homicide skyscrapers index economic forecasts

Skyscrapers warn us, A Councilman advises us
deficit spending land value tax

Homicide drops in US despite fallen economy

You may have read here before that, according to the 18-yr land-price cycle, the bottom is over. Some pros agree, others want more debt. We trim, blend, and append five 2012 articles from: (1) USA Today, Jan 10, on mortality by K. Johnson; (2) BBC, Jan 10, on skyscrapers; (3) USA Today, Jan 22, on forecasts by T. Mullaney & B. Hansen; (4) The Guardian, Jan 10, on economists by Mark Weisbrot; and (5) St Joseph Telegraph, Jan 19, on land tax by Mike Bozarth (city councilman).

by Kevin Johnson, by BBC, by Tim Mullaney & Barbara Hansen, by Mark Weisbrot, and by Mike Bozarth

For the first time in 45 years, homicide is no longer among the 15 leading causes of death in the United States, according to an analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Homicide has declined steeply over more than a decade, especially in America's largest cities. Between 1990 and 2010, the last full year of crime data reported to the FBI, homicides in New York dropped 76%; they were down 70% in Los Angeles and 49% in Chicago during the same time period.

Of the 2.4 million total deaths reported in 2010, there were 16,065 homicides, down from 16,799 a year earlier. Heart disease and cancer, the most common causes of death, accounted for 47% of all deaths last year.

What kills us
1. Heart disease
2. Cancer
3. Chronic lower respiratory diseases
4. Cerebrovascular disease (stroke)
5. Accidents
6. Alzheimer’s
7. Diabetes
8. Nephritis (kidney disease)
9. Influenza/Pneumonia
10. Suicide
11. Septicemia (blood poisoning)
12. Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis
13. Hypertension
14. Parkinson’s
15. Pneumonitis (inflammation of lungs)

To see the whole article, click here .

JJS: Less publicized suicide remains in the top ten. Violence against oneself may be a stronger condemnation of a society than violence against others. Even US soldiers, people who took on the job of killing others, committed a record number of suicides this past year -- 165 active duty, but a non-record 278 including nonmobilized, down from 305. Sad figures to add to the horrific totals of victims of war. To see the source, click here .

The drop in violence is supposedly part of a global, historic trend for the human species as a whole (to see the article, click here ). The widespread drop in violence may be related to a broad rise in prosperity, as annual crime rates have de-linked from periodic recessions.

Even as crime falls, the business cycle remains as regular as ever and reveals certain indicators, such as the Erection Index (a Hong Kong economist christened it). It's an old story for readers of these pages and of our cohort Phil Anderson. To see his book, Secret Life of Real Estate, click here .

There is an "unhealthy correlation" between the building of skyscrapers and subsequent financial crashes, Barclays Capital notes.
* The world's first skyscraper, the Equitable Life building in New York, was completed in 1873 and coincided with a five-year recession.
* The Empire State building was built as the Great Depression was under way.
* Malaysia's Petronas Towers in 1997 coincided with the Asian financial crisis.
* The current world's tallest, the Burj Khalifa, was built just before Dubai almost went bust.

Londoners are currently seeing the construction of what will be Western Europe's tallest building, the Shard.

China is building 53% of all the tall buildings in the world. JPMorgan Chase said that the Chinese property market could drop by as much as 20% in value in the country's major cities within the next 12 to 18 months.

To see the whole article, click here .

JJS: While China’s bubble may soon burst, the worst is over in the West -- for now.

The U.S. economy's growth will slow this year, leaving the 8.5% unemployment rate about where it is now on Election Day, according to USA Today's quarterly survey. Those 48 polled economists set the risk of another U.S. recession at 22% probability in the next 12 months.

More than 90% of the economists think home prices have either already bottomed out or will by the end of this year [without crediting the 18-yr cycle].

The Federal Reserve may pump as much as $1 trillion into the economy by [using newly printed notes to] buy mortgage-backed bonds from banks and institutions.

To see the whole article, click here .

JJS: Lucky banks and institutions. Too bad the Fed won’t buy bonds from you or me. Oh well. When all that money that never existed before finally trickles down to us, it will inflate prices. This ongoing shrinkage of our purchasing power does not bother leftists advocating bigger government. They mean well but what's that about good intentions?

Is the public really up in arms about the deficit? No, actually, they care more about the economy and jobs. Not tax cuts. [Yet should they be forced to choose?]

The average social security check is about $1,177 a month, and a majority of senior citizens are getting most of their meager income from social security. Why do economists insist on creating more poverty among the elderly? Social security can currently pay all promised benefits for the next 24 years without any changes.

Why are economists talking about long-term budget problems instead of how to fix our healthcare system? The long-term budget problem is almost completely a problem of the rising price of health insurance -- that still leaves 50 million people uninsured.

Besides, a country that can pay its foreign public debt in its own currency and runs its own central bank does not end up like Greece. Even Japan is not going to end up like Greece, and Japan has a gross public debt of about 220% of its GDP, more than twice the size of ours. And the yen is nowhere near the dollar in its importance as an international reserve currency.

Talk about the deficit and the debt will block another "stimulus"; couldn’t deficit spending counter high unemployment and a lot of unnecessary misery in the world's richest country?

To see the whole article, click here .

JJS: It’s not enough to care about workers, the elderly, and the ill. It’s also necessary to understand how economies work, why they break down, and what to do about it. Here’s an idea that has worked wherever tried, recently written up by a city councilman.

Although the efficiency of a land value tax has been established knowledge since Adam Smith, it was most famously promoted by Henry George. In his best selling work ‘’Progress and Poverty’’ (1879), George explained how the community created the value of land. Taxing it have been Taiwan (Republic of China), Hong Kong, Singapore, as well as in some localities in Pennsylvania.

As an owner of four rental houses, I had some hesitation with the LVT. My experience with property taxes was they discourage exterior appearance and improvements. I know a barber whose house has needed a coat of paint for several decades and looks run down. But inside is beautiful. His rationale is if he paints the house and fixes it up outside then his property taxes will go up.

But the LVT taxes the value of the land itself and not the improvements on the land. So it would be more likely to encourage exterior maintenance. It would discourage absentee landlords and speculators from buying real estate then plan on reselling it at an obscene profit.

To see the whole article, click here .

JJS: One of the most powerful things a government could do about lagging opportunity is to de-tax wages. At the same time, stimulate owners to use their land most efficiently by charging them the annual rental value of their location while de-taxing buildings and other goods.

Now that you grasp the reform, tell Bill Clinton. In his newest book, Back To Work, he invites people to send him better solutions than what he enumerates. He says to reach him via "Hashtag #BacktoWork" (hashtag is code for sending a message via Twitter). Keep the message within the required 140 characters [suggested by Bill Batt].


Editor Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics and helped prepare a course for the UN on geonomics. To take the “Land Rights” course, click here .

Also see:

For a nation always at war, a surprise

For feds, more get 6-figure salaries

A New Heresy -- Abolish Corporate Income Taxes

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