Linking ≠ endorsement.
⇧ Security Expert Bruce Schneier on Regulating IoT | Security content from Windows IT Pro
He's properly forward-thinking:
Although Schneier calls the avenues that are open to governments a "limited toolbox," he points to a broad range of actions that could be taken. This includes the regulation of products as well as product categories, the institution of licensing requirements, both for individual developers and for products, and introduction of testing requirements. After products make it to market, they can be covered under liability laws, and fines can be levied against companies that try to skirt around regulations.
"I know I'm speaking to programmers, but for the past bunch of decades we've all had this special right to code the world as we saw fit," he said. "My guess is that we're going to lose that right, because it is too dangerous to give to a bunch of techies. That means we need to get involved in policy. As Internet security becomes 'everything security,' Internet security technology becomes more important and security policy becomes more important. The policy issues, I think, are more important than the tech, and we will never get the policy right if policy makers get the technology wrong."
⇧ How much are vendor security assurances worth after the CIA leaks? | Computerworld
⇧ Quiet Des Moines Council enlivened by citizen upset with airport noise | The Waterland Blog for Des Moines, WA
Do you have investments near airports? If so or if you are considering them, do you know about NextGen?
⇧ The Average Builder Uses 10 Different Green Products and Practices | Eye On Housing
Wow, where's the photovoltaics?
⇧ Brexit and Sterling — disaster in the eye of the beholder — Prime Economics
If you've never read anything like this before, you might plow through it for the sake of exposure.
The Brexit depreciation was analogous to tossing a large stone into turbulent waters. It caused a transitory increase in the magnitude of the turbulence but this is not the source of the turbulence; turbulence comes from the system itself, financial speculation facilitated by lack of effective regulations.
⇧ This house was built with a 3-D printer
Apis Cor built a 400-square-foot house with a 3-D printer. The construction cost totaled to about $10,000.
Click through to watch the short video.
⇧ Buyer beware: Those picture-perfect flipped homes can be masked money pits
Certainly, this is a useful article. However, where's the contractor's insurance and bonding ? If the contractor and flipper don't have adequate (sufficient limits) coverage with reputable companies, I'd recommend not buying the property. It's not a panacea, but going without that coverage can sure be a much bigger nightmare.
⇧ mainly macro: Why it's your bloody GDP, not ours
Why does the recovery mediamacro constantly talk about seem not to apply to most people? Aditya Chakrabortty tells the story behind my title better than I did here, and picks up the important regional angle. But there is more to it than that.
First, there is the abuse of language I talked about here. I make a strong case that recovery should only be used when GDP is catching up with a past trend. Instead mediamacro use it for any non-negligible increase in GDP. They are egged on, of course, by the politicians who are partly responsible for our failure to actually recover from the Great Recession.
Second is an old favourite. Mediamacro constantly uses GDP rather than GDP per capita.
Good points those.
⇧ Going beyond the unemployment rate | Pew Research Center
You might find this helpful. It discusses most of the things I look at and consider in the jobs report itself. Then I factor in all the other international and domestic information I read.
⇧ Beyond Banksters Goes to Parliament | Watershed Sentinel
... the publicly-owned Bank of Canada could provide infrastructure funding interest-free, as it did from 1938 to 1974.
Let that sink in.
⇧ City Living Costs Families Up to $9,000 More a Year Than Suburban - Zillow Porchlight
Most homeowners live in the suburbs, with just 23 percent choosing urban settings, according to the Zillow Group Housing Trends Report. Millennials lean more heavily toward city living (33 percent), but nearly half of them live in the suburbs — where they are making their mark by opening high-end restaurants and other businesses.
⇧ Construction Input Prices Expand for Third Straight Month; Petroleum Prices Soar Year-over-Year
... contractors should not worry excessively about prospects for massive additional increases in materials prices," continued Basu. "The global economy is hardly poised to boom given structural factors like demographics and indebtedness. The U.S. dollar has continued to strengthen, which has helped to keep a lid on commodity price increases. Moreover, energy prices have begun to retrench recently, including oil prices, which fell below $50/barrel over the last few days.
"Of course, if the Trump administration is successful in implementing a proposed $1 trillion infrastructure package, dynamics change," said Basu. "Under those circumstances, concrete and other materials prices stand to rise vigorously."
Now that's the right way to view it.
⇧ A Look at Today's Housing Stats: Are We Entering a New Bubble?
If this weren't a plain-language post, I'd expect to find such coverage on an economics blog. Well done, Brian Davis!
"Bubble" is the wrong word. What we have is a serious imbalance in many cities' housing markets, which are distorted toward high-end homes. What we don't have enough of is lower and middle-income housing.
How to increase affordable housing supply is a massive subject in itself, but a good starting place is city governments working more flexibly with developers to encourage higher-density development with less red tape. Modernized infrastructure in older cities will help support higher-density building. Better tax incentives can encourage developers to build affordable housing. City governments can be more open minded to novel affordable housing ideas, like container housing or micro-housing. Some cities, like Vancouver, are experimenting with taxes on infrequently occupied housing to discourage foreign buyers looking for rarely-used second homes. And as the luxury home market over-saturates, developers will be forced to turn their efforts to more affordable housing.
⇧ This Chart Signals China's Housing Bubble May Burst Soon | Mauldin Economics
What's the point of a national economy so heavily based on real-estate speculation via bank loans if the government is going to print money regardless? China does not know what its doing. It's winging it. It's experimenting to try to do what has never been done but that will ultimately fail because they are trying to conflate the unconflatable.
⇧ The Rich Already Have a UBI
... this is exactly how the Alaska Permanent Fund and the Permanent Fund Dividend works. Through the Permanent Fund, the state of Alaska owns a lot of capital assets.
Look, I'm for a guaranteed living income for all, and Matt Bruenig makes a solid point about meaninglessness, social dysfunction, and resentment concerning passive income; however, he's mixing things that ought not be mixed.
The capital that earns the passive income is private capital from largely private assets, not public assets.
Democratizing the income would solve that, but issuing the currency without issuing bonds would also fund a guaranteed living income. I'd do both: democratize and issue debt-free money.
⇧ Basic income isn't just a nice idea. It's a birthright | Jason Hickel | Global Development Professionals Network | The Guardian
Two notions that must be broken before they gain traction to the point where the powers that be suppress the better alternatives:
1) It is not only not necessary that a guaranteed living income come from taxes, it is a bad idea that they do rather than from debt-free currency issuance.
2) There is zero reason why any guaranteed income should be limited to "basic." In fact, such a limit would be a bad idea. That's why I have taken to always using the term living rather than basic. Basic is generally viewed as the poverty line. Living is generally understood to include moore of what constitutes self-actualization well above merely living just above the poverty line.
⇧ US interest rate rise to deepen debt crisis in developing world | Business | The Guardian
Why is central-bank monetarism bad? Why is currency issuance with bonds bad? Some people find this stuff uninteresting. Not only does austerity (which is always and everywhere artificial) hurt poorer nations, it also needlessly slams people right here in the USA. Benefits are cut for no good reason. People are left in systemic unemployment to suppress wages and raise the relative incomes at the top.
How long are we going to put up with it?
⇧ United States Inflation Rate | 1914-2017 | Data | Chart | Calendar
Consumer prices in the United States increased 2.7 percent year-on-year in February of 2017 ....
Okay, but food inflation is level. Plus, OPEC is pumping more. That will translate into lower gas prices just as driving season picks up.
I'm still seeing hype out there. The stock market is in bubble territory. There's little there, there. I'm ready for the Fed to make another taper-tantrum error and regardless of whether a rise has been priced in or not.
⇧ Home builder confidence soared to highest level in 12 years as Trump rolls back regulations
Wise risk-management must take a long-term view. Let's be sure we don't throw environmentalism and ecology to the wind in the rush for short-term profits. Doing so will only cost us more in poorer health and so many other ways later.
Throwing caution to the wind is what caused the Great Recession. Let's not have a Great Environmental Crisis due to the same short-sightedness.
⇧ It´s Our Money with Ellen Brown - It's Our Money - North of the Border, Up Canada Way...... - 03.01.17
Monetary and banking reforms to democratize economies: Listen to this great podcast!
North of the Border, Up Canada Way......
Canada is an envied destination for some to get away from it all , but you can't escape the global banking cartel regardless of which continent you're on. A handful of Canadians are waging a noble fight to return their central bank, the Bank of Canada, to its chartered role as a low and no-interest financier of government projects and the public interest. That case is at the center of a new book called Beyond Banksters: Resisting the New Feudalism. We speak with author Joyce Nelson about how the global debt cartel of international finance is creating a permanent trap for citizens the world over. And we visit with economic strategist Mark Anielski about his book The Economics of Happiness - a different way of measuring wealth.
⇧ The Case for Renting: Homeownership Isn't for Everyone - Zillow Porchlight
Are your tenants planning to buy? You might suggest they read this.
⇧ Austerity Kills. And Then Some.
As the saying goes, it's the usury (interest), stupid.
Austerity is like bloodletting in the Middle Ages, only with a lower success rate.
⇧ Should economists be more concerned about Artificial Intelligence? | Bank Underground
... technologists are making great strides in developing machines capable of mimicking human intelligence. A computer has recently beaten one of the world's best players of "Go". Given that the average game has an almost infinite number of outcomes, the computer must mimic cognitive skills such as intuition and strategy, rather than rely purely on brute force in analysing all plausible move sequences — which is how computers were programmed to beat the world's chess champions nearly twenty years ago.
This is a useful article but way understated. Technology will replace all human labor if that's what we want, and there's nothing inherently wrong with it. The one and only truly long-term question is whether we share equally in the benefits. The greater the fight against doing that, the worse things will be.
⇧ Political Engagement by Corporations Derives from and is Focused on Seeking Monopolistic Power
The standard (economic) theory of the firm is silent on the role firms can play in shaping the rules of the game under which they operate. In reality, many firms lobby politicians and try to capture regulators in order to modify the rules of the game in their favor. ... the resources firms devote to shaping the rules of the game to their own advantage are sufficiently large and their effects sufficiently important to warrant a rethinking [replacing] of the standard economic theory of the firm.
⇧ Wages Are Up? Not For Ordinary Workers, They Aren't. | Mother Jones
... overall wages can be skewed by big gains at the top, so every month I look at production and nonsupervisory workers as a gauge of how wages are doing for ordinary people. Here it is since the end of the recession:
Production and nonsupervisory workers had a pretty good 2015, notching wage gains a little over 2 percent (adjusted for inflation). But it's been downhill ever since ....
Historically, major changes in the structure of property ownership often come together with profound political changes. We see this with the French Revolution, the American Civil War, the Euro-World Wars in the 20th century and the Libération in France. The nationalist forces at work today could lead to a return to national currencies and inflation, which would promote a chaotic redistribution of resources, at the expense of severe social stress and an ethnicisation of political conflicts. In the face of this fatal risk to which the present status quo could lead, there is only one solution. We must chart a democratic pathway out of the impasse and organise the necessary redistribution of resources within the framework of the rule of law.
⇧ FRB: Press Release--Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement--March 15, 2017
... the Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 3/4 to 1 percent. ...
... Voting against the action was Neel Kashkari, who preferred at this meeting to maintain the existing target range for the federal funds rate.
Smart vote by Neel Kashkari.
⇧ FOMC Press Conference March 15, 2017 - YouTube
The most important thing for me in this is Janet Yellen's statement that the Trump administration's plans aren't being considered much. Perhaps that's because politics is so up in the air yet. In the face of that though, I'd have held off on raising the rate.
⇧ Changing sources of inflationary pressures in the United States | Equitable Growth
One key policy implication of the current Phillips Curve is that policymakers today should be more concerned with the level of wage growth, not the changes in wage growth ....
⇧ Janet Yellen says economic data hasn't notably strengthened - Business Insider
Fed hike, one and done for this year? Let's hope so.
⇧ HUD Sec Ben Carson champions program Trump budget aims to kill
Does the right hand know what the left is doing?
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson was not in Washington, D.C., today [March 16, 2017] defending his administration's new budget proposal. Instead, he was touting a program that President Donald Trump's budget aims to obliterate.
I found this commentary by Kim Wallace to be well-founded.
⇧ It Takes "Alternative Math" to Claim That Redistribution Is Futile | RegBlog
Doing the math, the real math.
Adam M. Finkel:
McCloskey states that "[a]s a matter of arithmetic, expropriating the rich to give to the poor does not uplift the poor very much. If we took every dime from the top 20 percent of the income distribution and gave it to the bottom 80 percent, the bottom folk would be only 25 percent better off."
It was obvious to me, and I hope to others, that McCloskey's math is only correct in the extreme and unrealistic situation where there is zero inequality—that is, no "distribution" at all—to begin with. If in a population of 1,000 people, each person had exactly the same $500,000 in wealth, then it is true that if the entire $100 million that the "top" 200 people held were transferred to the "other" 800 people and split equally among them, those 800 people would be given $125,000 each, which would indeed increase their individual wealth by 25 percent.
In the real United States, however—where $500,000 is indeed a reasonable estimate of the average individual net worth, but where the top 20 percent own 85 percent of all wealth—the math is very different. Among a representative sample of 1,000 Americans, there would be $425 million to redistribute among the bottom 800 people, who would each start with only $93,750. These 800 individuals would receive $531,250 more from the rich, increasing their wealth by 570 percent—not 25 percent. Thus, the only plausible takeaway of McCloskey's example is that soaking the rich might conceivably help the poor "not very much"—but only if the "poor" are as rich as the rich to begin with!
Thank you, Adam.
⇧ Economic Sweet Spots for Tech, Finance and Health Care Workers - Zillow Porchlight
Very interesting data:
With Silicon Valley workers living in vans and RVs and interns squatting in corporate offices, it's clear that even a tech salary does not shield some workers from the vagaries of sky-high housing costs.
⇧ Man gets up to 11 years for arson that injured firefighter
A rental property owner ....
⇧ Fraud a top priority for insurance commissioner | The Wilson Times
Insurance fraud costs society. Help stop it. Definitely don't engage in it.
⇧ Ex-trooper gets 30 days after entering plea in arson case | Recent News | herald-dispatch com
A Kennedy plea allows a conviction without the defendant admitting guilt or explaining his role in a crime.
⇧ Amazing Arson Dog Earns N.Y. Fraud Fighter Award
Arson dogs such as Scooter can smell 100,000 times better than humans. She could discover tiny amounts of gasoline or other firestarter amid piles of blackened ruins.
⇧ WorkersCompensation.com CompNewsNetwork - CSLB Sting Nets 21 Unlicensed Contractors
Good info concerning hiring a contractor in California ...
Allegations flying in both directions ...
⇧ Garage Owner Accused of Setting Fire to Collect Insurance
... Fire Investigators say they determined the blaze January 19th on Route 7 in Harpursville had been set.
⇧ Indicted Brick Contractor Took $750K In Funds Through Sandy Fraud: State AG - Brick, NJ Patch
Just one of many charges:
... failed to maintain the required commercial general liability insurance coverage while working on consumers' homes ....
⇧ Iowa Woman Convicted in Federal Court in Fraud Case | Iowa News | US News
⇧ Arkansas House Passes Tort-Reform Amendment Capping Punitive Damages, Fees
I may be out of sync with the insurance industry on this, but I oppose this proposed constitutional amendment. For one, $500K is very low. Also, is there an automatic inflation-escalator in the language? The more we lower such damages, the more that moral and morale hazards enter in. It's not good public policy concerning risk management.
⇧ The more we mix, the better | VOX, CEPR's Policy Portal
Do you promote ethnic diversity in your properties? I happen to live in a highly diverse community.
Overall, contact theory trumps conflict theory.
⇧ Tornado-Spawning Storm System Killed 3 in Midwest, Moved Eastward
⇧ Nationwide Says Extreme Weather Brings Bigger Claims, Need for Disaster Plans
Do you have disaster preparedness and recovery plans in place for your personal estate, business, and income-property investments?
⇧ Space Heater Caused Oregon Fire That Killed 4 Kids, Official Says
Statistically, space heaters are much more dangerous. If you have to use one in an emergency situation, use extreme caution! Follow safe-use directions to the letter.
Note: Some insurance policies and/or provisions are voided by space-heater use.
⇧ Humans to Blame for More Than 80% of U.S. Wildfires
⇧ Rutgers Law School Project Addresses 'Use It And Lose It' in Homeowners Insurance
The fourth from the last paragraph is worth dwelling on. Check it out. I think that submitting numerous claims that are properly rejected is a reasonable reason to raise a premium by some set amount approved by the states insurance commissioner or to non-renew.
Claims handling is a true expense incurred by insurers. One bad insured (lots of claims that shouldn't have been submitted) can eat lots of profit and end up costing everyone else in higher premiums.
⇧ Five Delaware Homes Condemned, Residents Displaced After Fire
⇧ Hundreds of Homes, Businesses Damaged by Storms in Midwest
⇧ Proposed Oklahoma Bill Would Allow Property Owners to Destroy Drones
If you've seen a child hit by a bullet coming back down (I have), you'll be wanting better ways to take down offending drones. You don't want the drone falling and hurting or killing anyone or damaging property either.
⇧ Six Arrested in $900K Insurance Fraud Scheme Involving 30 Virginia Fires
Dangerous, very, very dangerous ...
... over the course of 16 years set fire to homes, trailers, mobile homes and cars ... to collect insurance ....
⇧ Wyoming to Protect Homeowners from Storm-Chasing Contractors
Senate File 127 implements protections that are approved in 27 other states ....
⇧ 100 Cities Ranked by Home Fire Risk: The Hartford
Could be read as a bit of an ad for The Hartford, but they really do deserve credit for their Junior Fire Marshal program.