News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Apr. 18, 2016

Linking ≠ endorsement.

Table of Contents
(Click to sections below.)

1) Fracking wells released over 5 billion pounds of methane in one year | Grist

2) Report: Sanders earned less in a year than Clinton in a single speech | TheHill

3) 'The ECB Needs to be looking at Helicopter Money' – YouTube

4) New York Commercial-Property Market Goes Cold After Record Year – Bloomberg

5) Let's Dispel With the Fiction That Sanders Doesn't Know to Break

6) What would society look like with universal basic income?

7) It's time to raise, not lower, corporate income taxes | Economic Policy Institute

8) Equitable Growth in Conversation: An interview with Byron Auguste – Equitable Growth

9) The Case for a New WPA – The Atlantic

10) Key Tool to Shift Investment from Fossil Fuels to Clean Energy: Carbon Pricing — Ceres

11) So. Farewell Sir Nicholas. Yes, you were monumentally wrong — Prime Economics

12) macroblog – Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

13) We Are so S—ed. Econ 1-Level Edition

14) In Texas Court, Exxon Files to Block Climate-Change Document Subpoena

15) Gas Co. to Move Evacuated Residents to Apartments | Patch

16) Is the Real Estate Crowdfunding Market Getting Too Crowded? – Knowledge at Wharton

17) Real Estate Guide: Best Moves for Home Buyers and Sellers

18) I Love Hillary, But Here's Why I'm Supporting Bernie | Alternet

19) FULL TEXT: Bernie Sanders speech at the Vatican – Religion News Service

20) Jill Stein: The Democratic Party 'fakes left,' marches right – CNNPolitics com

21) Powerful magnitude-7.8 earthquake rocks Ecuador; 41 dead, "considerable damage" caused – The Straits Times

22) New natural gas and petrol leak reported near Porter Ranch

23) Technology threatens the traditional 6 percent commissions for real estate agents – dailygazette com

24) March temperature smashes 100-year global record | Environment | The Guardian

25) Researchers at Kingston University develop new model to predict outlook for US economy – News – Kingston University London

26) Subsidized Jobs Programs Work, New Report Shows | Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

27) More Californians work in "Advanced Energy" jobs than in farming or Hollywood | Grist

28) Bernie Sanders Praised for Visiting New York City Public Housing Project – ABC News

29) Surprise: The Rich Will Pay For Most Of The Free Stuff Bernie Sanders Is Promising – Forbes

30) China home prices rise at fastest rate in 2 years, top cities boom | afr com

31) Virtual reality provides real estate tool of the future

32) Investors queue up for QLine: Real estate deals show economic clout of mass transit project – Crain's Detroit Business

33) Charted: Hong Kong's housing market suddenly has echoes of the SARS era — Quartz

34) Legal Counsel: Due diligence is critical when buying commercial real estate | News OK

35) Newsletter: The Corruption Of Money | PopularResistanceOrg

36) Are We All Rent-Seeking Investors?

37) Our crumbling infrastructure is hurting US competitiveness – MarketWatch

38) Report: LA Rents Are Going to 'Soar' – Curbed LA

39) Shrunken Citigroup Illustrates a Trend in Big US Banks – The New York Times

40) Macro Wounds: Surviving the Mirage of Growth

41) SF Voters To Decide If Affordable Housing Should Be Cheaper, Easier for Renters – Curbed SF

42) Housing Affordability Hits a Crisis Level | Builder Magazine | Joel Kotkin

  1.    Fracking wells released over 5 billion pounds of methane in one year | Grist

    Being in close proximity to fracking operations could screw up your sexual health, cause developmental defects and cancer, induce seismic activity around you, and the list goes on.

    … Pennsylvania officials found 260 instances of private well contamination from fracking in the past decade — a "severe" underestimation, says Environment America.

    … methane (a greenhouse gas that's by some estimates 86 times more potent than carbon over a 20-year timeframe) that new fracking wells released into the atmosphere in 2014: 5.3 billion pounds. … equivalent to … 22 new coal-fired plants.

    Add your comment.


  2.    Report: Sanders earned less in a year than Clinton in a single speech | TheHill

    The report comes as Sanders steps up his attacks over Clinton's Wall Street ties, arguing that she can't crack down on business interests.

    Add your comment.


  3.    'The ECB Needs to be looking at Helicopter Money' – YouTube

    Financial Commentator Frances Coppola makes the case for helicopter money.

    Of course it would help, but the bankers are adamantly opposed because it would prove that they aren't needed to create credit to create money so they may take a cut as interest just for pushing a few computer keys to increase the balance in an account that didn't even exist until those bankers created it just because they can (and we the People can also but are stopped by our political representatives, who are largely our representatives in name only and the bankers' bought-off cronies).

    Add your comment.


  4.    New York Commercial-Property Market Goes Cold After Record Year – Bloomberg

    Evidence is piling up that six years of record-shattering price growth for U.S. commercial real estate is hitting a wall. Buyers and sellers in Manhattan, a magnet for property investors from around the world, are sitting out deals as the slump in oil prices, China's slowing economy, an uptick in borrowing costs and a volatile stock market give landlords pause.

    Add your comment.


  5.    Let's Dispel With the Fiction That Sanders Doesn't Know to Break

    Mike Konczal:

    Bernie Sanders gave some fairly normal answers on financial reform to the New York Daily News editorial board. Someone sent it to me, and as I read it I thought, "Yes, these are answers I'd expect for how Sanders approaches financial reform."

    You wouldn't know that from the coverage of it, which has argued that the answers were an embarrassing failure. Caitlin Cruz at TPM argues that Sanders "struggles to explain how he would break up the banks," and that's relatively kind. Chris Cillizza says it was "pretty close to a disaster" and David Graham says the answers on his core financial focus are "tentative, unprepared, or unaware." Tina Nguyen at Vanity Fair writes that Sanders "admits he isn't sure how to break up the big banks."

    This is not correct. Sanders has a clear path on how he wants to break up the banks, which he described.

    I've covered this before. The people claiming Sanders didn't know what he was talking about are either ignorant themselves or spinning on purpose. How else to take it?

    Add your comment.


  6.    What would society look like with universal basic income?

    In today's understanding of the economic facts, individuals have the freedom to choose how they are exploited — but they cannot choose to escape exploitation, unless they are born wealthy. Basic income seeks to change that, not just because it is the right thing to do but because the coming labour crisis may soon leave world governments, whatever their orthodoxy, with no other choice.

    "If we don't disconnect work and income, humans will have to compete more and more with computers," Bohmeyer explains. "This is a competition they will lose sooner than we think. The result will be mass unemployment," he says, "and no money left for consumption."

    The notion of an economic system based on trust and mutual aid rather than fear, shame and suffering still sounds like a fairy tale. But as more and more jobs are automated away, as mandatory wage labour collapses as a method of organising society, even the most conservative governments may find themselves with no other option.

    It sure hasn't sounded like a fairy tale to me, but I've been thinking about it for many, many years. As far as I'm concerned, it's an inevitability; and the first nation-state that gets there will start reaping the benefits first too. I think the US should lead the way. It's perfectly positioned to do it.

    Add your comment.


  7.    It's time to raise, not lower, corporate income taxes | Economic Policy Institute

    While the rest of us will dutifully pay our fair share of taxes on April 18th,some large multinational corporations in the United States won't be paying any taxes at all this year. The U.S. corporate income tax base has eroded rapidly in recent decades. While corporate income tax revenue was 5.9 percent of GDP in 1952, last year it accounted for only 1.9 percent of GDP.

    Add your comment.


  8.    Equitable Growth in Conversation: An interview with Byron Auguste – Equitable Growth

    The gist of the article is that companies aren't training new workers the way they used to. They aren't holding onto as much of their workforce as possible by cutting other expenses than they used to. They aren't hiring entry-level workers with little to no experience the way they used to, and they are demanding much higher levels of education even where the worker may not need it to be able to do a good job.

    All of that is why I'm in favor of public training and public employment, plus a guaranteed livable income.

    Add your comment.


  9.    The Case for a New WPA – The Atlantic

    This is very close to what I was referring to above.

    What it correctly states are the benefits of public employment versus unemployment. It's good for the whole economy.

    Add your comment.


  10.    Key Tool to Shift Investment from Fossil Fuels to Clean Energy: Carbon Pricing — Ceres

    Ignoring the costs of carbon pollution makes fossil fuels appear less expensive than they actually are, and tilts the scales against clean energy.

    This pervasive failure to account for the true costs of fossil fuels has been favoring the dirty energy resources of the past such as coal, oil and gas, to the disadvantage of the clean energy sources of the future such as solar and wind. Putting a price on carbon is one of the most effective ways to correct this market distortion and ensure that those who are responsible for the pollution pay for it.

    Add your comment.


  11.    So. Farewell Sir Nicholas. Yes, you were monumentally wrong — Prime Economics

    "I see myself as one of a number of people in finance ministries, central bank regulators, in the UK and the US who failed to see the crisis coming, who failed to spot the build-up of risk… This was a monumental collective intellectual error." (My emphasis)

    It was certainly a monumental collective error, but I doubt "intellectual" is the right adjective. "Ideological" is far more accurate. For what we saw was a perverse and deliberate refusal to "see the crisis coming" since for free market fundamentalists such as Sir Nicholas, and that admirer of Ayn Rand, Alan Greenspan, there could be no such crisis caused by liberalisation and deregulation of markets, financial or otherwise.

    Jeremy sometimes goes on a bit. The rest of the article is possibly an example. Well, there are valid points, but perhaps ____. You fill that in with what you think. I could be wrong.

    Add your comment.


  12.    macroblog – Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

    The labor force participation rate (LFPR) is an important ingredient in projecting employment growth and the unemployment rate. …

    Aging: ….

    Later retirement: ….

    Schooling among the young: ….

    Not in the labor force but want a job: ….

    Health: ….

    Prime-age reasons for not wanting a job (other than health): ….

    To summarize, we find that relative to the 2007—11 period there has been a:
    flattening in the rate of retirement by older individuals,
    flattening in the rate of educational program enrollment by younger individuals,
    declining share of the population saying they want a job but not officially counted as unemployed,
    smaller drag from nonparticipation because of health, and
    larger drag for reasons other than health among prime-age individuals.

    Add your comment.


  13.    We Are so S—ed. Econ 1-Level Edition

    The collapse in asset prices impoverished the plutocracy. The collapse in spending and the rise in unemployment impoverished the working class. Central banks responded by reducing interest rates. That restored asset prices, so making the plutocracy whole. But while that helped, that did not do enough to restore the working class.

    Then the plutocracy had a complaint: although their asset values and their wealth had been restored, the return on their assets and so their incomes had not be. And so they called for austerity: cut government spending so that governments can then cut our taxes and so restore our incomes as well as our wealth.

    But, of course, cutting government spending further impoverished the working class, and put still more downward pressure on the Wicksellian neutral interest rate r* consistent with full employment and potential output.

    In other words, the plutocrats couldn't care less about anyone but themselves. So, what should the working and underemployed and unemployed people do? Simple, they should vote the opposite of what the plutocrats want.

    Add your comment.


  14.    In Texas Court, Exxon Files to Block Climate-Change Document Subpoena

    Exxon…squaring off against government investigators who believe…energy giant covered up knowledge of how fossil fuels contribute to climate change.

    Add your comment.


  15.    Gas Co. to Move Evacuated Residents to Apartments | Patch

    The announcement comes two days after a state appeals court ordered the company to continue paying for the temporary housing until at least April 27, when the court will hear arguments from attorneys about whether the housing program should be continued or residents should be forced to move back to their homes.

    Add your comment.


  16.    Is the Real Estate Crowdfunding Market Getting Too Crowded? – Knowledge@Wharton

    Are you considering, or have you used, crowdfunding to raise investment capital?

    Add your comment.


  17.    Real Estate Guide: Best Moves for Home Buyers and Sellers

    Over the past year home prices in Seattle have soared nearly 10%, and the number of houses for sale has plunged 27%, according to online real estate marketplace Zillow.

    … Across the country the prevailing trends this spring are higher prices, an influx of new buyers, and too few houses for sale—straining buyers at all levels. …

    … The construction of single-family homes still hasn't recovered from the cutbacks that followed the financial crisis. (As of February the annualized rate was 822,000 homes; the historical average is more than 1 million.) …

    … "We're seeing low inventory in places not usually associated with housing shortages—places like Nashville, Raleigh, and even Kansas City," says NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.

    … home values rose 5.7% in 2015, according to the closely watched S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price Index. As of December, prices were up 36% from the market bottom in early 2012, although they have yet to pass bubble-era peaks in most cities. In some spots, bidding wars and home flippers have resurfaced as well. …

    … Home price growth is outpacing wage growth in well above half of the 456 U.S. counties analyzed by RealtyTrac in its first-quarter 2016 home affordability report.

    Andres Carbacho-Burgos, a senior economist at Moody's Analytics, sees potential easing on the inventory front: While the supply of homes for sale is tight, the vacancy rate of all housing (including homes not for sale) is actually above the 8% historical average. That hints at a "shadow inventory" that may hit the market as prices appreciate further ….

    Add your comment.


  18.    I Love Hillary, But Here's Why I'm Supporting Bernie | Alternet

    I am including this because it touches upon nearly all the most important risk-management issues we face.

    Personally, I couldn't care less whether the President is an old, white man or an inter-sexed person, pink with purple polka dots, so long as that President is of the highest character, consistent, visionary, and most importantly (because it speaks directly to character) for the poor and downtrodden, to lift them up.

    Add your comment.


  19.    FULL TEXT: Bernie Sanders speech at the Vatican – Religion News Service

    Can you imagine Hillary Clinton giving this address to the bankers paying her hundreds of thousands of dollars per speech? It would be the last time they'd invite her. However, what are the top bankers going to do if Bernie Sanders is elected President of the United States of America, ignore him, fight him, or join him and give up doing wrong?

    Add your comment.


  20.    Jill Stein: The Democratic Party 'fakes left,' marches right – CNNPolitics.com

    In the interest of transparency, I like Jill Stein, have for many years. I agree with the following.

    Stein said any worry over a potential third party spoiler effect could fixed through voting reform.

    "We could fix that in the blink of an eye with a simple voting reform called rank choice voting that allows people to rank their choices," she said.

    Although she welcomed collaboration with Sanders, she had few positive words for Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

    Asked if Clinton was, in her view, a progressive, Stein laughed and said, "No, not in the least. This is Goldman Sachs' best friend."

    I wrote about rank-choice voting years and years ago. It is the right way to go without a doubt.

    I do not, however, think Bernie Sanders has caved into corporate politics. He is attempting to pull the Democratic Party back to the New Deal and then some. If he succeeds, he will have used that Party to do the right thing.

    I can't speak to whether Jill is politicking. I doubt it, but… I don't know her well enough to be absolutely sure. If Bernie wins and does succeed as he wants, I believe she will applaud that and admit she was wrong about his strategy and tactics.

    Add your comment.


  21.    Powerful magnitude-7.8 earthquake rocks Ecuador; 41 dead, "considerable damage" caused, Americas News & Top Stories – The Straits Times

    Ecuador lies near a shifting boundary between tectonic plates and has suffered seven earthquakes of magnitude-7.0 or higher in the region of Tuesday's quake since 1900, the USGS said. One in March 1987 killed about 1,000 people, it said.

    The major jolt came as rescuers in Japan were racing against the weather and the threat of more landslides to reach people still trapped by two big earthquakes that hit that country's south.

    At last 41 people are known to have died in the double disaster, with at least six still missing — feared buried in shattered houses or under torrents of mud.

    Add your comment.


  22.    New natural gas and petrol leak reported near Porter Ranch

    The leak from a well, known as Standard Sesnon 1-21, was stopped at 10:25 a.m., according to an OES hazardous materials spill update, after it had spewed 30 gallons of oil spray and an unknown amount of natural gas.

    Frayed nerves … can't blame them.

    Add your comment.


  23.    Technology threatens the traditional 6 percent commissions for real estate agents – dailygazette.com

    Consumers who feel confident about their own ability to navigate the real estate world will find a variety of companies that offer reduced commissions, but they have different models for providing service.

    … "The market is gravitating to a la carte services in the same way that investors have started to gravitate to buying and selling their own stocks online."

    "Over time, full-service transactions are likely to be about 20 percent of the market at most and probably reserved for ultra-wealthy people," says Udelson. "The mainstream, with about 60 percent of the market, will be the a la carte model, with most people using minimal service. Another 20 percent of the market will be completely self-directed buyers and sellers."

    Add your comment.


  24.    March temperature smashes 100-year global record | Environment | The Guardian

    … every one of the past 11 months has been the hottest ever recorded for that month.

    A major El Niño weather event, the biggest since 1998, is boosting global temperatures. But scientists are agreed that global warming driven by humanity's greenhouse gas emissions is the largest factor in the astonishing run of temperature records.

    It's why this El Nino has been as strong as it has.

    When things drop down again, watch the AGW deniers pounce, as if things won't heat up even more next time if we don't stop burning all the carbon or don't come up with a global way to sequester it all, such as via organic-soil building on a massive scale, which would be good in oh so many ways.

    Add your comment.


  25.    Researchers at Kingston University develop new model to predict outlook for US economy – News – Kingston University London

    Financial forecasting can be as precarious as trying to predict the weather, but researchers at Kingston University have developed a new way to more accurately assess the outlook for the world's biggest economy. The new model highlights the inter-dependence of household, business and government expenditure and international trade in the United States and is rooted in a new approach to economics teaching.

    Traditionally, students have predominantly been taught one theory – neoclassical economics. However, since the global financial crisis hit the headlines in 2008, students across Britain have increasingly been calling for reform in the way their subject is taught.

    Kingston University PhD candidate Rafael Wildauer.
    "The crash showed the weaknesses in neoclassical economics – we need to hear more than one theory," Kingston University PhD candidate Rafael Wildauer, who developed the model in collaboration with fellow PhD candidate Javier López Bernardo, explained. "Kingston University has already responded to post-crash shifts in economic thinking, teaching Keynesian and post-Keynesian theory as an alternative to mainstream classes. This way of thinking is increasingly important," he said.

    Add your comment.


  26.    Subsidized Jobs Programs Work, New Report Shows | Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

    Exactly!

    Ife Floyd:

    A new report from Georgetown's Center on Poverty and Inequality draws on 40 years of evidence from subsidized jobs programs to call for increased federal, state, and local investments in these strategies, describing them as "underutilized, potentially powerful tools for lifting up workers in or at risk of poverty and deep poverty."

    We definitely need high-skills training, both before and on-the-job, and to employ people publicly if needs be.

    I don't care about supposed "crowding out." We have huge labor-slack, and it is vastly more important to have everyone having more than enough of all the basic necessities than it is to protect the profit margins of a few selfish owners.

    Add your comment.


  27.    More Californians work in "Advanced Energy" jobs than in farming or Hollywood | Grist

    Keogh said that "Advanced Energy" was a new phrase in the renewable energy lexicon. "It's an attempt on our part," he said, "to break down the silos of renewable energy." For example, the typical image for a "green job" is a hunky guy with a tool belt installing solar panels, or maybe Elon Musk standing in front of something shiny.

    But what about the person who works at the natural gas plant that helps stabilize the flow of electricity coming from a wind installation? What about the person who designs and installs efficient heating and cooling systems? The Institute decided that all of these jobs count, too.

    Add your comment.


  28.    Bernie Sanders Praised for Visiting New York City Public Housing Project – ABC News

    "People should not be forced to live in dilapidated housing where elevators break down and elderly people have to walk eight flights up or down to go and get some groceries," Sanders said.

    Either the government fixes these things directly or it funds/subsidizes the private sector to do it, but it must, and can, be done. We can do it via taxes on the super-rich, but we can also do it via debt-free money issued directly by the US Treasury rather than the Federal Reserve (that issues only debt-ladened money adding to the National Debt and the interest payments made by working Americans, including the working poor, who can't afford fancy law firms to hide their money in foreign and domestic tax-havens behind shell organizations).

    Add your comment.


  29.    Surprise: The Rich Will Pay For Most Of The Free Stuff Bernie Sanders Is Promising – Forbes

    Jeffrey Dorfman:

    Households in the lowest quintile of earnings (those making less than $23,099 per year) would see an average tax increase of only $165. For that 20% of Americans this really is lots of new free stuff. For the second quintile ($23,100 to $45,153 in income), the average tax increase is $1,625 per year; still an excellent deal.

    The middle quintile ($45,154 to $80,760) faces an average tax increase of $4,692 per year which is bearable if they currently get health insurance through their jobs and their employers give them pay raises to compensate for not having to pay for employee health insurance any more. Similarly, the fourth quintile ($80,761 to $142,601) will pay $9,051 per year in new taxes which might be an okay deal if their pay goes up and their share of job-linked health insurance premiums disappears. These people are unlikely to be winning much in the sense of getting more than they are paying for, but they may not be losing much either.

    Now, assuming those calculations are correct, which is always debatable, it isn't just the "free stuff" that offsets the taxes. It's also the boost to the economy from people at the bottom having more to spend to rev up the economy, which will increase the revenue base. Plus, their entire lives will improve, which will lower the burdens on society as a whole.

    Finally, as Bernie Sanders' plan works its way through the system, it will be tweaked and possibly radically revamped. One thing that should happen to it is that it ought to be held up against what I write a great deal about: debt-free money issuance for the government to spend directly into the economy to pay for all these things and more that Bernie has been rightly advocating.

    You won't read that from the libertarian-leaners at Forbes. They would hate for that discussion to even be had because the more the People were to learn about the possibilities, the less the elitists would be able to free-ride on the system while suppressing and oppressing everybody else, as they have been doing for centuries. I'm speaking of the plutocrats and sociopaths at the financial and economic so-called top (a cesspool at the bottom actually).

    Add your comment.


  30.    China home prices rise at fastest rate in 2 years, top cities boom | afr.com

    … Shenzhen continued to be the top performer, with home prices surging 61.6 per cent from a year ago ….

    In a word, ridiculous: massive bubble, one-trick pony.

    Add your comment.


  31.    Virtual reality provides real estate tool of the future

    Marketing:

    "It can make you feel sick, but you adjust to it," he said.

    Add your comment.


  32.    Investors queue up for QLine: Real estate deals show economic clout of mass transit project – Crain's Detroit Business

    The $1.3 billion figure is in line with studies by the American Public Transportation Association, which shows that every $1 invested in public transportation generates about up to $8 in economic returns.

    The project, scheduled for completion in December, will include 199 apartments and 15,000 square feet of retail at Woodward Avenue and Erskine Street.

    He is managing partner of 6402 Woodward LLC and is planning a $14 million project involving several properties near the southeast corner of the intersection that would add new apartments, retail and office space along Woodward in the New Center area.

    The development spurred, at least in part, by mass transit possibilities does not surprise transit advocates like Marie Donigan, a former state representative from Royal Oak who is transit projects coordinator for the Detroit-based nonprofit Harriet Tubman Center.

    She cited American Public Transportation Association figures that home values are 42 percent higher if located near public transportation that feature high-frequency service.

    "Evidence is clear that property adjacent to transit is valuable," she said. "It's like gold."

    Better.

    Add your comment.


  33.    Charted: Hong Kong's housing market suddenly has echoes of the SARS era — Quartz

    … flow of money has been slowing, following Beijing's crackdown on corruption and overseas investment ….

    … as predicted on this blog.

    Add your comment.


  34.    Legal Counsel: Due diligence is critical when buying commercial real estate | News OK

    A proper checklist may include, among other things:

    • Commitment for title insurance ….

    • Current survey ….

    • Environmental condition report. …

    • Improvements condition report(s). …

    • Zoning letter ….

    • Leases and rent roll. …

    • Operating statements and financial records. …

    • Certificates of occupancy. …

    • Accessibility compliance. …

    • Insurance. … [!]

    • Tax certificates. …

    • For undeveloped land, verifying the absence of wetlands areas and endangered species ….

    … with a well-planned due diligence strategy, a buyer can significantly reduce the risks of uncertainty and facilitate an educated investment decision.

    Zach Allen is an attorney with Crowe & Dunlevy and a member of the firm's Real Estate Practice Group.

    Hazards mapping would also be helpful. I'd also look at planned developments in the area as to their potential impact (negative and positive) upon the property. Finally, overview all contracts to which the property being obtain will remain subject. What would you add off the top of your head?

    Add your comment.


  35.    Newsletter: The Corruption Of Money | PopularResistance.Org

    Have you ever been radicalized? Well, I have.

    A GAO report released this week found "at least two-thirds of active U.S. corporations paid zero federal income taxes between 2006 and 2012. The report also found that large, profitable corporations only paid 14% of their profits in federal income taxes on average from 2008 through 2012, while approximately one-fifth of them paid nothing at all."

    I prefer applying the term plutocracy to what's going on rather than oligarchy. Money is at the heart of plutocracy, and money is controlling all our lives. Those with more of it have more power over us and don't deserve to. They aren't better or smarter. They're just greedier and more ruthless and conniving, which is ultimately stupid, as they will find out.

    Add your comment.


  36.    Are We All Rent-Seeking Investors?

    Guy Rolnik:

    In spite of the growing chatter on concentration, market power, and political influence, it seems that these claims need more empirical studies before we can conclude, like The Economist, that for S&P 500 firms these exceptional profits derived from undue market power are currently running at about $300 billion a year, equivalent to a third of taxed operating profits, or 1.7 percent of GDP.

    I find that paragraph to be either carelessly or deliberately poorly worded.

    What's being asked or stated: 1) before we can conclude … that for S&P 500 firms these exceptional profits derived from undue market power; 2) before we can conclude … that for S&P 500 firms these exceptional profits … are currently running at about $300 billion a year, equivalent to a third of taxed operating profits, or 1.7 percent of GDP; or 3) both?

    There is no doubt whatsoever that #1 there is correct. We don't need any additional "empirical studies" before saying so. My word.

    Add your comment.


  37.    Our crumbling infrastructure is hurting U.S. competitiveness – MarketWatch

    John Rennie Short"

    The U.S. is investing half of what it spent on transportation infrastructure more than 50 years ago as a percentage of the economy — close to 1.5% of GDP now compared with nearly 3% of GDP in 1962.

    The American Society of Civil Engineers gives the nation's infrastructure a D+. It estimates the U.S. needs to spend $1.7 trillion by 2020 just to upgrade our surface transportation of roads, bridges and rail. Currently we are on track to spend just $877 billion.

    That's a gap of around $850 billion.

    What we don't need to do to pay for all of that, John Rennie Short, is to raise taxes. We also do not need to create toll roads.

    We simply need the US government to issue the money directly for the projects and without auctioning off any bonds when doing so.

    Wake UP, People! We've been being fleeced for centuries. It's time we put a complete stop to it.

    Add your comment.


  38.    Report: LA Rents Are Going to 'Soar' – Curbed LA

    … Los Angeles is building. Why aren't things getting better? Even though apartment construction is back to "pre-recession" levels, the forecast says, the state's growing economy and population are jacking up demand quicker than apartments can be built; besides which, most of what's being built is expensive luxury housing.

    … "High-end renters are the first to become homebuyers. As the demand for high-end dwellings slows, savvy developers will seek more projects built for people of more modest means," Bostic says. Great, so just wait until luxury unit sales slow down, then wait until people figure it out, and then wait until less expensive units get approved and built. Not a huge comfort for people who are already paying half their rent toward an apartment they share with two other people.

    Wait until land values go down enough. Wait until there are enough people trained in construction. Wait, wait, wait … for the government to get its act together and to start funding training and constructing affordable housing.

    Aren't you sick of waiting? Who's making us wait? Let's band together and put a stop to them right now.

    Add your comment.


  39.    Shrunken Citigroup Illustrates a Trend in Big U.S. Banks – The New York Times

    … the banks could get a reprieve from many of these pressures if a Republican wins the White House in November. All of the top Republican candidates have called for a reversal of the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul that has guided many of the recent regulatory actions.

    Citigroup and the other big banks continue to defend the economic importance of global banks with a wide array of business lines.

    Why? It's not good for society at all.

    Add your comment.


  40.    Macro Wounds: Surviving the Mirage of Growth

    The time period between 1870 and 1970 was special. Much of the developed world enjoyed the most significant economic progress in history. In the United States, GDP multiplied nearly 31 times during this era ….

    What we need to do in the US is to return to the American School of Economics and to completely dump the Austrian School of Economics fiasco.

    The American School: { https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_S chool_(economics) }

    1. protecting industry through selective high tariffs (especially 1861—1932) and through subsidies (especially 1932—70)

    2. government investments in infrastructure creating targeted internal improvements (especially in transportation)

    3. a national bank with policies that promote the growth of productive enterprises rather than speculation.

    We need public banking on top of that, along with debt-free currency and vastly more direct and transparent democracy: the People first.

    Add your comment.


  41.    SF Voters To Decide If Affordable Housing Should Be Cheaper, Easier for Renters – Curbed SF

    It's the classic middle-class squeeze: Too poor to buy, too rich to get a break.

    They're still better off than the poor with their "break."

    Add your comment.


  42.    Housing Affordability Hits a Crisis Level | Builder Magazine | Affordable Housing, Economics, Economic Conditions, Joel Kotkin

    All these cities have seen home prices double to triple their previous levels, and all have strong land use regulation, principally urban growth boundaries, which severely limit or even prohibit building on the urban fringe. The resulting shortage of land drives up prices and has been associated with lost housing affordability.

    Yes, but there are good reasons to limit urban sprawl. We can build up rather than out. We'll have to design earthquake-proof, taller structures with better and faster elevators, but we have that capacity now. All that's lacking is the political power in the People's hands to make it happen for their sakes.

    Add your comment.


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