Linking ≠ endorsement.
⇧ Could Sanders’ Social Justice Ideas Really Work? Take a Look at These Places by Fran Korten — YES! Magazine
The countries Moore visits, of course, have their problems. As Moore says, he went to “pick the flowers, not the weeds.” But none of these countries are economically richer than the United States, and their people have benefits that we seem to think we can’t afford. We see people savoring their food. Relaxing with their newborns. Relishing their vacations. Enjoying college. All without the underlying financial anxiety that afflicts so many Americans.
Where to Invade Next shows us that what may seem like far-out promises we hear at election time can be real. But we need a Congress that will work with a president on a people-first agenda. To get there we must rid ourselves of the idea that the government is something “other” than ourselves. Something to be feared and shrunk. The government is us. It doesn’t have to work for big corporations and billionaires. Moore’s film shows it can work to help us all have healthier, more fulfilling lives.
I agree. How about you?
⇧ Wells Fargo Just Admitted to Robbing US Citizens by Deceiving the Govt and No One Was Charged — The Free Thought Project
Paul Krugman suggested that it wasn’t really the mega-banks that were the problem. This fellow vehemently disagrees.
For robbing the public through defrauding the US government, not one single Wells Fargo employee will face criminal charges. The bank was merely ordered to pay a $1.2 billion fine. This is hardly a slap on the wrist considering the turmoil that ensued from such criminal practices.
This punishment is also a kick in the teeth to the American public who are the ones who suffer most from these megabanks fleecing the country through irresponsible and fraudulent actions only to be ‘quantitatively eased’ back into profitable standing.
If you really want to know what happened in the lead-up to the crash, read William K. Black (aka Bill Black) on the subject.
Paul Krugman has been attempting to protect something and some people from “socialism,” including the democratic variety.
⇧ 5 Proactive Strategies to Prevent Costly Rental Fraud
Security systems aren’t particularly cheap, but they don’t have to break the bank, either. For investors who need multiple security systems for their properties, smaller companies may be willing to negotiate since a large account would be a big deal for them. For these investors, a wireless system would be your best bet.
It’s an amenity you can also include in rent and make your tenant pay for; after all, it helps keep them safe, and many tenants would be glad to pay for that peace of mind! Modern systems make it easy to monitor entrances, windows included, and even monitor who is in the property based on customized security codes.
No matter what kind of system you have, knowing that an alarm can be tripped and immediately alert the authorities is a big deterrent for any crook looking to leech off of a property.
⇧ 6 Mistakes to Avoid When Setting Up Your Real Estate Entity
If your plan is to purchase apartment buildings, for example, you’ll most likely want to have each property in its own entity. Many newbie multifamily investors make the mistake of forming “123 Main Street LLC” too early, and then the deal never goes to closing.
Time and money are wasted.
Instead, sign a contract with “Entity TBD” or “Your LLC Name or Assigns.” When you’re done with due diligence and you’re sure you’re going to move forward, THEN have the attorney create the LLC.
Well, you can create generic LLC’s beforehand so that each one can be applied to a different property. You wouldn’t do that unless you’re positive you’re going to be obtaining the properties to use them though, as they aren’t free.
⇧ Shanghai wealth management firm comes crashing to earth as executives arrested | Reuters
Zhongjin Capital Management made a splash in the past couple of years in Shanghai. The wealth management firm’s imposing branch office on Shanghai’s historic Bund pulled in many eager investors seeking the double-digit returns it promised on short-term financing products. It had a big profile, sponsoring popular Shanghai TV dating program “Saturday Date” and signed up domestic billiards star Pan Xiaoting as a spokesperson.
But this week, the image of riches and success that it had cultivated came crashing down. Police said they arrested 21 executives linked to Zhongjin Capital on April 5 on suspicion of “illegal fundraising,” a loosely defined term applied to irregular behavior in China’s energetic but opaque shadow banking sector.
Welcome to unregulated market-capitalism.
⇧ The Fed Should Ease – Bloomberg View
These three charts all point to the same conclusion: Monetary policy makers should be seeking to ease, not tighten. Instead of satisfying a phantom need to “normalize” rates, the Fed should do what’s needed to get employment and inflation back to normal.
⇧ NYC Apartment Landlords Starting to Feel Pressure – Ten-X Blog
New York City apartment vacancies measured a still-low 3.1% in 2015, per Reis data, but we expect this could spike to the upper-8% range by 2017 and hold above 8% through 2019. Rising availability should cause rent growth to retreat from its current pace, leading to declines in rent from 2017-2019 as landlords compete to fill space.
⇧ Unconventional Monetary Policy on Stilts
…while QE has benefited holders of financial assets by boosting the prices of stocks, bonds, and real estate, it has also fueled rising inequality. A helicopter drop (through tax cuts or transfers financed by newly printed money) would put money directly into the hands of households, boosting consumption.
… Desperate times call for desperate measures.
I don’t consider People’s QE desperate, but the times are.
⇧ Notes on the new economics: John McDonnell’s tour comes to Bristol | Notes from a Broken Society
… a new economic policy to challenge the disasters of austerity.
… Ann Pettifor did give pleasingly short shrift to a Positive Money enthusiast ….
“…pleasingly short shrift…”? Why would giving Positive Money short shrift be pleasing?
As much as I like what Ann largely says, she’s been insufficiently radicalized by the recent banking, monetary, and fiscal disasters and the cover-ups and whitewashes concerning them.
Positive Money wants to democratize the system. I was calling for that before Positive Money was even a thought in anyone’s head. Nevertheless, I’m very glad Positive Money is there doing what it’s doing. Ann should not give it short shrift.
⇧ A top expert on tax havens explains why the Panama Papers barely scratch the surface – Vox
The biggest scandal in the Panama Papers leak, which revealed that political leaders around the world were hiding money in offshore accounts, isn’t about corruption or organized crime.
The 11.5 million files stolen from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca revealed just how unequal the world is.
The economist Gabriel Zucman estimated in his 2015 book, The Hidden Wealth of Nations, that worldwide more than $7.5 trillion is squirreled away in offshore tax havens — 8 percent of the world’s financial wealth. While some of it is properly declared to world governments, about 80 percent, or $6 trillion, is never taxed at all.
Zucman, an assistant professor of economics at the University of California Berkeley, argues that this tax avoidance worsens the vast global gap in wealth and income between the rich and the poor. Hiding vast sums of wealth from taxation makes it easier for the rich to stay rich and avoid tax policies meant to help the poor. Offshore accounts also make it harder for everyone else to get rich, because they’re paying higher taxes to make up for the tax dollars the wealthy don’t pay when they shelter their assets overseas.
⇧ A Brief Sketch of the Classical-Keynesian Perspective — Radical Political Economy
[…] the credit system, which has its focus in the so-called national banks and the big money-lenders and usurers surrounding them, constitutes enormous centralisation, and gives this class of parasites the fabulous power, not only to periodically despoil industrial capitalists, but also to interfere in actual production in a most dangerous manner— and this gang knows nothing about production and has nothing to do with it. (Marx 1894: 544-45).
… Kalecki’s famous aphorism that ‘capitalists get what they spend…workers spend what they get’.
⇧ The Panama Papers and the Geography of Financial Secrecy – The Atlantic
… “a global industry has developed involving the world’s biggest banks, law practices, accounting firms and specialist providers who design and market secretive offshore structures for their tax- and law-dodging clients,” ….
… obstacles stand in the way of a host of potentially transformational reforms, ranging from an international court for financial crime to a global financial registry to help tax authorities monitor assets. Until those obstacles are overcome, leaks like the Panama Papers may offer illuminating glimpses into the geography of financial secrecy. But they’re unlikely to scramble or shrink it.
⇧ Sanctions for Offshore Havens, Transparency at Home – NYTimes.com
Why do we even enable an outsized financial industry to exist in the British Virgin Islands if there’s evidence that it is used to facilitate crimes of all sorts?
… Why do we allow a great chunk of Manhattan and Los Angeles real estate to be owned by faceless shells, potentially hiding criminals and money launderers?
Why have the politicians not done anything about this since we’ve known all about it for decades! Who’s paying them, funding their campaigns, doing them favors, etc.? Follow the money.
⇧ Thomas Piketty calls the government’s policies on tax a ‘complete contradiction’ – Business Insider
Piketty is too polite. Expansionary austerity doesn’t exist. Osborne knows it. Osborne is about shrinking the state so there can be more deregulation and more privatization so the rich can get richer relative to the rest. That’s all.
⇧ Team Obama is setting us up for another housing-market collapse | New York Post
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency recently warned that mortgage underwriting standards have slipped and now reflect “broad trends similar to those experienced from 2005 through 2007, before the most recent financial crisis.”
When the economy and housing prices turn south again, a lot of these loans will go bad, just as they did last time.
Good news: That probably won’t cause another global financial crisis, because the banks largely learned their lesson on that front back in 2008.
Bad news: The taxpayers will likely wind up on the hook. Directly or indirectly….
A bit overstated.
⇧ Regina rejects licensing of rental properties – Saskatchewan – CBC News
Officials have been studying the idea of requiring anyone who provides rental accommodations to obtain a licence from the city. The licence would provide a way to ensure compliance with city zoning regulations and safety laws, such as fire codes.
Enforce existing laws
After examining the issue, officials said the better course of action would be to work more diligently on enforcing existing laws.
⇧ Bernie Sanders Wins 3 Policy Victories, Media Shrugs
I think this is a good article, and I’m not going to fault it for the view expressed concerning marijuana. All I’ll do on that is elaborate slightly.
In my state, marijuana has been legalized for recreational use. The same is true for Colorado. Both states have seen an increase in traffic accidents where marijuana use was involved. Of course, the legalization did not include authorizing driving while under the influence of marijuana, but legalization has lessened some drivers’ inhibitions about doing so. Let’s be careful.
Plus, let’s not fool ourselves. It’s a scientific fact that persistent marijuana use does lower one’s IQ.
⇧ Who Has Two Thumbs And Is Wrong About The Financial Crisis?
This echoes what I’ve been writing about Krugman. Will he listen? I’ll be amazed if he does. I think he has his fingers in his ears when it comes to all things Bernie Sanders unless it’s a negative allegation or flat-out lie.
Good job, Ben Walsh and Zach Carter:
It’s true that the shadow banking system ran amok in the years before the crisis. But the division between it and the big commercial banks isn’t tidy. They’re intimately connected, and laying blame for the financial crisis on the shadow banks misses a key point: Without huge banks, the mortgage bubble machine could not have worked.
Big banks lent billions of dollars to the shady mortgage originators Krugman rightly vilified. Big banks gleefully took the millions of terrible, often fraudulent mortgages those originators created and securitized them. And then, they sold them and traded them. Big banks love to say they provide the funding that makes the economy go — and in the case of the mortgage bubble, there is no question that they provided the liquidity that inflated the bubble to historically dangerous levels.
It seems weird to have to argue in 2016 that yes, too-big-to-fail banks were at the center of the financial crisis, but here we are.
⇧ Epoch-changing attitudes to wealth and tax are engulfing Cameron | Steve Richards | News | The Guardian
As Osborne prepares to announce more sweeping spending cuts this autumn, it becomes increasingly hard for him to claim equality of sacrifice. In reality the post-crash economics of London is as bonkers as the pre-crash version, making some of those who own properties wildly rich and those who want to own one desperately poor. Generous inheritance tax arrangements make a joke of claims that there is any chance of equality of opportunity. Tax avoidance for the super rich continues on a global scale.
⇧ Hong Kong teenage protest leader Joshua Wong launches pro-independence political party | Asia | News | The Independent
… Mr Wong is no stranger to fighting the authorities. He made his name in Scholarism, which in 2012 led a successful, 100,000 strong campaign to reject proposed “national education” from being taught in Hong Kong’s schools. The programme, which omitted the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, was considered by many to be pro-Communist “brainwashing”.
That’s Communist with a capital C, as in Chinese Communist Party. There are tens of millions, perhaps hundreds, of real socialists (democrats with a lowercase d) who are every bit as much opposed to the brainwashing.
⇧ Recognize the risks to drinking water | Magazine | thetandd.com
This site had a pop up concerning which I didn’t see a close X. To read the article in that case, you may have to turn pop ups off completely for the site.
Get drinking water tested. Find a reputable local laboratory that specializes in testing drinking water. Start by calling the water authorities where you live or in surrounding towns, which may have a list of local, independents labs. The EPA may be able to help as well. Contact their safe drinking water hotline at 800-426-4791. You also can buy a testing kit from home improvement retailers to conduct routine tests yourself.
Install a water filter. Water filters may be connected to the main water source in a home or attached to faucets. These devices can help filter out any other impurities that may be affecting the taste or quality of drinking water.
Watch groundwater contamination. Be cautious about what you release into the soil in and around your home, especially if you rely on well water. County health departments may test for nitrates and bacteria, but you may require more in-depth testing from an outside service if you suspect a problem.
Also, there’s a huge difference and a legal difference between a water filter and a water purifier. In addition, boiling water doesn’t remove contaminants, such as heavy metals. It actually concentrates them.
You may also look into chelating supplements and foods that may help eliminate heavy metals in the body. It’s my understanding that fresh cilantro is often recommended. It taste good too! The science and medical experts will have to pass ultimate judgment on such chelating agents though.
⇧ High readings in local systems get remedied | Local | www.journalgazette.net
⇧ Senior living properties go smoke free | Local News | journaltimes.com
“We want our apartment building to be healthy, safe homes for all our residents to enjoy,” said Kristi Kurklis-Ohnstad, resident service coordinator for the Lincoln Villas North property.
Besides the ownership change, a national push to make all HUD-subsidized properties, such as the Atrium’s two buildings, non-smoking played a role in the change, according to Sieracki.
I’m 100% behind this move.
⇧ Blight grant to target 13 properties | Evanston Now
Evanston aldermen Monday are scheduled to approve a plan to demolish 13 blighted properties in the city with federal funds provided through the Illinois Housing Development Authority.
The blight reduction program targets neighborhoods on the west and south sides of Evanston that were particularly hard hit by the mortgage foreclosure crisis that followed last decade’s housing market bubble.
⇧ Sunoco pipeline to cross 270 properties in Westmoreland County | TribLIVE
Sunoco Communications Manager Jeff Shields said Mariner East II will cross about 2,700 properties between eastern Ohio and its Marcus Hook plant.
⇧ As housing market soars, poorest renters are priced out | KIRO-TV
The article is loaded with food for thought for landlords, developers, and governments.
A Seattle company bought the 118-unit complex in January and began displacing tenants in waves as it prepared to renovate rooms and increase rent. During a visit in March, residents in Turner’s block of apartments were awaiting 20-day termination notices. For Turner, eviction likely meant a return to her Toyota and the street.
” “I’m going to lose all this” she said. “It isn’t much, but it’s mine.”
The same upheaval taking place in apartments at Admiral Manor this spring is quietly playing out across Kitsap County as the economy gains strength and a long-slumbering real estate market roars back to life.
Rents have surged. Vacancies are scarce. Once-cheap houses and apartment buildings like Admiral Manor are being renovated and rented at higher rates. Some federally subsidized developments have been converted to market-rate rentals, eating away at the county’s stockpile of affordable units. With a large pool of tenants to choose from, landlords are less likely to lease to low-income families, even when they have money for rent.
⇧ The War on Savings: The Panama Papers, Bail-Ins, and the Push to Go Cashless | WEB OF DEBT BLOG
Sometimes you just have to strongly disagree with those you really like.
Ellen is great. She’s working overtime to try to get the people the public-banking system she envisions, which would be vastly superior to the banking system we have.
With this article, however, she’s failing to see the Big Mo toward People’s QE and the guaranteed livable income. Also, she is underestimating just how much the “powers that be” hate this transparency push resulting from the exposure in the Panama Papers.
Yes, the Panama Papers story has been manipulated by myopic supposed “geopolitical experts.” However, the truth is coming out, such as in the case of David Cameron’s trust money that he so desperately wished would never see the light of day. Too bad for you, David. It’s all there to see. The Papers have also given a big boost to those who’ve known that such activities are geometrically larger than the tiny revelations from the Papers.
No, cashless isn’t going to mean stripping the people. It isn’t going to mean little-guy depositor bail-ins. It’s going to mean that the people will finally realize that money is computer memory, which can store hundreds of trillions just as easily as pennies, more easily in very fact.
The money constraint is a complete farce. Ellen knows this. She knows that balancing real productivity to money supply and velocity is the equation for balance (no inflation/deflation). Planned correctly, spent correctly, controlled correctly, and we can have our cake and eat it too.
The bankers, the top-top bankers have known this all along. Now the people are learning it, and that won’t be put back in the bottle. The Internet Age has seen to that.
⇧ Panama Papers: Act now. Don’t wait for another crisis | Thomas Piketty | Opinion | The Guardian
… why have governments done so little since 2008 to combat financial opacity? The simple answer is that they were under the illusion that there was no need to act. Their central banks had printed enough currency to avoid the complete collapse of the financial system, thus avoiding the mistakes which post-1929 led the world to the brink of complete collapse. The outcome is that we have indeed avoided a widespread depression but in so doing we have refrained from the necessary structural, regulatory and fiscal reforms.
Thomas is sooo nice, sooo polite.
Why have governments done so little since 2008 to combat financial opacity? The simple answer is they didn’t want to. They wanted to be able to continue hiding and laundering.
⇧ The Broader View: The Positive Effects of Negative Nominal Interest Rates | iMFdirect – The IMF Blog
This is the most in-depth article on negative-interest rates I’ve seen, both pro and con.
I was for negative-interest rates long before they were widely introduced. I was so while qualifying that they were better approaches to monetary problems.
⇧ Why no economic boost from lower oil prices? | Econbrowser
Many analysts had anticipated that a dramatic drop in oil prices such as we’ve seen since the summer of 2014 could provide a big stimulus to the economy of a net oil importer like the United States. That doesn’t seem to be what we’ve observed in the data.
⇧ Paul Krugman Crosses the Line – TripleCrisis
This is the best takedown of Paul Krugman’s attack on Bernie Sanders I’ve seen, and it’s right to ask the question: Is Paul Krugman still qualified to write an economics opinion column for the New York Times?
Krugman opts for this explanation: “Predatory lending was largely carried out by smaller, non-Wall Street institutions like Countrywide Financial.” But, you don’t have to have seen “The Big Short” to know that the sub-prime lenders like Countrywide Financial were just one set of players along a powerful supply-chain that contained multiple links. This chain was geared toward creating and selling structured, securitized financial products like collateralized debt obligation (CDOs) and CDO-squared’s, mostly produced, financed and sold by the largest (now former) investment banks, J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers and commercial banks including Bank of America, Citibank. Contrary to Krugman, the U.S. government authorized Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) reports :
“We conclude dramatic failures of corporate governance and risk management at many systemically important financial institutions (italic added) were a key cause of this crisis …. They took on enormous exposures in acquiring and supporting subprime lenders and creating, packaging, repackaging, and selling trillions of dollars in mortgage-related securities, including synthetic financial products. Like Icarus, they never feared flying ever closer to the sun.” (pp. XVIII-XIX).”
The FCIC, thus, puts a central part of the blame squarely on the, so-called “systemically important financial institutions”, which Federal Reserve Bank President Neel Kashkari and former Goldman Sachs banker calls “Too Big to Fail Banks,” and which economist Bill Black, more appropriately calls “systemically dangerous banks.”
⇧ Germany denies would mull legal action if ECB opts for ‘helicopter money’ | Reuters
This is why I say “myopic’:
Germany’s Finance Ministry on Saturday denied a magazine report that it would consider taking legal action if the European Central Bank resorts to “helicopter money” distributions to euro zone citizens, an extreme form of monetary easing.
The idea of “helicopter money”, or free cash dished out to ordinary people in a bid to stimulate spending and inflation, has been bandied about in recent weeks but ECB Vice President Vitor Constancio and Chief Economist Peter Praet both said on Thursday it was not on the table.
Unease over ECB policy is mounting in Germany, with senior politicians making the unusual move of publicly criticizing the bank this week. Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said the ECB’s policy put Germany at a disadvantage to other euro zone countries and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said its ultra-low interest rates were making workers and pensioners poorer.
“The zero-interest policy is an attack on the assets of millions of Germans who have invested their money in savings accounts and life insurance,” he said.
The conservative Germans are not going to win this war of economic ideas. People’s QE and fiscal spending of debt-free money for infrastructure and a whole host of other projects and for a guaranteed livable income are inevitabilities. It’s only a matter of when, not whether.