Linking ≠ endorsement.
⇧ The Precautionary Principle Animation - YouTube
I've always been a huge advocate of the precautionary principle. It's absolutely required for proper risk-management.
⇧ Trade Talk Shows Trump, Merkel Have Little Common Ground - Bloomberg
Trump's complaint on trade reflected comments by the head of his National Trade Council, Peter Navarro, who has laid into Germany's trade surplus, accusing Europe's biggest economy of exploiting its position within the euro area to gain advantage. He was among those in the audience for the news conference. Merkel and her government have rejected those accusations as absurd.
Well, I'm not championing Trump's domestic economic policy of hyper-privatization, but all solid macroeconomists know full well that Germany's economic and financial position with the EU and on account of the euro have granted Germany a highly unfair advantage over the rest of the zone and beyond. The Germany economy is ordoliberal, which is one step from neoliberal. If it weren't for that, Greece wouldn't be living a nightmare depression with no end in sight while being part of the zone(s) dominated by Germany. Germany's ongoing prescription for Greece is for the Greeks to take more and more poison until no Greek owns any of Greece.
⇧ Does Trump's budget really propose gutting Meals on Wheels? - CSMonitor.com
Do any of your tenants get Meals on Wheels? Do you want them to lose that benefit?
... nutritious meals at home help cut healthcare costs and nursing home bills, potentially saving taxpayers $34 billion a year.
That's the way I look at it and more.
Here's another dive into it:
Any cut would be indirect but likely unless all the news on it caused the program to be spared where it wouldn't be otherwise.
⇧ The FCC Just Made Your Online World Less Private
The Trump administration is headed in the wrong direction on this issue. Cyber insurance will only become more costly than otherwise as a direct result.
... an incomprehensibly vast sea of data ebbing and flowing all over the internet. And that sea of data could create a bountiful fishing hole for hackers, identity thieves, malware, or even legitimate companies.
Whistle while you hack.
⇧ Some HTTPS inspection tools might weaken security | PCWorld
So, you're interacting with potential and actual tenants online. You're trying to be careful about the sensitive information flowing back and forth. You're using a secure site to do that. What might you be missing? Plenty. Here's just one issue.
In a typical enterprise environment, an HTTPS connection can even be intercepted and re-encrypted multiple times: at the network perimeter by gateway security products or data leak prevention systems and on endpoint systems by antivirus programs that need to inspect such traffic for malware.
The problem is that users' browsers no longer get to validate the real server certificates because that task falls to the interception proxy. And as it turns out, security products are pretty bad at validating server certificates.
On the BadSSL website, organizations can check if their HTTPS inspection products improperly validate certificates or allow for insecure ciphers. The client test from Qualys SSL Labs also can check for some known TLS vulnerabilities and weaknesses.
What's bad is that there are even major holes that software and hardware vendors and others refuse to patch even in still supported software and hardware, etc. I won't reveal undisclosed ones online here, as that would only aid hackers. We do our best to convince vendors and the like in private. There isn't a trusted regulatory body where such info can be submitted where refusing entities can be shut down if leaving too much risk exposure that could be easily plugged. Unfortunately, the deregulatory climate has only increased since the US Presidential election of Donald Trump.
⇧ The Public is Clueless About the Federal Budget and It's the New York Times' Fault | The Center for Economic and Policy Research
Obviously, Dean doesn't mean it's all the fault of the NYT. They're just culpable along with many, many others.
⇧ Half of college grads earn less now than in 2000 - CBS News
"I don't think it's a skills story," said Elise Gould, senior economist at EPI and author of the report. "Even if we look at people with a college degree, the bottom half have lower wages than in 2000. There is a pulling apart at the very top."
⇧ FedViews March 9, 2017 | Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco (FRBSF)
Plenty of data and analysis to consider ...
⇧ What if Sociologists Had as Much Influence as Economists? - The New York Times
Oh, as far as I've always been concerned, if you're an "economist" but not a sociologist, you're not an economist. However, I don't feel just that way about socioeconomics. I feel that way about political science (which I still think is political-economy) and psychology and on and on, especially history and even religion (oikonomos: steward, hopefully a good one).
⇧ Global Warming Concern at Three-Decade High in US | Gallup
Global warming isn't, and wasn't, a hoax. The "Climategate" idea was.
Why have things changed recently so that more people are back to realizing it's a growing problem? The Gallop people try to give some ideas for why, but I think they're just being overly cautious.
I'm sure the real reason is because the people pushing "Climategate" hoax ideas are being shown up by the climate itself.
Can we sequester CO2? I think we can, but it will take a major effort. Donald Trump's policies may actually force us to speed up work to counter AGW because relaxing regulations under Trump will speed up AGW (barring some major global-dimming event such as a really major volcano).
⇧ In challenge to Trump, 17 Republicans join fight against global warming | Reuters
This is a good sign and development, if ...
⇧ Canada's federal debt | qualicuminstitute.ca
So, the argument against this post is that not all governmental borrowing has come from private or foreign lenders. What about the borrowing that has come from private and/or foreign lenders? Also, what about the operating costs associated with Central Bank borrowing/lending? Finally, why have the government borrow at all in the first place if not for the sake of the interest/usury system? Who benefits? Who loses control who would otherwise have it? That last question is the most important, and the answer is that the non-financiers lose it. The democrats lose it.
⇧ All Those Cash Bonuses Wells Fargo Yanked From Execs Magically Turned Into Stock Awards | Dealbreaker
Wells Fargo got some good press earlier this month when the chairman of the board stomped his foot, thrust an index finger into the air, and declared the bank would award no cash bonuses to eight top executives for 2016, collectively depriving them of $32 million in compensation. It was a rare and dramatic showing of spinal integrity for the red stagecoach. Of course, as you may recall, the announcement included the explicit proviso that no one did anything improper, necessarily. But the board didn't need to use words to communicate its displeasure — cash would do just fine.
But something funny happened in the intervening weeks: Those callously withheld cash bonuses miraculously transformed themselves into equity awards.
⇧ 14 Clever Ways to Maximize Revenue From Your Rental
I always look to save money or generate new revenue streams from my tenants. I'm not looking to gouge them but for ways to leverage my skills & their money.
... "the rapid phase-out of fossil fuel subsidies, CO2 prices rising to unprecedented levels, extensive energy market reforms, and stringent low-carbon and energy efficiency mandates would be needed to achieve this transition," ....
⇧ Burned-down Texas home is the most sought-after real estate property in America - San Antonio Express-News
For the lot ...
⇧ Ann Arbor outpaces Detroit with highest real estate values
Ann Arbor's housing market tends to be stronger than Detroit's. Detroit, a city of 677,000 people, has gone through monumental change over the last several decades. Though the city has made strides to improve services, attract businesses, and invest in its neighborhoods, the city's image is still plagued by stories of population loss, crime, and blight. And though Detroit's alleged turnaround has also made headlines, the data shows that the city still faces an uphill road toward real prosperity.
⇧ Crypto-ransomware: Why your business needs to plan for it - Triangle Business Journal
Crypto-ransomware is a type of computer virus that involves the intentional encryption of data on a system or network. With this type of attack, the bad guys request payment in exchange for a decryption key.
The number one mistake is they don't own it the way they need to own it based on their circumstances. For example, they may own it as a Canadian corporation; well, that's perfectly legitimate in Canada but owning real estate in that way in the U.S. causes double taxation.
⇧ There is a huge hole in Trump's promise to bring back US manufacturing jobs - Business Insider
.... one study from Ball State University finds "almost 88% of job losses in manufacturing in recent years can be attributable to productivity growth, and the long-term changes to manufacturing employment are mostly linked to the productivity of American factories." In other words, robots, not outsourcing or trade competition, are the culprit.
Well, it's pretty clear to those who look at this in depth for an extended time. It's a combination of factors.
Regardless, we can increase the number of jobs involved in workers making goods, but it won't last long. That's the point. Automation is going to take more jobs and sooner than many imagine.
We must allow ourselves to live even without required labor to make/earn money. There's no option unless one is open to intentional wholesale slaughter or mass starvation or the like by those who simply can't accept humans, all humans, having the proverbial free lunch.
I'm all for the free lunch. I can't see a thing wrong with it.
It's high time we get beyond this work-ethic rut we're in.
When manual labor was necessary, that was one thing. It soon won't be. That should be seen as a blessing and not a curse and certainly not an excuse for us to withhold from ourselves.
⇧ The productivity paradox — Ryan Avent — Medium
Yes, yes, yes, but the People aren't going to sit there doing nothing about this. They're going to vote for the welfare state until there is a guaranteed living-income for all because there is no choice. They aren't going to accept and do nothing about the new feudalism described in this article.
⇧ Record-breaking climate change pushes world into 'uncharted territory' | Environment | The Guardian
"Even without a strong El Niño in 2017, we are seeing other remarkable changes across the planet that are challenging the limits of our understanding of the climate system. We are now in truly uncharted territory," said David Carlson, director of the WMO's world climate research programme.
⇧ Cops: Woman set apartment on fire to get $6,000 from insurance company
Police said multiple fires were set in the apartment.
⇧ What drives people to arson? Falling house prices - MarketWatch
No small matter, arson caused 570 deaths, 1,677 injuries and nearly $1 billion in damage in 2015 alone, according to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
"A 10%-15% decrease in local house prices" over six months time "was associated with an additional 3.8 fires per 1 million (Metropolitan Statistical Area) residents per month, and a 2.2% increase in probability an individual fire was due to arson or misuse," the scholars write. This produced "an 85.5% increase in reported property damage due to fire, or up to $2.9 million per 1 million MSA residents each month."
... An overlooked casualty of the receding mortgage crisis is the desolation to lives and neighborhoods left behind by distraught homeowners driven to incinerate their residences, and the memories inside them.
⇧ Residents of 10 Buildings in North Carolina Capital City Displaced by Massive Fire
Sercan Yildiz, who rents an apartment in a nearby building, told the News and Observer that he felt fortunate to have insurance.
⇧ Federal Flood Insurance Rates Expected to Rise in Houston Area
"... priority for reforming flood insurance is to deal with properties that flood repeatedly."
When the science is fully accepted as settled that carbon burning is causing global warming and more and more flooding, watch the insurance industry's lawyers go after the carbon-fuel sector. That sector will end up not being able to buy coverage to protect itself from such losses.
Remember you heard it here first.
⇧ Insurance Rates to Drop with Oklahoma City Fire Department's Top Rating
Support excellent fire protection in your area. You'll save on fire-insurance premiums.
⇧ The Daily Prophet: This May Be the Day the Trump Trade Died - Bloomberg View
Ah, the "market" is starting to get it. They're starting to see it my way. That's a good sign because we really need t fix the economy. President Trump's plan is not going to do that. It will make things worse.
He must change his plan away from laissez-faire privatizations and tax cuts that will only transfer more wealth from the bottom up, which is exactly backwards, exactly what will weaken the economy.
⇧ Demographic Shifts: Shaping the Future of Car Ownership - Knowledge@Wharton
This article is about a great deal more than cars. Anyway, cars have a direct impact on real estate.
⇧ Commentary: Ryan Makes It Clear That Cutting Medicaid to Pay for the Health Bill's Tax Cuts for the Wealthy Enables Deeper Corporate Tax Cuts in Tax Legislation to Follow | Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
This sleight of hand matters not only for budget rules. It also avoids the appearance that Republicans are cutting Medicaid to finance corporate tax rate cuts. Yet the maneuvering does not change the consequences of these policies: House Republican leaders' cuts to Medicaid and other health coverage provisions will leave 24 million more people uninsured, and most of the proceeds from these cutbacks will be used to finance billions of dollars in tax cuts for the wealthy in the health legislation and, ultimately, to make possible deeper tax cuts for large, profitable corporations.
The argument is that such tax cuts will allow businesses and investors to spend more in ways that will increase the economy more than enough to offset the cuts. That argument isn't really supported by historical evidence in this new world we're facing. The non-upper classes haven't been sharing in growth for a long time now. Automation will only increase that trend.
⇧ Siberia permafrost: There are over 7,000 methane-filled bubbles 'ready to explode' in the Arctic
... a self-reinforcing cycle with greenhouse gasses released as permafrost thaws, which causes warming," he said. "This results in more permafrost thaw and causes more warming and on and on. That is something we worry a lot about. Once this cycle gets going it is hard to stop.
"How do we stop it? We control what we can control. Permafrost thaw is driven fundamentally by global warming, which is amplified in the Arctic. How do you control global warming? You control the emissions that are directly under your control — fossil fuel combustion and deforestation."
⇧ Better than Quantum Computing: The EU Launches a Biocomputer Project
The biocomputer has the potential to immensely reduce computing time by doing calculations in parallel, since multiple molecules can travel through the device simultaneously. Parallel computation is not a new concept, though; quantum computers are based on the same principle. However, the researchers at Bio4Comp have argued that biocomputing could overcome the scale limits of quantum computing, as well as other experimental models such as DNA and microfluidics-based computation.
⇧ Fed Inflation Target Keeping Wages Low, People Out of Jobs - YouTube
I've covered Dean Baker quite often in writing. Here he is in a video.
CEPR co-founder Dean Baker says there are good reasons for thinking that we still are far from full employment, needlessly slowing the economy and keeping people from getting jobs.
He is one of the best, if not the best, labor economists out there.
⇧ Nexus condo tower already 75% sold out - Curbed Seattle
With new rules around mortgages since the great recession, Jones attributes the renewed enthusiasm in condos not to the subprime mortgages of the mid-2000s, but rising rents in Seattle.
"Consumers want to lock in their future housing costs," said Jones in the release.
⇧ Just how much more will Chicago homebuyers pay for better transit access? - Curbed Chicago
... in places like Phoenix and San Diego, the per median sale price gains were not nearly as dramatic. California's Orange County was an extreme outlier with an increase in access to public transit resulting in a negative—albeit small—effect on comparative home values.
Of course, that's an aggregate figure. Orange County is large. So, I'm thinking it would depend on where within the county. It's mostly suburban and conservative.
⇧ Arctic Sea Ice Reaches Another Record Low - YouTube
Remember when the Libertarians would constantly claim that the ice in Antarctica was growing even more than the ice in the Arctic was shrinking? Well:
On March 7, 2017, Arctic sea ice reached its annual wintertime maximum extent, according to scientists at the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and NASA. The Arctic sea ice extent set a record low after a warm winter. Combining the Arctic and Antarctic numbers shows that the planet's global sea ice levels on Feb. 13 were at their lowest point since satellites began to continuously measure sea ice in 1979.
Yep, the maximum ice for Antarctica was a record low amount of ice. But hey, trees breathe CO2, right? So it's all good. Nope. It's not all good. It comes from being recklessly greedy. Do you think good things come from that? Good things come in reaction to it to shut it down. Oh, and the ice is thinner too, a great deal thinner. They keep talking about an ice free summer. Well, if they keep it up, ...
⇧ US home inventory hits record low: Trulia report
Starter homebuyers are feeling it the hardest, says Ralph McLaughlin, Trulia chief economist, talking about the housing shortage in the U.S.
Income levels are stagnant for the lower and middle classes. The increase has all been going to the top since the 1970's. Everything changed. Only bubbles give temporary illusions of shared prosperity. Then they pop. Reality sinks in or should. The trouble is, people don't understand what caused the bubbles or the change that allowed wealth to almost all flow upwards. President Trump's plans won't fix a thing with it but only make it worse.
⇧ What Americans Knows About Cybersecurity | Pew Research Center
A majority of internet users can answer fewer than half the questions correctly on a difficult knowledge quiz about cybersecurity issues and concepts.
⇧ 5 Predictions for Renters and Home Buyers in 2017 - Zillow Porchlight
⇧ How the Rise of Artificial Intelligence Will Disrupt Your Rental Portfolio
Incomes, where are they going to come from to pay the rent? That's what you need to be thinking about as a landlord or manager.
If you read this blog much, you can't help but know that I push hard for a guaranteed living-income, not basic but living.
⇧ Nomi Prins: Financial System Worse Now Than 2007 - YouTube
Financial analyst, Author and fmr. Goldman Sachs Managing Director, Nomi Prins sits down with EIR's Paul Gallagher to discuss just how rotten the current financial system is, making a sobering case that we are far worse off today than we were before the 2007-08 crisis. Prins refers to her political and financial road map for 2017, (nomiprins.com) and discusses the important, combined role China and Japan can play in bringing the US back from the brink and into the new paradigm of investment in the real economy.
Nomi is really smart and knowledgable, obviously. I agree with the vast majority of her views. Where I differ is that I don't see a crash soon (this year). I see problems showing up more as the President's plans don't prove to work (not that he'll get everything he wants through Congress). But I see the Fed as more prepared to deal with things, with more "tools" and with more arguments and data for proper fiscal intercession if it comes to that. I don't want to overstate the Fed's competence though. I'm not impressed with the recent rate hikes. Neither do I like the Federal Reserve System in the first place.
I do love how Nomi deals with Glass-Steagall. She isn't the least bit intimodated by those who claim it wouldn't have mattered.
It doesn't matter how many "experts" tell you that had Glass-Steagall been in place, the Great Recession would still have happened. It would not have happened. The banking system could not have leveraged up to finance the buildup of toxic securities (nor could they have had departments selling them). It's that simple.
⇧ The Mechanical Turn in Economics and Its Consequences
Okay, this points to a comment. It's worth reading the comment before reading the article. By the way, the last paragraph of the article is right on.
⇧ China Debt Risks Go Global Amid Record Junk Sales Abroad - Bloomberg
⇧ This is what's behind the severe housing drought
The supply of homes for sale is now at the lowest level since the National Association of Realtors began tracking inventory 18 years ago.
... it does seem to us reasonable to state that this Parliamentary Assembly would provide a democratic framework which would enable austerity to be out-voted, or at least to very substantially modify the present balance of power and to finally ensure that a rationale of public, pluralist and democratic debate will prevail over the cult of diplomacy behind closed doors and opaque decision-making.
I doubt that very seriously. It still sounds insufficiently democratic: not nearly enough bottom-up directness.
⇧ Robotization Without Taxation?
Oh, I hope this tax on robots idea dies a quick death and soon. A guaranteed living-income does not need to have as it's source tax revenues. The money should come from currency created without issuing debt. Then, the goods produced and the services supplied by robots would be paid for with the people's guaranteed living-incomes. If we want to tax away any profits to control inflation, so be it. Let's not, however, slow technological advancements in order to keep human beings having to work rather than simply wanting to.
⇧ California Congressmen Introduce Earthquake Mitigation Tax Incentives
⇧ Bill Requiring Insurance Discounts for Resilient Homes Passes Oklahoma House
⇧ Welder Sparked Massive Kansas Apartment Fire, Official Says
⇧ Higher Arctic Temperatures Likely to Shift Global Weather in 2017: WMO
I wish I could make the naysayers understand. The longer we wait, the more it's going to cost us all. Nobody will completely escape the negatives. It won't matter how rich the person is.
⇧ 9 Homes Destroyed in Oklahoma Wildfire
The fire may have been intentionally set.
⇧ Thunderstorms Just as Costly to Insurers as Hurricanes: Study
Did you know?
⇧ Wildfire Destroys Homes near Nebraska's Lake McConaughy
⇧ Vandals Contaminated Pennsylvania Mobile Home Park's Water System
I trust they've done a chemical analysis of the unknown substance.
⇧ Risk Management Not Keeping Up with Escalating Risks: Survey
⇧ Reports of contractor fraud impact storm victims | WFXL
Hiring a contractor through an insurance company is also a way to stay protected from fraud.
It's not a guarantee, but it is statistically better because the claims-people at the insurer usually know the better contractors, their track records.
⇧ Coastal Insurance Costs Increasing as Sea Level Rises
When shopping for insurance, Lundblad was told the policy wouldn't cover tidal overflow or flooding caused by high tides.
⇧ Bluetooth Bug Lets Burglars Disable Google Nest Cams
⇧ Time to End the Fed's Credit-Allocation Policies | AIER
I agree with this but with qualifications.
If the Fed is to do this, follow the suggestions in the article, then there will need to be a clear process in place to resolve otherwise too-big-to-fail institutions when they become insolvent. My view is that they be nationalized and either dissolve or turned into public utilities.
Personally, I prefer co-ops on a grand scale to begin with. I'd like those co-ops to be not only employee-owned but also community-owned.
⇧ Can we come out now that deficit hysteria is over? Salutin | Toronto Star
It's catching on. Get on board.
"In 1937, the minister of finance asked, where will we get the money? [Liberal finance minister] Benson asks the same question today. My reply at that time was that if we were to go to war, the minister would find the money. And it turned out to be true ... we can, if we want to, mobilize the same resources to fight poverty, unemployment and social injustice."
The only issue I have with it concerns this: "governments can create (or 'print') money to fill public needs and can't go into debt to themselves." Yes, they can. MMTers will say that it's circular, meaning that the government can simply print its way out of any debt regardless of who's owed. That's true, but it's still debt. More importantly, why pay any interest at all in the first place? Who benefits? Just issue the money and forget about issuing debt (bonds or whatever).
⇧ Americans' Shift To The Suburbs Sped Up Last Year | FiveThirtyEight
Good overview by Jed Kolko
For all of the changes this century has brought — demographic shifts, the housing bubble, the Great Recession — and even with increasing wealth of many big cities, U.S. population growth is settling back into familiar habits rather than finding a new path.
⇧ A nation of landowners — but for how long? — Daniel Bentley — Medium
... the political scales are shifting and sooner or later, unless something interrupts the present trajectory, the non-landed class of renters will be in the majority once more. In London that is already the case. And as Ryan-Collins et al say, there will come a point when it is more rewarding for politicians to support measures that disperse homeownership than concentrate it:
As house prices keep rising relative to incomes, a tipping point will eventually be reached when the majority of populations in Western democracies will favour policies that reduce the concentration of wealth in property.
What you get a sense of in the arc of this narrative is just how much of a man-made disaster the present housing situation is?—?the direct (if unintended) consequence of pandering to one group of people, albeit a majority. The answers to this problem?—?the fundamental ones if not the technical ones?—?are really not that hard to discern. What is lacking is the political will to put housing policy on a different path. It may be a little while yet before the tipping point is reached.
⇧ U.S. bond market outlook at odds with stock market optimism | Reuters
"The market is too optimistic about the impact of Trump's plans," said Elwin de Groot at Rabobank. "We actually see a bigger risk (that) his plans, especially on trade, will backfire for global growth."
The conclusions are broadly in line with global fund managers who have remained conservative in their recommended portfolio allocations, still including a hefty amount of bonds despite historically-low, and in some cases negative, yields.
A small sub-set of fixed-income analysts who have consistently predicted lower-for-longer yields over the period since the financial crisis are still saying they will even be lower this time next year than where they are now.
That comes despite widespread expectations in a Reuters poll of over 100 economists, as well as interest rate futures pricing, for another two Fed interest rate hikes this year and more hikes into 2018.
I'm obviously with Elwin de Groot on it and have held my position all along.
I'll be glad when the Fed is completely replaced by a real-time economy dictated by democratic choices of all the people with none having a greater say than another and each having completely transparent access to all the information necessary for fully informed decision making/voting.
⇧ What kind of fiscal policy works best at the zero lower bound? | Equitable Growth
... another recession is inevitable, perhaps another powerful one. Among policymakers and researchers who favor fiscal stimulus, the relative merits of different kinds of stimulus when monetary policy hits the zero lower bound is still up for debate. Should a stimulus program focus more on direct government purchases, or should it favor transfers to households?
Both (if we haven't gotten beyond governmental borrowing and tax collecting). If we get beyond both of those, there won't be any recessions of note.