Linking ≠ endorsement.
⇧ Another Kushner Cos. rental in Brooklyn Heights flouted rent-stabilization rules: lawsuit – Curbed NY
I am not posting this because Kushner is a Donald Trump advisor at the White House. I can’t tell you that this issue would have surfaced were he not an advisor. It is legitimate real-estate news on its own merits (politics aside). It will be interesting and important to see how this plays out in the court(s). How will Kushner’s lawyers address it? There are plenty of other questions, but taking a wait-and-see approach is probably best before commenting much.
⇧ An Architect Made Floating Homes, And They Are Hurricane-Proof
Dutch architect Koen Olthuis, have taken to designing homes located on the water — homes that not only produce zero-emissions, but are also hurricane-proof [almost].
Further rate increases and a Fed balance sheet unwind could lead to an inversion of the US Treasury yield curve. Inversion is when the 10 year T-note yield is below the 2 year T-Note yield. Inverted Treasury curves occur several months before entering into a recession.
This is why I’ve been saying that the Fed will likely cause a recession. Now that we’re likely to have a hawk as the Fed Chair, it’s verging on assured.
⇧ Keynes was right about Quantitative Easing (QE) | Real-World Economics Review Blog
This is short and exactly right.
Keynes knew exactly how money comes into existence and how and why it either circulates in the real economy or simply in “finance capitalism.”
It has always been strange to me that so many people, including noted academic economists, simply don’t realize what Keynes knew.
He understood MMT but was more interested in the mixed economy than in socialism. MMTers are typically not socialists. Keynes was definitely not a socialist either.
⇧ Affordable housing could lose big in Republican tax plan
“Low-income housing needs some sort of government assistance. It is simply uneconomic to do this without a subsidy,” said Rick Goldstein, a tax attorney with the law firm Nixon Peabody and counsel to the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition, a Washington housing lobby.
Laissez-faire simply doesn’t cut it.
⇧ American Banker: “Public banking: The other winner in 2017 elections” – Public Banking Institute
Do you want the state and local area where you invest to keep more of the money, or are you fine with most of it going to Wall Street bankers and such? What’s best for your local economy, your staff, your tenants, etc.?
⇧ Whether you love or hate natural gas, stopping methane emissions now is crucial
… the potent effects of methane — which is responsible for a quarter of the warming we’re experiencing today — combined with the straightforward solutions in the oil and gas sector, make this an opportunity to protect the climate that we simply cannot afford to miss.
⇧ Growing number of global insurance firms divesting from fossil fuels | Environment | The Guardian
The campaign has a long way to go. The early movers represent only 13% of all global insurance assets. None of the major US insurers such as Berkshire Hathaway, AIG and Liberty Mutual have taken action, according to the study.
Despite this, the authors say the shift of assets and coverage since 2015 is gaining momentum.
⇧ NFPA brings a cornucopia of safety tips to you … | NFPA Xchange
Between 2011 and 2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an annual average of 170,200 home structure fires involving cooking equipment, which resulted in 510 civilian fire deaths, 5,470 civilian fire injuries, and $1.2 billion in direct property damage. Unattended cooking was, by far, the leading contributing factor in these fires and fire fatalities.
If you newsletter (a verb) your tenants, it wouldn’t hurt to wish them well for the holidays and bid them to remain safe in all things, including cooking.
⇧ Massive fire rips through Barclay Friends Senior Living Community in Pa., forcing evacuations out into the cold – CBS News
⇧ FCC will reportedly roll back Net Neutrality next month
The Net Neutrality regulations, put in place in 2015, prohibit major internet service providers (ISP) like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast from favoring one type of content over others by providing lower rates and so-called “fast lanes.”
While ISPs have generally opposed Net Neutrality, it has been strongly defended by technology companies, content providers, and consumer groups, who argue that abolishing the rules will hamper users’ access and control of the internet.
⇧ Would repealing Net Neutrality hurt small businesses?
How much do you rely upon the Internet for your business?
⇧ Wall St. traders secretly used chat rooms to rig Treasury bond prices: suit | New York Post
Why does this matter to real estate? Treasurys [yes, that’s how you spell it, old-school] are linked to mortgage rates, even impact them. Mortgage rates influence construction, which influences the entire economy, etc.
Did somebody call for publicly owned banks as a public utility? Yep.
⇧ The World’s Biggest Wealth Manager Won’t Touch Bitcoin – Bloomberg
I shouldn’t laugh. That’s because so many people are going to be hurt when the bubble pops. But the entire concept of Bitcoin is so ridiculous.
Then look at the horrendous energy waste of “mining” the stuff. It’s contributing to global warming on a disproportionate scale that must put other “investments” to shame (if ruining the planet is the goal).
I think it’s sheer evil.
⇧ UK considers tax on single-use plastics to tackle ocean pollution | Environment | The Guardian
Ocean plastic pollution is a global emergency, it is everywhere from the Arctic Ocean at top of the world to the Marianas trench at the bottom of the Pacific. It’s in whales, turtles and 90% of sea birds, and it’s been found in our salt, our tap water and even our beer.
Guess where it comes from: the same people who bring us carbon fuels: crude oil.
⇧ mainly macro: Some thoughts about the Job Guarantee
By the time it catches on, it might be passe, given automation and the then need for guaranteed living wages.
⇧ Homeownership doesn’t build wealth, study finds
⇧ 9 Tips for Cleaning Your Rental Between Tenants
depending upon the age of things:
• air-filter replacement
• lint-trap cleaning
• special cleaning of mold and mildew: bleach (hazardous: follow instructions)
• chimney sweeping
• pull appliances away from wall and check underneath them too
• hard floor can sometimes need stripping and resealing
• carpet cleaning might go along with re-stretching
• check if things need resealing, as it’s a good time to do that quick thing to help keep down bugs like ants and such
• clean faucet aerators and shower heads too
• good time to replace alarm batteries and to replace old alarms (which do go bad without warning: no chirping
⇧ CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: US Wages: The Short-Term Mystery Resolved
This is why I said the Phillips Curve wasn’t acting the way people had expected. It’s why I said that eventually, there will be wage pressure, price-inflation pressure (though still diminished in historical terms).
We should have had 10 times the fiscal stimulus back in 2009! It should have been done without the government borrowing a dime!
⇧ Ivanka Trump and the fugitive from Panama
How responsible are we for due diligence concerning ruling out criminal involvement? How far removed must any such crime be before we are not held at all responsible for facilitating crime? We’ll have to watch this story to find out how the legal system handles it.
⇧ Nothing that comes from government is free — Orange County Register
The profound ignorance of those who are handed megaphones is astounding. This article is written by someone who hasn’t the faintest idea where money comes from. The only cost to create $20 trillion for the US government would be the cost of the direct energy to enter that amount into a computer and push the enter key. It took a great deal more for me to key in what I just said there. In fact, some of the $20T could be used to pay for the energy to create it. Therefore, of course things that come from government can be free.
Abe Lincoln paid for the Union to fight the Civil War via simply issuing the money to do it. There was a bit of increased inflation, but it was vastly less costly than had he borrowed the money to wage that war. With a few additional controls, there doesn’t need to be any increase in inflation after creating money rather than borrowing it either.
How long are we going to have to listen to the nonsense? It’s getting really, really old.
⇧ This map shows the extent of the Southern California apartment boom. Will all the construction help lower your rent? — Orange County Register
“I am not a believer in the trickle-down theory of real estate, and there is data to support this position,” said Alan Greenlee, executive director of the Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing. “I don’t see how building solely for the high end relieves pressure on the lower part of the market.”
The only way it can really relieve it in an major way is if the developers/owners are willing to take a profit-hit rather than letting the vacancy rate soar (which is a different type of hit). Look at all the vacancies in China. How low would rents be if all the owners were to rent at a real rate: the rate where demand would be able to afford to fill the vacancies.
⇧ Medicaid’s financial benefits are larger than previously thought | Equitable Growth
What’s best for your lower-income tenants?
… comparing states that expanded their Medicaid programs in 2014 to those that did not, Brevoort, Grodzicki, and Hackmann’s research found that Medicaid expansion reduced the incidence of newly acquired medical debt by 30 percent to 40 percent overall, adding up to a total $3.4 billion in savings two years after the reform was enacted. For individuals who were newly covered by the program, this translated to $900 annually. It is well-documented that Medicaid-expansion states saw an increase in coverage and improvements in self-reported health outcomes. But this new paper demonstrates that families also experienced improved financial well-being due to a decline in medical bills.
While the reduction in household debt is an important aspect of Medicaid’s financial benefits, it is not the only one. Considering the ways in which unpaid debt tarnishes families’ financial health, there are even broader implications for economic well-being.
⇧ Zombie houses plague neighborhoods and leave families heartbroken | The Spokesman-Review
Just because the news doesn’t cover them doesn’t mean they’re gone.
Spokane’s registry of abandoned homes includes about 500 of these zombie properties.
⇧ The social architecture of capitalism — from here to there
This is a long read but worth it in my opinion.
The IPPR report stated that the main causes of increasing inequality are the unequal ownership of capital, housing policy, low wages, regressive taxation and automation.
But we’ve just seen that, even if we reset society to a perfect and equitable state, where classes have yet to form and everyone has equal wealth, then — as a consequence of the iron laws of thermodynamics — the mere existence of markets and a wage system will rapidly produce exactly the kind of inequality we see around us today.
So the point is this: the fundamental social architecture of capitalism is the main cause of economic inequality. We can’t have capitalism without inequality: it’s an inescapable and necessary consequence of the economic rules of the game.
Government policy can, of course, attempt to control this basic tendency. And most of us would derive marginal benefit from more enlightened housing, tax and wage policies. But such piecemeal reforms are a plaster on a gaping wound.
And since the rich capture democratic institutions even such mild reforms are easily swept aside. We’ve seen a collection of post-war policies, that controlled economic inequality, ditched in the last 30 years. And that’s why things have got even worse.
Extreme economic inequality causes untold misery. At the top we see excessive and wasteful hyper-consumption. At the bottom, countless everyday struggles to live a dignified life.
And decades of political reforms have not produced a fair and equitable society. And they never will. It’s hopelessly utopian to think they could.
Getting serious about economic inequality requires thinking about the fundamentals: which is the wage system, where one class systematically exploits another. We need much less talk about inequality, and much more talk about exploitation.
For me, it’s intuitive. I didn’t need the graphs to tell me what I already knew by virtue of logic. Nevertheless, I think it’s a good thing to discuss such things by way of graphs.
⇧ 40 Percent of the Buildings in Manhattan Could Not Be Built Today – The New York Times
Zoning is good and interesting.
⇧ Upsurge in big earthquakes predicted for 2018 as Earth rotation slows | World news | The Guardian
“The rotation of the Earth does change slightly — by a millisecond a day sometimes — and that can be measured very accurately by atomic clocks,” said Bilham.
Bilham and Bendick found that there had been periods of around five years when Earth’s rotation slowed by such an amount several times over the past century and a half. Crucially, these periods were followed by periods when the numbers of intense earthquakes increased.
⇧ The anti-regulatory environment that Trump promised just got a big boost
“Since the Great Depression, whenever you have a new line of laws coming out, after five to 10 years of people living them there always has been an adjustment,” Landy said. “Think of it like a pendulum. There’s always a center.”
Saying “there’s always a center” is psychological. It’s a way of planting a suggestion that where the top bankers want to go is the center. However, that’s never what has happened. They simply pushed for more and more and more deregulation until the Great Recession resulted. Frankly, we didn’t have enough re-regulation. We certainly shouldn’t be deregulating the way it’s being done. There’s still a gigantic lack of accountability and still way too much consolidation (and that’s just from the mixed-economy perspective).
Landlord assistance programs are trying to address a chicken-and-egg problem, says Laura Zeilinger, D.C.’s director of human services. Landlords want renters who have jobs and earn a steady income. But stable housing is usually the first step to helping people get and keep a job. She’s hoping that landlords in D.C. will waive income requirements in their applications.
⇧ 6.9 Another kind of business organization | The Economy: Unit 6 The firm: Owners, managers, and employees
⇧ 100,000 back Mirror’s fight for sprinklers in tower blocks – as Jeremy Corbyn says ‘not having them is unacceptable’ – Mirror Online
Independent research shows sprinklers contain or extinguish fires in 99% of cases and London Fire Brigade Commissioner Dany Cotton backs retrofitting, saying: “This can’t be optional.”
⇧ FCC is expected to unveil its plan to destroy net neutrality during Thanksgiving week – The Verge
Who’s the largest landlord in the world? Would that entity be able to afford to pay an ISP for a faster lane than small landlords?
What if you’re shopping for landlord insurance? Would the world’s largest carriers and agencies be able to afford the fester or even fastest lanes even if newer, smaller carriers and agencies have better product offerings and ratings but not the money for offering them on those fastest lanes?
When you search, who’ll get the higher search ranking? Will that end up costing you more?
How many other examples can you come up with?
⇧ Donald Trump’s FCC is a Clear and Present Danger to Democracy | The Nation
We support democracy over anarchic capitalism. Anarchic capitalism inevitably leads directly to monopoly. Anarchic capitalism inevitably leads directly to neofeudalism.
Do we want to be serfs to the plutocrats, or do we want a democracy where we actually have a real say?
Monopolies eat small businesses. The monopoly landlord will have put all other landlords out of business.
Are you really for laissez-faire capitalism? If so, will you be the last one standing? The odds are astronomically against it.
Roosevelt and his aides were determined to guard against media-ownership structures that might place control of broadcast media in the United States in the hands of a tiny circle of elite individuals or corporations. To that end, they advocated for a muscular Federal Communications Commission that would guard against consolidation of media ownership and assure that all Americans had access to the information and ideas that sustain democracy.
⇧ Monopoly men* | Real-World Economics Review Blog
The elite ranks of our billionaire class continue to pull apart from the rest of us. We have not witnessed such extreme levels of concentrated wealth and power since the first Gilded Age a century ago. Such staggering levels of wealth inequality threaten our democracy, compound racial and class divisions, undermine social cohesion, and destabilize our economy.
Let’s give them all a huge tax cut while the rest of us can just go lump it (because trickle-down isn’t).
⇧ Kimco Realty CEO: Retail is clearly out of favor and getting painted with a broad brush
This is of interest because, among other things, retail impacts neighborhoods so much (or has).
Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.
⇧ Leverage and limited liability: A toxic cocktail | VOX, CEPR’s Policy Portal
At the very, very least:
This issue justifies generalising remuneration contracts with long claw-back clauses and bonuses paid in the form of vested high trigger Cocos.
… In the words of the Squam Lake Report, “systematically important financial institutions should withhold a significant share of each senior manager’s total annual compensation for several years”. Noting that the goal is to align the incentives not to the interests of shareholders but to those of society, the report adds that “the withheld compensation should not take the form of stocks or stock options. Rather, each holdback should be for a fixed dollar amount, and employees would forfeit their holdbacks if their firm goes bankrupt or receives extraordinary government assistance.”
⇧ China’s $15 Trillion Problem: Investors Don’t Believe in Losses – Bloomberg
I said it first. Xi does not know what he’s doing. I maintain that it’s still very true.
If China is going to backstop everything, it should have simply issued under socialism all the money it has created and dispensed with the income and wealth inequality. However, it didn’t do that and it still maintains that it has at least one complete foot in market capitalism.
If it pulls the rug out from under backstopping to the degree it claims it is doing, crashes will be inevitable and so will social disruption, even riots ending who knows where (the People realizing the one-party dictatorship under the totalitarian dictator, Xi, should be completely replaced with democracy).
Therefore, what is Xi going to do? He doesn’t know what to do? He keeps simply postponing, but time is not on his side.
⇧ As Oceans Warm, the World’s Kelp Forests Begin to Disappear – Yale E360
In the kelp forests of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands chain, urchin barrens began forming in the 1980s, causing local declines in various fishes, bald eagles, and harbor seals. The transition began when the population of sea otters started to decline, possibly because of increased predation by killer whales.
“But on those extensive barrens, you can pour in as many large lobsters as you like, and they will eat hundreds of thousands of urchins, but they cannot reduce the urchins enough for any kelp to reappear,” he says. “Even if you turned all those urchin barrens into marine protected areas tomorrow, you could wait 200 years and you still wouldn’t get a kelp forest back.”
In central California, kelp forests are still thriving, a fact Carr credits to one animal.
“We have sea otters down here, and they’re voracious predators of urchins,” he says.
⇧ Austin American-Statesman: Texas Has 100s of Substandard Dams in Populated Areas
Dam safety specialists are troubled by the Legislature’s exemption of what are now 3,232 dams, or 45 percent, from safety requirements….
⇧ Salem man charged with felony insurance fraud, theft | Crime and Courts | poststar.com
Two people face a five-count felony indictment in Washington County Court alleging insurance fraud after a 2013 house fire, court records show.
⇧ DA To Retry Guldi On Felony Larceny And Insurance Fraud Charges – Westhampton Beach – 27east
⇧ Blockchain Is Littered with ‘Smart’ Contracts Gone Bad: Opinion
… tamper-resistant … means that they can’t be reversed if something goes awry.
⇧ Investigators Say Texas Chemical Plant Unprepared for Hurricane Harvey
The lesson appears to be, plan for the worst and then add a cushion on top of that.
⇧ Texas Coastal Cities Conduct Post-Harvey Dune Restoration
⇧ Family accused in insurance fraud scheme after burning homes down
⇧ RMS Comments: What’s Next If Flood Insurance Reform Passes? If It Fails?
I typically wouldn’t include this level of article, but it’s a good write-up even for the novice.
⇧ USAA Among Backers of Home Water Damage Prevention Startup Flo
I’ve covered this before, but this one adds more and newer details.
I’m wondering about water leaks in the main, between the meter and the house. The main can run the length of an entire yard. If the monitoring only happens within the house, a leak could go undetected for weeks between water bills.
⇧ 450 Las Vegas Shooting Victims and Family Members of Deceased File Lawsuits
Depending on the outcome, I wonder where the law will set the line on liability for such things. Will apartment owners be held liable for negligence if the owner allows guns in the apartments and doesn’t take steps to prevent them, etc. How far would such liability carry? What about single-family, detached rentals?
It seems to me that invasive surveillance will become the norm throughout society until mental states are controlled to the extent that such violence can’t happen.
It’s such a shame that we seem to have to head in that direction. Freedom does, however, include the element of being free from insane killers. It isn’t limited to carrying guns. Times change. The law, and the interpretation thereof, must change with them or the innocent will continue dying from otherwise preventable causes.
⇧ Homeland Security Urges Businesses to Act on Cyber Bug Alert | Fortune
⇧ Experts: Artificial Intelligence Could Hijack Brain-Computer Interfaces
Concerning the Las Vegas mass-shooting discussed a couple of links above, I wrote:
“It seems to me that invasive surveillance will become the norm throughout society until mental states are controlled to the extent that such violence can’t happen.”
Here’s a timely article about some of the ethical and security implications.
⇧ Lease-to-own real estate company accused of ‘deceptive program’ – ABC15 Arizona
A Valley real estate company that claims to offer lease-to-own options for homebuyers, is being sued by the Arizona Attorney General.
⇧ End Of Net Neutrality Could Spell Doom For Real Estate Small Businesses
This is a good overview of the problem that must be stopped dead in its tracks. I think some deep-pocketed sites will sue and hopefully prevail against Ajit Pai. Even the biggest companies, such as Google and Facebook, could be directly hurt by Ajit Pai’s move.
⇧ Technology invading nearly all U.S. jobs, even lower skilled: study | Reuters
Change is coming at the rate of blur.
⇧ Technology, organization of effort crucial for disaster recovery
This is impressive. It’s not the first thing one might think of, but it sure is important for people to be able to see, etc. Lost glasses and such in a disaster are a big deal for many.
⇧ Firm shows off robotic harvesting technology | Business – Local News | wcfcourier.com
⇧ New CyberKnife robotic radiation technology offers unmatched precision and patient comfort | Sponsored | The News
So, we have self-driving everythings coming quickly. We have automated warehouses and manufacturing facilities. How about this:
… robotic radiation delivery system ….
I’m bringing these things up here because it’s nonsense that automation, backed up by AI and machine learning and quantum computers and whatever else is just waiting to come on line, isn’t going to replace all work required to “earn” a living to pay for the necessities of life and more.
The sooner we wrap our minds around that, the better.
Provided we’re dealing with moral and ethical individuals, there will be no justification whatsoever for income and wealth inequalities.
⇧ Client Update: The 2017 Changes to the AIA Contract Documents: A Summary of the Relevant Changes to the Owner-Architect Forms
If you’re interested…
⇧ Forget Philip Hammond — this was Jeremy Corbyn’s Budget, complete with Labour policies | The Independent
Jeremy Corbyn…convinced voters of something Ed Miliband was never able to: that austerity was not just undesirable, it was unnecessary too. People’s perceptions have changed, as have their political demands. Now the Tories are playing catch-up.
Austerity was backwards. It’s finally become common knowledge. What will the bankers do to try to censor it and reverse the awareness? That’s what they always do.
Are you going to fight it? Are you going to continue demanding the truth, or are you going to let them snuff out the light?
I hope you’ll stand with the light.
⇧ How to Boost Profits With a Water-Efficient Rental Property
It might be worth it to check for any governmental or water-utility economic assistance first. Sometimes they hand out low-flow shower heads for free because it’s cheaper than increasing infrastructure, including sewage treatment.
Low-flow aerators can be added to older faucets that have the threading to accept an aerator. Most do.
Finally, if you’re tight for funds, change the water level in the toilet tank and gently add something inside the tank that doesn’t float but will displace some water. Don’t over do it, as it won’t flush well enough.