July 29, 2017

They Just Have Tons Of Free Capital

A report from Mansion Global. “Canadians have bought significantly more expensive homes in the United States over the past year, as they look to their southern neighbor for sunny, high-end vacation spots in places like Florida, Arizona and California, according to the National Association of Realtors. Between April 2016 and March 2017, Canadians doubled the amount spent in the U.S., a sum of $19 billion on mostly vacation homes and residential investment properties, according to a report the association released Tuesday. Canada’s burning hot housing market, particularly in Toronto and Vancouver, has fueled purchases in the U.S., as baby boomers cash out on their long-time family homes in Canada and use the spoils to pick up amenity-rich second homes in the U.S.”

“‘We’ve had such a dial up in prices,’ said Toronto-based broker Janice Fox of Hazelton Real Estate. ‘Canadians are are selling homes for prices they never could have imagined and that’s allowing them to buy vacation homes for prices they never could have imagined. They just have tons of free capital.’”

From North Shore News in Canada. “A West Vancouver woman says she was shocked and saddened to see an anti-Chinese slur spray-painted on the West Vancouver Community Centre on Monday. The graffiti included a racist epithet followed by the phrase: Deserve To Die scrawled on a wall near a playing field. ‘Since Trump came into power, it just seems people are more outspoken,’ noted Lillian Salchner, who reported the graffiti.”

“North Shore Multicultural Society community connections manager Meharoona Ghani has led conversations with North Shore residents from a variety of backgrounds and found the common theme was fear. Much of that fear is based on the housing crisis, where many speakers uttered the phrase: ‘I don’t want to sound racist, but …’ during discussions about high real estate prices and vacant homes.”

From Quartz on China. “An online essay titled ‘Beijing Has 20 Million People Pretending to Have a Life Here’ by Chinese writer and blogger Zhang Wumao became a viral hit on WeChat and Weibo after it was published on the author’s WeChat account on July 23. The essay argues that Beijing has been overrun by migrant workers or waidiren ‘people from outside the city’, and that these ‘outsiders’ have turned China’s capital into a place with staggering house prices and heavy traffic that lacks soul. The essay describes how Beijing has become so big, so full, and so expensive, that life has virtually become unsustainable. The result of Beijing’s transformation, according to the post, is that its residents, both locals and immigrants, just ‘pretend to live there,’ leading ‘fake lives.’”

“He goes on to mock the old residents of Beijing, who still have the upper hand in the real-estate market despite the flood of new immigrants, all owning ‘five-room houses.’ The old Beijingers lead very different lives from the migrant workers, who are caught in a negative spiral of hard work, no social life, and finding a place to settle down.”

“He concludes his article by highlighting the recent demolishment of old Beijing shops and restaurants, saying that the city is being renovated but is becoming less livable. ‘Those who chase their dreams of success are now escaping [Beijing]. They’re off to Australia, New Zealand, Canada, or the west coast of the United States.’”

“Zhang’s online essay about Beijing spread like wildfire on WeChat and Weibo on July 23. It was viewed over 5 million times within an evening and soon became a trending article on WeChat. It triggered wide debate across Chinese social media on the lives of people in Beijing.”

“But on July 25, the full text was removed from all social media accounts and Chinese online news sites. Its hashtag on Weibo is now no longer accessible. The article also disappeared from Zhang’s WeChat account.”

The Miami Herald in Florida. “A federal program that has help fund dozens of big new South Florida business projects over the past decade by swapping U.S. visas and green cards for foreign investment dollars is teetering on the brink of political extinction, according to its supporters. The EB-5 visa program, which by the estimate of the investment community has funneled more than $18 billion in overseas cash into U.S. business development since 2008 — including hundreds of millions of dollars in Florida — will expire on Sept. 30 unless Congress renews it.”

“‘I think Sept. 30 is the drop-dead for renewal,’ said Miami immigration attorney Tammy Fox-Issicoff, who frequently works with EB-5 investors. ‘And I mean that’s the drop-dead date for a full renewal. We’ve had a number of short extensions. That’s killing the program’s credibility with foreign investors who might like to join. Nobody wants to put half a million bucks into something that might be gone in three months.’”

“EB-5s didn’t really take off until 2009, when the Great Recession dried up commercial lending around the United States. As banks and other traditional credit sources retrenched, businesses started using EB-5 investment to patch the holes they left. Developers of the 60-story Paramount condo tower at the Miami Worldcenter mixed-use project under construction in downtown Miami say that EB-5 visas have been not a key element in their financing more than $50 million of it — but they say they have become an unexpected marketing tool for the project.”

“‘Four of the 10 units we sold in June went to someone who came to the sales center intending to buy an EB-5 and bought a condo instead,’ said Peggy Fucci, CEO of the real estate firm OneWorld Properties, the exclusive broker on the Paramount tower. Potential EB-5 investors have pockets deep enough to buy a condo at the tower, where prices start at $700,000.”

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Comment by Vancouver guy
2017-07-29 07:36:00

Here in Vancouver the locals have been totally facked over by the weak leadership of the recently ousted government that caved into developers whims religiously. Racism is now the ultimate virtue signaling ploy. It is not racism but observation to acknowledge that deep pocketed Chinese has all but outbid even the most established locals.

Comment by Professor Bear
2017-07-29 07:51:06

The laws of practical politics dictate that eventually a North American market dominated by Chinese investors who outbid the locals will naturally evolve into a market where Chinese investors are thrown under the bus. It’s only a matter of time until the U.S. part of the West Coast sees the same development.

Comment by Taxpayers
2017-07-29 09:17:42

Like pebble beach n the Japs
Perky here in the oblast s of dc
Not worried about riffs

Comment by palmetto
2017-07-29 12:33:08

Y’know, I think you’ve invented a new sort of haiku.

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Comment by Professor Bear
2017-07-29 22:51:42

Must have lots of MIC activity?

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Comment by Mafia Blocks
2017-07-29 07:51:02

“They just have tons of free capital.’”

Financing tens of thousands of vacant houses with subprime mortgages at grossly inflated prices isn’t remotely close to “capital”.

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-07-29 09:15:28

It spends just as well.

Comment by Lurker
2017-07-29 12:50:21

It’s interesting because, if there was ever a justification for the housing bubble (and there definitely wasn’t, but IF), the best was that inflating home values would help the millions of aging baby boomers with zero retirement savings have something to cash out so they don’t end up destitute.

And what do these broke retirees do with this miraculous get-out-of-jail-free card? They buy vacation homes (and cruises, and homes for their kids, and sports cars), all with debt. Like the couple from a few days ago who bought a BIGGER house at twice the price for their retirement.

Talk about lottery winners squandering their instant riches. A lifetime of rising markets can’t fix the bad habits it instills.

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2017-07-29 08:22:28

Tech bubble company employees living out of their cars due to lack of affordable housing.

Heckova job, Ben & Janet.


Comment by PitchforkPurveyor
2017-07-29 09:17:31

Lots of car living around here on the west coast.

Comment by Professor Bear
2017-07-29 22:54:01

I guess it beats sleeping on the beach. Sand flies make nasty bedfellows.

Comment by ItsNotATuna
2017-07-29 10:02:24

I dont see any problem with car/van living, people want to be mobile and cant afford local housing, maybe the pols should work on setting up some parking lots with some facilities so the impact is minimized on residential and business districts where the lifestyle can cause some friction.

That said, that ktvu article is fake news. She’s embarrassed by her situation and doesnt want anyone to know about it but then agrees to an interview and pictures? Yeah right. F-A-K-E, just like the phony indignation that will no doubt come from pointing this out.

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-07-29 10:10:05

‘The high cost of living in the Silicon Valley is taking its toll- even on tech workers. Just ask Unique Parsha. She has a job at Facebook and is also homeless, living out of her car.’

‘Parsha decided that now is the time to start talking about her situation, in the hopes of opening a real dialogue about the high cost of living in the Silicon Valley. “I think that companies need to look at the salaries. Are we paying employees enough to survive?”

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2017-07-29 10:14:09

“I think that companies need to look at the salaries. Are we paying employees enough to survive?”

Like Zuckerberg and his ilk give a rat’s ass about not-so-Unique Parsha and her fellow car-dwellers. Paying living wage salaries wouldn’t enable CEOs to award themselves obscene salaries and stock options.

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Comment by MightyMike
2017-07-29 10:47:37

Zuckerberg has a fiduciary responsibility to Wall Street to make as much profit as possible. This is why unions exist.

Comment by Neuromance
2017-07-29 17:10:44

Interestingly, Facebook doesn’t pay a dividend.

Comment by SLyns
2017-07-30 00:21:42

FB’s employee perks are extremely generous (don’t let an employee list them for you or you’ll drool) so you don’t need to badmouth zuckerberg unless you’re jealous or uninformed. Rather than viewing those as “costing” the company, he views them as making people happy and better workers. some people take it to the extreme inviting like a dozen guests a month for free meals so they may need to tamp down and put limits - but they are way more generous than google and apple!

As for Google not being allowed to build 10,000 units in Mountain view, DUH! If that added 15,000 people to the population of the city (1.5 people per unit) it would increase the city size by a whopping 20%! That’s crazy. Imagine planning for the added strain on schools and infrastructure, traffic, public transportation. The impact on people already living here?

Might cause problems just to benefit one company that has more money than god and can build elsewhere. Mountain View, unlike other communities in the US, doesn’t need “more jobs”. I know it sounds odd to hear - but too much in-migration is not necessarily a good thing when a community is doing just fine.

Comment by scdave
2017-07-29 10:41:01

about the high cost of living in the Silicon Valley ??

Goggle wanted to build apartments for their employees next to their Mt. View Campus…City turned it down…

A plan for 10,000 new housing units in the North Bayshore development set to feature a huge new Google campus has been slashed to include as few as 1,500 units.


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Comment by butters
2017-07-29 11:15:04

Goggle wanted to build apartments

Them and FB should get on the real-estate business before the whole on-line advertising scam gets exposed.

Tears every where.

Comment by PitchforkPurveyor
2017-07-29 17:28:27

“…before the whole on-line advertising scam gets exposed.”

I have absolutely no idea how this whole information sharing scam has made these companies so much money, and how it’s still going.

Comment by rms
2017-07-29 11:07:27

One of the other techs in our shop was out making the rounds to our regular accounts yesterday, and found one office closed and the windows whitewashed. The mood was quiet… you could almost “feel” the seniority calculations.

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Comment by GreenEggsAndSpam
2017-07-29 17:16:45

What. Is. That? Its unique, I’ll give you that.

Gotta be plenty of empty parking lots with all the dying retail - let ‘em park in there, put in some porta potties, a couple shower stalls like you find at the beach, and have a security guard make the rounds a few times a day. Much cheaper than all the other solutions.

Plenty of people are living in vans and doing it right. It helps to not be 100lbs+ overweight and look like a cartoon character on acid though.

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Comment by Carl Morris
2017-07-29 16:25:15

maybe the pols should work on setting up some parking lots with some facilities so the impact is minimized on residential and business districts where the lifestyle can cause some friction

Hahah. Nothing would get a pol defeated faster. Those that ante up to live in an expensive area despise sharing it with anyone who finds a way to avoid the ante. And will vote against anyone who helps them do it.

Comment by SLyns
2017-07-30 00:10:09

I call bull on this article. FB pays well for jobs of all levels and she may actually be a contractor saying she is an employee - they still get paid pretty well and people drive from hours away to get these jobs.

Says she lives in Newark that is really close to FB. And rent for a 2 bedroom can be had for under 2k per month there - get a roommate! Voila. 1k per month rent. Affordable. Not need for her to live in a car unless she’s cheap or has no savings or credit. Seems like her own poor life choices of education debt for a career that doesn’t pay well enough to cover the debt (article doesn’t say what she does as a skill) and medical debt (not being well-insured, thankfully ACA now means this option is within reach of more people) have buried her in the near term.

Not a fair comment on tech or the area’s legitimately high housing costs and lower wages for people not working at companies that pay well. Doesn’t say where she drove that car to Newark from. Presumably she prefers Newark to other places to live or she would drive somewhere else. She can also eat three meals a day 5 days a week for free at FB so her cost of living is extremely low if she isn’t paying any rent! And take home weekend snacks too. No grocery bill.

Comment by Mr. Banker
2017-07-29 08:40:34

Off topic (sorta) …

Noam Chomsky “Why Did people Vote for Trump?”

A four-minute video.


Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2017-07-29 09:06:20

The alternative was Crooked Hillary.

‘Nuff said.

Comment by PitchforkPurveyor
2017-07-29 09:16:26

It was definitely as much a vote against Hillary and the system as it was a vote for Trump. In the Republican Primary, voters were treated to debates where a candidate embarrassed and exposed the crooked cronies.

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-07-29 09:26:14

‘The essay argues that Beijing has been overrun by migrant workers or waidiren ‘people from outside the city’, and that these ‘outsiders’ have turned China’s capital into a place with staggering house prices and heavy traffic that lacks soul. The essay describes how Beijing has become so big, so full, and so expensive, that life has virtually become unsustainable. The result of Beijing’s transformation, according to the post, is that its residents, both locals and immigrants, just ‘pretend to live there,’ leading ‘fake lives.’

‘He goes on to mock the old residents of Beijing, who still have the upper hand in the real-estate market despite the flood of new immigrants, all owning ‘five-room houses.’ The old Beijingers lead very different lives from the migrant workers, who are caught in a negative spiral of hard work, no social life, and finding a place to settle down’

And these are the supposed winners in globalism. All this “free capital” sure is causing problems. Canadians are pissed off, but they run off to Florida and “buy vacation homes for prices they never could have imagined”. Chinese run all over the planet (mainly those places they expect to make huge profits, coincidentally) overpaying, out-bidding. Why houses? Why not office buildings?

Oh that’s right, you can’t get a government-backed 4%, 30 year loan with almost nothing down for an office building. And people don’t need offices, they do need a roof over their head.

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Comment by Mr. Banker
2017-07-29 09:30:21

I ran across this …

Noam Chomsky: “The Republican party is the most dangerous organization in human history.”


Some of the things this Noam Chomsky guy says hits home, but this is way over the top.

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-07-29 09:35:59

‘the most dangerous organization in human history’

Well they joined up with the other side to pass yet more sanctions against Evil Russia. Can’t scrap together 60 votes to address health care, but on this they set aside their disagreements and united for the good of all!

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-07-29 09:39:27

‘PBS has joined the anti-Russia propaganda stampede with a five-part documentary series that recycles the false and deceptive claims that have become Official Washington’s dangerous new groupthink, reports Rick Sterling.’

Did this air right after PBS’s five part series on how renters are paying more than ever while thousands of luxury apartments sit empty?

Comment by Mafia Blocks
2017-07-29 10:16:35

“Oh that’s right, you can’t get a government-backed 4%, 30 year loan with almost nothing down for an office building.”

How dumb must one be to take the dumb.borrowed.money bait?

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2017-07-29 10:19:36

Did this air right after PBS’s five part series on how renters are paying more than ever while thousands of luxury apartments sit empty?

You’re joking, right? PBS would never air anything that speaks truth to power or challenges the crony capitalist status quo they spend so much time shilling for.

Comment by butters
2017-07-29 10:55:04

The Republican party is the most dangerous organization in human history.”

Since ray-gun, he’s right on the money.

Comment by butters
2017-07-29 10:57:52

PBS’s five part series

The so-called liberals are a brain-dead bunch. Their hatred of Trump has led them to bogus issues like Russia or Putin. {smh}

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-07-29 11:44:36

‘Their hatred of Trump’

That’s too simplistic. This is from the Intercept:


‘A new book by the famed historian Alfred McCoy predicts that China is set to surpass the influence of the U.S. globally, both militarily and economically, by the year 2030. At that point, McCoy asserts the United States empire as we know it will be no more. He sees the Trump presidency as one of the clearest byproducts of the erosion of U.S. global dominance, but not its root cause. At the same time, he also believes Trump may accelerate the empire’s decline.

Alfred McCoy: What I think right now is that, through some kind of malign design, Donald Trump has divined, has figured out what are the essential pillars of U.S. global power that have sustained Washington’s hegemony for the past 70 years and he seems to be setting out to demolish each one of those pillars one by one.

JS: We’ve seen this kind of convergence of the agendas of some neoconservatives who formed part of the core of the “Never Trump” movement of Republicans and then the liberal elites that host shows on MSNBC or are identified as “Democratic strategists.” And this line that we’ve seen repeated over and over is that, what they deride as people calling the “deep state” — in other words, the elements within the CIA in the military — that they’re actually secretly protecting the country from Trump. Given your scholarship on what people loosely call the deep state right now, what do you make of those claims that the CIA and certain elements within the Pentagon are actually the protectors of the Democratic republic?

AM: A complex argument. One: the rapid growth of that state documented by the Washington Post, in a series about eight years ago, 2010, what they called the fourth branch of the U.S. government. That under the terms of the global war on terror, a massive infusion of nearly a trillion dollars into the Homeland Security. And all of the 17 agencies in the so-called intelligence community plus the considerable expansion of the Joint Special Operations Command, which is the military’s permanent integration with that security apparatus, that secret security apparatus, all of this has built a fourth branch of the U.S. government.

And I think that, just as Congress has proved independent from the Trump administration to a certain extent, and we’ll see about the Supreme Court, those are the classic three branches of executive, legislature, and judiciary — now we have this fourth branch. And, what you’re proposing is we need to take this very seriously when we look at the array of power in Washington, D.C. And I agree, we need to. And like all of the other branches it will coordinate with the executive because the executive has a great deal of power, of funding, you can set priorities, but it has a 10-year cycle — ultimately a much longer-term cycle of preparation and responsibility.

A president is in office for eight or maybe four years. A military career, if successful, an intelligence career, is 30 years. So those professionals, and the agencies they represent, have a much longer-term viewpoint. You can see this, for example, in the periodic reports of the National Intelligence Council, that every four years when there’s a new administration coming in, they’re the one agency of the U.S. government that looks ahead 20 years. Not just four or eight or 10. But they actually look ahead 20 years and they try and see the shape of the world and then, set, through the intelligence community and through the national security establishment, priorities for coping with this fast changing world.

So at the apex of the intelligence community, there is this formal procedure for establishing a long range, or medium range, 20-year perspective. So, yes, they look longer, they have their own policies, they have their contracts, their programs that are in many ways autonomous from the executive, and increasingly so. And depending on your point of view and how it plays out, that’s either a strength of the American system in the short term, when you have an executive that some people don’t like, like Donald Trump, over the longer term it could be seen as a threat to democracy, creating a bureaucratic apparatus that’s autonomous, even independent from both the executive and the legislative branch. So, it’s an open question but a good question.”

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-07-29 11:50:27

‘when you have an executive that some people don’t like, like Donald Trump’

It isn’t about liking or not. The establishment (IMO there aren’t two establishments) is protecting what they’ve spent decades building. Call it whatever by it’s many aspects: globalism, the MIC, this new deep state of “intelligence” organizations who spy on anybody and everybody, and are also apparently who actually runs our government now. Along with their many protectors in DC and the media of course. A trillion bucks is a lot, and more trillions are guaranteed to come as long as they can keep the game going. That’s what this is all about.

Comment by oxide
2017-07-29 18:15:23

erosion of U.S. global dominance

I’ve been thinking about this lately. *Why*, pray tell, does the United States need to have global dominance? One time I worked with some interns from South America. They had better phones and better computers than I did. Maybe the US *should* just step back. Just put up a wall, put strict restrictions on foreign investment to keep foreigners from buying our clean air and water, and let someone else do all the inventing and the charity and the military intervention. Let the third world migrate to China. Let the protest signs say “Death to [someone other than America]” for once. Let the fine folks of Sharia target some other global leader to make their waves. Call on other countries to save the starving kids in countries where they just can’t keep their legs shut. Let some other country optimize the infrastructure: for example, I get the feeling that the US wasted 100+ years of dealing with landlines while the rest of the world just skipped straight to mobile phones. Not to mention medicines, aircraft, nukes…

Yeah yeah, I’m sure the US needs to remain dominant because something something reserve currency and the national debt. But ISTM that the US is “too big to fail.” Hell, anything bigger than Iceland is too big to fail. Just look at how often Greece has bailed out, even against their wishes. We’d survive.

Maybe I’m being mean spirited, but it’s nighttime and I’m tired.

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-07-29 18:48:45

It’s money and power. All these people live like Kings.

‘Reality-based community is a phrase that appeared in an October 17, 2004, New York Times Magazine article by writer Ron Suskind, attributed to an unnamed aide to George W. Bush (later identified as Karl Rove).[1][2] The article reads:

“The aide said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” … “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued.’

“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.”

“And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”


Comment by Mr. Banker
2017-07-29 09:23:51

“The alternative was Crooked Hillary.”

Yeah? Well it was her turn.

She was robbed.


Comment by Rental Watch
2017-07-29 10:31:02

Of all the hyperbolic statements made by Trump, “Crooked Hillary” was the most on the mark.

And more revelations continue to come out about the relationship between Clinton’s team and Clinton donors while she was at the State Department:


Yes, it’s from a conservative website…would you expect it to be in the NYT? If the content of the e-mails is accurate, seems to be a problem, no?

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Comment by SLyns
2017-07-30 00:35:50

You realize she’s not still running for office? And that the clinton foundation has been investigated by the FBI and cleared?

Here is the British explaining why people (republicans) go nuts about something that is nothing: http://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2016-37168505

However, I don’t hear you complaining how the trump foundation that was ordered to cease operations because it was fraudulent or the fact trump is embroiled in conflicts of interest since he still owns businesses he has not put into a blind trust or sold and for which he is receiving enrichment from foreign governments (possibly excessive payments to curry favor - what you accuse Hilary of when she was merely secretary of state) due to his position as president. That is actually against the US Constitution. Where is your condemnation of that?

I wish there were a vaccine for people who are rabid with clintonitis. It would cure a lot of the country’s ills.



Comment by Carl Morris
2017-07-31 12:33:36

The Clintons earned their reputation fair and square, and no amount of “but Trump” will change that. They need to go away and stop threatening to run for office again. Only then can we all move on…

Comment by aqius
2017-07-29 09:55:36

hypocrite Canadians complain but cash those checks from “invaders” and promptly do the same in Florida, and that’s somehow OK.

yet Californians catch hell as equity locusts . . . !?

the urge to move-on-up for that piece o’ the pie isn’t just for George & Wheezy. or the Fresh Prince.

c’mon. let’s hear it. flame away, all you tough keyboard commandos.
funny how brave & mouthy people get from Starbucks.

Comment by Mafia Blocks
2017-07-29 10:20:03

Both groups are empty-pocketed fools.

Comment by alphonso bedoya
2017-07-29 10:54:53

Here’s my favorite:

Hey, life is good and now that we have one sociopath in office that defeated another sociopath, who wasn’t quite successful in hiding her epilepsy, I want to know: why was Bernie Sanders persona non gratis for paw folk not earning $100k /year ?

And what is the best Japanese car to live out of in San Francisco? What do you do if you’re 6′4″ ?

And the Chinese are “touring” South Florida like they toured Vancouver, eating apples, relieved that they do not have to wear air pollution masks… and… for $1.2+ million they can get finally have decent housing.

We live in interesting times.

Comment by oxide
2017-07-29 10:21:31

This is from yesterday, from the discussion about shoplifting at you-pick farms.

Comment by MacBeth
2017-07-28 18:18:15
What’s the difference, oxide?

Why is it okay for the federal government to steal from small businesses, but not for individuals to do the same?

I mean that seriously.

You do not get to ask this question, which btw is loaded to the hilt. You are not a dictator, so you do not get to decide what “stealing” is. So the question is moot. And yes, that is the serious answer.

None of us get to say what “stealing” is. It’s Congress that decides what is stealing (illegal) and what is not. Taxation is not stealing; our system of government allows it. (Even regulations are not stealing. Regulations are just laws that Congress delegates to someone else to pass.)

Now, your question is probably “why does Congress pass laws and regulations which are unequal to small business” The real answer is that large companies buy off Congress and regulators to pass laws/regulations which favor large businesses. Not fair? then you need to either petition the regulators to change the regulation (preferably before it’s signed out), or to elect new Congressman/regulators to overturn what you think is unfair. I know, it’s a beeyotch.

Comment by Neuromance
2017-07-29 17:30:33

oxide: You do not get to ask this question, which btw is loaded to the hilt. You are not a dictator, so you do not get to decide what “stealing” is. So the question is moot. And yes, that is the serious answer.

It’s actually up to the lexicographers to define what stealing is. Which leads to relevant following point:

There’s “de jure” (according to law) and “de facto” (according to fact). So OJ can be de jure not guilty but de facto guilty. Not guilty before the law, but guilty in reality, as a point of fact. Many examples of this dichotomy out there.

Another point - regulatory systems can become corrupted. The term “regulatory capture” is a polite way of expressing this. With our campaign finance system, and with the possibility of a political career being a lifelong career instead of a limited tour of duty, it seems to me the entire government system is under regulatory capture, from local, to state, to federal levels, with expense to purchase politicians increasing at every level. The Founders didn’t envision this threat to the system. Ike warned of it with the military-industrial complex speech.

I do agree it’s important to use accurate terminology. Taxation has been around for a long time, governments cannot exist without it. It’s also wealth extraction. There’s overt and covert wealth extraction. Overt is when politicians institute or raise a tax. There’s covert when a central bank prints money to intervene in markets, or stokes inflation.

Why is there differential wealth extraction between big and small business? Inspecting the Microsoft antitrust case would be informative:

1) Microsoft lobbying spending by year

2) The case was dropped in 2004, coinciding with their peak lobbying spending.

Maybe just a big coincidence. But corporate executives don’t spend money on lobbying they could otherwise keep themselves.

Comment by oxide
2017-07-29 18:41:55

Thank you for not flying off the handle, MacBeth. There is a lot of discussion here to be had. Yes, I realize that your question was about de facto stealing from small businesses. But this world runs on de jure. And yes, it sucks that de facto can be manipulated into de non-facto simply by buying de jure. It sucks that we have a system that people — anyone from disability fraud all the way up to Jon Corzine — can game with no repercussions whatsoever. It sucks that hard-working $50K workers can’t afford to move out of Mom’s house in Austin, while welfare queens in Denver will likely get gov cheese to live in shiny new luxury apartments. It sucks that people like Prof Bear have to fork over rent every month, while a “feisty nurse” in Florida can squat in her house for years without paying a dime, and then have the gall to claim the house is hers scot-free.

However, I disagree that “regulatory capture” is a product of a system that give a bureaucrat a lifelong career. Regulations are *not* made by those career bureaucrats. If anything, it’s the opposite. For almost every regulation, the final sign-off is from a political appointee, be it a single cabinet member Secretary, or a vote from a panel, or a board. Yes, it’s the careerists that make recommendations, but if the political appointee says no, then the regulation doesn’t go through. Also, there is a lot of “interpretation” of regulations. If the very upper management or Cabinet Secretary sends an interpretation down to staff, the staff is stuck with it.

So actually, regulatory capture *is* a short-term tour of duty. Capture the upper-level appointees and the GS-schedule worker bees have to tag along. There are a lot of policies which have gone back and forth depending on how any election goes. For example, say what you will about Obama, while he was President, the SEC blocked a lot more M&A. Or look what happened at ICE just from Trump replacing the top few guys.

Comment by Mafia Blocks
2017-07-29 10:36:11

Bend, OR Housing Prices CRATER 14%YOY


Comment by Sketch
2017-07-29 11:44:15

I’ve noticed more price reductions over the past couple of months…hard to say if it’s our cyclical summer trend or signaling a greater correction. It would help to see what the median sold price was YOY. IMO $485K as a median income is still insane for this town…unfortunately not everyone thinks so:

Bend Bulletin
June 9, 2017
Valentine is Bullish on Bend Real Estate - Money manger predicted 2006 housing bubble
Kathleen McLaughlin
“Bill Valentine, a Bend money manager who gained notoriety in 2006 for predicting the real estate bubble, is making the rounds with a new forecast, and it’s quite bullish.

“We are not in another bubble,” said Valentine, who gave his presentation Thursday at Brooks Resources Corp. in Bend.

Valentine, who owns Valentine Ventures, believes a recession would set prices back, but he said, “Looking out 12 months, the future looks pretty good.”

Valentine said he created his presentation, “The Real State of Bend Real Estate,” at the request of a client, a real estate broker who wanted to reassure fellow brokers that Bend’s housing market is not on the verge of another crash. Valentine, a former talk radio show host, said he’s given the talk to six groups of Realtors and homebuilders. While the investments he manages aren’t tied to real estate, Valentine could gain new high net-worth clients through referrals from brokers.

The median sale price of a single-family home in Bend was $379,000 in May, according to Beacon Appraisal Group’s Beacon Report. In March, the median price was $396,000, a figure not seen since May 2007, before the bubble burst and values eroded by 58 percent.

Speculative bubbles share five characteristics, Valentine said, and he hasn’t observed any of them in Bend’s real estate market. One that gets the most recognition is the difference in access to the market, or available credit.

Lending standards are much tighter than in 2006, he said. “We’re back to prices at the peak on half as much lending,” he said.

Bend gets an additional boost from a segment of buyers Valentine calls “stealth wealth,” people who’ve sold a successful business or technology elsewhere and decided to move to Bend. “They’re buying stuff with hard assets and cash,” he said.

Romy Mortensen, vice president of sales and marketing at Brooks Resources, said Valentine’s forecast squares with what she’s hearing from other real estate industry professionals. “I actually haven’t talked to anyone who thinks we’re in a bubble, and it’s because of the credit situation,” she said.

As a real estate development firm, Brooks Resources tries to forecast over several years, President Kirk Schueler said. “We will see softening at some point,” he said.

The company is trying to figure out which locations and price ranges would be most affected by an economic downturn, he said. “I happen to believe a $350,000 house won’t take a big hit.”

If the second part of Valentine’s forecast comes true, a $350,000 house will be a rarity in Bend. The eight metro areas in California, Colorado and Washington that send migrants to Bend have higher median home prices, Valentine said. Those medians range from more than $1 million in San Jose to $422,000 in Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, he said.

Valentine believes Bend is on track to become a luxury-priced mountain town like Ketchum, Idaho, or Vail, Colorado, where the median home prices are more than $800,000.

I’m not suggesting we’re going to be in the eights anytime soon,” Valentine said, but he believes the price trend will make it impossible to produce affordable housing without subsidies. “Affordable housing will not materialize in Bend,” he said.

Valentine acknowledges that most of the cities he’s comparing to the future Bend are extremely small, less than 10,000 in population. But there are larger cities, such as Asheville, North Carolina, and Santa Fe, New Mexico, which, like Bend, draw affluent people seeking an outdoorsy lifestyle.

The median home price in each of those cities is lower than Bend’s, according to Zillow. Asheville was at $235,900 in May, and Santa Fe was at $310,000.”

Comment by butters
2017-07-29 11:27:53

I bet she ‘owns’ 2 homes in cali.

Chinese woman undergoes plastic surgery to evade £2.8 million debt

Comment by 2banana
2017-07-29 17:44:34

Without before and after pictures - it is hard to judge guilt.

Comment by Lower Forever
2017-07-29 17:24:27

“But on July 25, the full text was removed from all social media accounts and Chinese online news sites. Its hashtag on Weibo is now no longer accessible. The article also disappeared from Zhang’s WeChat account.”

Next to disappear is Zhang himself.

Comment by 2banana
2017-07-29 17:41:50

Sounds like CNN here…

Comment by Mafia Blocks
2017-07-30 03:54:16

<Monterey, CA Housing Prices Crater 16%YOY


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