Linking ≠ endorsement.
⇧ Bernie Sanders Hires Outspoken Critic of Occupation as Jewish Outreach Director – News — Forward.com
This is a huge, international, risk-management issue. The world needs peace in the Middle East and everywhere.
“No public relations trick can save Israel’s image. The problem isn’t with the hasbara [public relations]. The problem is nearly 50 years of occupation. The problem is rampant racism in Israeli society. The problem is attacks on human rights defenders by extremists and by the state. The problem is a Jewish establishment that ignores or justifies all of this.” [~ Zimmerman]
“This [Bernie Sanders] is a candidate who has embraced the full humanity of Palestinians in a way we have not seen from any past president except for Jimmy Carter,” Lenchner told JTA. “We need a president who will stand up to Israel’s settler minority, which has captured the government there and captured the foreign policy establishment in the U.S. Bernie Sanders might actually be able to bring American power to bear on the intransigence of the Israeli right wing.”
“Yes, this is what the Bernie Sanders version of Jewish outreach looks like,” Daniel Greenfield wrote in FrontPageMag, a right-wing website associated with the David Horowitz Freedom Center, which describes the political left as an enemy of America. “Stone throwing and BDS papered over with random Yiddish and Jewish words to make anti-Semitism and hatred of Jew seem socially acceptable.”
Zimmerman is hardly an anti-Semite. …
… “We know that Jewish liberation is inextricably tied to the liberation of all people.”
“What we need is for the community to stop willfully blinding itself to the disastrous reality of holding millions of Palestinians under military occupation,” Zimmerman wrote. “Moreover, we need the community to stop policing and demonizing those of us who say these truths in public and are fighting for change.”
Now Zimmerman is fighting for the change Sanders champions.
Al Qaeda justified itself over the Palestinian issue. IS has strung up out of those roots and others and because of poor foreign policy and practices of Presidential administrations of both major political parties in the US that settled for no peace agreement and no state for the Palestinians.
⇧ 7 Reasons Why You Should be Buying to Rent | Colony American Finance
A bit rah-rah, but they don’t want to be pessimistic. There are successful landlords out there.
If you’re going to outsource management to a vetted firm, the important thing is buying correctly:
• buying the right property (get it professionally inspected so you’ll know how much work it may need)
• in the right place (think of all the things that go into choosing a decent place to live for the average renter)
• for the right amount
• with the proper leverage.
Those last two go together, as whether the place will render a positive enough cash flow to also pay all the expenses, including major repairs, such as roof replacements.
⇧ The US economy is facing an ‘impossible trinity’ that will be a nightmare for investors – Yahoo Finance
… any pickup in … wages would have to come from somewhere. Namely, corporate profits.
And it is these profits have buoyed financial markets, which to an extent have allowed the economy to come as far as it has in the seven years since the recession.
Something will have to give. Or perhaps nothing will.
Which, depending on how you see it, is either good or bad. Remember, this is called an “impossible trinity” for a reason: someone loses.
Change the game.
⇧ Why Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein Called Bernie Sanders “Dangerous”
SANDERS: Sometimes there is no end to arrogance. … Lloyd Blankfein is the CEO of Goldman Sachs. … During the financial crisis Goldman Sachs received a total of $814 billion in virtually zero-interest loans from the Federal Reserve and a $10 billion bailout from the Treasury Department. … And now with his huge wealth he is coming here to Washington to lecture the American people on how we have got to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid for tens of millions of Americans who are struggling now to keep their heads above water.
Just a few weeks ago on Bloomberg TV Sanders returned to the subject, citing Blankfein as a Wall Street executive who “really irks me” because such executives “make huge sums of money, help destroy our economy, they come to Congress and you know what they say? They say, ‘You’ve got to cut Social Security and you’ve got to cut Medicare and you’ve got to cut Medicaid.'”
And so that’s why Sanders’ remarks concern Blankfein: No one on Wall Street wants someone running for president asking why the United States “can’t afford” Social Security and Medicare but could afford to bail them out.
Yes, and Lloyd wants the welfare state to be privatized so he may make even more money and become that much more politically powerful while the rest get poorer and less powerful.
⇧ U.S. regulators fail ‘living wills’ at five of eight big banks | Reuters
U.S. regulators gave a failing grade to five big banks on Wednesday, including JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) and Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N), on their plans for a bankruptcy that would not rely on taxpayer money, giving them until Oct. 1 to make amends or risk sanctions.
The move officially starts a long regulatory chain that could end with breaking up the banks. …
The requirement for a living will was part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform legislation passed in the wake of the 2007-2009 financial crisis, when the U.S. government spent billions of dollars on bailouts to keep big banks from failing and wrecking the U.S. economy.
Proponents of stronger financial regulation welcomed them, with Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, the most powerful Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee, saying they were “an important step in the effort to protect Americans from being on the hook for the failures of ‘too big to fail’ banks in the future.”
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said regulators need to break big banks apart if they don’t fix their living will problems over time. Her rival, Bernie Sanders, pointed out on Twitter that many big banks have only gotten bigger since they were bailed out during the financial crisis.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, though, said the process “is broken.”
“Contradictory outcomes through different tools such as stress tests and living wills harm the ability of regulators to achieve financial stability and for market participants to understand what regulators are doing,” said David Hirschmann, head of the business group’s capital markets center.
That’s why they should have been nationalized and broken up.
⇧ James H. Carr: America Needs a 21st-Century Housing Finance System | Urban Institute
Most housing finance reform proposals either ignore or only briefly mention rental housing financing. Yet, our nation is experiencing an affordable rental housing crisis. Failing to address this shortcoming of our housing finance infrastructure, while pursuing major housing finance reform, would be an important oversight.
The Housing Act of 1937 envisioned a nation in which families would pay no more than 30 percent of their income on housing. Today, nearly two-thirds of renter households pay more than 30 percent and nearly a quarter of African American and Latino renter households pay more than 50 percent of their income on shelter. In fact, the National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates “there is not a single state in the US where a minimum-wage employee can reasonably afford a one-bedroom apartment at the fair market rent.” A revamped housing finance system must address and solve this problem.
Unregulated financial exploitation during the housing bubble inflation has left many inner-city communities of color in tatters, debris fields virtually littered with foreclosed and abandoned properties. These communities do not have access to the funding or tools to help them benefit from the return-to-the-cities movement. Further, many rural communities are struggling to adequately address economic and demographic shifts within their localities. Better meeting the community-development needs of those jurisdictions is long overdue.
The new NHCIC would support the comprehensive community development that is essential to equitable urban revitalization and responsive rural investment needs. This would include comprehensive mixed-use redevelopment incorporating owner-occupied and rental housing, retail and commercial space, and the accompanying community infrastructure. …
… Finding ways to enable investors to help borrowers own a home, rather than to compete against them in the market, would better align the interests of investors, families, and communities.
… it’s useful to remember that from1934 to 1938, the federal government created the Federal Housing Administration, Home Owners’ Loan Corporation, Federal Home Loan Bank System, and Fannie Mae. And that was in an era that predates supercomputers, data warehouses, sophisticated mathematical modeling, a wide range of risk-sharing options, and access to global capital markets. It’s inconceivable that we lack the expertise or knowledge to add a broader community infrastructure investment component to a system that has operated for more than 80 years.
Well, that’s a mixed-economy solution.
⇧ Vacancies and Rents: A Causal Relationship | CEPR Blog | Blogs | Publications | The Center for Economic and Policy Research
The 2015 average national vacancy rate of 7.1 percent is the lowest rate we have seen in the U.S. since 1985. During the time period in which vacancies have been coming down, rental prices have been going up. If vacancies continue on their ever-decreasing path, we should expect to see greater increases in rents going forward.
That’s music to landlords’ ears if those landlords are short-term thinkers. Smart landlords want a stable economy. Stressed-out renters always on the edge, or worse, concerning making rent payments is not a good, stable economy.
⇧ International Economic Law and Policy Blog: Trade & the Democratic Nomination Contest:Why Bernie Sanders is LESS protectionist than Hillary Clinton
On trade, Bernie Sanders is usually portrayed as an arch-protectionist who, like Donald Trump, seeks to trash existing trade agreements and erect new walls against imports. The truth is much more complex. Of course, Sanders has faulted recent trade agreements, and the normalization of trade relations with China under the WTO, with leaving US workers highly vulnerable to import competition, suffering losses in jobs and income. But his solution to getting jobs and middle-class prosperity back to America is not focused on re-establishing barriers to imports; rather redistribution and rebuilding America’s infrastructure are the main tools for enhancing the competitiveness of America and its workers. Indeed by emphasizing general redistributive programs and investment in infrastructure, and rejecting subsidies and incentives to businesses (“corporate welfare”), Sanders avoids the protectionism of picking winners and giving particular firms and industries a leg up, and here he follows more closely the prescriptions of liberal economics than Hillary Clinton, who is enamored of programs that supposedly serve public goals but do so by handouts to the private sector. …
… While Sanders may attribute the problem of lost jobs to past trade agreements, his answer to keeping jobs in the US is primarily about rebuilding America’s infrastructure, and other domestic policies. To my mind, this is fundamentally sound. Second, Sanders believes that “trade agreements can be successful”; new agreements on trade should be reoriented from neoliberal pro-corporate agendas to a progressive agenda, and emphasize real labor and environmental standards. …
… Sanders’ infrastructure plan will make America a more attractive place to invest, while helping to put the unemployed to work, giving them a chance to re-skill and and the psychological boost that comes from the dignity of a real job. To return to the Economist article discussed above, there is no single factor that sets apart American workers who can withstand and thrive on the challenges of globalization than college education. The numbers are dramatic, indeed astounding. This is why for me Sander’s plan of universal accessibility to public colleges and universities is the best trade policy of any candidate in this election-by far.
… It isn’t widely known but one of the GATT’s chief architects was a socialist (some said communist) the French-Russian philosopher Alexandre Kojeve, who was chair of the GATT’s legal drafting sub-committee. In the 1950s, Kojeve wrote to his friend Leo Strauss that the battle between socialism and capitalism would be resolved either by socialism reforming itself in a capitalist direction or the capitalists saving themselves from the consequences of their own excesses through adopting some of the socialist ideas. Kojeve saw that while socialism would not be able to adapt, capitalism already was doing so by embracing a social welfare state, wage laws, worker protections etc. that would allow workers to afford to buy the products that they were making, and share in the gains of increased productivity and growth. Periodically, a dose of social democratic redistribution is needed to save capitalism from itself; this is the kind of socialism that Bernie Sanders offers, one that isn’t ideologically triumphalist but offer the possibility of another “New Deal” as the outcome of the suffering and anger that so much of America has felt over the last decade. If Democrats do not take this offer, they are apt to learn that this suffering and anger will find darker, more dangerous outlets, ones truly destructive of openness, tolerance and the other goods that liberals at least since Montesquieu have associated with freer commerce.
⇧ 2 Children Killed, Several Adults Injured In Bronx Fire – CBS New York
FDNY Deputy Chief Gary Rocco said the fire marshal was looking at whether the children were unattended in a home that may have been without safeguards.
That sort of blurs those together. Safeguards are very important, but unattended little, little children aren’t going to be aided by smoke detectors, though neighbors might have responded sooner have they heard alarms going off. My point is that leaving such kids unattended, if it happened, was a huge mistake, very, very careless, even reckless — as much as one necessarily feels for what the mother is going through at the tragic loss.
⇧ De Young Properties presents new SmartHome Icon Series | Fresno Bee
De Young Properties ….
The Central Valley homebuilder in 2010 started introducing high energy-efficient homes with things like tankless water heaters and cool roof tiles. Three years later, De Young built a zero net energy concept home with better technology and solar panels to yield even higher efficiency results.
• A performance sealed attic moves the insulation from the ceiling of a home to the roofline. …
• The advanced wall framing design uses 2-by-6 wood studs instead of the typical 2-by-4 lumber to provide thicker and deeper exterior walls allowing for more insulation. …
• All homes will come with a fully pre-paid solar system from Solar City. …
… Prices start in the low $300,000s.
⇧ Money laundering watchdog sees real estate as weak link | Toronto Star
“What we have found more generally in the real estate sector are issues with compliance regimes, policies and procedures, training, as well as record-keeping and reporting,” FINTRAC spokeswoman Renée Bercier said in an email.
“The level of compliance knowledge and resources varies across the sector and is often a function of an entity’s size, capacity and access to resources.”
Randall McCauley, vice-president of government and public relations for the Canadian Real Estate Association, admits that compliance is a challenge within the industry.
⇧ Aurora plans fix up of 15 blighted properties
Aurora will use a $525,000 state housing grant again to fix up 15 blighted properties.
⇧ Why the Banks Should Be Broken Up | Rolling Stone
… Krugman neglects to mention the crucial role that big banks played.
The typical arc of this scam went as follows: Giant bank lends money to sleazy mortgage originator, mortgage originator makes lots of dicey home loans, the dicey home loans get sold back to the bank, the bank pools and securitizes the loans, and finally the bank sells the bad merchandise off to an unsuspecting investor.
The criminal scenario that was most common was a gigantic bank buying up huge masses of toxic loans from a Countrywide or some other fly-by-night operation and knowingly selling this crap as a good investment to some investor.
What’s so baffling about Krugman’s column is that there is a massive amount of documentary evidence outlining this behavior …. …
As MIT economist Simon Johnson pointed out in 2010, these institutions have become so big that they can confront and defy the government. …
When UBS and HSBC escaped with slap-on-the-wrist settlements for the LIBOR and money-laundering offenses, respectively, Sherrod Brown redoubled his efforts to break up the banks, insisting that these episodes proved these companies were now too big to be regulated. …
The call to break up the banks is not some socialist clarion call to end capitalism. (Well, it might be from Bernie, but not from everyone.)
In fact, it’s just the opposite. The lessons of the crash era are that these megabanks have grown beyond the organic controls of capitalism. They were so big and so systemically important in ’08 that the government could not let them go out of business.
This alone was an argument for breaking them up. …
When a company is not only too big to fail, but too big to prosecute, it’s too big to exist. Krugman may believe otherwise, but he shouldn’t pretend that others — including his own pape r — don’t have legitimate concerns.
The thing is, who didn’t, and doesn’t, know this stuff?
⇧ Design and Construction Today | Commercial Real Estate Show Podcasts
As the U.S economy and job growth continues to improve, developers, architects and builders are becoming more active. Join Michael and his guests as they explore the latest design and construction trends.
· Latest design and construction trends
· Sector growth trends and projections
· The mixed bag of sustainability today
· Construction costs update and projections
· Tips for working with Architects and Contractors
⇧ The Downside to Turnkey Rental Properties No One Tells You
Vet and interview property managers for your turnkey property, just as you would if it weren’t turnkey.
I will say, the only trouble I’ve ever had with turnkeys (and this was back in the day, not so much recently) has been with bad property managers! I could have easily mitigated every one of these problems had I known to vet more than one property manager and not necessarily trust the one who came with the property.
⇧ Construction Material Prices Rise for First Time in Nine Months
“Despite the rather profound percentage gain in oil prices and the overall nonresidential construction material price increase, rapid material price inflation remains unlikely going forward,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “There are a number of reasons for this, but perhaps the most important is the ongoing sluggishness of the global economy. Though we just entered the second quarter, the International Monetary Fund has already downgraded its outlook for current year global growth twice. World output is only expected to expand 3.2 percent this year.
⇧ Deeply Moving Message from Bernie Sanders – YouTube
Echoes of FDR (the greatest American President):
“What We Can Be” – unofficial ad
We can have our cake and eat it too.
So far, Bernie has only talked about funding his plans via higher taxes on the rich, but we can create debt-free money to pay for the productivity increases that taking care of everyone would bring and without inflation problems.
What we lack is real democracy/transparency in government.
⇧ Central Bank Lending in a Liquidity Crisis
This is the opposite of marking to market: letting the failures fail, letting the current, new, low value of their “assets” or bad loans crash them out of business. The Fed, however, props up very bad planners and those who deliberately plan to be bailed out and, therefore, take bad risks (without risks).
The banks (commercial and investment) clamored for deregulation. Their work turned into crap. However, they were bailed out rather than taken over, nationalized, fixed, and recapitalized, with the top executives terminated for cause: terrible management.
This article shows exactly what’s wrong with the Federal Reserve System. It’s a safety net for billionaire bankers and banksters who regularly ruin the economy.
⇧ Economic Update: Prisons & Sugar Babies (2016.04.14) – YouTube
Updates on IMF, Panama Papers and tax evasion, workers fighting back. Major discussions of economics of prisons and sugar babies and of how worker coops might have changed the USSR and China.
⇧ The Real Welfare Cheats – The New York Times
The Oxfam report says that each $1 the biggest companies spent on lobbying was associated with $130 in tax breaks and more than $4,000 in federal loans, loan guarantees and bailouts.
One academic study found that tax dodging by major corporations costs the U.S. Treasury up to $111 billion a year. By my math, less than one-fifth of that annually would be more than enough to pay the additional costs of full-day prekindergarten for all 4-year-olds in America ($15 billion), prevent lead poisoning in tens of thousands of children ($2 billion), provide books and parent coaching for at-risk kids across the country ($1 billion) and end family homelessness ($2 billion).
The Panama Papers should be a wake-up call, shining a light on dysfunctional tax codes around the world — but much of the problem has been staring us in the face. Among the 500 corporations in the S.&P. 500-stock index, 27 were both profitable in 2015 and paid no net income tax globally, according to an analysis by USA Today.
Yep, but think of all the prisons we could build instead of spending it on kids now to keep them out of the prisons later.
⇧ China’s leaders are blowing their last chance to avert an economic crisis
It was always wishful thinking to suppose that Xi Jinping could deliver a “free-market with Chinese characteristics” whilst maintaining the tight grip of Leninist party control over politics.
The China Development Research Council – brain trust of the reformers – warned that this was impossible, telling him that the shift up development ladder to high-tech growth requires an open, free-thinking society, and an end to top-down rule. Xi had to choose between the two: he has picked Leninism.
⇧ Greenland’s Melt Season Started Nearly Two Months Early | Climate Central
Warm, wet conditions rapidly kicked off the melt season this weekend, more than a month-and-a-half ahead of schedule. It has easily set a record for earliest melt season onset, and marks the first time it’s begun in April.
I’m told, however, that El Nino is ending and La Nina is looking like it’s coming. They could be wrong about the timing.
⇧ Miami real estate is melting down
Real estate experts said the combination of weaker demand from overseas buyers and a vast crop of luxury condo towers under construction is driving down prices and sales, especially at the top end of the market. Prices for the top 10 percent of condos fell by 14.5 percent, to an average sale price of $3.13 million. Meanwhile, inventory for those properties skyrocketed 58 percent, contributing to a roughly 3½-year supply.
How much does financial/ownership disclosure have to do with it?
⇧ Homeownership No Longer Has Tax Savings | John Burns Real Estate ConsultingJohn Burns Real Estate Consulting
Every April 15, the most financially qualified renters in the country used to feel the pain of not owning by writing a check to the IRS. For most, that is no longer the case. The lack of tax savings is just one of numerous reasons why homeownership is the lowest it has been in decades, and we believe homeownership is headed lower.
⇧ Say Goodbye to the Fed You Once Knew – Bloomberg
Had regulators asked banks to hold an extra $50 billion in reserves every year from 1971 onwards to coincide with the explosion in wholesale (repo) funding markets, Pozsar says, the Fed’s balance sheet would look roughly like it does now.
Instead, banks were allowed to vastly increase their exposure to wholesale funding without a coinciding increase in reserves to help insulate them from the vagaries of short-term financing.
New regulations requiring financial institutions to hold bank reserves—in the form of money and other high-quality assets—are aimed at correcting this. Such reserve requirements, however, in the form of the liquidity coverage ratio (LCR) and high-quality liquid assets (HQLA) rule will likely diminish the importance of the fed funds market, where banks have historically borrowed to meet their excess reserve requirements.
In doing so, it will also affect the way the Fed controls benchmark interest rates, forcing the central bank to move away from the fed funds rate and instead focus on the overnight bank funding rate (OBFR).
⇧ Spain: 2 Dead, 3 Injured in Canary Islands Building Collapse – The New York Times
Spanish officials say the body of a second woman has been found in the rubble of a four-story apartment building that collapsed in the popular Canary Islands tourist destination of Los Cristianos.
⇧ Hot housing market in Portland has led to spike in home flipping with record profits | KGW.com
Last year, ten homes were flipped in the Richmond neighborhood with an average gain of $260,000.
The article is a pretty good back and forth on the pros and cons for a neighborhood of house flipping within it.
⇧ Real Estate Board hosts anti-money laundering session | News | Jamaica Gleaner
International anti-money laundering trainer Susan Berger is guest facilitator at a five-day training session for practitioners in the real estate industry, put on by the Real Estate Board (REB) with assistance from the Department of Treasury/US Embassy, Kingston.
⇧ San Fran home prices fell? Wait, what? | HousingWire
… the price drop is not about inventory, it’s about buyers fed up with high Bay Area prices and crazy competition,” added Richardson.
… Denver and Seattle? These two cities were the fastest markets, with half of all homes pending sale in just 7 and 8 days, respectively.
… median days on market in Denver was the same as in March of 2015, but 6 days faster in Seattle. Portland was the next fastest market with 11 median days on market.
⇧ Soured Corporate Loans Surge at Biggest U.S. Banks on Oil – Bloomberg
Pri de Silva, an analyst at CreditSights, is among those who see current credit problems as limited to oil and gas and related industries.
“At this point, I don’t see much contagion,” he said.
There’s some but not much. What it is, is a drag on the economy.
⇧ China’s giant bonfire of debt needs one spark to become an inferno – MarketWatch
The ever-growing bonfire of debt in China is unsustainable, particularly as many sectors and companies are unable to generate enough profit to service their interest. The need to borrow more to pay interest on the existing debt is reminiscent of the negative amortization loans given to U.S. subprime borrowers prior to 2008. The relatively high usage of short-term debt means that once a fire is established, it will quickly spread. Many borrowers will find themselves unable to rollover their debts with investors and lenders scorched in an inferno of bankruptcies.
The matches to start such a fire could be the increasing number and size of defaults this year. If lenders and investors lose their nerve, the Chinese government will be faced with a lose-lose decision to either backstop the credit system or allow investors to take substantial losses. That could spill beyond the Chinese stock market ….
⇧ Funny Numbers Show Money Leaving China – Bloomberg View
… growth in China has slowed, rates of return on investment have declined and surplus capacity has exploded. Investment opportunities have shrunk, while state-owned enterprises have crowded out private investors. …
At the same time, President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption drive has netted tens of thousands of Party officials. Naturally, well-to-do Chinese are worried about being caught up in the dragnet even if innocent. They’re also just as concerned as anyone else about their children’s education and health. The demand for real estate abroad … is only going to grow.
… If China’s leaders want to prevent capital from leaving the country, they’re going to have to address the reasons for the flight, not just erect roadblocks in its way.
⇧ UK and European allies plan to deal ‘hammer blow’ to tax evasion | The Guardian
The letter was not signed by other G20 countries, including the US, which has consistently resisted calls for public registers of beneficial ownership. The US feels that such measures could harm states such as Delaware, which is known for providing corporate secrecy.
Any so-called harm would be more than completely offset by national and global benefits. The real reason the US government is opposed is because people in the highest places in that government are cronies of those who are hiding their money from the tax man, which causes the lower classes to make up for it in higher taxes on themselves: not fair.
⇧ West Virginia Agent Pleads Guilty to Burning Down His Own Home
A West Virginia man has pleaded guilty in federal court to aiding and abetting arson and conspiracy to tamper with a witness.