News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Mar. 3, 2018

Linking ≠ endorsement. News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Mar. 3, 2018

Table of Contents
(Click to sections below.)

1) What Are the Best Real Estate Investments? How to Find the Ideal Place to Put Your Money

2) Borough Assembly OKs Testing for promising woodstove emissions-control technology | Alaska Public Media

3) Monitoring by Control Technique - Electrostatic Precipitators | Air Emissions Monitoring Knowledge Base | US EPA

4) Go green at home: the rise of 'eco-tech' is helping home buyers take control of the carbon footprint of new homes | Homes and Property

5) On the link between US pay and productivity | VOX, CEPR's Policy Portal

6) Multiple Sinkholes Open in Florida Retirement Community

7) Apocalypse now: London's property crash has begun — Damian Reilly — Medium

8) Ocean plastic tide 'violates the law' - BBC News

9) The carbon-capture era may finally be starting - MIT Technology Review

10) The Trump administration's proposal for tips will only hurt employees

11) Too Much is Being Made of the Bearish Bond Data - Bloomberg

12) Head of world's largest hedge fund says US in a 'pre-bubble phase' with a 70% chance of recession - MarketWatch

13) Econimica: Who Will Buy All Those Trillions of US Treasury's???

14) These countries have the highest quality of life | World Economic Forum

15) While Washington Spends, China Moves to Cut Its $30 Trillion Debt Load - Bloomberg

16) More Energy Giants Moving Toward A Renewable Energy Future

17) Plastic bans worldwide will dent oil demand growth, says BP | Business | The Guardian

18) What will Spiking Mortgage Rates, High Home Prices, & the New Tax Law Do to the Housing Market? | Wolf Street

19) Fedspeak Reiterates Gradual Path | Tim Duy's Fed Watch

20) Angela Merkel: New German coalition deal will be good for EU

21) A sweeping new bill targets California's housing crisis - Vox

22) Cryptocurrency A Risk Factor, Bank Of America Says In Annual SEC Filing

23) Denver adopts affordable, inclusive housing plan | Smart Cities Dive

24) US Economic Growth Isn't Translating Into Bigger Paychecks - Bloomberg

25) Cincinnati flooding: 70 structures flooded and confirmed tornado in Clermont County

26) Why the Left must lead Britain away from Brexit — Prime Economics

27) SC Mayor: No Need for Researcher to Test Town's Water | Michigan News | US News

28) More weigh in on proposed fracking ban in Delaware River basin - The Morning Call

29) State lawmakers: Enough is enough. Delaware needs clean water

30) Lawsuit Reveals How Paid Expert Helped 3M "Command the Science" on Dangerous Chemicals

31) Sorry, But Turnkeys Aren't 100% Hands-Off. For Success, Know THIS.

32) Pennsylvania Couple Loses Home in Mudslide

33) Arson Caused Georgia Fire That Destroyed 5 Homes, Damaged 14

34) Freakishly warm air has again surged over the North Pole, and sea ice is breaking up north of Greenland — in winter - ImaGeo

35) Without equality of income there can be no equality of opportunity

36) How to make your home energy efficient - Curbed

37) Surging bond yields to pinch homeowners and retirees

38) Rising mortgage rates hit new home sales hard, a bad sign for builders

39) Comments on "A Skeptical View of the Impact of the Fed's Balance Sheet" - FEDERAL RESERVE BANK of NEW YORK

40) South Dakota's Pine Ridge Duplex Explosion Draws Another Lawsuit

41) Tornadoes, Flooding From Severe Storms Cause Damage, Deaths in Appalachia

42) NTSB Investigating Deadly Dallas House Explosion

43) In China, 'Xi Forever' And Weaker Economic Data Has Investors In Sell Mode

44) Here's What We Learned From Powell's First Fed Chair Testimony - Bloomberg

45) California Officials Lacked Good Fire Alert Plan, Report Shows

46) Beech booming as climate changes, and that's bad for forests | Reading Eagle - AP

47) mainly macro: The dangers of pluralism in economics: the case of MMT

48) Fire Chiefs in California Want Money to Prepare for Wildfires

49) Oil, Gas Regulator Modifies Oklahoma Earthquake Guidelines

50) Former Michigan Firefighter Sentenced for Multiple Arsons

51) United States Wages and Salaries Growth | 1960-2018 | Data | Chart

52) United States Core Personal Consumption Expenditure Price Index

53) Bitcoin's Plunge in Volume Stirs Questions About Its Usage - Bloomberg

54) The Radical Left-Wing Theory That the Government Has Unlimited Money

55) American Wages 2017: recovered from Great Recession but still growing too slowly, unequally | Economic Policy Institute

56) The Final Trump-GOP Tax Plan: National and 50-State Estimates for 2019 & 2027

57) Spokane, WA moves to waive fees for solar panels, EV charging stations | Smart Cities Dive

58) 50 Amazing Farmhouse Sinks to Make Your Kitchen Pop

59) NYC looks to modular construction as an affordable housing solution

60) Making SNAP Work Requirements Harsher Will Not Improve Outcomes for Low-Income People

61) BankThink Risky mortgages primed for comeback under Senate reg relief bill

62) NYC Apartment Construction Highest in 30 Years

63) Tariffs could impact already rising construction costs

64) Grocery bags and takeout containers aren't enough. It's time to phase out all single-use plastic

65) The economic and political cost of UK austerity

66) S&P 500 companies expected to buy back $800 billion of their own shares this year

  1.    What Are the Best Real Estate Investments? How to Find the Ideal Place to Put Your Money

    This is a good one for the novice especially, but it can serve as a bit of a refresher for the experienced as well.

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  2.    Borough Assembly OKs Testing for promising woodstove emissions-control technology | Alaska Public Media

    ... electrostatic precipitators ....

    Very interesting.

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  3.    Monitoring by Control Technique - Electrostatic Precipitators | Air Emissions Monitoring Knowledge Base | US EPA

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  4.    Go green at home: the rise of 'eco-tech' is helping home buyers take control of the carbon footprint of new homes | Homes and Property

    UK, but good info regardless ...

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  5.    On the link between US pay and productivity | VOX, CEPR's Policy Portal

    This paper is better than most.

    Here's where I put my "money": "market structure and monopoly power (Autor et al. 2017, Barkai 2017), capital accumulation (Piketty 2014, Piketty and Zucman 2014)" as the primary cause. The paper doesn't go into that level of detail though.

    That said, I wouldn't put too much weight on the fact that Stansbury and Summers didn't find much correlation between automation and stagnant wages.

    The real wave of automation is yet to come. It will be automation 2.0. That will be automation replacing workers in a way that no amount of knowledge, skill, ability, or retraining, etc., will be able to stay out in front of automation replacing jobs.

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  6.    Multiple Sinkholes Open in Florida Retirement Community

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  7.    Apocalypse now: London's property crash has begun — Damian Reilly — Medium

    I'm not crying a drop. I'm glad for the regular folks who need housing they can afford.

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  8.    Ocean plastic tide 'violates the law' - BBC News

    This global disaster has been brought to us by the same industry that's brought us Anthropogenic Global Warming: oil. That's not to mention toxic petrochemicals and often counter-productive pharmaceuticals.

    Humanity is killing its home. The entire planet must step up with required risk prevention. If we're not intelligent enough to replace the world's monetary system, then the rich must pay for it for everyone. There's no option.

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  9.    The carbon-capture era may finally be starting - MIT Technology Review

    ... tax credit of $50 for every metric ton of carbon dioxide buried underground and $35 for every ton put to work in other ways.

    I'm all for sequestration and the like, but these tax credits are coming when tax credits for already existing clean alternatives are eliminated. It strikes me as a crony-capitalist scam.

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  10.    The Trump administration's proposal for tips will only hurt employees

    How many of your tenants depend upon the tips they receive in order to pay rent?

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  11.    Too Much is Being Made of the Bearish Bond Data - Bloomberg

    ... soft underbelly that challenges the bearish narratives.

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  12.    Head of world's largest hedge fund says U.S. in a 'pre-bubble phase' with a 70% chance of recession - MarketWatch

    Ray Dalio's view is extremely close to my own, which I've been publishing here for months now.

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  13.    Econimica: Who Will Buy All Those Trillions of US Treasury's???

    Publicly, the Trump administration is counting on tax cuts to stimulate to increase general revenue to decrease the deficit. Privately (not very hidden, as deficit hawks have already been doing this), the plan is to call for massive governmental-spending cuts (a massive reduction in governmental borrowing and bond issuing) and privatizing everything possible.

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  14.    These countries have the highest quality of life | World Economic Forum News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Mar. 3, 2018

    Ratings on material conditions covered the indicators of income and wealth, jobs and earnings, and housing.

    Ratings on quality of life were based on indicators including work-life balance, health, education, personal safety and environmental quality.

    While the US leads the world in material conditions, it fares poorly on quality-of-life indicators, particularly work-life balance and homicide rates.

    I don't categorize that way. Quality of life for me is everything.

    For instance, how can poor housing not be a drag on quality of life? In addition, how was housing calculated? Were mansions allowed to skew the data?

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  15.    While Washington Spends, China Moves to Cut Its $30 Trillion Debt Load - Bloomberg

    China Incorporated is the Chinese Communist Party, and its CEO is Xi, who is accountable only to himself, which makes him the richest man in the world, by far.

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  16.    More Energy Giants Moving Toward A Renewable Energy Future

    It's about time!

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  17.    Plastic bans worldwide will dent oil demand growth, says BP | Business | The Guardian

    "Massively surprised by renewables again. We revised up renewables again," he said. The amount of power expected from renewable sources such as solar and wind is now expected to be 8 terawatt hours in 2035, up from the 5tWh predicted three years ago, and is the fifth year to be revised upward by BP.

    Critics noted that every year since the company's energy outlook was first published in 2011, it has forecast a slowing of renewables growth, only to be proved wrong every time.

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  18.    What will Spiking Mortgage Rates, High Home Prices, & the New Tax Law Do to the Housing Market? | Wolf Street

    When reading this, keep in mind that the tax changes are designed to placate a foolable middle and lower economic class with temporary tax cuts for them but permanent ones for corporations. Most people won't know what hit them and will take the administration's and deficit hawks' word for it that it was too much government spending (and that in the face of Trump's unfunded infrastructure-spending plan timed exactly to make the contrived economic cycle worse, not better).

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  19.    Fedspeak Reiterates Gradual Path | Tim Duy's Fed Watch

    Fiscal policymakers have done their part with tax cuts for corporations. Monetary policymakers need to do their part by not undercutting growth too quickly. Hence, policy can remain on the current path:

    Against this economic backdrop, with a strong labor market and likely only temporary softness in inflation, I view it as appropriate that monetary policy should continue to be gradually normalized.

    I think this is not a bad experiment to run. If the Fed wants to see what happens if you run the economy hot, best to give it a try in a low inflation, well-anchored inflation expectations environment. If the economy overheats and sends inflation to 3 percent, it wouldn't be something the Fed couldn't control. I am willing to endorse that experiment.

    The bankers will be happier with higher rates.

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  20.    Angela Merkel: New German coalition deal will be good for EU

    The moral of the story is that not going far enough to the left economically (democratically) ends up giving power to those much farther to the right, who convince people that left tendencies in economics cause all the problems. Then things get much worse.

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  21.    A sweeping new bill targets California's housing crisis - Vox

    We have no choice to just staying the same. We have to change. Of course, having everyone living on top of each other isn't a healthy thing unless it's done really, really well (green, probably ventilated, etc.). As for transportation, mass transit might not be the ultimate way to go what with autonomous electric vehicles (and probably drones, if we can quiet them down enough) coming quickly.

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  22.    Cryptocurrency A Risk Factor, Bank Of America Says In Annual SEC Filing

    ... geopolitical risks, with the bank talking about international money-laundering.

    "Our international operations are subject to U.S. laws on foreign corrupt practices, the Office of Foreign Assets Control, know-your-customer requirements and anti-money laundering regulations. Emerging technologies, such as cryptocurrencies, could limit our ability to track the movement of funds. Our ability to comply with these laws is dependent on our ability to improve detection and reporting capabilities and reduce variation in control processes and oversight accountability," BoA said in the filing.

    I certainly agree.

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  23.    Denver adopts affordable, inclusive housing plan | Smart Cities Dive

    Denver has had explosive population growth over the past decade but new home unit construction hasn't kept up, which has contributed to a shortage in the city's housing supply. The high demand and low supply has prompted a spike in home purchase and rental prices that has outpaced wage growth, as evidenced in a recent study analyzing housing in Colorado.

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  24.    U.S. Economic Growth Isn't Translating Into Bigger Paychecks - Bloomberg

    In dollar terms, wage growth has been superficially healthy -- in January, average hourly earnings rose 2.9 percent from a year earlier. But consumer prices increased 2.1 percent during the same period. In other words, real hourly earnings grew by only 0.8 percent -- less than half the real growth rate of the overall economy.
    ...
    Economic theory says that when there are only a few employers, the supply-and-demand model breaks down, and powerful companies start holding wages below what a competitive market would provide. This theory also predicts that minimum wage laws wouldn't throw people out of work -- exactly what many researchers are now finding.

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  25.    Cincinnati flooding: 70 structures flooded and confirmed tornado in Clermont County

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  26.    Why the Left must lead Britain away from Brexit — Prime Economics

    There are signs (e.g. in Germany) that social democratic parties are waking up from their long sojourn in the house of ordoliberalism, and are newly alive to the deep structural flaws of the project that is globalisation. A project that both New Labour and many European Social Democratic parties signed up to, and for which complicity they have paid a heavy political price. Many Europeans look to the newly revitalised British Labour movement for leadership out of the deregulated, heavily indebted, low-paid, hugely unequal and insecure economic conditions suffered by millions. Conditions that have allowed those responsible for catastrophic economic failure to emerge triumphant after the 2007-9 Global Financial Crisis.

    That's true, but incrementalism is the enemy. That said, I'd be okay with Corbyn saying that he'd not stand in the way of a referendum on whether to hold another totally binding referendum (which process would allow enough time to properly debate anything that was left unaddressed) on leaving the EU.

    Perhaps the UK referendum could include an ultimatum to the EU concerning the EU holding a referendum on vastly increasing the direct-democracy aspects of the EU so that EU representatives would actually be the representatives of their people rather than elitists.

    I'd be shocked if the people would be even allowed to make that choice, as I don't believe there's much democracy at all so far anywhere in the UK or at the EU level.

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  27.    SC Mayor: No Need for Researcher to Test Town's Water | Michigan News | US News

    Does this appear to be an example of good risk-management on the part of this mayor?

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  28.    More weigh in on proposed fracking ban in Delaware River basin - The Morning Call

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  29.    State lawmakers: Enough is enough. Delaware needs clean water

    This is why they care about fracking in Delaware. They just can't continue taking chances with drinking and other water.

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  30.    Lawsuit Reveals How Paid Expert Helped 3M "Command the Science" on Dangerous Chemicals

    In another case mentioned in the article:

    The judge in the case ruled that plaintiffs' lawyers could not even mention the possibility that the chemicals posed any harm and, at the request of 3M, sealed the case documents, keeping the details of the company's actions around perfluorinated chemicals largely under wraps.

    Proper governmental risk-management dictates transparency in such cases.

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  31.    Sorry, But Turnkeys Aren't 100% Hands-Off. For Success, Know THIS.

    ... how do you know if the turnkey folks you are working with are legit? How do you know if they really are experts? Can you buy a bad turnkey? Are you getting scammed? Is the property getting taken care of as it should?

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  32.    Pennsylvania Couple Loses Home in Mudslide

    Mudslides are different than mudflows (covered by flood insurance) and different than landslides (available via "Difference in Conditions" surplus-lines insurance). Mudslides are typically not insurable events. Therefore, be extremely careful where you buy or rent, etc.

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  33.    Arson Caused Georgia Fire That Destroyed 5 Homes, Damaged 14

    Spacing is an important issue especially the less fire resistant the structures are.

    Flames jumped to neighboring houses spaced about 10 feet (3 meters) apart, all of them covered with vinyl siding that allowed the fire to spread quickly ....

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  34.    Freakishly warm air has again surged over the North Pole, and sea ice is breaking up north of Greenland — in winter - ImaGeo News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Mar. 3, 2018

    Again! is right.

    This is all to be expected, as the previously unexpected is exactly what we've been warned to expect for many years now concerning human-added CO2 in the Earth's atmosphere.

    "We still need more research," he cautions. Declines in sea ice might still be implicated. "We cannot yet rule it out or in."

    Some might take solace in that uncertainty. I don't. I always come back to the words of Columbia University's Wallace S. Broecker, a geoscientist known as the grandfather of modern climate science. "The climate system is an angry beast and we are poking it with sticks," he has famously said. Expanding on the idea in an interview with a N.Y. Times reporter 20 years ago, he said this: "The earth's climate is very volatile; it can do some weird things."

    Given what's happening in the Arctic right now, it sure seems like he was right.

    I'll go further than that by saying that it proves it.

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  35.    Without equality of income there can be no equality of opportunity

    Are you surprised by this?

    You're much more likely to achieve the "American dream" if you live in Denmark.

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  36.    How to make your home energy efficient - Curbed

    Help your tenants save.

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  37.    Surging bond yields to pinch homeowners and retirees

    All of this cuts both ways. The biggest issue is what will the tax cuts do. Will the money be spent wisely resulting in higher productivity, or will it be used "financially" or worse? I'm betting financially plus worse. I'm betting on recession after the dust settles and people come to realize the cuts were ill-timed, improperly distributed, and foolishly temporary for the lower classes.

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  38.    Rising mortgage rates hit new home sales hard, a bad sign for builders

    When I was a young man, housing and oil were the things to watch. Alternative energy is changing places with oil, but construction is still critical. Will home builders be able to swing to commercial, including multi-family? Will government step up to the plate and subsidize affordability?

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  39.    Comments on "A Skeptical View of the Impact of the Fed's Balance Sheet" - FEDERAL RESERVE BANK of NEW YORK

    ... LSAPs can be used to provide additional monetary accommodation by depressing bond term premia and the spread between agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and Treasury securities, as well as by strengthening the credibility of forward guidance on the path of short-term interest rates. This can provide support to asset values more generally and make financial conditions more accommodative.

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  40.    South Dakota's Pine Ridge Duplex Explosion Draws Another Lawsuit

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  41.    Tornadoes, Flooding From Severe Storms Cause Damage, Deaths in Appalachia

    ... death toll rose to at least five on Sunday after severe thunderstorms swept through the central U.S., spawning a tornado that flattened homes ....

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  42.    NTSB Investigating Deadly Dallas House Explosion

    "We don't rush any investigation," he said. "Accuracy is more important to us."

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  43.    In China, 'Xi Forever' And Weaker Economic Data Has Investors In Sell Mode

    This article, by Kenneth Rapoza, doesn't appear to care at all about the utter lack of real democracy. It appears to be solely focused upon financial investors. It even excuses China because China's economy grew so much (at the expense of the environment).

    One either promotes the whole people and democracy or promotes capital and markets. It is possible to promote both, but that cannot ever be truly done without denouncing one-party rule and dictatorial rule. It can never, for instance, fall for the utter nonsense spewed by the Chinese Communist Party and Xi that there is such a thing as "dictatorial democracy."

    Yes, there is the issue of majority rule; but in a real democracy, there is total transparency and complete freedom to be heard so that the whole People have real choices after being fully informed.

    Xi is not interested in that at all, quite the contrary.

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  44.    Here's What We Learned From Powell's First Fed Chair Testimony - Bloomberg News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Mar. 3, 2018

    A $1.5 trillion tax package is adding stimulus to the U.S. economy, and a recent budget deal will lift spending caps and increase government outlays.
    "I think our view -- my personal view -- would be that there will be a meaningful increment to demand, at least for the next couple of years, from the combination of those two things," he said.

    I agree; however, as I repeatedly said, it will end in a bust, a recession caused by that very combination.

    The nation's debt is unsustainable, he said, but he's not sounding the alarm yet.
    "There would come a time at which -- it's not this time, not this time by a long shot -- but there could come a time when the public, the global debt-buying public, would come to the view that we either weren't prepared to honor our debts or that we couldn't service them," Powell said. "We're a long way from that."

    That's wrong. The US can create all the money it wants to repay. The real issue would be bonds. Would people not want to buy them simply because the economy was being mishandled by virtue of putting too much money/taxes into interest rather than getting rid of the whole, senseless governmental-borrowing system?

    Powell widened our understanding of how he thinks about wages: While he sees them moving higher, "for wages to go up sustainably, you need higher productivity," he said.

    Agreed.

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  45.    California Officials Lacked Good Fire Alert Plan, Report Shows

    Perhaps governments should be able to push notifications via all communication modes and to all devices that wouldn't necessarily stop on-going communications but would interrupt them in some manner that couldn't be missed.

    Having to opt in isn't wise concerning emergency cases.

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  46.    Beech booming as climate changes, and that's bad for forests | Reading Eagle - AP News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Mar. 3, 2018

    "We're really dealing with the fallout from climate change, and how do we manage to accommodate for that," he said.

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  47.    mainly macro: The dangers of pluralism in economics: the case of MMT

    I completely agree with the general thrust of Simon Wren-Lewis's post, having been on the receiving end of some MMTers' snobby (yes, snobby) approach and argued years ago with them making the points Simon makes.

    I was actually shunned, blocked, and banned often by them and even though I was in complete agreement with them about money creation.

    The fact is, I was too far to their left on some very important issues while being completely willing to comprehend various sets of economic terminology (schools of thought): libertarian capitalist, Keynesian, New Keynesian, Post Keynesian (including MMT), Marxist, socialist, and developing and promoting newer conceptual frameworks (which is what I was, and still am, doing), etc.

    I tried very, very much to get them to understand that they were harming their own cause by taking the attitude and projecting it that anyone who doesn't use the MMT vocabulary exactly as first used by MMT founders is ignorant and/or stupid.

    I disagreed with them about money as debt. They say it is always debt simply because they treat governmental money-accounting the same way it is understood in business. Doing that actually ignores their own money-creation idea, which idea is right. Since the government can create all the money it wants to, business accounting superimposed on the government simply is a convenience, not a requirement. Money merely existing being an inherent liability of the issuing government is nonsense.

    I disagreed with them that tax collection extinguishes/destroys money as opposed to that money largely being recirculated in the revenue spending by the government. Again, this is a semantical issue solely on account of MMTers' insistence that their accounting view must hold sway. They ignore the practical implication of collecting and spending without any legislation recreating the same value but in other dollars. It too is nonsense. An entity takes in money, wipes out that money in a ledger, adds it back into another ledger, and then claims the money was destroyed? I don't think such esoteric nitpicking is conducive to selling MMT that is perfectly salable without picking unnecessary and counter-productive fights that in the end are over non-operative/non-salient points.

    I disagreed with them about the money multiplier. They said it doesn't exist at all. I said it certainly does depending upon the connotation of the terms being used to describe the concept. It is a fact that fractional-reserve banking is practiced in the US. The Federal Reserve absolutely requires reserves against bank credit-creation. The MMTers think that just because the government and Fed see to it that the money supply expands to accommodate banking credit-creation that, that nullifies fractional-reserve requirements. It does not. The Fed will go after insolvent banks. The issue is not simply one of liquidity and inter-bank lending of excess reserves with the Fed always accommodating lending needs to remain liquid. The Fed require solvency (at least they claim they do in their official policy-statements).

    I disagreed with them concerning money being a medium of exchange. They said it is not and that treating it as such turns money itself into a commodity like bananas. Well, so what if money is treated as a commodity (even though money is mostly in computer memory)? What difference does it make? None. Bananas and computer memory (value) is used to exchange non-bananas and non-money. Who cares? Where does it matter in making the case for MMT? It doesn't. It simply engages in a circular word-game that slows the progress of getting the general public to understand where money actually comes from and what that means in terms of funding government and avoiding inflation while stimulating clean, green economic growth benefiting the whole of society.

    Obviously, Simon is neither ignorant nor stupid. I don't agree with his emphasis on behalf of technocracy over more-direct democracy and I don't agree with him that monetarism via interest rates is the way to go, but I openly state that he is the very best economist I have seen in trying to build bridges and in trying to understand and to play fairly concerning other schools of thought. That's a good thing.

    Simon has a large megaphone, so I hope he gets through to the MMT powers that be.

    Lastly, I completely agree with Simon about intergenerational distribution of income. He is right! The MMTers who argued against his position were likely not top-tier, as most truly top-tier MMTers would concede Simon's point. The top-tier has a tendency to be more conciliatory than is MMT's base.

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  48.    Fire Chiefs in California Want Money to Prepare for Wildfires

    This is sticking our fingers in the dike. We have to respond to fires that break out. We do need to be better prepared and coordinated. However, we have to radically reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere right away and then move on urgently to completely stop Anthropogenic Global Warming.

    We've made a huge error continuing to pump out greenhouse gases. We have to fix the mess we created.

    We are making the planet toxic at an alarming rate even in the face of all the good and proper anti-pollution legislation we put in place. It hasn't been nearly enough.

    We have very foolishly treated the precautionary principle as non-scientific. It is extremely scientific. Scientific statistical methods show very clearly the odds of making serious environmental mistakes by polluting/gambling first rather than putting the onus and burden of proof of harmlessness on those who seek to release things into our environment.

    New chemicals and the like are quarantined until proven innocent. That's how we should have been going about it since the beginning of the modern era (at the very least since WWII; would have been better earlier). We know what was once pristine. Anything introduced into that needed to have been in harmony with making the whole environment, whole ecosystem, better, not just about making more money.

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  49.    Oil, Gas Regulator Modifies Oklahoma Earthquake Guidelines

    This is better than not and does clearly show that the government knows that fracking itself, not just waste-fluid injection (contains toxic chemicals, not just water), causes earthquakes.

    Add your comment. Including the article/link number will help.


  50.    Former Michigan Firefighter Sentenced for Multiple Arsons

    I decided to stop publishing stories about those who are arrested or charged but rather wait for the verdict. I will continue to publish stories about events where no suspects or defendants are known or named.

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  51.    United States Wages and Salaries Growth | 1960-2018 | Data | Chart News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Mar. 3, 2018

    This is about the average since stats began.

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  52.    United States Core Personal Consumption Expenditure Price Index News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Mar. 3, 2018

    The core PCE is the Fed's preferred inflation measure. It has missed the Fed's 2 percent target since mid-2012.

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  53.    Bitcoin's Plunge in Volume Stirs Questions About Its Usage - Bloomberg

    People who invested heavily in Bitcoin (and foolishly haven't dropped it yet) propped it up for a bit is all. They are desperately trying to talk it back up. It's useless because Bitcoin is useless. There simply is zero reason for Bitcoin other than crime. What good is it? Regulators are NOT going to allow it to undermine national and international real-currencies (those which are accepted for paying taxes). There's no underlying value. It's based upon nothing but psychology: same as any other Ponzi scheme.

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  54.    The Radical Left-Wing Theory That the Government Has Unlimited Money

    Through the lens of Modern Monetary Theory, however, a dollar is nothing but a liability issued by the US government, which promises to accept it back in payment of taxes. The dollar in your pocket represents a debt owed you by the federal government. Money isn't a lump of gold but rather an IOU.

    You see, there's the nonsense I said was standing in the way of the rest of the argument. Money is not a liability. The government will, obviously, accept it as payment for taxes due. Money is not a lump of gold, which is a commodity, but neither is it an IOU. The government (unless it borrows first via bonds) doesn't owe anybody anything simply by issuing money. The whole thing is just hair splitting to the point where there is no hair and never was. We can say that the government could issue all the money it wants without borrowing a dime all without confusing the issue and Movement. Forget liabilities and IOU's or the like.

    It was a money-mechanics standard-accounting method Warren Mosler used to conceptualize what was happening in terms of creating money through to when it is then taxed. That was fine, but it is not the only way to conceptualize it.

    I came to all the same conclusions completely independently. I had never heard of Warren Mosler or MMT before I realized governments do not fund themselves via taxes first but by issuance first.

    Although rarely heard on mass media, among economists this viewpoint is not particularly controversial. Oxford economist Simon Wren-Lewis told me in an email. "Most mainstream, non-ideological economists would agree the US needs more infrastructure investment, and the best way to finance that is through public borrowing." He continued: "Most people think austerity is mainstream macroeconomics, although it is not. Those who are anti-austerity look for some alternative theory, which MMT provides."

    There you see Simon, whom I mentioned in a link above. Where Simon is flat out wrong, however, is when he says that the best way is public borrowing. The best way is not borrowing. The best way is simply issuing without borrowing, without owing anyone any interest on money that should have been simply created without the government issuing any bonds: no deficit increase!

    Why borrow? They do it for the sake of the banking industry over the needs of the People. Inflation can be perfectly controlled via controlling the supply of money in circulation (depending upon productivity and resource planning) and via the velocity of that money as it moves through the system. Right now, they use interest rates rather than taxes. They raise rates to slow the economy while they could raise taxes to do exactly the same thing. However, a better way than taxes is to simply literally destroy the right amount of money across the board. That would be done by the US Treasury being the only bank where all money is held. Everyone would have one free bank account there. All transactions would flow through that.

    What's the obstacle? The banking industry is the only real obstacle.

    Democracy as direct as we can manage without needlessly sacrificing efficiency and efficacy is the solution.

    What I have in mind is a guaranteed living wage funded by the above.

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  55.    The State of American Wages 2017: Wages have finally recovered from the blow of the Great Recession but are still growing too slowly and unequally | Economic Policy Institute

    A deep dive:

    ... although we are seeing broad-based wage growth, ordinary workers are just making up lost ground rather than getting ahead.

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  56.    The Final Trump-GOP Tax Plan: National and 50-State Estimates for 2019 & 2027

    The poorest get the smallest break and then get screwed the most. That's exactly the opposite of what is really best for our whole economy. Lifting the bottom is the best path. Increasing inequality is the worst.

    We'll have a phony boom followed by a very real crash if we don't undo the plan in time.

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  57.    Spokane, WA moves to waive fees for solar panels, EV charging stations | Smart Cities Dive

    Right direction ...

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  58.    50 Amazing Farmhouse Sinks to Make Your Kitchen Pop

    This site always makes me want to stare.

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  59.    NYC looks to modular construction as an affordable housing solution News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Mar. 3, 2018

    I hope they get the rhythm and then momentum.

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  60.    Making SNAP Work Requirements Harsher Will Not Improve Outcomes for Low-Income People

    Why break what works?

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  61.    BankThink Risky mortgages primed for comeback under Senate reg relief bill

    Is this a plan to cause small-bank failures so big banks can end up simply even bigger?

    Now that we're at the top of the business cycle, it's about time for amnesia to set in about the last financial crisis. ...
    ...
    If the bill becomes law, Congress will excuse over 97% of U.S. banks from having to verify applicants' income, assets and debts for mortgages they keep on their books. This is a recipe for unmanageable monthly payments for consumers. Further, under the bill, these smaller banks can make toxic balloon loans and adjustable-rate mortgages without ever confirming that the borrowers can afford the higher monthly payments in future years. This raises a serious concern because both of these abuses contributed to the 2008 financial crisis.

    The Senate bill poses another, less obvious risk. If smaller banks don't have to play by the same rules as big banks, we face a race to the bottom in lending standards. Smaller banks will lure away business from big banks by offering borrowers loans that appear to be cheap, but are filled with nasty surprises. The result: Smaller banks will load up their balance sheets with risky mortgages to pursue lucrative fees, while ignoring the peril to their solvency.

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  62.    NYC Apartment Construction Highest in 30 Years

    I knew Seattle was tech heavy, but New York City is second? Wow.

    ... now only Seattle exceeds New York in having a greater concentration of tech jobs in its urban center.

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  63.    Tariffs could impact already rising construction costs

    The video makes good points, but the object of the tariffs is multi-fold in terms of the overall impact on the US economy. The idea is to stimulate domestic production, which is also considered strategic from a military standpoint as well. If the tariffs work, wages and salaries should theoretically increase. The problem is what to do in the interim.

    Tariffs could impact already rising construction costs from CNBC.

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  64.    Grocery bags and takeout containers aren't enough. It's time to phase out all single-use plastic News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Mar. 3, 2018

    It's difficult as a consumer to get away from single-use plastic. It stubbornly shows up inside other packaging. I'm not sure we even have the definition of single-use right yet.

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  65.    The economic and political cost of UK austerity

    Here's another from Simon Wren-Lewis (from the orthodox Keynesian-macro school):

    ... austerity was completely unnecessary. By austerity I mean cutting the deficit when interest rates could not be cut to offset the impact of fiscal consolidation. There is zero evidence that the markets demanded austerity in 2010, and plenty of evidence they did not. Even if the markets had panicked at the size of the deficit, the Bank of England would have bought government debt as part of its QE programme.

    The unusual feature of the Great Recession was not just its size, but that for the first time since the 1930s governments started reducing spending in what should have been the recovery period. They have never done that since the 1930s because economic textbooks and state of the art models say it is a stupid and costly thing to do.

    Of course the deficit needed to be reduced, but the government could easily have waited for a few years until the recovery was well underway and interest rates were well above their lower bound. The £10,000 per household is not the cost of deficit reduction. If the government had been patient it could have reduced the deficit with no cost at all. Whatever the motive for George Osborne disregarding the lessons of history, his actions have lost the average household £10,000 worth of resources and caused additional ongoing economic and political damage to the economy. Not so much a "remarkable national effort" as a predictable man made disaster.

    True.

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  66.    S&P 500 companies expected to buy back $800 billion of their own shares this year

    Companies sometimes opt to buy back shares over using funds to invest in organic growth via capex or research and development because it is difficult to consistently reinvest retained earnings at attractive returns, said the note.

    "Given this challenge, we recommend investors continue to seek companies that run a more efficient capital structure with a consistent track record of returning capital to shareholders over companies with bloated cash balances," said the note.

    Not knowing how to reinvest in the company for "attractive returns" is grounds for demotion.

    By the way, did you see wage and low-level-management salary increases anywhere? Neither did I.

    Some companies are doing it, but most of those are handing out peanuts especially relative to the increases in top-level compensation packages.

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