News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Sept. 3, 2016

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Table of Contents
(Click to sections below.)

1) 'Shocking' Bay City housing market study paints dismal picture | MLive com

2) National Association of Realtors calls the Tri-Cities one of the hottest residential markets in the US | Tri-City Herald

3) Brexit: This backlash has been a long time coming | VOX, CEPR's Policy Portal

4) CFED: Rent Reporting for Credit Building is a Hit at Home Forward

5) Finland: Governmental announcement for the basic income experiment: the ministry's comments, experts' concerns | BIEN

6) New Multifamily Rental Share Remains Strong | Eye On Housing

7) Landlord Nation: Boomers' New Retirement Plan Is Millennials Paying Rent – Bloomberg

8) What The New York Times Didn't Tell You — Medium

9) No all-day breakfast in real estate as McMansion price premium declines – MarketWatch

10) Luxury apartment tower with a Whole Foods now rising at busy Seattle corner – Puget Sound Business Journal

11) Trimmed Mean PCE Inflation Rate – Dallas Fed

12) Sober Look: What is Behind the Surge in the Corporate Debt

13) Complexity and Economic Policy | OECD Insights Blog

14) Luxury Condo Sales in Miami are Down 44.4% – Mansion Global

15) Metal Theft Remains an Expensive Problem for Insurance Industry

16) Rising wage inequality continues to be a defining feature of the US labor market | Economic Policy Institute

17) Olin woman pleads not guilty to fraud, arson-related charges in federal court | The Gazette

18) South Dakota City Razing Homes to Keep Neighborhood Dry

19) Woman High on Drugs and Driving on Rim and Sparked California Wildfires

20) 5 Dead In Suspicious Southern California House Fire – CBS Sacramento

21) Lead creates 'lost generation' in Indiana town – CNN com

22) Protesters chain themselves to Cambridge City Hall doors – The Boston Globe

23) Inequality is widening, even in real estate markets

24) 3 key takeaways from the latest housing market reports | Construction Dive

25) Here's Why Americans Are Mad as Hell at Wall Street and Washington

26) The vile exploitation of 'free rent for sex' ads | Shelter blog

27) Homeless Women Are Being Exploited for Sex in Return for Shelter | Broadly

28) EU ministers tone down rhetoric on Turkey but rights concerns persist | Reuters

29) Scientists look at how AI will change our lives by 2030 | Computerworld

30) City of SeaTac improves insurance rating : SeaTac Blog | Local News, Events, Arts & More for SeaTac, WA

31) Concerns raised over Seattle City Council plans to regulate homeless camps | KOMO

32) THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — AUGUST 2016 Summary

33) Will Peer-to-Peer Insurance Startups Disrupt the Industry?

34) Construction Employment Falters in August

35) Should the Fed keep its balance sheet large? | Brookings Institution

36) How a low-flying, spy plane is setting your apartment rent

37) 10 facts about American workers | Pew Research Center

38) Want to Make Money? Then Understand How Money Works! Here's Your Complete Guide.

39) Effort to Emphasize Campus Housing Fire Safety Continues

40) US cities are increasingly segregated by income, and that's a big problem – Curbed

41) Foreign Investors Buy More Apartment Properties

42) Squeaky-clean loans lead to near-zero borrower defaults—and that is not a good thing | Urban Institute

43) Dishonest bankers threaten new financial crisis says Bank of England Governor Mark Carney | The Independent

44) The soft-power brilliance of Vladimir Putin | TheHill

45) Why Are The Brazilian Police Repressing Protests With Violence? – plus55

46) Record-tying Oklahoma earthquake felt as far away as Arizona – The Washington Post

47) The Future of Real Estate Tech: How to Get an Agent to Sell Your Home for Free – Philadelphia Magazine

48) Intelligent Technology — Finance & Development, September 2016

49) The Formula for a Richer World? Equality, Liberty, Justice – The New York Times

50) US economy may need much higher interest rates: Fed's Lacker | Reuters

51) Starbucks, Amazon pay less tax than a sausage stand, Austria says | Reuters

52) Taxing the foreign profits of multinational firms | VOX, CEPR's Policy Portal

53) 'Fed Up' with the absence of full employment – The Washington Post

  1.    'Shocking' Bay City housing market study paints dismal picture | MLive.com

    "Coasting is a one-way journey: downhill," it reads. "And like so many cities across Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania, Bay City's population peaked between 1955 and 1965 — and it has coasted ever since."

    While any decline is always troubling, Bay City's decline has continued for 55 years:

    "That's a long enough slide in the wrong direction for it to be clear that current ways of responding shouldn't be continued."

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  2.    National Association of Realtors calls the Tri-Cities one of the hottest residential markets in the U.S. | Tri-City Herald

    The National Association of Realtors says August is the hottest month for residential real estate in a decade. And the Kennewick-Richland-Pasco market is one of the fastest-moving markets in the nation.

    In fact, it's the 18th "hottest" area in the U.S. and the only one in the Pacific Northwest to qualify for the real estate group's index.

    No mention of The Hanford Site: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanford_Si te

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


  3.    Brexit: This backlash has been a long time coming | VOX, CEPR's Policy Portal

    Nice work by Kevin O'Rourke:

    After the Brexit vote, it is obvious to many that globalisation in general, and European integration in particular, can leave people behind — and that ignoring this for long enough can have severe political consequences. This column argues that this fact has long been obvious. As the historical record demonstrates plainly and repeatedly, too much market and too little state invites a backlash. Markets and states are political complements, not substitutes.

    We can take the necessary national and global steps to solve the problem, or we can wait until the plutocrats run out of cheaper labor of places to exploit and pollute. I'd rather do the former. How about you?

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  4.    CFED: Rent Reporting for Credit Building is a Hit at Home Forward

    Credit reports and credit scores that do not recognize on-time rental payments as creditworthy behavior present an incomplete and negatively skewed assessment of the credit risk many renters pose, particularly low- and very-low income residents living in public housing and striving to successfully join the financial mainstream.

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


  5.    Finland: Governmental announcement for the basic income experiment: the ministry's comments, experts' concerns | BIEN

    … The level of basic income would be EUR 560 per month. …

    Many people, including opponents and skeptics, would like a more thorough, larger-scale and better designed experiment.

    So timid.

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  6.    New Multifamily Rental Share Remains Strong | Eye On Housing

    Now this is news to me. I did not know that these sizes tracked so closely. I would have thought that rentals would not have fluxuated to the larger sizes as much as they obviously have.

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  7.    Landlord Nation: Boomers' New Retirement Plan Is Millennials Paying Rent – Bloomberg

    This is a good overview of where we stand right now.

    The Pollingers are joining the ranks of what Redfin Chief Executive Glenn Kelman calls Landlord Nation, a group of mom-and-pop investors who have seized on low mortgage rates and robust rent growth to plow savings into rental properties. Together, they've lifted the percentage of single-family houses used as rental properties to stratospheric heights, even as many would-be first-time home buyers struggle to reach ignition.

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  8.    What The New York Times Didn't Tell You — Medium

    This is off-topic for this blog, but I'm including it not because I'm saying that I know that it perfectly characterizes the truth but because it does serve up a reminder that we should not automatically buy everything we read just because it's published by a major outlet.

    Let me also mention that Amazon and the New York Times competitor, the Washington Post, are somewhat linked. Some might go so far as to say, "What do you mean, somewhat?"

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


  9.    No all-day breakfast in real estate as McMansion price premium declines – MarketWatch

    … smaller and cheaper homes that were not McMansions were harder hit during the bust but have recovered more since then as buyers snatch up affordable homes. Also, homebuyers pay about a 20% premium for new homes over previously-owned ones, so homes built in the early aughties are likely discounted now, whether McMansion or not.

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  10.    Luxury apartment tower with a Whole Foods now rising at busy Seattle corner – Puget Sound Business Journal

    …luxury….

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  11.    Trimmed Mean PCE Inflation Rate – Dallas Fed

    Stanley Fischer doesn't have a case for raising rates except to enrich bankers, who will charge higher rates still.

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  12.    Sober Look: What is Behind the Surge in the Corporate Debt

    Norman Mogil is old-school, right-school:

    Rewarding shareholders with higher dividends and propping up share prices at the expense of investment in new plant, equipment and technology is a serious misallocation of resources at a time when the economy is experiencing slow growth and very poor productivity performance. It also represents serious short-sightedness on the part of management who feel so beholden to shareholders that they risk the longer term health of their companies.

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  13.    Complexity and Economic Policy | OECD Insights Blog

    Wake up and smell the unnumbered, constantly changing variables.

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  14.    Luxury Condo Sales in Miami are Down 44.4% – Mansion Global

    Lots of places are experiencing this same phenomenon. There are many different reasons. Some places are clamping down on foreign investors laundering money, which is a good thing. Building growth on illegality is counter-productive in the longer run.

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


  15.    Metal Theft Remains an Expensive Problem for Insurance Industry

    Consider keeping the power on, the alarms set, and the security cameras recording too. Sometimes it's better to take in economy-tenants just to keep the place active and maintained.

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


  16.    Rising wage inequality continues to be a defining feature of the U.S. labor market | Economic Policy Institute

    … not only did the labor market since 2007 perpetuate the wage stagnation and inequality of the previous three decades, it has actually exacerbated it.

    … this reinforces the importance of the Federal Reserve keeping interest rates low in the foreseeable future to allow the economy to tighten and wages to grow across the board.

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  17.    Olin woman pleads not guilty to fraud, arson-related charges in federal court | The Gazette

    The girlfriend of a former Jones County Sheriff's deputy and volunteer firefighter pleaded not guilty Monday in federal court to participating in his arson plan that bilked an insurance company out of $152,000.

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  18.    South Dakota City Razing Homes to Keep Neighborhood Dry

    Raze, not raise.

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  19.    Woman High on Drugs and Driving on Rim and Sparked California Wildfires

    Wow!

    … Hogan was driving on the right rear rim of her 2002 Kia Rio, which was emitting sparks that caused the blaze.

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  20.    5 Dead In Suspicious Southern California House Fire – CBS Sacramento

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  21.    Lead creates 'lost generation' in Indiana town – CNN.com

    Part of your due diligence is to check for environmental issues at the property but also around it. You have to look for historic information about polluters. That certainly isn't to excuse any governmental regulatory or other agencies' failures.

    Imagine getting a letter from a federal agency saying that your yard is exposing your children to an invisible poison that is known to decrease IQ. Then, you find out the agency tested for this toxic substance more than a year and a half ago, but the results are just now being delivered to you. And you learn that your 2-year-old shows blood-lead levels 6.6 times above the upper level of concern set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That nightmare is Shantel Allen's reality.

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  22.    Protesters chain themselves to Cambridge City Hall doors – The Boston Globe

    There are different ways of looking at a protest such as this one. One is that poor people just don't understand or appreciate capitalism. Another is that our mixed economy can certainly handle setting aside more housing for the poor. I come down with that second position. Taking care of everyone is enlightened. It's good business.

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  23.    Inequality is widening, even in real estate markets

    The more expensive markets tend to have higher incomes, which can push up home prices since buyers are able to afford more and compete against each other.

    The pricier cities also tend to have less building activity, which can limit supply and drive up prices when demand increases.

    And when housing costs increase, local employers increase wages in order to retain talent.

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  24.    3 key takeaways from the latest housing market reports | Construction Dive

    Both Dietz and Rhodes said they expect builders to continue ramping up new construction, therefore helping the environment of tight inventory. They also predicted an influx in new properties at lower price points, as building has been skewed toward the luxury end of the market after the crash.

    However, that kind of substantial change will take time. "There's a lag. Builders are moving down the price point, but we're not going to see it next month," Rhodes said.

    In the current climate of tight inventory, home prices have soared — pricing a significant portion of potential buyers out of the market. Now that builders are starting to feel more comfortable adding properties with lower price points, concerns over affordability should start to ease. However, that broadening of inventory will be a slow rollout, as prices still have room to grow, according to Rhodes.

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  25.    Here's Why Americans Are Mad as Hell at Wall Street and Washington

    Tens of millions of Americans clearly understand that an entrenched system of corruption such as this, perpetuated through a revolving door between Wall Street and Washington, while enshrined by a political campaign finance system that recycles a portion of the plunder to ensure greater plunders, will inevitably leave the nation's economy in tatters — again. That's because systemic corruption and legalized bribery within the financial arteries of the nation can only create grossly perverse economic outcomes.

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


  26.    The vile exploitation of 'free rent for sex' ads | Shelter blog

    Much of the time it's people and companies trying to gouge the housing shortage in the pursuit of financial gain. Rogue landlords putting lives at risk by renting out death-traps. Some developers trying to dodge their affordable housing obligations to local communities.

    These are people disdainful of the basic principle that even when you're trying to make a profit you still owe something to your customers and community.

    However, a recent tip-off about the free listings in the room-to-let section on the classified ad site Craigslist UK exposes something more sordid.

    … not being able to afford shelter drives people to desperation — and when people are desperate, some kind of exploitation and misery is certain.

    Hearts and minds must change. We can provide a good home for everyone who wants one. It's a societal choice. There is no law of science or economics preventing it.

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


  27.    Homeless Women Are Being Exploited for Sex in Return for Shelter | Broadly

    "Homelessness and violence against women are inextricably linked," explains Maeve McGoldrick of the homeless charity Crisis. 2011 figures show 28 percent of homeless women have formed an unwanted sexual partnership, and 20 percent have engaged in sex work to get a roof over their heads. And many women become homeless in the first place as a result of sexual or domestic violence. "Twenty percent of homeless women lost their homes as a result of violence, with 70 percent of those fleeing from a partner," McGoldrick says.

    "The vast majority of women on the streets are very vulnerable," confirms Sacks-Jones. Sacks-Jones tells me she has heard first-hand of women being solicited for sex in return for accommodation. "The men know what they're entering into, and go out and solicit sex from women who are clearly vulnerable. They're willing to exploit that situation for their own gain."

    Unfortunately, sometimes it's the female offering favors to the male landlord to be able to stay for less or for free. Sometimes such women even offer up their young daughters. The issues are how they got into such a state and what can be done to get them completely out of it. It starts with hardness of heart. It causes mental illness. It forces people into untenable, confused, and bewildering situations.

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


  28.    EU ministers tone down rhetoric on Turkey but rights concerns persist | Reuters

    Here's what we know that isn't being discussed in the mainstream media. Erdogan is corrupt. His family has illegally benefited from governmental deals. We also know that Erdogan unilaterally started up the tensions and fighting with the PKK. He did that as a pretext and distraction.

    … Hungary's Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said a good relationship with Ankara was vital to preserve the agreement on halting the flow of migrants into Europe.

    "Whoever attacks the stability of Turkey would attack the security of Europe because currently Turkey is the one to halt the migratory flow to Europe," he said.

    Austria, by contrast, has suggested the EU should drop EU accession talks with Turkey on concerns over democracy and economic matters.

    On Friday, Austria's foreign minister Sebastian Kurz said in Bratislava that Vienna wanted to cooperate with Turkey but not as an EU member, noting that the aftermath of the coup has been "very negative".

    "The coup must clearly be condemned… But waves of purges, silencing those who think differently is in our opinion the wrong way," he said.

    Hungary's position is wrong. If Turkey can stop the refugees, the EU could also. However, it is the bad Western foreign policy that has caused the refugee crisis in the first place and should be radically changed accordingly.

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  29.    Scientists look at how A.I. will change our lives by 2030 | Computerworld

    "We believe specialized A.I. applications will become both increasingly common and more useful by 2030, improving our economy and quality of life," Peter Stone, a computer scientist at the University of Texas at Austin and chair of the 17-member panel of international experts, said in a written statement. "But this technology will also create profound challenges, affecting jobs and incomes and other issues that we should begin addressing now to ensure that the benefits of A.I. are broadly shared."

    They're already behind the curve. We should get out in front of it and stay there rather than waiting and then trying to play catch-up.

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  30.    City of SeaTac improves insurance rating : SeaTac Blog | Local News, Events, Arts & More for SeaTac, WA

    The City of SeaTac and the Kent Regional Fire Authority announced Thursday, Sept. 1 that the Washington Surveying and Rating Bureau (WSRB) has improved the city's protection class from Class 4 to Class 3.

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


  31.    Concerns raised over Seattle City Council plans to regulate homeless camps | KOMO

    There are simply people who have fallen to a low state of affairs. Helping them with real housing would not ruin the real-estate sector or encourage laziness or do most of the other things people complain about. Complaints are legit, but there wouldn't be nearly as much to complain about if government/society would simply step up with fitting aid. Some people would always need help, but so what? They wouldn't swamp those who don't or wouldn't after getting enough of the right kind of help.

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  32.    THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — AUGUST 2016 Summary

    Yawn.

    We stood still at best. I think we slid back and that it may well be reflected next month and the month after.

    Some are calling this good news. They are way too easily satisfied. I doubt many of them are out of work.

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  33.    Will Peer-to-Peer Insurance Startups Disrupt the Industry?

    "Brokers and agents don't just sell insurance products," Carr says. "They're your first line of defense in understanding risk." —R.B.

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


  34.    Construction Employment Falters in August

    "Today's downbeat employment data came less than twenty-four hours after yesterday's relatively upbeat nonresidential construction spending report," said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. "This pattern of good news followed by bad news is nothing new and continues to paint a confusing picture for nonresidential construction activity in the U.S.

    … the data are also consistent with the notion that the pace of expansion in nonresidential construction activity has slowed," warned Basu. "Nonresidential construction spending has expanded by less than 2 percent over the past year. The biggest culprit continues to be a lack of public sector capital spending on infrastructure, whether in the form of roads or water systems.

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


  35.    Should the Fed keep its balance sheet large? | Brookings Institution

    Ben Bernanke is talking shop here. I want to get rid of the shop. The Fed wants no discussion of getting rid of the shop. To Ben's credit, he has openly discussed helicopter money in its various forms/applications. Some people hem the subject in. I really think helicopter money can run from literally throwing massive amounts of money out of helicopters all the way to financing government via simply creating the money without creating any debt/bonds.

    I don't understand why this hasn't become a household subject yet, but it will.

    Here's Ben:

    The Fed financed its purchases of securities from the private sector effectively by writing checks on itself. Sellers of securities deposited those checks in the banking system, and banks in turn added those funds to their reserves.

    Perhaps the average person simply can't wrap his or her mind around the fact that money is created simply by willing it into existence.

    The Fed didn't ask the US Treasury's permission to create the money to buy up all those assets. It simply did it exactly as Ben says it did.

    Now, people have been asking why the Fed didn't create money and give it to all the citizens in equal measures or on a sliding scale according to income and wealth, such as more to the poorest.

    Well, Ben would be the first to explain that the Fed has a legal mandate that he believes precluded doing that (though the Fed spread money all over the place, including to foreign governments and corporations).

    Anyway, there is nothing to prevent us from having all the money we want except for creating runaway inflation. But that's a simple matter. All we have to do is invest the new money in things that are as productive as needs be to avoid inflation.

    So, what's the argument against this? It's that politicians won't adhere to it. They'll want to buy votes via pork-barrel spending (non-productive and hence inflationary). That's the argument for the very existence of the Fed in the first place.

    What's the answer to that?

    Rather than having a Fed of people (such as Janet Yellen) or an elected or appointed political or other body of any kind, simply have an algorithm set by law just as the Fed's mandate is set by law.

    Nothing would be easier.

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  36.    How a low-flying, spy plane is setting your apartment rent

    I must admit, I would have thought satellite data instead.

    Watch what Google or Zillow do in this realm now.

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  37.    10 facts about American workers | Pew Research Center

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  38.    Want to Make Money? Then Understand How Money Works! Here's Your Complete Guide.

    This is not correct. It's half right but is based upon mostly antiquated assumptions.

    When you read this, ask yourself why the Fed has been having such a huge problem causing the tiniest bit of inflation.

    I know the reason. Unfortunately, Jered Sturm, who no doubt means very well, doesn't. He's repeating libertarian-capitalist ideological memes that are not at all based upon real data and outcomes.

    If you want to understand the monetary system, you need to study heterodox economic schools, such as Modern Money/Monetary Theory. If you do and if you study Steve Keen's material on private debt versus public debt, you'll begin to get a handle on what's really going on.

    Let me start you off with learning the difference between monetary and price inflation. Simply increasing the money supply, including via credit, doesn't necessarily lead to price inflation.

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  39.    Effort to Emphasize Campus Housing Fire Safety Continues

    Do you own student housing? Is it masonry construction? Does it have a good, operating fire sprinkler system? Do you allow smoking on the premises?

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


  40.    U.S. cities are increasingly segregated by income, and that's a big problem – Curbed

    If investing is nothing more to you than how much money you'll make, then … you'll be part of the problem rather than solution.

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  41.    Foreign Investors Buy More Apartment Properties

    International investors keep buying apartment properties in the U.S.—but their activity this year may only barely beat the record set in 2015.

    "This is a plateau," says James Costello, senior vice president for Real Capital Analytics (RCA), a New York City-based research firm.

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


  42.    Squeaky-clean loans lead to near-zero borrower defaults—and that is not a good thing | Urban Institute

    Let's increase the default rate? No thanks. That's what got us into trouble the last time. Plus, there's absolutely nothing wrong in a mixed-economic-system context with renting and investing elsewhere, even being a landlord.

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


  43.    Dishonest bankers threaten new financial crisis says Bank of England Governor Mark Carney | The Independent

    … despite the huge fines, relatively few bankers around the world have been sent to jail for misconduct.

    In July a judge at Southwark Crown Court jailed four former Barclays bankers for conspiring to rig Libor.

    And the former UBS and Citigroup trader Tom Hayes is serving an 11-year sentence for conspiring to manipulate interest rates.

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  44.    The soft-power brilliance of Vladimir Putin | TheHill

    Either the U.S. will return to earlier models of diplomacy in order to reclaim its global hegemony, or else the position of power will be usurped by a militant Russia. Should the latter occur, the U.S. and NATO will face dire security threats, rivaled by an anti-West military power that is allied with much of the world, and that is skilled in conventional, unconventional and cyber military tactics and one that has already interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

    First of all, Russia hasn't been starting wars. It's only been reacting to wars started by others. Don't take your eye off the ball! This linked article says there's only the either/or it claims. However, there're other options. The best option was, and remains, allying with Russia for real. Putin actually wants this.

    Imagine a world where Russia and the United States are allies. Now that would be risk management on a global scale the likes of which the world has never seen before.

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  45.    Why Are The Brazilian Police Repressing Protests With Violence? – plus55

    A government headed by only white men took over Brazil.

    There would be nothing wrong with a government headed only by white men were all those white men the very best leaders Brazil could have. That, however, is not the case, far from it.

    Every honest observer of what's happened in Brazil knows that the white males leading the government of Brazil took power illegally, unethically, and immorally in order to avoid being prosecuted for corruption.

    We also know that the US government, headed by the Obama administration and at President Obama's directive, is supporting that illegal takeover.

    Why did President Obama back those seeking to avoid prosecution rather than back democracy and the rule of law in Brazil? Isn't President Obama's choice also unethical and immoral if not also illegal?

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  46.    Record-tying Oklahoma earthquake felt as far away as Arizona – The Washington Post

    The Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which since 2013 has asked wastewater-well owners to reduce disposal volumes in parts of the state, directed about 35 wells within an approximately 500-square-mile area around the epicenter to shut down within seven to 10 days because of previous connections between the injection of wastewater and earthquakes.

    They aren't trying to pretend they don't know for sure anymore.

    The image shows why earthquake coverage often won't cover masonry veneers.

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  47.    The Future of Real Estate Tech: How to Get an Agent to Sell Your Home for Free – Philadelphia Magazine

    … secret is this: It now costs next to nothing to market a home. "The biggest trick the real estate industry has ever pulled is convincing sellers that listing agents market their homes," he said. "They may help with pricing and other things, but there's no marketing any more."

    That function, he said, has been outsourced to the search engines. Some brokerages, such as Seattle-based Redfin, have figured this out and operate exclusively in the online space, serving as a cross between a search engine and a traditional broker. Houwzer has set itself up in this space too but does Redfin one better: Because technology does most of the heavy lifting now, Maher said, it only costs Houwzer $495 to market a home, and that's all that the seller pays, at closing. There's no 3 percent commission and no upfront charges.

    Since its launch one year ago, Maher said Houwzer has removed more than $1 million in listing commissions from the market.

    "There's this big bullseye on us because people believe we're removing money from the table that people use to eat," he said. That presumably would include Houwzer's own agents, which currently number twelve, up from two when the site launched.

    But they don't have to worry about where their next meal will come from. That's because they're salaried, a true departure from industry practice — and because they get fed a constant stream of buyers converted from sales leads.

    This is a "wait and see" situation. Traditional agents believe they bring more to the table than Houwzer suggests.

    This is disruption or creative destruction.

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  48.    Intelligent Technology — Finance & Development, September 2016

    Back in 2000, about 80 billion photos were taken worldwide—a good estimate since only three companies produced film then. In 2015, it appears that more than 1.5 trillion photos were taken worldwide, roughly 20 times as many. At the same time the volume exploded, the cost of photos fell from about 50 cents each for film and developing to essentially zero.

    So over 15 years the price fell to zero and output went up 20 times. Surely that is a huge increase in productivity. Unfortunately, most of this productivity increase doesn't show up in GDP, since the measured figures depend on the sales of film, cameras, and developing services, which are only a small part of photography these days.

    In fact, when digital cameras were incorporated into smartphones, GDP decreased, camera sales fell, and smartphone prices continued to decline. Ideally, quality adjustments would be used to measure the additional capabilities of mobile phones. But figuring out the best way to do this and actually incorporating these changes into national income accounts is a challenge.

    GDP as it stands today is a function of capitalism. Capitalism is ultimately always price. Therefore, the question is wrong. The premises are wrong. The issue is measuring productivity without capitalistic considerations. Take prices out of the equation, and it's not complicated at all. The only real difficulty will be in getting people to first wrap their minds around it. They've been trained up in capitalism and competition for dollars rather than productivity and cooperation for individual/societal advancements without "price."

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


  49.    The Formula for a Richer World? Equality, Liberty, Justice – The New York Times

    There's a huge, huge problem with this notion of "unbridled capitalism" with dignity for all. It starts out fine but steadily gravitates to monopoly power, which puts the people right back where they were before: serfdom at best.

    You cannot leave the superrich alone to their own devices. You cannot count upon them to remain "equals." Inequality of wealth and income turns the mind and heart to notions of superiority and to deserving more (and more), including special privileges and advantages before the law.

    So, you can't just say "equality, liberty, justice" and "free markets" and leave it at that. If you do, you definitely won't end up with equality, liberty, justice, or free markets.

    No, everything must be tempered via a mixed-economic model until a democratic consensus is finally reached, which it will be.

    If we are going to have a written, binding, legal code at all, then economic regulations are definitely required else we'll go through even worse Hell before utopia.

    I wish it weren't so. I don't like it that humans have to resort to coercion of any kind in order to fend off being enslaved under those whose main interest is their greater and greater self-enrichment at the direct negative expense of everyone else. I truly yearn for the day when the real law is written on everyone's heart.

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


  50.    U.S. economy may need much higher interest rates: Fed's Lacker | Reuters

    "It would be hard to calibrate policy settings carefully enough to avoid precipitating a contraction in real activity," Lacker said.

    So, cause a greater slowdown now instead in the face of still weak growth and so much continuing labor-slack? He's not confidence building. I'm sorry, but I don't understand why he has a voice/position, let alone a vote in 2018.

    Please, let's overshoot and have to hurry to slow things rather than take Lacker's approach just so the bankers can make greater profits and to hell with the rest of us.

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


  51.    Starbucks, Amazon pay less tax than a sausage stand, Austria says | Reuters

    The anti-"Globalists" will really hate this; but, if we're going to allow these multinational-capitalistic corporations, we should implement a global-tax system. It all needs to be under a real democratic system too.

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


  52.    Taxing the foreign profits of multinational firms | VOX, CEPR's Policy Portal

    … levy corporate tax according to the destination principle; i.e. in the location of sales. The reason is that customers are likely to be less mobile than factories or corporate headquarters (Auerbach and Devereux 2013).

    That's the best way if we aren't going to have a global single-tax. I'd rather go with the global single-tax system right from the start though (until we do away with taxes altogether, which is part of my overall plan).

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


  53.    'Fed Up' with the absence of full employment – The Washington Post

    … the Fed's mandate is to balance full employment with price stability, which begets the debate in which Fed Up is engaged about who gets hurt if, based on what looks to me like a phantom menace of inflation, the Fed unnecessarily taps the brakes on growth.

    Second, there's the political economy debate of how best to get to and stay at full employment. I'm sure Donald Trump and Paul Ryan would tell you eliminating the estate tax is the way to get there. My work suggests this is the policy agenda we want to pursue in this space:

    — Add fiscal support to the monetary support; infrastructure investment (repair our schools, water systems, roads), for example.

    — Push back on the strong dollar to boost our manufacturers' international competitiveness; so, don't raise interest rates and go after countries that manipulate their currencies to make their exports to us cheaper and ours to them more expensive.

    — Fund a permanent, direct job-creation and -training program that reaches those most disconnected from the job market (those with criminal records, long histories of non-employment, stuck in "job desert" neighborhoods).

    — Ramp up financial market oversight so as to short-circuit the "economic shampoo cycle:" bubble, bust, repeat.

    Yes, but where's the helicopter money with the universal income? Why always aim so low?

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


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