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Fragile Bird

US Politics: The Accountability Problem

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Regarding conservatives and climate change.  Most of the people on my route (I am a rural USPS contractor) are conservatives, many of them snowbirds with winter dwellings in warmer parts of the US.  Or they have extended families in warmer climes.  I talk with many of them frequently about matters economic (some admit a modest minimum wage hike might not be a bad idea) and about the climate, usually in connection with the weather (we've had a run of warmer than normal winters here.)  Most of them agree something weird is going on with the weather, and there might be something to this climate change bit - especially those with second homes or relatives in say, Florida or Texas. 

 

These are also people who regard Obama as a traitor and believe Trump is the best president the US ever had.    Still, more liberal types who are really, really good with words could get them to agree on these points. 

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4 hours ago, Cas Stark said:

$15 an hour works out to $30K a year, approximately.  I would assume since this is viewed as the minimum 'living wage' in many circles, that any guaranteed income would have to be at least this amount. 

Clearly you have never worked a minimum wage job, virtually all minimum wage jobs schedule between 25-35 hours per week  (varies week to week) and most are under stringent corporate directive (with scheduling algorithm) to make schedules as irregular as possible (day to day week to week month to month the schedule is designed to fluctuate.) 

and the better/ore productive you are as an employee the more irregular your schedule gets because your employer does not want you to have a regular schedule because that would make your second job easier to schedule with more hours and your employer doesn’t want your performance to decline from working 50-70 hours per week so they do everything possible to make your schedule as awful as they can without inducing you to quit. And your second job employer is doing the same thing.

and you can’t just work one job because you never know how many hours you will work the next week and if you’ll have enough hours in a month to make rent and pay your other bills. So you have to get a second job to just get some stability in your finances.

minimum wage in the age of algorithms is a special kind of hell many people who worked minimum wage in earlier eras can’t  wrap their heads around.

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1 hour ago, lokisnow said:

Clearly you have never worked a minimum wage job, virtually all minimum wage jobs schedule between 25-35 hours per week  (varies week to week) and most are under stringent corporate directive (with scheduling algorithm) to make schedules as irregular as possible (day to day week to week month to month the schedule is designed to fluctuate.) 

and the better/ore productive you are as an employee the more irregular your schedule gets because your employer does not want you to have a regular schedule because that would make your second job easier to schedule with more hours and your employer doesn’t want your performance to decline from working 50-70 hours per week so they do everything possible to make your schedule as awful as they can without inducing you to quit. And your second job employer is doing the same thing.

and you can’t just work one job because you never know how many hours you will work the next week and if you’ll have enough hours in a month to make rent and pay your other bills. So you have to get a second job to just get some stability in your finances.

minimum wage in the age of algorithms is a special kind of hell many people who worked minimum wage in earlier eras can’t  wrap their heads around.

I'd also add that transportation costs are a large cost to low-wage workers. In non-city environments there are people without cars, but life is pretty difficult for them. And of course if they are in the city, their housing costs are higher, plus the cost of a bus pass. 

The stress of working in general leads to you spending money. I'm sure many of us have been there.

So, no UBI would not have to be equal to minimum wage at all. Although I am not at all opposed to jacking up the minimum wage  higher and setting UBI at 15. 

And of course if we have already expanded healthcare, not as much healthcare costs would have to be calculated into UBI.

Even a very limited UBI would pretty much eliminate deep poverty, which is a good in its own right. 

Edited by Martell Spy

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5 hours ago, Rippounet said:

Oh, I agree with that. Like, 686 billion dollars for the US military? According to my calculator, if that was cut down by half, a 30k UBI could be provided to about 11 million people.

Of course, you might argue that the military-industrial complex provides jobs, technology and geopolitical influence. To which I'd answer that 11 million poor people would no doubt spend their "free" money, thus helping the economy as well. And again, since I'm not a conservative, I think most of those 11 million would actually use their time to be productive members of society. Also, I'm still leaving 343 billion $ for the US military, which ain't bad, since it would *still* be the largest military budget in the world.

Who gets to choose which 11 million? The military-industrial complex as well as the telecoms and various other large corporations which collect money from the government are undoubtedly parasitic too, but if we're going to limit their parasitism (this is a purely hypothetical argument; it will never happen within the existing framework), why not simply collect less money from the people who are paying it in the first place?

5 hours ago, Rippounet said:

And what's with you and New York anyway? Even if you're correct and public services in NY being overpriced, what is that supposed to demonstrate exactly?

Partly because New York is the city I know best (I've lived in three others over the course of my life, but not for as long), partly because its politicians fight very hard to claim that they're on the leading edge of the progressive movement (e.g. Ocasio-Cortez is from here) and partly because New York is emblematic of the economic environment the country is being pushed into.

2 hours ago, ThinkerX said:

Conservatives repeatedly and loudly denounce wasteful government spending, citing such things as $100 hammers and $300 toilet seats - yet almost never acknowledge that markup comes from the contracts and companies *selling* those items.  They engage in such practices because they can get away with it.  Yet, to conservatives, these criminal contractors and companies are heroic, models of efficiency.

Not in this case. Everybody knows that the tax money is somehow making its way to private hands, but it's hard to figure out exactly where it's going and even if you manage to do so, it's impossible to get the city to justify why they went for that specific high cost, low production option.

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17 minutes ago, Altherion said:

Partly because New York is the city I know best (I've lived in three others over the course of my life, but not for as long), partly because its politicians fight very hard to claim that they're on the leading edge of the progressive movement (e.g. Ocasio-Cortez is from here) and partly because New York is emblematic of the economic environment the country is being pushed into.

I don't see how anyone is pushing the country into anything. There are major issues at hand (rising inequality and a growing shortage of jobs) and people vote for politicians who propose ideas to try and solve them.

17 minutes ago, Altherion said:

Who gets to choose which 11 million? The military-industrial complex as well as the telecoms and various other large corporations which collect money from the government are undoubtedly parasitic too, but if we're going to limit their parasitism (this is a purely hypothetical argument; it will never happen within the existing framework), why not simply collect less money from the people who are paying it in the first place?

That's a pretty interesting question. It goes all the way to what the purpose of a society is. Lowering taxes only provides a temporary economic boost to the ever-shrinking proportion of people who are able to live confortably with the fruits of their labor or capital. But lowering taxes also gives less means to help the others, whose numbers will only keep growing.
A society that would abandon the growing masses of the unemployable and the working poor to provide relief for the lucky few would no longer be worthy of the name. Though we are coming close to that, of course. The core of the neo-liberal project is precisely to destroy the fabric of our societies ; something that would seem utterly crazy to write if Thatcher hadn't been so open about it all the way back in the 1980s.

Of course there's a minor issue here that the very economic structure based on financing government spending through taxes isn't really credible anymore, considering the US deficit. I'm tempted to say that nowadays taxes' main role is starting to be as a guarantee to back monetary creation (current or past) and preserve the value of our currencies. Since we're dealing with hypotheticals anyway, one might wonder whether an alternative guarantee mechanism could not emerge eventually, though not in our lifetime.

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Ok NYC:

1.  Can we all please stipulate that DeBlasio is a third rate, venal, clown?  And can we stipulate that Cuomo is a second rate, possibly venal, overprivileged brat?  Great.  Now that we have that off our chests, let's continue.

2.  NYC has a bunch of things going for it and against it.  I've lived in Manhattan since 1999.  My sister has lived in Brooklyn since 2003.  I've seen HUGE improvements in the city during these past 20 years.  The city is cleaner, safer, and more liveable than it was 20 years ago.  Bike lanes, the high line, universal pre-K, the completion of the UES extension of the Q, a higher minimum wage; all of these things have happened since 1999.  That's not to say there aren't problems, which I will discuss below, but let's not use NYC as the poster child for a failing city.  Quite the opposite - despite our current clown mayor, the city is thriving.

3.  Manhattan will always look dirty as compared to its peer cities. This is because Manhattan does not have alley-ways.  This is because when urban planners laid out the grid way back in 1811, to maximize real estate, they did not include alleys.  Existing alleys either pre-date the grid or are historical accidents (e.g., the Schubert Alley is an old theater fire exit).  2 million people create a lot of garbage.  Thus, you will always see piles of garbage on the city streets.

4.  Also, because of Local Law 11, you will always see scaffolding up in NYC.  Local Law 11 requires buildings to test their facades in certain ways each set number of years (depends on the facade type) for safety. To do the testing, you need scaffolding.

5.  There are huge issues in NYC that need to be addressed.  Two of the biggest are transportation infrastructure and availability of affordable housing stock.  There is currently tension between Albany, which favors improving what I'll call automotive infrastracture, versus the city, which favors improving what I'll call public transportation infrastructure.  The city is correct here - we need fewer cars in the city and improvements to train services.  And there are definitely those works in progress, but OMG such a struggle (don't mention the L around me - I might not shut up).  And the disruptions being caused by ride sharing, etc., are real, and should be considered from an urban planning standpoint asap, rather than continuing to develop lightly regulated.  I few ride sharing as an extension of the public transportation system in NYC, and I think it should be regulated as such.

6.  Housing stock is a massive issue.  The massive pied a terres that are basically giant money laundries on the south of Central Park should never have been allowed to happen.  But they have, and absent better KYC laws, they will continue to whitewash oligarch cash, and I'll continue to be ticked, while meanwhile apartments for the masses are not being built and city housing decays.     

7.  Schools here are complicated.  NYC is actually in front of some of the issues that have been mentioned up thread.  However, NYC schools are remarkably segregated both economically and socially.  Though money is spread per school, the difference between a PS 6 on the one hand, and a school, e.g., in the Bronx, has as much to do with the fact that the UES parents whose children go to PS 6 raise a PTA budget in excess of $1 million per year.  There was talk a couple of years back of trying to reallocate that money to other schools and also do more bussing to desegrate the schools, but nothing too much has come of it yet.  The howling currently has to do with eliminating testing for the selective schools, which I have VERY mixed feelings about.  

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58 minutes ago, Mlle. Zabzie said:

Ok NYC:

 

6.  Housing stock is a massive issue.  The massive pied a terres that are basically giant money laundries on the south of Central Park should never have been allowed to happen.  But they have, and absent better KYC laws, they will continue to whitewash oligarch cash, and I'll continue to be ticked, while meanwhile apartments for the masses are not being built and city housing decays.     

 

Thanks for your very informative post. I was in New York City for the first time in around 20 years for the Names Society conference the first week in January and I really enjoyed learning about the lack of alleys and the scaffolding issue.  A law requiring facades to be inspected sounds like a good idea to me -- it's good to know that's what going on with most of the scaffolds.

Can you expand a little on Point 6 above? The online definitions of "pied a terre" I found all say it is a "small" second home, so "massive" would seem to be a contradiction in terms. And does KYC stand for "Know Your Customer"?  I suppose what you are talking about here are extreme luxury condominium buildings where buying the condo is somehow part of money laundering. Who exactly are the buyers here and how does buying a luxury condo on the south side of Central Park allow them to "launder" ill gotten gains? 

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1 hour ago, Rippounet said:

I don't see how anyone is pushing the country into anything. There are major issues at hand (rising inequality and a growing shortage of jobs) and people vote for politicians who propose ideas to try and solve them.

I don't mean a person, I mean the growing inequality combined with the natural tendency of corporations to cluster in relatively small areas. This results in cities where the middle class consists of the servants of these corporations and government employees who get salaries which are nominally large (e.g. the average for a public school teacher is nearly $70K), but are in fact in line with the rest of the country after taxes, rent and cost-of-living. Everyone else can eek out an existence by charging prices in line with this cost of living, but it's hard for a small business to be successful in such places.

1 hour ago, Mlle. Zabzie said:

1.  Can we all please stipulate that DeBlasio is a third rate, venal, clown?  And can we stipulate that Cuomo is a second rate, possibly venal, overprivileged brat?

Yes.

1 hour ago, Mlle. Zabzie said:

NYC has a bunch of things going for it and against it.  I've lived in Manhattan since 1999.  My sister has lived in Brooklyn since 2003.  I've seen HUGE improvements in the city during these past 20 years.  The city is cleaner, safer, and more liveable than it was 20 years ago.  Bike lanes, the high line, universal pre-K, the completion of the UES extension of the Q, a higher minimum wage; all of these things have happened since 1999.  That's not to say there aren't problems, which I will discuss below, but let's not use NYC as the poster child for a failing city.  Quite the opposite - despite our current clown mayor, the city is thriving.

Though I never lived in Manhattan, I grew up in NYC in the 1990s, came back nearly every year for a while in the 2000s and finally moved back for good a couple of years ago. Some good things have happened, but I would hesitate to say that they outweigh the bad. I think this varies by neighborhood though and Manhattan gets by far the most of the good and least of the bad. Basically, some people get a Q extension while others get years of track work that further slows down a commute which is already 20-30% slower than it was 20 years ago.

40 minutes ago, Ormond said:

Can you expand a little on Point 6 above? The online definitions of "pied a terre" I found all say it is a "small" second home, so "massive" would seem to be a contradiction in terms. And does KYC stand for "Know Your Customer"?  I suppose what you are talking about here are extreme luxury condominium buildings where buying the condo is somehow part of money laundering. Who exactly are the buyers here and how does buying a luxury condo on the south side of Central Park allow them to "launder" ill gotten gains?

Maybe Mlle. Zabzie knows more details, but it's common knowledge here that people from all over the world buy second homes in the city -- Russia, China, the Arabian peninsula -- you name it. They recently cracked down on some of the Russians who were close to Putin, but on the whole, nobody looks too closely at where the money came from and these apartments and houses maintain their value so it works well as a laundromat for anything from millions to tens of millions of dollars.

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13 hours ago, DMC said:

So did anyone see this poll on whether Northam should resign or not?  47% want him gone and 47% think he should stay.  Other notables:  42% of GOP think he should stay as do 58% of African Americans, and 60% think AG Mark Herring should stay.  Looks increasingly likely Fairfax will be the only casualty of this mess (the poll was conducted before the second allegation came out on Friday), which is just an unbelievable turnaround for Northam in a week.  He's a really lucky guy.

Was that poll taken before or after Northam referred to slaves as 'indentured servants' on TV? 

https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/429335-gayle-king-corrects-northam-for-referring-to-slaves-as-indentured

Because I think that taking that in combination with the blackface stuff might make voters less inclined to extend him the benefit of the doubt. 

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41 minutes ago, mormont said:

Was that poll taken before or after Northam referred to slaves as 'indentured servants' on TV? 

Well, I don't know technically when that interview actually took place, but certainly the news broke after that poll concluded on Friday.  However, I'm not sure that's gonna move the needle too much.  Especially when you consider Fairfax's second accuser didn't become public til after probably every respondent's data was collected as well in that poll.  Fairfax is now looking like a goner.  If you want to keep either Northam or the AG (Herring), what's the big difference between the two?  And that seems to be the attitude of most Virginians.  Or at least enough that the public outcry isn't going to lead to enough Senators voting to convict an impeachment.

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38 minutes ago, mormont said:

Was that poll taken before or after Northam referred to slaves as 'indentured servants' on TV? 

https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/429335-gayle-king-corrects-northam-for-referring-to-slaves-as-indentured

Because I think that taking that in combination with the blackface stuff might make voters less inclined to extend him the benefit of the doubt.

That's just fucking mind boggling. I think that comment might actually be worse than the blackface, which is shocking to even consider.

The favorable interpretation of this statement is that he's a fucking idiot who has no concept of what SLAVERY means.

The medium interpretation is that he was actively trying to minimize the horrific nature of the violent exploitation of African peoples by inaccurately paralleling the (also disgusting, but nowhere near comparable) abuse of poor European immigrants. 

And finally we get to the unfavorable consideration. That he's a fucking monster who was doing as mentioned above in service to his broader beliefs that slavery was justifiable and 'worth it' by implying that like indentured servants, African slaves were getting an opportunity for their troubles which balanced the whole 'kept in bondage, beaten, raped, degraded, forcibly kidnapped, worked-to-death' dynamic.

And I already thought he should be fucking stoned for the blackface shit in the first place.

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This idea of black slaves being indentured servants seems to keep coming up. Is there a poll out there asking Americans, particularly white Americans, about how bad things were for slaves? It wouldn’t surprise me if there are people who think it was like having a job you don’t like. Except you got your housing and your food as well...

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18 hours ago, OldGimletEye said:

I still want to know from conservative sorts of people what they are going to do about climate change.

Blame AOC for bringing up the problem because it 'wasn't a real problem' before all this. 

Besides that she has an asteroid named after her which makes her more than uppity. 

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9 hours ago, Mlle. Zabzie said:

Ok NYC:

1.  Can we all please stipulate that DeBlasio is a third rate, venal, clown?  And can we stipulate that Cuomo is a second rate, possibly venal, overprivileged brat?  Great.  Now that we have that off our chests, let's continue.

2.  NYC has a bunch of things going for it and against it.  I've lived in Manhattan since 1999.  My sister has lived in Brooklyn since 2003.  I've seen HUGE improvements in the city during these past 20 years.  The city is cleaner, safer, and more liveable than it was 20 years ago.  Bike lanes, the high line, universal pre-K, the completion of the UES extension of the Q, a higher minimum wage; all of these things have happened since 1999.  That's not to say there aren't problems, which I will discuss below, but let's not use NYC as the poster child for a failing city.  Quite the opposite - despite our current clown mayor, the city is thriving.

3.  Manhattan will always look dirty as compared to its peer cities. This is because Manhattan does not have alley-ways.  This is because when urban planners laid out the grid way back in 1811, to maximize real estate, they did not include alleys.  Existing alleys either pre-date the grid or are historical accidents (e.g., the Schubert Alley is an old theater fire exit).  2 million people create a lot of garbage.  Thus, you will always see piles of garbage on the city streets.

4.  Also, because of Local Law 11, you will always see scaffolding up in NYC.  Local Law 11 requires buildings to test their facades in certain ways each set number of years (depends on the facade type) for safety. To do the testing, you need scaffolding.

5.  There are huge issues in NYC that need to be addressed.  Two of the biggest are transportation infrastructure and availability of affordable housing stock.  There is currently tension between Albany, which favors improving what I'll call automotive infrastracture, versus the city, which favors improving what I'll call public transportation infrastructure.  The city is correct here - we need fewer cars in the city and improvements to train services.  And there are definitely those works in progress, but OMG such a struggle (don't mention the L around me - I might not shut up).  And the disruptions being caused by ride sharing, etc., are real, and should be considered from an urban planning standpoint asap, rather than continuing to develop lightly regulated.  I few ride sharing as an extension of the public transportation system in NYC, and I think it should be regulated as such.

6.  Housing stock is a massive issue.  The massive pied a terres that are basically giant money laundries on the south of Central Park should never have been allowed to happen.  But they have, and absent better KYC laws, they will continue to whitewash oligarch cash, and I'll continue to be ticked, while meanwhile apartments for the masses are not being built and city housing decays.     

7.  Schools here are complicated.  NYC is actually in front of some of the issues that have been mentioned up thread.  However, NYC schools are remarkably segregated both economically and socially.  Though money is spread per school, the difference between a PS 6 on the one hand, and a school, e.g., in the Bronx, has as much to do with the fact that the UES parents whose children go to PS 6 raise a PTA budget in excess of $1 million per year.  There was talk a couple of years back of trying to reallocate that money to other schools and also do more bussing to desegrate the schools, but nothing too much has come of it yet.  The howling currently has to do with eliminating testing for the selective schools, which I have VERY mixed feelings about.  

Love how you don't even bat an eye at gentrification. As a nycer since the 80s this is by far the biggest problem with this city. 

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2 hours ago, Relic said:

Love how you don't even bat an eye at gentrification. As a nycer since the 80s this is by far the biggest problem with this city. 

Oh NYC, you’re the new Texas. Congrats!

You deserve your Knicks btw…..

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4 hours ago, Jace, Basilissa said:

That's just fucking mind boggling. I think that comment might actually be worse than the blackface, which is shocking to even consider.

The favorable interpretation of this statement is that he's a fucking idiot who has no concept of what SLAVERY means.

The medium interpretation is that he was actively trying to minimize the horrific nature of the violent exploitation of African peoples by inaccurately paralleling the (also disgusting, but nowhere near comparable) abuse of poor European immigrants. 

And finally we get to the unfavorable consideration. That he's a fucking monster who was doing as mentioned above in service to his broader beliefs that slavery was justifiable and 'worth it' by implying that like indentured servants, African slaves were getting an opportunity for their troubles which balanced the whole 'kept in bondage, beaten, raped, degraded, forcibly kidnapped, worked-to-death' dynamic.

And I already thought he should be fucking stoned for the blackface shit in the first place.

 There are still school textbooks that refer to slaves as indentured servants or just straight up call them workers. Don’t be shocked that a 60 year old in the South still talks like that. Hundreds of years of racism and oppression don’t just get washed out overnight. Hell, one of the mods here said something similar to this just two years ago.

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2 hours ago, Relic said:

Love how you don't even bat an eye at gentrification. As a nycer since the 80s this is by far the biggest problem with this city. 

I have some mixed feelings on gentrification, mostly due to it making the city safer in a lot of previously terrible areas. But I do agree that it has driven up prices significantly, destroyed small business, lessened the inherent culture of neighborhoods and displaced millions.

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19 hours ago, Simon Steele said:

When I hear teachers in America make an average of 60,000, I think "must be another state." I do believe they factor things into that number outside of your salary. I make 39,000 a year, but I might fall under a higher average when they factor in benefits, like health insurance. So out of my roughly 3200 a month salary, despite getting insurance, I'm still paying 500 out of that check for insurance. Then there's taxes, retirement, and all the rest. I get about 2200 a month. I live in affordable housing where I live, which is government subsidized housing that helps people like me live in a community with housing prices. My monthly rent, even subsidized, is 1167.00. About fifty percent of my net. I have to consistently work overloads and summer classes and save my (shrinking) tax refunds, and apply these extra sources of income in monthly increments to my monthly salary.

I think my state has one of the lowest average teacher salaries in the country, but still, I have a master's degree, I've been in the profession for 10 years, and if I moved (which I can't due to custody arrangement) to a bigger city, I could probably make about ten thousand more a year. But then, cost of living would be higher, or I would have to commute. Etc.

I will probably never own a home, and if, IF!, the income repayment program for student loans isn't axed by Republicans, I will have my massive loan debt forgiven in six years. But given the amount of money the government will have to forgive, I will be hit with a massive tax that year I achieve debt freedom, and in America, you better pay those taxes or you go to prison. 

At this point, I'm just hoping that I'll still be working when old age takes me, and I'll have enough life insurance to pay off the rest of my debt load. Maybe overly cynical, but that's how it feels right now. Crushing.

That's awful. What state do you live in? Having a master's is pretty much the norm these days, but you're not being compensated accordingly. The cost of living might be higher elsewhere, but it might balance out in your benefits package.

The average salary in my school district is better than $60K, and some teachers make more than $85K. (Administrators make well into the six figures.) There's one local district where the average salary is $82K. 

Edit: I just looked up the latest data. The average salary in my district is now $82K and the district that was $82K is now $88K. Statewide, the average is around $66K. 

Edited by Ice Queen

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10 hours ago, Altherion said:

 

Maybe Mlle. Zabzie knows more details, but it's common knowledge here that people from all over the world buy second homes in the city -- Russia, China, the Arabian peninsula -- you name it. They recently cracked down on some of the Russians who were close to Putin, but on the whole, nobody looks too closely at where the money came from and these apartments and houses maintain their value so it works well as a laundromat for anything from millions to tens of millions of dollars.

 

10 hours ago, Ormond said:

Thanks for your very informative post. I was in New York City for the first time in around 20 years for the Names Society conference the first week in January and I really enjoyed learning about the lack of alleys and the scaffolding issue.  A law requiring facades to be inspected sounds like a good idea to me -- it's good to know that's what going on with most of the scaffolds.

Can you expand a little on Point 6 above? The online definitions of "pied a terre" I found all say it is a "small" second home, so "massive" would seem to be a contradiction in terms. And does KYC stand for "Know Your Customer"?  I suppose what you are talking about here are extreme luxury condominium buildings where buying the condo is somehow part of money laundering. Who exactly are the buyers here and how does buying a luxury condo on the south side of Central Park allow them to "launder" ill gotten gains? 

In NYC realtor speak pied a terre means second/third home that you do not live in full time.  So, for instance, many coop buildings prohibit pied a terres.  Size really has nothing to do with it.  KYC does mean "know your customer."  Altherion is correct.  What happens is that shady foreign money goes into a chain of Delaware C corporations and buys an apartment.  It is not clear who owns the apartment at the top, but if it is a condo it doesn't matter.  Eventually the realty can be sold and the proceeds extracted.

2 hours ago, Relic said:

Love how you don't even bat an eye at gentrification. As a nycer since the 80s this is by far the biggest problem with this city. 

Actually, I did bat an eye.  I don't have a problem at all with "gentrification" which is a stupid bugbear that means not a whole lot of anything (and something different to everyone, it seems).  Making a city or a neighborhood nicer and safer is NOT a bad thing.  What is a bad thing is not having a mixed use neighborhood with affordable housing stock for different income levels.  This is a city.  Things are going to change.  And it's NYC, so embrace change.  I don't have a lot of sympathy for the "but what about the local businesses" stuff.  They absolutely still exist.  They change and morph and all the rest, and are subject to both macro and micro forces (the whinging to to me is like the myth of the family farm).  But the housing stock crisis is real.  So I would personally focus on making sure there are places for real people to live within the city and not so much on bemoaning some concept of "gentrification."

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