Linking ≠ endorsement.
⇧ New report names Hawaii priciest state for rentals – Hawaii News Now – KGMB and KHNL
That’s what someone needs to earn hourly in the islands to afford the fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment, a new state-by-state report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition says.
⇧ How much a decent apartment costs you in every county – The Washington Post
Families crowd into smaller, cheaper units than what they really need. Or they wind up paying far more than 30 percent of their income on housing, curbing other expenses like health care, food and transportation. Or they settle for substandard housing that costs well below what HUD would consider “fair market.” (The federal agency sets these rates each year to help determine subsidy levels of programs like housing vouchers.)
If you are a landlord, then encourage the government to increase the subsidies to the poor. Life in general will improve for everyone if the government does it.
⇧ Trump or Sanders Would Be Terrible for Housing Market, Say Real-Estate Experts | Washingtonian
Zillow’s panel knocks Sanders because of his “far-left taxation plans”; Sanders has proposed tax policies that would see income taxes go up on nearly all levels of income.
It’s not as if taxpayers wouldn’t get anything back in return. It all depends on how the taxes are spent by the government. Some expenditures have a larger multiplier effect than do others. A multiplier is when what’s paid in is actually less than what comes back out in the form of higher GDP for instance. It’s very common. Plus, if taxes are used to pay for healthcare, which Sanders wants, all sorts of benefits result in the form of a healthier workforce, less stress, more dollars spent by consumers on other things besides healthcare, etc., etc.
So, the blanket statement that Sanders would be bad for real estate really doesn’t hold up under closer examination.
We need more affordable housing, or we’ll foolishly end up with a dystopia of our own making because we made bad, shortsighted, selfish choices.
Don’t let the ideological bias of certain economists blind you to the facts.
Select “National Currency” and then click on the US.
⇧ How to get solar panels onto more affordable apartment buildings | Grist
Wow, am I very all for this!
There are other benefits, too. Solar + storage can make affordable housing more resilient. When the larger grid goes down, a solar system with battery backup can power life-saving services like water pumps, fire alarms, heating, and cooling. That means apartment dwellers can “shelter in place” during an emergency — which can be a lifeline for low-income residents, the disabled, and others who are vulnerable in times of disaster. And, of course, by reducing carbon emissions, solar power helps mitigate climate change, making disasters less likely for everyone.
If you’re a landlord, lobby your government to provide you with investment incentives to do this. There are plenty of reasons the government should be for it. There are plenty of cost savings to the government in both the short and long run.
⇧ Donald Trump’s Real Estate Math Tricks | Investopedia
I don’t know whether Donald Trump would come right out and say it, but does it appear from this that Donald’s business ethic has been to get away with everything that’s technically legal or that he could argue is technically legal and win often enough to make it worth his while to do so?
If that is the case, then David Cay Johnston’s point about it costing everyone else in higher taxes to make up the difference is right on.
An even bigger question is that if Donald Trump becomes the President of the United States, will he put on the citizen-servant hat and fight against exactly what David suggests Donald has been doing.
People have been known to do it. Trumps comment suggest/hint that he perhaps thinks that way too. He defends himself against Hillary Clinton attacks by appealing to that he was only doing business (suggesting that governing is something else again).
The proof is always in the pudding though.
⇧ Oklahoma Governor Seeks Disaster Assistance after Severe Weather
93 homes/businesses affected & 34 were destroyed or sustained major damage.
⇧ Oklahoma Regulators Warn Insurers on Earthquake Coverage Hikes
Since 2010, homeowners have filed 1,094 earthquake claims, though most were not paid as often they were for less than their deductibles.
⇧ China’s ‘feud’ over economic reform reveals depth of Xi Jinping’s secret state | Business | The Guardian
China is an enigma inside a vacuum.
“Yes, it’s indicative of something — but like so much in China we are not exactly sure what it is indicative of.”
Really? I’m not having that problem.
⇧ More than 200 Homes Damaged in Wyoming Flooding
Officials say four homes were destroyed and 200 more were damaged by flooding in Wyoming.
Notice how the article discusses loans. Many people mistakenly don’t obtain flood coverage where available because they think governmental assistance means making them whole again rather than supplying money via a loan that must be repaid.
… Russia is now positioning itself as a dominant force in the realm of organic farming.
⇧ Union revolt puts both Hollande’s future and France’s image on the line | World news | The Guardian
… much of his leftwing voter base feels increasingly alienated from this one-time consensus politician who called the world of finance his “enemy” before shifting, once in power, to a new pro-business stance.
The problem there is that “finance” and business are being mistakenly conflated. Hollande could have, and should have, stood against neoliberalism while simultaneously being pro-business and labor. If he had done that, he’d not be in the mess he’s in and neither would France.
Nearly one-third of all millennials live with their parents, slightly more than the proportion who live with a spouse or partner. It’s the first time that living at home has outpaced living with a spouse for this age group since such record-keeping began in 1880.
The remaining young adults are living alone, with other relatives, in college dorms, as roommates or under other circumstances.
The sharp shift reflects a long-running decline in marriage, amplified by the economic upheavals of the Great Recession. The trend has been particularly evident among Americans who lack a college degree.
⇧ Rental Assistance to Families with Children at Lowest Point in Decade | Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
The number of families with children receiving federal rent subsidies has fallen by over 250,000 (13 percent) since 2004 and is at its lowest point in more than a decade, despite rising need. To enable low-income children to have a better chance to thrive, policymakers should substantially expand the availability of rental assistance.
It would more than pay for itself in overall societal improvements.
⇧ Yes, America Can Afford to Dramatically Reduce Poverty and Increase Opportunity | Center for American Progress
… every dollar spent on benefits in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, generates an estimated $1.70 in additional economic activity.
… provide rental assistance to all 3 million currently unassisted renting households that are extremely low income and cost burdened, meaning that they spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing and utilities.
⇧ Wendy Brown: How Neoliberalism Threatens Democracy – YouTube
This is timely for this Presidential-election cycle (pretty confident Rob Johnson did that on purpose).
Democracy versus laissez-faire, a theme I’ve discussed many times on this blog and elsewhere:
Neoliberalism, warns Professor Wendy Brown, has created a form of reasoning in which human beings are reduced to their economic value and activity, and in which all fields of human activity are treated as markets and institutions, including the state, are increasingly run as if they were corporations. This logic is even applied to activities with no connection to wealth creation, such as education, dating, or physical exercise, which are increasingly governed according to market rules. People are treated in this schema, as units of human capital who must constantly tend to their own present and future value.
I’m for democracy over all markets. That said, democracy inherently includes the marketplace of ideas. Openness, transparency, honesty, directness, these are essential to democracy and to real advancement. The very soul of humanity depends upon them.
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⇧ New Deal Aims to Forget Greece, Not Forgive It – Bloomberg View
To secure the next bailout tranche, its parliament has had to pass a number of tax hikes, increasing the value-added tax and levies on fuel, tobacco and Internet usage. Earlier, it had approved pension cuts. The new privatization fund required by the bailout deal has also been legislated. The leftist government of Alexis Tsipras is pushing through all these measures against his own will, just to keep the money coming. …
The truce between the Eurogroup and the IMF, however, means that even in the likely event that Greece will need more money in 2018, that will become the subject of public debate after the German election, and the debate will be quieter than last time because it will be a matter of refinancing and rolling over previous loans. The end result of Wednesday’s breakthrough is not debt forgiveness for Greece; it’s the beginning of its relegation to the status of a chronic half-forgotten problem. Like a brain-dead relative hooked up to machines in a hospital somewhere, Greece will continue barely breathing because no one wants to pull the plug — but neither is anyone interested in arguing out treatments by the bedside.
Tsipras totally blew it by not exiting. He should have gone with Varoufakis’ plan. It would have worked.
⇧ Higher Taxes Don’t Scare Millionaires Into Fleeing Their Homes After All – Bloomberg
Why are the wealthy, with all their resources, more likely to stay in one spot? The study notes that millionaires are likelier to be married, have kids, and own businesses, all conditions that tend to make moving more difficult. Wealthy people often form deep roots in their communities, ties that helped them succeed in the first place.
⇧ Get Ready for Higher Obamacare Rates Next Year – The New York Times
Medical care is expected to cost more
Being treated will cost more in 2017 than it does now. That’s true for everyone using the medical system — not just people with Obamacare plans. It will be true for people in government insurance programs like Medicare and Medicaid and for people who get their insurance through work. The cost of medical care basically goes up every year, so that’s not a huge surprise. But the last few years, that growth has been very slow by historical standards. Actuaries are predicting that 2017’s bump will be a little bigger. That increase is not because of Obamacare, but because of drugmakers releasing more new, expensive products; hospitals raising prices; and doctors offering more technologically complex treatments. Actuaries differ a bit in their estimates, and the cost of medical care varies by place, but the estimate I’ve heard in my reporting is somewhere around 6 percent.
⇧ Trump uses energy speech to outline general election pitch – The Washington Post [source updated]
He is among many Republicans who reject mainstream climate science. He has called climate change a “con job” and a “hoax” ….
Incomprehensible. It’s like still believing there’s real scientific doubt cigarette smoking causes lung cancer.
The fact that it’s been getting hotter has just been a lucky guess?
This is a huge risk-management error on Donald Trump’s part. We could ruin the world faster with total war, but AGW isn’t far behind. Plus, all the fracking causes all sorts of other problems, earthquakes being just one of them.
⇧ Shocking Brazil Leaks Prompt Panic In Fraud-Riddled Coup Govt
My news feeds have been full of statements about how “markets” are responding favorably to Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment and to Temer’s calls to neoliberalize the Brazilian economy.
The questions raised by articles such as this one cannot be easily dismissed. Plus, it’s my understanding that the charges leveled against Dilma Rousseff are not for impeachable acts: that her actions were customary, usual, and legal.
It’s true that Brazil’s economy fell on hard times, but most economies did as a result of the Great Recession started in the US (which the US lessened via fiscal stimulus, which ironically is pro-Keynesian, which is to say anti-neoliberal).
⇧ PHOTOS: Rodent-Infested Rental Properties | NBC Bay Area
… landlords like Yick On Wong who the City of San Francisco is suing for allegedly letting his rental properties in the Richmond District and Nob Hill sink into such a terrible state of neglect that it’s infested with rodents, feces, and a multitude of other violations ….
⇧ Social-democratic vs market-friendly progressivism | Lane Kenworthy
⇧ United States GDP Deflator | 1950-2016 | Data | Chart | Calendar | Forecast
GDP Deflator in the United States increased to 110.45 … an all time ….
What’s it mean? It implies 10.45% inflation. However, there are many other measures of inflation. How things are measured is very important as to which indicators to use and how much weight to give to each.
Here’s a reasonably useful explanation of the GDP Deflator: https://www.cliffsnotes.com/study-guides/economics/gdp-inflation-and-unemployment/nominal-gdp-real-gdp-and-price-level
⇧ Impoverished children with access to food stamps become healthier and wealthier adults | Microeconomic Insights
Part of the case for the Welfare State:
Adults who participated in the Food Stamp Program, renamed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in 2008, as children are healthier and better off financially than poverty-stricken families who did not have access to the program…. Children with access were more likely as adults to graduate from high school, earn more, and rely less on government welfare programs as adults than impoverished children who did not have access to SNAP. Women, in particular, are substantially more likely to self-report they are in good health and are more economically self-sufficient in adulthood. …individuals with access to food stamps before age 5 had measurably better health outcomes in adulthood with significant impacts for those in early childhood.
Do these children and their families make better tenants and employees than those who are forced to go without? Do Welfare Programs more than pay for themselves?
⇧ Hurricane Center Updating Storm Surge Maps for North Carolina’s Outer Banks
Information from hundreds of hurricane forecasts was fed into a supercomputer to develop the maps.
⇧ Neoliberalism: Oversold? — Finance & Development, June 2016
Before reading this, I said to myself that I bet I’ll find two things: 1) it doesn’t address alternative ways of accomplishing the same “benefits” without the negatives and 2) it doesn’t discuss money-financed fiscal spending as an alternative to governmental borrowings. I then read it and found I was correct on both counts. So, while IMF sounds quite open to progressivism, it does so while ignoring the very best of progressive-economic possibilities.
Although growth benefits are uncertain, costs in terms of increased economic volatility and crisis frequency seem more evident. Since 1980, there have been about 150 episodes of surges in capital inflows in more than 50 emerging market economies; as shown in the left panel of Chart 2, about 20 percent of the time, these episodes end in a financial crisis, and many of these crises are associated with large output declines (Ghosh, Ostry, and Qureshi, 2016).
The pervasiveness of booms and busts gives credence to the claim by Harvard economist Dani Rodrik that these “are hardly a sideshow or a minor blemish in international capital flows; they are the main story.” While there are many drivers, increased capital account openness consistently figures as a risk factor in these cycles. In addition to raising the odds of a crash, financial openness has distributional effects, appreciably raising inequality (see Furceri and Loungani, 2015, for a discussion of the channels through which this operates). Moreover, the effects of openness on inequality are much higher when a crash ensues (Chart 2, right panel).
… to get to a lower debt level, taxes that distort economic behavior need to be raised temporarily or productive spending needs to be cut—or both. The costs of the tax increases or expenditure cuts required to bring down the debt may be much larger than the reduced crisis risk engendered by the lower debt (Ostry, Ghosh, and Espinoza, 2015). This is not to deny that high debt is bad for growth and welfare. It is. But the key point is that the welfare cost from the higher debt (the so-called burden of the debt) is one that has already been incurred and cannot be recovered; it is a sunk cost. Faced with a choice between living with the higher debt—allowing the debt ratio to decline organically through growth—or deliberately running budgetary surpluses to reduce the debt, governments with ample fiscal space will do better by living with the debt.
On capital account liberalization, the IMF’s view has also changed—from one that considered capital controls as almost always counterproductive to greater acceptance of controls to deal with the volatility of capital flows. The IMF also recognizes that full capital flow liberalization is not always an appropriate end-goal, and that further liberalization is more beneficial and less risky if countries have reached certain thresholds of financial and institutional development.
Chile’s pioneering experience with neoliberalism received high praise from Nobel laureate Friedman, but many economists have now come around to the more nuanced view expressed by Columbia University professor Joseph Stiglitz (himself a Nobel laureate) that Chile “is an example of a success of combining markets with appropriate regulation” (2002). Stiglitz noted that in the early years of its move to neoliberalism, Chile imposed “controls on the inflows of capital, so they wouldn’t be inundated,” as, for example, the first Asian-crisis country, Thailand, was a decade and a half later. Chile’s experience (the country now eschews capital controls), and that of other countries, suggests that no fixed agenda delivers good outcomes for all countries for all times. Policymakers, and institutions like the IMF that advise them, must be guided not by faith, but by evidence of what has worked.
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⇧ Trump targets working immigrants through remittances | Fusion
It will be interesting to see if Trump has any concrete plans to deal with global poverty other than via more failed neoliberal policies. He has often more than hinted that he’s not completely in the neoliberal camp. Now he’ll have to show it more clearly and plainly or lose any possibility of people from the Sanders (Progressive) Movement spilling over to vote for him if Hillary Clinton ends up the Democratic nominee.
⇧ Another Blow to Holding Banks Accountable for the Financial Crisis – The New Yorker
… the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals looked at that judgment and asked this question: If an entity (in this case, a bank) enters into a contract pure of heart and only deceives its partners afterward, is that fraud?
The three-judge panel’s answer was no.
What’s missing? The reasonable-person standard is missing.
Would a reasonable person have believed that the contract between Countrywide and the GSE’s didn’t require Countrywide to deliver acceptable loans to those GSE’s? No. The court is fine with that. They ruled that it was breach of contract. So what question remains regarding the reasonable person?
When Countrywide willfully breached the contract, would the reasonable person have believed Countrywide did do so with no intent to defraud the GSE’s? Again, no. The court’s ruling that Countrywide didn’t engage in fraud is not what the reasonable person would have believed (and probably still doesn’t).
So, going forward, all transactions under a contract will have to include the party wishing not to be defrauded to specifically restate that fact. It is either that or the contract itself will have to state that the parties agree that such breaches as occurred in this case will constitute fraud.
However, contracts can’t go against statutes, and the court has ruled as to its interpretation of the law. Does that ruling cover statutes pertaining to contract breach? That’s for legal researchers to answer.
How will this impact insurance fraud? Insurance policies are contracts.
Is this going to end up before the Supreme Court? It should but might not. Even if it does, there’s no guarantee that, that court would rule correctly.
⇧ Five Brexit economic myths | Centre for European Reform
I haven’t been covering the Brexit question on this blog much at all. I have been keeping up with the issue though.
I have always leaned heavily toward “remain,” as in don’t leave or don’t exit. My position has always been that Britain has worked in the wrong direction: against full integration. Perhaps the German position has quite a bit to do with that. Germany has used the Union and zone(s), etc., more or less as a one-sided tool for German exports and the like.
This article covers a number of issues concerning Brexit. I don’t profess to having the depth of knowledge concerning Europe to really know the definitive answers concerning each of the points raised. I just have my general pro-democracy position, and Union based upon real democracy is, in my view, the best approach.
⇧ The IMF, the neoliberal agenda and the world we’ve built — Bull Market — Medium
[The IMF] recommends … individual countries should take actions to shield themselves from spill overs by disincentivising inflows.
In this respect the Fund; move towards backing capital controls is a consequences of the failure of Western fiscal policy makers to do enough to support growth and the unwillingness of Western monetary policy makers to take into account the global consequences of their actions.
This [is] the world the policy mix of the advanced economies has built.
And if the term “capital controls” is too much for emerging economy policymakers trained in the advanced world before the crisis, that’s fine, there’s a new term now: “macro prudential policy”.
⇧ US flash PMI downturn dampens second quarter rebound hopes | Employment,Federal Reserve,Flash,GDP,Interest rate | Markit Commentary
So far in the second quarter, the PMI has averaged 51.6, only marginally higher than the mean of 51.5 recorded in the first quarter. As such, the PMI points to second quarter GDP rising at an annualised rate of just 0.7%, unchanged on the pace signalled by the PMI for the first quarter. Official initial estimates, still subject to revision, put first quarter growth at 0.5%.
Service sector growth has slowed to one of the weakest rates seen since 2009, and manufacturing is already in its steepest downturn since the recession, according to Markit’s surveys.
⇧ How Apartment Amenities Have Changed over the Years (and What This Says about the Target Tenants)
interesting shift is that more buildings have in-unit laundry machines, while fewer have community or in-building laundry. In 2014, 70 percent had laundry in the unit and only 10 percent had laundry rooms; in the early 2000s, 57 percent had in-unit laundry while 33 percent had a laundry room; the remainder had washer-dryer hook-ups only. This convenience is hard to quantify, but its appeal is universal!
It’s also very logical.
⇧ Brexit bunkum II — the professors and their pamphlet | openDemocracy
Here’s another on Brexit.
The neoliberal moral (oxymoron) of the story: leave out the data that doesn’t support your position.
⇧ NAKED KEYNESIANISM: A brief note on Venezuela and the turn to the right in Latin America
… while one can blame the left of center governments of Chávez and Maduro for not being able to break the structural dependence on oil, it is hardly the case that this is a problem just of the left of center governments. In fact, even with this terrible collapse of the economy, for the period as a whole starting in 1999 (or 2003, after the Chávez administration survived the US sponsored coup, and took over the oil company), the economy grew considerably (see figure below).
So growth has been tied to terms of trade and the price of oil. Also, not only the economy collapses when the price of oil collapses, but exchange rate depreciation, in the black market now, leads to high inflation, which goes often with shortages. Anybody that has lived through high inflation in Latin America in the 1980s knows this. It has nothing to do with fiscal policy, or with the central bank printing money. The fiscal situation worsened as a result of lack of growth and the external problems (see figure below).
I should note also, that while it is not surprising that Maduro’s government is unpopular in the middle of this crisis (like Dilma was in Brazil), it would be a stretch to suggest that most people want a return of neoliberal policies (in fact, in Brazil the country remains divided, as much as in Argentina, were the neoliberal Macri only won a narrow victory by deceiving the electorate). The problems of the long cycle of the left in the region, tied to the high prices of commodities, and the reduced popularity of left of center politicians, does not translate into an acceptance of neoliberal policies, and more popular resistance can be expected now, as compared to the 1990s, when the Washington Consensus policies were adopted.
Neoliberal “leaders” know all of this but choose to ignore all of it.
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… Arizona attorney Jeffrey Greenberg went farther than most, federal prosecutors say: He not only used his legal expertise to help co-conspirators get dubious loans on multi-million dollar Southern California homes but also to file bogus lien releases in San Diego County. That enabled the defendants to take out new loans against the same properties, by making it appear as though the former loans had been paid off.
⇧ Economic Update: Listen, Prof. Krugman (2016.05.26) – YouTube
Richard D. Wolff, among other things, refutes Paul Krugman regarding the Obama administration and reducing inequality.
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⇧ Ten-Year Gap in Major Hurricanes Continues – YouTube
It has been a decade since the last major hurricane, Category 3 or higher, made landfall in the United States. This is the longest period of time for the United States to avoid a major hurricane since reliable records began in 1850. According to a NASA study, a 10-year gap comes along only every 270 years.
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