Linking ≠ endorsement.
⇧ Global clean energy employment rose 5% in 2015, figures show | Environment | The Guardian
More than 769,000 people were employed in renewable energy in the US in 2015, dwarfing the 187,000 employed in the oil and gas sector and the 68,000 in coal mining. The gap is set to grow further, with jobs in solar and wind growing by more than 20% in 2015, while oil and gas jobs fell by 18% as the fossil fuel industry struggled with low prices.
Across the world, employment in renewable energy grew by 5% in 2015, boosted by supportive government policies and subsidies including tax credits in the US, although jobs in renewables fell in Europe. The growth was despite renewable energy subsidies being far outweighed by subsidies for fossil fuels, where jobs were lost.
⇧ Editorial: Hiding bad news from Texans
“The public has a right to know about flooding events that could pose a threat to their health and their environment,” Kramer said. “Removing air surveillance photos of floods of oil and gas facilities from public access is a blow to transparency and accountability. It’s ridiculous to say that this was done for privacy concerns.”
⇧ Apartments are the hot new tech sector | TechCrunch
… the multi-family sector has long proved one of the most resistant to technological change. Owing partly to an old guard of landlords and owners, and partly to the relationship-driven nature of the business, the kinds of cloud-based apps and innovations that have transformed other sectors have failed to make inroads into one of the biggest.
But a flurry of developments in the past few years means change may finally be on the horizon.
To be honest, I clicked on the link hoping the article would explain what the orange things are on the sides of the buildings. I’m assuming they’re screened in balconies; and, if so, wow!
⇧ The Pritzker Architecture Prize on Flickr (Post 1 – Award 2) | Flickr – Photo Sharing!
It got me looking at these: addicting.
⇧ Is Clinton the Real Housing Crash Villain? | RealClearPolitics
Look, I’m not going to say there’s no truth to any of this. I am, however, going to point out that it completely fails to even mention deregulation. Now, that’s on purpose. It’s not because Larry Kudlow doesn’t know that deregulation played the largest role in setting up the crash but because, in my opinion, he does know it that he didn’t mention it. He’s welcome to correct me, but I heard him admitting that the crash caught him completely by surprise (just the way it caught Alan Greenspan and for the same reasons).
Were the lower lending-standards stupid right along with the deregulation? Definitely. So you see, it wasn’t just “liberals” who made the huge mistakes but also the deregulators (aka, libertarians, laissez-faire crowd along with the neoliberals).
What do we really need? We need solid regulations along with a guaranteed living-income for everyone. We need more and more and more real democracy. We need a money-financed only government: no governmental borrowing whatsoever.
That’s for starters.
Does Hillary Clinton know this? No. Does Bernie Sanders? No. How about Donald Trump? No.
Only a small handful of people in the world understand it and care about the downtrodden enough to enact it. Unfortunately, they aren’t in the power positions. It’s up to the young people to seek them out and to raise them up to power and to keep them honest (if they need it).
⇧ Europe Revolts Against Russian Sanctions
This is not what you’ll get from the mainstream US media, but it is something I think you should read if only to understand the momentum.
Personally, I never agreed with Washington’s approach concerning Ukraine. Ukraine underwent a neoliberal coup. Ukraine was far from perfect, but that coup only made matters worse.
I don’t think it farfetched of the Russians to have become deeply concerned that Russia was being targeted for a “color revolution.”
Much of the anti-Putin propaganda in the US is decidedly neoliberal, which ought not be automatically trusted.
Look, it’s very poor risk management to be thumping Russia in the chest, especially while the Islamic State is running about with designs against both the US and Russia.
We really don’t need an imperial rivalry made up in Washington against Russia. The last thing Russia wants is a war in Europe. Russia simply doesn’t want to be bullied even while Russia wants to be great.
There is no reason whatsoever that the US and Russia are not close allies and partners. It’s quite doable, and the world would be much saner and safer as a result.
Both nations can improve on the democratic front. Let’s try, please.
⇧ Pritzker Prize-Winning Architect Publishes Open-Source Plans for Affordable Housing – Shareable
⇧ Danger Below? New Properties Hide Abandoned Oil And Gas Wells : NPR
In most states, there is no requirement for homeowners to be notified about abandoned oil and gas wells on their properties.
From economic meltdowns abroad to terrorism to squabbles over European Union membership, the growing international role in major U.S. real estate markets means we’re more likely to see the impact of those issues, says Ross Milroy, owner and broker at Ross Milroy Realty in Miami.
“The Miami real estate market — and I think New York is very similar as well — we’re so dependent on the international buyers, and they’re such a huge part of our market,” Milroy says. “A lot of our real estate markets do not follow traditional patterns, and a lot of our demand is dependent on what’s going on in those home countries of our buyers.”
Here are some of the most prevalent international issues affecting domestic real estate today.
⇧ Stumbling and Mumbling: Labour’s economic answers
Tony Blair says of the Labour leadership: “These guys aren’t providing answers, not on the economy, not on foreign policy.” I don’t want to discuss foreign policy — others might have opinions on Mr Blair’s ability to judge that — but in economic policy, this seems questionable.
One possibility is that he’s just out-of-touch. A globetrotting multimillionaire friend of dictators is not well attuned to the struggles of the low-paid, or to McDonnell’s attempts to solve them. Another is that he’s living in the world of post-truth politics, in which the test of policy is not whether it is a coherent answer to real problems, but simply whether it sells to a biased media and inattentive electorate. A third possibility is that he’s thinking of the economy in BBC mediamacro terms — as a synonym for “government borrowing.” None of these possibilities do him any credit.
“…seems questionable” is putting it way too mildly.
Do you think they’re on to something concerning preventing displacements? Should they?
⇧ Does Venezuela’s Crisis Prove Socialism Doesn’t Work? | venezuelanalysis.com
For years, the government has only had two options: either move towards a well regulated, well oiled, simple and loophole free controlled exchange regime, or a free float. Instead, the government has chosen a third option: make currency exchange as convoluted, inefficient and messy as possible, with loopholes and blind spots left, right and center. Nothing makes sense, and everything is open to exploitation. This may sound harsh, but the facts don’t lie.
And the truth is that when coupled with Venezuela’s heavy-crude-refining costs, it’s a major economic mess. It’s also not socialism, per se. There’s no real socialist argument for remaining without “a well regulated, well oiled, simple and loophole free controlled exchange regime, or a free float” under the current circumstances.
It’s unusual for me to see this level of criticism on venezuelanalysis.com. Let’s hope Maduro reads it, understands it, and does the right thing for his nation and its people.
⇧ Thoughts on Mirowski and Neoliberalism from a Polanyian Perspective
I’ve been writing for some time in favor of democratizing our economy while explaining that neoliberalism is the enemy of democracy. The following sums it up rather nicely.
… the neoliberals view the state as an instrument to protect the “market” from the demands of the “people”, while the neoclassicals see it as an exogenous entity potentially generating market “imperfections”.
… the goal of the neoliberal movement was to capture the state and impose a new order, while pretending to hark back to the ideals of nineteenth-century liberalism. As recognized by Polanyi, neoliberals like Walter Lippmann neither believed in laissez faire nor in democratic governance. Actually, as Hayek explained in his book The Constitution of Liberty, they were aware that once the new neoliberal order were established, it would have to be protected against political interference of the mass democracy ….
Being anti-democratic is “liberty”? I sure don’t think so. Full transparency reveals the whole truth, and that truth is what sets us free. Democracy, to function correctly, requires that transparency. The neoliberals are adamantly opposed to it. They want private secrets so they may be advantaged over those seeking truth. Whose side are you on?
⇧ ‘Instant fix:’ Big real estate business seizes on Nashville’s white-hot apartment market
Cushman & Wakefield will go head-to-head with the two firms that dominate Middle Tennessee when it comes to facilitating multifamily deals. One of those giants is CBRE Inc., a global company whose lead local multifamily broker, Steve Massey, has been working Nashville real estate deals for more than three decades. The other is Jones Lang LaSalle, which is also a global player. Broker Vince Lefler has quickly established himself as a top dealmaker in the region. Jones Lang LaSalle ranks second on our most recent list of real estate sales activity, brokering $380 million of deals — the vast majority of which stemmed from Lefler’s purview. (CBRE ranks No. 1, and Cushman & Wakefield ranks No. 3. Both logged about 70 more deals than Jones Lang LaSalle).
⇧ Sound Transit Light Rail Stations Could Be Built Sooner Under Revised Plan – Curbed Seattle
Sound Transit unveiled their grand plan for ST3, the future of light rail in Puget Sound, back in March. Since then there’s been a lot of discussion surrounding the timelines and who gets what first. Timelines like 2033 for West Seattle and 2038 for Ballard might have been better than nothing, they still felt eons away.
Thanks to some new “financial assumptions,” Sound Transit has already bumped up some of their long-range deadlines.
⇧ LSE Business Review — How do ‘Economists for Brexit’ manage to defy the laws of gravity?
Brexit is about increasing neofeudalism, which is really just saying neoliberalism. It’s a very bad anti-democratic idea. Unfortunately, the EU and eurozone, etc., are way too anti-democratic too.
⇧ Why the Law Failed to Punish Wrongdoers in the Financial Crisis – Bloomberg View
The government presented evidence to show that Countrywide knew that the loans were below grade when it sold them. But it didn’t provide any evidence to show that, when it made the original sales contracts, Countrywide intended to sell the government below-grade mortgages.
The court has totally erred, at best. Fraud here isn’t simply about original intent but rather about actions throughout the life of the agreement. Switching from having no originally intention to defraud (an mere assumption/or a lack of evidence of same) to then knowingly defrauding (which the court indirectly admitted happened) is more than sufficient. It’s prima fascia.
⇧ 30 projects win awards for sustainable, inclusive designs Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments
⇧ Far Fewer Low Credit Score Applicants Than Before Housing Crisis
… the observed decline in originations could be a result of potential applicants being either too cautious or discouraged from applying, more so than tight underwriting as the culprit in lower mortgage activity. Consumers are cautious more than they have been in the past and thus self-sidelining of cautious/discouraged consumers makes it appear as if credit is tightening. The policy prescriptions are quite different if the drop in originations is attributable to a lack of demand more than to tight underwriting. For example, more consumer education such as counseling and financial literacy programs could be as or more successful in raising origination levels than introducing new lending products with lower credit standards.
Trust has been violated. Why should people trust a system that openly rewards superrich wrongdoers while punishing more honest but poorer people?
⇧ Is Stockholm’s House Party Over? – Bloomberg
One thing’s worth keeping in mind when looking at debt levels: Scandinavians can generally afford to get into debt because they enjoy a safety net in the form of the welfare state. When a housing bubble burst in neighboring Denmark, back in 2008, few families actually lost their homes.
They put people over the profits of the uberrich.
⇧ China Default Chain Reaction Threatens Products Worth 35% of GDP – Bloomberg
The risk of a default chain reaction is looming over the $3.6 trillion market for wealth management products in China.
WMPs, which traditionally funneled money from Chinese individuals into assets from corporate bonds to stocks and derivatives, are now increasingly investing in each other. Such holdings may have swelled to as much as 2.6 trillion yuan ($396 billion) last year, based on estimates from Autonomous Research this month.
⇧ Goldman Sees End of Yuan ‘Sweet Spot’ Spurring Fund Outflows – Bloomberg
Beijing-based Song said in a May 26 interview. “But this is very much like a game of a cat trying to catch the rats — whenever the government manages to block a hole through which capital leaks out, people can always dig another hole to bring the money out over time.”
Does Xi have the power and control to clamp down, or would he be overthrown, including his Party?
⇧ Real Estate Boom Pinches a Produce Supply in the Hudson Valley – The New York Times
… the demand for locally grown foods is colliding with another powerful force: a booming real estate market, particularly in the Hudson Valley, driven by waves of newcomers from New York City, perhaps drawn by the region’s natural beauty, more relaxed pace and less expensive housing. The boom is gobbling up family farms as owners choose to cash in on the surging value of land rather than grapple with the perennial challenges of slim profit margins, high taxes, long hours and fickle weather.
This is why people say to build up, not out.
China’s receding growth rate is taking its toll on listed real estate companies throughout the Pacific Rim region.
⇧ Hong Kong’s 26-year-old Tiananmen rally is causing brand new controversies – CNN.com
Since 1990, the Victoria Park vigil — organized by the Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China — has called for the rehabilitation of the 1989 pro-democracy movement, the end of one-party dictatorship, and the building of a democratic China.
I certainly fully support those goals and do not think being for autonomy for Hong Kong in the interim is contradictory.
⇧ Remembering Tiananmen Divides Hong Kong’s Pro-Democracy Camp – Bloomberg
Veterans of the Occupy protests say localists are losing sight of the fact that pro-democracy forces on both sides of the border have a common adversary — the Chinese Communist Party.
“Of course the first priority is to fight for democracy in Hong Kong,” said Joshua Wong, one of the most visible student leaders of Occupy. “But if both China activists and Hong Kong activists are facing the same enemy — the Communist regime — one of the strategies for us is to show our support to activists in mainland China.”
Of course that’s right. Turning inward will only lessen growing international pressure on the mainland Chinese dictatorship. It’s a global struggle.
⇧ Real Estate Vampires Plot How To “De-Tenant” Rent-Stabilized Brooklyn: Gothamist
The moral limitations of Itkowitz’s “objective” observations showed up during her speech yesterday, when she treated tricking renters into thinking their homes would be demolished to get rid of them as a totally reasonable move.
Ethics and legality are not necessarily the same things. Something may not be technically illegal but still definitely unethical. Sometimes the letter of the law is blurry to the interpreter, who may then make the wrong choice and find out the unethical action was also actually illegal.
An attorney giving unethical advice that turns out to also be illegal, could face litigation and discover that his or her insurance won’t cover it.
⇧ City looks at new ordinance for vacant properties | Local | rapidcityjournal.com
This article doesn’t mention what defines vacant versus unoccupied. People on vacation typically don’t remove their furniture, etc.
Also, would the registration be public? People on vacation wouldn’t like the idea of their house having nobody staying in it being public knowledge for thieves to exploit.
However, there could be real benefits to the government being informed that nobody will be staying in the dwelling for months. It would be good to know in emergencies and also to keep an eye out for thieves, etc.
⇧ Tampa company could be a model for real estate investors – Orlando Sentinel
This is too sketchy to form much of an opinion either way. Is anyone losing out who shouldn’t be?
⇧ The Untold Story Behind Saudi Arabia’s 41-Year U.S. Debt Secret – Bloomberg
I don’t know why they’re calling this news. I’ve known about it for decades. It’s been rather common knowledge among people who read about such things, as I have and still do. It’s all part of the overall petrodollar arrangement. I suppose they are referring to this particular documented confirmation being made public. I didn’t know it wasn’t already public. It sure seemed it was. If not, it was sure one heck of an open secret.
Anyway, there are some minor details I wasn’t aware of.
⇧ You’re witnessing the death of neoliberalism — from within | Aditya Chakrabortty | Opinion | The Guardian
In a word: excellent.
⇧ Lobbyists Are Behind the Rise in Corporate Profits
I find that investments in conventional capital assets like machinery and spending on R&D together account for a substantial part of the rise in valuations and profits, especially during the 1990s. However, since 2000, political activity and regulation account for a surprisingly large share of the increase.
This research supports the view that political rent seeking is responsible for a significant portion of the rise in profits. Firms influence the legislative and regulatory process and they engage in a wide range of activity to profit from regulatory changes, with significant success. Without further research, we cannot say for sure whether this activity is making the economy less dynamic and more unequal, but the magnitude of this effect certainly heightens those concerns.
In its 2015 Fiscal Monitor, ?the IMF writes that to be stabilizing, the fiscal balance needs to increase when output rises and to decrease when it falls. That way, fiscal policy generates additional demand when output is weak and subtracts from demand when the economy is booming.
Yes, but the neoliberals and laissez-faire types foolishly want liquidations and for the “state” to stay fiscally completely out of things in the case of the neoliberals and completely out including regulatorily in the case of the let-do ideologues.
⇧ Overdosing on Heterodoxy Can Kill You
Ricardo Hausmann makes plenty of solid points concerning errors made by the government of Venezuela on the monetary front.
As for price discovery and supply and demand, such things can be done via democracy even better if the democracy is truly transparent and equal.
That said, worker cooperatives can do, and have done, just fine in mixed, “market” economies.
So, while too much of the wrong heterodoxy can truly kill, not enough of the right heterodoxy stymies and also kills.
⇧ Top 31 Best Questions to ask Property Management
It’s interesting to see what people will ask and what they leave out.
⇧ Republicans set to unveil plan to replace Dodd-Frank | HousingWire
Well, I’m not a fan of Dodd-Frank, but strategic deregulation ( https://www.demos.org/blog/9/11/15/owning-consequences-clinton-and-repeal-glass-steagall ) coupled with cronyism (rent seeking) definitely caused the Great Recession. It was capitalists pressing for changes in the GSEs that caused the problems there. The GSEs didn’t start it. They followed the lead of the bankers.
Hensarling and his ilk engage in revisionism to mask the hand their ideology played in causing the entire mess.
Oh, I’m not saying that there weren’t naïve people clamoring for lower lending standards who were doing so not out of greed but out of a real desire to help people get roofs over their heads; but those people had nowhere near the clout that the corporatist lenders did.
⇧ Oil Traders Are Borrowing From Banks to Store Crude at a Loss – Bloomberg
… highlights the speculative nature of much of the oil bounce this year.”
⇧ Major Landlord Sends Warning About Rental Markets in NYC, San Francisco – Bloomberg
Equity Residential is among landlords having to work harder to draw tenants in Manhattan as a glut of new apartments gives residents more bargaining power.
Rents going down does not equate to affordable. Leaving things to the “markets” hasn’t been working very well at all. We need affordable housing while in a mixed economy, developers and landlords need to make reasonable profits. We can do both if we want.
⇧ When coworking stops working, is office sharing the natural next step? —
If you were unaware …
⇧ Rents Rise 10%. And 12%. Also 8% – Bloomberg
… “the vast majority of these rent estimates are completely made up.”
⇧ Why Don’t Prime-Age Workers Feel Like Working? | CEPR Blog | Blogs | Publications | The Center for Economic and Policy Research
If we want to say that the drop in EPOP ratios for prime-age men between 1989 and 2000 was part of a trend, then if this trend continued at the same pace, the EPOP for prime-age men would be 2.9 percentage points higher than it is today. If the upward trend for women had continued after 2000 then we would expect the EPOP for prime-age women to be much higher today than it was in 2016.
So it comes down to believing in a weak labor market or the unknown. Take your pick.
I pick intentional slack designed to keep the workers’ power down, which has not been a good thing at all.
⇧ The only number that matters in Venezuela is this one – The Washington Post
Anti-socialists continually point to Venezuela as evidence that nothing socialistic has ever worked. Of course, Venezuela is not all that is socialism or socialistic. US Social Security is socialistic to a degree. US freeways are entirely socialistic, except that they aren’t governmental profit centers. There are taxes on some fuels and on vehicles that use the freeways, but it would be a stretch to say that the freeways are the means of production in the direct sense Marx and others meant by that designation.
Examples in the US are far, far from the only ones in the world. In fact, many nations have more socialism mixed into their economic systems than does the US. Many of those other nations are doing quite well under the international economic circumstances, from which the US is still suffering as well thanks to many US policies and practices that brought on the crisis, which policies and practices, as we have seen, were due in large measure to financial deregulation setting the climate for all things greedy, selfish, deceptive, etc. It became a malignant, pervasive mentally that even ended up somewhat infesting the GSEs with Wall Street attitudes, though they never came close to reaching the level of outright greed that certainly started on Wall Street and that was definitely not caused by those GSEs but, contrary to the false claims of the revisionists, the other way around.
Not just the curse of oil, but extremely heavy, highly sulfuric oil:
Venezuela’s thick, sulfurous crude is so heavy that it has to import high-quality “light” oil to blend with its own. In other words, even Venezuela’s oil needs oil in order to make money.
No government, not any libertarian or other one, would have been able to avoid the gigantic drop in oil prices and the resulting loss of public and private revenues. To point to Venezuela as if there is no other socialism in the world and to point to Venezuela without discussing the drop in oil prices (that has also hit US fracking hard) is disingenuous at best. It is deception. It is part and parcel of the Wall Street mentality I mentioned above, a continuation, more of the same that caused the problem in the first place and will cause more if not checked via real democracy, the People, greed’s biggest enemy.
⇧ In Solidarity with Venezuela, an Open Letter to OAS Secretary General | venezuelanalysis.com
This open letter does an excellent job of shedding light on the one-sided nature of the criticisms against Venezuela’s current administration.
Honest people know and openly admit that Venezuela has difficulties and does need reforming, but replacing the current administration with a neoliberal one would be an unmitigated disaster that would only serve to further line the pockets of elitists and global plutocrats out to increase theirs before they die and to hell with the poor and posterity.
⇧ China’s Youth Think Tiananmen Was So 1989 | Foreign Policy
And we were told that if we will only open China to capitalism and give it a little time, China would become democratic. I didn’t believe it back then, and I’ve certainly been vindicated.
The young people in this article have been trained to rationalize, to overlook the utter hypocrisy of the Chinese Communist Party, and to be extremely shortsighted and self-centered while pretending that doing so is for the greater good.
Well, what will they think when the dictators further mess up economically and financially? Only democracy will save them from those dictators, but they’ll be too timid to even expect it, let alone work for it.
Fortunately, there are a whole bunch of factory workers who’ve been displaced by the growing economic downturn who don’t think they have too much to risk for having a say in how things are run and who gets what and why.
What a mess China is in with one foot in laissez-faire capitalism and the other in Maoism when what it needs is democracy that it’s to afraid to even openly discuss.
China’s explosive economic growth in the years that followed “proves that the path of socialism with Chinese characters we chose to follow … is in line with the fundamental interests of the Chinese people, and it represents a wish shared by them all,” Hua told reporters at a daily news briefing.
And if they openly state that they don’t share that view, they can meet with the same fate as those at Tiananmen on June 4th, 1989. Well, I don’t think it is fated. I think the dictatorship will fall of it’s own inherent, fatal flaws.
Economic growth, per se, doesn’t lead to democracy, but the crash of a myopic, greed-based, anti-democratic growth system eventually does.
⇧ Chinese Activists Hit Out at Foreign Minister’s Tirade at Journalist
“We are trying to fight to gain some political power, because people with no political power are basically slaves,” Qi said. “But who really has any power?”
“This government has nothing to do with ordinary people in the way it exercises power.”
Qi said Wang’s warning to non-Chinese people not to comment was “the voice of a dictatorship.”
Yes, “the voice of a dictatorship” is exactly what it is; and the US government should be ashamed for opening China capitalistically when it has exactly meant propping up and enriching the hypocritical tyrants who’ve enslaved the masses to accomplish that self-enrichment.
Barack Obama switches to backing Bernie Sanders plan, as does Hillary Clinton. Who deserves and gets the credit? In my book, it’s Bernie Sanders among the three of them. It’s too obvious.
By the summer of 2014, a small group of Democratic caucus senators, led by Sen. Bernie Sanders, started advocating for lifting Social Security’s payroll tax cap so wealthier people paid more into the system, and then increasing benefits to seniors. Polling by advocacy groups found broad support for expansion.
This idea became a central theme in Sanders’s presidential campaign. In the speech announcing his candidacy, the senator said that “instead of cutting Social Security, we’re going to expand Social Security benefits.”
I go much further by advocating a guaranteed living income for everyone paid for via money-financed fiscal spending. This is part of a complete economic and financial platform that won’t work nearly as well if done piecemeal and certainly shouldn’t be implemented incrementally; but, I rather that than nothing, though nothing really isn’t the choice because the youths of the nation are beginning to see and to speak the light/truth.
⇧ Employment Situation Summary, Friday, June 3, 2016
Not good, not good at all:
Total nonfarm payroll employment changed little in May (+38,000). …
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for March was revised from +208,000 to +186,000, and the change for April was revised from +160,000 to +123,000. With these revisions, employment gains in March and April combined were 59,000 less than previously reported. Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 116,000 per month.
We have the movement pushing for a $15 minimum wage (#FightFor15). We have the recent changes in overtime for salaried workers. Those will not be enough to heat the economy to the point where the Fed ought to raise the interest rate or take other steps to slow growth (assuming the Fed is even the proper way of handling the economy, which I think it is not).
Unemployment is at 4.7%; but, as I’ve written for years now, it could go down to 3% in this environment without fearing hyperinflation.
How the Fed doesn’t see it, or won’t, or does but won’t admit it (which I think is the actual case), is beyond me other than that they don’t want it seen by the general public that the Fed’s not a good system compare to economic direct-democracy from the bottom up.
⇧ A Suburban Experiment Aims for Free Energy – The New York Times
Fantastic, and it’s about time too!
With a combination of rooftop solar panels, smart thermostats, advanced water heaters and other high-efficiency features, the homes are all built with a similar goal: to make at least as much energy as they use over a year.
It’s a concept known as zero net energy, and the cluster of homes here represents one of the nation’s largest experiments to see if zero net energy can be put into wider use.
… California … goal is that all new homes be net-zero or the equivalent by 2020. …
All of the test homes have SunPower rooftop solar systems, which are among the most efficient on the market. And because they were designed along with the houses, the arrays can be oriented for maximum production.
Half of the test homes also have energy storage systems with LG batteries and Eguana inverters, which help manage the flow of electricity between the solar installation, home and grid, to allow researchers to test and compare how much value they add.
⇧ 5 Ways to Invest in Income-Producing Real Estate – ZING Blog by Quicken Loans | ZING Blog by Quicken Loans
Owner-Occupied Rentals (2 – 4 units)
Investing in an owner-occupied rental — that is, a small apartment building you also live in — is one option for first-time home buyers who are also looking for a bit of income to help cover mortgage payments. Many investors get started using an FHA loan to purchase a 2- to 4-unit property with a down payment as low as 3.5%. Yes, you will have to live in the same property with your tenants, but at least it’s a short commute when they call with a plumbing issue.
Multifamily Rentals (5+ units)
Now we are getting into the big leagues. Once you are looking at acquiring a property with 5+ units, you are no longer shopping for a residential mortgage. …
… Loan requirements often call for a net worth (excluding your primary residence) equal to the loan amount. First-time multifamily buyers will often partner with veteran investors to meet the net worth and income requirements needed.
⇧ Why Interest Rate Increases Aren’t the Solution to Slow Housing Growth – Washington Wire – WSJ
… a decision on raising interest rates in June should boil down to whether there is clear evidence of economic overheating: wage growth that is substantially higher than the sum of productivity growth and the Fed’s inflation target and that therefore threatens to lead to accelerating overall price inflation. Until we see this kind of demand-driven excess wage growth, there is no reason to cast around for other reasons to raise rates.
Agreed. They will cast around though, as the bankers want to be able to charge higher interest to increase their executive-compensation packages.
⇧ IMF Survey : Evolution Not Revolution: Rethinking Policy at the IMF
Governments simply have to live within their means on a long-term basis, or face some form of debt default, which normally is quite costly for citizens, and especially the poorest. This is a fact, not an ideological position.
That is a falsehood. Whether it is intentional or not is difficult to say, as some people rise to very high places while being duped themselves by the system that has elevated them because they’ve toed the bankers’ false-propaganda line.
It is definitely an ideological position, as governments never really had to borrow. The entire usury system is wholly made up. It is not a natural thing. It is not a law of economics. It is an artificial construct designed solely to benefit lenders, who have duped nearly the entirety of humanity into thinking governmental borrowing is required.
⇧ A Challenge to Donald Trump’s Energy Claims: Economic Reality – The New York Times
Plunging oil and gas prices have pointed to a fundamental flaw in Mr. Trump’s argument: At a certain point, production of oil and gas will push prices too low to justify even more production.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries — especially its leading producer, Saudi Arabia — also gets a say. If it decides to keep the spigot cranked, the bar for profitable American production gets higher, investment falls and the sector contracts, regardless of Mr. Trump’s intentions.
It appears to me that Donald is banking entirely on demand increasing via supply increasing, but people don’t want that nearly enough for it to happen. Way too many people realize that Anthropogenic Global Warming is happening and happening as a direct result of carbon-fuel burning. Donald has no plan to sequester carbon from the atmosphere to offset his envisioned massive increase in burning, not to mention all the other environmental issues associated with the carbon-fuel industrial cycle, such as earthquakes from fracking and groundwater contamination (which will come to light) and other air pollutants resulting from the burning other than just CO2 increases.
No, his idea is not a good one for America at all. We need clean energy that won’t contribute to increases in global warming. We need to reverse carbon burning so that it becomes less and less until it all but disappears. We also still need sequestration measures, such as improving our top soils in as many places as we can do it as possible.
Donald Trump’s energy policy represents very bad risk management.
⇧ America’s jobs slowdown | FT World – YouTube
Most of you probably surmised all of this, but it”s a good recap.
Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.
⇧ What Wall Street Costs America — Public Banking Institute [cached]
The vast amount of money paid to Wall Street by America’s cities, counties, and states has profound impacts on our lives and local economies. Most citizens don’t know about it — they just pay it. It’s a staggering amount: Hundreds of billions of dollars move from taxpayer pockets into private Wall Street hands each year in the form of interest payments on bonds, loans, fees, and financial product costs which have caused:
- School closures
- Lost jobs
- Life-long student debt
- Reduced public services and infrastructure
- Privatized public assets, and
- Stymied local businesses who can’t get affordable funding to grow.
⇧ Behind the Numbers: PCE Inflation Update, April 2016 – Dallas Fed
The headline, or all-items, PCE price index rose at a 3.7 percent annualized rate in April.
It’s not a result of wage pressures. The Fed knows this and can’t raise rates in the face of it else they’d look like idiots and wouldn’t be able to fool anyone. Raising rates would only be for the sake of the bankers’ pockets, not the Peoples’.
⇧ Policymakers: Act now to break out of the low-growth trap and deliver on our promises – OECD
This article, by Catherine L. Mann, OECD Chief Economist, is wrong. We don’t need monetarism, borrowing, or increased competition. We need only money-finance government spending and cooperation via democracy.
⇧ Remain for Change – for a democratic economic alternative — Prime Economics
…for the UK to vote to leave the EU would be a serious mistake — both in economic and political terms. It would tend strengthen right-wing forces both in the UK and across Europe, and weaken the rights of working people. It risks a fragmentation of Europe along nationalist grounds which could even ultimately threaten the peaceful cooperation we have enjoyed across most of our continent for 70 years.
They want more, not less, democracy.
⇧ United States Employment Rate | 1950-2016 | Data | Chart | Calendar
Employment Rate in the United States remained unchanged at 59.70 percent in May from 59.70 percent in April of 2016. Employment Rate in the United States averaged 59.30 percent from 1950 until 2016, reaching an all time high of 64.70 percent in April of 2000 and a record low of 55 percent in July of 1954. Employment Rate in the United States is reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In United States, the employment rate measures the number of people who have a job as a percentage of the working age population.
⇧ United States Labor Force Participation Rate | 1950-2016 | Data | Chart
Labor Force Participation Rate in the United States decreased to 62.60 percent in May from 62.80 percent in April of 2016. It is the lowest reading since December 2015 and near its 38-year low ….
⇧ How Retirement Contributions Are Saving One Investor $53K in Taxes
… retirement strategies can be a very powerful tool in the right scenario.
⇧ 6 Tips for Gracefully Responding to Bad Reviews as a Property Manager
Professionalism is the word.
⇧ mainly macro: Why the political centre needs to be radical
The main reason Brexit has such wide popular support is concern over immigration, and that in turn is driven by a belief that immigration reduces real wages and puts pressure on public services. Yet the main reason public services are under pressure is austerity, which in turn was a reaction to the financial crisis. Immigration improves the public finances. The main reason for the decline in real take home pay for the low paid is not immigration but stagnant productivity following the financial crisis (and increasingly austerity measures).
⇧ More than 45 million trapped in modern slavery: study
A stain on humanity:
More than 45 million men, women and children globally are trapped in modern slavery, far more than previously thought, with two-thirds in the Asia-Pacific ….
⇧ China’s hard landing began last year, and it’s going to get worse | South China Morning Post
I watched the video. It’s pace is a bit slow for my tastes, but it was worth the watch. I’d share it here as an embed, but it’s an unlisted video.
⇧ OECD sees ‘dramatic and destabilising’ end to property boom | afr.com
If Australia avoids a recession, it will be a “miracle.” It’s my understanding that they have the longest-running growth streak of the developed countries. Can they transition away from mining quickly enough to avoid China’s slowdown causing recession?
⇧ Why the Minimum Wage Worked – Alan Krueger – RES 2016 – YouTube
Why did the minimum wage work – when basic economic theory suggests it shouldn’t?
Alan Krueger of Princeton University
Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.
⇧ Tax hikes on the wealthy: Good or bad for growth? – CBS News
Do the conservative arguments against tax increases have any merit? Or are they, as Democrats claim, a way to serve an ideological goal of smaller government and reward wealthy Republican donors? Let’s take a closer look.
… the argument that tax increases on the wealthy will cause substantial harm to the economy does not withstand a close look at the evidence.
But that won’t stop them from making false claims even though they know they are false.
⇧ A Universal Basic Income Is a Poor Tool to Fight Poverty – The New York Times
Where’s the money going to come from, taxes? That’s the same old song that always, always, always ignores where money comes from in the first place.
Where do coins come from? Where do dollar bills come from? The coins come from the mint, and the difference in the cost to produce them and their face value is not magic. It’s a legislated value. The Congress of the US created the money value out of a simple decision. Dollar bills are a different matter, as the government foolishly borrows (issues bonds) while having the Fed create the money by buying the bonds (the US Treasury does the printing, but the bills are Federal Reserve Notes). Yes, the Fed returns the bond proceeds to the government less “overhead” to operate the Fed. Nevertheless, the whole thing is arbitrary and requires zero taxes. Think about it.
The one and only argument against the creation of enough money to pay everyone is inflationary pressure. But many would pay off debts. Others would save. Those living hand to mouth would spend it. That’s hardly enough to cause runaway inflation, especially in these times where the Fed hasn’t been able to cause inflation for year after year after year.
As for people not working, incomes have been paid elsewhere. Some people stopped working, but most did not. Many not working now, would actually have the freedom to start businesses without so much fear of nothing to fall back on.
No, the arguments against the income are really self-serving ones promoted by bankers, who don’t want to be put out of business, though they really wouldn’t be just via an income for all.
Oh, and the robots really are coming and coming faster than most imagine.
⇧ Newsletter — US Democracy Crisis: Illegitimate System | PopularResistance.Org
Whether or not you are for all of their prescriptions, Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers point out huge flaws in the US system that definitely must be redressed.
We cannot fix our economy for all if we, the People, haven’t enough say in the matter.
The fight is between money and the People. Either money controls the People or the People control the money. Right now, money is in control. It means that the few who control the money are those who control the People. We do not have democracy. We are living in what has been a plutocracy by stealth. The People are waking up to this knowledge and must not allow themselves to be put back into a stupor but rather press on to total and final victory regardless of who wins the US Presidential election and which political party dominates which branch of Congress. The same holds true at the state and local levels.
⇧ Uber, Newsnight and Donald Trump — Prime Economics
Ann Pettifor nails why I have had mixed feelings about Uber and AirBnB.
That’s not to say that I oppose limiting the barriers to entry. I just completely disagree with the Wild West, anti-regulatory atmosphere around such startups (now well beyond the startup phases).
Something not mentioned by Ann is that Uber may have no intention of letting its drivers get in the way of Uber making even more money for those who created and operate the “platform.” When self-driving cars are allowed to taxi people around, will Uber dispense with all of its drivers while rubbing its hands together at the increased profit margins by doing so? Are drivers simply a means to a different end?
Never let sentiment get in the way of making more money! If it’s not illegal, do it! Do everything you can to convince the People that those immoral and unethical positions are actually liberty rather than enslaving under the neofeudalism of laissez-faire and/or neoliberalism.
BTW, once those at the top of Uber become rich enough, will they remain “true” to the supposed libertarian capitalist doctrines?
So, am I a luddite? Far from it. I’m for self-driving cars (coming quickly: https://www.claimsjournal.com/news/midwest/2016/06/01/271243.htm ) that also serve as taxis. What I oppose is allowing the “markets” to be free of regulations protecting us, our society, our environment, etc. I’m a huge advocate of the precautionary principle being the law. Those who want the “markets” to decide everything, shoot first and worry later, if at all.
I’m glad the insurance industry is regulated. I’m glad ethics training and other courses and examinations are required for insurance licensing and renewals. Should the barrier become too high, I’ll speak out against that. So far, I don’t see the bar being too high. Is there room for improvement? Of course!
⇧ Latest Texas Floods Prompt Some to Move
At least six people died in floods last week in Central and Southeast Texas.
⇧ Insurer Fossil Fuel Divestment Focus of Washington Climate Change Summit
“We think climate change is a material risk which all investors need to pay attention to,” Bernhardt said.
⇧ Map Shows Buildings That May Not Survive Quake in Oregon’s Largest City
… buildings were generally constructed before the 1960s using brick with little to no steel reinforcement ….
⇧ 4th Suit Linking Illnesses to DuPont C8 Dumping Goes to Trial in Ohio
… 3,500 lawsuits alleging links between people’s illnesses and DuPont discharging C8 into drinking water and the Ohio River ….
Shall we deregulate that industry and let them discharge toxics wherever they want? Shall we let the “markets” dictate with no regulation by the state/government? Wouldn’t that be reckless and stupid? If so, then why do we even entertain the idea of laissez-faire?
⇧ Sompo Launches Model to Evaluate Wind Farm Risks
“This model will be of great value in diminishing and managing risk and supporting the safe expansion and operation of wind farms.”
⇧ South Carolina Insurance Head Talks Lessons Learned After Historic Flood
… catastrophes “can occur in areas where they haven’t in the past or where you may not expect them.”
⇧ Brainard Sways U.S.-Centric Fed to Think Global in Rates Debate – Bloomberg
The idea that the Fed should confine itself to thinking domestically is rightly dead.
⇧ Germany is defying 700 years of history – The Washington Post
Italy was able to make this work as long as it had its own currency it could devalue when it needed to, as it did plenty of times prior to 1999. But now that it has the euro, it has to enforce wage discipline if it wants to have a competitive economy.
There’s no other way, at least as long as Germany won’t let there be. In theory, German wages could rise to match those in Italy, France and Spain, or just meet them halfway. But it doesn’t want to. From their perspective, why copy the countries that are foundering when you can make them copy you? Never mind that it’s bad economics to make countries try to cut wages, which you have to fire people to do, rather than raise them yourself. Germany wants to have its cake, eat it, and sell you the rest before telling you that you need to do the same. Except it won’t buy any from you.
Nobody said making Italy German would be easy. Then again, nobody said they wanted to, either.
“…bad economics to make countries try to cut wages, which you have to fire people to do….” I don’t get that. I think German economics are bad, but I don’t see why people necessarily have to be fired so that wages can be reduced. Is it that there would be hardship and deflation leading to a slowdown and then terminations? If the wages go down across-the-board though (nationally), would that necessarily play out? How sticky would the prices be? What about imports, would those prices be offset by improved exports? Anyway, if every nation were to do this, wouldn’t it simply benefit the rich at the general expense of all the rest?
⇧ San Francisco Spends $20 Million on Anti-Homeless Laws – Curbed SF
On Facebook, local non-profit the Coalition on Homelessness had its own frank assessment. To wit: “San Francisco is ruining homeless people’s lives and wasting money. ….
Spend the money on care.
⇧ Of Course We Can Afford A Universal Basic Income: Do We Want One Though? – Forbes
This article is on Forbes, not exactly a hotbed of progressivism; and, in my view, this article is written from a libertarian perspective.
Should we issue only $13,000 with $3,000 earmarked for insurance? No. We should issue at least $31,176 with an automatic, annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) and while also implementing universal single-payer insurance.
Should we wait while others “experiment”? Absolutely not. Getting there first would be an extra boon and show the world that it works even in a huge economy.
All the other points in the article are pretty much valid.
Marshalltown officials have learned that asbestos will have to be removed from five properties in the city, temporarily halting the planned demolition and clearance of those properties.
The City Council had already approved the demolition and clearance bids on the properties when it learned of the asbestos ….