Our Brutal Capitalism

  • No universal healthcare–growing millions of people with no access to healthcare and worse during the pandemic and the high unemployment of those depending on employer-based healthcare.
  • Concentrated wealth and income in the upper 10 to 1 percent of people.
  • Concentration of political power in corporations and high wealth groups.
  • Broken presidential voting favoring small, rural, poor states with undemocratic local voting and the electoral college.
  • Low minimum wages and declining value of median incomes.
  • Racially segregated education, healthcare, employment, housing and public services like clean water, internet access, clean air, equity justice.
  • Socialism (meaning government benefits and subsidies) for big corporations and the wealthy, and the free market competition and harsh capitalism for the workers, poor and underprivileged.
  • Unchecked monopoly power of large, powerful corporations.
  • Exploitation of undocumented immigrants in low-wage dangerous work.
  • “Great wealth flows from great power; great power depends on great wealth. Wealth and power have become one and the same.” (p. 10. Robert B. Reich. The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It. 2020)
  • Economic growth now mostly favors the rich.
  • Weakening social safety net of social security, medicare, medicaid, unemployment insurance, SNAP (food stamp) benefits…

Be Careful Coral Gables, The Future is Very Uncertain–No Time for More Debt

Le’t hope that the commission and city manager of Coral Gables think hard again about the city’s economy and the need for more debt at a very uncertain time.  Paciencia!

Even the optimists are nervous about the next few months. It’s possible that some of the gloomy data reflect excessive caution ahead of several key events: The end of the Federal Reserve’s asset purchases, the resolution of the U.S. debt-ceiling soap opera, the resolution of Europe’s fiscal disaster, and the ability of the developing world to achieve its soft landing.

If all of those go well or even just OK, the future might look a little brighter at the end of the summer. And if they don’t? We may look back on this spring with fond memories.

via Will the economic slump last? MarketWatch First Take – MarketWatch.

See a History of House Values: Prices are Falling Again

See this very interesting graph showing the change in the housing price index in the US.  You will note that it is still heading down and this should be reflected by further declines in property values and problems for local government that depend on property taxes.

Note: This chart has been liberally copied without identifying either the source or author. If you see this elsewhere on the intertubes, you should recognize that it was created by Steve Barry, and is originally published here at TBP.(http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2011/04/case-shiller-100-year-chart-2011-update/)

URGENT: Weakening Citizens’ Challenge to Local Development Decisions

I bring this matter to your attention, and especially to those who are concerned about ensuring organized community development and protection of the environment.

Please Call the Members of the Senate Environment and Preservation Committee and Oppose SB 1122
April 1, 2011

Senate Bill 1122–Your calls are needed to oppose the damaging Senate Bill 1122. While this bill establishes Alternative State Review as the amendment process and keeps language more favorable for citizen challenges to inappropriate local development decisions it still has a number of damaging provisions. It eliminates Rule 9J-5, thus eliminating years of favorable legal rulings regarding citizens’ rights to challenge local development decisions, urban service boundaries and other critical issues. It removes local government authority to require supermajority votes on development decisions, and has numerous other provisions of concern. Click herefor technical comments on the bill. Please call the members of the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee and tell them to oppose this damaging bill which undermines Florida’s growth management process.

Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee

To find out more about what’s happening this session, please visit 1000 Friends atwww.1000friendsofflorida.org.

 

Hard to find worse housing news for South Florida and Coral Gables

I wonder what will happen to Coral Gables’ property values this year.  Won’t there be enormous pressures on the city of Coral Gables to raise tax rates yet again.

Dear candidates for commissioner and mayor: This is your real life challenge,  not Miracle Mile, parks, trolleys or public security.

Zillow found that 46.3 percent of all South Florida homes sold in January sold for a loss, down from 49.2 percent during the previous January.

South Florida home values have fallen 54.8 percent since their peak in June 2006. Nationwide, home values have fallen 28.2 percent since the peak.

Nearly 43 percent of all single-family homes in South Florida with a mortgage were underwater in the fourth quarter. Nationwide, 27 percent of homeowners owed more than what their home is worth.

via Zillow: S. Fla. home values down in January | South Florida Business Journal.

House Prices Double Dip Decline in Coral Gables

The recent S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Indices show a pronounced double dip in house prices throughout the country.  Coral Gables will face another year of declining property values.  The pressure to increase taxes again will be enormous.

Data through December 2010, released today by Standard & Poor’s for its S&P/Case-Shiller1 Home Price Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices, show that the U.S. National Home Price Index declined by 3.9% during the fourth quarter of 2010. The National Index is down 4.1% versus the fourth quarter of 2009, which is the lowest annual growth rate since the third quarter of 2009, when prices were falling at an 8.6% annual rate. As of December 2010, 18 of the 20 MSAs covered by S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices and both monthly composites were down compared to December 2009. (Source:  S&P Press Release, Feb. 22)

Question For Candidates

Since house prices continue a double dip decline in Miami, do you favor property tax increases for Coral Gables in light of  declining property values for the city?

Banks in Florida are mostly Weak

Many local Banks in Florida have questionable capital ratios.  This is product of outrageous housing loans and practices.

When it comes to strength and solvency, Florida is among the worst states for banking, according to a new report released by Weiss Ratings.

Nearly 80 percent of the 532 banks and thrifts in Florida are considered weak and have received a D-plus or lower Weiss Financial Strength rating.

via Weiss: Florida among worst for banking | South Florida Business Journal.