The Dust Bowl

By Lloyd the Idiot

Ken Burns’  The Dust Bowl aired over the last two nights on PBS (yes, I watch PBS, but I still don’t want my taxes paying for it).  It was, not surprising, a compelling documentary as Burns’ films usually are.  Burns portrayed FDR literally as a savior of the downtrodden Dust Bowl farmers and their families, which, again, is not particularly surprising given Burns’ strong Democratic ties.  I have to admit it, though, it did give me a greater appreciation for the safety net we now have –  particularly when you hear the stories of those who otherwise would have starved to death without the New Deal programs. 

As a granchild of one of them, the film also gave me a great apprecation for the ”Okies” who migrated to California.  Although my grandfather often referred to himself as one, I never knew that it was such a perjorative term nor did I know of the mistreatment they received from their fellow Americans.  Californians were not a particularly welcoming bunch in the ’30s and ’40s.


Comments

  • Cato the Elder says:

    “And, apparently, melodrama.”

    But not smug assholery.

  • Eric the half a troll says:

    “But not smug assholery”

    None of that here, Cato. Everybody is nice as can be.

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    Eric, don’t forget that “smart” growth artificially limited supply of land in the face of continuing demand in housing, regulated out the wazoo on top of it which raised the price through the roof, and then add in the mortgage frenzy for a perfect storm. Did government help that, or cause much of it by creating what the market then responded to?

  • edmundburkenator says:

    Cato! I hurt your feelings? Sorry.

    I’m curious as to what you really want in your extreme polarization scenario. Describe that to me please.

  • edmundburkenator says:

    Barbara, are you blaming the bad economy on the PEC?

  • Cato the Elder says:

    Oh no EB, Cato has no feelings. And I apologize to you as well, for the generalization, and for making it seem like you were just a run-of-the-mill smug asshole, when in fact you’re exceptional.

    As to polarization, I just feel that the so-called civil society places unnecessary constraints on freedom of expression. I dream of a society filled with honest and hard-working progressives. Progressives that purchase firearms and rob people on the streets and engage in bank robbery. Progressives that work for their SWAG and steal it honestly. I’d have a certain level of respect for that.

  • Eric the 1/2 Troll says:

    “Eric, don’t forget that “smart” growth artificially limited supply of land in the face of continuing demand in housing, regulated out the wazoo on top of it which raised the price through the roof, and then add in the mortgage frenzy for a perfect storm. ”

    Funny, I forgot about the “smart growth artificially limited supply of land” in Miami and Pheonix.

    Barb, still smokin’ after all these years…

  • Eric the 1/2 Troll says:

    ” Progressives that work for their SWAG and steal it honestly. I’d have a certain level of respect for that.”

    I am sure you would. That has been the MO of corporate America for eons.

  • edmundburkenator says:

    Cato going third-person means the thread nearly over.

  • Cato the Elder says:

    Is that your best play?

  • FedUp says:

    “FU, this item may help explain the defense numbers:”

    I read that, Troll. You think the Iraq war was all about protecting oil shipments? I would have to disagree.

    “by chance your real name isn’t Francis Urquhart?”

    When they call me FU, I think it stands for something else other than that person’s initials!

  • edmundburkenator says:

    Well, I asked you what you meant by the polarization thing and you blew it off.

    And it’s a lot better than your play — unless you ask the numbers guy you used before the election. I’m sure he’ll say what you want to hear.

  • edmundburkenator says:

    “You think the Iraq war was all about protecting oil shipments? I would have to disagree.”

    What was it about then?

  • FU, I was referring to a character in a wonderful BBC production years ago, part of the House Of Cards trilogy. The lead character, Francis Urquhart, nicknamed “FU” by his colleagues, leverages duplicity, blackmail and murder to rise to Prime Minister… naturally he is portrayed as being a conservative, of course.

  • Cato the Elder says:

    Aww. Poor petulant little EB. I gave you a serious answer. Is it too much to ask to expect thieves to do their own stealing? Too outmoded?

  • edmundburkenator says:

    “I gave you a serious answer.”

    So, you want some version of anarchy because you feel the current version of anarchy is less honest?

  • Cato, they are doing what any prudent business would do… outsourcing their theft.

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    eb, you’re driving by on a one-block circuit now–PEC? Rilly?

    There is a lot more to “smart” growth and “sustainability” than the local manifestation and it’s sockpuppets. It’s global, and will start grinding forward again, even though Obama had brains enough to exempt our airlines from the EU carbon tax quietly the other day. Don’t forget to go to the presentation on becoming a “transition community”–the locals are firing up with that one again. Should be entertaining when it is presented to the BoS as something we just simply have to do.

    Eric, don’t forget the mandate to loan to people who couldn’t afford what they were borrowing (otherwise it was discriminatory non-lending), and then turning the results into a new trade bubble. That on top of what the cost of a home was artificially inflated to in some areas (see ours) by land use policies, and you get some unpretty results in a variety of places.

  • edmundburkenator says:

    Yes, yes… I know.

    The PEC is just the tip of the iceberg that never, ever, ever melts.

  • Yes, Barb, planned communities where the residents glide about in peace and tranquillity, kind of like “The Village” that Patrick McGoohan was imprisoned in, the only question to be asked being, “Who is number one?”

    In my opinion any projections about the future housing market should bear no resemblance to market behavior over the past thirty years because almost every driver has been reversed. The number of second children born, a very long term driver, has been falling steadily for decades now, the highest birth rates among those least able to pay for housing. There currently is about a 14% vacancy rate in housing and another 15% are in foreclosure, so it will take a very long time for that surplus and the required deleveraging, respectively, to play out.

    There will also be a huge surplus in single family detached homes as boomers downsize and move to more condensed communities, that surplus will exceed the need for new housing and keep prices low. Further, between very high energy prices and health care costs about to skyrocket, the young couples that in our day were saving for their first home will not have the means to do so, and that’s assuming they can even be gainfully employed.

    Essentially if you take all the factors that led to the boom over the past three decades… expanding base of boomers building families in strong economies verses shrinking demand for single family housing, smaller families, higher unemployment and weak to recessionary economy in an increasingly socialist nanny state, you get what they have had in Europe for decades… a flat real estate market with most of the growth in rental properties, which will be the only bright spot.

    The idea that the economy will “bounce back once the real estate market recovers” is putting the cart before the horse… people without jobs or in fear of losing theirs do not buy homes, and businesses facing rising costs and promised future punishment do not hire people or expand. So until the small to medium sized business community, those who would deliver 80% of any job growth in a recovery, are assured that they will no longer be vilified or punished for their efforts they are going to remain in survival mode and nothing is going to go anywhere, especially housing.

    As I have often said, my own leading indicator for economic recovery will be when my dry cleaner puts his boat back in the water or buys a new Mercedes, until he feels comfortable the boat will be fine sitting on blocks at the marina and that Mercedes will just keep running and running.

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