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Certain Voices are Pushing It – Would Universal Income Help or Hurting Americans?

September 8th, 2017 Comments off
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Featured image credit, Niche Pursuits, MHProNews.

As innovation and automation displace jobs and transform the marketplace, it will require a paradigm shift in policy to ensure that the economy remains stable, everyone benefits, and no one is left behind,” U.S. Representative Chris Lee (D-HI) wrote on r/futurology on Reddit.

With experts saying that most service jobs – like wait staff, cooks, cleaners and more – will be replaced as automation takes over. A growing number fear for the jobs of those who work in these industries, per the Associated Press (AP).

In Hawaii, where service jobs make a large portion of the economy, due to the tourism industry, the threat of automation is more critical. One proposed solution being proposed there is universal basic income (UBI) for residents, regardless of their employment status.

Both Sides of the Universal Income Coin

No one has yet to propose a plausible way of paying for the universal basic income concept.  But to properly understand this issue – or any other – the voices of some of those promoting and opposing the concept deserves a fair hearing.

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U.S. Representative Chris Lee. Image credit, Wikipedia.

Representative Lee introduced a bill that proposed providing a basic income for Hawaiians. State lawmakers recently voted to explore the idea.

Hawaii’s heavy reliance on a service-based economy makes it more susceptible to economic disruption and job loss than any other states, and work must begin now to address the rapid automation, innovation, and globalization that already is beginning to displace significant amounts of local jobs, resulting in worsening income equality,” the bill reads.

The full bill is available for download here.

Why Consider Universal Income?

In the modern world, everybody should have the opportunity to work and to thrive. Most countries can afford to make sure that everybody has their basic needs covered,” Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson wrote in a recent blog post.

He went on to write, “One idea that could help make this a reality is a universal basic income. This concept should be further explored to see how it can work practically.”

The basic concept of universal basic income is that people would receive a set amount of money each month or year that is expected to cover basic needs like shelter, food and other essentials. This income would be given to everyone, regardless of whether they are employed or not.

It certainly sounds appealing to millions – as did the promise of free college, or free health care – in the last election cycle.

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Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson. Image credit, Business Insider.

Basic income is such a broad subject, it could encompass hundreds of different kinds of mechanisms to help families,” Lee told CBS. “You don’t have to enact the entire thing in one massive program; you can take bits and pieces that make sense.”

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Karl Widerquist, co-founder of the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network, an informal group promoting the idea of UBI. Image credit, Basic Income Guarantee.

One example advanced by advocates as a form of universal basic income is Alaska’s oil dividend. Those payments range from $1,000 to $2,000 annually, per the Associated Press (AP).

Natalie Foster, co-chairwoman of the Economic Security Project, says that people don’t see it as a hand-out, but as an Alaskan right to oil royalties.

If people in Alaska deserve an oil dividend, why don’t the people of Hawaii deserve a beach dividend?” asked Karl Widerquist, co-founder of the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network, an informal group promoting the idea of UBI.

Pursuing hard work enough to make a decent living no longer applies in an economy in which automation and innovation have taken that away from so many people,” Lee told Business Insider.

Those For and Against a Universal Basic Income

As one would expect, there are arguments both for and against the idea of a universal basic income. What Hawaii is considering, is something that has been proposed by the likes of Elon Musk, and potential 2020 presidential candidate – Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.

However, just because the idea is proposed by influential names does not mean it is one that will work.

Many economists have pointed out the major issue with universal basic income – where is the money going to come from?

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Image credit, Good Ventures.

A study conducted by a team of economists at the left-leaning Roosevelt Institute claim that implementing a guaranteed income of $1,000 a month for all Americans would accelerate U.S. economic growth by 12.56 percent over the course of 8 years.

But they propose financing such a program by increasing federal debt.

They also looked at the possibility of financing it through an increased redistributed tax. They found that doing that would lead to a smaller growth, producing 2.63 percent of GDP growth over 8 years.

Their study says that doing it this way, would lead to a 1.39 percent decrease in federal debt, as well as a decrease in unemployment.

The study did not however, account for issues like whether it would make people less likely to seek jobs, or increase their freedom to take innovative risks.

Another often overlooked challenge is that historically, the wealthy flee high tax jurisdictions. Even as some claim to support higher taxes, they often move their money to a lower tax state – or a lower tax nation.

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That’s why there’s an estimated 2 to 3 trillion U.S. dollars offshore today.  High taxes, high regulations, pushed those companies out.

 

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Image credit, Self Learn.

So how do Alaskan’s spend their oil dividend, which is the closest thing to a form of universal basic income in the U.S.?

A study commissioned by the Economic Security Project found that 72 percent of Alaskans saved the money for essentials, emergencies, debt payments, retirement or education. Just 1 percent said that receiving the oil dividend had made them likely to work less,” per AP.

One thing that should be noted, is that the oil dividend of $1,000-2,000 annually, is far less than the $1,000 per month proposed in the Roosevelt Institute study.

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Tom Yamachika. Image credit, Biz Journals.

A lot of poor people move here anyway, because they don’t freeze,” said Tom Yamachika, president of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii. “This won’t help.”

With a steady stream of income that requires no work, will people be less likely to work? The hope may be that they will use the money to spend on extras, side projects, or retirement savings – which would boost the economy.

But will this be the reality if universal basic income were applied? And would such a program be sustainable long-term?

If people relied on that income, and neglected to work, rather than perusing work to fund additional aspirations, wouldn’t that defeat the purpose of a universal basic income?

In a situation where such a program relies on an increase in government taxes, as proposed by the Roosevelt Institute, what problems could occur long-term?

What it All Comes Down To…

…is the fact that universal basic income, while a fine sounding idea, is upon closer scrutiny likely to be unsustainable.  As manufactured housing advocate, the Rev. Donald Tye said recently, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Someone always pays.

 

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What made America the wealthiest nation on earth? By protecting the productivity of the masses of people. True, America has never been perfect. No place has. But nowhere on earth was more wealth created in a shorter time than the U.S.A. in our free enterprise system. Click the above to learn more.

Millions aren’t asking, how is it just to take from someone who has earned money, and give it to someone who hasn’t?  That’s a point Frederic Bastiat made two centuries ago.

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One of several fallacies of those that argue for UBI that claim that robots will produce for everyone is this. Why should the public believe that those who created those robots will share their productivity?  To learn more, click the above.

Or as publisher L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach has said, what ever you subsidize you tend to get more of that behavior.  Rewarding the wrong behavior only leads to more of that behavior.

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George Zarkadakis. Image credit, AI Business.

Governments may like UBI because it is the sword that can cut through the messy Gordian knot of their welfare systems, which are generating generational poverty rather than helping anyone,” George Zarkadakis, an artificial intelligence (AI) engineer, wrote in a contribution to the Huffington Post.

There are millions of people currently on benefits whose life is miserable. Extending the idea of welfare to all under the guise of UBI we are in danger of extending misery.”

Rather than creating yet another social program, funded by working Americans, the Trump Administration is working to boost the economy through proven economic means.

One of the ways the administration is hoping to do this is to reduce illegal immigration to make more jobs available to American’s. This would eventually lead to a demand for higher paid employees, boosting the minimum wage naturally.

President Trump has also been pushing Congress to pass a tax reform bill – and soon.

When most voters in the U.S. are in favor of less taxes, why would anyone want to be taxed more for a guaranteed income? President Trump’s tax plan would create opportunities for true economic freedom in the United States. ## (News, analysis.)

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JuliaGranowiczManufacturedHomeLivingNewsMHProNews-comSubmitted by Julia Granowicz to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hawaiian Modular Housing Advances

July 20th, 2017 Comments off

HawiianModularHousingProjectBeginsCreditHPR-DailyBusinessNewsManufacturedModularHomeNewsResearchReportsMHProNewsKahau’iki Village is shaping up as all-too-rare collaboration of state, county and private sector parties coming together to provide affordable housing for those in the community who are struggling.

It’s a dream come true, hopefully, for those who maybe felt powerless and disenfranchised.  We want children to see a brighter future for themselves and to live with dignity,” said Duane Kurisu, founder of non-profit aio Foundation.

After two years in the works Kahau’iki Village in Honolulu, Hawaii is finally ready to break ground and hopefully have their first affordable modular homes available to families and individuals in need by the end of the year, per Hawaii Public Radio.

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Duane Kurisu, credit, Business Journal.

We took the land from the state through an executive order and then we leased it to aio Foundation at a dollar a year.  And then we contributed $3.6 million in terms of infrastructure improvement, sewer lines, water lines.  And we put it in for them.  And we’re ready to do even more can do more to make sure this is a complete and absolute success,” said Kurisu.

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Plot of modular project, credit, Business Journal.

The 13-acre plot of land between Ke’ehi Lagoon Park and Sand Island will soon be home for many families who are trying to find an affordable place to live after transitional shelters. With the growing number of homeless in the area this solution was needed.

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Credit, Facebook.

We are looking for families who are motivated.  Who are working.  We are looking right now for the ones with younger children, you know, more so.  But anybody who’s very motivated.  We want them to have a chance,” said Connie Mitchell, executive director of the Institute for Human Services.

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The modular units are being reused and are the same ones that previously housed victims of the 2011 tsunami in Japan. Once they are placed in Kahau’iki Village they will become permanent one- and two-bedroom plantation style homes that are expected to rent for $725 a month for one a bedroom and $900 a month for a two bedroom – including all utilities and a Wi-Fi connection.

We want children to see a brighter future for themselves and to live with dignity.”

The first 30 units should be ready for move-in by the end of the year, if all goes well. Their goal is to have at least 100 people living in Kahau’iki Village by the middle of 2018, according to Hawaii News Now.

Eventually, the village will be able to house around 800 people or more, which will include both individuals and families in need.

This is a great example of a community coming together to help those who need it most – and doing so in the way that would be most affordable to those who will benefit from it.

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Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell added, “We’re hoping, as this moves forward, we’ll learn from it and then we’ll look to duplicate it in other parts of our community.”

As long-time, regular readers of Daily Business News know, this is not the first time that Hawaiians and the city of Honolulu specifically has turned to factory built housing to solve the homelessness epidemic. In 2015 we reported on a plan that brought in  25 shipping containers turned into housing. In 2016 we reported on their plans to use modular housing as well – which included 2- and 3-bedroom units that rented for $950-$1050 per month.

Kahau’iki Village the latest step in that state’s efforts to use modular housing, as they strive to ensure that there is more affordable housing available. # #

Other Factory Built Home Stories in Hawaii are Linked Below:

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

JuliaGranowiczManufacturedHomeLivingNewsMHProNews-comSubmitted by Julia Granowicz to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.com.

 

 

 

Manufactured Homes Repurposed in Costly Housing Market

May 31st, 2017 Comments off
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An unrelated manufactured home in Sonoma County, California. Quality and affordability are keys to housing those in need. Credit: Press Democrat.

In a story that the Daily Business News originally covered here, the Village Mobile Home Park in Sebastopol, California is going to help provide housing to those who are at risk of, or are already, homeless.

Back in March, the city committed to invest $258,000 into the project to create a mix of affordable manufactured homes and apartments.

According to the Press Democrat, the community was purchased by the city 10 years ago, and has partially emptied out over time as the adjoining Laguna de Santa Rosa campground was closed and converted to parkland, with the intention the remainder of the property eventually be turned over to recreational use, as well.

But an agreement between the city of Sebastopol and the non-profit agency West County Community Services will utilize the community to provide housing to between eight and 12 additional people and families who are in need.

West County Community Services has also committed to provide a case manager and support services to any current or new residents who want help learning to manage and stabilize their lives, connecting them with treatment, health services or food programs.

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Credit: Sonoma West.

The idea, of course, is to help them move up and onward,” said Tim Miller, executive director of West County Community Services.

But they can stay as long as they want.”

But, even with the dollar committed, the project will still be dependent on the ability and willingness of charitable residents to donate eight usable manufactured homes, although four units have already been acquired.

Organizers say they are hoping for the donation of a used construction unit that can be employed as a classroom, social service office and meeting place for the community.

Then there are the challenges facing the city.

The loss of campground revenue and diminished manufactured home occupancy forced the city to operate the community at a deficit approaching $75,000 a year, mostly for site and property management, while considering future options.

Even so, city officials have increasingly been reluctant to do anything that would eliminate a local source of low-cost housing that has no emergency shelter, and happens to be one of the most expensive places to live in the country.

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Credit: Google.

The new plan is a win-win,” said Gale Brownell, a longtime Sonoma County housing advocate and member of the Group of Advocates in west Sonoma County.

While Brownell was instrumental in bringing the players together to develop the plan for Village Mobile Home Park, she gives credit to a Sebastopol woman named Darrin Batch, a regular at City Council meetings, and well-informed about city policies and budgeting.

She thought that was a terrible thing, given the fact that people were homeless,” said Brownell.

Currently, 65 people currently reside in the 18 home community.

And for 48-year resident Marjorie Wallace, age 90, knowing that there’s some stability is a huge relief.

Two of her sons, now in their late 50s, live with her. A third, who has cancer, is with her as well.

All are partly dependent on my Social Security income, so the uncertainty about what would happen if the park closed has been profound,” said Wallace.

For more on manufactured housing providing quality, viable solutions for those in need, including recent cases in Hawaii and British Columbia, Canada, click here and here. ##

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

 

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RC Williams, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

 

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Shipping Containers will become Modular Housing for the Homeless in Hawaii

June 2nd, 2015 Comments off

hawaii helps the homeless  hawaiinewsnow  modular units from sea cansA plan to modify 25 shipping containers into modular housing units that would each be subdivided into three or four living spaces of 40 to 53 square feet to house the homeless in Oahu, Hawaii has been announced by Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

The aim is to provide temporary living space for up to two months for as many as 100 people, and then transition them into a more permanent facility, according to hawaiinewsnow.

Each unit will include windows, a lockable door, and portable lighting and will be free to those who qualify. A separate unit will offer private bathroom facilities and electric outlets. The residents at the new facility–called Hale Mauliola in honor of the Hawaiian goddess of health and well-being—will be required to go through a standardized intake and assessment process to determine their needs, and work with a case manager to transition them out of homelessness.

The $2 million project includes $500,000 to convert the shipping containers into modular housing, and $1.5 million for support services. MHProNews has learned the city intends to have the facility operational by the fall. ##

(Image credit: hawaiinewsnow--rendering of homeless housing site)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

Federal Housing Authority Lowering Loan Limits

December 12th, 2013 Comments off

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has revised the loan limit ceiling for single-family mortgages in 2014, reducing it to $625,000 from $729,750. The change will result in approximately 650 counties having lower limits, according to what dsnews.com reports from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). For low-cost housing areas the loan limit floor will remain at $271,050. FHA-insured reverse mortgages will continue to have a maximum claim amount of $625,500. The limit for a single-family loan in Alaska, Hawaii, Guam and the Virgin Islands, will be $938,250 due to higher construction costs in those areas, as MHProNews has been informed. FHA Commissioner Carol Galante says, “As the housing market continues its recovery, it is important for FHA to evaluate the role we need to play. Implementing lower loan limits is an important and appropriate step as private capital returns to portions of the market and enables FHA to concentrate on those borrowers that are still underserved.”

(Image credit: bankrate.com)

Mortgage Closing Costs on the Rise

August 8th, 2013 Comments off

Mortgage closing costs have risen on average six percent this year, from $2,264 to $2,402, based on a $200,000 loan with 20 percent down and good credit. Origination fees increased eight percent to $1,730, while third-party fees rose one percent to $672. With interest rates historically low in the past year, “Lenders really didn’t have to compete as much for business, they were free to charge higher closing cost fees,” said Polyana da Costa, senior mortgage analyst at Bankrate.com. She adds, now that mortgage rates are rising and fewer consumers are seeking loans, lenders may reduce closing costs to attract customers. As reported in CNNMoney.com, Hawaii has the highest closing costs at $2,919, while Wisconsin posted the lowest average at $2,119. MHProNews has learned more consumers shop for the best interest rate than for the best closing cost. Negotiate the closing, says da Costa.

(Image credit: texaslendingtoday)

D.C. has Highest Mortgage Payment

November 28th, 2012 Comments off

OriginationNews informs MHProNews at $1,642 a month Washington, D.C. has the highest mortgage payment, accounting for 31 percent of household income, according to Lending Tree. Hawaii ranked second with a monthly average payment of $1,536, and California was third at $1,446 a month. Both Hawaii’s and California’s payments represented 30 percent of household income. D.C. also had the highest loan amount at $331,886. In the survey, 15 of the 51  areas studied have an average monthly payment above $1,000. At $711 a month, Nebraska had the lowest mortgage payment, followed by Arkansas, Iowa, Oklahoma and Missouri.

(Image credit: caudium)

North Carolina has Highest Percentage of Manufactured Homes

January 24th, 2012 Comments off

ConnecticutPost tells MHProNews.com Hawaii ranks at the bottom of the list in terms of manufactured homes as a percentage of all housing with only .02 percent, followed by Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island with .08 percent, according to 2010 U.S. Census figures. The figure for Connecticut fell from .09 percent in 2009, where there are 11,000 manufactured homes spread among 210 communities with approximately 20,000 residents. At the other end of the scale, North Carolina’s manufactured homes account for 17.6 percent of its housing units, followed by New Mexico with 16.5 percent and West Virginia with 16.1 percent. The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) estimates there are 22 million people nationwide living in 9.5 million manufactured homes.

(Photo credit: Tristar Estates)