News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Aug. 29, 2017

Linking ≠ endorsement.

Table of Contents
(Click to sections below.)

1) Merkel Defends Her Party's Position on Debt – Bloomberg

2) Freddie Mac extends appraisal-free mortgage program to purchase loans

3) Trump administration halts research on mountaintop removal coal mining | TheHill

4) Kansas City Flooding Kills 1; Residents Stranded on Roofs | The Weather Channel

5) Local unions, schools are trying to head off a trade-worker jobs crisis – Chicago Tribune

6) Social Security A Success Story: Can It Withstand Republican Privatization Attacks? – YouTube

7) Here's why new home sales tanked

8) Tips & Tricks From an Attorney: Here's How I'd Protect My Real Estate Assets

9) Hurricane Harvey barrels toward coast as Texans prepare for worst | Fox News

10) Study: Exxon Misled Public About Climate Change for 40 Years

11) LA's response to homeless encampments 'isn't working,' councilman says

12) Alaska's Permafrost Is Thawing – The New York Times

13) Row escalates between France, Poland over EU labor reforms | World News | qctimes[dot]com

14) Rauner vetoes bill to raise Illinois' minimum wage to $15 an hour – Chicago Tribune

15) Tanker Crosses Arctic Without Icebreaker for First Time Due to Rapid Melting of Sea Ice

16) Wildfire threat continues across Western Washington | Q13 FOX News

17) Refugees have little effect on native worker wages | VOX, CEPR's Policy Portal

18) No alternative to austerity? That lie has now been nailed | Owen Jones | Opinion | The Guardian

19) Germany slammed for domestic under spending by Nobel prize-winning economist | The Independent

20) Hurricane Harvey ALERT™ :: Event Summary

21) Researchers Use Planes to Map Oklahoma Earthquake Faults

22) Honolulu Postpones Fire Sprinkler Retrofit Requirement

23) Robot Adds to Security in Posh Houston Neighborhood

24) Insurance adjuster indicted for phony claims after 2012 hail storms

25) Trump FEMA Chief Backs Reducing Federal Role in Disaster Relief, Flood Insurance

26) Home Telematics Startup Roost Raises $10.4M from Insurers

27) Massachusetts Fire Chief Hospitalized After Explosive Blaze Hits Three Homes

28) Oklahoma Agency Wants to Install 72 Seismic Stations

29) Firefighters Battle Apartment Fire In Heart Of Greenwood – Seattle, WA Patch

30) Long-Term Outlook for Rental Apartments Remains Positive | National Real Estate Investor

31) Impact of Tax Code Reform on 1031 Exchanges – CRE Blog | CommercialSearch

32) Sandy-Level Hurricanes May Occur Every Five Years Due to Climate Change – YouTube

33) Phillips Curve Doesn't Help Forecast Inflation, Fed Study Finds – Bloomberg

34) Universal Basic Income as the Social Vaccine of the 21st Century

35) The Nitrogen Problem: Why Global Warming Is Making It Worse – Yale E360

36) National Weather Service: Rainfall from Harvey could reach 50 inches in some spots, highest ever recorded in Texas – The Washington Post

37) Texans to be hit with new insurance law making it harder to win contested claims, just one week after Harvey | The Independent

38) Trump Promises Full Federal Support for Regions Hit by Harvey – Bloomberg

39) How Donald Trump and Elaine Chao Sold Off Flood-Control Policy to the Highest Bidders | The Nation

40) Suddenly, Russia Plans To Ban Cryptocurrency Sales To 'Ordinary People'

41) Dokalam standoff: The shift in the China-Russia power balance sharpen post-Dokalam challenges for India

42) Flood insurance splits GOP, spurs bipartisan dealmaking as deadline looms – POLITICO

43) Some 47,000 Vacant Apartments Will Help Houston Cope with Flooding Aftermath – MPF Research

44) Floods kill over 1 200 in India, Nepal and Bangladesh | News24

45) United States 5 Year Note Yield | 1962-2017 | Data | Chart | Calendar

46) My prediction: the coming collapse of China's Ponzi scheme economy

47) No Hesitations: New p-Value Thresholds for Statistical Significance

48) Public Adjuster Charged With Insurance Fraud, Serves As Warning During Hurricane

49) California Flood Protection Means More Room for Rivers

50) Many Houston Properties Not in FEMA Flood Zones Get Soaked

51) How the Insurance Industry Can Push Us to Prepare for Climate Change

52) Security Firms Unite to Bring Down WireX Android DDoS Botnet

  1.    Merkel Defends Her Party's Position on Debt – Bloomberg

    Where's the understanding of Modern Monetary Theory? Austerity is a joke. All decent economists know it. If Germany hadn't taken the approach it did but had done the right things in the face of the Great Recession, it would have been over long ago for the entirety of Europe and hyper-price inflation would not have resulted and Germany would not be under anything remotely like a mountain of debt. In fact, Germany could have done the right thing without adding a penny of national debt. The bankers don't want that discussed.

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


  2.    Freddie Mac extends appraisal-free mortgage program to purchase loans

    I think it's a terrible idea. Individual properties can be greatly overvalued in ways that "big data" just isn't going to show soon.

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


  3.    Trump administration halts research on mountaintop removal coal mining | TheHill

    Everyone knows there are major health risks living near mountaintop removal coal mining sites, but communities living with daily health threats were counting on finally getting the full story from the professionals at the National Academies of Science.

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


  4.    Kansas City Flooding Kills 1; Residents Stranded on Roofs | The Weather Channel

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


  5.    Local unions, schools are trying to head off a trade-worker jobs crisis – Chicago Tribune

    Pay, benefits, job security, training, safety, hours, transportation, flexibility, challenge, are just a few things potential workers consider.

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


  6.    Social Security A Success Story: Can It Withstand Republican Privatization Attacks? – YouTube

    Republicans continue to launch efforts to privatize and dismantle the very efficient Social Security program says economist Dean Baker.

    If they privatize and mess it up, which would be the result, your tenants on Social Security (and your loved ones) could suffer and not be able to make the payments they are already squeezed to meet.

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


  7.    Here's why new home sales tanked

    We must subsidize building affordable housing (for sale and rent) or our economy will continue suffering needlessly.

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


  8.    Tips & Tricks From an Attorney: Here's How I'd Protect My Real Estate Assets

    The image in the post is of boxing gloves. I'd say the article is more bare fisted.

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


  9.    Hurricane Harvey barrels toward coast as Texans prepare for worst | Fox News

    It was very short notice. Maybe that will be reported yet. I assume so but we'll see.

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


  10.    Study: Exxon Misled Public About Climate Change for 40 Years

    If the allegations are true and your property values suffer as a landlord, what does Exxon owe you?

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


  11.    LA's response to homeless encampments 'isn't working,' councilman says

    This is rather matter-of-fact reporting, so I don't want to assign motives to the authors or publication. What I do want to say is that the way of dealing with the homelessness crisis outlined in the article is typical and typically completely wrong.

    The proper way to deal with homelessness on any scale, and it's large in LA, is not to balance the desires of the middle and upper economic classes against the homeless but rather to focus 100% on assisting the homeless with whatever real needs they have. Doing that properly will take care of all the concerns of the higher economic classes automatically and without running afoul of necessary sympathy, empathy, compassion, and successful action for the destitute.

    Systemic homelessness is unacceptable, and the powers that be should be ashamed not to be doing everything possible to help the needy. Poverty is a choice of government and those who control it. The right choices could easily be made and poverty all but completely eliminated rather quickly.

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


  12.    Alaska's Permafrost Is Thawing – The New York Times

    Meanwhile, some politicians and industrialists want to ramp up coal burning, exactly what we don't need right now.

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


  13.    Row escalates between France, Poland over EU labor reforms | World News | qctimes.com

    Posted workers, while abroad, continue to pay into the tax and social security systems of their home countries, allowing their employers to hire them for less than workers in Western countries where government taxes are generally higher.

    How long are they allowed to do that?

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


  14.    Rauner vetoes bill to raise Illinois' minimum wage to $15 an hour – Chicago Tribune

    The University of Washington study was criticized by some economists and advocates for methodological problems. Other research has found minimum wage increases lift pay without [meant with] little or no impact on jobs. Advocates said the minimum wage hike could have increased the pay of 2.3 million people in Illinois.

    The truth of the matter is that those at the top of the capital pyramid know that a higher minimum wage does not hurt workers but helps them. The real reason those at the top don't want the increases is because they want to keep the working class weak so it won't be strong enough to continue asking for and getting more of their fair share. Getting more of their fair share would mean less profits to the hyper-greedy who are getting much more than their fair share right now.

    Yes, it's really that simple.

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


  15.    Tanker Crosses Arctic Without Icebreaker for First Time Due to Rapid Melting of Sea Ice

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


  16.    Wildfire threat continues across Western Washington | Q13 FOX News

    Tuesday was the first time DNR had to call on a modified DC-9 airtanker to help fight fires on the west side of the mountains.

    It has been extremely dry.

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


  17.    Refugees have little effect on native worker wages | VOX, CEPR's Policy Portal

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


  18.    No alternative to austerity? That lie has now been nailed | Owen Jones | Opinion | The Guardian

    This is how it's done. It's living proof that Margaret Thatcher was dead wrong.

    The economic rationale of the new Portuguese government was clear. Cuts suppressed demand: for a genuine recovery, demand had to be boosted. The government pledged to increase the minimum wage, reverse regressive tax increases, return public sector wages and pensions to their pre-crisis levels — the salaries of many had plummeted by 30% — and reintroduce four cancelled public holidays. Social security for poorer families was increased, while a luxury charge was imposed on homes worth over €600,000 (£550,000).

    The promised disaster did not materialise. By the autumn of 2016 — a year after taking power — the government could boast of sustained economic growth, and a 13% jump in corporate investment. And this year, figures showed the deficit had more than halved, to 2.1% — lower than at any time since the return of democracy four decades ago. Indeed, this is the first time Portugal has ever met eurozone fiscal rules. Meanwhile, the economy has now grown for 13 successive quarters.

    During the years of cuts, charities warned of a "social emergency". Now the Portuguese government can offer itself as a model to the rest of the continent.

    May we say, "Told ya so."

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


  19.    Germany slammed for domestic under spending by Nobel prize-winning economist | The Independent

    Germany is an economic drag. We all know that. Yes, Germany spending more would stimulate Europe. However, a system in which Germany needs to be cajoled or embarrassed is not a good system.

    The real problem is that the EU is not grassroots democratic. Reform the EU. If Germany refuses, leave that EU and form a different uniting entity, such as the United States of Europe.

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


  20.    Hurricane Harvey ALERT™ :: Event Summary

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


  21.    Researchers Use Planes to Map Oklahoma Earthquake Faults

    "We're still learning a lot about how injection creates earthquakes," Shah said.

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


  22.    Honolulu Postpones Fire Sprinkler Retrofit Requirement

    Where's the money going to come from? Where did the money come from to bail out the "Too Big to Fail" banks?

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


  23.    Robot Adds to Security in Posh Houston Neighborhood

    I'm surprised more isn't being made of the threshold we've very recently crossed.

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


  24.    Insurance adjuster indicted for phony claims after 2012 hail storms

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


  25.    Trump FEMA Chief Backs Reducing Federal Role in Disaster Relief, Flood Insurance

    "Why is the federal government continuing to foot the bill to rebuild properties we know are going to flood again?"

    Anthropogenic Global Warming is a fact. People bought properties before that was known. They now face risks that didn't exist before AGW. What are we going to do, leave them stuck with the bill? Letting them stay in housing that will flood again for sure and the government flood insurance program paying for the repairs and/or reconstruction makes no sense. Paying for them to move without taking an economic hit makes good sense.

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


  26.    Home Telematics Startup Roost Raises $10.4M from Insurers

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


  27.    Massachusetts Fire Chief Hospitalized After Explosive Blaze Hits Three Homes

    This was bad but obviously could have easily turned out much worse considering the propane-tank explosions.

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


  28.    Oklahoma Agency Wants to Install 72 Seismic Stations

    "There's been nothing like the scale of the environmental experiment that's being conducted right now in the state of Oklahoma."

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


  29.    Firefighters Battle Apartment Fire In Heart Of Greenwood – Seattle, WA Patch

    I didn't see any follow-ups, so I assume it wasn't that bad.

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


  30.    Long-Term Outlook for Rental Apartments Remains Positive | National Real Estate Investor

    … developers will need to build an average 325,000 new apartments each year through 2030. Over the past five years, from 2012 through 2016, developers have completed an average of 225,000 new apartments per year.

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


  31.    Impact of Tax Code Reform on 1031 Exchanges – CRE Blog | CommercialSearch

    In 2014, the National Association of REALTORS study suggests that some 39% of transaction volume was associated with 1031 related deals.

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


  32.    Sandy-Level Hurricanes May Occur Every Five Years Due to Climate Change – YouTube

    Leading climatologist Benjamin Horton talks about recent reports from NASA and NOAA showing increasingly higher global temperatures, and explains why the dangerous human-caused trend could spell disaster.

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


  33.    Phillips Curve Doesn't Help Forecast Inflation, Fed Study Finds – Bloomberg

    Wow, I've been decades ahead of them: toot-toot (that's my own horn). You're not supposed to toot your own horn (the old saying goes). Gee, who else will? Ha!

    I'm just having some fun with it. Life is serious stuff, but fun isn't inherently evil even in the face of troubled times. Sure, there're times and places when fun would be plain wrong, but nevertheless. I've been right about the Phillips Curve, and I'm glad more people are seeing the light.

    Oh, I'm far from alone on it.

    The Curve may not be totally dead, but it has been severely weakened. I fully expect the "experts" to finally get a better handle on why. When they do, they'll be echoing things I've been writing on this blog for years.

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


  34.    Universal Basic Income as the Social Vaccine of the 21st Century

    I can't overstate how much I hate these "basic income" articles. I don't hate them because I'm against a universal income. I'm not at all. I hate them because they show a profound ignorance about where money comes from and the sources of price inflation. That ignorance is used to limit the amount of income suggested as the universal income.

    Money comes from nothing but the decision to create it. Price inflation comes from too much money in circulation demanding more in goods and services than the economy can produce.

    We can create the money necessary for everyone to have multiples in income over the current poverty line without causing any price inflation in general. We simply target meeting the demand by issuing that much more money to goods and services providers. If too much heat results and price inflation starts to become a problem, we simply reduce the income or increase the tax to wring it out. We don't need any borrowing or interest involved in any of it.

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


  35.    The Nitrogen Problem: Why Global Warming Is Making It Worse – Yale E360

    This is why organic farming is soooo much better. Not only that, but organic farming done correctly reduces CO2 and global warming.

    This issue does impact your real estate investments. Do you take care of your property?

    Why not take that sort of care for the whole planet, considering that your property is on the Earth and this is our home planet, right? Perhaps you're way ahead of me on that.

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


  36.    National Weather Service: Rainfall from Harvey could reach 50 inches in some spots, highest ever recorded in Texas – The Washington Post

    Jaw-dropping …

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


  37.    Texans to be hit with new insurance law making it harder to win contested claims, just one week after Harvey | The Independent

    Okay, so one would, if he or she didn't know me, assume I'd not post an article such as this. Well, under law, I'm forbidden from disparaging the insurance industry. I've never navigated that (what some insurance brokers might consider to be a legal minefield), but I do want to address this article to shed some additional light. I want to do that with you knowing that I can't join in, in ripping the industry even if I were to want to.

    Here's some of what people need to keep in mind when evaluating the views expressed in the article. There truly are people who file fraudulent insurance claims. It was so bad in Texas that it was viewed as an industry in and of itself and headed up by certain lawyers driving it. Of course, there are and were gray-area claims made. That though did not and does not excuse blatant fraud by policy holders and/or their representatives aiding and abetting and often spearheading such fraud.

    Does that sound like an excuse for insurance industry mistakes? Well, also keep in mind that if you are a policy holder or an insured under any policy, fraud against the insurance industry committed by others hurts you when you have a valid claim. It hurts you for the very reasons the industry moved in Texas to push through the laws it did. Because of the fraud of others, your valid claim is more scrutinized than it otherwise would be. That costs everyone time and money that could otherwise go into paying claims quickly and in-full in many more cases. It drives up premiums. It causes the industry to pull back from offering greater coverage. I could go on and on about it.

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


  38.    Trump Promises Full Federal Support for Regions Hit by Harvey – Bloomberg

    President Trump said the right things. Doing them is a different matter. For the sake of everyone, I hope he can make happen what he's called for on this.

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that any bill should be exempt from budget caps that require offsetting new spending with cuts.

    She's right.

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


  39.    How Donald Trump and Elaine Chao Sold Off Flood-Control Policy to the Highest Bidders | The Nation

    "This is climate science denial at its most dangerous," said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune in mid-August. He stressed that the administration's moves were "putting vulnerable communities, federal employees, and families at risk by throwing out any guarantee that our infrastructure will be safe."

    I hope President Trump will see Harvey as a wake-up call on this. He's been completely wrong about Anthropogenic Global Warming (driven so far mostly by carbon-fuel burning).

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


  40.    Suddenly, Russia Plans To Ban Cryptocurrency Sales To 'Ordinary People'

    Russia is way out front on this issue. I'm in complete agreement with this plan. I hope they do exactly what's suggested.

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


  41.    Dokalam standoff: The shift in the China-Russia power balance sharpen post-Dokalam challenges for India

    As my readers know, I'm no fan of the true dictator Xi. I'm adamantly opposed to the coercive one-party state. What China needs is truly open, honest, direct, grassroots democracy. All nations need it.

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


  42.    Flood insurance splits GOP, spurs bipartisan dealmaking as deadline looms – POLITICO

    "It just does not make a lot of sense that all NFIP policyholders should continue to pay higher rates to subsidize a few properties that file repeated claims after repeated floods," ….

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


  43.    Some 47,000 Vacant Apartments Will Help Houston Cope with Flooding Aftermath – MPF Research

    This report strikes me as premature in its wording. I'll be interested in seeing an update in few a weeks.

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


  44.    Floods kill over 1 200 in India, Nepal and Bangladesh | News24

    The impacts of Anthropogenic Global Warming are truly global.

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


  45.    United States 5 Year Note Yield | 1962-2017 | Data | Chart | Calendar

    The United States 5 Year Note Yield decreased to 1.71 percent on Tuesday August 29 from 1.74 percent in the previous trading day.

    The bond market does not see hyper-inflation anywhere in sight, nor should it. It really doesn't see much inflation growth at all.

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


  46.    My prediction: the coming collapse of China's Ponzi scheme economy

    It needs to be pointed out that grassroots democracy is not a "command" economy. In a grassroots democracy, individual votes are as dollars spent, only dollars aren't required once the democrats (small-d) figure that out.

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


  47.    No Hesitations: New p-Value Thresholds for Statistical Significance

    Changing the significance threshold is a distraction from the real solution, which is to replace null hypothesis significance testing (and bright-line thresholds) with more focus on effect sizes and confidence intervals, treating the P-value as a continuous measure, and/or a Bayesian method.

    Quite so.

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


  48.    Public Adjuster Charged With Insurance Fraud, Serves As Warning During Hurricane

    This article discusses in more detail some of what I was saying above about fraudulent claims in Texas.

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


  49.    California Flood Protection Means More Room for Rivers

    Excellent report …

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


  50.    Many Houston Properties Not in FEMA Flood Zones Get Soaked

    … 52 percent of residential and commercial properties in the Houston metro are at "High" or "Moderate" risk of flooding, but are not in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) ….

    I don't understand that.

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


  51.    How the Insurance Industry Can Push Us to Prepare for Climate Change

    … the insurance industry is adapting in order to profit from climate risk, and in doing so it will help society adapt as well.

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


  52.    Security Firms Unite to Bring Down WireX Android DDoS Botnet

    So much of the real estate industry depends upon the Internet that I continue bringing you at least the most revealing stories that don't typically make the front page except for on security-covering sites.

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


If you are an investor in 1-4 unit properties in Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, or Washington, please do the financially responsible thing and make sure you have proper Landlord Insurance with PropertyPak™. We love focusing on real estate and the economy in general, but we are also here to serve your insurance needs.

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

Did this post help you? Let us know by leaving your comment below.

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.

Subscribe