A Fair Use of Tax Dollars

I am no fan of Measure U, the voter-approved sales tax that went into effect in April. New taxes are rarely the answer to economic malaise.

Jun 1, 2013 Winnie Comstock-Carlson

Accounting for Green

New research may change how commercial real estate loans are designed

Among the many risks involved in commercial real estate lending today, energy risk is so poorly understood that lenders simply do not have the tools they need to measure it. This ignorance of energy risk — the likelihood that higher energy costs compromise a building owner’s ability to make their mortgage payments — leads to inflated loans. This is because both efficient and inefficient buildings are judged the same in the eyes of the lender. But UC Berkeley researchers have developed a tool they claim would measure the net benefit of energy savings investments.

Feb 13, 2013 Bill Romanelli

Bank of Tomorrow

New sources for business loans

Banks are running up against some odd new competitors these days. Big box retailer Costco is advertising mortgages. Wal-Mart has issued its own debit card. Amazon is offering loans to merchants in its online marketplace.

Feb 12, 2013 Robert Celaschi

Social Network

How crowdfunding connects strangers — and your business – to money

“Small Market, Big Heart” tells the story of the Sacramento Kings and their fans’ fight to hold onto the team. But the 80-minute documentary — packed with NBA archive footage and interviews with Kings’ executives, local politicians and sports entertainment personalities — isn’t from the NBA offices or an established production company.

Feb 12, 2013 Andrea Kennedy

Economic Evolution

It’s slow growing out there

Congratulations Sacramento. You finally got the economic recovery you’ve been asking for. 

It’s not as big or fast as you had wished for, but give it time. It should get stronger as we move toward 2014.

Jan 1, 2013 Robert Celaschi

Blowing Bubbles

Could Dodd-Frank cause another financial disaster?

The past few years have seen the biggest social upheaval against the banking industry in this nation’s history, and Capitol Hill lawmakers responded with 848 pages of legislation that liberal critics deride as weak and many conservatives call a job killer.

Apr 1, 2012 Allen Young

Let’s Twist Again

Banks struggle with large debt and minimal borrowers

The Federal Reserve calls it Operation Twist, named after the 1961 Chubby Checker hit that sparked gyrating hips in dance halls across America. That was also the first year the Fed embarked on a mission to purchase long-term Treasury notes in an effort to drive down interest rates on long-term loans.

Feb 1, 2012 Allen Young

Past & Present Danger

A historied economist imparts warning

Peter Lindert is one of the preeminent voices in the “deep history” field of economics, which looks at the world economy over the scope of all human history. We recently talked with the UC Davis professor about the U.S. and global economies and the penchant for both to experience exhilarating highs and devastating lows.

Dec 1, 2011 Rich Ehisen

Hedge Hogs

Investors look to recoup losses from the Great Recession

Hedge funds are back. Worries about European debt crisis, war in the Middle East and the potential for rating agencies to downgrade America’s treasuries have rattled shareholders. But those fears haven’t held back investors from pouring record amounts of capital into the cowboy country of largely unregulated, nontransparent funds.

Aug 1, 2011 Joel Schectman

Trust Worthy?

Cognitive impairment claims challenge real estate plans

Lesli Pletcher’s parents were not extravagantly wealthy by any stretch of the imagination. However, true to form of a couple raised during the Great Depression, they were frugal and financially cautious so that, by the end of their lives, they had amassed a substantial estate capable of easily sustaining Pletcher’s father in his $9,000-a-month Alzheimer’s care facility.

Feb 1, 2011 Christine Calvin