News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Oct. 23, 2017

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Table of Contents
(Click to sections below.)

1) The True – and False – Costs Of Inequality

2) ‘The housing market can’t take the shock of a natural event,’ Redfin economist warns

3) Rising seas threaten nearly $1 trillion worth of US homes: Zillow

4) Cause of Fatal Honolulu High-Rise Fire Remains Unknown

5) Collaborative Project Saved Homes in Oregon from Fires. Can It Be Duplicated?

6) Pinellas deputies go door-to-door at dawn to arrest unlicensed contractors | Tampa Bay Times

7) Reconstructing Records After a Natural Disaster or Casualty Loss; IRS Provides Tips to Help Taxpayers | Internal Revenue Service

8) British banks can’t be trusted — let’s nationalise them | Owen Jones | Opinion | The Guardian

9) SFMO: Properly Installed & Maintained Fire Sprinklers Help Save Lives – TN[.]Gov

10) 7-year-old dies after being attacked by 2 pit bulls in Lowell — Boston News, Weather, Sports | WHDH 7News

11) Austerity Policies Caused Grenfell Tower Disaster, Firefighter Says | HuffPost UK

12) China national congress: Xi Jinping signals spread of state control over all aspects of people’s lives | The Independent

13) Report Suggests Solar Energy Capacity Will Rival Nuclear Power by the End of 2017

14) Quantum computers will doom existing encryption that keeps us safe | McClatchy Washington Bureau

15) Yellin said the bond-buying process will be boring. But just watch how it will affect real estate prices | Miami Herald

16) Study: Pollution kills 9 million a year, costs $4.6 trillion | KRQE News 13

17) Google’s plan to revolutionise cities is a takeover in all but name | Technology | The Guardian

18) Is Capitalism Dead or Merely Dying?

19) Northern California Wildfires: Insurance Industry Ready to Assist With ‘Massive’ Recovery

  1.    The True – and False – Costs Of Inequality

    If this article by Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson sounds exactly like my position, that’s because it is. If we want the very best economy, the very highest quality of life, we need as much equality as we can manage. The way to get there is to build up cooperation rather than competition as the foundation of our system.

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  2.    ‘The housing market can’t take the shock of a natural event,’ Redfin economist warns

    Given the acute construction labor shortage, reconstruction and its repercussions in residential real estate could be yet another disaster.

    Housing inflation is the result.

    My feeling is that materials, equipment, labor, and design will all have to be changed rather radically and relatively quickly to meet demand while keeping housing inflation in check.

    We need a national industrial policy to tackle this. We need to approach things more like a war effort than leave things to the “markets.” We sure don’t need war-profiteers, but people would make money in our mixed economy under a decent national policy.

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  3.    Rising seas threaten nearly $1 trillion worth of US homes: Zillow

    Of the nation’s largest cities, Miami, New York, Boston, Tampa and Fort Myers, Florida, have the highest volume of homes at risk of flooding. Los Angeles, Charleston, South Carolina, Houston and New Orleans are also in the top 20 markets at risk.

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  4.    Cause of Fatal Honolulu High-Rise Fire Remains Unknown

    Modern sprinklers would have saved lives and property.

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  5.    Collaborative Project Saved Homes in Oregon from Fires. Can It Be Duplicated?

    “No. 1, it allows us to put Oregonians back to work in the woods, so there are good jobs,” Brown said. “No. 2, it provides product for the local milling infrastructure. And No. 3, it creates healthier forests. Do I think we need more efforts like this? Absolutely.”

    I’ve been advocating this for several decades.

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  6.    Pinellas deputies go door-to-door at dawn to arrest unlicensed contractors | Tampa Bay Times

    Florida law requires contractors in the construction industry to carry the insurance. Without it, violators can lower prices and steal business from licensed and insured contractors.

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  7.    Reconstructing Records After a Natural Disaster or Casualty Loss; IRS Provides Tips to Help Taxpayers | Internal Revenue Service

    Helpful

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  8.    British banks can’t be trusted — let’s nationalise them | Owen Jones | Opinion | The Guardian

    … the rip-off inefficiency of rail privatisation, or the failure of the great energy sell-off, or the fact that even the Financial Times has argued that privately run water is an indefensible debacle — all are testament to the intellectual poverty of the “private good, public bad” argument. None quite compete, however, with the matter of the banks leaving the entire western world consumed with the gravest series of crises since the second world war.

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  9.    SFMO: Properly Installed & Maintained Fire Sprinklers Help Save Lives – TN.Gov

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  10.    7-year-old dies after being attacked by 2 pit bulls in Lowell — Boston News, Weather, Sports | WHDH 7News

    We do not currently extend any owner coverage concerning this breed of dog.

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  11.    Austerity Policies Caused Grenfell Tower Disaster, Firefighter Says | HuffPost UK

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  12.    China national congress: Xi Jinping signals spread of state control over all aspects of people’s lives | The Independent

    What China’s President, totalitarian dictator, Xi Jinping is attempting to do is logically impossible. He cannot keep China bottled up against democracy while also seeing China leading the world. He cannot head up a capitalist economy based upon socialism or Marxism. If he actually tries to enforce it all, he’s going to lead mainland China to implode. He’s way too inflexible, way too dictatorial. He will not be able to keep the Chinese People in the dark while those same people interact with the rest of the world to lead it. It’s fundamental whether Xi likes it or not.

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  13.    Report Suggests Solar Energy Capacity Will Rival Nuclear Power by the End of 2017

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  14.    Quantum computers will doom existing encryption that keeps us safe | McClatchy Washington Bureau

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  15.    Yellin said the bond-buying process will be boring. But just watch how it will affect real estate prices | Miami Herald

    … inflation must be the end result.

    No. Premature tightening will result in recessionary pressure and deflation. The Fed is ending QE in the face of no data changes to support the move but only theories that, so far, have not been accurate. They are guessing wildly and really only to benefit the largest commercial banks with higher interest earnings.

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  16.    Study: Pollution kills 9 million a year, costs $4.6 trillion | KRQE News 13

    “What people don’t realize is that pollution does damage to economies. People who are sick or dead cannot contribute to the economy. They need to be looked after” — which is also costly, Fuller said.

    “There is this myth that finance ministers still live by, that you have to let industry pollute or else you won’t develop,” he said. “It just isn’t true.”

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  17.    Google’s plan to revolutionise cities is a takeover in all but name | Technology | The Guardian

    This is written by someone with a deep and wide education.

    Here lies the populist promise of Google Urbanism: Alphabet can democratise space by customising it through data flows and cheap, prefabricated materials. The problem is that Alphabet’s democratisation of function will not be matched by the democratisation of control and ownership of urban resources. That’s why the main “input” into Alphabet’s algorithmic democracy is “market demand” rather than communal decision-making.

    The utopian, almost anarchist dimensions of Google Urbanism would be something to celebrate if most residents were in charge of their own spaces, buildings and infrastructures. Since this is not the case and such spaces are increasingly owned by private (and often foreign) investors, a radical departure from the highly bureaucratic, stifling and capital-constraining system of zoning laws or building regulations is likely to give us the paralysing horror of the Grenfell Tower rather than the reassuring uproar of a Vermont townhall.

    I largely agree. Here’s what I believe is going to happen.

    Entities such as Alphabet will develop but the system will fail due to no incomes to be spent by otherwise consumers and users. Economies will have to be democratized or fail. Democratization will necessarily include the democratization of all the entities, including Alphabet.

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  18.    Is Capitalism Dead or Merely Dying?

    This is what I’ve been saying for more years than I can remember. It’s just speeding up and will continue to do so approaching what is referred to as the singularity, which may not actually exist (probably doesn’t) due to infinity. If we handle it correctly, which means not fight it but guiding it, it will be an excellent development. The way to handle it correctly is to view everything as unselfishly as possible. It’s the only path. Everything else leads to ruination.

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  19.    Northern California Wildfires: Insurance Industry Ready to Assist With ‘Massive’ Recovery

    Yes, this is putting the best face on everything, but the vast, vast majority do really care and are working really hard to do their jobs and what’s right and fair, etc. We all wish for a magic wand, but things simply still take time. Patience is a virtue, and asking for help in order of priority goes a long way in making things go as smoothly as can be expected in the face of such destruction.

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