The Amazon Effect? Peter Schiff, a celebrity investor and Republican, believes that the decline of malls and brick-and-mortar businesses hasn't been caused by the rise of the e-commerce corporation Amazon but the simple fact American consumers are broke. Unemployment might be low, but high-paying jobs are hard to find and consumer debt claims more and more of the income from low-paying jobs. Schiff on The Street late last month:
Amazon has been here for a long time—this is the worst year for retail—it's worse than 2008 and 2009... This is because consumers are broke—they have lousy jobs, they're loaded up with debt and they can't afford to buy stuff.Schiff is the kind of Republican who doesn't like funny or hot money, buybacks that artificially inflate stock prices, and people who spend more than they have. He is a fiscal moralist of the old school.
While We Are Talking About Broke Americans on Labor Day: Back in April, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development "released its  revised income limits" for King and Snohomish County. It found that $50,400 for a single person in these counties was low income. And a family of four with an income of $72,000 was basically living in poverty. One must connect the findings of this report with a recent post, "A city of riches? Most Seattle filers make less than $50K, IRS data show" by Gene Balk of Seattle Times. It concerned a study by the Economic Opportunity Institute. This Seattle-based public policy think tank determined, by using local tax information from 2014, that 51 percent of our city's residents have an annual income that's lower than $50,000. This means we live in a city of broke people. Murray failed to do anything meaningful about this crisis, which is political rather than economic. Luxury apartments are still going up. People with middle-class incomes are being reduced to poverty by high rent and rising home values that increase tax burdens. This year's mayoral race is about housing. And if you want to see Murray's approach to the crisis (which is to do as little as politically possible) continued, vote for Jenny Durkan.
In August: There wasn't one day below 70 degrees.
Large Fire Erupted: Near Tacoma Mall yesterday. The blaze in Los Angeles is the largest in its history. Gov. Jay Inslee declared a statewide state of emergency because of the Jolly Mountain fire near Cle Elum, Washington. The 28-square-mile blaze has not stopped growing. A whole town, Roslyn, has been ordered to evacuate. The wildfire's smoke looks like it's rising from a super-volcano. Our skies are hazy again.
Please support #firefighters, many from local fire departments, by following closures and Sheriff evacuation orders. https://t.co/ZeeaGTANCR pic.twitter.com/VzUh0WcNBx
— Jolly Mountain Fire (@jolly_mountain) September 3, 2017
Police Suspect Fireworks Sparked the 3,000-acre Eagle Creek Wildfire: That fire forced people to evacuate the area, stranded hikers, and sent mountains of smoke into the Oregon sky. The suspect has been identified. He is a "juvenile male." He, as with millions of Americans, appears to have no grasp of the fact that our climate is radically changing. If such is the case, if he set off the fireworks, he is not to blame. Much of the US is in a state of denial about the climate. Millions have been conditioned not to accept that things are no longer the same, and as a consequence a number of prominent American habits and forms of consumption will have to be discontinued. This medicine is, in fact, much less bitter for Americans than the corporations that produce, market, and monopolize on their standard commodities.
Harvey Might Be The Greatest Car Disaster in US History: The initial estimate for cars destroyed by the floodwaters of Harvey is an astonishing 500,000. That number is likely to rise. Houston is a car city, and so the loss of so many vehicles will throw it into a chaos it has no way of clearing. Washington Post:
The loss is having an immediate impact, preventing many people from being able to return to work, sending craftsmen scrambling for new vehicles as they hope to rebuild the region, and leaving auto dealers who face millions of dollars in losses racing to restock amid unprecedented demand.Cars are a necessity in the Lone Star State. The vehicle ownership rate in Houston is nearly 95 percent (the area hit by Sandy in 2012 has a much lower rate of 71 percent). The insurance claims on cars are certainly not going to be processed quickly. Nor are cars cheap. Dealerships also have to recover from the storm and order new fossil-burning machines. What is this sprawling city going to do to get around in the meantime?
We Must Not Praise Billionaires and Rich People like Michael Dell For Donating to Harvey Relief Efforts: They can take that chump change back and stuff it. The situation in Texas is not for heroic individuals and feelings of Christian charity. It's a logistics matter for local, state, and federal agencies. So, rich people, just pay your fucking taxes, go on your ski trip, and leave the rest to a well-funded government.
Let's End With: