles (made in China); all fine for GDP, but not actually doing much for the real economy.]
  8. If the £ demand was low they'd increase interest rates, not keep them low. The current situaton looks more like high demand.
  9. Every age has its fancy cars that attract poor drivers. Over my life I can recall Mercs (2000ish), Volvos (mid 90s), BMWs (ages ago, then more recently), and now Audi. IIRC even Saab was popular for this cohort for a few months in the 80s. Anyway, as each popular marque becomes unpopular you find the knobs get rid of their untrendy car to buy into the new fashion, leaving only the median drivers sticking with / purchasing the now unloved marque -- hence 'BMW drivers are actually quite sensible' (when they absolutely weren't 5 or so years ago). A similar effect goes on with second tier cars (like Scoobys) and hot hatches. Anyway, you attract the worst of them in an Elise. If you got a Dacia Duster you'd find you'd be invisible to them.
  10. Around here it is often the grandparents paying -- they're the ones with the disposable income and they still believe in the benefit of an academic education. Re timing -- they're usually empty during school time. But it is just a bit like a gym (relatively empty in office hours) or a gift shop (relatively empty from Jan-Oct) -- temporal patterns of income are built into the business model.
  11. If they keep it up it'll definitely sell -- might take a couple of years, though.
  12. The NHS (or any other government body) shouldn't be allowed to borrow money independent from government. It sounds very dangerous. Government departments aren't like 'commercial company departments' even if they like to think that that is how their funding works (internal markets, etc) -- they have a completely different remit. In a 'company department' there is an absolute remit to maximise income and minimise expenditure, to maximise profit. Because of commercial constraints, this pretty much works out as minimise expenditure. In a government department there is an absolute remit to maximise expenditure and try to match that with income (note, not the other way around). If they start issuing bonds then they'll just use it as 'income', then come back and ask for more. Oh, they'll cry that it is for 'strategic investment' or 'one-off optimisation costs' or whatever, but it isn't -- it is about spending more money. If they get the ability to issue bonds then it will continue until it breaks the department or the government of the day, and given it is the NHS I'd say it'll just keep on going until the government breaks (probably with the result of privatising the NHS). WRT the specifics -- the devil is always in the detail (just like PI/PFI, although you didn't need to look for long to see how ridiculously bad a deal those were). They might be issued at 1.1% but there'll be all sorts of caveats.
  13. The stupid thing is that there is a space for oil & electric cars -- electric for shorter journeys, petrol/lpg/diesel for longer. And we even have a taxation structure that could be tweaked to support this. Say, road tax at £1000 pa for a petrol car, fuel duty halved No road tax for electric. Automatically, all those city cars, pensioners going to the WI twice a week, whatever, would gravitate towards electric (as it would work out as much, much cheaper to run), while people with longer range needs would go oil (with only a small premium over 15,000 miles pa). Even if we had a fleet of 50:50 electric:oil that would have a massive impact on the UK (balance of payments and air quality etc).
  14. Huge, often spoken upside to OO -- you really can just live with the house as it is.
  15. It is okay. Central (enough) London -- plenty of jobs there. Presumably people could live there rather than commute in from the outer suburbs.
  16. Surely a good thing? Foreigners are paying to develop housing in the UK. They'll keep them empty for a few years (hopefully with enough heating to stop damp). Keep up the investment for a few years more to get some more housing, and then after the market crashes* in 2022 we can all buy affordable housing? [* a market crash in 2022 is not guaranteed.]
  17. Perhaps it might be interesting for him to consider how many are employed in universities (or even higher education in general) in Wales now compared with during the 1980. If there are differences, he could consider how employed numbers have changed over the intervening years, and perhaps analyse the impact of their management strategies such as how they reacted to fast moving market changes and whether those reactions were in the best interests of staff, students and Wales in general.
  18. It is more complicated than that, though. The 'message' is always that if you have a degree you'll be better off. This is backed up with data showing that people with degrees are better off. But what if the type of person who does a degree is better off? What is you take that person and give them a different route? Perhaps they'd still be better off...
  19. I kind of agree -- Lampeter had this great position of being a red-brick university but that was remote enough that the kids couldn't get into too much trouble. It was filled with public school kids who were too dim to get into a proper university, and who's parents shoved them there because it was a proper university (just about) and there's only so far you can go off the rails. [Of course, it was the location of the UK's first drugs bust, so obviously there was quite a bit that you could do to go off the rails, but the parents didn't know that.] But Lampeter made the same mistake that they all did -- massive expansion followed by lack of students (because they'd all expanded), followed by dreams of foreign money that didn't quite happen, then went bankrupt (pretty much), then merged with the absolutely second-rate Carmarthen, which diluted its brand so much that it didn't have the red brick cachet, then even the hopeless rich kids didn't want to go there, not when you can go to Southampton Solent instead. And it was a shame, as Lampeter had a really strong theology department (my link to the place) that was world class. Presumably they've buggered that up.
  20. They're rubbish. They should be offering odds on there being fewer than 800 betting shops in London by 2020..
  21. They're now over their mandated target, requiring a change in intervention / moves to tame the beast. But I'm pretty sure they'll delay for a while, saying that it is meant to be read as an average over x months years.
  22. I'd agree with that -- except in the detail.. I'd suggest they'd QE like crazy at the first hint of debt deflation -- so we'll see asset prices down by 20% or so, then the inflation. That would be a crash in 'their' eyes, even if it only takes asset prices back to the peak of 2008...
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