News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. May 3, 2017

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Table of Contents
(Click to sections below.)

1) Some Myths About Interest on Reserves | The Everyday Economist

2) Massive Maryland Fire Leads to Estimated $39M Loss

3) Real Estate Investors: Try Out These Free Web Tools to Evaluate Deals

4) Companies decry Trump plan to eliminate Energy Star program – StarTribune[dot]com

5) Halve immigration and print money: former NSW Treasury boss Percy Allen | afr[dot]com

6) Yes, the Stock and Bond Markets Can Both Be Right – Bloomberg View

7) Empty Nest Households Are on the Rise – Zillow Research

8) Why Virtual Reality is About to Revolutionize the Real Estate Industry

9) What happened the last time companies got a break on overseas profits

10) Follow the Money – Using Fiscal Policy to Drive Trade Rebalancing Turns Out To Be Hard

11) Big tax cuts for the rich, less for the poor | Center for Public Integrity

12) Kingsley: Real Estate Remains Most Attractive Asset Class for '17 | Chief Investment Officer

13) What Can Go Wrong In Real Estate: Financial Advisors' Daily Digest | Seeking Alpha

14) Hackers used Microsoft Word bug 'for months' – BBC News

15) Trump's Tax Plan Could Turn 'Everyone and Their Dog' Into an LLC – Bloomberg

16) Trump Tax Plan: National Debt Effects | Fortune[dot]com

17) Bank of Russia Answers Putin's Call With Frontloaded Easing – Bloomberg

18) Seattle's best neighborhoods for renting right this second – Curbed Seattle

19) Is There a Case to be Made for Political Antitrust?

20) How Drivers Dress-Up Old Cars with New Safety Tech

21) Trump Tax Plan Could Be Jackpot for Luxury Real Estate – Mansion Global

22) Cities Take a Stand Against the FCC's Proposed Net Neutrality Rollback

23) California seeks to block Trump order on oil and gas drilling | The Sacramento Bee

24) Why the euro crisis will happen again and Italy will be involved | Credit Writedowns Pro

25) Good Management Predicts a Firm's Success Better Than IT, R&D, or Even Employee Skills

26) GDP, Repatriation, Credit check – The Center of the Universe

27) Robots May Help Build Your Next Home and Fill the Labor Gap – Bloomberg

28) Did Bank of Canada just crash the Canadian property market?

29) CoreLogic Sees Signs of Credit Cracks

30) Economy off to a slow start for 2017 | Econbrowser

31) 8 Benefits Of Small House Living

32) Sorry Vancouver, But Toronto Is The King of Risky Mortgage Debt

33) The Landlord's Complete Guide to Tenant Bankruptcy Filings

34) Death Toll Rises to 11 as Floods, Tornadoes Batter South

35) Fed's Cut in Bond Holdings May Be Messier Than Yellen Hopes – Bloomberg

36) Poolside party becomes 'war zone' as gunman shoots seven, is killed by cops – The San Diego Union-Tribune

37) Bloomberg Interview: Trump Says He'll Sign Congress Spending Deal That Jettisons His Goals – Bloomberg

38) 'Living river' rejuvenates Napa, brings needed flood control – San Francisco Chronicle

39) The House Is Only Half Of It: The Importance Of The Neighborhood In Finding Home – Trulia's Blog

40) Huge Arctic report ups estimates of sea-level rise : Nature News & Comment

41) Risk Management — Risk-Based Approaches to Cybersecurity

42) Fed to Take Breather in May as Goals Nearing But Risks Linger – Bloomberg

43) Investing in Hong Kong multifamily housing | JLL

44) Mortgage experts agree: There is no housing bubble | HousingWire

45) Denouncing the Flaws of the EU is not Extremist, it's Necessary – The Minskys

46) Canada's Subprime Lenders Collapse; Has The Bubble Popped? – Home Capital Group Inc. | Seeking Alpha

47) Legal Marijuana Stores Linked to Increased Property Crime

48) In Your Corner team on the lookout for fly by night contractors | KFOR[dot]com

49) For A Treaty Democratizing Euro Area Governance – (T-Dem)

50) Glendale [Arizona] apartment rents climbed fastest in US in April

  1.     Some Myths About Interest on Reserves | The Everyday Economist

    Good overview …

    You may quibble. I do.

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


  2.     Massive Maryland Fire Leads to Estimated $39M Loss

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  3.     Real Estate Investors: Try Out These Free Web Tools to Evaluate Deals

    Nice job, very helpful …

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


  4.     Companies decry Trump plan to eliminate Energy Star program – StarTribune.com

    Energy Star, begun in 1992, is known for its blue-and-white star logo that appears on hundreds of products from washing machines to furnaces and computers. The program costs about $50 million per year to administer, while saving consumers more than $34 billion per year in reduced energy costs.

    The White House proposed eliminating the program, along with other programs at the Environmental Protection Agency, in its 2018 budget plan.

    "I don't know who recommended shutting down this program to the president, but I can assure you it was bad advice ….

    I wholeheartedly agree.

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


  5.     Halve immigration and print money: former NSW Treasury boss Percy Allen | afr.com

    This is what I've been saying year after year after year. It started to catch on, but the election unfortunately changed that (for awhile).

    One thing the professor has wrong is that it would necessarily cause the degree of inflation he's seeking. Real productivity would eat a great deal of what would otherwise cause inflation. He's counting on the Phillips Curve probably way too much in the short run. If he weren't to slow immigration, there wouldn't be the wage pressures either, which means Australia could release that much more money into the system without undue inflation. The rest of the economy would take care of itself. The sectors he's worried about would be offset and then some.

    Anyway, he's more on track than most. Good on him.

    The former head of NSW Treasury between 1985 and 1994 also argues that Australia should avoid mistakes made by Japan, Europe and the US when they resorted to quantitative easing after the 2008 crisis.

    By buying bonds from Wall Street banks, Professor Allan says the US Federal Reserve's QE program ended up funnelling a wave of money into existing stocks of bonds, shares and property, rather than producing genuine fresh capital investment.

    Professor Allan admits, with some trepidation, that Adolf Hitler used similar methods in Germany during the Great Depression. As did Abraham Lincoln when he needed to pay for the civil war, followed by the US government after World War II when it ran out of funds to pay troops stationed in Europe.

    "It may sound revolutionary but you have to go back to basic principles," Professor Allan says. "Why do quantitative easing? Who should the beneficiaries be? I personally think it should be the public interest."

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  6.     Yes, the Stock and Bond Markets Can Both Be Right – Bloomberg View

    It is the Fed's reaction to loosening financial conditions that eventually becomes cause for worry. In the past two cycles, the Fed continued to hike rates even after the yield curve inverted. In other words, typically it is later in the tightening cycle that we should worry about the divergence between stocks and bonds. While past performance is no guarantee of future returns, the economy remains at a stage of the cycle where a flat or rising stock market is more likely than a sustained decline.

    Oh, I think Tim is exactly right if we are going on history and the current situation. However, Trump is a wild card. Even Trump doesn't know what Trump will do (yet). If he gets his way, a recession will happen sooner. If he doesn't get his way, the Fed will slow, stop, and even reverse the tightening but gently, unless Yellen loses her mind or is replaced by someone who doesn't get it.

    I see the Fed backing off regardless. It's just a matter of how quickly. The exuberance over Trump is already waning a great deal. He's been stymied more than most expected he would be. Now, he's simply putting the same balls back in the air plus plenty of others. How's he going to drive hard bargains when so many others are going to start seeing through the smoke: that he backs up and comes back at it from a different angle? Won't they simply dig in their heels? He's probably not use to that response.

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  7.     Empty Nest Households Are on the Rise – Zillow Research

    Where to think multi-generational housing? The job market could change where unloading or buying real estate might be difficult, depending.

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


  8.     Why Virtual Reality is About to Revolutionize the Real Estate Industry

    Beyond the old virtual tour and video conferencing, we now have drone photography, interactive signage, 3D TV, and VR goggles.

    I'm thinking prospective renters would like viewing without driving, etc., too.

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


  9.     What happened the last time companies got a break on overseas profits

    It's unclear whether the Trump administration will tie any strings to what is done with the repatriated cash.

    The article covers exactly the things I discussed and questioned quite a bit before the Congressional Research Service released it's report. I specifically used the term "strings" in the very sense used in the article. If there aren't strings and if they aren't really well-targeted, then I'm not interested in the "repatriation."

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


  10.     Follow the Money – Using Fiscal Policy to Drive Trade Rebalancing Turns Out To Be Hard

    U.S. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin has embraced the argument that fiscal reflation in the surplus countries can help address global balance of payments imbalances. I agree. But it is kind of hard to square that argument with the Trump Administration's deficit raising tax proposals.

    That's true, unless you're a libertarian-capitalist relying upon the mythical Laffer Curve. I always think laugher curve.

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


  11.     Big tax cuts for the rich, less for the poor | Center for Public Integrity

    Many tenants are already really, really financially burdened. Any tax plan needs to relieve the suffering. Why do we tax people who are earning below the poverty line? It makes no sense. It's not an incentive but an increased burden.

    This is a solid article. It's no hit piece.

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  12.     Kingsley: Real Estate Remains Most Attractive Asset Class for '17 | Chief Investment Officer

    They apparently surveyed some highly knowledgeable investors.

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  13.     What Can Go Wrong In Real Estate: Financial Advisors' Daily Digest | Seeking Alpha

    Investors should expect a return slightly above the rate of inflation. U.S. real estate generated investment returns of about 10% annually from 1978 through 2008. This has led people to believe that real estate naturally appreciates in value. But data from 1919 to 2009 shows that real estate generally tracks inflation, not stock prices. This makes sense, since fixed assets do not naturally appreciate in price. In fact, homes tend to depreciate: roofs wear out, foundations need waterproofing, floors need refinishing, etc. It is true that the land may appreciate in value, but the house itself does not.

    Shiller, of Case-Shiller fame, makes this point often.

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  14.     Hackers used Microsoft Word bug 'for months' – BBC News

    Notice that they don't say specifically which setting was the problem.

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  15.     Trump's Tax Plan Could Turn 'Everyone and Their Dog' Into an LLC – Bloomberg

    "There are ways to write rules that would limit who could pay the lower rate — by eliminating service providers or restricting it to businesses below a certain size," Miller said.

    I don't see discriminating against service providers, but limiting the size would certainly mitigate some negatives.

    What about stock corporations converting to LLC's? I haven't seen anybody bringing that up. What's the maximum number of members? None. Then there's Form 8832 to be dealt with. Need a lawyer specializing in LLCs? Need a tax accountant who knows the ropes?

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  16.     Trump Tax Plan: National Debt Effects | Fortune.com

    Trump didn't get his ACA changes through. He's coming back to it. Meanwhile, he's also pushing his talking-points on tax cuts.

    Typically, cuts don't stimulate the economy. Reagans didn't (despite the noise you read to the contrary).

    What happens is that cuts lead to larger deficits and deficit hawks then clamor for governmental spending cuts usually focusing on benefits and entitlements to privatize them no matter whether doing so would be better or not for the People, as the deficit hawks want to benefit cronies.

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  17.     Bank of Russia Answers Putin's Call With Frontloaded Easing – Bloomberg

    Smarter central banking:

    The Bank of Russia is responding to pressure to lower rates and blunt the ruble's appeal as a carry trade, when investors borrow in countries where rates are lower and then invest the money where the returns are higher. The currency's gains have eroded budget revenue from dollar-denominated energy exports, with Putin saying this week the government is searching for "market-based measures" to affect the exchange rate after faltering attempts by officials to talk it down.

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  18.     Seattle's best neighborhoods for renting right this second – Curbed Seattle

    So, as a landlord/investor, do you use this sort of thinking when deciding where to buy?

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


  19.     Is There a Case to be Made for Political Antitrust?

    Economic entities (private and commercial) control the US government because they have out-sized deep pockets allowing them to purchase that control. One suggested solution is to break them up via what is termed political-antitrust action. Do we need political-trust busting?

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  20.     How Drivers Dress-Up Old Cars with New Safety Tech

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  21.     Trump Tax Plan Could Be Jackpot for Luxury Real Estate – Mansion Global

    The likelihood that the president's proposals will become law as they were presented Wednesday, however, is somewhere between "dead on arrival and significantly changed."

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  22.     Cities Take a Stand Against the FCC's Proposed Net Neutrality Rollback

    How will people be impacted who want to find rentals on the Internet? Will certain providers be favored over others because they pay more to the given ISP to not throttle them while their smaller competitors are throttled?

    The "light-touch regulatory framework … enabled the Internet to grow and evolve beyond almost anyone's expectations." This argument, however, ignores the changes in the telecommunications industry.

    With service providers increasingly merging with entertainment and media companies, like the AT&T/Time Warner merger or the 2009 Comcast acquisition of NBCUniversal, the past does not predict the future ….

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  23.     California seeks to block Trump order on oil and gas drilling | The Sacramento Bee

    "Why should we go back to the dirty, dangerous and destructive policies of the '60s, '70s and '80s?"

    Exactly!

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  24.     Why the euro crisis will happen again and Italy will be involved | Credit Writedowns Pro

    Everything that Goodhart said in 1997 is still true today in 2017. And it isn't Belgium that is the problem child these days; it is Italy, a much bigger and more important country for Emu. And everything Goodhart said about an ageing and economically sclerotic Belgium in 1997 is true in spades for Italy in 2017.

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  25.     Good Management Predicts a Firm's Success Better Than IT, R&D, or Even Employee Skills

    It turns out that good management is not necessarily so obvious. It's relatively rare and incredibly valuable. It shapes the fates of companies, their workers, and entire economies. And we need more of it.

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


  26.     GDP, Repatriation, Credit check – The Center of the Universe

    This is a mixed report with the weakness in consumer spending not fitting with the strength in investment. Still, all the sky high confidence readings in the quarter did nothing to help actual spending.

    And, if you read this blog regularly, you know I'm not surprised at all.

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  27.     Robots May Help Build Your Next Home and Fill the Labor Gap – Bloomberg

    Did somebody say that robotics will make the immigrant-labor issue moot? No? Well, I just did.

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


  28.     Did Bank of Canada just crash the Canadian property market?

    I'm concerned here that this avoids a proper correction in the face of certain real-estate bubbles in Canada. Surely there are better ways to keep the economy afloat than to simply rely upon conventional monetary easing. Maybe that's addressed elsewhere on the blog site.

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


  29.     CoreLogic Sees Signs of Credit Cracks

    I hope we don't re-enter the Wild West of the lead-up to the Great Recession, with all the Wall Street shenanigans of liars' loans and no-doc loans and the rest. I know it sounds impossible, but lending has already loosened way beyond what's rational in this mixed economy and the deregulators just never seem to give up trying to create a boom so they can also cash in on the crash they cause while the rest of society becomes worse off.

    Khater concludes, "Historically, when the mortgage credit cycle begins to deteriorate it continues to do so until the economy bottoms and the credit cycle begins to improve again. While the deterioration in mortgage performance is very small and rising from very low levels, it is important to track because turning points are critical but difficult to identify in real time."

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  30.     Economy off to a slow start for 2017 | Econbrowser

    This guy, James Hamilton, is a good economist. So I clicked through to see whether he mentioned the weather. He didn't. The poor weather stepped on the employment rate. It certainly negatively impacted GDP too. I can't tell you the lag times, because they vary so much and I don't have the time or setup to run the numbers. It's not my job! Though I am interested. Hint, hint.

    Overall, this is consistent with the impression that while soft data such as sentiment surveys suggested that U.S. growth might be accelerating, support from hard data just doesn't seem to be there so far. Even so, I do not see a reason to be overly alarmed by the first-quarter report.

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  31.     8 Benefits Of Small House Living

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  32.     Sorry Vancouver, But Toronto Is The King of Risky Mortgage Debt

    Will they back off in time or continue the worsening trend to a crash rather then a manageable, artificially induced correction?

    People taking out high-ratio mortgages combined with incomes too low for the property value, is spreading across Canada. A high-ratio mortgage is defined as a mortgage where the buyer leaves less than a 20% downpayment. The BoC and MoF have both expressed concern when high-ratio mortgages are paired with high income-to-loan ratios. The amount of high risk buyers is increasing as markets reach dizzying heights, especially in urban areas.

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


  33.     The Landlord's Complete Guide to Tenant Bankruptcy Filings

    Tenants need to be informed of the drawbacks in filing for bankruptcy. Their credit is damaged. It's on their record for quite a while. You may be wise to compromise while they find a place to go and actually move. Be careful about accepting partial payments too. Research these issues well beyond this so you'll be prepared. If they wipe out their other debts, they may actually be able to afford to stay. So, how good were they as tenants otherwise before they were hit by whatever slashed their income?

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  34.     Death Toll Rises to 11 as Floods, Tornadoes Batter South

    At least thirteen people are dead and dozens more injured as severe storms have brought flooding and tornadoes to Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas over the weekend.

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  35.     Fed's Cut in Bond Holdings May Be Messier Than Yellen Hopes – Bloomberg

    … some Fed watchers argue that the Treasury Department will have a greater say than the Fed in determining the impact of a reduction in the central bank's $2.5 trillion portfolio of U.S. government securities.

    That's because the department has to decide how to make up for the financing it will lose when the Fed begins to allow bonds to roll off as they mature rather than reinvesting the proceeds.

    … if the Treasury opts to issue more longer-dated securities …, that would put upward pressure on Treasury and corporate bond yields and mortgage rates, with implications for the housing market and the broader economy. [Who's going to buy 50-year Treasurys if short-term interest rates are going to go up? Wouldn't savvy investors bail on their long-term bonds and buy short-term ones or none at all?]

    Whether the drawdown goes smoothly or not, the eventual size of the balance sheet will be partly determined by global demand for cash, which is outside the Fed's control. It will also be affected by how much reserves commercial banks want to hold, said former Fed official Eric Swanson.

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  36.     Poolside party becomes 'war zone' as gunman shoots seven, is killed by cops – The San Diego Union-Tribune

    Even if you disallow guns in your apartment complex, it's difficult to prevent someone bringing one onto the premises. What can you do to prevent this sort of thing and deal with it if it does happen?

    One thing is for sure, if we don't, as a society, start to understand how much damage is done by our economic system that allows people to fall into such debt, we're never going to get beyond the violent consequences. With automation coming at the speed of light, we need to get a guaranteed living (not basic, not poverty line) income in place ASAP!

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


  37.     Bloomberg Interview: Trump Says He'll Sign Congress Spending Deal That Jettisons His Goals – Bloomberg

    This is just an FYI. I won't comment other than to say that political reality always differs from campaign promises no matter how hard the former candidate tries to stick to them (and I'm not saying here how hard Trump has been trying, or will try, to stick to his).

    An aside: It's easy to confuse omnibus appropriations with budget reconciliations. Just because something is in the Omnibus doesn't mean it will ultimately not be defunded, etc.

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


  38.     'Living river' rejuvenates Napa, brings needed flood control – San Francisco Chronicle

    Flood control and dual-use park …

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  39.     The House Is Only Half Of It: The Importance Of The Neighborhood In Finding Home – Trulia's Blog

    Renters usually can't afford to be picky, but the factors still remain important. So, invest wisely neighborhood-wise.

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


  40.     Huge Arctic report ups estimates of sea-level rise : Nature News & Comment

    The report increases projections for global sea-level rise, which takes into account all sources of melting including the Arctic. Their new minimum estimates are now almost double those issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2013 for some emissions scenarios. In fact, the latest calculations suggest that the IPCC's middle estimates for sea-level rise should now be considered minimum estimates.

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


  41.     Risk Management — Risk-Based Approaches to Cybersecurity

    When using risk-based approaches for proactive technology reviews and business planning, you first identify the risks (commonly known as a threat model when dealing with cybersecurity), prioritize them, and then go about building a set of controls or mitigations in order to address these risks.

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  42.     Fed to Take Breather in May as Goals Nearing But Risks Linger – Bloomberg

    It's worth noting that most Fed officials did not explicitly factor fiscal changes into their forecasts, though they saw them as an an upside risk. That means they expect the economy to perform to their expectations even absent a tax-cut boost or new government spending.

    Don't you more than suspect that they're glad Trump won't get all that he wants in these areas? Keep in mind that the Fed in general complained (softly, but still complained) that the US government didn't do nearly enough to help the Fed to repair the damage: that the Congress should have stimulated a great deal more (which it should have).

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  43.     Investing in Hong Kong multifamily housing | JLL

    Data from the By-census and JLL shows that the median rent to income ratio stood at 30.7 per cent in 2016, compared with the mortgage debt payment to income ratio of over 40 per cent for an average-sized flat.

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


  44.     Mortgage experts agree: There is no housing bubble | HousingWire

    "There is no housing bubble. There has been what we feel is a steady growth."

    Bozorgi explained that he is not seeing anything remotely close to what the industry saw post 2007 and 2008.

    So America isn't in a bubble but is it in a recession?

    Duncan said they do expect in a few years to see recession-like conditions. However, he added that housing would perform relatively better in a recession.

    Fratantoni added to Duncan's point and stated, "we are already at recession levels in homebuilding."

    Prices are inflated due to insufficient construction, not insufficient demand.

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  45.     Denouncing the Flaws of the EU is not Extremist, it's Necessary – The Minskys

    I don't consider Macron a centrist but right-wing. I think in economic terms in matters of left versus right. Nevertheless, I do agree with the following:

    Mélenchon's take on the EU … very different. His platform's "Plan A" was to push for EU-wide reforms that aimed at bringing growth and strengthening mutual support amongst member states. He criticized the EU for becoming a place ruled by banks and finance, and his goal was to leverage France's influence within the bloc to end austerity policies in all member states. If these negotiations with other EU members failed, then there was a "Plan B" that called for France to leave the euro and the EU in order to pursue a stimulus plan, which is not permitted under the deficit limits imposed by current EU regulation.

    Macron's platform consists of neoliberal platitudes that espouse values such as tolerance and acceptance of immigrants, while advocating for austerity and dismantling of social protections under the guise of increasing efficiency and "modernizing" the French economy. Macron pledged to reduce France's deficit below 3 percent, as mandated by the EU, while also cutting taxes. To achieve both goals, Macron would undoubtedly have to slash government spending, which would most likely have a negative impact on the economy overall.

    The structure of the euro was established by the Maastricht Treaty which laid down the groundwork for how the EU and the euro area ought to be set-up institutionally. The treaty arbitrarily established yearly deficit limits for countries at 3 percent of GDP. After the crisis, the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Uni on expanded the influence of the European Commission, an unelected body, to impose policies on member states. EU institutions have used the deficit limit as justification to dictate a neoliberal agenda, characterized by imposing austerity measures and pro-business structural reforms on member states, with very little consideration on the worsening of unemployment, poverty, and other social indicators.

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  46.     Canada's Subprime Lenders Collapse; Has The Bubble Popped? – Home Capital Group Inc. | Seeking Alpha

    Insightful?

    Assuming the subprime lenders such as Equitable and Home Capital are wiped out, it's likely those failures would cause hits for the bigger banks one way or another – in the same manner that the likes of Countrywide and IndyMac collapsing caused collateral damage in 2008.

    It seems naive to me to assume that the Canadian banks would get through a housing collapse unscathed. Yes, I grant the system is far more stable than America's, and mortgage insurance makes it likely that taxpayers directly foot the bill (rather than indirectly via bailouts as we did in the US). However, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Canadian banks tumble 30% or more as investors go from complacent to nervous and react by aggressively unloading banking shares.

    Zooming out even farther, there's little reason to expect Canada's housing troubles to spread beyond that country's borders. I know there's a grand theory that all the world's various housing bubbles (including the likes of Australia and New Zealand) will blow up at once. Supposedly, rising interest rates are going to cause a global liquidity squeeze and cause marginal buyers in all these overheated small markets to disappear at once.

    In a world where the US dollar and interest rates keep spiking higher, I guess this sort of thing could play out. However, real estate tends to be at most a national market, if not even more local than that. (I will grant that much of the EU experienced a bubble prior to the financial crisis, but that's the exception, not the rule). Bubbles such as the Canadian one can and will pop due to local developments, such as taxes on foreigners and newly-imposed empty house fines, rather than international macroeconomics. If anything, Canada rejecting Asian money should support house prices in Australia – that Chinese money still has to go somewhere for safe-keeping after all.

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  47.     Legal Marijuana Stores Linked to Increased Property Crime

    The results show that legal marijuana sales come with a cost, said Bridget Freisthler, lead author of the study and professor of social work at The Ohio State University.

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  48.     In Your Corner team on the lookout for fly by night contractors | KFOR.com

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  49.     For A Treaty Democratizing Euro Area Governance – (T-Dem)

    I think their prescription is woefully insufficiently democratic, but …

    Characterized by its informality and opacity, the central institution of that government, the Eurogroup of Finance Ministers of the Euro Area, operates outside the framework of the European treaties and is in no way accountable to the European Parliament, nor to national parliaments. Worse, the institutions that form the backbone of that government – from the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Commission to the Eurogroup and the European Council – operate following combinations that constantly vary from one policy to the other (Troika Memoranda, European Semester 'budgetary recommendations' and bank 'evaluations' under the Banking Union).

    Both mighty and elusive, the government of the Euro Area evolved in a blind spot of political controls, in some sort of democratic black hole. … In view of its opacity and isolation, the many criticisms voiced against that Euro Area government seem well deserved, starting with Jürgen Habermas' denunciation of a "post-democratic autocracy".

    … It is high time to get rid of the opacity and lack of political accountability which have so far characterised this new European power by inserting a democratically elected institution at its heart. …

    … No institutional reform, however well-thought-out it may be, has ever sufficed to change course. Everyone is conscious that a new body will not by itself change Europe's political destiny. Ultimately, a thorough review of the European project will become unavoidable. …

    … It is now up to political parties and civil society organizations to seize this opportunity to liberate European politics from these technocratic trenches and remove us from this pernicious alternative of helpless national retreat and the status quo of Brussels economic policies.

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  50.     Glendale [Arizona] apartment rents climbed fastest in U.S. in April

    Due to a lack of construction:

    Living in a Glendale apartment just got pricier. Rents in the West Valley city are climbing faster than anywhere else in the U.S., according to new research.

    The average cost to lease an apartment in Glendale jumped 11.5 percent in April, reports national real-estate research firm ABODO.

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


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Hill & Usher (PropertyPak™ is a division) has many insurance offerings. See our menu above for more info and links.

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Note: This blog does not provide legal, financial, or accounting advice. Seek professional counsel.

Furthermore, we, as insurance producers, are prohibited by law from disparaging the insurance industry, carriers, other producers, etc. With that in mind, we provide links without staking out positions that violate the law. We provide them solely from a public-policy standpoint wherein we encourage our industry to be sure our profits, etc., are fair and balanced.

We do not necessarily fact checked the contents of every linked article or page, etc.

If we were to conclude any part or parts of our industry are in violation of fundamental fairness and the legal standards of a state or states, we'd address the issue through proper, legal channels. We trust you understand.

The laws that tie our tongues, so to speak, are designed to keep the public from losing confidence in the industry and the regulatory system overseeing it. Insurance commissioners around the country work very hard to analyze rates and to not allow the industry to be damaged by bad rate-settings and changes in coverages. The proper way for people in the industry to deal with such matters is by adhering to the laws, rules, and regulations of the applicable states and within industry associations where such matters may be discussed in private without giving the industry unnecessary black eyes. Ethics is very high on the list in the insurance industry, and we don't want to lose the people's trust. That said, the industry is not perfect; but what industry is?

For our part, we believe in strong regulations and strong regulators.

We welcome your comments and ask you to keep in mind that we cannot and will not reply in any way or ways where any insurance commissioner could rightly say we've violated the law of the given state.

We are allowed to share rating-bureau data/reports and industry-consultant opinions but make clear here that those opinions are theirs and do not necessarily reflect our position.

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