Linking ≠ endorsement.
⇧ Majority of Scots happy to rent | Property Reporter
Good article probably quite useful in thinking about the US as well …
⇧ Valley [of the Sun] has 2nd-highest eviction rate among apartment dwellers in U.S., study finds
Only Memphis ranks higher ….
⇧ Years of austerity ‘have left UK with same level of public spending as it had 10 years ago’ says IFS | The Independent
The document presents a challenge to claims that Conservative-driven austerity saved the public finances following years of Labour overspending.
⇧ UN Study Warns: Growing Economic Concentration Leads to “Rentier Capitalism”
Market concentration, regulatory capture, and rents are incontrovertibly connected, the authors argue. As firms become bigger and more profitable, they are able to hire vast armies of lobbyists and capture regulators and elected representatives, securing generous government subsidies and lax antitrust enforcement, which in turn allow them to become bigger and more profitable. They are also better able to use intellectual property laws in their favor, extending the life of patents to protect their market domination, and hire better lawyers to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. These mechanisms, the authors argue, have essentially made the world’s biggest firms into a “rentier class.”
The alternative political economists have been saying this for years. They made the point that the trend would lead to the Great Recession, and it did. Now that we’ve lived through that recession and things haven’t been getting much better for the underclass and that underclass has been finding out why, the capitalists are doing what they always do: call for reining themselves in (at least the cleverer ones are). That’s because the far-left wants to completely overthrow the system that causes all the cycles of booms and busts and wants to level the field so the bottom gets its fair share for once. Frankly, I don’t think there’s a choice anymore, at least not one that will last very long.
⇧ Contractor fraud leaves some rebuilding 5 years after Sandy | Fox News
“The cases involving contractors defrauding victims, to me, are the worst of the worse,” Attorney General Christopher Porrino said. “You’ve got people down and out trying to put their lives back together. It’s like getting hit twice.”
I’ve covered this development before, but this is a good update for you.
⇧ How to Profit & Help the Needy by Renting to Section 8 Tenants
6. You’re Helping People and Making Money at the Same Time
I’m in real estate to make money. I have to be because it’s my business. However, I also feel a responsibility to give back to society and the communities where I do business. If you read most of my blog posts, you will know that I’m usually against most things government [I’m against bad government but LOVE good government].
The Section 8 program really is a good thing, though. One of the most fundamental needs of humans is to have a safe place to live, and this is particularly true of children. It is the responsibility of the community, which includes businesses, to take care of those who are less fortunate. The selfish reality is that giving back is also good for business. The biggest bang for your buck in terms of giving back is to provide a great home for a family who couldn’t otherwise afford it.
Embrace the Section 8 program, and programs like it. It will be good for your wallet, and your soul.
⇧ Desperate for workers, a Colorado homebuilder starts a free school
Working with your hands is not a bad thing. Put safety first, but don’t fear automation. By the time robots are doing all the construction work, society will have had to properly deal with the universal-living-wage issue anyway.
⇧ New Jersey Governor’s race led by strong advocate for Public Banks
⇧ Tennessee Fire Captain Arrested for Setting Own Home on Fire
⇧ Army National Guard bridges the gap in Puerto Rico > National Guard > Guard News – The National Guard
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The 892nd Multi-Role Bridge Company, 190th Engineer Battalion from Juncos, Puerto Rico, built a bridge that will allow more than 30 families in Quebradillas the ability to travel in and out of the community.
⇧ Powell to Lead Fed Overseeing Trump Economy Fraught With Risks – Bloomberg
If he’s picked, it will turn out to have been a clear mistake. [He was, in fact, picked after I entered this linked article for this aggregation post.]
Nobody is forecasting a recession soon. But economists expect the Fed to cut rates to zero again when the next one hits because the policy rate probably won’t be much above three percent going in.
“It is not hard to believe that sometime in the next four years we will have a recession starting from a point of relatively low nominal interest rates,” said Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co.
This is putting the cart before the horse and completely ignoring fiscal policy.
We don’t have recessions on some inevitable cycle. We have recessions due to bad laws and policies. The Great Recession was completely preventable, as it was completely predictable with clearly indicated causes: bad deregulation being the most important.
⇧ Understanding the Global Financial Cycle | IMF Blog
You see, this assumes a very narrow range of economic systems. It assumes only systems that allow such “cycles.” It is not scientific but ideological. It’s obfuscating. It’s a form of censorship dictated by those who benefit by the cycles versus those who are harmed (the harmed being the vast, vast majority).
⇧ Hurricane Harvey: ALERT™ :: Event Summary
AIR Worldwide estimates that property losses from the flooding in Texas caused by Hurricane Harvey’s record-breaking rainfall will be between USD 65 billion and USD 75 billion. These figures include damage to all properties eligible for coverage regardless of whether they are actually insured and without any application of deductibles or limits. Note that these estimates do not include losses from Harvey’s winds or storm surge.
⇧ Kidde Recalls Fire Extinguishers with Plastic Handles Due to Failure to Discharge and Nozzle Detachment: One Death Reported | CPSC.gov
Consumers should immediately contact Kidde to request a free replacement fire extinguisher and for instructions on returning the recalled unit, as it may not work properly in a fire emergency. Note: This recall includes fire extinguisher models that were previously recalled in March 2009 and February 2015. Kidde branded fire extinguishers included in these previously announced recalls should also be replaced. All affected model numbers are listed in the charts above. Recall information for fire extinguishers used in RVs and motor vehicles can be found on NHTSA’s website.
⇧ Approximately 38 Million Fire Extinguishers Recalled Due to Failure to Work in Fire – Kidde Fire Extinguishers Recalled After Failing to Activate in Emergency
More info …
⇧ House Tax Plan Will Keep 39.6% Top Rate, But That Won’t Matter for Most Types of Income Going to the Rich
If you think tax cuts for the rich will result in trickle-down prosperity, you’ll probably be glad for the cuts. Unfortunately, trickle-down is ideological, not scientific or data-driven.
⇧ Australia’s Housing Boom Is ‘Officially Over,’ UBS Says – Bloomberg
If this is in fact it, it certainly has been a long time coming. I want to see at least two more months before feeling more sure about it though.
⇧ Bitcoin Is the ‘Very Definition’ of a Bubble, Credit Suisse CEO Says – Bloomberg
I hate to say it and see it, but the number of suckers is astounding.
⇧ The Case for More Capital, Continued | Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
This is actually common knowledge in the industry. Those who want low ratios typically also want low regulation. They want moral hazard. They want to gamble more and then be bailed out. It’s a system.
⇧ Production-scale rebuilding eyed following California wildfires
Thousands of homes lost to last month’s devastating wildfires in Northern California could be rebuilt faster and more efficiently using production-scale techniques, according to industry experts.
I’m all for well-organized, well-managed group efforts.
⇧ Tax reform plan cuts mortgage interest deduction in half
Doubling the standard deduction is itself (in isolation) a progressive move during a recession. However, will other cuts counter any increased consumer spending (demand stimulus)? It’s very likely. People are still leveraged. There’s plenty of private debt. The spending could go toward paying down debt. Also, people might save more if they aren’t confident in a promised economic boom. The housing industry and its construction is a large part of the GDP too. I think it will increase renting. Will apartment construction shoot up? I’d look for it.
⇧ Tax reform: Ivanka Trump used her charm to sell child tax credit
Increasing the child tax credit is definitely a progressive-leaning move; however, it’s true that it doesn’t offset the trickle-down errors or help people who don’t have children or help encourage people not to have so many children in the first place,, not that I’m at all anti-children but simply not one who swallows the idea that we aren’t overpopulating the planet, given that we just can’t be positive that tech advancements will fix everything in time.
⇧ Trump tax reform effort could spell trouble for affordable housing – Curbed
Michael Novogradac of Novogradac & Company, an accounting firm that specializes in the real estate sector, said any percentage drop in the corporate tax rate would result in an equal percentage drop in the amount of equity developers would be able to raise with LIHTCs, and thus an equal percentage drop in the number of affordable housing units that would be built in the future.
Novogradac’s firm conducted an analysis that concluded that a corporate tax rate cut could result in as much as $2.2 billion less in available annual LIHTCs, and as many as 16,000 fewer new or preserved low-income housing units each year. In every scenario the analysis tested, a drop in the corporate tax rate resulted in fewer low-income housing units.
And in fact, this price decrease is already happening, even without tax reform having passed yet. Since Trump’s election in 2016, the market for LIHTCs have been pricing in the expectation of a 25 percent corporate tax rate, according to Novogradac. Just the mere specter of a corporate income tax cut has caused a drop in the amount of equity available for low-income housing.
⇧ Recycled GOP Promises of ‘Trickle Down’ — Consortiumnews
And you thought I was rough? I’m not saying I disagree with this article. In fact, I agree with it.
It’s why I said years ago that the Phillips Curve is dead. I later qualified that with that eventually, even the greedy wouldn’t be able to withhold raises in the face of enough labor shortages. It also became quite obvious that the Fed is working for the banking industry and its profits much more than suggested by Fed statements and that the Fed’s plans will keep price inflation down regardless. Most importantly though is the fact that this article gets it exactly right that the entire system has been redesigned exactly so the richest of the rich do not have to share the wealth in the form of wage increases. Naturally, “globalization” of neoliberal economic voodoo was a major instrument in accomplishing that.
Well, being the optimist that I am, I’m thinking democracy is not going to be held down. I’m thinking the youth are going to learn about it and not give up until they have it no matter how much censorship the powers that be attempt to apply. In fact,, the more they attempt to apply censorship to hold back democracy, the more that will prove the point.
⇧ Daylight saving time: health and safety hazards as we shift clocks | The Sacramento Bee
The negative impacts attributed to falling back in November are ambiguous. Those associated with springing forward in March are not.
In March (Start of daylight saving time)
• Risk of heart attack as much as 10 percent higher in the two days following the shift.
• Risk of stroke as much as 8 percent higher in the two days following the shift.
• Traffic fatalities at as much as a 17 percent higher rate the Monday after the shift, related to lost sleep.
• Higher rates of workplace injuries and productivity lost due to those injuries.
As for staying on Daylight Saving Time all year, there’s no point in that. Leaving noon as noon (even though it’s not always exactly the time at which the Sun is highest in the sky) and then just changing opening and closing times, and the like, is a better way.
⇧ THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — OCTOBER 2017
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 261,000 in October, and the unemployment rate edged down to 4.1 percent. Employment increased in food services and drinking places, professional and business services, manufacturing, and health care.
Of course, the hurricanes and fires unsettled everything, not that things were very settled in the first place.
Hours worked and wage rates weren’t that impacted (yet).
⇧ Those who helped break the economy cannot fix it — Prime Economics
Economists at the Bank and the Treasury are ignoring the lessons of history. In the 1930s interest rates were held at 2 per cent for more than 20 years, as part of far larger scale reform to the financial sector, and a determined effort to recover from the 1929 Crash. But while necessary, low rates were insufficient to restore decisive momentum. By 1934 the Treasury (under a Conservative government) had revived government investment.
Treasury economists in the 1930s – led by Keynes – had the courage to disregard diktats from the City of London spokesmen and their allies in the economics profession. Tragically for millions of British people, and for Britain’s future, that intellectual courage is sorely lacking today.
It isn’t even courageous. It’s just a willingness to share more of a larger pie. Egos get in the way. Greed dumbs down.
⇧ United States Labor Force Participation Rate | 1950-2017 | Data | Chart
Labor Force Participation Rate in the United States decreased by 0.4 percentage points to 62.70 percent in October of 2017.
I’d like to see some demographics along with this such as concerns new retirements versus new disabilities, etc.
⇧ China’s Zhou Warns on Rising Financial Risk in Blunt Article – Bloomberg
The nation should toughen regulation and let markets serve the real economy better, according to Zhou.
That doesn’t sound like socialism with Chinese characteristics but rather a mixed economy a la Brooksley Born.
China is a democracy of one: Xi. Has, or will, Zhou convince Xi? Even if he does, will that save China?
Xi doesn’t grasp the benefits of real democracy. He thinks it’s an evil. I still maintain that he doesn’t know what he’s doing. It’s looking more and more that he never will. If anything, he’s stubborn and thinks he’s the smartest person on the planet.
⇧ Paradise Papers expose tax evasion schemes of global elite | News | DW | 05.11.2017
I want to point out that this all runs deeply and widely around the globe. It is not some exclusively US, Republican, or Trump- or Putin-associates phenomenon. There has been a gigantic industry that is money laundering and tax evasion for the rich around the world at the negative expense of all the rest of us.
Over 120 politicians from 47 countries are involved in the tax-evasion schemes, the paper reported.
Economist Gabriel Zucman told the Süddeutsche Zeitung that the global elite have parked an estimated 7.9 trillion euros ($9.1 trillion) in offshore tax havens.
⇧ House GOP’s Child Tax Credit Expansion Excludes Millions of Children in Lower-Income Working Families | Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
At the lower end of the income scale, the bill would deny most or all of the CTC expansion to millions of children whose parents work for low wages. More than 10 million children in low-income working families would be excluded entirely. A family with two children that makes less than $16,333 would get no help from the House GOP CTC proposal.
What’s the rationale for that? If it’s because of other benefits, it doesn’t sound like any other such benefits would offset getting nothing of the credit while much richer people continue to get some credit. Regardless, we’re talking about the welfare of children here. Frankly, I don’t think leaving any child without enough to even meet the basic necessities is justifiable.
⇧ Desperate plight of millions not on living wage revealed in report | Society | The Guardian
“In the past, many businesses were worried that increased wages would hit their bottom line, but there is ample evidence to suggest otherwise.
“By paying the real living wage since 2006, KPMG has seen improved staff morale, a rise in service standards, improved retention of staff and increased productivity. More importantly, it has been an enabler for social mobility.”
You know many employers simply ignore such evidence. Why do they do that? What’s wrong with them? Can whatever is wrong with them be fixed? If so, how?
⇧ Vertical farming company Plenty is launching a second farm in Seattle – Business Insider
The future of farming …
⇧ CNA Slip and Fall Study Finds Flooring Often to Blame
Reduce your bodily injury liability by using slip-resistant flooring and other walk/step surfaces.
⇧ Solar Decathlon: Eco-homes, not fossil fuels | DW Environment | DW | 06.11.2017
… Solar Decathlon competitors say climate change impacts will drive consumer demand for their designs — which respond to the increasing frequency of extreme weather events, drought, urbanization, and air-quality concerns.
⇧ Climate Change Is Getting Worse, Major New U.S. Report Affirms – The Atlantic
Climate change is real. It’s caused by greenhouse-gas pollution released by human industrial activity. Its consequences can already be felt across every region and coastline of the United States—and, unless we stop emitting greenhouse gases soon, those consequences will almost certainly get worse.
“…will almost certainly…”? They added the word “almost” just to hedge a bit. I wouldn’t have added it.
⇧ EU to Eye Blacklist of Worldwide Tax Havens Following Leak of Paradise Papers
“EU governments such as Germany have been standing against the rising tide of financial transparency,” said Carl Dolan, director of Transparency International EU.
⇧ 5 Arizona ZIP codes rank in top 25 U.S. areas for investors on rentals
⇧ Is Technology About to Decimate White-Collar Work? – MIT Technology Review
“Many optimists say in tech revolutions, jobs will go, jobs will come,” he said. “While there are places where jobs will be created, I’d say that’s the exception.”
It’s far more societally expensive to not fix this than it is to fix it.
“It’s a sea of humanity crashing against services, and services at this point are overwhelmed, literally overwhelmed. It’s catastrophic,” said Jeremy Lemoine, an outreach case manager with REACH, a Seattle homeless-assistance program. “It’s a refugee crisis right here in the States, right here under our noses.”
⇧ Study says rising rents tied to rising homeless population in Seattle | Q13 FOX News
… for every 5 percent of a rent increase in Seattle, the result pushes more than 250 people out onto the streets.
And, until our region can expand its rental inventory, the study’s authors say, it will be harder to reduce the numbers of new people being pushed out of their homes.
How do we make a decent living without ruining the lives of others?
⇧ How hackers can compromise your computer monitor – Business Insider
… there is a way for an attacker to gain access to and cause arbitrary code execution inside the controller of the monitor itself.