News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. May 7, 2018

Linking ≠ endorsement. News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. May 7, 2018

Table of Contents
(Click to sections below.)

1) MMT — the Wicksell connection

2) Finland has done everything right, but the euro is still making it permanently poorer

3) 5 May Tornado Outbreaks That Had The Biggest Impacts

4) The US Just [needlessly] Borrowed $488 Billion, a Record High for the First Quarter

5) 1 Person Killed in South Carolina Apartment Fire

6) Opinion: Proposals to guarantee jobs spotlight uncomfortable truth about Fed

7) Inverted Yield Curves and Recessions

8) The Europhile Left loses the plot

9) Seattle tree law could be getting a revision

10) Already, a jobs-guarantee idea polls pretty well

11) 'Poison Papers': US and Canadian Regulators Colluded with Manufacturers of Highly Toxic Substances

12) The Fed Boosts Wall Street, Not Main Street

13) After nine years of no change, is the federal minimum wage irrelevant?

14) No Need for the MythBusters, the Millionaire Tax Flight Myth is Busted Again

15) 'The Biggest Player in the History of the World'

16) Californians Aren't Embracing Food Stamps

17) Amazon Threatens Seattle Over New Tax That Would Help the Homeless

18) Anheuser-Busch Makes Record Order of 800 Nikola Fuel Cell Trucks

19) The One Surprise in Today's Fed Statement

20) What Noam Chomsky Got Right About NAFTA

21) Faith Organizations Partner with Private Developers to Build Affordable Housing

22) Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano Erupts For a Fourth Time While Major Earthquake Shakes the Entire State

23) The Guardian view on a job guarantee: a policy whose time has come

24) Plymouth and Bellwether team up for First Hill affordable housing development

25) New tool measures urban park access, guides planned improvements

26) 15 minute charge for a 300 mile range? DOE moves to boost EVs

27) Employment Situation Summary

28) 12 Tenant Nightmare Stories I Swear Are Actually True

29) What are microplastics?

30) How low can unemployment go? Economists keep getting the answer wrong.

31) With Flood Risk Rising, Coastal Real Estate Looks a Lot Like a Junk Bond

32) 115 Homes in Hawaii Destroyed or Damaged by Heavy Rains

33) Sprinklers Coming for Hawaii Building After Fire That Killed 4

34) The Amazing Ability of Pasture Grass to Sequester Carbon: Century-Old Chamberlin Ranch ...

35) Smile

36) Chicago launches dockless bike share pilot program on the Far South Side

37) The Higher Earner vs. The Smart Investor: Who's Better Off Financially? [A Case Study!]

38) Carbon dioxide levels in Earth's atmosphere reach 'highest level in 800,000 years' [longer, actually]

  1.    MMT — the Wicksell connection

    Knut Wicksell, 1898:

    For the sake of simplicity, let us then assume that the whole monetary system of a country is in the hands of a single credit institution, provided with an adequate number of branches, at which each independent economic individual keeps an account on which he can draw cheques.

    This is what I mean by having only one bank (with that bank being the US Treasury). This is also why I see a moneyless society (cyber only) in the not too distant future.

    Is it any wonder why Ford and Edison knew full well that the government need not borrow a dime to issue money?

    The most important thing for the general population to come to realize is that this knowledge has been deliberately kept from them by those who privately benefit most via the anti-democratic usury industry: aka commercial banking (which truly came up with the Federal Reserve System, which that industry has controlled since inception, not the other way around).

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  2.    Finland has done everything right, but the euro is still making it permanently poorer

    This article, by Matt O'Brien, misses the salient issue.

    Why doesn't the US Dollar do this between New York and Mississippi? Which state in the US is the Germany of the US while another is the Greece or the Finland? What's the difference?

    Integration. The US is one nation. The EU is not. US states are integrated. EU member states aren't nearly as integrated.

    Would EU integration solve it all? It would if that integration were sufficiently democratic. The Germans know that but don't want to share the "burden," even though it wouldn't end up being a burden at all but a boon.

    The Germans have historically thought small or were late to the table.

    I don't say that to be anti-German. I say it in hopes that they finally rise to the occasion and start treating the Greeks as their European siblings, just like the Italians and the Finns.

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  3.    5 May Tornado Outbreaks That Had The Biggest Impacts News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. May 7, 2018

    It's horrific info (informative but on a horrific risk and resulting actual damages). It should motivate people to prep, including by having adequate insurance.

    Let's stop adding CO2 to the air as much as possible until we figure out how we want to remove it.

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  4.    The U.S. Just [needlessly] Borrowed $488 Billion, a Record High for the First Quarter

    The U.S.'s need to issue more Treasuries ....

    The US doesn't need to issue Treasurys (yes, that's the proper original spelling) to issue more currency. The Treasury market is a scam. It is completely designed for the sake of usurers, not the People. If the government were to issue the currency and fund public works and jobs, the commercial banking CEO's and stockholders would not get a cut (for doing nothing of value) off the People and holding the People down to do it.

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  5.    1 Person Killed in South Carolina Apartment Fire

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  6.    Opinion: Proposals to guarantee jobs spotlight uncomfortable truth about Fed

    The Fed in fact has an open discussion about just how many jobs it wants to kill. In time — although the Fed says it's not in a hurry — the central bank expects the jobless rate to be around 4.5%, up from March's level of 4.1%.

    Given today's population, that's roughly 650,000 more people the Fed wants to see unemployed, in the name of maintaining inflation of around 2%.

    That's what I've meant by "systemic unemployment" in blog posts past.

    The Fed is built upon an out-of-date model, and I don't mean just the Phillips Curve. In fact, the Phillips Curve really will kick in given enough stimulus or time absent countervailing forces of nature and human-caused catastrophes.

    No, the model I'm referring to is our mixed-economy: usury-based and anti-democratic "market."

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  7.    Inverted Yield Curves and Recessions

    We could see an inversion at a lower interest rate level, a shorter lead time after inversion, or perhaps no inversion at all. When it comes to markets and the economy, the "rules" are always changing.

    "... the "rules" are always changing." That's the Stochastic aspect in Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium. It means the variables, with new one's constantly being introduced. I'm not a fan of the DSGE model or concept. In my book, there is not General Equilibrium.

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  8.    The Europhile Left loses the plot

    To repeat my position before quoting a snippet from the linked article, I think an EU unified not on technocracy but democracy of the definitely more direct type would be great. I also believe that leaving is better than remaining if democracy is not to be quickly forthcoming.

    So here's Billy Mitchell, a very solid economist and bare-knuckle fighter (kidding on that second part, though you might wonder after reading his article) going right back at leftist who would rather remain than have democracy after leaving the EU.

    They did not engage with our demonstrated point that the economic models that the British government and other institutions have used to generate dire Brexit meltdown scenarios are deeply flawed, embedded with neoliberal biases and so inaccurate that they are not worth considering.

    None of them thought the unbelievable forecasting errors from the HM Treasury exercise in May 2016 (just before the Referendum), where they claimed that by now the UK would have a GDP between 3.6 and 6 percent lower and the number of people unemployed would rise by as much as 820,00 were an issue.

    We also showed that the data from British industry over the past two years had generated the strongest growth since the late 1990 despite claims that the Brexit 'uncertainty' would see British output collapsing by now.

    The social media heroes didn't think it worth engaging with that reality. It would be too challenging for their case.

    None of them addressed the detailed analysis we presented of Britain's fortunes (or not) since the Single Market was introduced in 1992.

    None of them responded to literature we cited which show that "here is no evidence that joining the EU improved the rate of economic growth in the UK".

    Mitchell is the only high-level MMT economist I've ever run into who agreed with me before reading me (?) that government could be (and really should be) fully funded without the government borrowing a dime .

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  9.    Seattle tree law could be getting a revision News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. May 7, 2018

    Like trees?

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  10.    Already, a jobs-guarantee idea polls pretty well

    There are numerous practical questions about a jobs-guarantee plan, including its cost. In one proposal, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimated an annual cost of $543 billion for the creation of 9.7 million full-time jobs.

    First, the money should come from the US government creating it without issuing bonds.

    Second, the economy would grow because of the new production, which would be real-economy growth rather than financial-capitalism growth.

    Third, $15 an hour would still be low by historical standards. I think the minimum should be whatever the historical maximum ever was and then indexed to price inflation. So, when was the minimum wage the highest in terms of purchasing power? Match that in today's dollars and then increase it each year to match inflation so the purchasing power will never go down.

    Fourth, include high-skills training in the program for people who want it and can do the work (earn the grades).

    There's plenty more I could add, but I think that's a good start without overwhelming people.

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  11.    'Poison Papers': US and Canadian Regulators Colluded with Manufacturers of Highly Toxic Substances

    Proper risk-management requires information.

    Dr. Jonathan Latham explains how the EPA and Canada's Health Protection Branch concealed fraudulent tests of dangerous pesticides.

    The EPA was captured by the industries it is supposed to regulate. Rather than protecting the environment, it protects the polluters harming the environment and, therefore, harming you through the environment you live in.

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  12.    The Fed Boosts Wall Street, Not Main Street

    The Fed's QE defense—from Ben Bernanke to Janet Yellen to Jerome Powell (the first two from the Obama, and last from the Trump, administration)—is that their actions prevented a Great Depression. They converted a Great Recession into near "full" employment, which should be an income inequality reducer. But, near full employment measures today belie the quality and stability of jobs as well as this bubble effect and grossly subsidized financial system.

    Artificially stimulated markets are dangerous because they are built on flimsy foundations that rely on a constant supply of cheap money. Companies that borrowed money in order to buy stocks didn't have to worry about demonstrating concrete signs of strength. They took on loans and borrowed cheap funds without a real, growth-oriented plan. They had no concern for building higher wages, providing better employee benefits or focusing on business development and long-term stability.

    Unlike the EPA, the Fed has not suffered regulatory capture. It didn't need to be captured. It was designed and created by the bankers. The EPA was designed and created by anti-polluters. That's a huge difference.

    The Fed's dual mandate is window frosting. The Fed's true mandate is to protect banking-industry profits starting at the top.

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  13.    After nine years of no change, is the federal minimum wage irrelevant?

    Your tenants are stressed if they are underpaid due to the extremely low minimum wage. If they are stressed, so are you (directly or indirectly).

    By the way, all the horror stories about what a higher minimum wage would do to Seattle came to nothing.

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  14.    No Need for the MythBusters, the Millionaire Tax Flight Myth is Busted Again

    So why aren't millionaires moving to the locales with the lowest tax rates, even though they have the resources to do so and could save some money on their tax bills? Young presents data illustrating that millionaires are more tied to where they are currently living: most millionaires are married, are more likely to have children, and are economically and socially tied to where they made their money. They benefit from where they are living because they have "home field advantage": they know the area, have connections, and most are "working rich" and moving could actually set them back in their career and productivity.

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  15.    'The Biggest Player in the History of the World' News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. May 7, 2018

    I'm far from a Xi fan, and I believe the notion that China's economy is going to blow the US economy out of the water is way overblown. Nevertheless, this is more than an interesting linked article. It is quite right on a number of fronts.

    I've been maintaining for well over a decade that China is the real ultimate target of US imperialism.

    That said, I certainly hope that it never comes to blows. What I really want to see is democracy in China.

    I always maintained that it was a huge mistake to open China without democratic strings attached. Just going for markets was far from a smart move. Open China by getting even less than that was doubly harmful.

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  16.    Californians Aren't Embracing Food Stamps

    If you are a landlord or manager of affordable housing with tenants you know are struggling financially and you are sure could qualify because you have the rental-application financial data on them, then before evicting them for late or insufficient rental payments, try helping them to get the benefits they qualify for whether it's in California or any other state. You should also become familiar with other benefits available in the given state. Many states prompt benefit recipients to check whether they qualify for those other benefits. Some states make the process very simple. Some programs simply ask if the applicant is on Medicaid or SNAP to decide if the applicant qualifies for the program. That makes applying very easy.

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  17.    Amazon Threatens Seattle Over New Tax That Would Help the Homeless

    If I were in a position to do it, if I had the resources of perhaps a Walmart, I'd immediately approach Seattle saying that my company will fill any void left by Amazon and will gladly pay the new tax to help the homeless.

    That would be PR with a heart and not for the PR but to actually help with the homelessness issue.

    Homeless people are more important than space travel, not that we can't do both. We can.

    "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more." What's wrong with that? Hasn't Jeff received a great deal? Why doesn't he give back in ways that will make things better than had the money gone to someone else? Why not be a net-benefit to the whole of humanity? Isn't that good business? I think it is.

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  18.    Anheuser-Busch Makes Record Order of 800 Nikola Fuel Cell Trucks

    I was a big, early hydrogen-vehicle fan because nuclear and coal were so dominant in electrical generation and were out to block solar. Oil companies hated solar too. It's why General Motors sold out to them on GM's fantastic EV1, which was coming on with solar panels and charging equipment to private-home garages. That sellout put the environment back many decades. Hydrogen never caught on though. Unfortunately, the news/press didn't push it either after the EV1 was literally scrapped.

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  19.    The One Surprise in Today's Fed Statement

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  20.    What Noam Chomsky Got Right About NAFTA

    I opposed NAFTA for a whole host of reasons. I did not think it would be good for the general American or Mexican people. It only appeared to further enrich the already rich.

    Most people in media focus on the "markets": opening them and getting value out of them for the rich. They promote the trickle-down economics scheme, which is a farce.

    What they never seemed to care about is the environment, worker safety and health, living wages and benefits, and democracy. Those were progressive concerns, and neoliberal economics had taken over. We have all paid a huge price for the shortsighted move.

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  21.    Faith Organizations Partner with Private Developers to Build Affordable Housing

    Hopefully, this is a win-win situation. Helping to supply affordable housing is a good thing to do. Targeting helping children is a logical starting place, but we shouldn't leave adults behind either. This does not have to be a dog-eat-dog world.

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  22.    Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano Erupts For a Fourth Time While Major Earthquake Shakes the Entire State News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. May 7, 2018

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  23.    The Guardian view on a job guarantee: a policy whose time has come

    He made the case, which has the virtue of being true, that since the UK could issue its own currency to purchase idle resources there is no real constraint to its spending. While the financing would be national, jobs can be offered by locally viable projects selected on the basis of community needs. Work in environmental clean-up or social care would not displace private sector jobs — they would only offer employment under-supplied by the private sector. The complaint that such spending would be inflationary should be discounted because any restructuring of relative wages would be a one-off event.

    Displacing private sector jobs is irrelevant anyway. So what if it were to do that? We have publicly funded police, fire departments, highways, schools, parks, and on and on and on. It's not better to privatize or to necessarily keep things in the private sector. Regardless, the whole thing should be democratically decided after fully transparent discussions.

    As for inflation, it wouldn't even have to be one-off. If properly done, there doesn't have to be inflation. We just need to create truly productive jobs, goods, and services to supply the demand of more people working and receiving the living wage.

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  24.    Plymouth and Bellwether team up for First Hill affordable housing development

    Isn't providing affordable housing for those who can't afford market-rate units better for the whole community and, therefore, for those who do supply market-rate rentals?

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  25.    New tool measures urban park access, guides planned improvements

    I like it that we are heading in this direction.

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  26.    15 minute charge for a 300 mile range? DOE moves to boost EVs

    We're closing in on a carbon-burning-free world and none too soon.

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  27.    Employment Situation Summary

    So, my public prediction years and years ago, shortly after the bottom, was that we'd need to see 3% unemployment before the Phillips Curve would start to cause problems. How am I doing? I also said that to stimulate the economy, the Fed shouldn't do anything until 3% unemployment and 5% inflation. That's the target, their real target, I wrote.

    Plus, I wrote that it would take 10 years to recover from the Great Recession because the stimulus was way too small and the talk was that they weren't going to do another.

    There are still tons of dynamic variables at play and new ones popping up all the time. Therefore, I certainly won't be embarrassed if I miss the mark that far out.

    Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 164,000 in April, and the unemployment rate edged down to 3.9 percent.

    We're still sitting under 2% inflation.

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  28.    12 Tenant Nightmare Stories I Swear Are Actually True

    Yep, been there, done that: bad tenants even after deep screening.

    Nevertheless, on average, owning rentals in a mixed-economy that isn't going to completely change to public housing is better financially than not; but, do screen, screen, screen. Take a really long, hard look at the potential tenants.

    It's not your fault that people you haven't even known or dealt with have "issues." Do the best you can, but turn to professionals and the authorities to step in and step it up.

    Always put safety first. Your other tenants have a legal right to be safe, secure, and not bothered by over-the-top nuisances.

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  29.    What are microplastics?

    It's the oil industry's doing.

    Recycling plastics is harder than for paper, wood, and glass. Many consumers also couldn't care less. The amount of plastic that should be put in the recycle bin is huge, and it's simply laziness and even callousness.

    Of course, we shouldn't be producing what we can't easily recycle in the first place.

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  30.    How low can unemployment go? Economists keep getting the answer wrong.

    Exactly:

    Wages can increase at the expense of corporate profits without causing inflation. Indeed, since 2014 we are seeing an increase in the share of the economy that goes to labor.

    Even better, lower unemployment doesn't just help workers: It can spur overall growth. As the economist J.W. Mason argues, as we approach full employment incentives emerge for greater investment in labor-saving productivity, as companies seek to keep labor costs in check as workers demand more. This productivity increase stimulates yet more growth.

    The harder we push on improving output and employment, the more we learn how much we can achieve on those two fronts. That hopeful idea is the polar opposite of a natural, unalterable rate of unemployment. And it's an idea and attitude that we need to embrace if we're to have a shot at fully recovering from the wreckage of the Great Recession.

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  31.    With Flood Risk Rising, Coastal Real Estate Looks a Lot Like a Junk Bond

    Recent research confirms that the climate threat is already showing up in prices. Economists Asaf Bernstein, Matthew Gustafson and Ryan Lewis have a recent paper showing that houses exposed to sea-level rise of between 0 and 6 feet have been selling at a 7 percent discount relative to houses a similar distance from the beach that aren't exposed. The time period they look at is 2007-2016 — before the damage from Harvey. They also confirm that the discount is higher in locations where people report more worry about climate change.

    Another recent study, by environmental researchers Jesse Keenan Thomas Hill and Anurag Gumber, shows something similar. Focusing on Miami-Dade County, they show that higher-elevation locations have risen in price faster than similar locations at low elevations. That's consistent with the theory that wealthy buyers pay a premium to escape flooding risk.

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  32.    115 Homes in Hawaii Destroyed or Damaged by Heavy Rains

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  33.    Sprinklers Coming for Hawaii Building After Fire That Killed 4

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  34.    The Amazing Ability of Pasture Grass to Sequester Carbon: Century-Old Chamberlin Ranch Turns to New Techniques That Improve Rangeland and So Much More News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. May 7, 2018

    I love this stuff!

    This is science but not strictly "high-tech." It's vastly more natural, and could all be, and should all be, organic.

    There would be so many benefits if this were done everywhere. The whole system also cleans the air and helps sustain other species, and much, much more.

    What's not to love about it, the polluters would lose money? Let them do something good for money for a change. Let's help them make the transition so nobody will be left behind.

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  35.    Smile

    Oh, I like this article a great deal. It really zeros in on the local democracy of it, which is what I've been emphasizing but not so much with writing that paints a vivid image in the reader's mind.

    Getting the fundamentals out of the way:

    Advocating for UBI and advocating for a job guarantee are complementary activities. Both push against the present, barbaric consensus, under which human sacrifice to a drunken god of business cycles and market forces is defended by the fearfully fortunate as a price that must be paid. The way we squander our political capacity is not by arguing for UBI when we should be arguing for JG or vice versa. It's when we argue with one another about which we should argue for, when we could be taking these ideas to a broader public. Whether we get either, both, or we just terrify our complacent Mandarines into using more conventional tools to run a hotter, fairer economy, persuading the public is how we will make progress.

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  36.    Chicago launches dockless bike share pilot program on the Far South Side

    Should you install a bike rack at your rentals? It might be a good idea at larger communities (at least to start with). Covered would be nice. Motion-sensor lighting might be good too.

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  37.    The Higher Earner vs. The Smart Investor: Who's Better Off Financially? [A Case Study!]

    I don't know what it says about me, but typically, I find reading the CPA articles on BiggerPockets the best on average on that site.

    Oh, and on top of Brandon's article, the recent tax-changes have really only increased his points.

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  38.    Carbon dioxide levels in Earth's atmosphere reach 'highest level in 800,000 years' [longer, actually]

    Last year, the World Meteorological Organisation said: "Today's CO2 concentration of around 400ppm exceeds the natural variability seen over hundreds of thousands of years."

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