Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I now work for the Sol Price School of Public Policy as well as the Marshall School of Business at USC

The Price Family gave a $50 million gift for the USC School of Policy, Planning and Development to be remained the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy.  Mr Price was an alum of USC, as is his grandson.

Mr. Price was the force behind Price Club, which later merged with Costco.  He was known for paying his workers well, treating his customers well, and not overpaying his executives.  He was ahead of his time with respect to racial integration and urban renewal.  Sometimes I feel an internal tension, because I admire both success in business and care a lot about social justice.  If all successful people in business were like Mr. Price, I would feel no such tension.  His obituary in the San Diego Jewish World contained the following:
“Most of life is luck,” he said in an 1985 newspaper interview. “Obviously you have to have the will and intensity, and in my case discipline and idealism had a lot to do with it. But if you move back a step, even that is luck."
I can't think of a better way to look at life.  And whether you need mustard or Johnny Walker Black, there is no better place to go than Costco.  I am proud to now work at a school named for him.

Why I think Raphael Bostic is more likely right about FHA than Joe Gyourko/AEI/WSJ

A healthy debate has taken place between HUD Assistant Secretary Raphael Bostic and Wharton Professor Joe Gyourko on the financial future of FHA.  While FHA is thinly capitalized, Raphael argues that will likely survive, while Joe thinks a large taxpayer finance bailout is looming.  In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that Raphael is a colleague of mine at USC, but Joe invited me to be a visiting faculty member at Wharton for a semester.  I think highly of them and am grateful to them both.

I have two reasons to bet on Raphael's view:

(1)  At the time the dumbest mortgage business was being done, FHA was out of the picture.  While FHA's market share is typically in the neighborhood of 12-15 percent, during the period 2003-2007, its market share ranged from 3.77 to 9.66 percent.    FHA did not lower its underwriting standards to that of the shadow banking sector (a sector that was not subject to the Community Reinvestment Act, by the way) in order to keep market share--the government insurance program was far more disciplined than the private sector.

FHA's market share increased dramatically in 2009 and 2010, in large part because the private sector abandoned the low downpayment market.  In 2010 in particular, FHA gained market share despite raising its prices and tightening its underwriting.    FHA was also ramping up its market share after house prices collapsed.  While house prices have not been robustly rising since late 2008, they have not been falling precipitously either.  One could argue that the private sector has been backward looking, while the public sector has been more forward looking.

(2) The second reason I have is more speculative, and is something that I am currently in the middle of researching, but I want to put it out there as a hypothesis (and a hunch).  I suspect that there is such a thing as "burn-out" in default--if a household goes through a difficult time without defaulting, it becomes decreasingly likely to default.  Part of the reason for this is amortization, but that is a small reason.  More important, people who refuse to default even when their measured characteristics suggest that they should have revealed that they are "different," and in a manner that is unobservable.  

Now again, in the interest of full disclosure, I should note that I did not forecast the size of GSE losses, so maybe I shouldn't be taken that seriously.  But I think my first argument will stand up, and as I do more research, I will know more about the second.

Christmas Craft- Advent Calendar

Hi peeps!  Are you ready to get this party started?  Cassie (Hi Sugarplum) is hosting today's party, so if you have a Christmas Craft to share, go HERE to link up!

I'm linking up the advent calendar I created.  I'm especially giddy about it this year because we have a little one (19 months old) to start sharing the season with and creating our own memories and traditions.

I made this advent calendar with our family in mind, and considering our child's age, but of course you can personalize it to suit your family's needs.  I printed the labels on the computer and taped them to the tags with Japanese tape.

Take a family photo in front of the Christmas tree
Sing Christmas songs
Make Christmas cards for Grandparents
Make a Christmas ornament
Color a Christmas picture 
Make paper snowflakes 
Drink hot cocoa with marshmallows
Watch a christmas movie 
Go out for a Christmas treat 
Drive around the neighborhood and look at Christmas lights 
Visit Santa Claus
Call Grandparents 
Wrap a gift for your teachers
Read a story about the birth of Baby Jesus 
Make cookies for Santa Claus 
Write Santa Claus a letter
Read the book: "The Night Before Christmas" 
Make a snowman
Make a yummy treat
Build a gingerbread house 
Buy a Christmas gift for Toys for Tots  
Donate toys and clothes
Visit Grandparents
Make chocolate covered toffee

I'm hoping to have this advent calendar for years to come in our home! 


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Our Gold Christmas Staircase

Hi everyone!  I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoyed the long weekend.  I spent the better part of Friday and Saturday decorating our home for Christmas and it's feeling quite festive here.  I went with a metallic gold and silver color scheme, which I've never done before, and I really like it.  Today, I'm sharing how our staircase turned out.

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that on Saturday night I about gave up on these stairs in the middle of it because I thought it was looking terrible.  But, I got some words of encouragement from Courtney (Courtney Out Loud) that were much appreciated.  I'm glad I stuck with it!

 I used garland from WalMart (the same garland I used last year) and then added the string of gold beads from Hobby Lobby.  

The gold bells were also found at Hobby Lobby.  

I added decorative snowflakes and star ornaments that my mom gave me.  The pine cones provide a natural element. 

And now the tree is up where the chair and table were:)  If you'd like to look at last year's stairs, you can go HERE.


Thank you to everyone who entered the RoRo's CinnARolls giveaway.  The WINNER is:

And don't forget to link up your holiday craft with Cassie (Hi Sugarplum) tomorrow:)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Does slowing people down slow down the economy?

As my family and I were traveling back to LA from my parents' place in Arizona this weekend, we had to stop at three checkpoints.  Each stop delayed us--I would guess the average delay was 5-10 minutes.  One check point bragged that it had arrested around 100 people--about 70 for immigration violations and 30 for crimes--over the course of 2011.

According to this web site, one of the highways I travelled on carries 10,000 cars per day.  Let's say the average stop takes five minutes, the average car has 1.3 people in it, and the value of people's time averages $15 per hour.  This means that each arrest costs a little under $60,000; perhaps there is a deterrent effect as well.  Is this worth it?  I really don't know.

But I can't help but notice that over the last ten years, the US, as a matter of security policy, has really gummed up the ability of people to get easily from one place to another. Is it a coincidence that the economy has underperformed over this time?  Perhaps.  I can't think of a way to run a regression to test the relationship between ease of travel and economic performance--but that doesn't mean that someone else can't.

Janery Giveaway WINNER!

Hi everyone!  Just popping in to announce the winner of the Janery giveaway:)  Thank you to everyone who entered.

The winner is:

I don't have your email address, so please email me at:  honeywerehomeblog@gmail.com so you can claim your prize:)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Christmas Printables

Hi! How was your Thanksgiving?  Are you stuffed today?  (I am!)  Are you taking advantage of the Black Friday deals?  If you are a Black Friday shopper (or even if you're not), I think you'll enjoy this post from Amanda at Serenity Now about how to prepare and indulge in some good old-fashion Black Friday retail therapy.  Note:  fueling up on Starbuck's is a must!  I'm not much of a Black Friday shopper.  I prefer to spend the morning in my pj's, coffee in hand, enjoying left-over sour cream coffee cake while decorating the tree and our house for Christmas.

And speaking of Christmas, I'm totally in the mood now!  The other day, I found some new (free!) fonts at Fontspace.com and started playing around with them on the computer, hoping to make some printables.  I think if you click on the picture below, you should be able to print it from your computer.  It worked for me, so if you try it, I hope it works for you too! :)





The winner of the Janery giveaway will be announce tomorrow.  Go HERE to enter!

The winner of the RoRo's CinnARolls giveaway will be announce on Monday, November 28.  Go HERE to enter!


And a reminder that on Tuesday, November 29, Cassie (Hi Sugarplum) kicks off our 

Can't wait to see what y'all have been up to!  I hope you'll join in:)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Remembering the date

In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility—I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it—and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.

DIY Jewelry Storage

I'm back with another storage solution for your jewelry, specifically, the necklaces.  I don't know about you, but for me, if I can't see my necklaces at a glance, I'm much less likely to wear them.  I had a behind-the-closet-door storage system that worked really well . . . pre-baby.  Now, one of my son's favorite things is to pull the necklaces he can reach off the wall.  So, I needed to get them higher.

I wasn't sure if my idea was going to work, so I didn't photograph it step-by-step, but all I did was apply my pretty paper to a piece of foam board and attach pushpins at the top to hang the necklaces on.  (The pins actually poke through to the other side- you could obviously use a cork board too, but so far, my pins are staying strong).

WalMart had a really cute selection of push pins in different sizes and colors (hot and pale pink, light and dark aqua).  I chose the shiny silver here.  

Now I can see my most favorite necklaces right where I get ready in the morning. 

Since I had a shelf handy, I added my watches and some bracelets too (contained in bowls from Anthropologie).


Also, over on my friend Chassity's blog (Look, Linger, Love) she is sharing a sale of artwork created personally by Sally King Benedict.  Visit Look, Linger, Love to order:)