Linking ≠ endorsement.
⇧ VIDEO: Here Are The Snowiest Places In The U.S.
Meteorologist Danielle Banks discusses three of the snowiest places in the country.
⇧ Cancer Capitalism Part II: The Need For A Diagnosis and Cure | Unpublished Ottawa
Trade deals, including the so-called "free trade" deals which have crippled North American manufacturing, are more accurately described as "corporate sovereignty" deals.
⇧ mainly macro: Tax cuts vs spending vs helicopters
… Empirical evidence points strongly to a significant income effect, with a marginal propensity to consume around a third rather than zero. …
… helicopter money is more effective as a stimulus instrument in a liquidity trap than cutting taxes on wages.
⇧ Advanced economies are so sick we need a new way to think about them | Larry Summers
New Keynesian models imply that stabilization policies cannot affect the average level of output over time and that the only effect policy can have is on the amplitude of economic fluctuations not on the level of output. This assumption is problematic…
As macroeconomics was transformed in response to the Depression of the 1930s and the inflation of the 1970s, another 40 years later it should again be transformed in response to stagnation in the industrial world.
⇧ 60% of Ted Cruz's Tax Cut Goes to the Top 1% | The Baseline Scenario
Republican tax proposals became completely divorced from reality long ago. More importantly, the Republican nomination lies in the hands of a handful of donors who are in the 0.001%, so the rational thing for any candidate to do is pander to them as enthusiastically as possible.
The only policies we have that limit the transmission of wealth from generation to generation are the estate tax and taxes on investment income. Eliminating one and slashing the other, as Ted Cruz proposes, is the single biggest step we can take toward becoming an aristocracy of inherited wealth. As a member of the 1%, that would be good for my grandchildren—but it would be bad for the country.
"…an aristocracy of inherited wealth." Exactly!
⇧ Differences in Rent Inflation by Cost of Housing Liberty Street Economics
Rent inflation is occurring at a higher rate for those who can least afford it, and it's certainly mostly due to inadequate construction of new affordable rentals. However, these authors appear to reserve judgment on that.
Jonathan McCarthy and Richard Peach:
We know that different people experience different inflation rates because the bundle of goods and services that they consume is different from that of the "typical" household. This phenomenon is discussed in this publication from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and this article from the New York Fed. But did you know that there are substantial differences in inflation experience depending on the level of one's housing costs? In this post, which is based upon our updated staff report on "The Measurement of Rent Inflation," we present evidence that price changes for rent, which comprises a large share of consumer spending, can vary considerably across households. In particular, we show that rent inflation is consistently higher for lower-cost housing units than it is for higher-cost units. … While we cannot be certain about why this is the case, it appears to be at least partly related to how additional units are supplied to the housing market: in higher-price segments additional units primarily come from new construction, while most of the increase in lower-price segments comes from units that previously were occupied by higher-income households.
⇧ Money is flooding out of Canada at the fastest pace in the developed world | Financial Post
Money is flooding out of Canada at the fastest pace in the developed world as the nation's decade-long oil boom comes to an end and little else looks ready to take the industry's place as an economic driver.
What it all means is the Canadian dollar has to get cheaper to make Canadian businesses outside of the oil industry competitive enough with foreign peers to make them worth investing in, according to Benjamin Reitzes, an economist at Bank of Montreal.
The median forecast among strategists surveyed by Bloomberg has the loonie weakening to $1.34 per U.S. dollar by the first three months of next year from about $1.31 now.
⇧ Six Ways to Gauge How Fast China's Economy Is Actually Growing – Bloomberg Business
Statistics with Chinese characteristics make it difficult to get a handle on how well the world's second-largest economy is doing. In particular, questions surrounding the way China adjusts its growth figures into real terms often leave investors searching for a better way to judge its economic momentum.
Thankfully, Wall Street economists have developed a number of proxies, using an array of indicators, to gauge Chinese growth better.
Recently, Bloomberg Intelligence Chief Asia Economist Tom Orlik compiled six of these metrics in a report for Bloomberg Briefs.
"All of the proxies suggest growth in 2015 has been lower than the 6.9 percent reported by the National Bureau of Statistics for the third quarter," he wrote.
⇧ Melting ice in west Antarctica could raise seas by three metres, warns study | Environment | The Guardian
They used computer models to project the effects of 60 more years of melting at the current rate.
This "would drive the west Antarctic ice sheet past a critical threshold beyond which a complete, long-term disintegration would occur."
In other words, "the entire marine ice sheet will discharge into the ocean, causing a global sea level rise of about three meters," the authors wrote.
How much technological advancement will take place, and will humanity become capable of quickly reversing the damage? Is that something we should depend upon, or should we do what we can right now to stop the melting: drastically cut carbon emissions and radically sequester the rest?
⇧ China's Money Exodus – Bloomberg Business
Here's how the Chinese send [smuggle] billions abroad to buy homes.
Fast and loose, but for how long? What kind of audit trail are they leaving behind where the CCP could nail them later, or is the CCP losing its grip?
⇧ Restarting the global economy | VOX, CEPR's Policy Portal
Michael Spence, Danny Leipziger, James Manyika, and Ravi Kanbur:
… global aggregate demand must be expanded. However, there has been little appetite for use of fiscal stimulus as a demand lever. In part, this lack of action reflects political stalemates (the case of the US), while in other parts of the advanced world it reflects unprecedented high debt levels. … Recent 'multiplier evidence' from the IMF points to the extremely positive effect of infrastructure spending in advanced economies to spur growth, especially when output gaps are large and there is excess capacity in many economies, as is the case today. Recent evidence shows that the multiplier from additional fiscal stimulus would be significant for the global economy, especially if coordinated in the way the G20 coordinated stimulus packages that were undertaken in 2008—2009 (see IMF 2014).
⇧ Are Economists Driven by Ideology or Evidence? | The Fiscal Times
A survey of top economists from both political parties asked, "Because of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the U.S. unemployment rate was lower at the end of 2010 than it would have been without the stimulus bill."
It produced a remarkable 97 percent agreement (only one economist disagreed). …
there have been some worrisome trends in recent years. Too many economists have been unwilling to change their views on issues such as whether quantitative easing in a deep recession will cause runaway inflation and interest rate spikes despite clear evidence those views are wrong. That must change. Our reputation with the public is bad enough as it is, and our best hope of changing that is to be honest about the evidence, and follow it wherever it might take us.
⇧ Demand Creates Its Own Supply – The New York Times
I largely agree with Paul Krugman here except for the last bit.
The Very Serious People have a lot to answer for. But of course they never will.
Rightly, "The Very Serious People" is used sarcastically there by Paul. What I disagree with is that "they never will."
The Internet has changed everything. More and more people who would never have been exposed to economics before are now hearing often that the Austrian School of Economics is a farce and that, that's proven by data.
I have to say that it's obvious to me that supplying something that has never been dreamed of by potential buyers and that intrigues them, etc., does create demand (provided the people can afford to make the purchase), which is Paul's point.
Supplying smart phones and now phablets (phone-tablets) and marketing it all quite slickly, has created the demand.
⇧ Project Management 101: How to Coordinate Rehab Jobs
Good starter piece:
Even if you hire a general contractor, you will most likely need to do some project management in order to get your rehab jobs completed.
The term is "critical-path scheduling," but there's a great deal more to construction management than that. The article just began touching on the other things.
⇧ The Rise in Prominence of Large Private Real Estate Funds in Market — November 2015 – Preqin
Preqin's Real Estate Online service currently profiles 31 real estate funds in market with a target size of $1bn or more, collectively targeting $52bn in investor capital. Eighty percent of these vehicles currently raising capital target high-risk strategies (value added, opportunistic, debt and distressed) in well-established property markets.
⇧ Goldman: Government Spending Is About to Boost the U.S. Economy for the First Time Since 2010 – Bloomberg Business
… Barack Obama praised the budget plan that raises the debt ceiling and maps out the government's outlays through 2017 as "a good piece of business."
Economists at Goldman Sachs concur that this agreement will indeed be good for the American economy ….
Some economists have criticized the over-reliance on monetary rather than fiscal stimulus in the aftermath of the financial crisis as a contributing factor to the relatively sluggish global economic recovery.
"Some economists …"? Most, that I've seen.
⇧ Manufacturing Rout as U.S. Factory Orders Weaken | Economy Watch
Fewer buyers are interested in American-made goods even as factories find it more expensive to hire workers.
Weak unions, falling global demand, a continually appreciating dollar, lower entry barriers exporting manufacturing jobs to Asian countries thanks to the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP), and growing use of automation are conspiring to depress manufacturing jobs in America for the foreseeable future.
Meanwhile, the Fed is considering taking steps that will only make the dollar higher.
⇧ Taxpayers May Be Funding Billionaires' Biggest Apartment Deals – Bloomberg Business
Buying apartment buildings in the U.S. has been a winning bet for the past several years as rents rise amid a shift away from homeownership. That's attracting investors such as Starwood, which on Oct. 26 said it agreed to purchase 72 rental communities across the country from Equity Residential for $5.4 billion. The announcement came just days after Blackstone reached a $5.3 billion deal to buy Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village, Manhattan's largest apartment complex.
Freddie Mac's deals are getting bigger as its regulator expands the definition of affordable housing, enabling the company to make more loans. Properties that are deemed affordable by the Federal Housing Finance Agency are exempt from a $30 billion cap that limits how much the government-sponsored entities can lend to apartment landlords each year.
⇧ bne IntelliNews – Russian businessman held over $46bn money laundering scheme
Russian law enforcement agencies have detained the alleged mastermind of a money laundering syndicate of 60 banks and 500 people said to be responsible for channelling some $46bn out of the country, Kommersant daily reported on November 3, citing unnamed sources.
Will China be so aggressive?
⇧ Joint Declaration of the Macroeconomic Policy Authorities of Trans-Pacific Partnership Countries — Medium
Each Authority will refrain from competitive devaluation and will not target its country's exchange rate for competitive purposes.
That's something I'll have to see before I'll believe. To me, it makes no sense given the current international monetary system. I certainly wouldn't sign it, especially if all there is, is this "Joint Declaration" on it.
⇧ Ireland no paradigm of successful austerity – Varoufakis
Ireland is no "paradigm of successful austerity" and owes its success to a more lenient approach taken by its creditors and a corporation tax rate that undercuts European rivals, former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has said.
⇧ Payroll Friday | Authers' Note – YouTube
John Authers explains why surprising US employment data have left the market pricing a rate rise next month as a virtual certainty.
⇧ Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, Full Text | United States Trade Representative
We had been told that this would remain secret for a number of years after even the agreement's acceptance by the parties.
It's huge. I haven't read it, though there are areas where I'd look first:
6. Trade Remedies
28. Dispute Settlement
Fortunately, there are people who will read it all and right away. They'll be looking for things that will destroy democracy and sovereignty (handing it over to transnational corporations) and will then report on their findings as soon as possible.
⇧ Employment Situation Summary
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 271,000 in October, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 5.0 percent. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, health care, retail trade, food services and drinking places, and construction.
It looks like some part-time work has turned into full-time.
However, the labor force participation rate was unchanged.
"In October, 1.9 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, down by 276,000 from a year earlier."
"Among the marginally attached, there were 665,000 discouraged workers in October, little changed from a year earlier."
So, the October number is quite strong, but we don't know enough about how many people really moved back into the labor force because the decrease in marginally attached nearly matches new hires. Plus the first number is year-over-year while the second is for one month.
People who dig deeply into these numbers every month will have to help interpret the data.
Again, stay tuned.
⇧ Fed communication | Brookings Institution
The possibility of a rate increase is even more distinct with this morning's [Friday, 11/6/15] strong job market report.
… a key question for the FOMC is whether significant slack remains in the labor market. Airing this issue has invited people outside the Fed to think and write about the question, and in fact there has been a lively debate about it in academia, the media, and the blogosphere. Fed policymakers are certainly aware of and not infrequently influenced by outside analysts.
⇧ mainly macro: Bernanke on austerity and the fiscal charter
He [Ben Bernanke] criticises George Osborne's new budget surplus law, which prohibits government borrowing when the economy is growing by more than 1 per cent. "I would be very cautious about putting in rules that would prevent a timely fiscal response to a slowing economy, particularly in a world of very low interest rates." He adds that "a period of excess labour supply and low interest rates is not only a good time to invest, from the perspective of the recovery, it also makes sense from a long-term productivity perspective".
Bernanke is again reflecting the consensus among economists: I have not found a single one who supports this charter. Alas winning the intellectual argument does not mean immediately winning the political argument.
⇧ October Job Growth Pushes Unemployment Rate Down to 5.0 Percent | Jobs Bytes | Data Bytes | Publications | The Center for Economic and Policy Research
It is difficult to find any major sector with a clear pattern of accelerating wage growth. In manufacturing, where employers often complain about the difficulty in finding good workers, wages have risen by just 2.0 percent over the last year.
In short, this is a much [more] positive report than we saw in the prior two months. However, there is much in the report that indicates there is … still a large amount of slack in the labor market.
That's what I indicated above but wanted confirmation from someone who has been reading these reports for decades and in detail.
Bottom line: There's still too much slack and wages are still stagnate.
Conclusion: The Fed definitely should not raise rates!
⇧ Austerity's Grim Legacy – The New York Times
Paul Krugman is rightly harping.
When economic crisis struck in 2008, policy makers by and large did the right thing. The Federal Reserve and other central banks realized that supporting the financial system took priority over conventional notions of monetary prudence. The Obama administration and its counterparts realized that in a slumping economy budget deficits were helpful, not harmful. And the money-printing and borrowing worked: A repeat of the Great Depression, which seemed all too possible at the time, was avoided.
… In 2010, more or less suddenly, the policy elite on both sides of the Atlantic decided to stop worrying about unemployment and start worrying about budget deficits instead.
… the austerity policies that were put into place in 2010 and after had exactly the depressing effects textbook economics predicted; the confidence fairy never did put in an appearance.
… it now looks as if austerity policies didn't just impose short-term losses of jobs and output, but they also crippled long-run growth.
… Governments that slashed spending in the face of depression hurt their economies, and hence their future tax receipts, so much that even their debt will end up higher than it would have been without the cuts.
And the bitter irony of the story is that this catastrophic policy was undertaken in the name of long-run responsibility, that those who protested against the wrong turn were dismissed as feckless.
⇧ Repeating Our Mistakes: The "Roosevelt Recession" and the Danger of Austerity – Roosevelt Institute
Here's what Paul Krugman was referring to.
… the lessons drawn from the 1937-38 recession convinced FDR that deficit spending and monetary expansion were critical to economic recovery. In essence, the Roosevelt Administration, through hard experience, finally endorsed Keynesian economics, and over the course of the next seven years, government spending on the economy — increasingly fueled by the demands of World War II — would grow to unprecedented levels, all but wiping out unemployment (which fell to below 2 percent by 1943) and turning the United States into a global super-power in the process.
As I've written many times, we could easily repeat that success and without any hot wars too. The only thing standing in the way are the plutocrats lead by the bankers.
⇧ First-time homebuyers fall, 'desire to own' jumps
How many times have you read some expert claiming that the level of student debt has not been a factor behind the slowdown in first-time home buying?
Debt was the primary reason cited by first-time buyers for the delay in home ownership. They said debt kept them from saving for a down payment for at least three years. More than half of those citing debt pointed to student-loan debt as the main culprit.
⇧ Robots may shatter the global economic order within a decade – Telegraph
Labour-saving devices are sweeping everything, everywhere. A single professor can teach a course to 150,000 students through digital technology.
We may achieve the dream of prosperity without toil as robots take over, but find ourselves living in a jobless dystopia.
If the benefits are shared equally across-the-board and if the decisions are made democratically by all the people, as equals, fully informed, and in a completely transparent society, there won't be problems on account of a lack of "jobs."
⇧ Ed Lazear: This is the real unemployment rate – The Washington Post
I'd never seen Edward Lazear's explanation for how he calculates the employment rate and unemployment rate factoring for demographics. I think his approach is an improvement over the Bureau of Labor Statistics'.
… the unemployment rate number comparable to past rates is actually around 6.3 percent.
I think that's close but still low. It's why I said there wouldn't be much wage pressure until we got below 3% as the Fed calculates it. There are lots of things pressing down on wages, too many to list here right now: automation, the globalization of the labor market, ….
⇧ Fire destroys Anaheim townhomes, everybody safe :: WRAL.com
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Fire raged through two Anaheim townhome fourplexes before dawn Friday, forcing residents to grab their children and pets and run for their lives.
⇧ Michigan housing market booming, one of the fastest rising in the country – WWMT
"Home prices have a really healthy rebound here in Michigan, most of that is because we fell so far during the recession back in 2007 through 2012," Bradford said.
⇧ New real estate tool: drones – Weekend
Real-estate businesses won nearly a third of the first 500 commercial drone permits granted, according to a study by the trade group Assn. for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. In California, 70 businesses have drone-use permits.
The FAA has basic standing guidelines and rules. For instance, drones may not be flown withing three miles of an airport and landing strip, the craft must remain within the user's line of sight and it may not be flown above 400 feet or near pedestrians or wildlife.
⇧ City of Rochester Auctions off Hundreds of Foreclosed Properties
The city of Rochester is auctioning of hundreds of houses, vacant lots and commercial buildings at a tax foreclosure sale.
⇧ TPP revealed: Winners and losers in the largest free trade deal – YouTube
The full 30-chapter text of the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the world's largest free trade agreement, was finally released to the public on Thursday thanks to the New Zealand government. Journalists and lawmakers will be poring over the document, including foreign policy analyst Alex Mihailovich, who talks to Simone Del Rosario about what he's found so far.
⇧ [Must Read] Economist's View: 'Economic Policy Splits Democrats'
This goes a long, long, long way toward what I advocate.
Very nice job, Mark Thoma:
(For the most part anyway, I believe both the technological/globalization and institutional/unfairness explanations have validity — but how do workers capture the gains Third Way wants to create through growth and wealth creation without the bargaining power they have lost over time with the decline in unionization, threats of offshoring, etc.? That's the bigger problem.) It is unfair when, say, economic or political power redirects income away from those who created it to those who did not (I am using the normative equity principle that each person has a right to keep what he or she produces, to reap what they have sowed, and I have little doubt that workers have been paid less than their productivity, and those at the top more. That's unfair, and redirecting income — redistributing if you will — to those who actually earned it is not harmful. It is just, and it creates the correct economic incentives). Wealth creation/growth has not been the biggest problem over the last four decades (i.e. since inequality started to increase), it is how the gains have been distributed. I'd rather convince people of the truth that more growth and more wealth creation won't solve the problem if we don't address workers' bargaining power at the same time than gain their support by patronizing their views. In the meantime redistributing income from those who didn't earn it to those who did can serve as a temporary solution until we get the more fundamental underlying problems fixed (e.g. level the playing field on bargaining power between workers and firms).
Maybe politicians have to tell people what they want to hear, I'll let them figure that out, but I will continue to call it as I see it even if "independents and moderate voters are more anxious than they are angry about these changes." That won't change if we play into those anxieties instead of explaining why new appro aches are needed, and explaining how they will benefit from a system that does a better job of rewarding hard work instead of ownership, connections, and power.
Stop sticking your wet finger in the air. Start educating. That's what I've been saying.
Those who want to appeal to the misunderstanding of the masses are working for those who created that misunderstanding in the first place, whether those working for them know it or not.
Some are dimwitted, but I believe the vast, vast majority who are given large megaphones by the monied "powers that be" know it only too well.
⇧ mainly macro: Privatisations: why we need a fiscal watchdog
Simon Wren-Lewis has a habit of reverting back to falsely imagining that the hyper-privatizers are earnestly in error rather than simply selfish and greedy.
It isn't "shortsighted government." The privatizers have a very long view that's built in. Their plan is to get and hold as much wealth, power, and control for themselves at the direct, negative expense of everyone else, everyone who isn't also a sociopath.
This sort of reverting (on again, off again, understanding) seems to come with "New Keynesianism." The dose of cynicism they occasionally get, the light bulb that goes on over their heads about the true motives of the privatizers and usurers, seems to go away quickly, just shut off for a while.
⇧ Cheese-Eating Job Creators – The New York Times
… people should know that their image of France, and Europe in general, is really, really wrong.
Check the graph. The blue line represents the percentage of the French between ages 25 to 54 who are working. The lower red line represents Americans of the same age in the US.
The French are not lazy, and their social-welfare state, while not perfect, is far from bad, economically or ideologically.
The people who hate the welfare-state system the most are the most sociopathic of the actual "capitalists" (those who actually own the means of production and who often deliberately pay only slave-wages).
⇧ The Most Surprising Thing About Today's Jobs Report | Zero Hedge
Speaking of workers in the US age 24-54 and in keeping with my desire to bring you the results of digging into the BLS data, here's an article from "Zero Hedge," which site we rarely link. It's a good post, however, if they have their data figured correctly.
… while total jobs soared, that was certainly not the case in the most important for wage growth purposes age group, those aged 25-54.
As the chart below shows, in October the age group that accounted for virtually all total job gains was workers aged 55 and over.
Okay, older folks were also hit by the crash and their retirement savings were likewise smacked. We need to provide for everyone, but we certainly are being exceedingly slow by leaving so many 25-54-year-olds behind. We must stop allowing sociopaths to rule!
The gray block (pun intended?) in the graph represents people 55-69.
⇧ 11 Reasons Your Network Equals Your Net Worth (& 4 Ways to Expand Yours!)
As a budding investor, who would you prefer receiving all your real estate advice from: someone who has made a lot of money by investing in real estate or someone who can quote every textbook there is but hasn't got anything to show for it?
The first one hired the second.
⇧ 4 Steps Entrepreneurs Should Take When Tackling Projects
4 Steps Entrepreneurs Should Take When Tackling Business Projects
1. Write them down.
I have a list of projects that I want to complete. It started as a brain dump. I just needed to get it all out of my head. All these thoughts of what to do was getting in the way of the actual doing. I spent an hour and wrote down everything that I could think of.
An hour? Okay, that was for getting started.
My process and project lists (that do result in systems) are living lists. They are updated many times per week and often day. It's an art form.
I've gotten better and better and better at it the older I've gotten.
Striking the right balance between just doing versus listing first has made all the difference. Only experience has taught me what works best (for me).
My lists are much smaller now. I have many more of them though, as I discovered that keeping lists (rather than just destroying them as checked off) and converting them to processes is great for remembering how I did something (how-to's), such as solve a computer problem (that can occur again).
⇧ VW Scandal Exposes Deep Complicity of Government – SPIEGEL ONLINE
We often here from the laissez-faire crowd, the libertarians, the Austrian School "economists," the deregulators, the privatizers, etc., how governmental regulation is always bad. Consider the following:
In the US, the system for vehicle approval is structured differently and is apparently more efficient. There, carmakers initially only have to confirm that they conform to legal limits. Later, government agencies perform tests in independent laboratories. And if fraudulent results are found, punishments are harsh.
Capitulating to Automakers
In Germany, by contrast, a stamp of approval from the Federal Motor Transport Authority for a new model is the end of the story. Carmakers don't have to worry about additional tests, not even should suspicions arise.
Government is not the solution. Really? Self-government is your working conscience. In the same spirit, collective government ought to be the working collective-conscience. If you're not afraid of good ethics, you have nothing to fear from good government, which really should be viewed as the all-encompassing goal.
⇧ Construction's Percentage Job Gains Lead All Economic Sectors in October
Residential building construction employment expanded by 2,400 jobs in October and is up by 25,100 jobs or 3.7 percent on a year-over-year basis.
Residential specialty trade contractors added 3,600 net new jobs in October and have added 74,000 jobs or 4.4 percent since October 2014.
The question remains as to whether residential developers will focus enough on affordable housing for purchase and rent.
The people must have decent places to live that they can afford without having to give up on food, healthcare, and other basic necessities.
⇧ San Francisco Voters Reject Anti-Airbnb Measure, Re-Elect Mayor
San Francisco voters rejected a ballot measure to limit short-term rentals to 75 days a year and require hosting companies such as Airbnb to yank listings that violate the limit.
The issue is that converting space to such use takes housing stock away from long-term rentals, jacking up rental rates and making the city that much more unaffordable.
⇧ Texas Regulator OKs Wastewater Injection Permits Despite Quakes
…agency overseeing the oil and gas industry in Texas has voted to maintain the wastewater injection permits for two companies whose North Texas wells are believed to have caused a series of small earthquakes.
…staff testified that the study established a correlation "too small to imply a causal relationship."
⇧ Helt sentenced in arson fire – Times Bulletin
… sentenced to 180 days in jail with work release and five years of community control on each count to be served concurrently on charges of aggravated arson, a felony of the second degree, and insurance fraud, a felony of the fourth degree. Alex Helt was charged in connection with a 2014 blaze at his home in the Wren area.
⇧ 'Enormous damage', as Yemen hit by worst storm in decades | The National
As if a war wasn't bad enough:
The worst cyclone to hit Yemen in decades flooded coastal areas, brought down electricity lines and destroyed houses after making landfall on Tuesday.
⇧ Lawsuits Blaming PG&E Mount After California Wildfire
A blaze in Northern California that killed two people, destroyed 475 homes and burned 110 square miles is spawning lawsuits against Pacific Gas and Electric Co. for allegedly failing to clear power lines.
⇧ Research Finds Earthquakes Play a Role in Future Landslides
… damage can reside in the side of mountains after an initial earthquake, … the consequences of this damage may only be felt when a second earthquake hits.
The earthquakes can be many decades apart — perhaps (likely) even longer.
⇧ Greg Ip: Still Not Enough Good News on Wages – Real Time Economics – WSJ
Profit margins are quite wide and easily able to handle some rebound in labor expense, especially if accompanied by rising sales. Productivity is overdue for at least a modest cyclical uptick assuming economic growth doesn't falter. As for prices, the fact inflation has remained below the Fed's 2% target for so long speaks both to the lack of pricing power and the absence of the sort of inflationary psychology that would ease the way to higher prices.
So while the rise in wages should be welcomed by the Fed, it is not a sign that inflation pressures are about to build.
⇧ Search ongoing for missing in Brazil mine disaster, death toll uncertain | Reuters
Walls of water filled with mining waste cascaded downhill when the dams burst on Thursday, engulfing the village of Bento Rodrigues and its 600 residents in a sea of mud while also flooding others far removed from the open-pit mine.
Little remains of the village but ruined walls and cars lying twisted in sludge.
⇧ [Huge Risk-Management Issue] Economic Growth, Climate Change and Environmental Limits – YouTube
Debate about the relationship between environmental limits and economic growth has been taking place for several decades. These arguments have re-emerged with greater intensity following advances in the understanding of the economics of climate change, increases in resource and oil prices and the re-emergence of the discussion about peak oil. These issues are addressed here by Cameron Hepburn, He is Professor of environmental economics at the University of Oxford, based at the Smith School and the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School, and is also Professorial Research Fellow at the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics and a Fellow of New College, Oxford.
Does the term "sequestration" come up?
⇧ Abe eyes further corporate tax cuts – Chicago Tribune
Abe said his administration would "ensure the tax reform outline includes additional corporate tax cuts, so we'll realize a further reduction in April next year."
Rather than corporate cuts, he should have pushed for sales tax rollbacks and cuts. Demand is the problem. Households need more money to spend on goods produced by Japanese firms. He could have pushed to eliminate sales taxes on money spent in Japan by the Japanese people for such goods and services.
⇧ Drone photography sweeps over Charlotte's commercial real estate scene | The Charlotte Observer
Construction site photography, currently a hot business line, could be supplanted by construction firms that buy their own drones once the FAA establishes new rules allowing non-pilots to operate the machines in limited settings.
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We do not necessarily fact checked the contents of every linked article or page, etc.
If we were to conclude any part or parts of our industry are in violation of fundamental fairness and the legal standards of a state or states, we'd address the issue through proper, legal channels. We trust you understand.
The laws that tie our tongues, so to speak, are designed to keep the public from losing confidence in the industry and the regulatory system overseeing it. Insurance commissioners around the country work very hard to analyze rates and to not allow the industry to be damaged by bad rate-settings and changes in coverages. The proper way for people in the industry to deal with such matters is by adhering to the laws, rules, and regulations of the applicable states and within industry associations where such matters may be discussed in private without giving the industry unnecessary black eyes. Ethics is very high on the list in the insurance industry, and we don't want to lose the people's trust. That said, the industry is not perfect; but what industry is?
For our part, we believe in strong regulations and strong regulators.
We welcome your comments and ask you to keep in mind that we cannot and will not reply in any way or ways where any insurance commissioner could rightly say we've violated the law of the given state.
We are allowed to share rating-bureau data/reports and industry-consultant opinions but make clear here that those opinions are theirs and do not necessarily reflect our position.