Pete Kendall's Socio Times: A Socionomic Commentary

April 10, 2007
Nicole Gelinas
The Curse of 2nd Avenue
On Thursday, New York's mayor and governor will break ground on the Second Avenue subway - again.

Gotham's board of transportation first unveiled plans for the fabled subway line, to run from the east Bronx to Lower Manhattan, in September 1929 - just one month after the Dow Jones Industrial Average had hit a peak it wouldn't reach again for 25 years. The city soon abandoned plans for the subway as New York, and the nation, struggled through the Great Depression.

Nearly 45 years later, history would repeat itself. [In] October 1972, Mayor John Lindsay broke ground on the subway tunnel. The first groundbreaking neatly coincided (almost to the very day) with a peak the Dow Jones wouldn't see again until late 1982.

But the construction got going just as the economy stopped booming. New York was facing near bankruptcy by 1975, and couldn't even think of investing money in a new subway.

New York's odd record of trumpeting plans for the Second Avenue subway just as we're on the cusp of economic, financial, and/or fiscal turmoil actually makes perfect sense. Just as cabbies giving stock tips is a sign that speculation has run wild, so too are grand schemes from politicians a sign of unrealistic political optimism.

It's hard to see how it will be otherwise this time around. New York state and city, as well as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, all face multibillion-dollar deficits in the next few years. Abnormally high tax flows from a record real-estate market and healthy financial markets have only postponed the day of reckoning.

Gov. Spitzer and Mayor Bloomberg will smile for the cameras as they don hardhats on Thursday - but if history is any guide, the rest of us may want to call our brokers.
Nicole Gelinas is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.
NY Post

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T in T-Line Stands for Top
Category: NEWS
By: Pete Kendall, April 10, 2007

People ask me, ‘What can government do to prevent the coming crisis?’ It’s like asking what cancer can do to prevent the death of the patient.
The Elliott Wave Theorist, February 2004

Proposed 2nd Ave. Subway, the T-line
the t-line
Here's a perfect example of socionomics. In her NY Post commentary, Galinas adds: "When pols feel so confident about the future that they think it's time to break ground on a decade-long project that will consume billions of state and federal dollars, it may be a sign that their vision is due for a correction."
-- Ken Garfinkel

Obviously, New York City doesn’t need a 2nd Avenue Subway. It’s doing just fine without one. But state and local pols are rising to the occasion because it’s what they do at major turns. Nicole Gelinas also notes that prior to the “T-line” ground breakings coincided with the two biggest declines of the last century.  As Socio Times explained on March 19 and July 20, 2005, New York City is a “lightning rod” for social mood. 

Few projects require more of a shared sense of belief and cooperation, not to mention money, than the decision to bore a massive whole under Manhattan. Back in October 1972, a top NYC planners gets at the root cause behind the coincident peak in the Dow (it came two months): “We were optimistic. It looked like we were going to get something done.” Another adds, “It was a great day when they got to the groundbreaking,” he said. “Everybody was congratulating everybody.” Of course, they were. People always slap each other on the back when a things are about to go completely against them.

subway chart
In this case, it’s for the same unfinished job. “Call it a dream, an unfulfilled fantasy, deja vu all over again,” says the Associated Press. The AP goes on to quote the chief operating executive of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority assessing the project this way: “The prospects are exceptional. We have three-fourths of the funding and enormous political will, and a strong consensus in the business and civic communities and among senior policy officials in transportation all of whom believe this is a critical step to position New York City for the future.” Socionomically, this can only mean one thing: the 2nd Avenue Subway is right where it was in 1929 and 1972, sliding into an abyss of funding shortfalls and unanticipated problems that will derail its completion for years to come. 

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As you know, 10 out 12 tallest buildings are being erected in Asia and the Mideast. There is an intense rivalry in a race to build the tallest building. Korea, a relatively small country, has 3 being built or proposed. All these countries now want to be a financial center. These are bull mkt stories and will be put to bed when the bear mkt begins.
Posted by: ken swong
April 10, 2007 04:35 PM

Although strikingly exact in the past, 2 incidents is not exactly what I would build a trading system on...
Posted by: Ben
April 10, 2007 04:35 PM

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