Monday, August 31, 2009

Learning about New York City

Felix Salmon lives there in the Village, which is just off of 2nd Street. So, he wonders, how we gonna fill those store fronts. A lot become engineering labs as the city moves to be the defining technology of the transportation age. A lot become mass, specialty traders, of various volumes; from grocery repackaging to food prep to specialty delivery vehicles. All taking part in or benefiting from the synchronization of 2nd Ave traffic.

People will move around more often, being cargo themselves. So we begin a zero inventory process, any good meeting any person any time any place. Information networks become aligned with transportation networks. NYC transaction costs drop by a factor of eight, likely.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Zero Hedge and the Oil to Ten Year correlation

Zero Hedge commented on the correlation between the yield steepness and the price of oil. I have to re-read Zero Hedge twice, I am on my first run.

Anyway, this is how I think QM Theory should interpret the correlation. Oil becamse suddenly constrained, and in response, the oil delivery queue is trying to reduce rank, shorten the delivery steps and get oil out there with fewer transactions. The rest of the economy is being dragged into small rank because oil is more constrained than usual.

Rank reduction of the multi-stage delivery queues is deflation, the the money distribution queue follows suit, partly, it wants to deflate.

The Ten year problem arises because our transportation retooling cycle is ten years. So Ten year plans become very uncertain, hence the jump in the yield curve at Ten Years. We have volatility on the ten year transportation retooling plans.

We solve the problem by commercialize more traffic, remove the consumer from the necessity of owning transportation. This is not a suprise, because the sudden constraints on energy were caused by an important and wealthy consumer group trying to commercialize personal freight, mainly by Internet shopping and UPS/FedEx. That process pulled the transportation industry off equilibrium.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Who predicted the crash?

The dotcom bubble predicted it. The dotcom bubble told us that online Internet shopping could not be supported until the home gained better ability to manage inventory. The house tried to increase inventory management, but told us that it could not without greater transportation utility. The transportation bubble told us is cannot increase utility until energy became elastic. The energy bubble said had a limited liquidity(linear range) and said synchronize traffic. Hence, the intelligent transportation bubble.

Fixing the NYC Second Ave traffic gridlock

Been to NYC once, don't remember Second Ave. But, here is the traffic fix.

Adopt a semi-automated BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) with articulated bus configurations of two, four, and six cars. Take two lanes of Second Ave and allow four virtual BRT lanes with BRT systems going in both directions.

BRT is control by wire so the driver has control points at either end and the configuration never needs a U turn. The wheels use optical sensors and follow accurately paint lane markers, simulating the rail track. The driver yields to automated lane following sometimes, and to manual control at others.

Run these up and down Second Ave, the system computing the passing arrangement for arbitrary BRT units. Mix local, medium, and express. Allow express buses on Second Ave to run at 70 MPH on stretches.

They all communicate and have the usual digital assist all around.

Advantages: Zero street infrastructure costs. All technology assist from silicon intelligence, about four times the capacity in passenger mile per unit time as subway.

Investment tracker for automated vehicles

At the bottom of my links is the investment tracker. I try to keep it updated, but it is not a true investment index, yet.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

More robocar videos

This is the U Tube link for Cycab. I am still looking for novel videos of robocars. And here is an article about driverless Cycbs operating in Vantaa, Finland; as well as trials runs in Mons, Belgium.

By the way:

"According to a leading market research firm Techo Systems Research (TSR), the percentage of new vehicles with integrated cameras is projected to increase from ~20 percent in 2008 to nearly 70 percent in 2012."

Just more evidence.

And here, in Castillon Spain they have driverless steering:

"The guided vehicle systems involve taking the steering of the bus away from the bus driver in the case of Castellón, part of the route. This eliminate the need for any lateral movement of the bus within a lane of traffic. A bus is generally approximately 2.5 m wide, but a bus lane is usually 3.75 m or even 4 m wide to allow for this lateral movement. A guided bus system, provides opportunities to implement dedicated bus ways where road space is in short supply and, where conventional bus lanes could be impractical. It also provides opportunities Рby means of automated docking - to improve physical access to the bus by minimising the vertical and horizontal gaps between the bus stop and the bus."

Krugman gets it right

In his note on the Bush legacy. My hordes of readers know I consider conservative Republicans the closest thing we have to active Communists.

Let me add a link that Krugman neglects. Lowering progressive tax rates by both Bush and Reagan was done precisely to expand government. It is the actual intent of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republicans to expand government, though they may lie about it.

Raising the progressive tax rates by Obama and Clinton is done precisely to reduce government, though Clinton was eventually honest about it.

Let me reiterate this point, the Republican Party was formed by John Fremont exactly to implement socialist subsidies toward western expansion, and unnecessarily caused the Civil War as a result. It was only for a brief period that Republicans abandoned Stalinism. The Reagan big government communist wing of that party is its natural state. That is why they have difficulty changing.

Alex Tabbarok makes a small error

In a post he says that the process produces equilibrium regarding employer behavior in cutting wage costs in reference to Leonhardt's NYT article cutting health care costs by employers. It is true that an employer can gain a near term advantage in cutting employee health care costs and the advantage goes away in equilibrium.

But the economy does not wait for other firms to act for equilibrium to occur. The economy waits for industry to discover the slight advantage. Then the process of coherence takes over and the expectation changes the yield from employment before the other employers act. It works because of information flow.

Knowledge of the future compensation travels first before actual industry compensation adjusts. It is a important distinction to distinguish between scalar instants and the vector world of reality. The vector world of choices get orthongalized into temporal changes in preference much faster than industry adjustments.

Greenspan vs Bernanke

In both cases they declared their desire to hold interest rates low, longer, in order to anchor the concept of debt monetization and rebalance. In both cases, the Keynesians said, great idea. In both cases the we gave the Fed a pass so the fiscal authorities could solve some national crisis.

If we blame Greenspan for today's problem, then how can we avoid blaming Bernanke for the bubble in 2015? Maybe the problem is that the fiscal authorities do not know how to solve the national problem. Even worse, maybe some minor regulations supported by the fiscal authorities are the problem, but the fiscal authorities never learn that because the volatility of increasing fiscal spending slows their observations.

Then again, maybe Ricardo Equivalence will take hold sooner this time because we remember the Greenspan results.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Great Dissertation

Asha Elizabeth Weinstein about Boston transportation development from 1890 to 1925. Very interesting, Search the link. She is at one of my alma maters, if her bio is up to date. Great work.

This period is from the end of the long and beginning of the great Depressions. Boston is unique because even then they were digging like moles having started subways early.

During the 1920 period Boston knew they were in big trouble regarding city transportation.

As an aside:

In 1923 a downtown department store had a popular, and monopoly, radio station. Just as this dissertation ends, a commercial broadcaster arrived in downtown Boston.

In 1890 New York was just beginning to perfect the overhead wire for tracked cars, still clogged but gaining in efficiency.

I will look for the reference of the horse flu, but read it. The horse flu epidemic around 1870.

New York was being driven by the international cable in an early instance, the telephone in the next and commercial radio hits.

During these phase changes, we undergo the re-calculation affect. This piece about Boston goes into that issue very nicely.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Not so fast Bruce Bartlett

Bruce blames government (especially the Fed) and hence blames government.

Now some believe that Greenspan kept the yield curve to steep from 2002 to 2004, then Scott Sumner thinks the Fed kept the yield curve to flat just prior to the recession in 2006 to 2007. Probably Scott is closer to the truth. The Fed was probably six months late in lowering interest rates in mid 2007. Why? Likely the Fed was watching the stock bubble and inflation rather than the shape of the yield curve, and who can blame them after the prior stock bubble. The Fed should have no other rule than to keep the yield curve reasonably sloped at the short end. But if anything, the problem was short interest rates too high in mid 2007. I think Brad DeLong called it right at the time.

Do we really think that six month uncertainties in Fed actions caused this Depression? No, the financial community is too smart for that.

I noticed the bond market was also off by six months in predicting the recession. In early 2006 they tried forcing long term yields down, yet the economy kept chugging along for another six months. It is the private sector that fooled us, in particular the consumer did this to us by using technology in surprising ways to cut back on energy consumption. We were surprised by a positive technology shock.

This depression was a technology shock, as were the two other major depressions we have suffered since the electrical industrial revolution in 1850. The government and the Fed had little say in determining the arrival of new technology and the subsequent shocks.

If government has a problem that problem is its inability to move the economy toward better energy efficiency by using the same technology on our roads.

A Krugman Agglomeration revisited

Local agglomeration resists central planning.

If there is one thing we should all take from Krugmans Nobel research is that fact, agglomeration is a firm to firm coordination, independent of Federal planning. Local government matters for agglomeration, but local government works when it is focused on local issues, especially transportation.

So Krugman decides today the problem is lack of federal planning. Federal planing like imposing the issue of national high speed rail on local transit officials who are mainly interested in getting work, people and goods to match up most efficiently. It is the uncertainty of federal planning that creates constraints on local transportation. How soon does the HSR arrive? What are the cost over runs? Should local transit officials play along and generate the appropriate vu grafs, or should they invest millions today on HSR for their transit centers?

If local transit tries to solve local problems, should they wait to see how things turn out in Washington DC, where government employees have a 7% unemployment rate? Should local government wait for federal pension bailouts or solve the pension problems themselves?

The boom starts when Congress, like Bill Clinton before, decides the era of Big Government is over. That point frees up the local agglomeration solutions and we generate a hundred million jobs.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Roubini finally figures it out

He says, regarding the double dip probability.

"Growth above a certain rate will be sufficient to boost oil demand and prices up, dampening consumer spending and slowing expansion—potentially keeping the American economy from growing at a rate sufficient to decrease unemployment. That will be the dynamic until dependence on oil is sufficiently wrung out of the economy, which could take some time. This is yet another point arguing in favour of a prolonged and shallow recovery for the American economy. "

We are making progress, just another 147 economists left to finally understand this thing. One would think Krugman cannot avoid acknowledging the problem, but he still thinks Keynesian magic can create energy.

Ashraf Laidi
nailed it early on, why doesn't he get speaking engagements?

Talking about the HSR fiasco again

Krugman promotes High Speed Rail.

His argument about population density is an argument against Samuelson that he continues with Dean Baker.

The better answer regarding low density is that sometimes rail works and sometimes something else works better. It depends on the local metropolitan district. Because of the Obama earmark for HSR we get these stories about governors flip flopping on the issue. The problem is that federal taxes are applied to all, but not all need HSR. Sometimes communities need BRT, Light Rail, or even better freeways, maybe with congestion pricing.

But the money is on the table, and as Keynes implied, taking the money is good even if you only generate vu grafs, because the money goes away eventually. Just because Obama's kids like trains does not mean that Ray LaHood should be pushing vu graf generation on communities which need something else.

Obama and Congress need to get out of the business of specifying what transit needs make sense for what communities. Let LaHood use some discretion in working with local communities and quit taking direction from Yglesias and the rest of the naive kids who love trains. I can easily see that rail upgrades make sense for many corridors, and that other corridors will simply waste money because of the "earmark". Here is a very good summary of the HSR problems.

One size does not fit all.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Royal Engineering Society says

Robotic freight and people movers will be on the road in ten years:

Speaking at the event, Professor Will Stewart, of the Optoelectronic Research Centre at the University of Southampton, said: "Automated vehicles will be safer.

“One of the compelling arguments for them is that the machine can't have had an argument with his wife in the morning.

"This is technology that can bring up huge benefits, that is why we are trying to kick off this debate – it looks like ten years from now the first fully automated vehicle will be appearing on mixed roads (roads where human operated and machine operated vehicles both drive on).

"It will probably be most useful for haulage with lorries. I think in ten years 30 per cent of trucks could be machine operated.

"Automated transport will affect everyone because the lorries out there will be extremely predictable on the motorway. They won't jump out of their lane in front of people, and they won't kill you when they go to sleep.

"They will not be likely to do anything silly and that will make people a lot safer on the road."

If 30% of freight on British roads is transported by robots, then we should be seeing prototypes on the road next year.

Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center


Robert Ferlis talks about automated highways. The pic above is a set of automated cars traveling in automated platoon arrangement in a 1997 experiment.

He talks about why highway automation may take another 30 years, from the perspective of 2007. I address each of his points.

1) "the need for protected, dedicated lanes that provide a manageable and extremely reliable environment for safe automated travel."

The question here is what prevents automated vehicles from traveling public streets.

2) " An AHS has to be designed so that it will be accepted by drivers and will be used effectively."

What drivers?

3) "The complexities of automated driving systems will require vehicle and highway systems that operate at a higher level of reliability and performance than today, and with new management and operating systems to allow that increased performance."

As in signal assist that BRT systems use today? Digital systems to follow the lane markings, computer vision that can detect pedestrian and obstacles for a thousand dollars. WiFi vehicle communications for less than $150 per vehicle.

4) "Institutional challenges are likely to include increased liability for manufacturers and owner/ operators of automated systems."

Giving robots driving tests and getting insurance companies involved.

5) "The phenomenal growth of truck traffic and the significantly different handling and operating characteristics of commercial motor vehicles present real challenges to accommodating commercial vehicle operations on an automated highway."

If a truck cannot pass the robotic driving test then stay off the automated lanes.

6) "Perhaps the greatest challenge would be the cost and deployment itself."

Share the cost with people movers, freight movers, and podcars. Then read my blog.

7) "The inherent capability of an automated highway to accommodate much more travel efficiently could encourage more travel and aggravate existing tendencies for urban sprawl"

What I plan exactly. Reduce transportation costs, revitalize suburban neighborhoods, and deliver exponential job growth.
------------------------------------
I will add more details on how to overcome the limitations. I have identified and will continue to identify vendors and technology. The goal is to get automated freight and people movers qualified for the diamond lanes and neighborhood streets of California. Automated driving is occuring on our highways today by the myriad of research teams working on the technology.

I am NYC's technology auditor for MTA

Well, a free virtual technology auditor. As long as the NYC keeps publishing their RFPs and potential contracts, I will evaluate them with respect to equivalent products already in existence.

Already I am updating my list of software companies, WiFi networking companies directly servicing the transit community. I can compare prices and functionality. I am focusing on known solution in private business, like standardized Linux operating systems and software as applied to transit, adaptation of traditional WiFi solutions for transit customers and transit management. I will focus on technology solutions that add low cost computer vision modules, safety detection by visualization, and integrating vision into the netwoks. I can talk about data communications traffic management. New technologies that allow visual guidance of transit vbehicles of existing roads. Commercial display equipment using standard web style communications and display. Integration with consumer cell phones, as in Google transit.

If other technologists helped with their web sites, then we would eliminate much of the overcharging and fraud that currently exists and we should be able to reduce development costs by 30 to 60%. We need labor experts evaluating proposals for fraudulent labor practices.

Transit authorities in local environments need only keep publishing the proposals on-line.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Who are the real socialists?

Who are the Communists?

Just a reminder about the Union of Soviet Socialist Republicans.

HT to an anonymous comment on the Yglesias blog.

Rampant corruption plagues local transit authorities

NYC Metropolitan Transit Authority is likely the worst, but corruption extends to Los Angeles and almost everywhere. Where to start?

Try a web search on Transit Agency Corruption. The number of hits is 110,000.

Try looking onto some of the contracts let out for the NYC MTA. For example, I found that adding GPS and digital communications to rail stock has a budget of a quarter billion for a rolling stock of 10,000 cars. That comes to $25,000 to add GPS and digital radio per car when the equivalent for police vehicles is $3500.

I suspect that an audit of MTA infrastructure and technology upgrades will show this pattern repeated. Arrests and indictments in the NYC MTA keep the local DA quite busy.

The USA even has a annual convention on transit fraud and corruption.
This report estimates the cost of Transit Fraud in NYC at $1 billion over a five year period.

"Preliminary analysis of reports of corruption and malfeasance in the two MTAs yields cost estimates of over $US200 million in the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and over $US1 billion in the New York State Metropolitan Transportation Authority across roughly five-year periods (periods of analysis not being exactly the same for the two agencies)."

This is typical of New York Transit crooks:

The bill of particulars is appalling - and nowhere more so than in the entry involving Brooklyn Assemblyman and Democratic boss Vito Lopez.

Well-placed sources told Daily News reporter Pete Donohue that in 2007 Lopez attempted to bully Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chief Executive Lee Sander into promoting Lopez's son-in-law, who works for the MTA.

From Cleavland:

"Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority Project Superintendent Indicted on Charges of Extortion, Fraud, Bribery, and False Statements

William J. Edwards, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and C. Frank Figliuzzi, Special Agent in Charge of the Cleveland Division of the FBI, today announced that an Indictment was unsealed charging Faisal M. Alatrash, 48, of Westlake, Ohio, with one count Conspiracy to Commit Bribery in Federally Funded Programs; four counts of Bribery in Federally Funded Programs; four counts of Extortion Under Color of Official Right; three counts of Mail Fraud; six counts of Honest Services Mail Fraud, and one count of False Statements. Faisal M. Alatrash’s wife, Gada A. Alatrash, 39, also of Westlake, Ohio, was also charged with one count of False Statements.

The Indictment states that Faisal Alatrash, a Project Superintendent/Construction Manager for the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (“RTA”), supervised contracts and repairs for RTA facilities."

And another from New York:

"Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau announced today the indictment of a concrete lab director and a building materials testing laboratory for defrauding numerous state agencies and scores of private clients in connection with construction material testing.

The defendants, WILLIAM BAYER, 69, and STALLONE TESTING LABS INC., which employs BAYER as Lab Director, were indicted on charges of scheme to defraud and offering a false instrument for filing. The crimes charged in the indictment occurred from January 1, 1998 through November 18, 2008 and January 30, 2009, respectively."

Chicago, naturally:

"A Cook County grand jury today indicted a politically connected businessman and his construction company on fraud charges, saying they falsely represented how much work minority subcontractors would receive on government contracts for a North Side fire station and several Chicago Transit Authority facilities."


We have already seen the moral hazards of the financial bailouts, expect more of the same. Expect HSR to have the same problem in spades, and it may be impossible to get the transportation problems solved until severe auditing of all transit projects takes place on a continual basis.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Alan Binder, Apples and Oranges

Alan Binder claims credit for Cash for Clunkers.

Why do I complain about Macro Economists? Well, let me look at Alan Binder's research page, and I should find that he has done research on the future utility of automobiles. If not, then what in the hell does he know about the auto industry.

Let me see, from Wiki, he has all the usual credential for Macroeconomics. Graduate from Princton, academic manager, banking studies, and the rest. Odd, he has no published papers about technology, the automobile or transportation. Jim Hamilton as done more work in this area, and he is critical of the program. Jim's web page indicates quite a bit of work in on the issues of oil shocks and automotive technology.

That is why Posner, I, and may others complain about macro economists, they propose things for which they are not experts. Because they study bankers they think themselves exerts in everything.

So here we are in the middle of a oil and transportation shock. And here goes Binder claiming that government should subsidize consumer investment in future auto technology with know clue about whether that investment pays off.

Politicians need to get a clue about who they take advice from. I suspect that in a few months these consumers will be stuck with lemons, and they should all send their bill to Princeton for generating economic hubris.

Update:

I should point out the Jim Hamilton said the replacement of our old cars would have happened anyway, so by my definition cash for clunkers is a stimulus.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

It is not just Social Security

From the Modesto (California) Bee.

"A top official with the California Public Employment Retirement System finally conceded last week what observers of state and local government finances have been saying for years -- California's public employee pension costs are "unsustainable."

"I don't want to sugarcoat anything," Ron Seeling told a seminar sponsored by the Public Retirement Journal. "We are facing decades without significant turnarounds in assets, decades of -- what I myself, my personal words, nobody else's--unsustainable pension costs..."

Seeling's comments, first reported by veteran capitol reporter Ed Mendel in his web log, calpensions.com, should help jump-start a long overdue conversation."

Well, what do you get when government unions run government. When these same unions decide between High Speed Rail and retirement checks, which choice will they make?

The Federal pension system gets to use the printing press, but how much paper and ink?

"For federal employees, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), unfunded liabilities have already hit $870 billion dollars. If you also include military retirees, total unfunded liabilities of the federal retirement system--money that has been promised but is not there--are now $1,497,000,000,000" Says BNet.

Jeff Hummel of one of my alma maters tells us that we will default on federal debt sooner or later. Will government employees give up pensions to make good on foreign held bonds?

What fool would be an economic advisor to Bush?

Just a question.

There are some out there, I know. Paul O'Neil had the dignity to abandon the idiot early, one might think that advising Bush while running up the second largest expansion in government history with gargantuan debt might not be good for the career of an economist.

Why doesn't Posner criticize the idiots who ran up the Bush deficit and fed Bush's thirst for massive government?

By the way, who had the responsibility of correcting lil Bush's math while in office? Let me see... oh yes, Keith Hennessy. So, I guess we should trust that economist with correcting the math of Obama?

High Speed Rail fiasco

Why do I have to summarize the false financing schemes for the Obama boondogle?

Posner is correct in the general sense. Economists do loose their objectivity when their favorite politician is in office. DeLong, Krugman, and Thoma; here is a general call to explain why HSR is likely to end up as nothing but a bunch of vu grafs. I am willing to bet on that.

QM Theory and the Output Gap

Kling cleans up the discussion on Output Gap started by Ray Altig. Related to Kling's recalculation problem QM Theory can offer some paths toward limiting the wide variation.

I start with the basic assumption of constant uncertainty. The economy stabilizes when all production sectors stabilize about a similar level of measurement uncertainty, which I take to be biologically determined. Then we go the yield curve which, by orthogonal projection, must have term points separated from each other to minimize total uncertainty, each term point maintaining the constant uncertainty.

Let us apply that. Currently the yield curve still maintains the steepness from the ten year term down to the overnight term. Using the queuing model, which Frank Shostak hints at in the Mises blog, combine that with the King recalculation problem and I conclude that we have not yet figured out how to move 10- 30 year production decisions into shorter term retail delivery. We are still calculating.

So, how do we know whether technology will regress to a deflated yield curve or return to the inflated yield curve? Will short term rates go up or long term rates go down? I will return later and leave the reader in suspense for now, but the key to understanding should be related to Uncle Milt's snap back theorem.

Let me make a Grand Assumption which economists can dispute, but which does simplify the discussion. My assumption is that the modern restructurings, or recalculations result from technology advances so that we can eliminate the Malthusian problem of limited inputs. Under this assumption, the economy has suffered the partial application of technology and awaits the acceptance of the complete application of technology. That is, I am back to DeLong's electrical revolution starting in early 1800.

I restate the pattern. Technology first moves information about goods, then goods use the same technology to widen the information path to include goods delivery. It is a specific pattern related to the three modern depressions, the Long in 1870, the Great in 1930, and the Mini today. These are specific kinds of depressions, unique and largely unrelated to other recessions in the modern times. Technology will meet the challenge, and the economy will return to its standard rank, the yield curve, and the finite set of points on the yield curve will return to nominal.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Buffet: Thanks for saving my ass, now tighten

Warren worries about the Greenback effect of too much stimulus. Says the worry now is too much inflation.

One can never fail to notice that the urge to tighten always comes when the participant has been saved. This link details how Warren Buffet profited from the bailout. And Dean Baker points out that inflation hurts Buffet enterprises. Expect to hear from PIMCO and the rest of the welfare ridden financial sector as they try to stop the stimulus once their sector is saved.

Inflation is traveling down the yield curve. When one inflated sector cashes in, then they want the inflation bubble stopped. This moral hazard is the reason the wealthy can expect a large tax hike in the future.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Nice work from Ken Rogoff

Nice work Kenneth Rogoff, read the whole thing.

"The fact is that banks, especially large systemically important ones, are currently able to obtain cash at a near zero interest rate and engage in risky arbitrage activities, knowing that the invisible wallet of the taxpayer stands behind them. In essence, while authorities are saying that they intend to raise capital requirements on banks later, in the short run they are looking the other way while banks gamble under the umbrella of taxpayer guarantees."

Yes, my point exactly.

Interference and QM Theory

How is it that Barney Frank's policies and Ben end up loaning short and buying long; paying a CitiCorp executive almost a billion? QM Theory has a simple answer, alluded to by Jim Hamilton a few weeks ago.

The top end of the yield curve is over populated with large financial institutions, Treasury, Congress and the Fed. There is not enough yield to support positions for each of these institutions, and they interfere with each other. The top end of the curve needs to be deflated to make the yield curve optimum. The three institutions, all of them want to go back to 2001 and re-do the financial rules. The result is simply inflation at the ten year term to the thirty year term on the yield. The three groups need to deflate, in Mellon liquidationist style.

We have deflated, deflation is necessary to adapt to the new consumption model. We will not grow until the top three willingly deflate, and it looks like we won't get a recovery until Republicans take the Congress and we get split government. We are back to the zero crossing problem, we cannot move forward until the top three financial institutions go through zero.

Fiorina takes a step toward challenging Boxer in 2010

Good for her. We are simply tired of the social directors who inhabit Washington DC, and sit on our tax dollars in Universities telling us that they know better. Dump the Keynesian politicians, they have already cost us trillions. And a big Hat Tip to Instapudit.

Is the Paradox of Thrift true?

When the individual engages in sudden thrift, does that individual intend to break down the economies of scale for retail sector? Is that consumer on strike against Dollar stores, for example, and does the consumer want and expect more consumers to join the strike?

The answer is generally yes, it is not a paradox, the consumer does indeed plan on restructuring the retail sector. In 1930, the consumer did intend to adopt the automobile over the street car en mass, he intended to change the structure of personal transportation.

In QM Theory we would expect a bias in the consumer toward collective action, coherency. More later on abolishing this myth; right now drinking rum and watching a movie is more worthwhile then demolishing the fantasies of economists.

Back again. Just let me say; consumers re using the latest technology to change the distribution system. It is the economists social directors who try to push us back to the past, their jobs threatened.

Social Directors messing with Social Security

The problem with Social Security is the social directors, the DeLogs and Thoma and Greenspans. What do these people know about the collective wisdom of workers about when to retire and when to work? They never ask us.

Mark Thoma thinks we can tweak the system once every 16 years. What nonsense that a hundred million workers can rely on Thoma to tweak their life plans every 16 years.

The answer is simple. Forget that this is a government run program, go ahead and ask the workers themselves when they plan to retire. Ask a representative sample of workers, do this every two or three years. Then publish the results, then change the pay in and pay out to move the social security toward a balance that represents the collective measurement.

We cannot make Social Security more accurate than asking the workers themselves. No matter how many recommendations Brad DeLong makes, he will never be more accurate about measuring retirement plans then the workers themselves. Take a representative sample.

Total expected losses from financial bailouts

Of the $3 trillion dollars committed to financial bailouts, how much will the taxpayer recover?

ZeroHedge, reporting about the Ethisphere TARP index gets a loss of around 40%. A paper by Fitch says we recovered 67% in the 1992 bailouts.

I will keep looking for estimates. I am interested in the recovery rates a few years down the road and the data is sparse.

Let me take a SWAG at this, and average the two loss rates, to 35%. In other words, taxpayers are on the hook over the next few years for $1.0 trillion as the troubled assets are disposed of.

So, Pelosi and Frank, who cannot get a trillion for health care just charged taxpayers a trillion because they panicked.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Video simulation of the East Bay Bus Rapid Transit

A well done video simulation of the new California East Bay BRT. The video is very well done and shows a BRT just as capable of tracked systems at a much lower cost.

So, with BRT approved for the East Bay, why on Earth did the politicians get hoodwinked into the disasterously expensive and incapable tramway project for the Oakland Airport?

Felix Salmon, answer this question please

Is Medicare underfunded? Do we have a guarantee from the taxpayers to pay market prices for elderly medical services? If you say, yes, then you are one of the few people who believe that medicare payments are guaranteed into the future.

If you say no, then why do you think the same taxpayers are going to guarantee FDIC for up to $500 billion. Where did you get the idea that taxpayers will guarantee banks more than they will guarantee Medicare?

Mark Thoma lives on a different planet

Oregon Unemployment Rate


He channels the usual Krugman:

"This was supposed to be a new era, one where progressive ideas would dominate public policy, not an era where a false charge of "death panels" would dominate the public discourse, and certainly not an era where misrepresentations from the far right extreme would cause the public option to be dropped from the legislation."

No, we never expected the Thoma dream world. We expected our last experience to be repeated, the arrival of another Clinton (Bill) and smart government. Yes, we expected Thoma and Krugman pitch their utopia of a federal government delivering consumables; but the politicos always knew that ideal would fade against the realities.

The Oregon unemployment chart above is what expect from Thoma's utopian fantasy. In Thoma's fantasy, we have the Fed, Treasury and Citigroup insuring that government money funnels hundred million dollar paychecks to financial fat cats. DeLong, who worked in the Bill Clinton administration should know better.


Updating Oregon's Utopian fantasy:

Too much government interference is strangling Oregon's economy, say Kotkin and Watkins in their article on the California disease infecting Oregon..

Convert any bus into an automated people carrier

As Popular Mechanics is reporting. A conversion kit makes any vehicle autonomous. HT to Instapundit. When Instapundit understands the technology, then you know it is ready.

Gallop: 57% of Americans suspect Keynes of fraud

Reports Brad Heath at USA Today


WASHINGTON — Six months after President Obama launched a $787 billion plan to right the nation's economy, a majority of Americans think the avalanche of new federal aid has cost too much and done too little to end the recession.

A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll found 57% of adults say the stimulus package is having no impact on the economy or making it worse. Even more — 60% — doubt that the stimulus plan will help the economy in the years ahead, and only 18% say it has done anything to help improve their personal situation.

That skepticism underscores the challenge Obama faces in trying to convince the public that the stimulus has helped turn the economy around. It also could complicate the administration's plans to overhaul the nation's health care system.

"This is a wake-up call for the administration." says House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va. "People see the stimulus hasn't worked, and now you want to lay on over $1 trillion in a health care plan."

And this courtesy of Terrance Jeffry:

"(CNSNews.com) - Self-identified conservatives outnumber self-identified liberals in all 50 states of the union, according to the Gallup Poll.

At the same time, more Americans nationwide are saying this year that they are conservative than have made that claim in any of the last four years."

I guess Americans are afflicted with Ricardo Equivalence.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Oakland voted for disastor with the Airport Connector

The Oakland and Bay area politicians have been hoodwinked with 19th century technology to connect the Oakland Airport with BART. The airport connector has ballooned to a half billion, and counting. It has fewer stops, takes longer and costs three times as much per ticket. It makes the crazy mistake that overhead guideways and rails are needed in the modern world of digitally assisted BRT. It will fail.

I do not need to go into the details, readers can refer to TransForm which has the right solution, they call RapidBART. Total cost of RapidBart? Almost 90% less than the boondogle proposed. These are the government decisions that create double dip recessions.

Rahm, Hubris, and the Collapse of the Obama Agenda

If there is one individual who will be responsible for a double dip recession, I nominate Rahm Emanuel. This man will extend the recession purposefully to realize his dream, "Never let a good crisis go to waste" It was correct to demote him in the Clinton administration, and it is appropriate to fire him now.

From NYT:

"As the principal author of Mr. Obama’s do-everything-at-once strategy, he stands to become a figure of consequence in his own right if the administration stabilizes the economy and financial markets, overhauls the health care system and winds down one war while successfully prosecuting another.

If things do not go well — and right now Mr. Obama’s political popularity is declining, his health care legislation is under conservative assault, the budget deficit is at an eye-popping level and Afghanistan remains volatile — it is Mr. Emanuel whose job will be on the line before Mr. Obama’s."

$2.98 Trillion blown on bailouts

Says WSJ quoting the government Tarp cop.

"The $2.98 trillion figure given by Mr. Barofsky reflects spending on the TARP as well as funding for certain programs from the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. It doesn't include costs for working-capital loans to General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC or a new government auto-warranty-guarantee program unveiled Monday."

The economic value was lost anyway, we simply transferred the loss to the tax payer because of a panic. It is no wonder voters are pissed off.

"Such a large commitment of funds in such a short time "will inevitably attract those seeking to profit criminally," Mr. Barofsky said. "If, by percentage terms, some of the estimates of fraud in recent government programs apply to the TARP programs, we are looking at the potential exposure of hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer money lost to fraud," he told lawmakers."

Can government be counter cyclical?

Government, as in Government stimulus, depends upon Congress. For Congress to be stimulative in its market deliberations, Congress needs to be surprisingly different than it has been in the past. That is the essential characteristic of a Stimulus.

Congress is unique as a market model, but Congress is still positively sloped in supply and demand. The economy in its effort to minimize transactions has placed Congress and Congressional activities in a equilibrium position where its inefficiencies and oligarchies are "covered" by a properly sloped supply and demand regarding taxes and services.

How can Congress be surprisingly stimulative at the margins? I would look to Hayek and his theories on Knowledge for the answers, not Keynes.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A simpler explantion of interest rates and debt and recession

Using a queuing model, we can simplify the DeLong and Krugman effort at explaining the current yield curve.

What happened is the the consumer retail model changed abruptly in response to technology. Transaction rates in the consumer section of the yield curve slowed. Short term interest rates (3 month to 5 year terms) dropped to match the lower transaction rates. The longer term portion of the yield curve is being supported by government borrowing. The resulting steepness is a result of government having no efficient method to deliver consumables to the consumer. Interest rates rise to match inventory build up.

What is the outcome? Eventually DeLong, Thoma, and Krugman will realize that government is not delivering equivalent product and they will concede the problem. Then we can begin rebuilding the retail system. We will write down all the government's incomplete program starts and raise taxes to cover the losses.

The question the Queen wants to know is why did the consumer model suddenly change in 2008? The answer, gas prices forced consumers to utilize the internet for smart shopping and the retail strip malls collapsed. The housing bubble was a small over-rection the the greater utility of the house relative to transportation. The house allows smart shopping by letting the consume maintain inventories at home and stop the casual drive to the store.

More autonomous vehicles sales

First, the latest market report, showing that autonomous vehicles will post the strongest sales growth over the next five years, greater than 5%. Software control of the vehicles will be the stongest selling component. From report linker via Reuters.

In this report the results of safety issues regarding the deployment of autonomous forklifts:

"However, forklift-related injuries look to be a thing of the past as new vehicle automation technology aims to increase workplace safety by getting people out of the forklift equation all together."


And a report that Toyota is pushing autonomous vehicle technology out to the consumer:

"With the launch of the remodeled Crown Majesta last month, Toyota Motor has taken its safety program to a new level.

The luxury sedan, flagship of the automaker's revamped domestic sales organization, is equipped with two all-new safety systems: VDIM (for Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management) and a pre-crash radar system that integrates millimeter-wave radar with a CCD camera. Other advanced safety features on the car include lane-keeping assist, near-infrared night vision and adaptive-front lighting."

Here is a new one, Sensible Machines, already selling an autonomous utility truck for public and private roads. This U Tube shows a vendor vehicle autonously driving a Slalom course.Valde Systems has produced the standard vision component for the general autonomous vehicle.

And Kiva Systems deliverbots, HT Brad Templeton.

Here is another in the food industry.

"Unique, new automatic guided vehicles (AGVs) with advanced-automation features are having a major impact at a new distribution center built by a major carbonated-beverages producer in the southeastern part of the U.S."

So, Google designers think autonomous vehicles will arrive in 2040, yet these vendors and others already have deployed them today.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A billion

My first estimate of the number of jobs created in the new transportation era. Moving a 8 sq ft of goods across town is a buck, then small increments of value to goods becomes more valuable. Someone who bakes prize winning apple pies suddenly seas a hundreds of customers around her neighborhood. Plumbing distributors can specialize out of local strip mall warehouses. Examples are beginning to abound. Every skill that adds value to reasonably sized cargo has sudden new value.

Zero inventory and automated freight go hand and hand. The DeliverBot takes a large carton from me to you for a buck. He arrives within the mile within the hour, outside my kitchen window, sometimes delivering or picking up.

The new frontier.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Bus Rapid Transit, High Speed Rubber and RoboCars

mix well. Both can travel on digitally controlled roads. DeliverBots and TaxiBots may take short cuts using Bus Rapid Lanes. BRT traffic engineers know how to interact with the street bots. We end up with a 60% reduction in transportation fuel, the promise of another 30% reduction later. A twenty year economic boom. Hig Speed Rubber transit also rides on BRT assisted lanes when rumbling into town and Bots can navigate the HSR lanes.BRT, HSR and the Bots optimally mix, internodal exchanges jumping in efficiency.

Small bots spawn super oil efficient local, standardized delivery.
Object vision becomes standard on and off the vehicles.
A new automated, wireless communications industry spawns.
Hybrid technology driven to optimize fuel use.
High Speed Rubber will spawn newer tire technology to reduce rolling resistance.

The total American market for street bots is 500,000 over the next ten years.

The revival of retail.

Efficient fuel use returns $200 per month per household in oil savings, most of which remains local. These fnds revitalize a new retail setor built around very low cost transportation. At a dollar a box for delivery, households are not constrained from operating their own enterprises from bakeries and specialty cooking to re-distribution. Retail strip malls convert to value added re-sellers, buying wholesale, adding valuem, and shipping out the backdoor, loclly at $1 per box in shipping.

A primitive example of the new retail model, discussed by Business Pundit.

Transportation jobs.

Drivers and warehouse workes become inventory engineers and technicians, always applying technology to move toward zero inventory. Central traffic control become the lead information sector job. Pedestrian safety engineering job will be required in transit districts. With orderly licensing of the increasing autonomous, manufacturers can reliably find increasing variations on the technology.

Hire me, if you are an investor. I know the winners and losers, I know which companies get the concept. I can find the best investment vehicles for the coming revolutio.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Department of No Kidding!

Financial Times talks about oil.

'The nascent recovery in global economic activity could yet be derailed by rising oil prices, with Brent crude hitting $76 a barrel last week, its highest levels of the year to date.

In a blunt warning last week, Goldman Sachs called for a co-ordinated policy response to resolve the problems of commodity shortages, noting: “Although the financial crisis had been addressed, the commodity crisis has not.” '

No, really, let me add, really, who could of known!

Listen to Government Sucks: we got our bailout, now let's fix the real problem! I suppose Government Sucks wants the usual deal, a three day secret warning that Obama will subsidize Big Oil, so they can set their long position.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Republican Senators are still fairly stupid.

HT from Instapundit.

Andrew Stuttaford opines in the NRO about why Republican senators still want private jets for sight seeing tours at the taxpayers expense. I have listened to Shelby once, the man is about as dumb as Nancy Pelosi, if I am allowed. Shelby and Pelosi are the reasons why we need smaller government, these folks do not manage at all, much less manage badly.

Friday, August 7, 2009

San Francisco BRT, Going all the way

Here is a link to the SF BRT plans for Van Ness, from there link to the Geary St BRT. It sounds great to me, now lets plan to use the routes profitably.

San Francisco County Transportation Authority, SFCTA, needs to certify freight carriers to use the digitally assisted lanes. They enter the lanes and go under BRT traffic control, and are certified for digital signal assist. Taking freight off uncontrolled streets and onto traffic control results in enormously reduced congestion and significant reduced oil use. Do it off hours, do it at specified times of the day with complete signal assist through the route, but utilize the embedded digital intelligence of BRT to increase freight efficiency.

If the SFCTA offers freight express time slots a few times a day, then local merchants can move goods under synchronous conditions. Merchants see a 30% reduction in fuel use, a 60% reduction in driver costs. There remains jobs gains throughout even though driver hours are reduced. Freight offers a significant income stream for SFCTA.

This is where the Federals can do stimulus, secretary of transportation LaHood needs to press upon and bribe SFCTA to include local freight. An early indication from LaHood that freight is included gives the heads up to technology developers, so solution plans begin to appear in front of local traffic planners. When we start hearing "Yes we can" from local traffic planners, then the depression ends.

And a shout out to a new BRT system about to open.

"The City of Johannesburg has started the count-down to the August 30 kick-off of the Rea Vaya bus rapid-transit (BRT) system"

And Puget Sound:

“Bus rapid transit is gaining popularity across the country for its flexibility and low cost,” said Community Transit CEO Joyce Eleanor. “In these economic times we need to provide the most efficient public transportation service to those who need to get around for work, school, shopping or whatever destinations they choose.”

Supply/Demand and Profits

There is talk in the webosphere about supply/demand and price. I will try profits instead.

If I make widgets for a profit then I make more widgets, take more money from buyers, their money deplets and price declines. Hence the balance between money and widgets in the inventories of buyers and makers. I the queuing model, money averages and inventory averages at each stage of the queue want to be equal. Profit, not price, in an indicator of the efficiency of inventory build up relative to other substitutable products.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

From the Oil Drum

Gail the Actuary says, in this long post, what most of us really know, peak oil is changing the way we do transportation. The author concludes, as I do, that the Keynesian remedies are no good, they never were remedies. The sad part is how many economists know this fact, yet continue to push fraudulent measures.


The solution to the depression is in the department of transportation and Ray LaHood. The message is to make important roadways intelligent. Transportation planners should get involved with the increasingly robotic technologies. Emphasize re-use of existing roadways with signal assist and intelligent vehicles.

Christina Romer changes the rules mid-stream


My argument is that a stimulus will always have a multiplier greater than 1.0 if it is stimulus. Romer decided this is no longer the case. Her argument is basically if government grows than the stimulus is successful, even if the private sector shrinks. Multipliers less than one are perfectly fine. My critics will say, wait, the economy performed worse than expected. Still, even in a worse than expected system, a small stimulus would still be linear and still be greater than one, under her theory.

My logic is: The economy has had nine months to figure out what is expected nominal GDP growth would be after the shock. Any further computation by the economy is likely to be in the noise because the financial system has about a six month adaptive time constant. At the beginning of the second quarter, nominal GDP was settled, and any good effect from a Keynesian stimulus would have surprised us with an even modest increase if private sector GDP. Instead we get a 3% increase total governments share of GDP and a 1% decline in private sector GDP.

The chart above is Romer's effort to show correlation. About as poor a science as I have seen from the multiplier advocates. If you remove the Asian outliers, we get a negative correlation.

The stimulus theory is a fraud. The current distribution of multipliers for government spending is going to be severely distorted by the cause of the depression, which hits both government and non-government sectors. There is no justification to believe the general rise in government spending helps move the economy toward equilibrium if the multipliers are so distorted.

Government is the stimulated sector

HT to Real Time Economics, in which Erica Alini points out the obvious. The Keynesians stimulus mainly caused 300,000 workers to be employed around the Washington DC corridor, mostly missing Washington DC itself which has unemployment at 11.5%.

Translation: There is no magic Keynesian formula, it was a bogus theory, proved wrong in practice and in theory.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Silly ATNMBL

Mike and Maaike, Google refugees? have illustrated a robo car that looks like the living room.

I find something odd, why do we have to wait until 2040 until we have a vehicle that looks like a living room? Because the designers claim that driverless technology will not be here until 2040. How silly of them, they must not be reading my blog.

The real reason the ATNMBL will not be here until 2040 is because no one has any intention of going somewhere in their living room. The only reason people want to be inside a robot is to get somewhere with the least amount of cost, and a traveling living room simply raises the cost of transportation.

Their concept is silly, they technical know how is weak, and they don't get the transportation market.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

High Speed Rubber

If Yglesias likes steel, I like asphalt.

Here is my invention, the diesel electric 100 person high speed bus. It is a four or five car articulated configuration. The engine runs the fixed speed diesel/electric, the cars have electric drive, all steering is microprocessor assisted. It can move 100 people over 140 MPH, and then drive into town.

My High Speed Busways would be asphalt, protected lanes with full traffic control and digital signal assist. These busways would run up and down main traffic corridors using re-purposed roads. Off the busway they mix with traffic if they have signal assist. Busways also support microprocessor assisted high speed freight. Every busway has human traffic control.

I anticipate my bus speedways will cost 1/4 the cost of high speed rail (per mile) , and 1/10 the platform costs. Because high speed buses can mix with traffic, there is less intermodal process. High Speed Busways can be built in short lines, 35 mile or greater, allowing incremental growth. Busways would be unique to America given our vast array of asphalt roads.

Then we add high speed freight carriers in the same configuration. We get 1/2 reduction in fuel from engine management alone. Busways pull heavy traffic off of automobile roads by virtue if efficiency. Less heavy traffic mixing with the auto means smaller cars sooner.

I have to mention rolling resistance. Steel wheel on track has better rolling resistance than rubber tire. But if the Busways have good pavement, slow turns, and microprocessor controlled car steering with advanced tires; then the rolling resistance will be a mere double that of steel wheel.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Traffic planning for Fresno/Visalia, CA

My planning anyway, it was coming.

I start with high speed bus between the two towns, covering 35 miles. The high speed bus transit serves as core feeder for rapid bus transit arteries into the cities. The completed system should add 5% growth, nominal for a few years. It will join labor markets in the two towns, provide more regional shopping, and lead to freight automation. The districts between the two towns become updated economically.

The site will be a test bed for an array of intelligent traffic technology. The speedway is built on an underutilized older highway and tested at speeds up to 140 MPH.

Cost of paving, well if the State does it, 20 million. But if I do it the cost is, $2 million. If CA won't play them send a federal bureaucrat to chat. Intelligent intersections will be 20 grand and up. I can get a speedway for less than a half billion and get a very fast shuttle between the towns, and start tomorrow. The world's first, a marvel.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The highs and lows of interest rates

Scott Sumner was nice enough to post some quotes from Uncle Milt.

"Low interest rates are generally a sign that money has been tight, as in Japan [1998] ; high interest rates, that money has been easy."

Using a queuing model we can explain this fact. When the whole yield curve is elevated (high interest rates) , then inventories, including money, are growing fast along the production chain. An inflated yield curve is not tight. Tight is constrained inventories, low interest rates. The yield curve matches other goods inventory growth at the various term points, with a six month lag.

Nominal Gross National Income Targeting

Some economists talk about central bankers targeting NGDP. For me, that is equivalent to saying we want to target a yield curve. So let's do that.

Going to my Universal Economic Calculator, I pick a particular economic period which I want to replicate, say Apr 11, 2005. I like that curve and inflation is about 3.5%. I also like the curve because there are about five small slope changes, a rank of 5 economy, the curve says we are busy beavers.

So central banker tells everyone I am going to make a curve like that one. So everyone looks to see what they have on schedule for the10 year, 5 year, etc investment cycle, and how different will it be with the new yield chart. Especially important is how long the Fed will take to move short term rates to that point. A lot of large institutions will have to start meeting targets or risk bankruptcy. The curve has become a management chart of sorts, and careers are on the line if targets are not met. And whatever is constraining the consumer had better be solved soon. Targeting nominal GDP means targeting some real growth if money is to stay viable.

So the Money illusion, if it exists, is like a snap-to taskmaster, the program project manager. The illusion is that we have no other projects to work on, there is only one form of monaey and its yield curve is thus.

Might work, but Congress will be the first to rebel.

Bubblers and Curve Benders

I hear a lot of comments on the blog about why economists supported Bubble behavior and then try to find ways round the Curve Bending problem.

Bubble behavior and the Keynesians stimulus theory use the same format, make long term commitments without any plan about how short term management can meet the implied constraints. Curve Benders are those who have to work the short term constraints in a long term comittment.

Pelosi and the Obamathons are engaged in dangerous Bubble behavior, planning large programs and relying on Curve Benders to fix things down the road. Lil Bush was a Bubble maker, as was Reagan. Bill Clinton was a Curve Bender.

We have to work the problem in reverse. First, plan Curve Bending technology. When you have good Curve Bending technology, then push for a Bubble. That is how Stimulus is supposed to work.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Boom Times Ahead

My economic prediction.