Here’s your Monday morning reading list.

Over the last year mortgage loan professionals faced a tough row to hoe as they faced layoffs by the tens of thousands. But there is one bright spot – credit unions are hiring, and they want the best of the best.

The Credit Union Times says that the mortgage market's shiftto financing new property purchases has strengthened credit unions’ position in hiring stronger mortgage loan professionals.

Tooting our own horn a bit – Johnson-Crapo may have been delayed, but it is coming. Here’s HousingWire’s rundownon what effect GSE reform may have on the market.

Regulations seem to always serve established interests rather than the consumers they are purported to. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the cutting edge of technology applications where old guard interests like the taxi cab industry and hotel owners want to use regulations to drive out innovators and competitors like Lyft, Uber and Airbnb. The Economist puts this shameful cronyism under the spotlight.

This is just a palate-cleanser/bookmark for talking points – 17 things to show people who still believe that the “self-sustaining recovery” is just around the corner, that we’re about to reach economic “escape velocity” or that there’s “money on the sidelines” just waiting to jump in. No, things are not ok.

Here are three of the 17 things:

·      The homeownership rate in the United States has dropped to the lowest level in 19 years.

·      Consumer spending for durable goods has dropped by 3.23 percent since November.  This is a clear sign that an economic slowdown is ahead.

·      Major retailers are closing stores at the fastest pace that we have seen since the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

A mortgage isn’t a good investment. Perhaps Uncle Sam shouldn’t be subsidizing the American Dream if it’s everyone’s dream. And other heresies.

Why only one top banker went to jail for the financial crisis. Why did only one?

I love New York. But I’m not sure I love New York in the $1 million apartment way. There are some who do, though.

Perhaps the reason the French aren’t so enamored of Thomas Piketty’s “Das Capital in the 21st Century” is that they’ve already lived through the kind of economy that he envisions and they have had enough? It would explain why fiscal conservatives are on the rise in France. The New York Times offers this.

Finally, some other French economists have taken the lead in challenging Mr. Piketty’s empirical claims. One recent paper by four economists at l’Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris challenges Mr. Piketty’s view that inequality has increased because the return to capital has been greater than general growth in the economy. The current shorthand is “r > g.”

The paper argues that the higher growth of capital rests entirely on returns to housing, and takes technical issues with the book’s treatment of housing, too. If Mr. Piketty’s argument depends on housing, it hardly seems to match his basic story about the ongoing ascendancy of capitalists.