Linking ≠ endorsement.
⇧ Supreme Court rejects Trump bid to halt climate change case
... 21 activists, ages 11 to 22, said federal officials violated their rights to due process under the U.S. Constitution by failing to adequately address carbon pollution such as emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.
I have never liked or agreed with the "standing" issue, as in one doesn't have "standing" to sue the government to force the government to uphold the law, which includes protecting us from pollution that the government could easily curtail, as with burning carbon (reducing it to a level where it does not pose a danger of global warming and who knows what else global warming will cause if left unchecked).
⇧ How Costa Rica Gets It Right
Costa Ricans have made clear that inequality is a choice, and that public policies can ensure a greater degree of economic equality and equality of opportunity than the market alone would provide. Even with limited resources, they boast about the quality of their free public health-care and education systems. Life expectancy is now higher than in the United States, and is increasing, while Americans, having chosen not to take the steps needed to improve the wellbeing of ordinary citizens, are dying sooner.
... tax bad things (like pollution), rather than good things (like work); design taxes to cause the least possible distortion in the economy; and maintain a progressive rate structure, with richer individuals paying a larger share of their income.
... The rich receive a disproportionately large share of their income through capital gains, and to tax capital gains at rates lower than other forms of income exacerbates inequality and leads to distortions.
⇧ The Ultimate Paint Guide For Choosing the Perfect Trim Color to the Best Ceiling Paint Color
Take a deep breath and read through our ideas for some of the more challenging rooms and painting projects ....
⇧ Critics Challenge 'Fundamental Flaws' in Energy Department LNG Export Study Draft
Critics charge the DOE's study essentially writes off the possibility that demand for LNG will drop as countries seek to slash their carbon and methane emissions, which drive climate change.
⇧ Urban Sprawl, Climate Change Raise Wildfire Risk
New subdivisions meet Anthropogenic Global Warming ...
⇧ Trump Takes on the Fed
Read Ellen's article. Then read:
"Monetary-and-Banking-Reform Platform for The United States of America": Here
⇧ The Western Illusion of Chinese Innovation
China will plateau due to how difficult it will be to create a middle class while moving to a service economy dependent upon domestic consumers.
Of course, it benefits Western firms to talk up the threat. It stimulates the US government and US people to ward off a Chinese global economic takeover. Most people are too young or have mostly forgotten that Japan was slated to overtake the US before Japan lapsed into stagnation.
The Chinese leadership is making plenty of errors too. Of course, the US lost tons of its dynamism due to plutocrat greed.
⇧ Fire Preparedness
There's plenty of info here.
You might want to have a number of extinguishers. Consider a sprinkler system. Get your chimney's cleaned. Live in a masonry building. Research things.
There are plenty of other ideas.
⇧ Tips For Hiring The Best Contractor
Some investors may not care as much about the quality of the work they want done and be more interested in how much they are paying for the work. Considering the investment in real estate is not just a cash flowing investment but also a long term investment to hold it makes sense to make sure the quality of the work is there as lower quality work can quickly cause the cash flow to shrink because of the need to repair things that go bad again sooner than they should. As a result investors should not only consider the cost of a project but also evaluate the ability of the contractor to provide a quality job.
What about surety bonds? Will the contractor supply one? What about insurance? Who's going to be liable for what, where, and when? What kind of limits does the contractor's policy have, and how much of those limits are already used up? How about lien waivers? Then there's retention.
Of course, we aren't talking about tiny jobs by handyworkers when we mention all these things (just some of them) but definitely talking about general contractors and subcontractors and especially on a substantial project relative to the size of the relevant property(s).
⇧ 11 Sneaky New Build Budget Busters (and How to Avoid Them)
These are good things to know on any construction/rehab.
⇧ Degrading plastics emit greenhouse gases: study
"This source is not yet budgeted for when assessing global methane and ethylene cycles, and may be significant."
Plastic is already known to release harmful chemicals into the water and soil.
And greenhouse gases have risen to all-time highs, causing the Earth to heat up and oceans to mount, threatening coastal communities worldwide.
⇧ Treasury refunding: To sell $78 billion in long-term debt vs $73B last quarter
Without the Fed buying, how much can the market take?
⇧ The End of the Global [unaffordable] Housing Boom
The reason all of this is happening is that governments have been totally captured by those who drove up the prices and those who did the capturing never knew how to run an economy correctly. They still don't.
They can't ever get beyond making a quick buck rather than growing a truly sustainable economy where everyone prospers, where sharing the pie is the goal so there will be more pie and larger slices for everyone, even larger than the slices the richest of the rich are cutting for themselves right now.
It's called impatience and selfishness. It's also called stupid: harsh but true.
After a years-long surge in global capitals, property prices are starting to head lower. From Sydney to Toronto, here's a look at what's ahead.
⇧ The Flat Yield Curve Is Flagging a Strong U.S. Economy
The thing to fear is when inflationary concerns induce the Fed to invert the yield curve or failure to respond to an inverted curve. That's when the recessionary signal intensifies.
I won't say "Duh," though I'm mightily tempted.
So, the Fed didn't raise rates; but, it has continued the unwinding of its balance sheet. Meanwhile, Trump's corporate-tax cuts are still producing stock buybacks rather than investing in the real economy.
Maybe the Fed will look to the economy rather than the wealth of the banking elite, but I won't be holding my breath.
What will be really interesting to watch will be just how many economic fiscal-progressives get into the US legislature and with a mind to put things right in a hurry if we do start sliding into a recession.
⇧ Why the Most Important Idea in Behavioral Decision-Making Is a Fallacy
The expression to "never bet the family farm" didn't become a noted saying because nobody ever bet the family farm. The author isn't saying that's not true. He's just looking for a better understanding of where the balance is at any time.
Young people are more into cash, regardless of inflation right now, because they saw their parents and grandparents lose massive amounts and suffer from gambling rather wildly on what amounted to a massive Ponzi scheme. They aren't convinced it won't happen again, or something close enough to it. Can you blame them? Are they more risk averse? Isn't it obvious?
⇧ Are Stock Buybacks Starving the Economy? [Yes]
No, I didn't read this before making my comments above. It simply that this stuff is really common knowledge among those who pay attention to both sides of the economic/ideological spectrum.
How much might workers have benefited if companies had devoted their financial resources to them rather than to shareholders? Lowe's, CVS, and Home Depot could have provided each of their workers a raise of $18,000 a year, the report found. Starbucks could have given each of its employees $7,000 a year, and McDonald's could have given $4,000 to each of its nearly 2 million employees.
"Workers around the country have been pushing for higher wages, but the answer is always, 'We can't afford it. We'd have to do layoffs or raise prices,'" Tung said. "That is just not true. The money is there. It's just getting siphoned out of the company instead of reinvested into it."
Think about what all of this does to your efforts to grow your own landlord business. When the squeeze is placed upon your tenants, are you better off? Are you renting to the 1% or the 99%?
Chances are, you're renting to the 60-20%. Most of them are wage earners concerning whom the financial class claims there just isn't any extra money for pay increases.
Then you wonder why the Fed hasn't had to fight inflation and national growth has been anemic except for growth in surreal paper-wealth (financialization rather than the real economy).
⇧ Video: Extreme Heat Could Make One Third of Planet Uninhabitable
Okay, so we will have technological advancements to increase air-conditioning, for growing food indoors, and for other things to mitigate the human suffering. However, why are we challenging ourselves in this way by continuing to pump CO2 into the atmosphere when we certainly don't have to? We do have the technology right now to stop burning carbon. All we need is the political will to declare war on global warming. We could ramp up to a war footing much faster than the US ramped up to a war footing to wage WWII. The reason we don't is because the carbon-fuel industry has captured the US administration and much of the US legislature.
Climate scientist Michael Mann says that, under a business-as-usual scenario, the mass displacement of billions could trigger an unprecedented national security crisis.
⇧ Flood Insurance Uptake Rates Rise in Texas Following Harvey
Residents tend to buy policies for a few years after big disasters then cancel because they feel the unused policy is an unnecessary expense, said Howard Kunreuther, co-director of the University of Pennsylvania's Risk Management and Decision Processes Center.
That's the mentality you have to battle. If you pay for proper coverage all your life and never have to file a claim, you will not have wasted the money. If you have airbags in your car and never have a crash where the airbags save your life, those airbags will not have been a waste of money.
⇧ Insurer Settles Suit Over Toddler Death in Hot Oregon Apartment for $100K
⇧ Massachusetts Lawmakers Approve Rental, Voter, Climate Bills as Deadline Looms
"It goes a long way toward leveling the playing field for all lodging businesses while maintaining a welcoming environment for new home-sharing platforms," said Paul Sacco, president and chief executive of the Massachusetts Lodging Association.
The Wild West never lasts.
⇧ Another 2K California Homeowners Eligible for Retrofit Grants
"There are over 1 million homes in California that need this kind of retrofit work, so we have a long ways to go.
⇧ More intense flash floods hit overdeveloped real estate, destroying...
This is good reporting.
A historic town in Maryland, barely a blip on the map, is a blueprint for developing disaster: real estate development in the face of increasingly wet weather. CNBC's Diana Olick reports.
⇧ My Secret to Maximizing Cash Flow & Appreciation: Buying on the Fringe
It's too early to tell if Marine Villa will appreciate the way we expect it to.
Everything is pointing in that direction with the drastic increase in permits, new renovations, and rapidly improving areas to the north. If we're right, the next few years we will allow us to refinance and use the additional equity to rapidly grow our portfolio.
If we're wrong, we still have a great, cash flowing property in a stable neighborhood that is helping us reach our goal of financial freedom. That's the beauty of the fringe strategy. High cash flow makes it easy to mitigate risk, while still providing the potential for a huge upside if the neighborhood keeps improving.
⇧ Jeff Bezos's $150 Billion Fortune Is a Policy Failure
One in three Amazon employees in the state of Arizona is reportedly on food stamps.
How many of them are tenants? How many of them struggle to make rent? How good is any of that for their landlords?
None of it is necessary to a good economy or in order for there to be wealthy people. There's something else at work in all of it.
Greed for money doesn't express it all. There's greed for power and control for ego.
What else can explain it?
⇧ University of Vermont Penalizes Rethinking Economics
Steve Keen, professor and Head of the School of Economics, History and Politics at Kingston University in London:
In university departments, the reaction of the mainstream has been to defend their paradigm, and to penalize those who criticize it. Whereas in the past they would tolerate the odd dissident as just "that guy down the corridor with those weird views" and let him/her teach a range of service subjects, now they are actively targeting such non-conformists for removal.
A recent instance of this was the decision of the University of Vermont to sack a popular lecturer, John Summa, for teaching mainstream economics in a critical manner.
⇧ How to Create a Renovation Budget
Consider some cost-saving methods as well. Often suppliers will charge less for floor models or models about to go out of production. Stores have clearances for renovation material just as they have clearances for everything else. If you can time the purchase of tile, carpet or flooring to a sale, why not?
Ask if your professionals are amenable to discount pricing in their less busy months. Contractors, for example, are often heavily booked in the late spring and summer, because that is when most people want renovations. They may be less busy in the fall or winter, and therefore more likely to negotiate.
⇧ How to Craft Real Estate Contingencies to Get the Deal You Want
This one covers appraisal, financing, and inspection.
⇧ 12 Tenant Nightmare Stories I Swear Are Actually True
Many of these nightmares were not our own creation. By that, I mean that most of the nightmares I describe came with the property when we bought it. We inherited them. It was these nightmares that likely made the property a good deal to buy.
It's been written by leading mental healthcare professionals that everyone deals with at least one bout of mental illness in a lifetime. Of course, it's a matter of degree. The common way of putting it is to say that everyone has "issues." Why I'm bringing this up is because a landlord or manager really needs to be an understanding and compassionate person while being strong and firm at the same time. Do you agree?
⇧ The Truth About the 2008 Financial Meltdown [you only get this from Bill Black]
What is the truth behind the 2008 Financial Collapse, why was no one prosecuted and how did Obama's not prosecuting the banksters and strengthening Glass Steagal ....
⇧ Polling The Left Agenda [which "left"?]
These are all important economic questions, and it's gratifying that young people are more attuned and that many Trump supporters are (old and young, urban and rural) also attuned to plenty of good and sensible ideas that will work if not undermined after passage.
Regardless, where's the question concerning public banking and a public central-bank. Where's the question on issuing the US currency without issuing bonds (without the US government borrowing)? Why was the question posed as "universal basic income" (a libertarian-capitalist proposal) versus a universal living income (the progressive proposal going back decades)?
Let me add, polling always sounds great until the libertarian-capitalists and corporate Democrats attack the proposals at the bidding of the major corporations all of which is dutifully regurgitated ad nauseam via the corporate media owned and controlled by the plutocrats (anti-democrats).
⇧ The 3 Levels of Wealth
⇧ Debate Moderators Under the Spell of Deficit-Obsessed Billionaire Pete Peterson [that's not the only "spell" in the article]
This article, by David Dayen, is only slightly more enlightened than what it's criticizing.
First of all, the drive of Peterson is privatizing the welfare state. Second, taxes are far from the solution. Issuing money without issuing debt is. Government borrowing while rates are low is a smokescreen. The US government doesn't have to borrow a dime, ever, to issue money to pay for Social Security, etc.
The only issue is inflation, and that can certainly be kept in check even better than the Fed has done it and all without government borrowing and without taxing the rich to death, not that we should have the gross inequality we do.
⇧ Nominal Wage Tracker: Slow wage growth is a key sign of how far the U.S. economy remains from a full recovery.
Widespread wage growth will not occur over the coming years if the Federal Reserve prematurely slows the recovery in the name of fighting prospective inflation.
The following charts—which will be updated regularly when new data are released—help explain why the Fed should hold off on raising interest rates until nominal wages are growing at a much faster pace. Until nominal wages are rising by 3.5 to 4 percent, there is no threat that price inflation will begin to significantly exceed the Fed's 2 percent inflation target. And it will take wage growth of at least 3.5 to 4 percent for workers to begin to reap the benefits of economic growth—and to achieve a genuine recovery from the Great Recession.
That's been my position all along.
⇧ Workers Hardest Hit by Recession Are Joining in Recovery [barely yet]
The Labor Department said average hourly earnings ticked modestly higher in July, putting the annual rise at 2.7 percent. That's below the pace of inflation in recent months.
One reason for the lack of big raises is that a substantial number of workers remain on the sidelines ...
It's called labor slack, and I've been saying for years now that there's still plenty of it. In addition, US workers are now competing for wages against Chinese and other workers, some having to work for peanuts.
⇧ Mortgage REITs Post Record Loan Origination Activity
... we haven't seen the same kind of conditions as we look through the market that we saw in '06 and '07, not seeing super high [loan to value], not seeing irresponsible lending. And so we feel like it's still a good time to be active in the market."
⇧ The Conservatives are in crisis over austerity
Both Hammond and May are too fiscally cautious to embrace the Keynesian approach long urged by economists. The Chancellor conceded in 2017 that voters were "weary after seven years of hard slog" but vowed to "make anew the case" for austerity. But other Tories believe they need to stop fighting a losing battle. After nearly a decade of austerity, further cuts impose unambiguous harm - there is no "fat" left to cut, merely bone.
⇧ Now is the time for long-term flood insurance fix
Congress should be ashamed for leaving constituents hanging this way.
Part of the fix should include a formula for when people should be moved before disaster strikes and also when rebuilding in a disaster-hit area cannot be allowed. The formula should not be fix but sliding to meet whatever disasters occur.
⇧ Job growth has never lasted this long before. Neither has weak wage growth.
... the bad news is there's little reason to expect this to continue much longer. That's because it's happening for the entirely predictable reason that the Trump administration has pushed $2 trillion of stimulus into the economy — stimulus that's going to fade away soon. Which is to say that this burst of job creation is only that: a burst. And even then, as you can see below, it's only gotten us back to where we were in 2012.
⇧ How China beat the Global Financial Crisis [it wasn't austerity]
... China's reaction was swift and bold. In November 2008 it announced a stimulus package of public spending worth 12.5% of GDP. (The Obama stimulus package, by comparison, was around 5% of GDP.) "Over the days that followed [the announcement], across China, provincial party meetings were hurriedly convened ..." Within a year 50% of the stimulus projects were underway. Some of this stimulus paid for what Tooze describes as "perhaps the most spectacular infrastructure project of the last generation anywhere in the world", the Chinese high speed rail network. Monetary policy was also relaxed.
In 2008 as a whole, before the stimulus and hardly touched by the collapse in world trade, Chinese GDP grew by 9.6%. In 2009, when GDP in the advanced countries fell by 3.4%, Chinese growth was 9.1%. The stimulus package had filled the whole left by collapsing Chinese exports. (Source)
Basic macroeconomic theory says that a negative shock to GDP, caused for example by falling exports, can be completely offset by a monetary and fiscal stimulus. China is a good example of that idea in action.
⇧ Carr Fire Losses May Reach $1.5B in Likely Another Destructive Season for California
If the current rate continues, 2018 will be even worse than 2017.
⇧ THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — JULY 2018
There's still plenty of labor slack, and there's little to no wage pressure.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged ....
The labor force participation rate, at 62.9 percent in July, was unchanged over the month and over the year. ...
The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed in July ...
In July, 1.5 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little different from a year earlier. ...
Among the marginally attached, there were 512,000 discouraged workers in July, little changed from a year earlier. ...
The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased by 0.1 hour to 34.5 hours in July ...
In July, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 7 cents to $27.05. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 71 cents, or 2.7 percent.
⇧ What is wrong about the Bank of England's decision today?
PEF Council Member Ann Pettifor critiques the Bank of England's decision to raise interest rates.
... The policy of allowing borrowing at government, corporate, household and individual levels to balloon, while resorting to only one instrument — the 'dagger' of high interest rates — to puncture that balloon is very likely to be catastrophic. We know that, because it was a policy pursued by Alan Greenspan's Fed from 2003- 2006.
And we all know how that ended.
⇧ Seattle housing market is under pressure as Chinese buying 'dries up'
The trend should continue, but Seattle has a great deal going for it that will offset quite a bit of the slowdown in Chinese buying.
⇧ Economy Adds 157,000 Jobs in July, Little Evidence of Pick-up in Wage Growth
In spite of the complaints about labor shortages in sectors such as manufacturing and trucking, we continue to see little evidence in wage growth. The average hourly wage for production workers in manufacturing has risen by just 2.7 percent over the last year, while in the larger trucking and warehousing category it has risen less than 2.5 percent.
⇧ This German Teen Is Leading A Global Plan To Plant A Trillion Trees
It was a teen who spearheaded a massive project to clean the plastic garbage patches in the oceans. Now here's a teen spearheading a massive project to plant a trillion trees.
I like it! I'm a longtime advocate of reforestation. In college, I undertook a study on desertification. The benefits of reforestation are immense.
Trees are far more than CO2 sinks, says Finkbeiner. "They can provide millions of jobs and other benefits. The use of local timber-intensive materials in construction substitutes CO2-intensive materials like steel and concrete, and the timber industry can create hundreds of millions of additional jobs and wealth in the Global South, thus reducing population growth and migration."
⇧ Ban share buybacks
Having an economy rigged to suck the wealth out of society and place it in the pockets of a tiny, already ultra-wealthy minority is an extremely risky situation for a democratic state. We need big, aggressive moves to club down corporate profits, and start directing that money back into the country as a whole. Banning buybacks is a simple and straightforward way to get started.
⇧ Middle-class Americans still haven't recovered from housing bust, study finds
⇧ The Fed Accelerates its QE Unwind
Markets have essentially brushed off the Fed so far. And that only acts as an encouragement for the Fed to proceed.
The FOMC, in its August 1 statement, mentioned "strong" five times in describing various aspects of the economy and the labor market — the most hawkish statement in a long time. Rate hikes will continue, and the pace might pick up. And the QE unwind will accelerate to final cruising speed and proceed as planned. The Fed stopped flip-flopping in the fall of 2016 and hasn't looked back since.
When the economy eventually slows down enough to where the Fed feels like it needs to act, it will cut rates, but it will let the QE unwind proceed on automatic pilot toward "normalization," whatever that will mean. That's the stated plan. And the Fed will stick to it — unless something big breaks, such as credit freezing up again in the credit-dependent US economy, at which point all bets are off.
Then there will be a mad scramble, which is what they claimed going into the unwind that they want to avoid by raising interest rates now so they'll have room to lower them later after they create the recession. Yes, as insane as it sounds, you read that right.
⇧ After 30 Years of Real Estate Investing, THIS is What I Would Do Differently
Everyone is different, but it's good to know the regrets of others learned by real experience.
⇧ The New Investor's Guide to Jumpstarting a Real Estate Portfolio (Even With Limited Capital)
⇧ Mountain glaciers are shrinking at an accelerating rate
This graph shows mass balance of 37 reference glaciers each year since 1980 (bars), along with the total mass loss over time (red line).
⇧ 10 Not-So-Obvious Ways to Thoroughly Screen Potential Tenants
The article contains a worthy list for your consideration.
We will often refund applicants' fees if they are not selected, to be fair. We will keep them if they lie on their application or if they back out.
If this policy/practice is not consistently applied (it should not be arbitrarily applied), the landlord/manager could well be open to a civil-rights-violation claim or some other claim. The policy/practice should be clear, thorough, likely screened by an attorney expert in the residential-landlording field of jurisdiction, be in writing, and executed (as part of the application document) by both sides: applicant(s) and landlord at the time of application-fee payment and acceptance.