Linking ≠ endorsement.
⇧ Seattle developer fined $1.2M over immigrant-visa fundraising | The Seattle Times
The SEC says in an administrative proceeding that American Life and Liebman paid unregistered broker-dealers — mostly immigration attorneys — to recommend their clients invest in American Life's projects, and to help complete those transactions.
Close, very close:
... Brad, although right to note that the problem stems from disagreements between different European democracies, is wrong to suggest that technocracy is the solution. It isn't a solution, nor, plausibly, is it even technocracy.
As my readers know, I consistently state that democracy, not technocracy, is the solution and that democracy, to be real, must be based upon transparency. What we lack is transparency. People are hiding things from the People as a whole in order to trick the People into agreeing to that concerning which had they known what the others are hiding, they would not agree.
The lack of transparency is ignorance of the truth.
So long as we have the truth being hidden from the People, the People are not free. They are rather the unwitting slaves of those who know the truth but keep it secret, keep it from the People to keep them wrongfully enslaved.
Yes, I know. This doesn't seem to belong on an insurance-brokerage blog, but why not?
⇧ Stephen Williamson: New Monetarist Economics: Dazed and Confused?
1. The recent month's slowdown in payroll employment growth should not be taken as a sign of an upcoming recession. The labor market, by conventional measures, is very tight.
2. The best forecast seems to be that, barring some unanticipated aggregate shock, labor force participation will stay where it is for the next year, while the unemployment rate could move lower, to the 4.2%-4.5% range, given that the fraction of long-term unemployed in the unemployment pool is still relatively high.
3. Given an annual growth rate of about 0.5% in the working age population, and supposing a drop of 0.2-0.5 percentage points in the unemployment rate over the next year, with half the reduction in unemployment involving transitions to employment, payroll employment can only grow at about 80,000 per month over the next year, assuming a stable labor force participation rate. Thus, if we add the striking Verizon workers (about 35,000) to the current increase in payroll employment, that's about what we'll be seeing for the next year. Don't be shocked and concerned. It is what it is.
4. Given recent productivity growth, and the prospects for employment growth, output growth is going to be low. I'll say 1.0%-2.0%. And that's if nothing extraordinary happens.
5. Though we can expect poor performance - low output and employment growth - relative to post-WWII time series for the United States, there is nothing currently in sight that represents an inefficiency that monetary policy could correct. That is, we should expect the labor market to remain tight, by conventional measures.
Of course, all of that is predicated upon a rather static political situation, meaning if we don't get an employment kick from monetary financing of fiscal spending targeted at living-wage job creation.
Even if Bernie Sanders were to get elected due to Hillary Clinton being criminally exposed by upcoming leaks that promise to do so (we shall see), it would still require Bernie Sanders shifting from a tax redistribution model to a monetary finance one and time for him to bring enough others along particularly in the US House (possibly still GOP dominated).
⇧ Understanding Society: Capitalism 2.0?
This is a good article until this:
... ideas about a more just capitalism require resources; and those resources can only come from public finance, or taxation. The wealth of a society is a joint product which the market allocates privately. Taxation is the mechanism through which the benefits of social cooperation extend more fully to all members of society. It is through taxation that a capitalist society has the potential for creating an environment with high levels of equality of opportunity for its citizens and high levels of quality of life for its population.
The idea that taxation is the means of supplying the funds to do the things mentioned in the article is simply and profoundly wrong.
I can't for the life of me understand how anyone who is well-read and who is even remotely attempting to be up to speed on political economy can be unaware of monetary finance of fiscal spending. It is simply unacceptable and, frankly, disqualifying.
It should be an embarrassment at this point.
We cannot allow people to continue in this mode of being ignorant or simply ignoring monetary financing (aka debt-free, government-issued money).
That may sound harsh, but honestly ...
⇧ One Economic Sickness, Five Diagnoses - The New York Times
N. Gregory Mankiw:
A statistical mirage ...
A hangover from the crisis ...
Secular stagnation ...
Slower innovation ...
Policy missteps ...
One sickness, five diagnoses. Unfortunately, I have no idea which one is right. The truth may well involve a bit of each.
Well, secular stagnation and policy missteps should be rolled into one. Larry Summers rightly believes that stimulus was insufficient by a substantial degree, something I fully agree with and then some.
As for the slower innovation idea, I don't buy that one a bit, though we certainly could, and should, ramp up research and development again.
⇧ How to Reposition an Apartment Complex and Add $2,000,000 in Value in 12 Months
These are not trade secrets. What they are is work. Those who are willing and able and can position themselves to be in the right place at the right time, generally will.
It doesn't matter how many others read the steps, only few will do it.
Nevertheless, why share rather than keep the info (steps) to yourself or selves?
Well, networking, marketing, ....
⇧ Canada's housing 'affordability crisis' fueled by overseas money, Trudeau says | World news | The Guardian
Trudeau provided no supporting data on Friday to back up his remarks ....
I'm not sure what tone to hear in that. It could simply be a statement without any intended suggestion, or it could be intended to cast doubt on the idea and Trudeau.
Justin is correct about it, of course. There's plenty of data available showing it. It's actually prima facie.
⇧ Jobs and Growth... and a Few Hard Numbers - Centre for Future Work
... the statistical review indicates that the present government, regardless of its business-friendly credentials, has in fact presided over one of the weakest economic periods in Australia's entire postwar history.
⇧ Debate Blooms at Fed as Policy Makers Wrestle With 'New Normal' - Bloomberg
Chicago Fed chief Charles Evans on June 3 said it was worth thinking about jettisoning plans to raise rates until inflation reaches the Fed's 2 percent target.
Welcome to the party, Charles. However, try 3%. Better yet, talk the government into monetary financing of a huge fiscal stimulus.
How is it possible to use all available macroeconomic instruments (monetary, fiscal and structural policies) to strengthen global demand and to remain on a viable path (mind you, a path viable in the eyes of the G7)? There is only one answer: countries such as Germany must pursue an expansionary fiscal policy. Yes, it is even justified to conclude that it is virtually exclusively Germany that is called to action.
Major wildfires burning across the West have consumed tens of thousands of acres and forced evacuations in at least three states. In New Mexico, one particular wildfire exploded in size ....
Norman Mogil has definitely become one of my go-to guys. If I see he's guest posted on Sober Look, I read it.
In effect, the long end of the curve is saying: increase short rates at your ( Fed's) peril.
... Negative interest rates are not the problem. Slow growth and disinflation are driving longer rates to historic low levels. These bond yields are not the problem but are the symptom of widespread economic weakness that is not expected to improve over the next decade.
We need fiscal stimuli! If the Fed doesn't start pushing for it, then the Fed should be replaced ASAP! I hold that it should be done away with and replaced by the US Treasury and Congress only (monetary finance only and democracy only), but in the meantime ...
⇧ Tracing the global market thread that could be unraveled by Brexit | Reuters
This is the perfect follow-up to Norman Mogil 's Sober Look piece above.
Do you find such articles too difficult to read and comprehend and simply don't read them for those reasons? Don't sell yourself short. If you read them and research the terminology, then over time, you will become better and better at being able to read them and understand them until, one day, you'll get it all.
Look, we must learn this stuff if we are going to be able to sell the simple solution: Monetary financing (debt-free money creation) of fiscal (governmental) spending for the sake of the UBI (Universal Basic Income), which definitely should not be fixed at or even near the poverty line but multiples thereof above it. We can and must do it!
⇧ You are currently living through the dumbest monetary experimental end game in history (including Havenstein and Gono's) | Bawerk.net
We have seen several explanations for the financial crisis and its lingering effects depressing our global economy in its aftermath. Some are plain stupid, such as greed for some reason suddenly overwhelmed people working within finance, as if people in finance were not greedy before 2007. Others try to explain it through "liberalisation" which is almost just as nonsensical as government regulators never liberalised anything, but rather allowed fraud, in polite company called fractional reserve banking, to grow unrestrained.
Wow! Is the author (Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk) serious? I'm afraid he wants you to believe he is.
Greed and the deregulation that occurred went together.
Exactly what was it about the deregulation advocated at the time by Alan Greenspan that after the crash, led Alan to acknowledge that he was caught completely by surprise that the greedy didn't do the invisible hand thing: self-regulate?
Come on. How long are you libertarian types going to continue trying to peddle this stuff?
Keynesianism is not what has us in a fix. It's actually a lack of sufficient fiscal spending right now that is causing the stagnation. All we need to do is issue debt-free money to pay for sorely needed infrastructure and other necessities to get out of this mess while not deregulating again but rather strengthening regulations in an intelligent fashion.
⇧ A Hacking of More Than $50 Million Dashes Hopes in the World of Virtual Currency - NYTimes.com
I am not, and never have been, in favor of any "alternative" currencies provided we can move the US dollar back under the US Treasury, out from under the Federal Reserve System, and can create money only via monetary financing (not governmental borrowing but direct money creation by the government).
Perhaps the US dollar can be a blockchain-type currency; but, frankly, I don't yet see the point.
The whole Bitcoin/Ether thing has struck me as, well, never mind. I've been "harsh" enough already in this blog post.
I do remain open to someone actually showing how and why blockchain would even be worth the bother. I've read the arguments for it. Obviously, I haven't found them compelling for the dollar. In fact, just the opposite.
⇧ The Evolution of Private Loan Agreements | Elaine's Idle Mind
California, USA. 2016 AD.
Alice: Bob, can I borrow 20 ether? I'll put up 50 Alice tokens as collateral.
Bob: Okay sure. Can I get that on the blockchain?
Alice: Here's a smart contract!
Bob: Wait a minute. The market price of Alice tokens fluctuates like crazy. I need to be able to issue a capital call in the event that your collateral falls below the value of the loan.
Alice: Oh good point. Let's add a function to the contract that queries a Price Oracle. Then my collateral can always be marked to market.
Bob: Who operates the Price Oracle?
Alice: This new exchange, it's called Mt. Sox.
Bob: Sounds legit. How do I know I'll be able to claim your collateral? What if you secretly drain it?
Alice: I can't do that, it's on the blockchain.
Bob: That happened to the DAO.
Alice: If the contract is exploited, then Vitalik will tell miners to adopt a fork that restores the ether to its rightful owner.
Bob: What if we disagree about the rightful owner? What if I claim that you exploited a vulnerability in the code, while you claim that that was the intended functionality of the contract?
Alice: Then we'll turn to the decentralized Supreme Court.
Bob: Are you serious?
Bob: This is dumb. How bout I just give you a hundred bucks and you send me a nude selfie as collateral?
I'm assuming, well never mind. I keep on having to avoid getting myself into trouble in this post.
⇧ Virginia Raggi of Five Star Movement Sweeps Election for Rome's Mayor - The New York Times
Such events always hold out promise. I truly hope Virginia Raggi's honest and will remain above the corruption, political and otherwise, she says she'll work to clean up.
⇧ The progressive argument for leaving the EU is not being heard | Business | The Guardian
... the EU is far from perfect and must change, but ... the answer is to work for a kinder, gentler, greener and more equal Europe from within. Exit, by contrast, would be the catalyst for a breakup of the EU that would give rise to aggressive nationalism and leave Britain at the mercy of rightwing Conservatives who would have the wherewithal to cause immense damage before there was a chance to get rid of them at an election.
... aggressive nationalism will continue to be a problem even if Britain votes to remain. That's because Europe's economic model isn't working and hasn't been working for a long time. Bad economics leads to bad politics. Always has, always will.
⇧ China's Housing Market in Flux as Price Recovery Tapering Off - Bloomberg
... Shen said. "The government is likely to step up policies to encourage home-buying in places where demand is weak and inventories of unsold housing are still high as the destocking policy didn't yield the expected results."
⇧ Combatting External and Internal Regulatory Capture | RegBlog
Reeve T. Bull:
... conducting a plebiscite on all governmental decisions. ... although perhaps appealing in theory, is utterly implausible in practice ....
Who's saying that in a democracy, it couldn't be vastly more direct than what we have? Who's saying that when the practical limit is actually reached (rather than arbitrarily assumed), the People couldn't directly delegate?
While we are about the business of reforming government, there are no boundaries in first considering changes. Whole configurations could, and should, be changed for the better. All of it would need to be transparently discussed and debated at the grassroots level, not limited to the current political institutions that would resist sufficient change.
I'm not saying Reeve T. Bull doesn't have any point. I'm saying let's not start out by precluding discussions that have never been truly democratically had. Let's not create an arbitrary, artificial nonstarter.
⇧ AEP: India's rockstar central banker defeated as Modi revolution stalls
Mr Rajan has long argued that the country cannot achieve economic take-off without a structural shift to boost the savings rate and to make the money available for investment through the banks, instead of being stashed in gold.
He's right about the gold part.
I never heard him address monetary financing. You have to tell me your position on that before seriously discussing inflation.
⇧ Oil bust leaves Texas, other states with massive well cleanup | Fuel Fix
Not something you'd likely know about unless you live in an oil state:
The worst oil bust since the 1980s is putting Texas and other oil producing states on the hook for thousands of newly abandoned drilling sites at a time when they have little money to plug wells and seal off environmental hazards.
⇧ 13 Alabama Families Displaced After Severe Weather Damages Homes
No one at the apartment complex was hurt.
Good to hear that.
They're own renter's insurance should kick in under Additional Living Expense coverage.
⇧ Earth Breaks Heat Record, Though Slowdown Seen
... El Nino has just dissipated and forecasters expect its cooler flip side, La Nina, to kick in soon, which should keep global temperatures a bit lower than they've been, but still warmer than 20th-century average ....
⇧ Ding-Dong! Goldman Sachs Just Ate Denmark For Breakfast
We often here those who consider themselves pure capitalist decrying crony capitalism. So, where's the outrage from them about this deal? Personally, I believe cronyism is baked into the capitalist cake. Even so-called anarcho-capitalism ends up being an absolute monarchy. I fail to see the improvement or ultimate difference. Democracy was tricked in this deal, tricked by "representative" technocracy. The will of the People was not done. If we are supposed to support government of, by, and for the People, then this deal is un-American. However, where are the American "leaders" in business and government decrying this deal? There are some, but their voices are but a whisper in the night with everyone else sleeping through it. They are kept from having the megaphone that is granted only to those the major corporations and their bankers authorize to speak loudly and often to the people.
How has Bernie Sanders gotten away with as much as he has? He's less radical than you think. He's a vent they are allowing to let off steam. Jill Stein isn't invited by them. Bernie had to join the Democratic Party to even begin to be heard, even though he'd been in Congress and then the Senate for decades saying all the things he's been saying during this campaign season.
What was FDR if not the same ventilation system of his day? He said he saved capitalism from itself. He said he save the bankers from the banksters among them. But was that good enough?
He left traces that came back to destroy his New Deal. They've succeeded in large measure.
Where do we go from here? Do we reform? Do we do it from within or without? How far do we go? Do we have a revolution? Violent or non-violent? Do we allow them to simply "let off steam," or do we insist upon the transformation that should have occurred during FDR's time?
I'm for non-violence and democracy. How about you? Are you for money ruling everything or the People ruling the People?
Not only was the share of Dong Energy sold far too cheaply, but Goldman Sachs also gained lucrative conditions such as veto power on the board, despite its minority share. Although the Danish state remains the majority owner of 58%, it does not have executive control over the company any more. ...
... the bank used its power and demanded the outsourcing of many tasks. Its refusal to accept Danish salaries, and its ignorance of Danish interests, were underscored by its demand for lower payments to Danish subcontractors and even by replacing those subcontractors, who refused to deliver services cheaper using Asian alternatives with low-paid labor.
The bank's ownership of Dong Energy has likewise been placed in tax havens, so rather than contributing to the Danish welfare state, the revenues from the sale are now placed in the pockets of rich bankers offshore.
⇧ (Not) Prosecuting Financial Crimes [Too Big to Jail] | RegBlog
There's an ethics crisis, and the powers that be simply will not jail the hands that feed them.
You don't take down HSBC. You nationalize it. You turn it into a democratically run organization operating in the public interest.
⇧ Construction Backlog Reaches New High for Largest Contractors, ABC Reports
... there are indications that certain commercial real estate segments are nearing the end of their development cycle," warned Basu. "Developers, bankers and regulators have become generally more concerned by the possibility of overbuilding in hotel, office and retail markets. Many developers indicate that the current cycle is much closer to its end than to its beginning. The implication is that for the first time in years, backlog may be poised to decline after recovering massively since early 2010."
AXA, which has obtained permits for the 62-story office tower at 22 Bishopsgate, will have to "revisit the options" if the U.K. votes to leave the European Union on June 23, he said.
⇧ Renewable Energy Has Arrived
Of course, the world needs to be every bit as aggressive in recycling technology so toxic substances from computers and other devices are properly handled to keep the environment clean and to keep recycling workers from getting sick.
⇧ Don't like the power of big banks in Brussels? Don't vote for Brexit, blame the British government | Voices | The Independent
This is absolutely the best thing I've read on Brexit. Bravo, Nick Dearden!
When you read this, you'll be reading exactly why I said that the Germans are the problem but that so too are the "Anglo-Saxon" economists/bankers in Britain.
⇧ The Financial Times Endorses Negative Interest...
As my readers know, I was way, way out front of Narayana Kocherlakota on this but am always glad when anyone gets things and can spell them out and have the megaphone to do it for those who refuse to hear those at the "fringes."
That's not tooting my horn. It's just making with more social commentary.
I don't like it that those who aren't "credentialed" in a field can't get a fair hearing. We miss out on great ideas that could be employed decades before they typically are, if ever.
Sure, there are fringe ideas that just aren't any good, but at least people should be able to get a hearing and their ideas should be weighed solely on the merits and not at all on credentials.
Does that mean throwing out education, testing, licensing, and the rest? Of course not. We're talking about politics and philosophy here. People with zero academic background in those can often nail the right answers intuitively long before any of the "highest-ranking experts" ever understand those answers, again, if ever.
⇧ FRB: Testimony--Yellen, Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress--June 21, 2016
I'm beginning to see a slowdown ahead.
On a different point, listen to the following from Janet Yellen and in light of the immediately preceding link and my commentary there.
... we cannot rule out the possibility expressed by some prominent economists ....
You see there exactly what I meant above. The prominence of the economists is a result of circularly crediting by other economists. The prominence in no way shows or proves their merit. In fact, I know of no prominent economist who is at the bleeding edge of the economics that will actually be employed. All have been late to the game or haven't even gotten on board yet.
The best economists are currently hardly prominent at all, and that's not due to simply whether Republicans or Democrats are in charge.
⇧ Janet Yellen's loss of momentum - YouTube
I enjoy John's work, but he's missing the point. Janet Yellen and most of the Fed is engaged in "forward guidance" (trying to psych-up the economy). It hasn't been working and is likely to work even less now than before because they are now seen as "the boy who cried wolf" and no wolf who's going to show up anyway.
We need fiscal stimulus. Things are plateauing out and will slow if nothing is done.
I hope I'm wrong, but I haven't been since right after the crash. I was right going into the crash, but I underestimated the anti-Keynesianism that had embedded itself in Congress. I actually thought they'd overdo stimulus.
Okay, when I get it wrong, I do it BIG!
That was the last time though. Am I due for another? There isn't anything that's happening where I could misjudge and have it be as large. I've also become vastly better at reading the economic tea leaves in terms of the ideology I hear coming out of Washington and particularly Congress.
Will Congress budge to stimulate? It will if we get a bad enough downturn. Sadly, most of them are content to leave things in a pathetically slow-growth situation or are bought off enough to be pushing tax cuts and spending cuts as the solution.
Donald Trump said there is no drought in California.
I decided to revisit his thinking. When doing something like that, one must consider the source and how the source might want to spin the issue. Therefore, I point you to a "conservative" post on it so you may refresh if you want:
I happen to agree with the desalination plants, as my readers will probably remember. However, AGW needs to be slowed, stopped, and reversed, even though AGW is not the sole reason for climate change.
We do need more water storage too.
At the same time, natural biodiversity is worth conserving. We've been losing species at a rate that is unsustainable. Just hoping technological and scientific advancements will fix everything is myopic when we have such a selfish-orientation in our economic system. Selfish will always get it wrong in the end.
⇧ California seeks solution for dead trees - Construction & Demolition Recycling
... the best solution for the trees is to cut them and leave them to natural[ly] decompose on the forest floor.
That's right. Decomposition is soil building, which is exactly what is needed.
Burning them, even if little smoke is let off, is a bad idea.
⇧ Federal Aviation Administration Reveals Drone Rules For Businesses - Fortune
It doesn't mention real estate, per se.
... FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said in a statement that the new rules are just the FAA's first step and that it's "working on additional rules that will expand the range of operations."
You can request a waiver.
Be sure to check the laws and follow them concerning real-estate shoots.
⇧ For bankers, the smell of real estate profit in Vancouver is being overwhelmed by whiff of something worse | South China Morning Post
Why, all of a sudden, are bankers coming out with all this prissy talk about reining in demand in a market that has helped make them rich? Why not just build, baby, build, as the supply-siders would have it?
UBC economist Tom Davidoff, who has become one of the most prominent voices in the Vancouver real estate scene, opines that were the foreign money prop to vanish from Vancouver there's "no way prices don't fall" by 25 to 50 per cent.
So the banking sector is balancing the same fears as the home buyer, writ large. It's fear of missing out, versus fear of something they see as much worse — a disorderly, unmanaged, unpredictable collapse of the home-price Jenga tower that they helped build in Vancouver.
But make no mistake — in spite of those extra zeroes, it's the average Vancouverite who has a lot more at stake.