A Daily Roundup of Interesting Topicsby Tim Manni
Over the past few days or so, we compiled a short list of topics that we thought you all might find interesting. Below is a short synopsis of each:
“50 Ways the Feds Waste Our Money“: Despite its generic title, this list is worth perusing. Seventy-two billion dollars wasted on improper payments, $25 billion a year to maintain unused and/or vacant Federal properties, $2.6 million on “training Chinese prostitutes to drink more responsibly on the job” (yes, you read that correctly). To see the full list, visit Heritage.org.
Massive Ford Recalls: Today, Ford added another 4.5 million vehicles to their 16-million-vehicle recall list. The recalls concern a faulty cruise control deactivation switch which has been causing fires:
Ford is notifying customers and instructing them to take vehicles to dealers for a complimentary installation of a fused wiring harness that will eliminate the risk of fires, the NHTSA said.
Tuesday’s recall includes the following Ford models: 1995-2003 Windstars, 2000-2003 Excursion diesels, 1993-1997 and 1999-2003 F-Super Duty diesels, 1992-2003 Econolines, 1995-2002 Explorers and Mercury Mountaineers, 1995-1997 and 2001-2003 Rangers and 1994 F35 motorhomes.
Commercial Landlords are Settling for Cheap, Temporary Renters: Artists in New York City are capitalizing on the languid commercial real estate market by signing cheap, short-term lease agreements to display their art:
As the recession drags on and storefronts across New York remain empty, commercial landlords are turning to an unlikely new class of tenants: artists, who in flusher times tend to get pushed out rather than lured in.
On terms that are cut-rate and usually temporary — a few weeks or months — the artist gets a gallery or studio, and the landlord gets a vibrant attraction that may deter crime and draw the next wave of paying tenants.
Home Builders Cut Back on the Freebies: As an apparent sign that the market has improved, the Wall Street Journal reports that Home Builders no longer need to entice homebuyers with the flashy incentives they once did:
With new-home inventory falling as home sales in many markets pick up, builders say they no longer need to offer eye-popping inducements to move homes.
In 2007, Meritage offered shoppers at its Valley Vista community in northern Phoenix $60,000 of incentives, including a free pool, gourmet kitchen or a reduction of the $349,000 ticket price, for a three-bedroom home with two-and-a-half baths. But the company is now building smaller, simpler houses that sell for about $245,000. Today’s buyers are more likely to get Meritage to pay their closing costs, worth about 6% of the closing price, or about $15,000 at Valley Vista.