From the Archives: “How Dodd-Frank Locks Out the Least Affluent Homebuyers”

Link: https://vpostrel.substack.com/p/from-the-archives-how-dodd-frank?utm_source=substack

Excerpt:

This Axios report on a JPMorgan Chase program giving black and Latino borrowers $5,000 toward down payments or home loan closing costs reminded me of a column I wrote in November [2021].  It’s about one of the most infuriating public policy fiascos I’ve run into in a very long time. Hardly anyone knows about this regulatory devastation of household wealth amog people whose inexpensive homes represented years of thrift and hard work. (The only reason I learned of it is that I happened to meet Craig Richardson at an unrelated conference.) It is absolutely heartbreaking. It reminds me of the famous quote from The Great Gatsby: “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.”

….

About one in five U.S. homes are valued at $100,000 or less. And despite their low prices, they’ve gotten extremely hard to sell. When they move at all, these small-dollar properties tend to go for cash. Lenders increasingly won’t write mortgages for them.

“Over the last decade, origination for mortgage loans between $10,000 and $70,000 and between $70,000 and $150,000 has dropped by 38 percent and 26 percent, respectively, while origination for loans exceeding $150,000 rose by a staggering 65 percent,” reports a new study on small-dollar mortgages from the Center for the Study of Economic Mobility at Winston-Salem State University and the Future of Land and Housing program at the New America think tank. The study is scheduled for release on Tuesday [Nov 9, 2021].

The culprits behind the disappearance of small-dollar mortgages are lending restrictions enacted with good intentions and warped by economic blind spots. Designed to protect borrowers and the financial system, the Dodd-Frank Act regulations passed in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis “increased the fixed costs and the per-loan costs of extending a mortgage,” says the study. The regulation-imposed costs made small-dollar mortgages a lousy proposition for lenders.

Compounding the problem, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau then limited the fees that lenders could charge as closing costs. For profit-oriented lenders, small-dollar mortgages are no longer worth the trouble. At best, they squeeze out the tiniest of margins. At worst, they don’t even cover the fixed cost of processing the loan.

Author(s): Virginia Postrel

Publication Date: 25 June 2022

Publication Site: Virginia’s Newsletter at substack

Drowning Prevention: How the American Academy of Pediatrics is failing our children

Link: https://authenticpediatrics.substack.com/p/drowning-prevention-how-the-american

Excerpt:

In June 2021 I co-authored an article with drowning prevention parent advocate Nicole Hughes on the subject of water competency in 1-4 year old children and which national swim lesson program methodology aimed to teach this highest risk age group survival skills to best protect against an unplanned submersion.

The purpose of this article was to provide parents and primary care pediatricians with a direct comparison of popular formal swim lesson curriculums of the American Red Cross, YMCA, and Infant Swim Resource (ISR) to inform them on which program better aligns with the parent’s goals for water competency for their young child.

A secondary objective of this commentary was to highlight the methodology of survival swim as a type of formal swim program that in many ways appears superior for this high risk age group due to its ability to teach independent back floating and swim float swim without flotation devices. Despite being the only prominent formal swim lesson program that does this for the under 4 year olds, the AAP without any evidence has come out guns blazing against it.

This is evidenced by the recent parent article in JAMA Pediatrics which states: “Teaching children to swim is important, and the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended swim lessons as early as age 1 year to provide another protection layer. However, infant swim classes such as Infant Swimming Resource have not been shown to lower the risk of drowning. As an alternative, families may seek out parent-child water play classes to gain familiarity and comfort with being around water together.

Yet despite the lack of data on benefit vs. harm for each type of formal swim lessons, the AAP feels justified to advocate against ISR survival swim while advocating for Mommy and Me group swim lessons with the goal of comfort over survival.

One year after the publication of our article, the American Academy of Pediatrics authors of the 2019 Policy on Drowning Prevention submitted a Letter to the Editor to Contemporary Pediatrics criticizing our article to which we responded in an Author Response. For unexplained reasons neither letter was published by the journal of record.

Due to the importance of advancing this conversation to better understand the likely benefit and lack of harm of survival swim as a crucial layer of drowning prevention protection, I will publish both the AAP Letter to Editor and Author Response below. It is my hope that you read both. When reading, please do so within the context of an AAP that willingly advocates for non-pharmacological interventions (NPI) such mandatory masking of children for prevention of COVID-19 – stating that there is no evidence that it causes harm or developmental delays while willingly advocating against ISR survival swim – stating that it is harmful and lacks evidence of benefit without any such evidence to make either claim.

Author(s): Todd R Porter

Publication Date: 1 Oct 2022

Publication Site: Authentic Pediatrics at substack

The amazing power of “machine eyes”

Link: https://erictopol.substack.com/p/the-amazing-power-of-machine-eyes

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Excerpt:

Today’s report on AI of retinal vessel images to help predict the risk of heart attack and stroke, from over 65,000 UK Biobank participants, reinforces a growing body of evidence that deep neural networks can be trained to “interpret” medical images far beyond what was anticipated. Add that finding to last week’s multinational study of deep learning of retinal photos to detect Alzheimer’s disease with good accuracy. In this post I am going to briefly review what has already been gleaned from 2 classic medical images—the retina and the electrocardiogram (ECG)—as representative for the exciting capability of machine vision to “see” well beyond human limits. Obviously, machines aren’t really seeing or interpreting and don’t have eyes in the human sense, but they sure can be trained from hundreds of thousand (or millions) of images to come up with outputs that are extraordinary. I hope when you’ve read this you’ll agree this is a particularly striking advance, which has not yet been actualized in medical practice, but has enormous potential.

Author(s): Eric Topol

Publication Date: 4 Oct 2022

Publication Site: Eric Topol’s substack, Ground Truths

Data visualization lessons: Jitter charts, screwups, and visionaries

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/data-visualization-lessons-jitter

Video:

Excerpt:

Jitter charts are my new favorite tool for displaying how distributions change over time.

I used them to great effect in my recent post One Bad Year? Comparing the Long-Term Public Pension Fund Returns Against Assumptions.

I’m often looking at distributions, and wanting to communicate something about how those distributions change over time, or how distributions compare. Often, I have to simply pick out key percentiles in those distributions, or key aspects, such as mean and standard deviation.

But why not graph all the points in one’s sample directly, if one has them?

That’s where jitter charts can help.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 16 Sep 2022

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

World Suicide Prevention Day: U.S. Suicide Trend Update through 2021

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/world-suicide-prevention-day-us-suicide

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Excerpt:

In updating the 2021 numbers, there is some bad news: while suicide rates had decreased in 2020, in 2021 they increased to continue a worrying trend:

The increase in 2021 brought the age-adjusted death rate back to a level close to the peak, which was in 2018.

As noted on the graph, the cumulative increase in the age-adjusted death rate from the minimum in 2000 to the current levels has been 35%. This is very worrying.

I could have exaggerated this trend by starting my vertical scale at 10 instead of 0, but I think it’s obvious enough the trend is bad.

I don’t need to exaggerate.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 10 Sep 2022

Publication Site: STUMP on substack

Millennial Massacre Part 2: Increase In Mortality for Ages 18-39 for 2020-2021 Mainly Driven by Drug Overdoses and COVID

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/millennial-massacre-part-2-increase

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Excerpt:

  • About 30% of the contribution to excess mortality for young adults in 2021 came from drug overdoses.
  • The percentage contribution to excess mortality of drug ODs was not that different by age group over the 18-39 age span.
  • COVID as a contribution to excess mortality was higher for older people —- for those age 35-39, 36% of their excess mortality came from COVID in 2021. In contrast, for those age 18-24, only 17% of their excess mortality came from COVID.
  • Indeed, the youngest of the adults (age 18-24) had higher contributions from homicide (20% of excess mortality) and had comparable excess mortality contribution from motor vehicle accidents (16%) in 2021.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 23 Jul 2022

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

Essential Terms of the Authority Crisis

Link: https://polimath.substack.com/p/essential-terms-of-the-authority

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Excerpt:

This last week, the CDC held their ACIP meeting to discuss whether or not they should recommend the COVID vaccines for children 6 months to 5 years old. While presenting on the danger of the virus for children, a slide was shown claiming that COVID presented as one of the leading causes of death for children.

Kelley, who runs covid-georgia.com, saw this slide and immediately knew it was false. She has been tracking COVID data in excruciating detail in Georgia since the beginning of the pandemic and has recently become an expert on the CDC’s pediatric death data simply because it was such a disaster and she wanted to get down to the truth of the matter.

This slide above is no small error. Not only did it count the wrong number for pediatric COVID deaths, it compared all pediatric COVID deaths in a 26-month period to annualized deaths from other causes. This is a massive data error, and yet it persisted through a supposedly rigorous data check from 11 authors and was selected by top-tier scientists for their landmark presentation to the most knowledgeable experts in the field.

Author(s): Matt Shapiro

Publication Date: 21 Jun 2022

Publication Site: Marginally Compelling at substack

Pension Obligation Bonds

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/pension-obligation-bonds#details

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Excerpt:

2015: Why are Pension Obligation Bonds OF THE DEVIL? A Lesson from the Dollar Auction  

http://stump.marypat.org/article/191/why-are-pension-obligation-bonds-of-the-devil-a-lesson-from-the-dollar-auction

The dollar auction is a truly evil game. I used to forbid people from playing it at Mathcamp. That’s not a joke.

I had a really ugly graph on that post, and yes, I’ve gotten better with the graphs over the years. The ugliness of that graph was a partial inspiration to seek solutions. (Other ugly graphs as well).

You can barely see it, but there was a POB between 2003 and 2005. It barely made a dent in the unfunded pension liability.

And what then? In the ten years since 2005, Illinois underfunded the TRS pension fund by at least a billion dollars a year.

With regards to contributions, there was a choice on the part of the “government”.

With regards to all the other reasons for shortfalls — investment experience, experience in salary changes and longevity — the government had less direct control. But they definitely had a choice with regards to how much of the budget to apply to the pensions.

And every damn year, the Illinois government made a conscious decision to shortchange the pension. That was not an accident.

POBs are most often used by governments that were shortchanging the pensions, or goosing the benefits in insane and seemingly sane ways, to paper over said shortchanging. This farce lasts only so long.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 20 Jun 2022

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

All Men Must Die, But They Don’t Have to Die in Office

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/all-men-must-die-but-they-dont-have?s=w

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Excerpt:

What’s interesting about the Senate age distribution is that though we have some difference in the lumpiness, when I look at the average age of the senators by party, they’re basically the same: 64 years old (and some change). On the younger end of the Boomers.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 29 April 2022

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

Death the Dickensian Way

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/death-the-dickensian-way?s=w

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Excerpt:

As you can see, Bleak House is the dying-est novels for named characters.

Obviously, if you really go by what was going on in the novel in general, A Tale of Two Cities, which has a huge part of its action take place in the middle of The Terror, really was set in the most murderous time.

Looking at this body count, I’d say Bleak House is the one that comes closest to accurate Victorian UK mortality. It was brutal, y’all.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 16 Mar 2022

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

Motor Vehicle Accident Deaths, Part 2: Age-Related Trends with Provisional Results in 2021

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/motor-vehicle-accident-deaths-part?s=w

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Excerpt:

The rates are per 100,000 people for the year, but the point is who has the highest, and we see that the answer is:

For 2019: age 85+

For 2020: age 20-24

I threw in the age 15-19 group as ringers, by the way. When we get to all the age groups, they’re not even #4 in the ranking.

Just in that little table, you can see that the rates went up for the youngsters and dropped for the seniors. Think about why that might be.

As noted in my polling question, I’m not adjusting for the number of miles driven, and I’m not going to dig for that data now. But would you like to make some assumptions about the driving habits of these different groups? Especially during the pandemic?

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 2 March 2022

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

Geography of Mortality: State Ranking by Increase in Total Mortality and COVID Mortality, 2020-2021, Provisional

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/geography-of-mortality-state-ranking

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Video:

Excerpt:

With this tile grid map, we can see that the two-year mortality experience has been horrible, even on an age-adjusted basis. I will be using age-adjusted death rates [using the standard 2000-reference-age-adjustment] for all the comparisons. The methodology is at the end of the post.

I warn against taking any meaning from North Carolina, as it has a data-reporting problem. Hawaii, however, really does have a low increase in mortality, and I believe it is credible that the mortality increase of the northeast is also low. I am not sure how credibly to take the increase in mortality of Wyoming, given its relatively small population.

However, we can see some patterns. In general, one has a “hot spot”, and then the increase falls off as you retreat from that peak. The large pattern is the high increase along the southern border — Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Mississippi — and then the next layer above is less bad, and so forth. There is the Wyoming peak, falls off around there. There is the midwest cluster – Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio. And then New York/New Jersey.

As well we know, the excess mortality is driven primarily by COVID, which I will get to in the next major section, but let me share some ranking tables.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 23 Feb 2022

Publication Site: STUMP at substack