California is at it again. It released its employment and jobs reports today, in parallel with the national reports released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What a doozie. Is the California boom already over?
Entries in California Daydreaming (74)
Teachers are a symbol of the middle class. In California, they earn on average $69,300 annually, fifth highest in the country. Not exactly a pittance. But it is a ludicrous pittance if they’re trying to buy a home.
By Dave Maass, Electronic Frontier Foundation: Corruption and graft in the surveillance industrial complex.
“Foreclosure Rebound Pattern”: Foreclosures SUDDENLY Jump 57% in California (And Soar In Much Of The Country)
The cynic in me says the dizzying jump in foreclosure starts in January in much of the country, after years of sharp and consistent declines, must be some kind of data problem. Maybe RealtyTrac’s computers got hacked, or something. But that’s wishful thinking.
My beloved state of California, whose $2 trillion economy is the eight largest in the world ahead of Italy and Russia, has a new problem: it’s awash in cash. It’s projecting multi-billion dollar surpluses for years to come. The feeding frenzy in Sacramento is a sight to behold.
It’s “a technology everyone is going to have,” said a Bay Area real estate broker as he explained why realtors use drones to shoot aerial videos of high-end properties. And it’s illegal. But no one is going to be able to stop it, he implied.
The salary you must earn to be able to buy the median home in San Francisco is $125,071. That home costs $705,000 – up 24% from a year ago. San Francisco tops the list of the most unaffordable cities. Households earning the median income of $51,000, well, forget it.
By Nick Cunningham, OilPrice.com: California is sitting on the largest tight oil formation in the US, the Monterey Shale. Interest is heating up. The legislature passed a controversial law to regulate fracking and allow the industry to drill. But fracking requires lots of water.
By Nick Cunningham, OilPrice.com: Oil companies have been fracking offshore California and dumping chemicals into coastal waters for as long as two decades. It wasn’t until recently that FOIA requests brought it to light. Now the EPA is feebly trying to step in.
If you come to San Francisco or Silicon Valley and look around, you’d think California is booming, that companies jump through hoops to hire people, that they douse them with money, stock options, and free lunches. And some do. But in other parts of the state?
By Chriss Street: The Field Poll reported the number of Californians who believe the state is "one of the best places to live" dropped from almost 80% in 1985 to just over 40% today. Over 90% agree that cost of living is outrageous and job prospects are lousy.
The government spy-services marketplace, part of Big Data, is juicy. Investors clamor to get in on it. Scores of startups have sprung up. The hottest one is Palantir. Its valuation jumped 50% in three months – to $9 billion! Its technologies, designed for the CIA to track terrorists, have transitioned to track you and me.
A new era has dawned: there is now a consensus that this is a stock market bubble. We’re back where we were during the last bubble, or the one before it. How do I know it’s not just some intrepid souls on the bleeding edge who are claiming this, but a consensus?
BYD, the name of a Chinese electric vehicle and solar panel maker, stands for “Build Your Dream.” Maybe that’s what they’re trying to do in China. But here, they’re building a nightmare: broken promises, falsehoods, design flaws... all lushly funded by American taxpayers. And they paid Chinese workers in California $1.50 per hour to do it.
The costs of nuclear accidents can be catastrophic, for generations. But there are also the routine costs after reactors are shut down, when decommissioning expenses pile up, for timeframes beyond human comprehension. True costs are unknown. Now, the scandal-plagued San Onofre plant in Southern California has become a test case – indefinitely.
You can’t get away from it. The media fawn over it. Rational neighbors drool unexpectedly. Ads flood the airwaves. "Learn our simple three-step system on how to flip homes," the announcer says. Everyone knows: untold riches are waiting for you. "Right here in the Bay Area," he says. It’s hot, so hot that people will get burned. And banks will get hit (again).
Oaktree Capital and Carrington Mortgage are trying to dump a portfolio of 500 single-family homes they’d bought out of foreclosure. They’re trying to get the heck out of the once hot buy-to-rent trade. Blackstone, which gobbled up 32,000 of these homes, is trying to get its money out. They all are. That trade is turning sour. Trouble in the housing market!
By Chriss Street: The FBI confirmed that a Task Force from the FBI, the IRS, the District Attorney’s Office, and the US Attorney’s Office is investigating political campaign corruption in Orange County, California. A Democrat Attorney General targeting Republican politicians in America’s most Republican county? Um, the District Attorney on the Task Force is a Republican. No, this is real.
A technology that surreptitiously captures data of people out on the street, combines it with other data, and mines it ad infinitum? Local and federal government agencies love it. It’s increasingly sophisticated and cheap. It’s spreading. And it led a professor at West Point to warn: “We don’t have a police state in this country, but we have the technology.”
The last big thing was green tech – from wave-power generators to the smart grid. Hyped in the bipartisan stimulus bill, it promised gobs of jobs, billions in revenues, and untold riches. Private investors plowed in billions too. It ended up in a massive pileup of capital destruction. Fatalities were everywhere.