News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. May 20, 2016

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Table of Contents
(Click to sections below.)

1) Hillary Clinton gets more specific about what Bill Clinton's White House job could be – The Washington Post

2) Protecting real estate investors | Opinion | Eugene, Oregon

3) Hong Kong's real estate market is rigged in favour of property tycoons | South China Morning Post

4) Buildings that kill: The earthquake danger lawmakers have ignored for decades | The Seattle Times

5) Recovery in the Eurozone, Using Money Creation to Stimulate the Real Economy – Positive Money

6) Chinese Investment in US Real Estate Still Booming, Says Report – Curbed

7) Coauthors of 'problem properties' ordinance say it's been effective so far | Local News – KETV Home

8) Leading Chinese real estate company partners in Seattle high-rise

9) Strong housing market helps reduce lingering foreclosure inventory | HousingWire

10) The Tragedy of Democratic Socialism | Power Line

11) Imagining a New Bretton Woods

12) EU immigration has no negative impact on British wages, jobs or public services, research finds | The Independent

13) Reining in Putin's Cronies | Stratfor

14) Wildfire Fighters Watching Canadian Blaze, Worried About Summer Conditions In US : The Two-Way : NPR

15) UT study: Fracturing-related activities have caused majority of recent Texas earthquakes – MRTcom: Top Stories

16) New real-estate tool CityBldr finds more than $35B in untapped profit potential on Seattle-area properties – GeekWire

17) There Could Be a Bubble in These Real Estate Markets – Fortune

18) County database fights real estate fraud — GCN

19) Six Ways the Recession Inflicted Scars on Millions of Unemployed Americans – Real Time Economics – WSJ

20) Transcript: Comments on The Future of Capitalism — New School Economic Review

21) UK Home Prices Rise as Landlord Surge Leaves Property Famine – Bloomberg

22) Owning the Consequences: Clinton and the Repeal of Glass-Steagall | Demos

23) China just overtook Canada as the largest foreign buyer of US residential real estate – Yahoo Finance

24) How Do I Get Started as a Developer? —With a Four-Plex. — rjohnthebad

25) Still Report #875 – Trump – Why Borrow When We Can Print? – YouTube

26) Newsletter: People Power Essential To Saving Planet | PopularResistanceOrg

27) 7 Myths About the Real Estate Professional Tax Status, Debunked

28) CERN Discovers New Particle Called The FERIR – The Automatic Earth

29) The Great Foreclosure Fraud

30) Calculated Risk: Comments on April Housing Starts

31) NICB: Number of Hail Claims Fluctuates But Severity Through the Roof

32) Toxic Metals Found in Los Angeles Homes Near Gas Leak: Study

33) Owner Alleges Defect; Wants 'Invincible' Missouri Home Torn Down

34) Trump: 'Who the Hell Cares if There's a Trade War?' | TheBlazecom

35) EPA Suggests Tighter Limits for Industrial Chemical in Water – ABC News

36) US blames Plains pipeline company for Santa Barbara oil spill | Reuters

37) Real estate developer launches campaign on Dallas homelessness | Dallas Morning News

38) Foreign Investors Real Estate

39) Will Gov't Regulation Kill The Housing Market — Again? | Stock News & Stock Market Analysis – IBD

40) The new overtime rule will directly benefit 12.5 million working people: Who they are and where they live | Economic Policy Institute

41) Bring On the Currency War – Bloomberg View

42) National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) tips to help protect you and your family from extreme weather events

43) Coppola Comment: Keynes and the Quantity Theory of Money

44) Regulation Crowdfunding Is Live: What Businesses and Investors Need to Know | PCMagcom

45) Neighbors worried about biosolids fertilizer used at farm — The Medina County Gazette

46) For homebuilders, new regulations mean no new starter homes

47) Trump and Sanders Shift Mood in Congress Against Trade Deals – Bloomberg Politics

48) Stuck on hot: Earth breaks 12th straight monthly heat record

49) China's Communist Party goes way of Qing Dynasty as debt hits limit

50) Obama's War on Inequality – The New York Times

51) Why Is the Labor Force Participation Rate Increasing?

52) How to End Too-Big-To-Fail? At Minneapolis Fed Symposium, Participants Reject Big Bank Breakup

53) Minnesota Still Wary About Impact of North Dakota Flood Project

54) Better Fire Rating Means Lower Insurance Rates for Some in Louisiana Parish

55) Report: Cost of Flood Control Improvements in Austin — Possibly $4B

56) RMS Says $77B in San Francisco Property at Risk from Sea Level Rise by 2100

57) Federal Funding for Ohio Flood Control Plan in Jeopardy

58) North Carolina Regulators Order Duke Energy to Close Coal Ash Ponds

59) Crescent Communities Creates Lifestyle Experiences – YouTube

60) NASA's Global Tour of Precipitation in Ultra HD (4K) – YouTube

61) Economics Has Failed America | Foreign Policy

62) Osborne's focus on UK's deficit deters scrutiny of his weak economic plan | The Guardian

63) Lake Mead declines to lowest level in history

64) Chinese US Real Estate Demand Tip of the Iceberg – Barron's

  1.    Hillary Clinton gets more specific about what Bill Clinton's White House job could be – The Washington Post

    Let's be honest about this.

    Bill Clinton presided over emasculating New Deal regulations more so than any other President. George W. Bush inherited the Dot Com bust/recession from Bill Clinton, just as Barack Obama inherited the Great Recession from George W. Bush.

    Bush made things worse while Obama wasn't able or willing to do much to counter things. He wanted to "look forward," which is code for leaving moral hazard in place (meaning leaving the bankers responsible for the entire fiasco nearly alone).

    So, would Bill Clinton be the right person for the task of fixing the economy? Well, if Hillary Clinton isn't even going to admit to Bill Clinton's massive economic failure, ….

    At one point, Bill admitted to that failure. I haven't heard him repeat that again (sort of like Alan Greenspan not wanting to remind people that Alan was blindsided by the Great Recession that he helped create with Bill Clinton's direct help backing the whole crew who fought against Brooksley Born).

    Had Bill Clinton sided with and backed Brooksley Born, as I did, the Great Recession wouldn't have happened.

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  2.    Protecting real estate investors | Opinion | Eugene, Oregon

    The state Real Estate Agency, which regulates and oversees property management firms, says its mission is "to provide quality protection for Oregon consumers of real estate, escrow and land development services." It failed miserably in that mission in the case of Shockley and his company, TS Property Management.

    There were online reviews of the company from both property owners and tenants complaining about late payments of rental income, poorly maintained properties and bounced checks. A series of state and federal tax liens had been filed, asserting that the company owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes.

    But the Real Estate Agency knew nothing of this.

    The parties involved in the Shockley case agree that the vast majority of property managers are honest, hardworking people. But that is little comfort to people who have lost a large part of their life savings to the few who aren't. And cases such as Shockley's aren't a good advertisement for investing in Oregon real estate.

    If an attorney, for example, bounces a check on a trust account, the bank is required to notify the Oregon Bar Association, which will follow up.

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  3.    Hong Kong's real estate market is rigged in favour of property tycoons | South China Morning Post

    The city's unique buyer-seller and supply-demand dynamic work through the public and private housing sectors. Don't forget that the Hong Kong government has squelched speculation, but discouraged activity in the private sector with its stamp duty. For whatever reason, it has not taken direct action against the big developers in the private flat market. The government will not emulate the Singapore government's overarching role in the entire property market.

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  4.    Buildings that kill: The earthquake danger lawmakers have ignored for decades | The Seattle Times

    Seismic Neglect: Seattle officials have been counting earthquake-vulnerable buildings since the early 1990s, but no law requires the structures to be strengthened.

    The Julius Horton building, built in 1914, is like many of its vintage. Its brick walls aren't bolted to the floors and ceilings. It has withstood past quakes, but they have been mild compared to what seismologists expect: A magnitude 9.0 monster that hits with 2,000 times the power of Seattle's last major earthquake, toppling walls, dropping ceilings and sending bricks flying with deadly effect.

    There are at least 1,163 buildings constructed like this in Seattle, according to a list the city released in late April after The Seattle Times requested it.

    Not every old brick building is dangerous. Some were built with steel and concrete supports. Of the unreinforced buildings on the city's list, about 10 percent have undergone comprehensive seismic retrofits.

    … like much of Georgetown, the building rests on soil so loose it can liquefy when shaken in an earthquake. The risk is so high no one will sell him earthquake insurance, Bennett said.

    Foley said he sympathizes with owners who are reluctant to displace their tenants and go upscale. "You're balancing safety against more affordable rent," he said. "When we have an earthquake there will be a price to pay for it."

    Over the next several years, geologists discovered evidence that the Northwest has been devastated repeatedly by magnitude 9.0 megaquakes and tsunamis, the most recent in 1700. They found shallow faults under Seattle and other cities, threatening major destruction the next time they rupture.

    It was a different story in California. State lawmakers in 1986 required every earthquake-prone jurisdiction to identify all unreinforced-masonry buildings and adopt measures to reduce the danger.

    By 2006, 359 local governments, 98 percent of those covered by the law, had complied with it.

    Where's the money going to come from? Well, well, well, where have we heard that before?

    Why in the world aren't we fiscally funding infrastructure like this by issuing debt-free money? It wouldn't be inflationary if we would fund research and development to make the retrofits as automated as possible and make the resources flowing to the projects as free of bottlenecks as possible. Even if we had to take more time than we'd like, it would still be better than what we're doing, which is nothing.

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  5.    Recovery in the Eurozone, Using Money Creation to Stimulate the Real Economy – Positive Money

    Correct:

    1. The ECB could transfer newly created money to the Eurozone national governments. These governments would then use the newly created funds to increase their spending. This additional spending could, for example, be focused on 'green' infrastructure projects.

    2. The newly created money could be distributed equally between every citizen of the Eurozone. This type of "citizen's dividend" would put additional purchasing power directly into people's pockets.

    Both of these proposals have significant benefits when compared to the ECB's current QE programme. They would:

    • boost aggregate demand without relying on households and businesses to borrow more, and therefore would not cause a rise in already-high private sector debt. It would therefore compensate for the reduction in total spending caused by private sector deleveraging.

    • it would also increase the net financial assets held by the private sector, while the additional spending boosts private sector income and reduces the private sector's debt-to-income ratio. These two effects increase financial stability.

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  6.    Chinese Investment in U.S. Real Estate Still Booming, Says Report – Curbed

    Despite any reports of a slowing economy, Chinese investors are making their mark on the U.S. real estate market, according to a new report just released by Asia Society and Rosen Consulting Group.

    Truth be told, China is hemorrhaging. Xi doesn't have as much control as he'd like yet. How desperate will he become and just how violent?

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  7.    Coauthors of 'problem properties' ordinance say it's been effective so far | Local News – KETV Home

    Owners of vacant houses are registering their properties and getting fined until they fix the problems.

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  8.    Leading Chinese real estate company partners in Seattle high-rise

    Let's hope that if they do build it, they do so using the highest earthquake-resistant standards in the world.

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  9.    Strong housing market helps reduce lingering foreclosure inventory | HousingWire

    "As these zombie foreclosures hit the market for sale they are providing a modicum of relief for the pressure cooker of escalating prices and deteriorating affordability that have defined the U.S. housing market in recent years," Blomquist said.

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  10.    The Tragedy of Democratic Socialism | Power Line

    Price controls introduced in 2003 didn't cause the current situation. Democratic socialism didn't cause the current situation either. High refining-costs of heavy crude did. The light-crude global glut caused by the US "capitalist" ally, Saudi Arabia, priced Venezuela's oil out of the global market for the most part.

    I'm not saying that Venezuela's leadership made all the right calls. I am saying that this article attempts to paint all democratic socialism with one brush loaded with phony paint, phony arguments, and cherry picked, even dubious analogies.

    Look, Bernie Sanders is a New Dealer, a liberal with social democratic leanings. The New Deal bailed the US out of the Great Depression: taking non-farm unemployment from 25% down to almost zero via governmental spending right on through WWII. It sure didn't ruin the economy, far from it.

    Secondly, it was deregulated and grossly under-regulated capitalism (crony and non-crony) that caused the Great Recession. It wasn't the New Deal but its rollback that cause the Great Recession. It wasn't social democracy or democratic socialism.

    Plenty of nations have much stronger welfare safety nets than does the US, and those other nations are doing better than the US in many, many economic categories.

    So, while I love a real debate. I really frown on articles, such as this one by John Hinderaker, that read like purely deliberate false propaganda.

    We're facing hugely important economic issues that will never be solved by pure capitalism, not even close. We need openness, honesty, and directness, not obfuscation. Ideology full of only half-truths as best will only prolong the problems and allow them to get worse.

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  11.    Imagining a New Bretton Woods

    The Fund would administer Kosmos on the basis of a transparent digital distributed ledger and an algorithm that would adjust total supply in a pre-agreed manner to the volume of world trade, allowing for an automatic countercyclical component that boosts global supply at times of a general slowdown.

    Yanis Varoufakis is on the right track, but his system would be much too needlessly complicated and would support too much leeway for anti-democratic forces to continue in control.

    I suggested long ago a "transparent digital distributed ledger and an algorithm that would adjust total supply in a pre-agreed manner to the volume of" real economic productivity both existing and planned, however, via full, direct democracy.

    Let's aim higher!

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  12.    EU immigration has no negative impact on British wages, jobs or public services, research finds | Home News | News | The Independent

    EU immigration to the UK has not harmed British peoples' access to jobs, public services or incomes, a major study has concluded.

    The report, by the London School of Economics, has dispelled a number of 'myths' or misconceptions about the impact of immigration on the UK. It has been published as part of a series of research publications to be released between now and the EU referendum on 23 June.

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  13.    Reining in Putin's Cronies | Stratfor

    So, here's Stratfor, which claims to be followed and listened closely to by some of the top people in US government:

    … Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev formerly oversaw Russian natural gas giant Gazprom and is rumored to maintain shares in the firm. Medvedev's salary as premier is approximately $175,000 a year, but he reportedly built a $58 million second home outside of Sochi in 2010. Head of the Presidential Administration Sergei Ivanov sits on the boards of Rostelecom, Ros Hydro and insurance giant Sogaz and is rumored to maintain shares in all. Though he makes a modest $126,000 annual salary, he reportedly owns a $10 million house on the Black Sea.

    To me, that's not "intelligence." That's secondhand reporting of propaganda.

    It's okay to report such things as a journalist; but, from an "intelligence organization" publishing to the world, it reads very much like mere propaganda published for ideological reasons.

    Why does this matter on an insurance-brokerage blog? Risk management.

    What's best for all of us and each of us?

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  14.    Wildfire Fighters Watching Canadian Blaze, Worried About Summer Conditions In U.S. : The Two-Way : NPR

    Just consider California, which is entering its fifth year of severe drought. Forest officials say upwards of 40 million stressed trees have died during the period; 29 million of those occurred last year.

    What would it take to cut them down? What should be done with them after that? Should they cut break lines through them first? Should they leave a lot of them to return to soil? What tests have been done on different approaches? What could be planted that would live and grow, that's more drought resistant? Are we going to act against global warming quickly enough to avoid much, much worse conditions?

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  15.    UT study: Fracturing-related activities have caused majority of recent Texas earthquakes – MRT.com: Top Stories

    The first man-made quake struck in 1925 in the Goose Creek oil field along the Gulf Coast east of Houston. Humble Oil, a precursor of Exxon, had extracted so much oil that the ground sank and caused houses to shake and dishes to crash to the floor. Over the years, different petroleum production methods have triggered quakes, including oil and gas extraction and enhanced recovery, in which operators pump water or carbon dioxide into reservoirs to boost the flow of oil. Each method can, in rare cases, raise or lower pressure on faults and cause them to rupture.

    "As the industry has changed, the oilfield practices that caused earthquakes have changed as well," said Frohlich. Since 2008, wastewater disposal from hydraulic fracturing has triggered most of the state's earthquakes, according to the study.

    – Do the earthquakes occur after potentially influential human activities begin?

    – Are the earthquakes and human activities close enough so that a causal relationship is plausible?

    – Do the earthquakes appear to be shallow, like most other human-induced events?

    – Have credible scientific studies linked the earthquakes to human activities?

    Before 1980, he added, there wasn't accurate enough data on earthquake locations and well-injection volumes in Texas to perform a rigorous statistical analysis. Such an analysis can help rule out the possibility that quakes have occurred near wells by chance.

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  16.    New real-estate tool CityBldr finds more than $35B in untapped profit potential on Seattle-area properties – GeekWire

    CityBldr, a Seattle startup that is launching its latest product today, examined every property in King County to find the redevelopment potential in the area. The company looks at about 15 sources, analyzing data on zoning areas, tax history and demographic data, to determine how plots of land can be improved to maximize their potential.

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  17.    There Could Be a Bubble in These Real Estate Markets – Fortune

    Credit risk is growing in U.S. commercial real estate with some banks exposed to "froth" in the apartment market in New York, Boston, Washington D.C., and San Francisco, a top U.S. banking regulator said on Monday.

    The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), which supervises large national banks, wants lenders to tighten up loan terms to property developers and it recently reissued its guidance on how banks should approach commercial real estate lending.

    "The actual loan terms and covenants are weakening," he said.

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  18.    County database fights real estate fraud — GCN

    PRN is essentially a mail technology sitting on top of the database Xerox created for the county, said Louis Schiavone, managing director for Xerox Local Government Solutions. The system is accessible via desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones — anything with an Internet connection.

    The county uses a Google appliance to store the information. Because it's open to the public, the main security element comes in protecting the email addresses and passwords of people who set up PRN accounts, Brown said.

    Although the main purpose of PRN is to alert homeowners to forged deeds or fraudulent liens recorded on their properties, Brown said the system has other uses, too.

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  19.    Six Ways the Recession Inflicted Scars on Millions of Unemployed Americans – Real Time Economics – WSJ

    Here are some of the scars inflicted on American workers by the 2007-2009 recession, based on decades of academic research into the effects of job loss.

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  20.    Transcript: Comments on The Future of Capitalism — New School Economic Review

    A great overview by Ebba Boye:

    The European Dream

    For most people in Europe, the dream about the European Union has always been about the countries of Europe pulling together and cooperating, creating growth and welfare for all its member nations. And there are definitely parts of the Union that serve that function. But in general, it has become competition, and not cooperation that is the backbone of the EU.

    Countries compete for market shares, trying to lower prices by pushing down wages. According to mainstream economic theory this type of competition will increase our common welfare.

    The German Miracle

    The main driving force in the competition for cheaper labor has been Germany. To reduce unemployment, Germany promoted a deregulation of the labor market with the aim of reducing wages.

    The Theory of Austerity

    The economic theory behind austerity policies is that the reduction in wages and prices will make the country competitive again. But the theory is failing catastrophically, and the reality is that the Greek people are forced into a situation where they are not allowed to work themselves out of the problems. Syriza's program for public spending and job creation was denied. Instead it seems like they are supposed to starve themselves out of the crisis.

    It is a supply driven theory, only focusing on how to reduce costs. It does not look at the demand side. The failure of this policy is now evident for everyone.

    I side with Yanis in trying because a breakup could lead to even worse fascism.

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  21.    U.K. Home Prices Rise as Landlord Surge Leaves Property Famine – Bloomberg

    You know, when the story broke, I didn't know that buyers would be grandfathered in. Nobody brought it to my attention either.

    The initial stories all discussed how small landlords would be driven out.

    What am I missing here, if anything?

    The report adds to evidence that the tax increase on investment properties skewed the market in recent months, after it was implemented by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne to help first-time buyers compete for homes. Investors rushing to snatch up houses before the change meant a dearth of supply, and Rightmove said some areas have seen "eye-watering increases in asking prices."

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  22.    Owning the Consequences: Clinton and the Repeal of Glass-Steagall | Demos

    How many times have you read that not repealing Glass-Steagall would not have prevented the Great Recession?

    Well, this is best thing I've ever read on why deregulation in the form of Graham-Leach-Bliley was directly responsible for the Great Recession.

    I've always said that it was the whole spirit of deregulation that brought on the crash. I still know that's right. This article really helps crystallize exactly why.

    Wallace Turbeville makes clear why the separation was important and what happened at the investment banks as a result of overturning that separation.

    It's also interesting that Bill Clinton backtracked his earlier mea culpa about deregulation.

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  23.    China just overtook Canada as the largest foreign buyer of US residential real estate – Yahoo Finance

    According to the report, Chinese investors are still seeking out major gateway markets, with 70% of aggregate transaction volume concentrated in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. But Pickering says more and more Chinese are looking elsewhere to settle down, specifically mentioning Tennessee, Missouri, Georgia, North Carolina. "As the Chinese get more sophisticated, as they're here more often, and as they start looking for value, the real bargains are not in these cities any longer, they're inland and they're places you wouldn't normally expect to see it," he says. "So the Chinese are moving out pretty fast into cities that frankly could use the investment."

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  24.    How Do I Get Started as a Developer? —With a Four-Plex. — rjohnthebad

    Not for the faint at heart, but the rewards …

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  25.    Still Report #875 – Trump – Why Borrow When We Can Print? – YouTube

    I largely agree but take strong exception to where Bill Still refers to paying off the debt quickly as "the stupid way."

    Bill is confusing monetary with price inflation. If the new money winds up being used to pay down debt, save, and invest in real productivity, there would not be the price inflation he fears. It is not "the stupid way" to pay off the debt all at once, far from it. In fact, it's exactly what we need to do to get the economy humming. The private sector is still deleveraging. It will take huge public spending to boost things to get the private sector out of its mess.

    Also, any true excess can be taxed out of the economy nearly as quickly as it's used to pay off the debt.

    Naturally, simply paying off the debt is far, far, far from all we ought to do at the same time.

    Bill's more than a bit "libertarian." He has one foot in MMT and the other in Ludwig von Mises (while I am an economic progressive/democrat).

    Bill is for Trump, has been all along. I'm more with Billy Mitchell of MMT fame in Australia.

    Bill's for decentralization. So am I, but I'm for bottom-up democracy unifying the planet and the human race. Bill's more pessimistic about outsiders.

    If I'm wrong about any of that, he's free to chime in here via the comment section. (Is the courtesy reciprocal? My comment on his video on YouTube disappeared. Maybe it will reappear. Who knows.)

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  26.    Newsletter: People Power Essential To Saving Planet | PopularResistance.Org

    This is another huge risk-management issue.

    By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance:

    This week, the world passed the 400 parts per million of CO2 threshold, which means that we need to start planning to go beyond carbon neutral to carbon negative within the next few decades.

    Do we have that long? I don't think we should act as if we do.

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  27.    7 Myths About the Real Estate Professional Tax Status, Debunked

    How many of these did you know?

    Amanda Han:

    … I wanted to talk about 7 common myths regarding the real estate professional status.

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  28.    CERN Discovers New Particle Called The FERIR – The Automatic Earth

    You really don't have to understand all the acronyms to enjoy this, though it helps.

    At least know this one: Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium (DSGE). It's not as complcated as it sounds. It really just means that the economy will revert to "stability." Steve thinks it's an ideological crock. He has the math to prove it too.

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  29.    The Great Foreclosure Fraud

    David Dayen:

    There is a rot at the heart of our democracy, rooted in a nagging mystery that has yet to be unraveled. It gnaws at people, occupies their thoughts, leaves them searching for answers in the chill of the night. Americans want to know why no high-ranking Wall Street executive has gone to jail for the conduct that precipitated the financial crisis.

    The oddest thing about the predominance of the question is that everyone already assumes they know the answer. They believe that too many politicians, regulators, and law enforcement officials, bought off with campaign contributions or the promise of a future job, simply allowed banker miscreants to annihilate the law in pursuit of profit. But they must not like the explanation very much, because they keep asking why, as if they want to be proven wrong, to be given a different story.

    Maybe they don't like the implications of a government that lets Wall Street walk. It does too much violence to the conception of the country they have in their mind, with its ideals of justice and fairness. It explains the disempowerment people feel in the face of a rigged economic and political system, with differing standards of treatment depending on wealth and power. It engenders a loss of faith in core institutions, turning our democracy into a sideshow, where the real action happens offstage. It inspires people to don tricornered hats and protest crony capitalism, or pitch camp at the base of Wall Street and refuse to move. It generates a profound anxiety, for if bankers can bring the economy to the point of ruin and get away with it, what's to stop them from doing it again?

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  30.    Calculated Risk: Comments on April Housing Starts

    Bill McBride:

    Multi-family completions are increasing sharply year-over-year.

    I think most of the growth in multi-family starts is probably behind us – in fact multi-family starts probably peaked in June 2015 (at 510 thousand SAAR) – although I expect solid multi-family starts for a few more years (based on demographics).

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  31.    NICB: Number of Hail Claims Fluctuates But Severity Through the Roof

    … increased roofing costs are the reason hail claims severity continues to rise and that demand surge significantly affects roofing labor costs.

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  32.    Toxic Metals Found in Los Angeles Homes Near Gas Leak: Study

    Homes located near a gas well blowout that spewed the nation's largest-known release of methane had higher levels of toxic metals ….

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  33.    Owner Alleges Defect; Wants 'Invincible' Missouri Home Torn Down

    Monarch Cement Co…and…City Wide Construction Products, routinely cut the amount of Helix mixed into the castle's concrete…the lawsuit claims.

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  34.    Trump: 'Who the Hell Cares if There's a Trade War?' | TheBlaze.com

    So, what is becoming clearer about Donald Trump's economics? To me, he appears to be an adherent of the American School of Economics versus the Austrian School. He also has Keynesian and Modern Money Theory ideas that jibe with his American School views. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_S chool_(economics)

    Trump has said he would put a 35 percent tariff into place on goods imported from foreign countries as a way to keep manufacturing jobs in the U.S. He has also repeatedly blasted NAFTA, signed by President Bill Clinton, and argued it was one of the worst deals in American history.

    Critics, particularly those on the right, have skewered the billionaire for such rhetoric and characterized him as a protectionist. At Thursday's rally, Trump insisted that he believed in free trade, but only if the deals were good.

    My readers know that I'm squarely opposed to the Austrian School and lean way over to the extreme left of MMT. So, Trump is not grating on my ears here relative to even plenty of so-called liberals.

    I'm for fair trade, not free trade. The degree to which Trump equates fair with good, as in a "good deal," remains to be seen. I suspect he's more about the "immediate" bottom line than what's truly fair, but I'm open to being pleasantly disabused of that idea about him.

    I'm not endorsing him here. I'm simply showing again what I've always known about him. He knows a great deal more than most have thought. He's also a quick study.

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  35.    EPA Suggests Tighter Limits for Industrial Chemical in Water – ABC News

    As a landlord or manager, will you find out about your water supply and notify your tenants if the limits are exceeded?

    The cancer-causing chemical perfluorooctanoic acid, known as PFOA, has been found in the tap water of dozens of factory towns near industrial sites where it was manufactured. DuPont, 3M and other U.S. chemical companies voluntarily phased out the use of PFOA in recent years.

    Also at issue is the related chemical perfluorooctane sulfonate, or PFOS, used in firefighting foam.

    Under the EPA's new guidance, water systems where concentrations of PFOA or PFOS are found above 70 parts per trillion are advised to promptly notify local residents and consult with their state drinking water agencies.

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  36.    U.S. blames Plains pipeline company for Santa Barbara oil spill | Reuters

    Numerous lapses in safety measures, judgment and planning by Plains All American Pipeline LP led to and worsened a major oil spill last year that fouled miles of shoreline and ocean near Santa Barbara, California, the U.S. Transportation Department said on Thursday.

    The agency said it would focus next on "enforcement options" against the Houston-based company for the rupture of an underground petroleum pipeline that federal inspectors have found was severely worn by corrosion.

    In their final report on the spill, federal investigators concluded that Plains "failed on multiple levels to prevent, detect and respond to this incident," said Marie Therese Dominguez, head of the Transportation Department's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

    While the immediate cause of the rupture was external decay, the company was at fault for failing to protect the pipeline from corrosion beforehand and to promptly detect and respond to the spill once it occurred, the agency said in a statement.

    The report came two days after Plains was indicted in California on 46 state criminal charges stemming from the spill, which environmental groups seized on to warn of hazards posed by an aging U.S. oil and gas industry infrastructure.

    By the company's own estimate, as much as 3,400 barrels of crude gushed onto the shore and into the Pacific Ocean when the company's 24-inch Line 901 burst along a coastal highway about 20 miles (32 km) west of Santa Barbara on May 19, 2015.

    The spill, linked to the deaths of hundreds of sea birds and marine mammals, forced closure of two state beaches and left slicks that stretched over 9 miles of the ocean.

    It ranks as the largest spill to hit the ecologically sensitive but energy-rich coastline northwest of Los Angeles since 1969's 100,000-barrel blowout in the Santa Barbara Channel.

    The severity of the 2015 spill was compounded by flawed response planning that overlooked the presence of a roadside culvert beside the pipeline that acted as a channel for escaping crude to flow easily to the sea, the federal report said.

    An internal pipeline inspection conducted two weeks before the accident revealed far less corrosion than actually existed, the report said, citing shortcomings in both the inspection tool and the company's analysis of its data.

    Plains said it was reviewing the report but declined to comment on its findings.

    Line 901 typically carried about 1,200 barrels of oil an hour from an Exxon Mobile processing plant to a longer pipeline 10 miles away, Line 903, which transported the oil on to gathering facilities and refineries inland.

    Both lines have since been shut down, forcing Exxon and two other companies to idle a total of seven offshore platforms that account for roughly 38,000 barrels of oil a day, Santa Barbara County officials say.

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  37.    Real estate developer launches campaign on Dallas homelessness | | Dallas Morning News

    She has frequently taken to Twitter to discuss homelessness in and around downtown, and she has suggested using abandoned buildings as housing alternatives for homeless people. That includes a proposal made earlier this month by businessman Michael Sitarzewski to use an abandoned Naval air base near Grand Prairie.

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  38.    Foreign Investors Real Estate

    Overseas investors and developers have been rushing in to fund the revitalization of Downtown Los Angeles, in addition to buying assets in other locations throughout the county. It's gotten to the point where local players have complained that it's becoming hard to compete with their cold hard cash offers.

    But who are these investors and where is their money coming from?

    1. Singapore — $2.26B

    2. Canada — $1.56B

    3. Qatar — $1.35B

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  39.    Will Gov't Regulation Kill The Housing Market — Again? | Stock News & Stock Market Analysis – IBD

    Lowering lending standards is not a good idea, but this article is spreading falsehoods that it was regulation rather than deregulation that caused the Great Recession.

    Before the New Deal, there were more and worse recessions. The New Deal was put in place, and recessions were further apart and much milder. Then came the deregulation craze pushed by the same people behind this utterly wrong article. What happened? Liar's loans galore, pushed by deregulated capitalists backed by Wall Street firms securitizing in a very unregulated market and spreading the toxic securities worldwide. What happened? Well, you've been living through it since 2007-8.

    If the New Deal hadn't been rolled back and had proper regulations been enacted covering the securitizations, the Great Recession would not have happened, period.

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  40.    The new overtime rule will directly benefit 12.5 million working people: Who they are and where they live | Economic Policy Institute

    Will employer simply hire more people rather than pay lots of overtime?

    Is this, along with the $15-minimum-wage push, a way to increase wage inflation that the Fed is looking for?

    I think this move is good for the overall economy.

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  41.    Bring On the Currency War – Bloomberg View

    Narayana Kocherlakota:

    Currency depreciations would help many of the U.S.'s G7 partners a lot while hurting the U.S. little, if at all. In other words, a G7 currency war would be fine as long as the U.S. remained a pacifist.

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  42.    National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) offers these tips to help protect you and your family from extreme weather events

    This is the best compacted list I've seen anywhere. Every item on it can be elaborated upon, but this is an excellent basis for action.

    Concerning your emergency kit, be sure to buy duplicate items to rotate the stock in the kit. In my experience, even bottled water has a shelf life. If you're using rechargeable batteries, mark your calendar to recharge them on a routine basis. When you buy new things, update your household inventory.

    Checklists can help. There are also applications to help with most or even all of the tasks mentioned.

    Lastly, you can place digital copies of your important papers on your portable computer device(s) and in cloud storage too.

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  43.    Coppola Comment: Keynes and the Quantity Theory of Money

    This appears to be what Bill Still (see video several links above) doesn't understand. He's too Austrian rather than Keynesian.

    Bill does understand deficit spending, but I rarely hear him demonstrate that he gets much else.

    I really think he should avoid calling people who understand all of this stuff "stupid." He's not doing himself or his viewers any favor.

    Many of them seem to think he's a genius who knows more about economics than pretty much anyone else in the world. They are circulating in quite a tiny circle and failing to read outside the box. It seems they block out what they don't want to hear, whether it's right or not.

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  44.    Regulation Crowdfunding Is Live: What Businesses and Investors Need to Know | PCMag.com

    The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) will now allow investors with less than $100,000 in annual income or net worth to invest the greater of $2,000 or 5 percent of their income in a "crowdfunding issuer" or company per year; double that to 10 percent for investors with more than $100,000 in annual income or net worth.

    The "nanny state" is looking out for your interests by trying to help you avoid losing your shirt. Losing your shirt is very easy to do. It's much easier than striking it rich.

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  45.    Neighbors worried about biosolids fertilizer used at farm — The Medina County Gazette

    Neighbors want to know whether they should be concerned about chemicals and repurposed waste products that have been used on farmland on 6074 Stone Road in York Township across the street from the Medina County Career Center.

    A sign posted near the street at the property notes the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency authorized the use of "Class B Biosolids" at the site.

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  46.    For homebuilders, new regulations mean no new starter homes

    Look, we can't afford the environmental costs of rolling back environmental regulations. If other things don't change, then we either subsidize development of starter housing for sale and/or for rent or end up with millions of homeless people.

    Deregulated capitalism will never work. It hasn't worked. It causes too many problems of all sorts. Too many greedy types are willing to cut corners in nearly every way while figuring they're not going to live long enough to suffer the consequences. They'd rather be rich and evil than not rich and ethical. Regulations are to protect the ethical from the unethical. It's sad that we need such rules, but until we stop producing unethical people or until we can change them all into ethical people, we'll need enforced regulations or face hell on earth.

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  47.    Trump and Sanders Shift Mood in Congress Against Trade Deals – Bloomberg Politics

    I have to say, I think "free trade" is bad terminology. "Free trade" is a laissez-faire construct. It's anarchistic capitalism, which is inherently flawed. The very spirit of capitalism renders it unfit for complete autonomy (self-government). Even fair trade is a lesser of evils. Only a fully sharing-cooperative-democratic economy isn't.

    Also, "protectionism" is pejorative code for avoiding the term "fair."

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  48.    Stuck on hot: Earth breaks 12th straight monthly heat record

    The last month that wasn't record hot was April 2015. The last month Earth wasn't hotter than the 20th-century average was December 1984, and the last time Earth set a monthly cold record was almost a hundred years ago, in December 1916, according to NOAA records.

    Global warming is a hoax? Honestly, how people can believe that simply astounds me.

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  49.    China's Communist Party goes way of Qing Dynasty as debt hits limit

    Ambrose Evans-Pritchard:

    The 11,000 character text – citing an "authoritative person" – was given star-billing on the front page. It described leverage as the "original sin" from which all other risks emanate, with debt "growing like a tree in the air".

    It warned of a "systemic financial crisis" and demanded a halt to the "old methods" of reflexive stimulus every time growth falters. "It is neither possible nor necessary to force economic growing by levering up," it said.

    It called for root-and-branch reform of the SOE's – the redoubts of vested interests and the patronage machines of party bosses – with an assault on "zombie companies". Local governments were ordered to abandon their illusions and accept the inevitable slide in tax revenues, and the equally inevitable rise in unemployment.

    If China does not bite the bullet now, the costs will be "much higher" in the future. "China's economic performance will not be U-shaped and definitely not V-shaped. It will be L-shaped," said the text. We have been warned.

    … the People's Daily published a hitherto closed-door speech by Mr Xi lashing out at "careerists and conspirators existing in our Party and undermining the Party's governance".

    He denounced the latest property bubble and excesses in the banking system, but confusingly he also laced his talk with quotes from Confucious, Mao, and Marx – the latter increasingly part of his discourse as he invokes dialectical materialism and other such forgotten gems.

    It was the usual incoherence we expect from the new Helmsman. He may not be the clear-thinking mystery man after all, yet it would [be] courting fate to ignore the warnings from the People's Daily altogether.

    China cannot be both laissez-faire and Communist at the same time and remain standing. Laissez-faire won't work. Neither will Maoism. Democracy will, but Xi is anti-democracy.

    Only a "bumpy landing"? Dream on? The Chinese Communist Party would have to give up all power peacefully and soon. Do they have the brains?

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  50.    Obama's War on Inequality – The New York Times

    Here we go again with more Paul Krugman "liberal" obfuscation.

    No, America isn't an oligarchy in which both parties reliably serve the interests of the economic elite.

    Hogwash!

    Let's be open, honest, and direct (ethical).

    Capitalism/corporatism (crony and otherwise) is saved from itself rather than replaced with real democracy (where the People actually choose the degree they want their economy mixed if at all).

    Capitalism/corporatism (crony and otherwise) is saved from itself rather than replaced with real democracy because America is, in absolute fact, a plutocracy in which both parties reliably serve the interests of the economic elite. Even FDR saved capitalism from itself rather than working to replace it with full democracy. He openly admitted it. He told the capitalists that his policies were saving them. He was right about that too.

    It wasn't saved for the sake of the People in general.

    Anyone who thinks otherwise is ignorant, slow, shilling, or any combination of the three.

    As for Sanders supporters being dead-enders, in the immortal words of the philosopher: "It ain't over til it's over."

    And it won't be over at the end of the coming Democratic Party convention either. It's a movement, not just a one-off campaign. And if Bernie won't lead it but rather caves into the corporatists, someone else will. Krugman has no idea.

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  51.    Why Is the Labor Force Participation Rate Increasing?

    … we observed that the increase in female participation led to the increase in the labor force participation rate before November. However, the male participation rate has been increasing at a faster pace since then.

    Second, the labor force participation rate has risen across all age categories:

    • 54.5 percent to 55.2 percent for ages 16-24
    • 80.6 percent to 81.2 percent for ages 25-54
    • 39.7 percent to 40.1 percent for ages 55 and above

    The most interesting patterns arose when we looked at labor force participation by levels of education. We observed that the lowest education group increased its participation rate the most, from 44.8 percent to 46.1 percent. The highest education group, however, saw an overall slight decrease in its participation rate. For other education groups, there was not a clear trend.

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  52.    How to End Too-Big-To-Fail? At Minneapolis Fed Symposium, Participants Reject Big Bank Breakup –

    While far from perfect, Glass-Steagall is "simpler, voters understand it and maybe can actually support it," said Zingales, who, like many of the other participants, advocated for simple solutions. "The risk of complex regulation is that it starts as a quasi-decent deal and ends up as a terrible deal," he said, "the simpler a norm, the fewer provisions there are, and less expensive it is to enforce. The simpler the rule, the more difficult it is for special interests to get away with distorting some technicality that might be hidden in page 942, but could really undermine the entire system."

    In a town hall meeting after the symposium concluded, Kashkari again spoke of the need for dramatic measures. "Dodd-Frank wants to keep the same structure and put rules around it," he said, "now that the economy is stable, it is time to go after transformational solutions."

    "We haven't decided what the solution is," he added, "but one of the options is breaking up the banks."

    See: "Owning the Consequences: Clinton and the Repeal of Glass-Steagall | Demos" above.

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  53.    Minnesota Still Wary About Impact of North Dakota Flood Project

    "Several commenters expressed concerns that this transfer of flood risk is unfair and unethical," the document states.

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  54.    Better Fire Rating Means Lower Insurance Rates for Some in Louisiana Parish

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  55.    Report: Cost of Flood Control Improvements in Austin — Possibly $4B

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  56.    RMS Says $77B in San Francisco Property at Risk from Sea Level Rise by 2100

    … San Francisco's mayor has announced an $8 million investment over the next two years to begin strengthening the city's seawall ….

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  57.    Federal Funding for Ohio Flood Control Plan in Jeopardy

    "… (past data) really isn't reflective of what is actually happening," said Mike Pniewski, an Army Corps project manager.

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  58.    North Carolina Regulators Order Duke Energy to Close Coal Ash Ponds

    Duke must dig up and close coal ash pits at eight sites by 2019 and at 25 locations by 2024 ….

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  59.    Crescent Communities Creates Lifestyle Experiences – YouTube

    Chief Marketing Office Tyler Niess explains how Crescent Communities incorporates consumer preferences into its communities and chooses strategic locations for development.

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  60.    NASA's Global Tour of Precipitation in Ultra HD (4K) – YouTube

    Precipitation (falling rain and snow) is our fresh water reservoir in the sky and is fundamental to life on Earth. This video shows the most detailed and worldwide view of rain and snowfall ever created and uses satellite measurements from the Global Precipitation Measurement Core Observatory, or GPM, a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  61.    Economics Has Failed America | Foreign Policy

    Daniel Altman:

    "It may be difficult, though, for workers who lose their jobs because of trade to easily find others. That is why in the United States the federal government uses the Trade Adjustment Assistance program to provide funds for workers who have lost their jobs due to international trade. These funds can be used for retraining, for searching for new jobs, or for relocating to areas where new jobs are available. This program — and similar programs in other countries — recognizes that there are losers from international trade as well as winners."

    The Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program has a budget of about $664 million, or roughly 0.004 percent of gross domestic product. This means one dollar of every $25,000 in income generated by the United States goes to help people here who have been hurt by globalization. They don't receive the cash directly; they just have to hope that the program — which offers retooling, retraining, and relocation, among other services — will aid their transition to new jobs.

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  62.    Osborne's focus on UK's deficit deters scrutiny of his weak economic plan | Business | The Guardian

    The Conservatives are increasingly isolated in their refusal to engage in long-term economic thinking. Elsewhere, there is broad support for a renewal of industrial policy. It is clear that McDonell is committed to a more active role for government.

    In a rare cross-party statement, the former business secretaries Vince Cable and Chuka Umunna recently expressed their support for British industrial policy. Dan Jarvis, who is widely seen as a Jeremy Corbyn stalking horse, has spoken in favour of industrial strategy and the need to shift away from corporate short termism.

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  63.    Lake Mead declines to lowest level in history

    Scientists have estimated that rising temperatures and the resulting declines in runoff across the Colorado River Basin could reduce the river's flow by between 5 percent and 35 percent by the middle of the century.

    "Human-caused climate warming will drive larger and larger flow reductions as long as emissions of greenhouse gases continue," said Jonathan Overpeck, co-director of the University of Arizona's Institute of the Environment.

    "The river is over-allocated even before climate change is factored in," Overpeck said in an email. He said he thinks the negotiations will probably "focus on how to reduce the over-allocation, but will eventually have to focus on sharing the pain as climate change continues to reduce the flows."

    Keep it in the ground: carbon!

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  64.    Chinese U.S. Real Estate Demand Tip of the Iceberg – Barron's

    A global push to expose tax evasion and money laundering by forcing owners of offshore companies to reveal who they are could mute buying enthusiasm, though. Many foreign investors use special purpose vehicles legally for tax and wealth planning, but they still may not want to be named. The U.S. government is piloting a program in Manhattan and Miami that requires foreign property buyers to reveal who they are if they pay all in cash or use a special corporation. If this catches on, some Chinese investors may say 'forget it', or they'll wait until they have a better idea of how the rules will be implemented. "But the motivation to buy among lots and lots of people in China is strong," Margon says.

    Back in China, the government's attempts to keep capital at home could also mute U.S. real estate buying. Chinese banks, for instance, are being asked to look for over-invoicing of exports, a common tactic for getting money out of China, while state-owned banks are on watching for "unusual transactions" that indicate friends and family are pooling together funds to buy real estate, the Asia Society report says. China limits foreign investment for most individuals to the equivalent of $50,000 a year.

    Some big deals, like China's Gemdale Properties' high-profile partnership with Hines, a top-shelf global real estate firm, to redevelop Boston's South Station are moving forward but "we are hearing other deals are happening much more slowly than they did two years ago," Margon says.

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