News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Mar. 25, 2018

Linking ≠ endorsement. News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Mar. 25, 2018

Table of Contents
(Click to sections below.)

1) UK economy in grip of most feeble recovery on modern record, says IFS

2) Bitcoin Is Worthless, Bubble May Pop Soon, Allianz Global Says

3) Why real estate and insurance lobbies will have a huge influence on climate policy

4) Kudlow Warns Fed Against Hiking Fast as He Jumps to White House

5) Trump Shouldn't Undermine the Office of Financial Research - Bloomberg

6) ...swore 'there's no recession coming' in 2007 now Trump's economic adviser: Larry Kudlow should fit right in....

7) AP Exclusive: Kushner Cos. filed false NYC housing paperwork

8) How to "Hack" Your Way to a Sizable Real Estate Portfolio (and Live for Free)

9) Lael Brainard speech echoes Powell in hawkish Fed policy shift

10) No spring in the UK air

11) 'The Harms of Fracking': New Report Details Increased Risks of Asthma, Birth Defects and Cancer

12) Californians fed up with housing costs and taxes are fleeing state in big numbers

13) The World's Finance Chiefs Are Fretting About Cryptocurrencies

14) Investors in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies face hefty tax bills

15) ... Places Now Cracking Down on Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies

16) What boom? The economy is off to a 'meh' start to 2018

17) Despite Growing Climate Risk, Storm-Prone States Ease Building Codes

18) New NASA Model Finds Landslide Threats in Near Real-Time During Heavy Rains

19) Five Ways Poverty Hurts Mental Health

20) A federal judge has climate science questions. Here are the answers.

21) Study Finds Tree Workers Face Considerable Hazards Post-Storm

22) Kidde recalls 400,000 smoke alarms that don't detect smoke

23) World's largest collection of ocean garbage is now twice the size of Texas

24) In Houston and beyond, Harvey's spills leave a toxic legacy

25) 5 Ways to Save Money by Being Your Own Property Manager

26) Fed raises rates, signals confidence in strengthening economy

27) Why Outer Suburbs in the East and Midwest Have Stopped Booming

28) Exclusive: Democrats plan crackdown on booming stock buybacks

29) Large Portions Of West Texas Sinking At Alarming Rate, New Report Finds

30) Study Links Severe Winter Weather in Northeastern US to Arctic Temps

31) The Dark Side of the New Tax Reform Act for Multifamily Investors, by Paul Moore

32) Market Forecasting: A Sensitive Practice at the Heart of Neoliberal Capitalism

33) Here's all the stuff the US imports from China that's causing a huge trade deficit

34) Study: Earth is losing plants, animals, and clean water at a dramatic rate

  1.    UK economy in grip of most feeble recovery on modern record, says IFS

    This is entirely the fault of the Tories' idiotic austerity-politics.

    If the government had practiced Keynesianism with a vengeance, the recovery would have been over almost immediately. The same holds for the US, even though we did do a tiny stimulus package.

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


  2.    Bitcoin Is Worthless, Bubble May Pop Soon, Allianz Global Says

    Better extremely late to catch onto the truth than never.

    The big laggards always get the lion's share of the credit for revealing things. What a world.

    Get used to it? Nope. Cry? Nope. Press on? Yep, as always.

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


  3.    Why real estate and insurance lobbies will have a huge influence on climate policy

    Did you think that because you're a real-estate investor you have to toe the libertarian capitalist line on Anthropogenic Global Climate Volatility (AGCV)? The warming is what's causing the volatility, and the carbon burning is what's causing the warming; but I take the author's point.

    As an investor, you need to get on board with those who are out to reduce the risk your investment will be clobbered by wild weather getting exponentially wilder if we don't curb and reverse the warming trend, the unsequestered carbon burning.

    When the real estate and insurance industries more aggressively translate the risk of weather/climate volatility to each person's pocketbook, the hue and cry will be huge.

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


  4.    Kudlow Warns Fed Against Hiking Fast as He Jumps to White House

    He's half right: right on the Fed tightening too much too soon overly slowing the economy; wrong that the tax cuts for the rich will have nearly as much long-term positive impact as he thinks. In fact, the economy is really going to depend upon what the lower classes do: save, pay down debts, or spend like there's no tomorrow. Personally, I think they'll do all three but lean more in the aggregate toward the conservative, thrifty, frugal side because they'll be reminded that the tax cuts for them are due to phase out.

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


  5.    Trump Shouldn't Undermine the Office of Financial Research - Bloomberg

    Regulators can't do their jobs if they don't know what's going on. The OFR should be revived, not dismantled.

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


  6.    Milbank: Man who swore 'there's no recession coming' in 2007 now Trump's economic adviser: When it comes to expertise, Larry Kudlow should fit right in with the rest of the Trump administration

    Well, I don't see the point in wondering why Larry Kudlow was chosen. It's not because he has a history of stating what will happen and then being right about it. It's because he has a history of stating what will happen and then being wrong about it.

    He's there to sell knowingly false economics. He knows it's false. Trump knows it's false. You have to have been living under a rock not to know it's false.

    If he isn't the most, Trump's one of the most capitalistic Presidents this country has ever had. I don't mean "global free-trader," I mean capitalistic nationally. He wants things set up so his kind makes even more of the lion's share than they already do.

    It will fail economically. What will he do then? Will he change or lose?

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


  7.    AP Exclusive: Kushner Cos. filed false NYC housing paperwork

    In Kushner buildings across the city, records show frequent complaints about construction going on early in the morning or late at night against the rules, improper or illegal construction, and work without a permit.

    If the allegations are true (and I'm in no position to pronounce innocence or guilt) and with enforcing and fines so low, it would amount to a simple cost of doing business. Regardless, poorer people are not animals. Even animals shouldn't be mistreated. Enforcement should be effective at ending the practice as a simple cost of doing business worth paying because even with the cost, the net profits are vast.

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


  8.    How to "Hack" Your Way to a Sizable Real Estate Portfolio (and Live for Free)

    There's plenty more to what you can do, but this is a good beginning.

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


  9.    Lael Brainard speech echoes Powell in hawkish Fed policy shift

    I still say the Fed is sounding premature. They'll tighten because they'll think labor slack is less than it really is and they'll unrealistically think Trump's tax cuts will rev up the real economy in some wishful-thinking, sustainable way.

    If this plays out, we'll have a recession without doubt.

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


  10.    No spring in the UK air

    The political economy of modern Conservatism is extreme laissez faire in the following sense. The belief is that if you let businessmen (they are usually men) get on with things, and take away red tape, regulations, and reduce taxes, all will be well. There is no need to help with public sector investment and R&D initiatives, or worry about rent extraction: the private sector can always do things better itself. The public sector does not support the private sector, but just gets in the way. An obvious consequence is that the Chancellor is reduced to a glorified bookkeeper, and political success comes with balancing the books and shrinking the state

    The results of this approach have been disastrous. This laissez faire experiment took place in the most favourable of circumstances: a recovery from a very deep recession which if history is any guide should have seen rapid growth. The result has been the slowest recovery for as long as anyone can remember.

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


  11.    'The Harms of Fracking': New Report Details Increased Risks of Asthma, Birth Defects and Cancer

    This is a huge deal. I've been hammering about earthquakes (which are caused by both the fracking and the injection of waste lquid) but also other environmental risks.

    What does all of this mean? If the allegations are true, and I have no reasons to believe they are false, it means we absolutely must move to energy that is not from coal, oil, gas, or nuclear. Yes, nuclear is also too risky still.

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


  12.    Californians fed up with housing costs and taxes are fleeing state in big numbers

    Just FYI without my commentary ...

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


  13.    The World's Finance Chiefs Are Fretting About Cryptocurrencies

    Assets? I don't consider them assets in the proper sense of the term. When is a Ponzi-scheme holding a real asset? You could carry it that way on your books, but it would still be immoral (and unethical and should be illegal) if you knew there's nothing truly backing any of it up.

    What are poker chips in a legal casino in Las Vegas? The house has the odds on its side; but unlike with Bitcoin, gambling there isn't the same as relying upon others simply being dumber and slower to dump the worthless "Bitcoins."

    I'm not advocating gambling in Las Vegas, but I hope you can see the distinction.

    To elaborate more, to flesh this all out more, Las Vegas gaming is not a socialist enterprise. We don't need or want a casino economy. We need and want a real economy built upon a solid foundation where the house doesn't have the odds on its side for the sake of profits for the house owner at the expense of the People. We want the People to own the house in which everyone wins on even odds. Is that a difficult concept? It shouldn't be. It should be common knowledge and the common position.

    Bitcoin certainly isn't and never was a currency in any standard sense of the term. Well, Bitcoins aren't truly assets either, not in my book anyway.

    I have always believe Bitcoin is completely counter-productive. Absolutely nothing good was ever going to come out of Bitcoin, unless one thinks gaining via others losing is a good thing. That's the thing that happens via Bitcoin in the end (not to mention the environmental damage), and in the end, the whole thing is truly a net loss for society.

    I can't believe how slow the governments of the world have been in seeing any of this. Obviously, they're still scared to shut Bitcoin down completely because of the implication concerning other so-called assets they allow that are also nothing but Ponzi bets in existence solely for the purpose of banks skimming.

    Think about it.

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


  14.    Investors in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies face hefty tax bills

    Please excuse the foul language in the article. It's not strewn with it if you're concerned.

    After reading this article and were I holding any such whatever you want to call them, I'd immediately divest of all of it for US dollars and pay full taxes on the "gain" when due and never touch the stuff again. Sadly, there will be those who holdout and lose everything: those who bought high and hold hoping against hope that it will go up and stay up. How could going up and staying up possibly happen? Could that many people actually remain living under rocks?

    It is true that people still invest in all sorts of ridiculous derivatives. Those are more complicated to fully grasp their Ponzi nature. Plus, some truly are a sort of insurance, though the whole economy better not crash with people imagining those derivatives would pay a dime. They're built in the air above real assets, above how standard insurance does things.

    An insurance carrier can become insolvent, but such companies function in the world of the real economy for the most part. Some do invest in strange vehicles, but they still mostly function in the standard money-supply economy. If it weren't so, I wouldn't even be in the business.

    The insurance industry is not a house of cards. It is not opaque. It is highly regulated and has a high, collective real-capital ratio.

    It's quite conservative relative to investment banking, which is embedded in much standard banking now.

    None of that is to say that a global catastrophe would be some walk in the park for any industry. As a matter of political policy and law, it's more of a shared, industry-wide burden in insurance. Nevertheless, premium payers are still obligated by sound financial practices to judge the individual carrier(s) and relevant reinsurers, if any, rather then look to the government to have created some foolproof system or to provide some backstop.

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  15.    ... Places Now Cracking Down on Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies

    For early adopters, one of the most appealing elements of cryptocurrencies — aside from the hope of getting rich quick — has been the lack of government oversight.

    Unlike traditional currencies, the crypto variety is decentralized. That means virtual currencies aren't controlled, manipulated, or in most cases even regulated by any government or regime.

    But that's starting to change.

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


  16.    What boom? The economy is off to a 'meh' start to 2018

    It certainly helps that the economy is poised to receive a double boost from the impact of the tax law and a bipartisan agreement in Washington ramp up spending by about $300 billion.

    Of course, adding all that help to an already-healthy economy could backfire if it creates so much inflation that it forces the Fed to cool things down with aggressive rate hikes.

    Well, let's hope the consumers don't screw themselves by not realizing the tax cuts for them will fade. Let's also hope the Fed doesn't use the house built on a foundation of air as an excuse to clamp down so hard they cause an unnecessary recession. I won't be holding my breath.

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


  17.    Despite Growing Climate Risk, Storm-Prone States Ease Building Codes

    If you buy a house that's cheaper because the building code is weaker, you typically increase your risk of loss and your insurance premiums.

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


  18.    New NASA Model Finds Landslide Threats in Near Real-Time During Heavy Rains

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


  19.    Five Ways Poverty Hurts Mental Health

    A guaranteed living-income well above the poverty line would go a very long way to healing society and the individuals who comprise it. It would not rob a single person of dignity. On the contrary, it would show everyone how much everyone values everyone.

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


  20.    A federal judge has climate science questions. Here are the answers.

    I believe the answers are not expansive enough. Each deserves at least a mini-essay. Those essays, while avoiding sounding condescending toward the judge, should answer such that the average citizen would basically understand them. Nevertheless, I appreciate that the question and short answers were published.

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


  21.    Study Finds Tree Workers Face Considerable Hazards Post-Storm

    Good advice:

    ... work with a licensed tree care professional to identify damaged or improperly planted trees and remove dead trees and limbs before the next big storm.

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


  22.    Kidde recalls 400,000 smoke alarms that don't detect smoke

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


  23.    World's largest collection of ocean garbage is now twice the size of Texas News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Mar. 25, 2018

    This is disgusting. What is wrong with the leadership of the world? Why are they so incredibly inept? Too harsh on my part? We're killing the oceans. How could it be too harsh? You have to be nice/civil when telling people to stop ruining the planet? Things are going to get unimaginably harsh if we don't stop. People are already dying who would otherwise not have died. I don't think their loved ones think I'm being too harsh.

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


  24.    In Houston and beyond, Harvey's spills leave a toxic legacy

    Welcome to Houston, Texas, hopefully the former libertarian-capitalist, carbon-fuel-burning-caused global-warming denying, anti-building code, anti-zoning, anti-environmentalism bastion.

    If I didn't want them to change so they'll all become safer going forward, I wouldn't say a word.

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


  25.    5 Ways to Save Money by Being Your Own Property Manager

    Read, read, read property-management resources. There's a great deal to it. The more you know, the better you'll be at it.

    Plan. Be organized. Document.

    You'll have legal requirements. Be sure to follow them.

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  26.    Fed raises rates, signals confidence in strengthening economy

    A smattering of views ...

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  27.    Why Outer Suburbs in the East and Midwest Have Stopped Booming

    Did someone say the suburbs are the place to invest? Make sure you pick a city where that will work.

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


  28.    Exclusive: Democrats plan crackdown on booming stock buybacks

    "The idea that banning stock buybacks is going to help the economy ignores the fact that this money doesn't disappear. It's returned to shareholders who can spend it," Macey said.

    It doesn't ignore it. The operative word there is "can" in "can spend it." Can doesn't mean will. If they do spend it, there's no guarantee on what. Stats clearly show that the rich have a propensity to invest in what will aid them in further accumulating and consolidating at the negative overall expense of the health of the rest of the economy. In other words, the entire buyback system as-is is counter-productive.

    That said, the bill is really only rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.

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


  29.    Large Portions Of West Texas Sinking At Alarming Rate, New Report Finds

    "This region of Texas has been punctured like a pincushion with oil wells and injection wells since the 1940s, and our findings associate that activity with ground movement," study co-author Jin-Woo Kim said in a statement.

    Well, duh. I know. That's immature. But honestly ....

    We must stop simply doing things for short-term financial gains for the few while destroying the planet for the rest over the longer term.

    Frankly, humanity has been demonstrably environmentally insane for many decades now.

    Libertarian and many other capitalist types (even some mixed-economy types) have fought against environmental sanity at every step of the way. They have worked overtime lobbying with endless money to buy the rollback of already pathetically insufficient regulations. It is all coming back to haunt humanity and the planet with a vengeance. We've only just begun to see the damage done.

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


  30.    Study Links Severe Winter Weather in Northeastern U.S. to Arctic Temps

    ... recent studies indicate the Arctic is playing an increasingly important role as a boundary-forcing agent due to its accelerated warming.

    "Increasing greenhouse gases are contributing to a general warming of the atmosphere and oceans globally," the study states.X

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  31.    The Dark Side of the New Tax Reform Act for Multifamily Investors, by Paul Moore

    Most of my readers will already know I appreciate the sound, ethical approach.

    Appreciation is great, and we hope for it in every deal, but appreciation is like a bipolar friend. It's great when we get it. But we should never count on it.

    Yes, two different types of appreciation there.

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  32.    Market Forecasting: A Sensitive Practice at the Heart of Neoliberal Capitalism

    My commentary is more than a bit beyond the intended scope of the linked article (a good article by the way).

    Is it (stock-market forecasting) more art than what passes as science these days? Is it zero such science? Is it merely guessing with a bad track-record in the aggregate?

    You might think divination is the operative word, but I say enchantment is the more salient and operative.

    Laissez-faire capitalism literally sweeps up its spellbound. It conjures up fantasy not reflected in reality, ever. It is always wrong. It never gets close to its own claims about itself and never could or will. The comeback is that "pure" capitalism has never been practiced and that regulation and cronyism always interfere.

    Such "pure" capitalism is pure anarchy where profit-in-mammon maximizing blinds the capitalist to the negatives of excused so-called externalities (damage wrought by the lack of order forced into "markets" so that very damage won't be more damaging than otherwise).

    The comeback is that the whole thing will eventually sort itself out if left alone. That's callous beyond the pale and isn't true in any case. Let the weak die. That's saying to let the sociopaths have free rein and praying Heaven will result.

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  33.    Here's all the stuff the U.S. imports from China that's causing a huge trade deficit

    "It might even be impossible. The U.S. has run large deficits with China for years and in some cases no longer produces certain goods such as consumer electronics that are popular with Americans."

    As if we couldn't.

    Look, China is a totalitarian dictatorship becoming more draconian every minute. Why are we paying them to become richer and richer when we could very easily be making our own stuff?

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


  34.    Study: Earth is losing plants, animals, and clean water at a dramatic rate

    We can bury our heads in the sand, or we can do what's right rather than simply talking about it. The longer we wait, the harder it will be to fix things. It would be asinine to simply put all of our hope in the technology of the future fixing it. The reason is that before that time were to come, we'll have caused pain and suffering on a biblical scale in our own lives as humans.

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

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