My beloved state of California, whose $2 trillion economy is the eight largest in the world ahead of Italy and Russia, has a new problem: it’s awash in cash. It’s projecting multi-billion dollar surpluses for years to come. The feeding frenzy in Sacramento is a sight to behold.
It’s “a technology everyone is going to have,” said a Bay Area real estate broker as he explained why realtors use drones to shoot aerial videos of high-end properties. And it’s illegal. But no one is going to be able to stop it, he implied.
The salary you must earn to be able to buy the median home in San Francisco is $125,071. That home costs $705,000 – up 24% from a year ago. San Francisco tops the list of the most unaffordable cities. Households earning the median income of $51,000, well, forget it.
California is sitting on the largest tight oil formation in the US, the Monterey Shale. Interest is heating up. The legislature passed a controversial law to regulate fracking and allow the industry to drill. But fracking requires lots of water.
Oil companies have been fracking offshore California and dumping chemicals into coastal waters for as long as two decades. It wasn’t until recently that FOIA requests brought it to light. Now the EPA is feebly trying to step in.
If you come to San Francisco or Silicon Valley and look around, you’d think California is booming, that companies jump through hoops to hire people, that they douse them with money, stock options, and free lunches. And some do. But in other parts of the state?
The government spy-services marketplace, part of Big Data, is juicy. Investors clamor to get in on it. Scores of startups have sprung up. The hottest one is Palantir. Its valuation jumped 50% in three months – to $9 billion! Its technologies, designed for the CIA to track terrorists, have transitioned to track you and me.
A new era has dawned: there is now a consensus that this is a stock market bubble. We’re back where we were during the last bubble, or the one before it. How do I know it’s not just some intrepid souls on the bleeding edge who are claiming this, but a consensus?
BYD, the name of a Chinese electric vehicle and solar panel maker, stands for “Build Your Dream.” Maybe that’s what they’re trying to do in China. But here, they’re building a nightmare: broken promises, falsehoods, design flaws… all lushly funded by American taxpayers. And they paid Chinese workers in California $1.50 per hour to do it.
The costs of nuclear accidents can be catastrophic, for generations. But there are also the routine costs after reactors are shut down, when decommissioning expenses pile up, for timeframes beyond human comprehension. True costs are unknown. Now, the scandal-plagued San Onofre plant in Southern California has become a test case – indefinitely.