News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Jan. 25, 2017

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Table of Contents
(Click to sections below.)

1) Historic Flooding Prompts Uptick in Flood Policies in South Louisiana

2) General Motors Sued over Fire Causing $450K in Damage to Pennsylvania Homes

3) One Utah City's Home Values Fall Due to Sinking Foundations

4) China to Abandon 6.5% Economic Growth Goal by 2018, SocGen Says – Bloomberg

5) A Socialist Market Economy With Chinese Contradictions by Adair Turner – Project Syndicate

6) How housing market forecasters get it horribly wrong in 2016 | afr com

7) We will see the biggest Seattle rental boom in history this year

8) The Year in Housing: The Middle Class Can't Afford to Live in Cities Anymore | WIRED

9) In American Towns, Private Profits From Public Works – The New York Times

10) Tips for Creating a Home for Aging Owners – The New York Times

11) Massachusetts Apartment Building Blaze Leaves 2 Dead, Several Hurt

12) RealPage® Reports Robust Apartment Demand and Occupancy, While the Rent Growth Pace Cools Mildly – News

13) It's Still Not the Supply Side : Democracy Journal

14) Homes on West Virginia's Wheeling Island Damaged by Fire

15) Column: Why we need to say goodbye to work | PBS NewsHour

16) Remains of 5 people recovered from Marion County home, deputies say | OregonLive com

17) Ohio becomes first state to ban plywood on vacant properties | HousingWire

18) Protect your pipes this winter | Home and Garden | stltoday com

19) Second Avenue Subway, Clean and Fast, Wins Praise as Commuters Return – The New York Times

20) Violent Storm in Southwest Georgia Kills 1, Damages 1,000 Homes

21) Mortgage Rates Rise On Reignited Inflation Concerns

22) Dallas is one of rare US areas where it's cheaper for residents to rent than buy | Real Estate | Dallas News

23) Construction Lost Jobs in December

24) Little Change in Unemployment/Employment as Job Growth Slows | Jobs Bytes | Data Bytes | Publications | The Center for Economic and Policy Research

25) Solid Employment Report Keeps Fed On Track – Tim Duy's Fed Watch

26) Nashville Tops the List of Hottest Housing Markets for 2017 – Zillow Porchlight

27) No end in sight for Europe's banking troubles

28) Crawford Completes Acquisition of Web-Based Inspection Firm WeGoLook

29) Looking to buy an apartment in a hotel? 5 things you need to know

30) No one injured in North Tacoma apartment fire | The News Tribune

31) Huntington a finalist in vacant properties scholarship program | Recent News | herald-dispatch com

32) Powder Springs requires new fee for vacant properties

33) CBRE Acquires Floored: Real Estate Tech Poised For A Big 2017

34) Landlords: Blighted Boyd St. corridor properties in need of being replaced | News | mooreamerican com

35) Solar Could Beat Coal to Become the Cheapest Power on Earth – Bloomberg

36) Pepperdine Graziadio Launches Master of Science in Real Estate Investment and Finance | Business Wire

37) Downtown LA construction boom is largest in nearly a century – Curbed LA

38) 7 crucial ways New York City's landscape will change in 2017 – Curbed NY

39) Economists have completely failed us. They're no better than Mystic Meg | Simon Jenkins | Opinion | The Guardian

40) Larry Summers 'sees no merit' in Trump's $1 trillion infrastructure plan – Business Insider

41) 10+ Feet of Snow Bury California's Sierra Nevada as Heavy Rain Knocks Down Drought

42) Rental Trends: LLC Ownership of Rental Properties | ARLnow com

43) Metro Denver home prices more overvalued than any time since the 1980s — The Denver Post

44) Fed Chair Yellen cites income gap among long-term risks | Business News | US News

45) United States Drought Monitor > Home > State Drought Monitor

46) Fire sends 3 children, woman to hospital

47) Media Review – Uber Capitalism – YouTube

48) A woman froze to death in Portland, Oregon, after being evicted for $338 in overdue rent | Mic

49) America's Failures of Representation and Prospects for Democracy

50) MEPs want 'free cash' to address job-killer robots threat — EurActiv com

51) White Center leaders forming 'Graffiti Response Team' to address out of control vandalism | The Highline Times / Des Moines News

52) Moody's to pay $864 mln to settle claims tied to housing-market collapse – MarketWatch

53) Let's get serious about plastics

54) Putting 2016's Catastrophe Losses in Context

55) It's official: Deutsche Bank reaches $7.2 billion RMBS settlement | HousingWire

56) LA Times – American businesses say working with China is getting harder, despite government rhetoric about free trade

57) 1.4 Million Dollars to Demolish Blighted Properties in Schuylkill

58) Unreal Real Estate TV: The Fake and Sometimes Dark Side of House-Hunting, Renovating & Remodeling for Our Viewing Pleasure | E! News

59) Could COAH ruling aid distressed properties? | NJBIZ

60) Ideological Macroeconomics & Increasing Inequality | WEA Pedagogy Blog

61) 3 interest rate hikes in 2017? Not a chance | HousingWire

62) Borrowing for their grandkids, Americans over 60 have quadrupled their student debt to $67 billion — Quartz

63) A New Method to Rehabilitate Damaged Soils | Sustainable Cities Collective

64) Ending the Econocracy: The Need for Pluralism in Economics – The Minskys

65) Remedial Education: Federal Education Policy – Council on Foreign Relations

66) JPMorgan Ordered to Pay Damages for Firing Whistle-Blower – The New York Times

67) 10 Best Things To Know About Property Management Companies | RealtyBizNews: Real Estate News

68) Multifamily Construction Slows but Demand Isn't Going Anywhere | Bull Realty, Inc. | #CRE Blog

69) Becoming a landlord is just a click away

70) 12 Surefire Ways to Increase Revenue in Your Apartment Complex

71) The Ultimate 34-Step Property Management Checklist

72) mainly macro: Kocherlakota's argument for fiscal expansion in the US

73) This Chinese Province Says It Faked Fiscal Data for Several Years – Bloomberg

74) Earth breaks heat record in 2016 for third year in a row

75) Deadly storms claim lives in Georgia – CNN com

76) 3 Ways Donald Trump's Climate Approach Is A US Economic Disaster | CleanTechnica

77) How Solar Power Can Improve Air Quality in Urban Areas | Sustainable Cities Collective

78) Here's what really caused the housing crisis – CBS News

79) Calculated Risk: Thoma: "Here's what really caused the housing crisis"

80) Good Times Seen Coming to End for China's Real Estate Bonds – Bloomberg

81) Baird exec to sell problem properties

82) 3D Printing to Disrupt Construction Industry Within 3 Years | Think Realty | A Real Estate of Mind

83) Karl Polanyi on the Rise of Fascism and Market Economy

84) Tennessee Wildfire Insurance Claims Top $842M

85) Mississippi Tornado Kills 4, Causes At Least $200M in Insured Damage

86) Alarm System Broke 2 Days Before Fatal Massachusetts Apartment Fire

87) Washington Puts Landslide-Inspired Topo Maps Online

88) Recently Installed Smoke Detectors Credited for Saving 4 Lives in Vermont

89) Drought-Weakened Trees Are Falling Hazards in Rainy California

90) Louisiana Governor: Homeowners Should Get Flood Plan Money by April

91) Montana Will Pay $25M to Settle Asbestos Claims

92) US Seeing Increasingly Large-Scale Tornado Outbreaks

93) Trump pick for budget director backs Medicare changes, promises debt cuts

94) Don't Let Cost Segregation Scare You… | Bull Realty, Inc. | #CRE Blog

95) Intense Storms, Flooding Wallop California

96) Man Charged with Setting New York Apartment Building on Fire

97) Man accused of false fire claim – News – The Daily News – Jacksonville, NC

98) Contractor Arrested After Allegedly Cheating Wrightstown Homeowner – Newtown, PA Patch

99) Ditching TPP Won't Solve the Trade Deficit – The New York Times

100) Global markets turn back on euro as economic woes reinforce dollar as the currency of choice

101) Note to US Senate: Here's What Happens When Dollar Rises 25% – Bloomberg

102) RealPage® to Acquire Axiometrics® – News

  1.    Historic Flooding Prompts Uptick in Flood Policies in South Louisiana

    Since 1978, the NFIP has issued more than $18.2 billion in payments to Louisiana.

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


  2.    General Motors Sued over Fire Causing $450K in Damage to Pennsylvania Homes

    … fire began in the engine compartment … and engulfed their home. A neighbor's home also was damaged.

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


  3.    One Utah City's Home Values Fall Due to Sinking Foundations

    … city plans … report … boring into the soil to determine what's causing the sinking.

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


  4.    China to Abandon 6.5% Economic Growth Goal by 2018, SocGen Says – Bloomberg

    Reality is a wet blanket.

    "We think that the arbitrary growth target will be given up — if not in 2017, then definitely in 2018," Yao wrote. "The harm of keeping it is all too apparent, for it has become not only an impediment to the necessary structural adjustments but also a culprit behind rapidly rising debt risk."

    I still maintain China has been fudging the numbers anyway.

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


  5.    A Socialist Market Economy With Chinese Contradictions by Adair Turner – Project Syndicate

    What is Adair Turner trying to do, teach Xi the right moves to make? Where's democracy?

    … China has policy options not available in Western economies. In an article in July, Sheng Songcheng, the PBOC's head of statistics, argued that "the macro framework in a socialist market economy is superior to the Western economy," because "the Chinese government has significant power in terms of both monetary and fiscal policy and is able to seek the optimal combination."

    Meanwhile, Xi may have endorsed in 2013 "the decisive role of the market," but that hasn't diminished his Marxist-Leninist reliance on the leading role of the state.

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


  6.    How housing market forecasters get it horribly wrong in 2016 | afr.com

    This is what I've come to understand better:

    According to Louis Christopher, property is "very much a specialist, unique asset class and takes years and years to fully grasp all its intricacies".

    "Not just the intricacies of the various leading housing market indicators but the nature of real estate itself in that it is an emotional asset class.

    "So price is actually rarely driven by whether the market is overvalued or not. Even after my 20 plus years involvement with it, I'm still learning," he says.

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


  7.    We will see the biggest Seattle rental boom in history this year

    A Seattle rental boom is adding more and more new apartments to the market. But demand is likely to stay high as people continue to move to town.

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


  8.    The Year in Housing: The Middle Class Can't Afford to Live in Cities Anymore | WIRED

    The intractability of the middle class' affordable housing problem stems largely from strict zoning laws that restrict building new housing, and the not-in-my-backyard mindsets of homeowners who oppose affordable housing initiatives.

    "Housing issues are a product of economic growth in the city bumping up against strict zoning constraints. That's what leads to the unaffordability problem," says David Shulman, Senior Economist at UCLA's Anderson School of Management.

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


  9.    In American Towns, Private Profits From Public Works – The New York Times

    Even as Wall Street deals like the one with Bayonne help financially desperate municipalities to make much-needed repairs, they can come with a hefty price tag — not just to pay for new pipes, but also to help the investors earn a nice return, a New York Times analysis has found. Often, these contracts guarantee a specific amount of revenue, The Times found, which can send water bills soaring.

    Some critics are wary of expanding private investment in public infrastructure. Although cities may get cash up front in these deals, "there is no 'free' money" in public-private partnerships, says a 2008 Government Accountability Office report. Using roads as an example, the report observed "it is likely" that tolls will increase more on a privately operated highway than one run by the government.
    Even as Wall Street deals like the one with Bayonne help financially desperate municipalities to make much-needed repairs, they can come with a hefty price tag — not just to pay for new pipes, but also to help the investors earn a nice return, a New York Times analysis has found. Often, these contracts guarantee a specific amount of revenue, The Times found, which can send water bills soaring.

    Some critics are wary of expanding private investment in public infrastructure. Although cities may get cash up front in these deals, "there is no 'free' money" in public-private partnerships, says a 2008 Government Accountability Office report. Using roads as an example, the report observed "it is likely" that tolls will increase more on a privately operated highway than one run by the government.

    In my view, privatization is always the result of poorly run government, whether by design (to privatize) or ineptitude. It is always better to have a well-run government than to have privatization. Privatization is always more costly.

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  10.    Tips for Creating a Home for Aging Owners – The New York Times

    As a landlord, do you have rentals well suited to seniors? Most things that will work for seniors won't cause problems for younger people.

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


  11.    Massachusetts Apartment Building Blaze Leaves 2 Dead, Several Hurt

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


  12.    RealPage® Reports Robust Apartment Demand and Occupancy, While the Rent Growth Pace Cools Mildly – News

    Still not overbuilding

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


  13.    It's Still Not the Supply Side : Democracy Journal

    This is an excellent read.

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


  14.    Homes on West Virginia's Wheeling Island Damaged by Fire

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


  15.    Column: Why we need to say goodbye to work | PBS NewsHour

    I know what you're thinking — we can't afford this! But, yeah, we can, very easily. We raise the arbitrary lid on the Social Security contribution, which now stands at $113,700, and we raise taxes on corporate income, reversing the Reagan Revolution. And of course we don't cut the top marginal tax rate on the rich. Eventually, if not under the incoming president and Congress, we increase it. These steps would solve a fake fiscal problem and create an economic surplus where we now can measure a moral deficit.

    This fellow, James Livingston, writes a book on the subject and then this article (part of a planned series of articles on it), which article is published on PBS.org.

    Meanwhile, I been shouting for years that we don't need taxes to pay for supplying everyone with a living wage. Here's what I was thinking earlier today before reading this or anything else on the subject: Why doesn't the fact that we can simply create the money free-and-clear (no borrowing, no bonds issued) catch on and go viral, as it were. In general, people don't even discuss it. They don't ask whether it would be price-inflationary beyond reason or whether or how we could keep that from happening while still issuing the living wage to everyone.

    Instead, James Livingston and others (only those who avoid the free-money facts) get a hearing. Who's keeping the discussion from happening and why?

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


  16.    Remains of 5 people recovered from Marion County home, deputies say | OregonLive.com

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


  17.    Ohio becomes first state to ban plywood on vacant properties | HousingWire

    I'm interested in this subject matter and want environmental and recycling details.

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


  18.    Protect your pipes this winter | Home and Garden | stltoday.com

    Good starter-article on the subject

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


  19.    Second Avenue Subway, Clean and Fast, Wins Praise as Commuters Return – The New York Times

    I kept seeing this news item over and over. It does impact local real estate, so …

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


  20.    Violent Storm in Southwest Georgia Kills 1, Damages 1,000 Homes

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


  21.    Mortgage Rates Rise On Reignited Inflation Concerns

    This is a fairly decent overview, but there are a few things to keep in mind. If the Fed tightens too much or too soon, that will kill the recovery. There is still quite a bit of labor slack (people wanting to work). Gas prices and other oil-based fuels will rise if OPEC and Russia can hold to their deal. Of course, fracking in the US is ramping up, but there are real concerns about earthquakes and groundwater pollution that could slow fracking and even see it banned at least in some areas. The Donald Trump private-public partnership, privatization, corporate tax cuts, etc., plan remains to be played out. Minimum-wage increases have been politically, not business, driven. How long will that last? So, there are many factors to consider; and I've only name some of the most important.

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


  22.    Dallas is one of rare U.S. areas where it's cheaper for residents to rent than buy | Real Estate | Dallas News

    … both rents and home prices are rising faster than wages in the majority of U.S. markets.

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


  23.    Construction Lost Jobs in December

    These data are adjusted for seasonal variations, which means that one cannot simply blame the poor job performance on the transition from November to December.

    The lack of skilled construction-workers will slow the economic growth rate.

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


  24.    Little Change in Unemployment/Employment as Job Growth Slows | Jobs Bytes | Data Bytes | Publications | The Center for Economic and Policy Research

    In typical fashion, Dean Baker spots the important stuff in employment stats.

    The average hourly wage is up by 2.9 percent both year-over-year and comparing the last three months with the prior three months. However, it is important to remember that compensation is being shifted from benefits to wages, so total compensation growth is slower.

    It is also worth noting that average weekly hours are lagging, with the aggregate weekly hours index for December the same as the October level and just 1.0 percent above the year-ago level. This is not a pattern that would be expected in a tight labor market.

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


  25.    Solid Employment Report Keeps Fed On Track – Tim Duy's Fed Watch

    Manufacturing employment rose in this latest report by 17k, the largest gain since January 2016. This comes on top of improved data from the manufacturing sector:

    This serves as further evidence that the inventory correction process over the past year has run its course.

    A stronger dollar will weaken US exports. We'd have to make it up via stronger US demand for US-made goods. What will the Trump administration be able to pull off, if anything?

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


  26.    Nashville Tops the List of Hottest Housing Markets for 2017 – Zillow Porchlight

    Speaking of construction workers:

    Zillow's economic predictions for 2017 include a warning about a possible worsening of labor shortages for new construction if President-elect Trump follows through on his hard-line stances on immigration and immigrant labor.

    So, the US construction industry is just going to have to pony up higher pay and greater on-the-job training. US consumers are going to have to pay for it in the end, which means everyone needs higher wages/income. How do we avoid price inflation without causing a recession? The money supply must match and target real productivity in real time and stop being based upon financialization.

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


  27.    No end in sight for Europe's banking troubles

    Nationalizing the bank would be more of a political problem rather than an economic issue ….

    Always is.

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  28.    Crawford Completes Acquisition of Web-Based Inspection Firm WeGoLook

    I've covered WeGoLook indirectly (via a linked article) before. This one is interesting because it might mean WeGoLook gains expertise in seeing potential property and liability risks that the typical property inspector might miss. So, it will be interesting to watch whether Crawford has that impact. Claims adjusters should be better at it than typical inspectors, though good inspectors are also trained to spot such risks.

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


  29.    Looking to buy an apartment in a hotel? 5 things you need to know

    Okay, I'm including this mostly for the vocabulary.

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


  30.    No one injured in North Tacoma apartment fire | The News Tribune

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


  31.    Huntington a finalist in vacant properties scholarship program | Recent News | herald-dispatch com

    Huntington is among five finalists in a competition to receive months worth of assistance from the Center for Community Progress, a national nonprofit that helps communities revitalize vacant, abandoned and deteriorated properties.

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


  32.    Powder Springs requires new fee for vacant properties

    Now any person who owns vacant or foreclosed real property in Powder Springs must register it with the city and pay a registration fee of $1,000.

    The good news is that it's apparently refundable. The bad news is that a property is deemed vacant in as litttle as 60 days. Better keep the rent and move-in costs low enough to get someone in within that time frame. However, if it's under rehab, maybe a waiver is available?

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


  33.    CBRE Acquires Floored: Real Estate Tech Poised For A Big 2017

    Property Management — Property management and accounting software like Appfolio, Buildium, and Cozy offer all in one solutions for leasing, rent payments, maintenance requests, and financial reporting. There are a handful of competitors in this space, and we may see acquisition for both technology gains and market share consolidation in this space.

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


  34.    Landlords: Blighted Boyd St. corridor properties in need of being replaced | News | mooreamerican.com

    Interesting discussion

    Three predominantly single-family neighborhoods were granted downzoning from R-3 to R-1, single-family residential.

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


  35.    Solar Could Beat Coal to Become the Cheapest Power on Earth – Bloomberg

    This is really good news. Also, battery technology is improving rapidly. The future of solar is bright!

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


  36.    Pepperdine Graziadio Launches Master of Science in Real Estate Investment and Finance | Business Wire

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


  37.    Downtown LA construction boom is largest in nearly a century – Curbed LA

    … while developers from all over the world descend upon Downtown, the pace of growth citywide is still well below where it was in decades past. That's particularly true in one crucial area: housing.

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


  38.    7 crucial ways New York City's landscape will change in 2017 – Curbed NY

    They're busy in NYC.

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


  39.    Economists have completely failed us. They're no better than Mystic Meg | Simon Jenkins | Opinion | The Guardian

    Economics is plagued by the spurious exactness of mathematics. It neglects human behaviour and grovels before its paymasters in government and commerce.

    To be fair, there are economists who got it right and for the right reasons too. They do take behavior and economic history well into account, and they don't forecast to please people but rather to tell the truth. That said, the impacts of Brexit are not over, far from it. Most economists I read who were opposed to leaving were not forecasting instant catastrophe. I did, of course, read those who were and thought them wrong at the time and said so on this blog.

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


  40.    Larry Summers 'sees no merit' in Trump's $1 trillion infrastructure plan – Business Insider

    Both Trump and Summers are wrong here. They're both offering up "capitalist" financing solutions when what is needed is public financing all the way. It is a really bad idea to build everything under a private-profit system. Many things are simply done better if done publicly. The privatizers don't want the supporting data discussed. They want ideology to trump facts.

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


  41.    10+ Feet of Snow Bury California's Sierra Nevada as Heavy Rain Knocks Down Drought

    Weather extremes

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  42.    Rental Trends: LLC Ownership of Rental Properties | ARLnow.com

    … protect yourself by adding a liability insurance policy for each property, as well as purchasing an umbrella policy to provide additional liability coverage beyond the limits of your primary insurance policies. Placing your rental properties in an LLC and buying additional insurance for them offers you a double layer of protection in the event of a lawsuit.

    Your insurance can also be a scheduled plan if you own enough separate properties to qualify. This can greatly improve your ability to manage your insurance portfolio.

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


  43.    Metro Denver home prices more overvalued than any time since the 1980s — The Denver Post

    This is when a bubble isn't a bubble.

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  44.    Fed Chair Yellen cites income gap among long-term risks | Business News | US News

    The U.S. economy is on solid ground now but it faces long-term risks posed by slow productivity growth and the widening income gap, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Thursday.

    The Fed chair said that both challenges were outside the scope of the Federal Reserve to handle with its interest-rate tools, so it is important for other policymakers to address.

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  45.    United States Drought Monitor > Home > State Drought Monitor

    It's not over til it's over.

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  46.    Fire sends 3 children, woman to hospital

    It's so hard to report these types of stories, but we must know of them to (as much as possible) prevent them from happening in the future.

    Firefighters have recovered the bodies of six children who died in a fire in northeast Baltimore early Thursday morning, and three other children and their mother were taken to a hospital.

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


  47.    Media Review – Uber Capitalism – YouTube

    I must say that I opposed the "Uber" model from the start and because I foresaw exactly what has happened.

    Richard Seymour takes a look at how the media covers the gig economy. The business model allows companies like Uber or Deliveroo to make profits without recognizing their workers as employees and without actually producing anything.

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


  48.    A woman froze to death in Portland, Oregon, after being evicted for $338 in overdue rent | Mic

    What are we going to do about this?

    Society isn't trying hard enough. Individuals are, plenty of them. They work night and day helping, but that's no solution. The whole of society must take full responsibility. There's no legitimate excuse.

    Money certainly isn't an excuse. Monetary constraints are purely artificial. Money creation is simply a choice. Fear of inflation is no excuse. We can match the money creation to the increased productivity of helping others.

    The only thing standing in the way is self-centeredness of those who profit off the misery and even needless deaths of others, such as the needless death of Karen Batts.

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


  49.    America's Failures of Representation and Prospects for Democracy

    Rob Johnson:

    To be sure, the Republican-controlled Congress might work with Trump to implement a mini variant of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal of the 1930s. But, without reform of the "rigged" system, it is likely that Trump's proposed fiscal expansion will again disproportionately benefit the wealthy, without "trickling down" to the rest of Americans. "Public-private partnerships" have been championed as a means to direct capital toward a national rebuilding effort; but such measures can be manipulated, and often lead to "heads, I win; tails, the taxpayer loses" outcomes of the type that have benefited Wall Street and Silicon Valley in recent years. Surely this is not what Trump supporters were attracted to when Trump declared he would "Make America great again."

    The GOP will not even do a New Deal light version. They must fail first, and they will fail.

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  50.    MEPs want 'free cash' to address job-killer robots threat — EurActiv.com

    … the document proposed an obligatory insurance scheme, similar to the system in place for cars. But in this case, the producer could cover the insurance for the autonomous robots.

    In the long run, MEPs suggested that "the most sophisticated autonomous robots" could have the status of electronic persons, "with specific rights and obligations" like "applying electronic personality to cases where robots make smart autonomous decisions or otherwise interact with third parties independently".

    The report stresses that whatever form future legislative instruments on addressing liability issues takes, the type or the extent of the damages to be recovered, or the compensation that could be offered, should "in no way" be limited just because the damage is caused by a "non-human agent".

    While drones, driverless cars, or even sex robots are penetrating our daily lives, Delvaux insisted that her main concern is to do the groundwork so that it can be ensured that "robots serve humans, and we are not dominated by them".

    That is why humans should have always the switch at hand in case the all-powerful robots turn against their masters.

    As for the "basic income" aspect of the article, we don't need any taxes to pay for it and it doesn't need to be, and shouldn't be, limited to basic but should be a really good living wage. There's absolutely no reason to sell ourselves short on this.

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  51.    White Center leaders forming 'Graffiti Response Team' to address out of control vandalism | The Highline Times / Des Moines News

    Does your property suffer from this? Have you looked into a collaborative effort to shut it down?

    White Center has a graffiti problem and as it has in the past, the community is coming together to address it. A special meeting was called on Jan. 12 to announce the early stage plans.

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


  52.    Moody's to pay $864 mln to settle claims tied to housing-market collapse – MarketWatch

    Wow, that's not much money. Did they have to admit guilt? It doesn't sound like it.

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  53.    Let's get serious about plastics

    We should not allow governments to sit on their hands on this. The need is urgent. There is no good excuse for insufficient action.

    … Five critical elements should be included. …

    … We have seen a lot of partnership-based, ocean-focused and mostly voluntary action in the past. It is time to bring international law into this picture and craft a treaty that can spearhead a real and enduring solution.

    • NILS SIMON is a Berlin-based political scientist specializing in international environmental and sustainability governance.

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  54.    Putting 2016's Catastrophe Losses in Context

    The huge disparity between economic and insured losses further illustrates the vast protection gap that exists around the world, particularly in some of the world's most catastrophe-exposed and most vulnerable regions.

    That's absolutely true; however, public-private won't work best everywhere. Some situations require governmental programs, such as National Flood Insurance, even though there are private flood-insurance policies also available. This is not heresy. You don't see the insurance industry as a whole or in general screaming that we need to do away with National Flood Insurance. Some costs should be directed toward moving people out of flood zones globally.

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  55.    It's official: Deutsche Bank reaches $7.2 billion RMBS settlement | HousingWire

    The illegal acts the bank took were a direct result of deregulation, and those acts were a direct cause of the Great Recession.

    "This $7.2 billion resolution — the largest of its kind — recognizes the immense breadth of Deutsche Bank's unlawful scheme by demanding a painful penalty from the bank, along with billions of dollars of relief to the communities and homeowners that continue to struggle because of Wall Street's greed," said Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General Bill Baer.

    Unfortunately, the penalty is just a cost of doing business. The article doesn't tell us how much Deutsche Bank made in profits from the unethical and illegal practices. Until corporations are made insolvent by their illegal acts, until they stop profiting by them, deliberately illegal acts will continue to be seen as a risk worth taking.

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


  56.    LA Times – American businesses say working with China is getting harder, despite government rhetoric about free trade

    About one-fourth of U.S. companies have moved capacity out of China or plan to do so. Half are relocating to other parts of Asia, and a little more than a third are going to North America, a similar pattern to the previous year.

    The US mainstream media works overtime to avoid the issue of democracy: the lack thereof in dictatorial China under Xi and the Chinese Communist Party.

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  57.    1.4 Million Dollars to Demolish Blighted Properties in Schuylkill

    … blight lowers property values, strains the real estate market, hurts local schools, and breeds crime. By implementing this demolition program, they're hoping it has a positive impact on the overall safety and quality of life in Schuylkill County.

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  58.    Unreal Real Estate TV: The Fake and Sometimes Dark Side of House-Hunting, Renovating & Remodeling for Our Viewing Pleasure | E! News

    No wonder I've never watched any of these. How about you?

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


  59.    Could COAH ruling aid distressed properties? | NJBIZ

    "There are no environmental issues," he said. "It's not a vacant land issue, because it's the repurposing of lands that have been developed and have been approved. There are no storm water management issues, wetlands issues or endangered species issues because these are fully developed sites.

    "It's a win for environmentalists, a win for housing advocates, a win for municipalities and a win for suburban office assets under duress. It's very rare where you can paint a scenario where every stakeholder benefits."

    Too rosy?

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  60.    Ideological Macroeconomics & Increasing Inequality | WEA Pedagogy Blog

    Excellent article; highly recommended

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  61.    3 interest rate hikes in 2017? Not a chance | HousingWire

    … unless there's some massive tax cuts or infrastructure spending or deficit spending by the Trump administration, I just don't see an environment where they could raise rates three times," he said.

    Massive tax cuts won't help unless they are for the people who will spend it, and that would be after paying down debts and possibly setting some aside in savings.

    I don't see an overheating economy coming at all. Trump will have to change his stated economic plans for me to change my position.

    Will the GOP go along with a huge infrastructure-spending plan? They hate government spending, but they love privatizing.

    Public-private on the dole might suit them. We'll see. I think it's a terrible idea that will harm those who are already in bad situations.

    Trump thinks cheap jobs will placate them. I doubt it.

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  62.    Borrowing for their grandkids, Americans over 60 have quadrupled their student debt to $67 billion — Quartz

    The average annual tuition at four-year institutions nearly doubled from 2000 to 2014, to $24,706, and while tuition at private universities is much higher ($36,589), the biggest increases have come at public universities, as state legislatures have withheld tax dollars from higher education. Those sums don't include room, board, books or activity fees.

    Charging for a college education is one of the dumbest things the US has done to itself. If charging for college is smart, then charging for high school and even grade school is smart. Think about that.

    The line between public high school and public college is entirely arbitrary. There is no law of economics drawing that line, only ideology, bad ideology.

    Make public educational institutions free as far as the students can take it (do the work, get the grades), and forgive all student debts. Make sure the students have to pay nothing for room, board, transportation, equipment and supplies, etc. Then watch the economy take off as never before and within one generation (or less).

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  63.    A New Method to Rehabilitate Damaged Soils | Sustainable Cities Collective

    Great info:

    With SPR, rather than just putting some topsoil on top of highly compacted subsoil and then adding plant material — which is what is usually done on urban planting projects — you lay in 4" of compost and, using a backhoe, work backwards lifting large chunks and dropping them to break it up into cracks and 6" to 12" clumps. Then you add in topsoil in and till it really well. Then you can plant woody plants, and trees or shrubs.

    The roots grow down into the cracks and then grow and die, adding more organic matter and helping to sustain the health of the soil. That's how we create the condition to rebuild the structure. It's not particularly expensive or time-consuming; you just need compost and a backhoe.

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  64.    Ending the Econocracy: The Need for Pluralism in Economics – The Minskys

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  65.    Remedial Education: Federal Education Policy – Council on Foreign Relations

    Continuing the theme for why we need free college for everyone who can do the work:

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  66.    JPMorgan Ordered to Pay Damages for Firing Whistle-Blower – The New York Times

    The bank broke the law by retaliating against a broker who said he was pressured to sell unsuitable investment funds, the government said.

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  67.    10 Best Things To Know About Property Management Companies | RealtyBizNews: Real Estate News

    This is all one-sided. Plenty of landlords have plenty of horror stories about property-management firms. The real lesson is to do your due diligence concerning anyone you might be thinking about hiring.

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  68.    Multifamily Construction Slows but Demand Isn't Going Anywhere | Bull Realty, Inc. | #CRE Blog

    Essentially, even though it stands at a lower level, net absorption has remained healthy even as new construction slows. "This means that prospective home buyers have not abandoned the apartment market as rapidly as many had thought would do so by this stage of the expansion," said REIS.

    We certainly weren't surprise here at PropertyPak.

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  69.    Becoming a landlord is just a click away

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  70.    12 Surefire Ways to Increase Revenue in Your Apartment Complex

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


  71.    The Ultimate 34-Step Property Management Checklist

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


  72.    mainly macro: Kocherlakota's argument for fiscal expansion in the US

    Simon Wren-Lewis:

    An important point that Kocherlakota makes, and I have made in the past, is that you do not need to believe with certainty that we are below full employment or that demand will create its own supply. All you have to do is give it some significant probability of being true. You then look at the costs and benefits of pursuing an Evans type monetary policy weighted by this probability. A key point here is that the costs of a short term overshoot of the 2% target are likely to be a lot smaller than the cost of missing out on a percent or two of national output for potentially some time.

    Does this change my views on a prospective Trump stimulus package? Not really. There is a very strong case for more public sector investment on numerous grounds. But that investment should go to where it is most needed and where it will be of most social benefit, and I think it is very unlikely (along with I suspect most economists) that a Trump Presidency and a Republican House can deliver that. That extra public investment will give the economy the stimulus that could work with an Evans type monetary policy. From a macroeconomic viewpoint there seems no point in doubling up on stimulus through tax cuts, and in terms of how the Fed reacts it may even be counterproductive.

    That's been my view all along.

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  73.    This Chinese Province Says It Faked Fiscal Data for Several Years – Bloomberg

    Fiscal revenues were inflated by at least 20 percent, and some other economic data were also false ….

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  74.    Earth breaks heat record in 2016 for third year in a row

    El Nino made things hotter last year, but climate scientists rightly believe 2017 will still be a hot one.

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  75.    Deadly storms claim lives in Georgia – CNN.com

    At least 12 people were killed in severe weather that struck southern Georgia on Saturday night and Sunday, bringing the weekend death toll from storms to 16 across the Southeast.

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  76.    3 Ways Donald Trump's Climate Approach Is A US Economic Disaster | CleanTechnica

    Indications that Trump's administrators will slow fossil power plant retirements in the US, permit greater pollution in the US, kill programs supporting EV and clean energy manufacturing in the US, kill federal support for EV and clean energy adoption, and focus international relations around oil & gas extraction rather than climate action all indicate that Trump is headed in the wrong direction and the US economy will suffer as a result — during Trump's presidency, but even much more so in the decades that follow.

    The author overstates the limitedness of coal in the ground, but who wants to pull it out and burn it? I sure don't.

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  77.    How Solar Power Can Improve Air Quality in Urban Areas | Sustainable Cities Collective

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  78.    Here's what really caused the housing crisis – CBS News

    Why Larry Kudlow is a terrible choice to be Donald Trump's top economic-advisor: Larry doesn't know what he's talking about and will help run the economy back into the dirt.

    … a large number of subprime mortgages originated in non-CRA banks, and "none of the 300+ mortgage originators that imploded were depository banks covered by the CRA."

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  79.    Calculated Risk: Thoma: "Here's what really caused the housing crisis"

    Bill McBride:

    The regulators turned a blind eye to the loose lending and excessive concentrations. I was talking with field regulators in 2005 and 2006, and they were all terrified.

    I was deeply troubled even in 2003 about what I saw. As far as I was concerned, we went from irrational exuberance right into irrational exuberance. There was no break from one bubble (the dot come bubble) to the next (the housing bubble) in terms of irrational exuberance. Only, the housing bubble was worse for its lack of regulation, where those who should have known better lost their heads and sometimes their shirts. Of course, there were those who knew better and simply piled into bets against the system lasting.

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  80.    Good Times Seen Coming to End for China's Real Estate Bonds – Bloomberg

    Reality will assert itself whether the Communist Party dictator, Xi, wants it to or not.

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  81.    Baird exec to sell problem properties

    The lesson here is to never act as if your income property is on autopilot. Stay involved. Don't invest if you won't be overseeing your investments.

    "Mr. Herrick has realized that, even with having others manage the properties, attending to the needs of multi-tenant residential properties can be demanding. Given that, he's actively working to sell the properties noted in (news) stories to new owners."

    Baird and Herrick, the company's co-head of global trading for Baird's institutional equity services group, have attracted unwanted attention from Mayor Tom Barrett and several aldermen since the Journal Sentinel disclosed in December that Herrick was an owner of at least six limited liability companies owning Milwaukee rental properties, some of which had been targeted by city building inspectors for a wide range of code violations, including insect infestations, lack of smoke detectors and an inadequate number of storm windows.

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  82.    3D Printing to Disrupt Construction Industry Within 3 Years | Think Realty | A Real Estate of Mind

    This wave of the future is coming quickly.

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  83.    Karl Polanyi on the Rise of Fascism and Market Economy

    According to Karl Polanyi, the inherent failure of the laissez-faire-capitalism ideology in practice caused fascism as a response.

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  84.    Tennessee Wildfire Insurance Claims Top $842M

    … 3,900 claims and more than $842 million in [insured] residential and commercial property losses.

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  85.    Mississippi Tornado Kills 4, Causes At Least $200M in Insured Damage

    "I don't see how we survived …."

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  86.    Alarm System Broke 2 Days Before Fatal Massachusetts Apartment Fire

    Jump right on alarm problems.

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  87.    Washington Puts Landslide-Inspired Topo Maps Online

    The beams can make it through tree cover and some man-made features to show the landscape below.

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  88.    Recently Installed Smoke Detectors Credited for Saving 4 Lives in Vermont

    Smoke detectors really do help! Make sure you have the right kind, that the batteries are charged, that the detectors are tested regularly, and that old detectors are routinely replaced. Yes, they do have a lifespan (so far).

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


  89.    Drought-Weakened Trees Are Falling Hazards in Rainy California

    This is good to know, to be prepared, and to remove dead, dying, and overly weakened trees if necessary.

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  90.    Louisiana Governor: Homeowners Should Get Flood Plan Money by April

    … estimated 4,000 households will share in that money, only a fraction of the 112,000 homes estimated to have been damaged ….

    If you can afford insurance, don't forego it.

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  91.    Montana Will Pay $25M to Settle Asbestos Claims

    Asbestos-related disease can have a decadeslong latency period before lung problems and other symptoms appear.

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  92.    U.S. Seeing Increasingly Large-Scale Tornado Outbreaks

    Either the recent increases are not due to a warming climate, or a warming climate has implications for tornado activity that we don't understand.

    My money is on the latter. As far as I'm concerned, it's a sure thing. At this stage, it is impossible to remove AGW from climate and any weather event. It is amazing to me that "experts" argue against that. To me, it isn't whether or not but how much.

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  93.    Trump pick for budget director backs Medicare changes, promises debt cuts

    It would be nice to have a Director of the Office of Management and Budget who actually understands where governmental revenues come from. They do not come from taxes. The government creates the money via the Federal Reserve and the issuance of bonds. It can create all the money it wants. The only obstacle is wrongheaded ideology that uses the fear of hyperinflation as an excuse to keep the poor down so the superrich can be up relative to them (keep them as literal wage slaves).

    The thing is, Trump knows this.

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  94.    Don't Let Cost Segregation Scare You… | Bull Realty, Inc. | #CRE Blog

    … a cost segregation study, ("cost seg study" for short) is simply "an analysis of a building and its components." The IRS requires taxpayers for commercial buildings to depreciate a building over 39 years. Multi-family residential building owners get to depreciate the building 27.5 years. In both cases, property owners are allowed to write off certain site improvements over 15 years and then personal property over 7 or 5 years.

    A better name for it in this case might be a depreciation-segregation study or analysis.

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  95.    Intense Storms, Flooding Wallop California

    Long Beach received 3.87 inches, breaking the all-time daily record. Los Angeles got 2.78 inches, another record.

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


  96.    Man Charged with Setting New York Apartment Building on Fire

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


  97.    Man accused of false fire claim – News – The Daily News – Jacksonville, NC

    Grice allegedly told the insurance company the fire happened on Oct. 21, 2015, Thomas said, but the photos submitted were taken on Nov. 21, 2005.

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  98.    Contractor Arrested After Allegedly Cheating Wrightstown Homeowner – Newtown, PA Patch

    Even routine due diligence might not have spotted this.

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  99.    Ditching T.P.P. Won't Solve the Trade Deficit – The New York Times

    Because America is growing faster than other advanced economies, and because the Fed has increased interest rates while other central banks are holding them at zero or below, the value of the dollar has risen by over 20 percent since mid-2014. That appreciation helped put the brakes on manufacturing jobs; employment fell 45,000 in the factory sector last year.

    And the dollar's rise has accelerated since the election, up 3.5 percent since Nov. 7. If this trend continues unabated, we could lose over 200,000 more manufacturing jobs over the next few years, my estimates indicate.

    In the 1970s and '80s, as trade deficits became persistent, politicians did not hesitate to respond through these sorts of interventions. Our obsession with unfettered markets has since precluded such efforts, even though our trading partners have not been nearly so constrained. President Trump's ascendancy may change that equation. The question is whether his administration will get it right.

    They won't. They'll have to fail (Big) first before there's even a prayer of it.

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  100.    Global markets turn back on euro as economic woes reinforce dollar as the currency of choice

    This is because Angela Merkel was ordoliberal in the face of the Great Recession when what was needed was at the very least a Europe-wide social-democratic response (zero austerity but huge compassion!).

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  101.    Note to U.S. Senate: Here's What Happens When Dollar Rises 25% – Bloomberg

    … there's no need to deal with hypotheticals. Less than three years back, the U.S. currency jumped 26 percent in about eight months. While the current-account deficit stayed around the mid-2 percent range relative to gross domestic product, the dollar's strength dragged down American exports and inflation slowed. That helped reduce the Federal Reserve's appetite for normalizing interest rates.

    Exactly.

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  102.    RealPage® to Acquire Axiometrics® – News

    FYI

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