Linking ≠ endorsement.
75) Before a Flood
⇧ Trump Is Rooting for Ocasio-Cortez's Democratic Party [somebody hates the Green New Deal]
Who's afraid of AOC? Warning: It shows throughout this blog post that I'm playing hardball concerning those who, on libertarian-capitalist grounds, oppose the Green New Deal. Patience is a virtue until it's not.
This may not be "socialism" in the sense of Soviet-style command and control.
What does that mean? Why socialism in quotation marks? Is this some sort of illiterate political statement suggesting that true socialism is Soviet-style command and control rather than democratic economics?
You could also say it has American roots: FDR's "Second Bill of Rights" and all that. Nonetheless, embracing this as a program, rather than as lofty aspirations not meant to be taken seriously, would require a cultural revolution.
Duh! That's exactly what's happening. FDRs New Deal was the result of the Great Depression brought on by Wall Street insanity. His New Deal saved capitalism from itself it's said. It really didn't save capitalism but installed a welfare state and more mixed economy.
It would move the U.S. from its liberal tradition of individual responsibility and limited government to a collectivism somewhat to the left of EU-style social democracy.
That is definitely not true. It is another politically illiterate statement. Social democracy is the nationalization of the economic heights. One could certainly argue for truly public utilities, and there are such, but the Green New Deal isn't bound to total energy-nationalization.
And, to repeat, this war-footing "mobilization" of people and resources is not an unforeseen drawback of AOC's plan; it's the whole idea.
Of course it is, and rightly so. The US won WWII on a war footing. We are facing warlike catastrophes if we don't rein in global warming. Reining it in while whipping a bunch of other problems, such as unemployment and a lack of affordable healthcare seems quite sensible (provided you aren't mesmerized by Libertarian-nonsense economics).
By the way, we had full employment during WWII. We can have the same thing without being in a hot, military war but simply a war on global warming, on excessive CO2.
⇧ National Development Banks: Corbyn's Engine for the UK's Own Green New Deal? (Video)
We speak to Stephany Griffith-Jones, the author of 'The Future of National Development Banks', she discusses why National Development Banks aren't as radical as made out to be in the UK, the good they have done around the world and the potential for National Investment Banks to fuel a Green New Deal to combat climate change.
⇧ Drought then Deluge Turned a Stable Landslide into Disaster
"Since we now know that stable landslides in this region can fail catastrophically and we have good data coverage here, our plan is to monitor this whole stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway and look for these unusual velocity changes. If we get enough examples, we can start to actually figure out the mechanisms that are controlling this behavior."
... and predict them and use the same technology and analysis concerning land on which real estate structures sit.
⇧ As more older Americans 'age in place,' millennials struggle to find homes
Why they rent ...
⇧ Why Is the Political Establishment So Afraid of Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal?
Not all of the details have been hashed out, and it will no doubt take considerable struggle—and outside agitating—to ensure any final plan is informed by left principles. But, nonetheless, the proposal represents the most ambitious effort yet to tackle the climate crisis. And it correctly refocuses the question of cost away from whether the United States can afford to pay for such a bold proposal to whether it can afford not to.
Already more than 60 members of the House and 9 senators have co-sponsored Ocasio-Cortez and Markey's resolution. Much like other bold left-wing proposals such as Medicare for All and tuition-free college, the Green New Deal has emerged as a consensus policy back by a number of high-profile potential 2020 Democratic nominees such as Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand and Bernie Sanders. And over 80 percent of the American public supports the Green New Deal, including 92 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of Republicans.
Republicans and centrist Democrats alike seem content continuing to oversee the same economic and political consensus that led us to the brink of climate chaos. But for the vast majority of Americans who want real solutions to the crisis, today's Green New Deal resolution marks a clear escape path from the stale politics of the past.
⇧ These probiotics for plants help farms suck up extra carbon dioxide
Unlike the ocean, which has absorbed the brunt of human emissions so far—becoming more acidic and hotter and threatening marine life as that happens—soil can benefit from extra carbon. "Soil is the exact opposite," Zorner says. "Soil actually enriches its productivity when you're sequestering carbon, and so the soil and crop and ultimately the growers benefit by sucking as much CO2 from the atmosphere to the plant into the soil as possible."
When plants take up CO2 during photosynthesis, creating sugar that they use for growth, they also release sugars through their roots, attracting microbes. Healthy soil is full of these microbes, which then keep the carbon in the ground. But conventional farming—including the overapplication of chemical fertilizer—has destroyed the microbial balance. Adding "probiotics" helps restore it.
⇧ The Great Discontent
... her Green New Deal/Dream can easily be dismissed as crazy, but pray tell what the difference is between how the Green New Deal might be financed, and how the Federal Reserve has financed its QE schemes.
⇧ 'All hands on deck': Can public-private solutions solve Calif. housing crisis? [something better]
Everyone is affected by the lack of low-income housing, and all of us benefit when there's more of it.
⇧ US expects record domestic oil production in 2019, 2020
Despite the claims in the article, unless there are major technological breakthroughs, fracking will become more and more expensive with increasingly diminishing returns while negative ecological impacts continue ramping up.
⇧ Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal is a radical front for nationalizing [no, further democratizing and saving] our economy
... policies that include a federal jobs guarantee, economic security for those unable to work, provision of housing, free health care, higher education for all and a family living wage? Besides the plan's calls for electrifying the whole transport system and undertaking a crippling federal financing of renewable energy over 10 years, it reads like a wish list for socializing the economy.
Crippling? Hardly. The article's author is economically illiterate. There is a well-known positive impact of fiscal investment called the multiplier. It means that the expense will be more than amortized. It will return more than it costs. Real estate investors are well aware of it in the private sector. The same applies to governmental expenditures done correctly, for the right reasons, such as a federal jobs-guarantee, economic security for those unable to work, provision of housing, free healthcare, higher education for all, a family living-wage, and the reversal of global warming and environmental destruction brought to us by the anti-good-government crowd.
Previous estimates from Stanford engineers of meeting power demand through clean, renewable zero-emission energy sources put capital costs at $14.6 trillion (almost three-quarters of current annual GDP). The running costs, coupled with all the other environmental programs, would therefore take up a huge chunk of economic resources, effectively cutting vast private sector activity.
Get a clue. The costs would increase GDP. What the author is foolishly worried about is the so-called crowding out of the private sector, as if the whole thing wouldn't be a boon to the private sector. It would definitely be a boon. Besides, who cares about such things when the government would simply be doing things the private does not do and couldn't do even if it were to try, which it wouldn't.
Just to ram home the absence of trade-offs, we are also told this will be finan ced by printed money. Ocasio-Cortez subscribes to the view that governments can apparently spend and spend forever, with the only constraint being the capacity of the economy. Yet, even under the crank Modern Monetary Theory model that recommends this, inflation will surely result from so much new government spending.
This is the exact same ideologically driven nonsense argument that was used when Obama increased fiscal spending to rev up the economy in the face of the deregulation-caused Great Recession. CATO Institute types came out in droves fearmongering about hyper-inflation. We not only didn't get hyper-inflation, we got zero price inflation, the only kind that counts. This CATO Institute person falsely believes that monetary inflation results in price inflation. I think he should study real economics (economic history, what has actually happened) rather than spending his time reading Ayn Rand. I've read them both, and I'll take reality every single time.
⇧ Residents Increasingly Fleeing New York, Los Angeles and Chicago
Just an FYI ...
⇧ As Fed Nears End of the Hiking Cycle, It Faces a Hard Reality
The Federal Reserve's recent turn toward patience on further rate hikes underlines an unfortunate reality: the central bank will have way less ammunition to fight the next recession than it had in the past.
That is much ado about nothing.
Monetarism is so silly. The right way to handle the economy is via fiscal actions.
Furthermore, the Fed raising rates causes recessions when done at the wrong time and for the wrong reason. Raising rates to have ammunition to fight a recession is so utterly stupid. I'm not trying to be offensive, but why cause what you're trying to avoid so you can then fight what you caused?
Please explain to me why this nonsense hasn't had a stake driven through its heart. Actually, you don't need to. The reason rates have been rising is so banks can charge more so their profits can be even larger at the negative expense of everything else. It's held the economy back to also hold wages down to keep the rich up relative to everyone else. It's wealth, power, and, therefore, control over you, unless you're a billionaire. Even that doesn't completely insulate you.
⇧ Trump has lost the plot on China [Wrong. He never had it.]
Here's the problem, though. Since April 2018, Beijing has reduced the value of its currency by 10 percent against the dollar, and that has more than offset all of President Trump's tariffs. As a result, the U.S. trade deficit with China keeps climbing.
I agree about the benefits to more offshoring, but currency manipulation is a nonsense concern.
China reduced its currency, but that jacked up China's domestic prices. If Trump hits China with a 25% tariff, something he should have started with instead (at least), China can drop the value of its currency again and then face a violent overthrowing of Xi's dictatorship. I'm not for violence, but I am for ending the dictatorship and replacing it with true democracy.
⇧ [Labor slack remains huge] Best U.S. Job Numbers Ever? Not If You're Out of Work for a Year
President Donald Trump said in his State of the Union speech last week that the labor market's strength is evidence of an "unprecedented economic boom," adding to his frequent boasts that include a tweet about the "best jobs numbers" in U.S. history.
Yet by one key measure, far from a boom, the labor market hasn't even returned to a normal state. Over the past 12 months, the share of unemployed people out of work for 52 weeks or longer has averaged 13.2 percent -- higher than at almost any point in data from 1976 to 2008.
⇧ China has no use for democracy. It needs a strong leader like Xi Jinping right now [because fear]
The linked article is utterly ridiculous. It's akin to saying that no nation-state that wasn't already democratic can or should become democratic. However, there was a time when no state was democratic at all. So, how did they start becoming at all democratic? Also, there was a huge Democracy Movement in China. Doesn't the author know that? Of course he does, but he's not allowed to in public.
⇧ Adam Smith's hidden hand of empathy
What we're seeing is not the first major challenge to capitalism, a system whose roots go back 250 years to the writings of Scottish philosopher Adam Smith. In his "Wealth of Nations," first published in 1776, he argued that through the "invisible hand" of a free market, the pursuit of self-interest would lead to prosperity for all. But he also posited an underlying strain of human empathy, presumably tempering excesses by some individuals at the expense of others. That's where the strains emerged, especially with the Industrial Revolution and during the Depression of the 1930s. Over time, they led to a range of corrective measures, including antitrust and labor-union laws, and the growth of the modern welfare state.
... A recent Fox News poll, for instance, found that even a majority of registered Republicans now favors higher taxes on the
⇧ Weakest U.S. retail sales since 2009 cast pall over economy
December's collapse in retail sales and other data showing an unexpected increase in the number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits last week and a second straight monthly decline in producer prices in January support the Federal Reserve's pledge to be "patient" before raising interest rates further this year.
"Until this morning, Fed official hesitance to hike further was based on risks emanating from global growth and from financial markets, despite a strong domestic outlook," said Andrew Hollenhorst, an economist at Citigroup in New York. "The decline in retail sales calls into question the domestic growth assumption."
That's exactly what this blog has been predicting. I'm still looking for a recession. We could avoid it, but things really aren't going well. Now, the tax changes (increases in the standard deduction) will possibly trick some naïve people, but that too won't last.
We still have tons of labor slack. Wage pressures are as much from the increase in the minimum wage as anything else.
⇧ Trump, Xi Hail Progress in Trade Talks as Tariff Deadline Nears
Not a single word about democracy ... just money, money, money. Make America Great? Meanwhile, use the term democracy over and over and over where the People are vastly freer than those in China's totalitarian dictatorship.
You know, there's supposed to be ethics in business. In the insurance industry, we are required to take continuing-education courses on ethics before every license renewal. I say that's a good thing. I'd like to see the same requirement for public officials, including the office of US President.
⇧ Wealth Inequality Is Way Worse Than You Think, And Tax Havens Play A Big Role
The global wealth gap is far worse than previously estimated because until recently economists had really limited information about how much money the super-rich had stashed away in tax havens.
Enter Berkeley economist Gabriel Zucman, an intrepid data-gatherer and inequality expert whose work teasing out that hidden wealth from various data sets—including the Forbes list of billionaires—is able to account for as much as one tenth of annual economic output globally.
⇧ Multifamily National Report — January 2019: Year-over-year growth has increased by 10 basis points to 3.3 percent
When it comes to Renter by Necessity versus Lifestyle rent growth, the gap amongst the two is contracting, according to the report. In January, RBN rent growth was at 3.8 percent, 70 basis points above Lifestyle. However, this was the first month where the spread was under 1 percent since 2014.
⇧ China-Based Investor Takes Rare Step of Cashing Out of US Apartments
... apartment analysts don't see the recent sales flurry by Elite as necessarily a vote of no-confidence in the multifamily market. Rather, Epenshade and others say the exit seems traditional: as an equity partner Elite waited until the properties were built, leased and operating efficiently before cashing out -- at a time when rentals are still among investors' favorite targets.
⇧ Mayor Breed wants to ax fees for affordable housing
In another effort to prod housing in San Francisco, Mayor London Breed says she wants to eliminate Department of Building Inspection fees for 100 percent affordable housing projects and for new in-law apartments (or ADUs—"accessory dwelling units"—in City Hall parlance.)
⇧ Gov. Gavin Newsom slows high-speed rail plan to SF [Updated]
Update: Gov. Gavin Newsom's office now says that, in fact, the state is not canceling the LA-SF connection but that the state cannot move forward with the plan until more funding is acquired.
⇧ Oregon lawmakers propose unorthodox approach to rent control
Senate Bill 608 would limit annual rent increases to 7 percent plus inflation throughout the state. It also would require most landlords to cite a cause, such as failure to pay rent or other lease violation, when evicting renters after the first year of tenancy.
The rent increase restrictions would exempt new construction for 15 years and landlords would be free to raise rent without any cap if a renter left of their own accord. Subsidized rent would also be exempt.
⇧ How to Navigate New Rental Rules from your Condo Association
... your question is whether a condominium association can have two sets of rules, one for existing homeowners and for new homeowners. Well, maybe. We've talked to attorneys that represent condominium associations who say it's perfectly fine to have two sets of rules and others that argue it creates two classes of owners, those who were there before and those who come after. To prove that point, they say that condominium law prohibits having two classes of owners in an association.
We've seen homeowner associations go both ways and haven't yet seen a definitive answer to your question.
⇧ Oil's Twilight? Here's One Investor View on How It Plays Out [good view]
Even oil major BP Plc's own forecasts show oil demand growth drops to about 0.5 percent a year after 2025, compared with 1.3 percent now, as electric vehicles become more popular and energy efficiency improves. Stansbury argues it's that lower pace which might not be enough to drag crude prices back up, after a fall.
Stansbury said Legal & General will favor management teams today that commit to responsibly "run-off" existing fossil-fuel businesses when the time is right and return the money to investors, rather than pursuing expansion in declining markets. The investors reckon they can probably deploy the capital better than conflicted management teams running coal, oil and gas companies.
⇧ Amazon Pulls Out of Planned New York City Headquarters
Over time, opposition to Amazon had spread from the specifics of the deal to the company's corporate practices. Elected officials and activists in New York drew attention to the company's anti-union stance and its work with federal immigration officials — positions unpopular with Democratic leaders across the country.
Some unions supported the deal, and even those opposed had appeared willing to work with Amazon if the company agreed to not work against the unionization of its employees in New York. An Amazon representative, during one council hearing, pointedly said the company would not agree to such terms.
The company has long been willing to take short-term pain in exchange for maintaining long-term leverage. In Seattle, Amazon's relationship with officials soured as it grew to become the city's dominant employer. Last year, when the Seattle City Council proposed taxing large employers to pay for homeless services and affordable housing, Amazon took a rare public stance and threatened to halt its expansion. In the end, the city retreated and got rid of even a pared back version of the tax it had adopted.
... the company did not hire a single New Yorker as an employee to represent it in discussions with local groups. Its main representatives traveled between Washington and Manhattan, and only one had moved into an apartment to work with community members and foster support.
I've never been in favor of any government making any special deals with any entities. I favor a level playing field. In fact, I think it should be the law: no tax breaks or other special favors for any business entity over another. Let businesses choose locations based upon the laws as they are, not as the business can get them to change to favor that one business often at the expense of others and some of those actually doing more for the local community relatively speaking.
⇧ 13 Must Watch YouTube Channels For Making Money
I have not investigated every channel (yet).
⇧ (Video) 4 Reasons New Real Estate Investors FAIL
Okay, Brandon plugs his stuff here. To his credit, however, he's not trying to pick your pocket. What he's suggesting is not very expensive compared to many "gurus."
⇧ How To Invest In Real Estate: The ULTIMATE Guide to Calculating Cashflow (EASY)
Do Epic What? Hmmm? You'll have to watch the video to understand.
Here is EXACTLY how to calculate and analyze the cashflow of a rental property anytime you invest in real estate...and make as much passive income as possible! Enjoy!
Well, he missed capex. He needs a sinking fund to pay for those. Plus, there's property appreciation. Oh, don't forget depreciation for tax purposes. Hold the property for the capital-gains rate too. Maybe that's implied because he did his calculation based upon holding for a year. Am I nitpicking? I did particularly like the part where he said "insurance." Ha!
⇧ Erie County land bank takes inventory of blighted buildings
Land banks take vacant, abandoned, blighted or tax-foreclosed properties and find new uses for them, often with the intention of putting them back onto the tax rolls. Land banks have the power to extinguish liens and clear property titles.
They also increase the value of neighborhoods where investors invest.
⇧ MMT And Its Fictional Discipline [What?]
Given the relative ease with which inflation can be hidden, we should assume politicians, especially those that embrace MMT, will lobby for more "adjustments" when inflation rises and threatens their campaign promises.
Don't consider MMT because politicians can manipulate how price inflation is calculated? That makes no sense whatsoever. MMT is an alternative to the Fed, which uses inflation to decide monetary rates. The Fed benefits the banks first and foremost. MMT is about benefiting the People first and foremost. What's the real complaint? I think it's privatization versus public ownership. I think it's private estates versus democracy.
Who in MMT advocates allowing politicians to play fast and loose with inflation calculations? None that I know of. Besides, the general wellbeing of the overall economy is MMT's goal, not being discredited with a bad result due to politicians playing games.
Who would be fooled? If you become worse off due to MMT, wouldn't you know it? Would you really be tricked because you wouldn't take rising food and fuel prices into account for yourself?
I know my income, and I know what's left over after expenses. I know my standard of living. These are common understandings by human beings with even below average intelligence.
Let's not fear giving MMT a chance to prove itself. After all, the libertarians were predicting runaway inflation due to the Obama fiscal stimulus. They were completely wrong. Meanwhile, MMT advocates were mostly saying the stimulus was too small, which it was (about 10-fold in my view).
Let's not discount track records and history.
⇧ Economics After Neoliberalism
This is mostly by rather conservative New Keynesians. Please note their recognition that ideology over facts can cloud the democratic debate.
Economists still have a strong bias towards market-based policy solutions, and the policy prescriptions endorsed by economists tend to be narrowly focused on addressing precise market failures. For example, to address global warming, economists are likely to support putting a steep price on carbon. But the science of economics has never produced pre-determined policy conclusions. In fact, all predictions and conclusions in economics are contingent: if x and y conditions hold, then z outcomes follow. The answer to almost any question in economics is "it depends," followed by an exegesis on what it depends on and why. Back in 1975, in a collected volume entitled International Trade and Finance: Frontiers for Research, an economist named Carlos F. Diaz-Alejandro wrote: "by now any bright graduate student, by choosing his assumptions . . . carefully, can produce a consistent model yielding just about any policy recommendation he favored at the start." Economics has become even richer in the intervening four decades. We might say, only slightly facetiously, that today the graduate student need not even be that bright!
Moreover, economics research has become significantly more applied and empirical since the 1990s. The share of academic publications that use data and carry out empirical analysis has increased substantially in all sub-fields within economics and currently exceeds 60 percent in labor economics, development economics, international economics, public finance, and macroeconomics. This is important because systematic empirical evidence is a disciplining device against ideological policy prescriptions. The recent empirical bent makes it more difficult to idolize markets because it makes it more difficult to ignore inconvenient facts. Recent empirical findings, for example, have found that international trade produces large adverse effects on some local communities; minimum wages do not reduce employment; and financial liberalization produces crises rather than faster economic growth.
Which labor market institutions minimize job insecurity without jeopardizing employment creation? How do we best provide social protection without blunting economic incentives? What kind of financial regulations ensure financial stability without blocking financial innovation? What kind of monetary and fiscal rules are best for an open economy? Economics does not provide a fixed answer to these questions. Instead, it highlights the potential consequences of different arrangements.
⇧ AI is reinventing the way we invent
... AI's chief legacy might not be driverless cars or image search or even Alexa's ability to take orders, but its ability to come up with new ideas to fuel innovation itself.
Why do people say "might not be" where they should say "won't be"? How could anyone not know that AI is the whole show?
AI is an extension of our intelligence. It's an augmentation-enhancement of our own gift of intelligence. We are AI in that it comes out from us naturally. Of course it's going to do everything we imagine and more. That's the whole point.
The one and only issue is the spirit that brings forth the given AI segment until all AI is one. If the spirit is self-enrichment rather than the general welfare, that AI segment will be bad. That's what we need to be intelligent enough now to avoid. Are we? There isn't endless time to make the right choices.
AI is not inherently evil! Let's not allow AI that does evil to be brought forth. Let's bring forth AI that will only do good.
⇧ There's No Good Reason to Trust Blockchain Technology [I couldn't agree more!]
This is the best article concerning blockchain tech I've ever read. I specifically endorse it here.
If your bitcoin exchange gets hacked, you lose all of your money. If your bitcoin wallet gets hacked, you lose all of your money. If you forget your login credentials, you lose all of your money. If there's a bug in the code of your smart contract, you lose all of your money. If someone successfully hacks the blockchain security, you lose all of your money. In many ways, trusting technology is harder than trusting people. Would you rather trust a human legal system or the details of some computer code you don't have the expertise to audit?
Blockchain enthusiasts point to more traditional forms of trust—bank processing fees, for example—as expensive. But blockchain trust is also costly; the cost is just hidden. For bitcoin, that's the cost of the additional bitcoin mined, the transaction fees, and the enormous environmental waste.
⇧ Fed Will Probably Change Its Approach to Inflation, Dudley Says
I've been advocating this since the Great Recession, not that I'm for monetarism.
⇧ Amazon pays no federal income tax for 2018, despite soaring profits, report says
Carry-forwards don't explain much.
I'm not opposed to the basic concept of ordering online and having things delivered. Let's not let anyone get breaks others can't get or shouldn't, and let's not let anyone end up with a monopoly in the sector.
⇧ Unemployment Rate and Recessions
Has the Fed backed off enough soon enough? Was the Fed gauging labor slack closely enough the whole time? Will the tariff-war end properly in time? Will the corporate-tax cuts result in enough timely reinvestment in the right areas? What will happen as the standard deduction is rolled back to where it was? Will people not save but spend of necessity?
⇧ ... tackling one of the hardest, unsexiest [sex?] parts of climate policy: Decarbonizing buildings
... climate policies live and die in the details, the prioritization, the accounting, the execution.
⇧ Where Real Estate Investors Should Look In 2019
Many times, list like these end up a waste of your reading time. This one actually gives some good advice. It's not the list I'd have created; but, after reading it, there are things in it I would now include.
⇧ Bill Gates Says Taxing Capital Gains Is the Best Way to Tap 'Big Fortunes'
America's national debt is projected to keep rising, surpassing an annual $1 trillion by 2022, according to the Congressional Budget Office, fueled in part by President Donald Trump's $1.5 trillion tax-cut package and government spending increases.
The Trump administration and Republican lawmakers who passed the 2017 tax plan said the measures would boost economic growth, offsetting the loss of tax revenues.
And they were wrong or lying.
⇧ Time to restore the revolutionary Keynes [or go even further]
Keynes's most important breakthrough was the realization that the "price" of money, or rate of interest, was determined not as the classical theory dictated, by the demand for savings, but by the demand for assets - safe, secure or risky assets. This revolutionary theory — his Liquidity Preference Theory — is still considered too radical to be acceptable today. Keynes understood that those with a surplus — savings, capital gains or profits — can decide whether to store those savings short-term as cash; long-term for security; or to use them for speculative purposes. He argued that by managing the supply of safe assets (bonds or gilts) to financial markets, central bankers could meet savers' demand for assets in which to store their savings for these three purposes: as cash, for security, or for speculation. By providing these assets at different rates of interest, central bankers could effectively manage and influence interest rates on all borrowing — across the spectrum of lending — short- or long-term, safe or risky, and in real terms. (Central bankers currently only manage the Bank Rate, which has little influence over market rates fixed by commercial bankers for loans over different terms, and at different risk rates.)
The decadent international but individualistic capitalism, in the hands of which we found ourselves after the war, is not a success. It is not intelligent, it is not beautiful, it is not just, it is not virtuous — and it doesn't deliver the goods. In short, we dislike it, and we are beginning to despise it. But when we wonder what to put in its place, we are extremely perplexed.
Now that decadent capitalism is back with a vengeance, as is the public's distaste for it. But whereas in 1933 society was "perplexed" about what to put in its place, that cannot be argued today. We have the experience of the 'golden age' and knowledge of the monetary theory and macroeconomic policies that "delivered the goods": by stabilizing t he global economy, and helping to build periods of social and political stability.
Neglect of Keynes's monetary theory and policies since then has come at the price of increasingly frequent international financial crises. It is time to restore the revolutionary Keynes.
I think we can go further than Keynes. I think he would now, given what we've been through.
As I've written before, but which seems almost always ignored by academic and business economists, Keynes was for fiscal policy as much or more than he was for monetary policy to balance things. MMT stresses this, even though it's called post-Keynesianism.
⇧ How Fiscal Policy Works
Fiscal policy is based on the theories of British economist John Maynard Keynes. Also known as Keynesian economics, this theory basically states that governments can influence macroeconomic productivity levels by increasing or decreasing tax levels and public spending. This influence, in turn, curbs inflation (generally considered to be healthy when between 2-3%), increases employment and maintains a healthy value of money. Fiscal policy plays a very important role in managing a country's economy. For example, in 2012 many worried that the fiscal cliff, a simultaneous increase in tax rates and cuts in government spending set to occur in January 2013, would send the U.S. economy back into recession. The U.S. Congress avoided this problem by passing the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 on Jan. 1, 2013.
That's what MMT emphasizes. Taxes are used in fiscal policy as interest rates are used in monetarism. Increase fiscal spending. If inflation starts going up too much, increase taxes enough to cool things off. That's simplistic. There are many other factors in MMT's book.
I wouldn't use interest rates at all or taxes, per se, but bank-account balances.
⇧ Are We Heading towards a Synchronised Global Slowdown?
Using the old definition of global recession, we're already in one.
The ratio of total nonfinancial sector debt to GDP in jurisdictions with systemically important financial sectors stands at an all-time high of 250 percent, asset valuations remain stretched across several sectors and regions, and underwriting standards are deteriorating, including in many segments of market-based finance.
... if a global recession hits sooner than the IMF expects, who knows what may happen to the banking systems in the Eurozone and China—in the case of China, also to the shadow banking system—or to the global stocks, in general, and the US stocks, in particular, or to all of these, as financial crises tend to be contagious? Alternatively, if a financial crisis originates from any of these and spreads, who knows what may happen to the global economy?
⇧ Dirty Sock vulnerability lets attackers gain root access on Linux systems
I'm not comfortable (yet) reposting things where a patch isn't available. This one has a patch.
I guess my main concern is not teaching the general public how to hack. If you are interested, get into ethical hacking. It can even be lucrative.
I realize many people use Windows and Apple systems, but Linux is a huge deal too. I use it, along with Windows.
⇧ Inflation: Stress-Testing the Phillips Curve
The U.S. economy is running well above long-term sustainable growth according to many measures. The Congressional Budget Office says output "is projected to grow slightly faster than its maximum sustainable level this year" (CBO 2019). This higher growth means that resource constraints are likely to place increasing limits on the expansion. The unemployment rate is also near historic lows, averaging just 3.8% in the second half of 2018 as the growth in job openings outpaces the number of people seeking work. Together these measures indicate that there is limited economic slack. This situation would usually be associated with inflationary pressures on prices and wages. Yet, core inflation measured using personal consumption expenditures without food or energy, or core PCE, was 2% in the third quarter of 2018—the Federal Reserve's inflation target. Moreover, recent labor compensation measures are consistent with this level of inflation and current measures of productivity, suggesting that wage pressures are well contained. So where is inflation headed?
That's a good paragraph, but I don't like the balance of the article at all. They are putting way, way, way too much stock in "expectations." The vast majority of middle and young adults have simply never been through high inflation and, therefore, do not react to "possible" inflation the way my generation did. I said "did" because most of us can see that "expectations" are simply not the driver so many academic economists still seem to think it is.
Anyway, way too many people now can see the headwinds. Data is greater and comes to us much faster and in more digestible and interpreted ways. We don't wait for the Fed as much. Many of us are way out in front of the Fed.
⇧ Do [vat] tax increases always contract economies?
... nonlinear findings strongly suggest that the recent growing consensus pointing to large negative tax multipliers in industrial countries, particularly in industrial Europe (e.g.,
Alesina, Favero, and Giavazzi), is mainly driven by high initial tax rates in these countries and that large negative multipliers are not a robust empirical regularity, especially when considering the developing world. In fact, and based on Figure 2, for about half the world (or 88 out of 175 countries) the tax multiplier is statistically zero (i.e., light blue color).
Okay, but they're talking about a vat rather than an income tax. Vat's hit consumers more. Income tax increases on the rich do not. Therefore, spending on consumer goods actually can go up with higher income taxes on the rich, as it gives and leaves more money with the poorer classes who spend it back into the real economy, driving up growth and even tax revenues: a virtuous cycle.
⇧ Exposure to Glyphosate-Based Herbicides and Risk for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: A Meta-Analysis and Supporting Evidence
Are you still using Glyphosate, such as Roundup?
⇧ Monsanto Roundup Attacks Healthy Gut Bacteria, Lawsuit Says
Monsanto Co. has been sued by thousands of farmers and others who blame their cancers on its massively popular Roundup weedkiller. Now Germany's Bayer AG, which bought the agriculture giant last year, faces a claim that it deceived home gardeners about Roundup's impact on their gut bacteria and their health.
The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in federal court in Kansas City, Missouri, claims that labels on products such as Roundup's Weed & Grass Killer falsely assured consumers that they target an enzyme not found "in people or pets."
⇧ Rate cut calls grow as home loans fall at their fastest rate since GFC
Why did the report avoid the term "bubble"? They must know that Chinese slowdown is irreversible under Xi's policies and practices and that Australia has been entirely too dependent on China for inflated growth: unsustainable.
⇧ Debt guarantee tangle: China's private firms hit by default contagion
The collapse in China of a complex web of debt guarantees involving several private firms highlights risks in its financial system and opens up a potentially hazardous front for an economy in the grip of its slowest growth in nearly three decades.
⇧ (Video) 'I want you to panic': 16-year-old issues climate warning at Davos
Greta Thunberg, a Swedish climate activist, has told world leaders: 'I don't want you to be hopeful, I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day and then I want you to act.' In an impassioned warning to act now on climate change, Thunberg told her audience at Davos: 'Either we choose to go on as a civilisation or we don't.'
⇧ 'The beginning of great change': Greta Thunberg hails school climate strikes
These children, Greta in particular, are inspiring college students and older adults to take action now! They are engaged in risk-management action. They know that to manage the risk means to reduce and eliminate it not later but right away: to go into crisis-intervention mode, to go on a war footing against carbon burning: emissions.
⇧ The Poison Papers [What you don't know can kill you and yours]
Corporate concealment is not a new story. What is novel in the Poison Papers is abundant evidence that EPA and other regulators were, often, knowing participants or even primary instigators of these cover-ups. These regulators failed to inform the public of the hazards of dioxins and other chemicals; of evidence of fraudulent independent testing; even of one instance of widespread human exposure. The papers thus reveal, in the often-incriminating words of the participants themselves, an elaborate universe of deception and deceit surrounding many pesticides and synthetic chemicals.
⇧ Massive restoration of world's forests would cancel out a decade of CO2 emissions, analysis suggests
Replenishing the world's forests on a grand scale would suck enough carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to cancel out a decade of human emissions, according to an ambitious new study.
Scientists have established there is room for an additional 1.2 trillion trees to grow in parks, woods and abandoned land across the planet.
If such a goal were accomplished, ecologist Dr Thomas Crowther said it would outstrip every other method for tackling climate change ....
If coupled with soil enhancement, we could actually not just slow but stop and reverse global warming. We can and should do it.
⇧ UK plans to make plastic packaging producers pay for waste disposal
Britain is to set out plans to overhaul its recycling system on Monday, including making plastic packaging producers pay the full cost of dealing with their waste and introducing a deposit return scheme for cans and bottles.
⇧ [gender-bending] Plastic chemicals discovered inside bird eggs from remote Arctic
Chemicals from plastics have been found inside the eggs of seabirds living in remote Arctic colonies, in the latest sign of pollution contaminating the furthest reaches of the planet.
Scientists were concerned by the traces of phthalates, hormone-disrupting chemicals that have been banned from children's toys due to their potential [actual] "gender-bending" effects.
These substances are routinely applied to many plastic products, and probably came from the bottle tops and cigarette butts these seabirds often eat after mistaking them for food.
⇧ British lawmakers call on government to put an end to throwaway fashion
Wow! Interesting stuff ...
"'Fast fashion' means we over-consume and under-use clothes," said Environmental Audit Committee Chair Mary Creagh ....
⇧ Global Slowdown Leaves Growth Weakest Since Financial Crisis
China car sales dropped in January, and data last week showed U.S. retail sales posted their worst drop in nine years in December. In Europe, where the slowdown has been particularly marked, sentiment indicators continue to weaken, and the latest OECD leading indicator has also declined.
⇧ Mississippi Lawmakers Consider Bill Limiting Liability of Property Owners
I don't know what side the insurance industry comes down on this in general, but I oppose the proposed legislation. Insurance premiums are mostly high due to property-owner negligence and poor carrier-underwriting. Be vigilant, document it, and choose a smart carrier that will properly reward you for it..
⇧ Georgia Apartment Fire Damages 15 Units, Displaces 30 People
No injuries were reported in the fire that damaged 15 units.
⇧ EPA Prepares Chemical PFA Safety Plan Amid Calls for Tougher Action
The chemicals are found in consumer products ranging from fabrics, rugs and carpets to cooking pots and pans, outdoor gear, shampoo, shaving cream, makeup and even dental floss. Increasing numbers of states have found them seeping into drinking water supplies.
... Democratic and Republican lawmakers have pressed Wheeler to establish mandatory limits for PFAS in public water systems.
We have to do much better than that.
⇧ Californians Lose Homes, Cars to Mudslides, Floods from Winter's Wettest Storm
Motorists swam for their lives and residents were rescued from homes sliding downhill as the wettest winter storm of the year triggered floods and mudslides across California ....
⇧ What is biometrics? And why collecting biometric data is risky
This is a relatively long but extremely well-written and thought out article. I do recommend it even if you're not "into" computer security.
⇧ Linux container bug could eat your server from the inside — patch now!
What if the container bursts open?
Unfortunately, a serious security flaw dubbed CVE-2019-5736 was found in runc.
This bug means that a program run with root privileges inside a guest container can make changes with root privilege outside that container.
Loosely put, a rogue guest could get sysadmin-level control on the host.
This control could allow the rogue to interfere with other guests, steal data from the host, modify the host, start new guests at will, map out the nearby network, scramble files, unscramble files...
...you name it, a crook could do it.
⇧ 7 Ways to Protect Your Building
Excellent article ... some of it can be used concerning nearly any property: apartment complexes, etc.
⇧ New Astaroth Trojan Variant Exploits Anti-Malware Software to Steal Info
"distributed through spam campaigns":
This Astaroth variant is distributed through spam campaigns just like previous versions, and the infection starts with a .7zip archive delivered to the target in the form of an e-mail message attachment or hyperlink. The malicious archive contains a .lnk file which will spawn a wmic.exe process that will "initialize an XSL Script Processing attack."
⇧ TrickBot variant steals credentials for remote computer access
Detected as TrojanSpy.Win32.TRICKBOT.AZ and Trojan.Win32.MERETAM.ADnew, the new TrickBot was discovered this past January as part of a spam campaign that distributes emails disguised as tax incentive notifications from Deloitte. Attached to the emails are a malicious Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, featuring with a malicious macro that, upon activation, downloads the malicious payload.
⇧ Shlayer Malware Disables macOS Gatekeeper to Run Unsigned Payloads
... fake Adobe Flash Player installer ....
Regardless, Adobe Flash Player is quite vulnerable to exploits. Most security experts refuse to have it installed on their systems.
⇧ Emotet Uses Camouflaged Malicious Macros to Avoid Antivirus Detection
Emotet (also known as Geodo or Heodo) is a modular Trojan developed by the Mealybug threat group and used by attackers to infect targets via spam e-mails, leading to the theft of financial information such as bank logins or cryptocurrency wallets.
⇧ The Best Free Password Managers for 2019
Everyone Needs a Password Manager
Authentication via password is a system designed to protect your online accounts from misuse by others, but half the time it seems to protect against your own access. Was that password Tr0b4dor&3? Or Tr0m30nE#8? You might be tempted to give up and just use the same simple password everywhere, but really, that's a very bad idea. A hacker who finds your email address (whether in a data breach or a public post) can run a brute-force attack, trying thousands of common passwords, to break into your account. And if all your accounts use the same password, exposing one exposes them all. You need to use a unique, strong password for every site, and the only way to accomplish that is by using a password manager.
⇧ It's Time to Kill Your Eight-Character Password
... a penetration tester (someone who's paid by companies to break into their own systems) on Twitter named Tom Ervin did the math and figured out that for $25, you could rent enough Amazon Elastic Cloud Computing number-crunching power to crack an eight-character NTLM password hash in about 12 minutes.
⇧ Multi-Stage Rietspoof Malware Drops Multiple Malicious Payloads
Oh, this one is nasty: "... delivered through instant messaging clients, such as Skype or Messenger ....":
Our data suggests that the first stage was delivered through instant messaging clients, such as Skype or Messenger. It delivers a highly obfuscated Visual Basic Script with a hard-coded and encrypted second stage — a CAB file. The CAB file is expanded into an executable that is digitally signed with a valid signature, mostly using Comodo CA. The .exe installs a downloader in Stage 4.
⇧ Windows 7 and Server 2008 Updates to Require SHA-2 Support Starting July
It's about time!
⇧ Before a Flood
Sometimes floods develop slowly and forecasters can anticipate where a flood will happen days or weeks before it occurs. Oftentimes flash floods can occur within minutes and sometimes without any sign of rain. Being prepared can save your life and give you peace of mind.
⇧ San Diego advances proposal to nix parking requirements
Parking mandates, which typically require one to two parking spaces per housing unit, have not been met with much demand in San Diego, particularly in the downtown area. The San Diego Planning Department found through testing that 100% of its sample sites had lower parking demand than one space per unit, and high parking ratios have resulted in astronomical costs — most notably $40,000-$90,000 being added to the cost of each housing unit and $300 million in parking currently being constructed.
Of course, San Diego typically has better weather allowing people more easily and comfortably to walk to mass transit.
⇧ Trump's Tax Cuts Are Already Hurting Americans
The preliminary IRS data backs up Harris's claim: The average tax refund is down 8 percent (or $170) from last year. Why? Trump's tax plan did increase the standard deduction, but it also eliminated major personal and dependent exemptions (as well as capping deductions for state, local, and real estate taxes). And per the Washington Post's Glenn Kessler, "The size of the tax refund has no bearing on whether a person's taxes rose or fell. A person might end up giving less of their income to the IRS—and still end up with a smaller tax refund."
⇧ Lawmakers consider far-reaching rent control bill
... one-quarter of Illinois renters pay more than 50 percent of their household income in rent.
That's too high.
⇧ Humboldt Park's ambitious homeless center opens in former screw factory
⇧ Neuroscientist: How Our Brains DEHUMANISE Homeless People
We speak to author and neuroscientist Lasana Harris, he discusses how our brains have learned to dehumanise homeless people and how Western perceptions of homeless people differ to perceptions around the world.
⇧ Inside China's High-Tech Dystopia
In part three of Hello World Shenzhen, Bloomberg Businessweek's Ashlee Vance heads out into a city where you can't use cash or credit cards, only your smartphone, where AI facial-recognition software instantly spots and tickets jaywalkers, and where at least one factory barely needs people. This is the society that China's government and leading tech companies are racing to make a reality, with little time to question which advancements are net positives for the rest of us.
Some of the video is overkill, and some of it is understated. VPNs are being blocked more and more, and "social credit" will be used to punish people way beyond a small fine or two. You will conform to Xi-think or suffer until you do.
⇧ Renegade Inc: The Finance Curse
Finance good, big finance better and biggest finance best. This subtle mantra has bounced around developed economies for decades and has almost entirely captured politicians, the media and the public. Countries have fallen over themselves to attract financial corporates to their shores to 'create wealth'. But recent studies have shown that financialisation actually extracts wealth, hollows out an economy and drives inequality. Host Ross Ashcroft is joined by the author Nick Shaxson to ask if it is finally dawning on us that what has been sold to us as a blessing is actually a curse?
This is the old debate about finance capitalism versus industrial capitalism. We did vastly better under industrial capitalism.
⇧ ... accused of unlicensed practice of public adjusting and grand theft related to Hurricane Irma
An Orange City woman arrested in January for scamming Hurricane Irma victims was arrested a second time on Monday in Brevard County and accused of committing the same crime, state officials said.
⇧ Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Case That Could Limit Clean Water Act
"We are confident the Supreme Court will agree with the appeals court that, when Congress passed the Clean Water Act to protect our nation's waters, it did not give polluters a loophole to use groundwater as a sewer to convey harmful pollutants into our oceans, lakes and rivers," said David Henkin, a lawyer with Earthjustice, a public interest law firm that represents the environmental groups.
⇧ North Carolina Insurers Request 19% Rate Increase for Mobile Home Policies
If NCDOI officials do not agree with the requested rates, they will either be denied or negotiated with the NCRB. If a settlement cannot be reached, Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey will call a hearing within 50 days.
⇧ Once hailed as unhackable, blockchains are now getting hacked
Smart contracts aren't so smart. In fact, they can be downright dumb.
... a bug in a live smart contract can create a unique sort of emergency. In traditional software, a bug can be fixed with a patch. In the blockchain world, it's not so simple. Because transactions on a blockchain cannot be undone, deploying a smart contract is a bit like launching a rocket, says Petar Tsankov, a research scientist at ETH Zurich and cofounder of a smart-contract security startup called ChainSecurity. "The software cannot make a mistake."
There are fixes, of a sort. Though they can't be patched, some contracts can be "upgraded" by deploying additional smart contracts to interact with them.
What happens to trust?
⇧ Password managers have a security flaw. But you should still use one.
⇧ Net-zero energy homes have arrived — and are shaking up the US housing market
California instituted a new requirement that calls for most new homes and multi-family residential buildings up to three stories high to include solar rooftop panels beginning in 2020. Depending on the specifics of the design and the residence's energy consumption pattern, solar panels could produce all the electricity needed for the home. The state's ultimate goal is to produce net-zero energy homes that reduce the state's carbon footprint and make buildings energy self-sufficient.
California commissioners anticipate the new mandate will add $40 more to a monthly mortgage payment, but with an $80 return on heating, cooling and lighting over a 30-year term. The upfront cost to a single-family house will be approximately $9,500 with savings of $19,000 over 30 years.
⇧ The battle against bugs: it's time to end chemical warfare
Reaching for the fly spray might be easy, but remember you may end up killing friends as well as foes.
⇧ The Economist misrepresents MMT
You can build policy proposals using the insights of MMT, but then these are not "MMT". They have "MMT inside" in that they rely on the framing of MMT. Policy proposals based on MMT include The Green New Deal, the Job Guarantee, the Euro Treasury and many more.
I like that distinction. I haven't always used it because so many MMTers are ideologues regarding the policy proposals mentioned and more. However, I think I will attempt to always maintain the distinction from now on.
BTW, MMT is not something uniformly defined by its proponents. There are subtle and not-so-subtle debates within MMT circles.
⇧ Delinquencies Are Surging As $1.6 Trillion Student Loan Bubble Inflates
I count the change that created this whole wave of students having to borrow to go to college as one of the dumbest things, if not the dumbest thing, domestically the US has done during my lifetime. I have no idea whose idea it was, but that person and those who backed it in its infancy and on through to widespread implementation should be held out as _____. You fill in the blank.