News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. May 14, 2018

Linking ≠ endorsement. News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. May 14, 2018

Table of Contents
(Click to sections below.)

1) Fiscal policy remains in the stone age

2) Investors: It's Time to Fight Our Bad Rap. Here's How I'm Doing My Small Part.

3) Argentina looks to be headed for another economic storm

4) Is Capitalism a Threat to Democracy?

5) Was Keynesianism Discredited in the 1970s?

6) Montana Floodwaters Submerge Neighborhood

7) Tax reform effects beginning to positively affect real estate...

8) A growing share of millennials are living with mom

9) Argentina Turns to IMF, Despite Already Implementing a Neoliberal Program

10) How The Trump Administration Plans to Dismantle Public Housing Brick by Brick

11) Karl Marx sacrificed logic on the altar of his desire for revolution

12) Report: America is losing its best farmland

13) Job Guarantee: Marxist or Keynesian?

14) Hawaii Residents Alerted to Toxic Gas from Eruption, New Areas At Risk

15) These 95 apartments promised affordable rent in San Francisco. Then 6,580 people applied.

16) A Plastic Bag Was Found at The Deepest Point on Earth, And We Should All Be Ashamed

17) How do our [Economic Policy Institute's] job creation recommendations stack up against a job guarantee?

18) What If Our Forests Don't Come Back?

19) The Fed is about to deliver a 'punch in the face' that markets aren't prepared for, Peter Boockvar says

20) Can we blame the bankers?

  1.    Fiscal policy remains in the stone age

    Yep.

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  2.    Investors: It's Time to Fight Our Bad Rap. Here's How I'm Doing My Small Part.

    Making money and then just making more of it is a dead end. Read the article. You'll get it.

    Not only that, but the economy is only really as good as we take care of everyone. We should try it for once. Honestly, we really never have. We hear an endless stream of reasons not to, but they all ring hollow and don't ever stand up to scrutiny.

    The richest person in money in the world isn't the best person in the world. Being the richest person in the face of so much abject poverty begs the question of why be so acquisitive and hoarding rather than happier with lifting the bottom?

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  3.    Argentina looks to be headed for another economic storm

    This is the same old ridiculousness. Price inflation is insufficient supply of goods and services, not a lack of money. The IMF is going to supply money in the form of interest-bearing loans to pay interest-bearing loans but will only do so if Argentina slashes government spending so that whatever the government is paying for will be cut off or severely slowed so that the private sector can step in. How has that turned out for Greece?

    Who's in charge of balancing the money, pesos, in circulation with the supply of goods and services demanded by the people of Argentina? It's not brain surgery. It's basic math.

    Why did Argentina ever borrow in the first place?

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  4.    Is Capitalism a Threat to Democracy?

    It's a major article. I'd estimate it at 12 solid pages of reading. Was it worth it? I don't regret having read it at all. I recommend reading it whether you'll end up agreeing with it or not.

    In a laissez-faire utopia, dislodged workers would relocate or take jobs in other industries, but workers hurt by rivalry with China are doing neither. Maybe they don't have the resources to move; maybe the flood of Chinese-made goods is so extensive that there are no unaffected manufacturing sectors for them to switch into. The authors of "The China Shock" calculate that, between 1999 and 2011, trade with China destroyed between two million and 2.4 million American jobs; Kuttner quotes even higher estimates. NAFTA, meanwhile, lowered the wage growth of American high-school dropouts in affected industries by sixteen percentage points. In "Why Liberalism Failed" (Yale), the political scientist Patrick J. Deneen denounces the assumption that "increased purchasing power of cheap goods will compensate for the absence of economic security."

    ... Scandinavia, where governments support workers directly—through wage subsidies, retraining sabbaticals, and temporary public jobs—rather than by constraining employers' power to fire people. "We won't protect jobs," Sweden's labor minister recently told the Times. "But we will protect workers." Income inequality in Scandinavia is lower than here, and a larger proportion of citizens work. Maybe a government can insure higher pay for its workers by treating them as if they were, in and of themselves, valuable. True, Denmark's spending on its labor policies has at times risen to as high as 4.5 per cent of its G.D.P., more than the share America spends on defense, and studies show that diverse countries such as ours find it harder to muster social altruism than more racially and culturally homogenous ones do. Nonetheless, programs like Social Security and Medicare, instituted when a communitarian ethic was still strong in America n politics, remain popular. Why not try for more? It might make sense even if the numbers don't add up.

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  5.    Was Keynesianism Discredited in the 1970s?

    This is actually a huge deal, as the mistake was used to mislead the masses and many politicians about Keynesianism. It's probably the single biggest reason the Great Recession wasn't ended until very recently and why we haven't made up the lost ground. It's why the stimulus was one-off and way too small.

    So did stagflation prove Keynes wrong? Well, the frankly silly notion that the Phillips curve was a stable, unbreakable relationship that could be manipulated for policy was the idea of Solow and Samuelson, not Keynes. Stagflation certainly falsified the idea that the observed historical relationship was unbreakable, but frankly this has nothing whatever to do with Keynes' ideas. Keynes noted in the General Theory that "too large a proportion of recent "mathematical" economics are mere concoctions, as imprecise as the initial assumptions they rest on, which allow the author to lose sight of the complexities and interdependencies of the real world in a maze of pretentious and unhelpful symbols." This passage could very easily refer to the work of Solow and Samuelson on the Phillips Curve, which lost sight of the complexities and interdependencies of the real world phenomena which are simplified into macroeconomic aggregates like "unemployment" and "inflation". If anything, stagflation proved Keynes right about those economists who would assume that observed empirical relationships will necessarily hold into the future.
    ...
    The solutions to stagflation were ones that brought down the price of oil and quelled expectations of future price rises — expectations that had been stoked as early as 1967 in the UK with the devaluation of the pound, and especially following 1971 and the end of Bretton Woods. To argue that "the 1970s" and "stagflation" discredited Keynesianism is to not understand — or to not bother to have read — Keynes' ideas. This is particularly problematic in the context that the current crisis is a particularly Keynesian one — one of mass u nemployment, very low interest rates, and a large output gap symptomatic of idle resources. This a crisis in which the state could simply decide to run a full employment policy until rising interest rates from rising private demand make it inflationary to do so, at which point the state can step back and let the private sector continue on a beneficent spiral of jobs and growth. Yet it seems that politicians and economists are too often fighting the last crisis and not the present one, and unfortunately this time that has been a result of a concentrated spread of misinformation about Keynesian economics.

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  6.    Montana Floodwaters Submerge Neighborhood

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  7.    Tax reform effects beginning to positively affect real estate...

    Tax reform effects beginning to positively affect real estate investors, says CEO from CNBC.

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  8.    A growing share of millennials are living with mom News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. May 14, 2018

    Nearly 23 percent of millennials live with mom, up from 13.5 percent in 2005.
    ...
    "You would expect young adults living at home to return to historic norms," said Aaron Terrazas, senior economist at Zillow, speaking about how we've recovered from the housing bubble. "But the trend hasn't decreased — if anything, it's increased."

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  9.    Argentina Turns to IMF, Despite Already Implementing a Neoliberal Program

    This is a good follow-on of my comments above concerning the IMF and Argentina.

    Which US-corporate-mainstream media (medium in the Latin singular) informs the average American about the massive advancements made under the more leftist administration before this neoliberal one? Does any such outlet inform about the deep cuts in poverty and unemployment? No. Why not if not to deceive by omission?

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  10.    How The Trump Administration Plans to Dismantle Public Housing Brick by Brick

    A series of moves by HUD Secretary Ben Carson will raise rents, decrease repairs, and accelerate the process of transferring public housing to private firms.

    Having the government be the employer of last resort and at a livable wage and also supplying everybody with a guaranteed living-income would sure go a long way to getting rid of all these harmful moves. Together, they'd be the best thing that ever happened to this country.

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  11.    Karl Marx sacrificed logic on the altar of his desire for revolution

    "It also has to be postulated (which was not done above) that the use-value of the machine [is] significantly greater than its value; i.e. that its devaluation in the service of production is not proportional to its increasing effect on production."

    But Gadzooks! This means that machinery can be a source of surplus as well. And if so, then an increasing "organic composition of capital" has no implications for the levels of surplus and profit: they could go up just as well as go down when production became less labour-intensive. The "Tendency for the Rate of Profit to Fall" disappears. Socialism is no longer inevitable.

    Well, may I say duh concerning automation but not to the lack of inevitability of socialism. Why? Because Marx was wrong in the first place as to the reason he gave for that inevitability.

    In order for fully automated capitalism to continue, capitalism would have to give away money to people to purchase from the capitalists. It becomes rather pointless and unmanageable, doesn't it. Who decides what the robots make, price discovery? Why use prices rather than wishes. Won't the robots be able to turn out anything on demand without compensation? I should think so. Who would own those bots then, capitalists? Why should the decision on how much money to give out and to whom reside with those who privately own the means (the bots)? Why would the People want that? Are the capitalists simply going to kill off everyone who doesn't own a bot? That's about the only alternative to socialism I can see in the end, but I can't see it happening.

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  12.    Report: America is losing its best farmland

    Build up or out? I say up. We have to be careful about that though. Building up with construction that will withstand extreme events is becoming all the more important. Clustering people can be very unhealthy also. Everything needs to be addressed and handled correctly.

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  13.    Job Guarantee: Marxist or Keynesian?

    ... two different conceptions of a JG. On the one hand, it might be a policy which helps capitalism function better. But on the other, it might be a form of transitional demand — a policy which whilst fulfilling human needs is one that cannot actually be sustainably adopted by capitalism and is instead a stepping stone towards socialism.

    I'm honestly not sure which it is.

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  14.    Hawaii Residents Alerted to Toxic Gas from Eruption, New Areas At Risk

    ... sulfur dioxide ....

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  15.    These 95 apartments promised affordable rent in San Francisco. Then 6,580 people applied.

    Read this story and ponder why we put people through this. They aren't lazy. They're trapped in an uncaring world that only makes things worse.

    What investors were willing to pay for the credits plummeted by February 2017, once the likelihood of a tax overhaul had set in.

    Since Mr. Trump's election, that fall in prices has translated to about $45,000 less per housing unit in San Francisco from investors in the common 4 percent tax credits, according to Novogradac & Company, an accounting firm that tracks the affordable housing market. And because tax-credit investors aren't providing that equity, the city must fill gaps in projects with other public dollars.

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  16.    A Plastic Bag Was Found at The Deepest Point on Earth, And We Should All Be Ashamed News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. May 14, 2018

    The Mariana Trench is the deepest part of the entire ocean — home to distant, alien forms of marine life we know next to nothing about — but its remote, almost unreachable location doesn't mean we haven't found ways to carelessly spoil it.
    ...
    Higher up, the same random garbage is killing whales, lodging in coral, congregating in giant, floating patches, and transforming dreamy islands into nightmares.
    ...
    ... it's not a single-use [plastic] planet, guys, and we all really need to wake up.

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  17.    How do our [Economic Policy Institute's] job creation recommendations stack up against a job guarantee?

    All of this is simply an argument for a guaranteed living-income (GLI) more than a guaranteed public-sector job and an argument for money creation without borrowing to pay that GLI.

    However, I completely disagree with the idea we couldn't put 35 million to work in fairly short order if we were willing, as we should be, to ramp up the way the entire nation ramped up to wage WWII. Rather than ramping up to fight a military war against foreign powers, we'd ramp up to fight a war against all the negatives we're facing. It really would actually be easier. How much would we be willing to train people and pay them during the process? We should be completely willing. We'd just need to hire fabulous organizers away from the private sector to do it. That's doable and well worth it. It would pay for itself and much more, especially when the money is created out of thin air.

    Sure, there's more to it than that, but none of it is even remotely insurmountable.

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  18.    What If Our Forests Don't Come Back?

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  19.    The Fed is about to deliver a 'punch in the face' that markets aren't prepared for, Peter Boockvar says

    ... they'll likely raise two more times this year, so the rise in interest rates to me is very noteworthy," said Boockvar. "In a very over-levered, credit-dependent economy, that is my main concern because it's very rare that the Fed engineers soft landings, and I'm not a believer that they're going to do it again this time."

    Of the last 13 rate hike cycles, 10 have resulted in a recession, says Boockvar.

    The Fed is using the ruse that they want to gain running room to lower rates in the next recession. What they're really doing is increasing bank profits via higher rates with less work on the banks' part. They'll cause a recession to do it, and they don't care so long as the general population is sufficiently duped into thinking the Fed is all about the "dual mandate" with the "markets" as part of that.

    It will upset Trump on the surface, but he's been gaming too via his tax cuts targeted to help the richest of the rich the most, plenty of them bankers.

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  20.    Can we blame the bankers?

    I stand by the point made: the private finance sector can largely be blamed for both the de-regulation ('liberalisation'), reckless greed and speculation that led to the Great Financial Crisis. They lobbied to ensure self-regulation of the system, and to thwart efforts to restructure the system (as opposed to tinkering at the margins) after the GFC. The austerity policies that were recommended by economists (for more see here) followed as governments tried (unsuccessfully) to reduce the volumes of public debt that had risen both because of falls in economic activity, and because of the bailout of the private sector. Those in turn have led to a rise in populism, and to the renewed popularity of fascist parties in Europe.

    As I write, bankers continue to foment anger and resistance. FinReg Alert reports that the US's "biggest US banks made $2.5 billion from Trump's Tax Law — in one quarter!". After the law was passed, Gary D. Cohn, CEO of Goldman Sachs, resigned as adviser to President Trump.

    So I repeat my point: global bankers and financiers (including those overseeing trillion-dollar Asset Management Funds) can be blamed for the rise of populist and fascist political parties after the Great Financial Crisis. And given their determination to evade democratic, regulatory oversight and management of the global financial system, we can expect bankers and financiers to be responsible for the next catastrophic, economic failure.

    The only thing I disagree with is the unqualified use of the term "populist," as there is populism that is exactly opposed to the type Ann is talking about. Populism is not anti-democratic, per se. It is not nationalist, per se, either. In fact, the right kind of populism is exactly what the whole world needs.

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