The Breakdown | Explaining Southern California's economy

Reportings: Jumbo loans shrink; broken tax system; Suskind disappoints; gas ain't cheap

Los Angeles will be hit harder than the rest of the country by decision to downsize jumbo loans that the federal government guarantees, from $729,750 to $625,500. "Real estate professionals are bracing for the policy change to hit California hard, as buyers begin learning that they may no longer be able to afford the higher-priced homes they had been considering. The California Assn. of Realtors estimates that more than 30,000 California buyers statewide will face bigger down payments, higher mortgage rates and stricter requirements under the adjustment." (LAT)


Harsh words for taxes, from John Steele Gordon in of all place the Wall Street Journal: "Before the modern era…the federal tax system was manifestly unfair by any reasonable standard, grossly biased in favor of the well off. Ironically, attempting to fix that unfairness is what has brought us to the present moment, with a federal tax system that is grotesquely complex, often arbitrary, and corrupted by mutual back-scratching between members of Congress and influential lobbyists." (WSJ)


Big, long, disappointed review of Ron Suskind's "Confidence Men" by Brad DeLong: "…even though the economic situation was horrible, the economic policy team looked good to me. I looked forward to a Suskind book that would tell of success: smart and serious people who knew what they were doing fighting about substance, presenting the president with good options, him choosing the best one, and the course of the economy during the Obama administration being if not great at least better than we all feared after the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers." (Grasping Reality with Both Hands)


Gas prices in California are falling. But not falling anywhere near enough to call gas cheap: "The latest state average is 89.1 cents a gallon more expensive than the year-earlier price." (LAT)


Photo: JustinSullivan/Getty Images