Real estate, risks, economics, & more: links & commentary for April 20, 2019

Views on the minimum wage show economics to be an inexact science:

… survey in 2012 and 2014 showed economists largely agreeing that the Obama stimulus reduced unemployment and was beneficial, even though the political right was strongly opposed to it. The reason is that economic theory and nearly all evidence shows that fiscal expansion when interest rates are stuck at their lower bound is expansionary.

Equally standard microeconomic theory is just as clear that the minimum wage will reduce employment, and I suspect that had this survey been done in the early 1990s most academics would have agreed with this, whatever their political persuasion. What has changed is the evidence. This example clearly shows a good number of academics responding to empirical results that conflict with standard theory.

Experts Give Texas Mixed Reviews on Disaster Preparedness:

According to several disaster recovery and flood management experts who reviewed the legislation, Texas is indeed ahead of the curve in some aspects of disaster preparedness, but they say it’s behind other states in other areas.

Some Connecticut Condo Associations Can Seek Crumbling Foundation Help

A wave of satellites set to orbit the Earth will be able to pinpoint producers of greenhouse gases, right down to an individual leak at an oil rig.”

Tsunami-Wrecked Fukushima Nuclear Plant Begins Fuel Removal in Melted Reactor

It will take years, and new technology will be needed to finish securing the entire site. Let’s pray another tsunami doesn’t hit before they’re done.

‘People Are Still Living in Toxic Homes’ ~ County Allocates $5.2 Million to Continue Exide Cleanup:

Closed in 2015 after coming under investigation under the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Exide had been been spewing lead and arsenic particles from the facility’s smelters for decades – contaminating air, soil, and groundwater in Vernon, Boyle Heights, Commerce, Maywood, Huntington Park, Bell, and parts of East L.A. – and affecting hundreds of thousands of people. The effects of lead poisoning include, high blood pressure, an increased risk of stroke or heart attacks, kidney disease, risk of miscarriages in pregnant women, an increased risk of developing learning problems especially in children early in their development, and an increased risk of cancer.

Exide, a company based out of Milton, Georgia, had been fined and monitored for years – led by efforts of community organizations – before its closure in 2015 by local, state, federal agencies for excessive emissions of toxins and improper storage of toxic substances. But even when they negotiated a settlement with the U.S. Attorney and admitted to felony violations, they managed to avoid criminal liability for their actions, and got away with only having to put up $9 million for cleaning up houses around the facility over a five year period.