Most Americans are aware that with housing costs on the rise, more and more of us are experiencing periods of homelessness. Based on the relative dearth of national coverage, I presume far fewer of us are aware that major insurance companies have begun pulling out of areas identified as being at heightened risk due to climate change, leaving homeowners in the lurch. I wrote about the impact on Florida in July, but it turns out the problem is much larger than a single state, with California also heavily affected.
Over the next few years, it seems likely these two problems – unaffordable housing and unaffordable insurance in at-risk areas – will spiral into a potentially catastrophic cycle. Not only will some Americans be forced to abandon their homes, but the housing in these areas at high risk of damage from storms or wildfires will likely stand empty (as long as homes continue to stand at all), all of which will further drive demand up in a housing market that already prices out far too many people.
“By underwriting and investing in new and expanded fossil fuel projects, U.S. insurers are helping Big Oil bring us closer to the worst runaway climate scenarios,” said Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse.
As insurance giants limit coverage in hundreds of disaster-prone areas across the United States, a Senate panel on Friday launched an investigation into seven major carriers’ continued backing of planet-heating fossil fuel projects that are driving increasingly frequent and severe extreme weather.
Senate Budget Committee Chair Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) sent letters to the executives of seven companies—American Insurance Group (AIG), Berkshire Hathaway, Chubb, Liberty Mutual Group, Starr Wright USA, State Farm, and Travelers Insurance—demanding that each firm disclose how it underwrites, invests in, and profits from coal, oil, and gas.
Accusing Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis of enacting an unconstitutional law that would not have been out of place at the turn of the last century, a group of Chinese American immigrants on Monday filed a lawsuit against the state over S.B. 264, which restricts most Chinese citizens from purchasing homes in Florida.
The law is set to take effect on July 1, but the plaintiffs and the groups representing them—including the ACLU, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), the Chinese American Legal Defense Alliance (CALDA), and the ACLU of Florida—hope to block the measure in the courts.
People’s Unemployment Line protest in Philadelphia, 2020. Photo: Joe Piette/flickr/CC
With the Federal Reserve poised to induce mass layoffs in its ongoing campaign to curb inflation, a study published Tuesday warns the notoriously fragmented U.S. unemployment system is nowhere near ready to handle another surge in jobless claims, potentially spelling disaster for the millions of people who could be thrown out of work next year.
Authored by Andrew Stettner and Laura Valle Gutierrez of The Century Foundation (TCF), the new analysis notes that “the share of jobless workers actually receiving UI benefits has shrunk dramatically” since federal benefit increases expired last year. According to TCF, just 26.8% of jobless workers were receiving state unemployment benefits in the 12 months that ended in August 2022, a sharp decline from the 76% rate through early 2021. Continue reading →
Texas-based RealPage worked with some of the nation’s largest landlords to create a cartel to raise rents, says a lawsuit filed just days after ProPublica published its investigation into the company.
by Heather Vogell for ProPublica, Published 10-21-2022
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Renters filed a lawsuit this week alleging that a company that makes price-setting software for apartments and nine of the nation’s biggest property managers formed a cartel to artificially inflate rents in violation of federal law.
The lawsuit was filed days after ProPublica published an investigation raising concerns that the software, sold by Texas-based RealPage, is potentially pushing rent prices above competitive levels, facilitating price fixing or both.
The proposed class-action lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in San Diego. Continue reading →
Weeks of economic justice rallies organized by the Enough Is Enough campaign across the United Kingdom over the past six weeks have been building to a National Day of Action, set to take place Saturday in more than four dozen cities and towns as hundreds of thousands of people protest the country’s cost-of-living crisis.
The campaign, whose roots lie in the trade union and tenants’ rights movements, has outlined five specific demands of the U.K. government as renters have seen their average monthly housing costs skyrocket by 11% on average since last year and household energy bills approaching $4,000 (£3,582) per year. Continue reading →
“Over the coming months, governments across the world are about to get an answer to a burning question: Will protests sparked by socioeconomic pressure transform into broader and more disruptive anti-government action?”
Protesters at Plaza Baquedano, Santiago, Chile in 2019. Photo: Carlos Figueroa/Wikimedia Commons/CC
The risk of civil unrest is rising in over 100 nations, with the “worst yet to come,” according to an analysis published Thursday by the U.K.-based consulting firm Verisk Maplecroft.
Incorporating data going back to 2017, the latest update to the firm’s civil unrest index (CUI) shows that the last quarter of this year “saw more countries witness an increase in risks from civil unrest than at any time since the index was released,” the analysis states. “Out of 198 countries, 101 saw an increase in risk, compared with only 42 where the risk decreased.” Continue reading →
Tate Reeves, Mississippi’s Republican governor, faced intense criticism Monday as the poorest U.S. state ended participation in a federal rent assistance program that helped shield tens of thousands of people facing eviction during the economic upheaval of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Invoking former U.S. President Ronald Reagan—whose administration eviscerated the social safety net and turbocharged economic inequality—Reeves tweeted that “today in Mississippi, we are ending RAMP, a federal program that incentivizes people not to work by using taxpayer dollars to pay for up to 15 months of free rent and utilities.” Continue reading →
U.S. warplanes and the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan are seen during a deployment in the Indian Ocean on June 32, 2021. (Photo: U.S. Pacific Fleet/Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0)
Global military expenditures surpassed $2 trillion for the first time ever last year, with the United States spending more on its war-making capacity than the next nine nations combined, according to new data published Monday.
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) reported an all-time high of $2.1 trillion in worldwide military spending for 2021, a 0.7% increase from 2020 levels and the seventh straight year of increased expenditures. Continue reading →
Yoon Seok-youl leaves the main opposition People Power Party’s headquarters in Seoul on July 30, 2021 Photo: 고려/Wikimedia Commons/CC
“I threw up and cried.” This was 30-year-old Haein Shim’s reaction to the results of South Korea’s presidential election, held on 9 March. As the senior director of foreign media of Seoul-based feminist group Haeil (translated as ‘Tsunami’), Haein had felt neither candidate was necessarily a strong or progressive choice. But ultimately it was Yoon Suk-yeol of the People Power Party – in Haein’s eyes, the worse of two evils – who won.
“We have to choose the head of the state, but there is no candidate for women to choose from,” says Haein, who originally hails from Gwangju in south-west South Korea and now lives in the US. “No candidate sees women as they really are.” Continue reading →