News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Jul. 14, 2016

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Table of Contents
(Click to sections below.)

1) Vanishing Act: What's Causing Sharp Decline in Insects and Why It Matters by Christian Schwägerl: Yale Environment 360

2) EUROPP — It's NOT the economy, stupid: Brexit as a story of personal values

3) More Evacuations Pending For Wildfire Near Nederland – CBS Denver

4) Should You Invest In Arizona Real Estate? – Forbes

5) Matterport: The New Age of Real Estate? | Fstoppers

6) Stumbling and Mumbling: For worker democracy

7) Voters deserve responsible nationalism not reflex globalism | Larry Summers

8) Ori Turns Studio Apartments Into Roomy Living Spaces | Digital Trends

9) Executive Suite: TerraCap founder Steve Hagenbuckle made millions buying distressed real estate

10) China's Worst Flooding Since 1998 Kills 173, Takes Economic Toll – Bloomberg

11) 3 Deaths Reported in Tennessee from Weekend Storms

12) Inside the Lobby Against Tougher Homes – Bloomberg View

13) Platform – Jill Stein for President

14) Still Confused About Brexit Macroeconomics – The New York Times

15) Ground Zero of China's Slowdown Leaves Locals Looking for Exit – Bloomberg

16) Nowhere Fast: Drifting World Economy Skirts Worst But Still Lags – Bloomberg

17) How to Deal with a Mold Problem in Your Rental Property

18) A Guaranteed Federal Jobs Program Is Needed – NYTimes com

19) Clinton Endorsement Backfires: Sanders' Supporters Look to Jill Stein | Observer

20) Angie's List Reviews Are Now Free – Fortune

21) UK housing market is freezing up and lower prices are coming

22) Half of America's childcare workers need food stamps, welfare payments or Medicaid – The Washington Post

23) Find the lead pipes in your home

24) NYT Lets Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Brag About What He's Supposedly Doing for Income Inequality

25) Jamie Dimon's blinders | Economic Policy Institute

26) This is what Theresa May said about the kind of Prime Minister she'll be — and what she really meant | Voices | The Independent

27) Tempe LGBT Flag Dispute Raises Question: Can Landlords Ban Flags and Political Signs?

28) Economic Theory as Ideology | Asad Zaman | LinkedIn

29) The Costs of Monopoly: A New View | Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

30) Technological change and the future demand for labor – Equitable Growth

31) Stumbling and Mumbling: Cameron's failure: austerity

32) Should You Invest In Atlanta Real Estate? – Forbes

33) The Housing Market Is Waving a Red Flag – Bloomberg

34) Two South Lake Union neighbor towers look for recommendation – Curbed Seattle

35) Deutsche Bank Blames QE For Economic Woes – ValueWalk

36) Rebirth in the Rust Belt: A Forgotten Corner of Cleveland Bounces Back – Zillow Porchlight

37) At Least 2 Dead in Midwest Floods that Damaged Homes, Stranded Motorists

38) Painters, Others Caught in Sting : Durability + Design News

39) Methane in Northern Colorado Water Not Always from Oil Wells: Study

40) AM Best's 'A-' Rating Not as Good as It Seems: Fitch

  1.    Vanishing Act: What's Causing Sharp Decline in Insects and Why It Matters by Christian Schwägerl: Yale Environment 360

    FYI

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  2.    EUROPP — It's NOT the economy, stupid: Brexit as a story of personal values

    Eric Kafmann:

    For me, what really stands out about figure 2 is the importance of support for the death penalty. Nobody has been out campaigning on this issue, yet it strongly correlates with Brexit voting intention. This speaks to a deeper personality dimension which social psychologists like Bob Altemeyer — unfortunately in my view — dub Right-Wing Authoritarianism (RWA). A less judgmental way of thinking about RWA is order versus openness. The order-openness divide is emerging as the key political cleavage, overshadowing the left-right economic dimension. This was noticed as early as the mid-1970s by Daniel Bell, but has become more pronounced as the aging West's ethnic transformation has accelerated.

    Figure 3 shows that 71 percent of those most in favour of the death penalty indicated in 2015 that they would vote to leave the EU. This falls to 20 percent among those most opposed to capital punishment. A similar picture results for other RWA questions such as the importance of disciplining children. RWA is only tangentially related to demographics. Education, class, income, gender and age play a role, but explain less than 10 percent of the variation in support for the death penalty.

    Karen Stenner, author of the Authoritarian Dynamic, argues that people are divided between those who dislike difference — signifying a disordered identity and environment — and those who embrace it. The former abhor both ethnic and moral diversity. Many see the world as a dangerous place and wish to protect themselves from it.

    Pat Dade at Cultural Dynamics has produced a heat map of the kinds of values that correspond to strong Euroscepticism, and to each other. This is shown in figure 4. Disciplining children and whipping sex criminals (circled), keeping the nation safe, protecting social order and skepticism ('few products live up to the claims of their ad vertisers…products don't last as long as they used to') correlate with Brexit sentiment. These attitude dimensions cluster within the third of the map known as the 'Settlers', for whom belonging, certainty, roots and safety are paramount. This segment is also disproportionately opposed to immigration in virtually every country Dade has sampled. By contrast, people oriented toward success and display ('Prospectors'), or who prioritise expressive individualism and cultural equality ('Pioneers') voted Remain.

    Okay, but let's not forget that among the leave side there was still a minority who voted for leave but for the exact opposite reasons of the majority who voted for it. That minority thinks the EU is also too closed and fearful and slow to make real progress both socially and economically: democratically, transparently.

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  3.    More Evacuations Pending For Wildfire Near Nederland – CBS Denver

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  4.    Should You Invest In Arizona Real Estate? – Forbes

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  5.    Matterport: The New Age of Real Estate? | Fstoppers

    Does your real-estate-management firm provide such a service for your properties?

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  6.    Stumbling and Mumbling: For worker democracy

    I disagree with de Tocqueville's elitist view. He was referring to a democracy in name only. Nobody can say that a full-blown democracy is bad or won't work or not work as skillfully as another form or system. The reason is that there has never been a full-blown democracy in any modern nation-state of any size sufficient to make such claims unless made solely without data.

    Nor is it acceptable to say there is no demand for worker democracy. This might be due to adaptive preferences, learned helplessness and to management's control of the political agenda, rather than to the fact that worker democracy is inherently undesirable.

    My point here is a simple one. Worker democracy should — to say the least — be on the political agenda. That it is not is yet further evidence that politics is systemically dysfunctional.

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  7.    Voters deserve responsible nationalism not reflex globalism | Larry Summers

    Ah, Larry was pushing for Obama's trade deals not too long ago. Has he seen the light? Do I detect "democracy" in his sights as a target not to shoot down but to build up?

    Larry, be more specific. Make it clear whether you are a technocrat or democrat. If you're both, say so. Explain where you draw the line between them or how they overlap not at the expense of democracy.

    Thank you.

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  8.    Ori Turns Studio Apartments Into Roomy Living Spaces | Digital Trends

    With the simple press of a button, the Ori furniture system has the ability to turn typically small studio flats into spacious one-bedroom apartments.

    Uh, murphy beds have been able to do that for how long? ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murphy_bed  )

    Well, not quite the same.

    I like the concept of movable walls and shelving with hideaway beds built in.

    I'd like mine with a door, thank you.

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  9.    Executive Suite: TerraCap founder Steve Hagenbuckle made millions buying distressed real estate

    … after nine years, he became disillusioned.

    "I saw executives being incentivized by stock performance into not doing the right thing by investors and clients," he said.

    So in 1995, backed by angel investors, he started his own technical consulting firm ….

    Ethics works.

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  10.    China's Worst Flooding Since 1998 Kills 173, Takes Economic Toll – Bloomberg

    Weeks of torrential rain across central and southern China have caused the country's worst flooding since 1998, killing 173 people, ruining farms and cutting major transportation arteries — and creating potential headwinds to economy growth.

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  11.    3 Deaths Reported in Tennessee from Weekend Storms

    The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency says severe storms overnight July 8 are to blame for three deaths in the eastern part of the state.

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  12.    Inside the Lobby Against Tougher Homes – Bloomberg View

    To what degree should homeowners also bear responsibility? "There's a laziness on the part of the consumer about demanding a more resilient housing stock," said Jones. But expecting the average buyer to consider the wind load of a home's roof may be unrealistic.

    "Homeowners assume, incorrectly, that the home is already being built to a high standard," said Leslie Chapman-Henderson, president of the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, an advocacy group in Florida. "Because why wouldn't it be?"

    I bet you know which side of this issue I come down on.

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  13.    Platform – Jill Stein for President

    As John Lydgate wisely said, "You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time."

    With that, I will say that Jill Stein's platform will not please all of the people. It may not please anyone 100%. I would tweak it here and there.

    Let me say, though, that her banking and monetary reform positions are the most enlightened of any major candidate for President of the US.

    Democratize monetary policy to bring about public control of the money supply and credit creation. This means nationalizing the private bank-dominated Federal Reserve Banks and placing them under a Federal Monetary Authority within the Treasury Department. Prohibit private banks from creating money, thus restoring government's Constitutional authority.

    That's very close to what I've been advocating for many years. The idea of putting the monetary authority under Treasury is original with me. It may have occurred to others independently before it occurred to me.

    Unlike Jill, I would do away with credit and interest entirely. Therefore, I am quite a bit more progressive in this area than is she.

    "Monetary-and-Banking-Reform Platform for The United States": http://propertypak.com/introduction-home  /articles/monetary-and-banking-reform-p latform-for-the-united-states/

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  14.    Still Confused About Brexit Macroeconomics – The New York Times

    Okay, Paul Krugman isn't beating up Bernie Sanders anymore (at least not in this one), so I'll be gentle with him.

    What's he not getting?

    It seems he's not getting that BlackRock thinks investments are not as liquid as Krugman thinks they are and that London will permanently lose its laissez-faire, financial, City of London allure due to more obstacles trading with the EU, such as for one, more restricted physical movement of people (Visas required). Real estate is already being hit and hit hard. They were operating on a bubble.

    Is BlackRock correct? I think they are more correct than not, assuming Brexit sticks.

    They think growth will not regain its trend line without getting back trade deals re-allowing movement, etc.

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  15.    Ground Zero of China's Slowdown Leaves Locals Looking for Exit – Bloomberg

    It's like what happened to Detroit only twice the size and nearly overnight.

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  16.    Nowhere Fast: Drifting World Economy Skirts Worst But Still Lags – Bloomberg

    Through all the ebbs and flows, U.S. gross domestic product has grown by an average 2.1 percent per year since the recession ended in 2009. That qualifies it as being the slowest expansion of the post-World War II period. But at seven years old and still going, it's also already the fourth-longest.

    "There are few excesses" that would suggest the expansion is coming to an end anytime soon, said Allen Sinai, chief executive officer of Decision Economics Inc. in New York.

    I'm still seeing a minor slowdown.

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  17.    How to Deal with a Mold Problem in Your Rental Property

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  18.    A Guaranteed Federal Jobs Program Is Needed – NYTimes.com

    This should be on top of the Universal Income too.

    Neither should be to meet or maintain the minimum needed to stay just above poverty. Both should be to rise and stay well above that.

    Most people who have never lived in poverty have no idea how imprisoning it is.

    Not everyone can pull himself up by the bootstraps. That's because there are very, very often circumstances that prevent it and that are beyond the persons control, no matter how hard or long or often he or she tries.

    Many people would take the Universal Income and not just be lazy, not just seek entertainment, or the like, but actually still want to work productively to give back for the good of the whole.

    We should make that easy for each other to further that spirit of cooperation and unselfishness.

    Those opposed to promoting that spirit (and the possibility for magnifying it easily) likely have deep-seated emotional problems needing to be dealt with and repaired.

    I don't say that to hurt feelings but to encourage awareness, compassion, and societal action.

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  19.    Clinton Endorsement Backfires: Sanders' Supporters Look to Jill Stein | Observer

    Bernie's wrong. Jill is right about it. I'm not saying I agree 100% with Jill Stein on everything, just vastly more than I agree about various things, and the very most important things, with Hillary (or Donald).

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  20.    Angie's List Reviews Are Now Free – Fortune

    How much will this help landlords and managers?

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  21.    UK housing market is freezing up and lower prices are coming

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  22.    Half of America's childcare workers need food stamps, welfare payments or Medicaid – The Washington Post

    What if you were to own an apartment complex geared toward families with young children and you were to have a built-in, high-quality daycare center staffed by certified teachers you'd pay about $30 an hour, do you think young professionals with babies and little kids would want to rent from you and pay extra for on-site daycare? Could you pay those teachers less by throwing in free rent and utilities up to some average amount so they could save on commuting and simply walk a bit to work and go home for lunch, etc.?

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  23.    Find the lead pipes in your home

    Lead exposure, even in small amounts, may cause health problems. It is connected with behavior and learning problems in kids, and high blood pressure and kidney problems in adults.

    Lead in water systems is one possible source of exposure, and that's because in many homes, the pipe that connects the building's plumbing to the water system is still made of lead.

    We'll help you find out whether your drinking water is at risk in a few simple steps.

    Soft, grey metal to which a magnet won't stick is lead.

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  24.    NYT Lets Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Brag About What He's Supposedly Doing for Income Inequality

    Dimon himself made $27 million in compensation in 2015. Right now, the lowest-paid full-time Chase employee makes 0.08 percent as much as the CEO; for those who get the pay raise, after it goes through, it'll be 0.09 percent—assuming that Dimon doesn't get a pay raise of his own in the next three years. So not much of a blow against income inequality—a problem that is in large part driven by the financial industry's soaring profits.

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  25.    Jamie Dimon's blinders | Economic Policy Institute

    An article by New York Federal Reserve Board economists last year noted that "from 2009 to 2014, the combined net income of JPMorgan, Citigroup, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley annually averaged $41.73 billion, up from annual average of $25.08 billion from 2002 to 2008."

    The article is designed to promote going back to the old way of unionization. I'm not for that. I'm for democracy, including in the workplace owned by the employees and communities in which they're located.

    Unions served their purpose and still do, but they were not the answer, still aren't, and never will be. What they did was help entrench capitalism of, by, and for the plutocrats.

    If we're going to have capitalistic enterprises, then let them be democratically own and controlled by the employees and communities.

    The starting place is grassroots democracy. That begins by demanding and obtaining full transparency. Then, whatever the fully informed People decide will be good enough for me. If it's capitalism, so be it. It wouldn't last, so I wouldn't worry forever. If it's socialism, so be it. If it's a hybrid, so be it. However, I'm convinced that eventually, the People will choose non-coercive/consensus democratic-socialism.

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  26.    This is what Theresa May said about the kind of Prime Minister she'll be — and what she really meant | Voices | The Independent

    It is amazing how little the people who live there know about Theresa May.

    We shall all find out soon what makes her tick and what she's made of.

    I hope she's no Thatcher, but I'm not holding my breath. There's no such thing as a "progressive conservative" in the common usage of those two terms.

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  27.    Tempe LGBT Flag Dispute Raises Question: Can Landlords Ban Flags and Political Signs?

    In addition to the considerations raised in the article, there are safety issues as well.

    Where and how are any signs and flags displayed? Are they permanently attached to the structure?

    Some rental agreements don't allow tenants to attach anything to the exterior of the building without prior written approval. That goes for shades, disks, and any other items. Others won't allow nails or screws in walls or for tenants to paint or wallpaper, etc.

    If exterior attachments are allowed, there are often requirements that they not interfere with anyone else's ability to move freely on walks and stairs and that they not create any liability issues for the landlord or management firm or staff, such as from windstorms blowing loose any such attached items whereby they can damage property or harm tenants and visitors and the like.

    Check your local and state laws and write your requirements to conform with those laws and include those requirements in your agreement. Often, agreements will allow management/ownership to revise at-will any property rules so long as the changes are legal under governmental laws and regulations.

    When in doubt, consult an attorney experienced in these matters.

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  28.    Economic Theory as Ideology | Asad Zaman | LinkedIn

    Asad Zaman nails it:

    Why do economists maintain an ideological commitment to patently false theories of human behavior?

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  29.    The Costs of Monopoly: A New View | Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

    Speaking of ideological theories versus hard data, here's one put forth as not ideological theory but simply sloppy research.

    James A. Schmitz, Jr.:

    For decades, the theoretical understanding and empirical analysis of monopoly have themselves been monopolized by a dominant paradigm—that the costs of monopoly are trivial. This blindness to new theory and analysis has impeded economists' understanding of the actual harm caused by monopoly. Rather than inflicting little actual damage, adversarial relationships within monopolies have significantly reduced productivity and economic welfare. And in many industries, subgroups within monopolies collaborate to eliminate competition from low-cost substitutes. This lack of competition in the marketplace has a disproportionate impact on poor citizens who might otherwise find low-cost services that would meet their needs.

    I've described this as a "new" theory, but in truth its roots go back decades, to the ideas of Thurman Arnold. Arnold ran the Antitrust Division at the Department of Justice from 1938 to 1943, taking aim at a broad range of targets, from automakers to Hollywood movie producers to the American Medical Association.10 He argued that lack of competition reduced productivity and that monopolies crushed low-cost substitutes, hurting the poor. Arnold supported his arguments through intensive real-world research. He and his staff undertook detailed investigations of monopolies, examining the on-site operations of many industries and documenting the productivity losses and destruction of substitutes caused by monopoly.

    I couldn't understand what happened to trust busting. Microsoft was allowed to engage in what I thought was a clear case of illegal restraint of trade, but what did I know. Now I know I knew plenty. Microsoft was simply allowed to because people who weren't as educated about the reasons for the trust busting in the first place or who wanted to help budding plutocrats become full-fledged, were allowed to make the decisions.

    I simply couldn't understand such (let me put it politely) stupidity.

    No, I didn't buy into Bill Gates's line about how breaking up Microsoft would hurt innovation. In fact, I figured his monopoly was hurting innovation. I haven't changed my mind.

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  30.    Technological change and the future demand for labor – Equitable Growth

    I have no clue as to why people being put out of work (resulting in an extreme reduction in income and buying capacity) wouldn't sink the economy, including the incomes of the highest paid who couldn't keep selling anything to the lower, unemployed classes.

    Nope, we need a universal income (UI). There's no way around it short of a currency-free society where everything is charge-free, no price, help yourself, …

    Under a UI economy, money is only for keeping score for productivity reasons (measuring transactions for what is in demand and being consumed and needing to be further supplied). At some point, even money won't be needed at all.

    I wish we were already there.

    Transparency and democracy is the way to get there. The sooner, the better in my book.

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  31.    Stumbling and Mumbling: Cameron's failure: austerity

    In the long run, greed and the ideology of selfishness never work out. As I've written for decades now, even the technology developed out of the spirits of greed and selfishness will prove more harmful than beneficial.

    Chris Dillow:

    Unnecessary austerity ….

    Oh, and let me make something absolutely clear, austerity in the sense used there by Chris is never necessary.

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  32.    Should You Invest In Atlanta Real Estate? – Forbes

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  33.    The Housing Market Is Waving a Red Flag – Bloomberg

    Now is the time to tighten your finances. Don't buy bad deals just to be buying.

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  34.    Two South Lake Union neighbor towers look for recommendation – Curbed Seattle

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  35.    Deutsche Bank Blames QE For Economic Woes – ValueWalk

    I think Deutsche Bank's position is nonsense. The Phillips curve isn't working in either direction. Fiscal stimulus is what's needed, not higher interest rates.

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  36.    Rebirth in the Rust Belt: A Forgotten Corner of Cleveland Bounces Back – Zillow Porchlight

    Gentrification has it's pros and cons.

    Home values have risen 59 percent to $91,900 (median) over the past 20 years in the Ohio City neighborhood, according to Zillow Research.

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  37.    At Least 2 Dead in Midwest Floods that Damaged Homes, Stranded Motorists

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  38.    Painters, Others Caught in Sting : Durability + Design News

    "Illegal contractors contribute to California's $140 billion underground economy," according to CSLB Registrar Cindi Christenson.

    The CSLB licenses and regulates California's 300,000 contractors, and is regarded as one of the leading consumer protection agencies in the United States.

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


  39.    Methane in Northern Colorado Water Not Always from Oil Wells: Study

    The findings don't necessarily apply to other formations because of differences in geology, drilling history and regulation, ….

    I didn't search for opposing views before publishing this. If I run into any, I'll post them too. The subject is constantly being updated on both sides of the issue.

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


  40.    A.M. Best's 'A-' Rating Not as Good as It Seems: Fitch

    According to Fitch:

    Over roughly 30 years, the impairment rate of A.M. Best's "A-" is 7 percent, while the default rate for Fitch's "A-" is 2 percent ….

    They may be right. We'll see how Best responds.

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