• Tag Archives California
  • The Bids Are In: Amazon Offered Up To $7 Billion In Tax Breaks ($140k Per Employee) For Second U.S. HQ

    For the past several months, cities all across the country have been competing for the opportunity to host Amazon’s second headquarters which promises $5 billion in capital investment and 50,000 new jobs over a period of time. And now that the bids are in, we have the opportunity to review some of the staggering tax subsidies offered to one of Silicon Valley’s biggest companies.
    New Jersey apparently ‘wins’ the prize for ‘biggest tax cuts’ after offering $7 billion in state and city tax credits, or roughly $140,000 per job promised by Amazon…which should be plenty to once again thrust Bezos to the top of the world’s richest list. Per Reuters:
    New Jersey proposed $7 billion in potential credits against state and city taxes if Amazon locates in Newark and sticks to hiring commitments, according to a Monday news release from the governor’s office.
    Across the Hudson River, New York City made a proposal without incentives special for Amazon, though the state is expected to offer some, a spokesman for the city’s economic development corporation said on Wednesday.
    And across the country, California is offering some $300 million in incentives over several years and other benefits, the governor said in an Oct. 11 letter to Amazon’s Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, published online by the Orange County Register.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 19, 2017.


  • Wells Fargo Gets Clocked in California

    Why is Tim Sloan still CEO, asks California Treasurer. In a letter so brutally scathing it’s practically funny, California Treasurer John Chiang skewers Wells Fargo, its Board of Directors, and its new CEO Tim Sloan. And he extended the sanctions on Wells Fargo, first imposed in September last year, by ‘at least’ another year.
    The Treasurer’s office oversees ‘nearly $2 trillion in annual banking transactions, manages a $75 billion investment pool, and is the nation’s largest issuer of municipal debt,’ Chiang pointed out last year when he imposed the sanctions on Wells Fargo’s ‘most highly profitable business relationships with the State of California.’ Those sanctions include:
    Suspension of investments by the Treasurer’s Office in all Wells Fargo securities. Suspension of the use of Wells Fargo as a broker-dealer for purchasing of investments by his office. Suspension of Wells Fargo as a managing underwriter on negotiated sales of California state bonds where the Treasurer appoints the underwriter.

    This post was published at Wolf Street on Oct 17, 2017.


  • California Treasurer Skewers Wells Fargo, Wonders Why Tim Sloan is Still CEO, Extends Sanctions

    ‘The cockroaches infiltrated’ the bank, as ‘systemic corruption and venal abuse of customers’ have become ‘part of Wells Fargo’s brand.’
    In a letter so brutally scathing it’s practically funny, California Treasurer John Chiang skewers Wells Fargo, its Board of Directors, and its new CEO Tim Sloan. And he extended the sanctions on Wells Fargo, first imposed in September last year, by ‘at least’ another year.
    The Treasurer’s office oversees ‘nearly $2 trillion in annual banking transactions, manages a $75 billion investment pool, and is the nation’s largest issuer of municipal debt,’ Chiang pointed out last year when he imposed the sanctions on Wells Fargo’s ‘most highly profitable business relationships with the State of California.’ Those sanctions include:
    Suspension of investments by the Treasurer’s Office in all Wells Fargo securities. Suspension of the use of Wells Fargo as a broker-dealer for purchasing of investments by his office. Suspension of Wells Fargo as a managing underwriter on negotiated sales of California state bonds where the Treasurer appoints the underwriter. With these sanctions, Chiang sought ‘real accountability and lasting reforms.’ But it’s a long and complex relationship that dates back to the Gold Rush era:
    Wells Fargo has evolved to become the nation’s second largest bank by total assets. California is set to become the world’s fifth largest economy. What we each do, therefore, matters and effects the public interest.

    This post was published at Wolf Street on Oct 17, 2017.


  • Two Stars Crashed Into Each Other Flinging Out Gold, And Wobbling The Universe

    The amazing new discovery of two crashing stars is a giant leap forward for astrophysics. This celestial event has been described by many as one of the most exciting things to happen in space.
    According to The Independent, the super-dense neuron stars crashed together 130 million light-years away, spewing out precious metals and other heavy elements like platinum and uranium. Neutron stars, the collapsed remnants of massive stars that have died in supernova explosions, are some of the most exotic objects in the universe Experts say the event has kickstarted a ‘new chapter in astrophysics’ and confirmed theories about the origin of the mysterious neutron stars. They were also able to use telescopes on satellites and the ground to see the light and radiation that was being flung out of the explosion, which is known as a ‘kilonova.’
    ‘They [neuron stars] are as close as you can get to a black hole without actually being a black hole,’ theoretical astrophysicist Tony Piro, of the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Pasadena, California, said in a different statement. ‘Just one teaspoon of a neutron star weighs as much as all the people on Earth combined.’

    This post was published at shtfplan on October 17th, 2017.


  • This $1.1 Million Silicon Valley Shack Is A Steal, But There’s A Bizarre Catch

    The owner of one tiny, unassuming cottage in Mountain View, California just sold his house for well below the asking price of $1.6 million – but asked the new buyers to agree to one highly unusual condition: They must allow him to continue living there, rent free, for seven years, NBC News reported.
    The Silicon Valley property went for $1.1 million after being on the market for only a few weeks, which is surprising, considering the house – little more than a shotgun shack – hardly has room for multiple tenants.
    The property’s realtor said the home’s elderly former owner will continue living in the home for seven more years ‘rent back at no charge.’
    Realtor Joban Brown said that while the price is not unusual for the hot spot location, the former owner’s request to continue living at the property is ‘not a typical situation.’

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 15, 2017.


  • Drone Footage Reveals “Utter Devastation” As Nearly 6,000 Buildings Destroyed In Cali Wildfire

    Hurricane force winds returned to Northern California on Saturday, revitalizing the massive Tubbs fire that’s destroyed much of Santa Rosa. With the fire headed toward the few neighborhoods in the city of 140,000 that haven’t already been destroyed, state authorities ordered thousands more residents to evacuate as residents in some of the hardest hit neighborhoods began venturing back into the city to see what, if anything remains of their homes.
    An estimated 3,000 people in Santa Rosa and at least 250 people in Sonoma evacuated their homes before dawn, the Associated Press reported.
    Meanwhile, the death toll for what was the deadliest week for wildfires in California history has climbed to 40, while 5,700 homes and businesses have been destroyed.
    Fortunately, the winds that have stoked the fires started to die down Saturday afternoon. And with temperatures dropping on Sunday, firefighters have finally been able to go on the office and make meaningful advances in their attempts to contain the flames.


    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 15, 2017.


  • Hotel California and the Federal Reserve

    In 1977 the Eagles spoke to us about ‘Hotel California.’ Lyrics are here.
    A few lines from the song …
    ‘On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair…
    Up ahead in the distance I saw a shimmering light…
    Then I was thinking to myself this could be Heaven or this could be Hell
    Welcome to the Hotel California
    Some dance to remember, some dance to forget
    They’re living it up at the Hotel California
    We are all just prisoners here of our own device
    Relax, said the night man, We are programmed to receive,
    You can check out any time you like but you can never leave.’
    The lines have been rewritten to fit the Federal Reserve – the hypothetical ‘Hotel Marriner Eccles:’ ‘On a dark digital highway, QE rewarding my pals
    Up ahead in the distance I saw a burning pyre of debt
    I was thinking to myself this should be Heaven but it’s Hell
    Welcome to the Hotel Marriner Eccles
    Some pontificate to remember, some lie to forget

    This post was published at Deviant Investor on October 12, 2017.


  • Public Pensions – Biggest Financial Crisis Since the Great Depression?

    The following is a summary of our FS Insider podcast with Lawrence McQuillan (see ‘America’s Public Pension Crisis’ Part 1 and Part 2) which can be accessed on our site here or on iTunes here.
    The rapid growth of government debt is a serious problem, with an increasing part of that growth coming from public pensions squeezing funds from essential government services, including America’s neglected and nearly failing infrastructure.
    ‘It’s the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression,’ Lawrence McQuillan, a public pension expert and author of California Dreaming, told Financial Sense Newshour. ‘I think most people are understating the problem. … Something’s got to change, because the costs are just going to keep squeezing out more and more services.’
    McQuillan, a Senior Fellow and Director of the Center of Entrepreneurial Innovation at the Independent Institute, recently attended a forum hosted by Stanford on Understanding the Public Employee Pension Debate. His takeaway from that meeting: the problem is growing and many leading financial economists – those that have studied the numbers closely – say the problem is much bigger than the official numbers.
    According to the most recent data, if we look at all state and local pension systems combined, the unfunded liability is about $4 trillion. And it continues to grow, because of insufficient contributions and large, unsustainable payouts.

    This post was published at FinancialSense on 10/09/2017.


  • Facebook Security Chief Lashes Out: “Censorship Is Easy If You Don’t Worry About Becoming The Ministry Of Truth”

    In a furious tweetstorm this weekend, Facebook’s Chief Security Officer warned interfering desperate politicians and triggered letfists that the fake news problem is more complicated and dangerous to solve than the public thinks.
    As a reminder, we noted that Alex Stamos was seemingly pressured into ‘finding’ Russian evidence after Senator Mark Warner paid the social media company a visit –
    A few weeks after the French election, Warner flew out to California to visit Facebook in person. It was an opportunity for the senator to press Stamos directly on whether the Russians had used the company’s tools to disseminate anti-Clinton ads to key districts.
    Officials said Stamos underlined to Warner the magnitude of the challenge Facebook faced policing political content that looked legitimate.
    Stamos told Warner that Facebook had found no accounts that used advertising but agreed with the senator that some probably existed. The difficulty for Facebook was finding them.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 9, 2017.


  • California’s Housing is Bleeding Out and We Apply Band-Aids

    Insider view on how to deal with the Housing Crisis in California.
    Governor Jerry Brown just signed fifteen affordable-housing bills into law. A few might do a little good. Two senate bills will raise a bit of money. Senate Bill 2 will charge you a recording fee of up to $225 on any transaction not already subject to a transfer tax (e.g. a mortgage refinance). Senate Bill 3 is a $4 billion housing bond. Most of the money raised from these two efforts will go toward funding low-income housing.
    Assembly Bill 1505 will allow cities to once again require an affordable housing component in new residential projects, a requirement that had been ruled unlawful by the Court of Appeal in 2009. Jerry’s other new laws are, in a word, fluffy, well-intentioned but toothless efforts to spur cities on to do the right thing.
    About the money. According to the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco’s 700 unit Hunters View low-income housing project cost $450 million or $643,000 a unit. While appallingly high, that number sounds about right. Thus, if SB2 actually raises $250 million a year, California could add another 388 low-income units annually. And the whole $4 billion from SB 3 would be gone after 6220 new units. In a state which needs to add 100,000 new dwellings a year just to keep up with its population growth – and not allow the housing crisis to worsen – this is truly spitting in the ocean.

    This post was published at Wolf Street on Oct 8, 2017.


  • Soros, Kellogg, Ford: Donor List Of Anti-Trump ‘Resistance’ Group Revealed

    The Center for Community Change Action (CCCA), a Washington, D. C.-based 501 (c)(3) progressive community organizing group and contributor to the anti-Trump “Resistance” movement, counts some of the most prominent American families among its impressive donor base. Unfortunately, at least for those donors, their staggering contributions to the secretive group have just been revealed by The Washington Free Beacon and include massive multi-million dollar grants from George Soros, the Kellogg Foundation and the Ford Foundation, among others.
    The Free Beacon has obtained the group’s unredacted 2015 tax forms that shed light on its funders, who provide millions of dollars in assistance. The group appears to rely heavily on a few major liberal foundations, organizations, and unions.
    The Center for Community Change’s largest contribution was $3,000,000 from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, which was initially created by Will Kellogg, the food manufacturer and founder of Kellogg Company. The Ford Foundation, which was first created by the founders of the Ford Motor Company, added a $2,350,000 donation. The Open Society Foundation, a foundation run by liberal billionaire mega-donor George Soros, gave $1,750,000 to the Center for Community Change.
    Other donors to the organization include the California Endowment, which gave $524,500; the Marquerite Casey Foundation, which gave $515,000; Fidelity Charitable Gift, which donated $505,100; and the National Immigration Law Center, which gave $316,000.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 4, 2017.


  • Anti-Trump “Resistance School” Moves To Berkeley

    Students at the University of California, Berkeley can now join their peers at Harvard University for the second semester of ‘Resistance School’ aimed at fighting the Trump agenda.
    Due to the high popularity of the student-run program, with more than ‘175,000 participants tuning in last semester,’ Resistance School announced that Berkeley would be its ‘second campus’ in a September press release.
    ‘The new west coast campus represents a growing effort on behalf of Resistance School to provide practical skills to Reclaim, Rebuild, and Reimagine an America built on progressive values,’ the release explains.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 4, 2017.


  • San Francisco housing still in manic phase: Dump that is ‘uninhabitable’ with fire damage has pending offer at $1.4 million.

    Well being back in the Bay Area I realize once again how delusional people have become when it comes to chasing unicorn startups and all things real estate. I ran into multiple people and it seems like everyone is talking about real estate. Some of these people were showing me ‘deals’ on apps like Zillow or Redfin on their phones. ‘This place with some work can then be flipped in a month for a $200,000 profit.’ Why work when you can speculate on housing? The housing market is now in cult status and this psychological territory isn’t new. We don’t have to dig deep into historical texts and read about Florida real estate in the 1920s but need only look at the 2000s. San Francisco is out of control. And of course you have insulated mindsets from many that work in tech or the financial sector since they feel that money or an app can solve all of life’s challenges. Today we take a look at a home worthy of the crap shack title in San Francisco.
    Uninhabitable San Francisco home with fire and water damage – $1.4 million
    You always hear that you are paying for the land, not the property in California. If there is ever an example more worthy of that adage it will be with this home.

    This post was published at Doctor Housing Bubble on OCt 2, 2017.


  • Real Estate Company Is Replacing Agents With Robots

    With robots slowly but surely taking over every semi-skilled occupation including in a bizarre development, the production of cocaine which may well unleash the era of cocaine deflation upon Wall Street (a welcome development in light of ever-shrinking bonuses), a new – and familiar – industry has emerged as the robots’ next target. According to Newsday, a California real estate technology company that aims to lower the cost of home-selling by using robots and ‘big data’ instead of commission-based real estate agents has recently opened a Long Island office.
    The latest potential source of tech-inspired deflation, REX Real Estate Exchange, which charges a selling commission of only 2% instead of the usual 5 to 6%, launched its Long Island operation this summer. The Los Angeles-based company expects to start listing New York-area homes on its website, rexchange.com in the near-term.


    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 29, 2017.


  • The US Economy Is Failing – Paul Craig Roberts

    Do the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page editors read their own newspaper?
    The frontpage headline story for the Labor Day weekend was ‘Low Wage Growth Challenges Fed.’ Despite an alleged 4.4% unemployment rate, which is full employment, there is no real growth in wages. The front page story pointed out correctly that an economy alleged to be expanding at full employment, but absent any wage growth or inflation, is ‘a puzzle that complicates Federal Reserve policy decisions.’
    On the editorial page itself, under ‘letters to the editor,’ Professor Tony Lima of California State University points out what I have stressed for years: ‘The labor-force participation rate remains at historic lows. Much of the decrease is in the 18-34 age group, while participation rates have increased for those 55 and older.’ Professor Lima points out that more evidence that the American worker is not in good shape comes from the rising number of Americans who can only find part-time work, which leaves them with truncated incomes and no fringe benefits, such as health care.
    Positioned right next to this factual letter is the lead editorial written by someone who read neither the front page story or the professor’s letter. The lead editorial declares: ‘The biggest labor story this Labor Day is the trouble that employers are having finding workers across the country.’ The Journal’s editorial page editors believe the solution to the alleged labor shortage is

    This post was published at Paul Craig Roberts on September 29, 2017.


  • San Francisco Bay Area Pending Home Sales Plunge, California’s Drop too, and It’s Not a Blip

    Housing bubble, affordability crisis ‘pushed the market to a tipping point.’
    Pending home sales in California fell in August from a year ago, the second month in a row of year-over-year declines, according to the California Association of Realtors, with the Pending Home Sales Index dropping 3.5% from a year ago, after having dropped 2.6% in July:
    ‘As August marks the end of the peak home-buying season, the housing market is showing signs of slowing,’ it said. Real estate agents ‘reported fewer floor calls, listing appointments, and client presentations.’
    Pending home sales are notoriously volatile, but the pattern has now become well-established in the San Francisco Bay Area where pending homes sales have been plunging in the double digits year-over-year. And now Southern California is gravitating toward a similar pattern.
    The drop-offs are large, and are becoming consistent. This turns pending home sales from an otherwise iffy observation into a worrisome indicator that home sales over the next few months will slow substantially compared to last year.

    This post was published at Wolf Street on Sep 27, 2017.


  • UK Pension Fund Insolvency Soars by 30% in a Single Year

    The London Sunday Times business section headline demonstrates what is really facing us and governments implode. Public sector pensions liability surged 30% in a single year due to low bond yields. It is not possible for the UK to fund 1.8 trillion. The first course of action will be, as always, raise taxes. That is the path California has taken. Government only looks to solve a problem for the immediate day. They will NEVER look forward because a politician is EXCLUSIVELY concerned with the next election.

    This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Sep 26, 2017.


  • The Killing of History ~John Pilger

    One of the most hyped ‘events’ of American television, The Vietnam War, has started on the PBS network. The directors are Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. Acclaimed for his documentaries on the Civil War, the Great Depression and the history of jazz, Burns says of his Vietnam films, ‘They will inspire our country to begin to talk and think about the Vietnam war in an entirely new way’.
    In a society often bereft of historical memory and in thrall to the propaganda of its ‘exceptionalism’, Burns’ ‘entirely new’ Vietnam war is presented as ‘epic, historic work’. Its lavish advertising campaign promotes its biggest backer, Bank of America, which in 1971 was burned down by students in Santa Barbara, California, as a symbol of the hated war in Vietnam.
    Burns says he is grateful to ‘the entire Bank of America family’ which ‘has long supported our country’s veterans’. Bank of America was a corporate prop to an invasion that killed perhaps as many as four million Vietnamese and ravaged and poisoned a once bountiful land. More than 58,000 American soldiers were killed, and around the same number are estimated to have taken their own lives.
    I watched the first episode in New York. It leaves you in no doubt of its intentions right from the start. The narrator says the war ‘was begun in good faith by decent people out of fateful misunderstandings, American overconfidence and Cold War misunderstandings’.

    This post was published at 21st Century Wire on SEPTEMBER 22, 2017.