Do you need a lawyer at the mortgage closing?

WRITTEN BYDAN RAFTERRead Time: 5 minutesSHAREIt’s time to close your mortgage loan. Expect a crowded room at closing day. You’ll be there, of course, and most likely so will your home’s seller. Your real estate agent, the seller’s agent, the representative from the title company and a loan officer from your mortgage lender should all be there.But should there be at least one other person at the closing table? Should you have a real estate attorney present to protect your interests?Legal professionals say you should always have your own attorney present on closing day. And most real estate agents we spoke to for this story agreed. But not all of them. Some said that an attorney was only needed for unusual closings, such as when buyers are purchasing a property that is involved in a lawsuit.

Source: Do you need a lawyer at the mortgage closing?

Do I need an attorney or anyone else to represent me when closing on a mortgage? | Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

“It depends. Depending on your state’s laws, you may not be required to have an attorney at the closing.

Source: Do I need an attorney or anyone else to represent me when closing on a mortgage? | Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Opinion | For Climate Change, Biden’s $3.5 Trillion Plan Isn’t Big Enough – The New York Times

There will be no bargains with an overheating climate.The $3.5 trillion price tag that President Biden proposed for his climate-heavy Build Back Better Act might seem enormous. But over the long term, it will be a pittance.By zeroing in on that number, the public debate seems to have skipped right over the economic ramifications of climate change, which promise to be historically disruptive — and enormously expensive. What we don’t spend now will cost us much more later.The bills for natural disasters and droughts and power outages are already pouring in. Within a few decades, the total bill will be astronomical, as energy debts surge, global migration swells and industrial upheaval follows. The scale of the threat demands a new way of thinking about spending. Past budgets can no longer guide how governments spend money in the future.

Old Power Gear Is Slowing Use of Clean Energy and Electric Cars – The New York Times

“Seven months after workers finished installing solar panels atop the Garcia family home near Stanford University, the system is little more than a roof ornament. The problem: The local utility’s equipment is so overloaded that there is no place for the electricity produced by the panels to go.

“We wasted 30,000-something dollars on a system we can’t use,” Theresa Garcia said. “It’s just been really frustrating.”

President Biden is pushing lawmakers and regulators to wean the United States from fossil fuels and counter the effects of climate change. But his ambitious goals could be upended by aging transformers and dated electrical lines that have made it hard for homeowners, local governments and businesses to use solar panels, batteries, electric cars, heat pumps and other devices that can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT comment:
Ivan Penn, wonderful and useful article, thank you. The article did leave me with a dozen questions, for you and your team to consider working on. How is Connecticut doing in this upgrade shortfall? How is United Illuminating now AvantGrid doing in New Haven County CT? I read dozens of the comments, and hope you do too. They were full of helpful insights. I expect you will pick up on the idea that this couple in CA was responsible, with their solar company, for making sure they had the right kind of new transformer, before ordering the solar installation. In UI/Avantgrid territory, in Hamden CT, you have to do that. One commenter said we should turn all these utilities into co-ops, which could get loans to do all the upgrades. That one, comment, like many others, deserves more research and reporting if you like this new and complex area.
I have 54 solar panels on my roof, but I am not a dyi, do it yourselfer, I know how to fix a broken flashlight. I believe the climate crisis, is an existential crisis, connected directly to the sixth extinction, which might mean the end of human life in the next few centuries, if we don’t stop the advent of cascading and unstoppable events which might be beginning already. So, one of my questions is, how to get where we need to go? Should Biden declare an emergency, and possibly martial law? Or we just need a stiff carbon tax, that increases annually?
David blogs at and

Bret Stephens | America’s Crumbling Global Position – The New York Times

“A “complex, coordinated and deliberate attack,” was how John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, on Monday described a recent drone assault on a U.S. military outpost in Syria that helps train local allies to fight ISIS. It was carried out with as many as five Iranian drones, launched by Iranian proxies, and conducted with Iran’s aid and blessing.

We’ll see if there’s any kind of U.S. response. The Biden administration is still desperate to get Iran back to the negotiating table to sign a nuclear deal that would free up billions of dollars in funding that Tehran can use to conduct more such attacks.

Also on Monday, The Times’s David Sanger reported that a Russian intelligence agency, the S.V.R., is once again engaged in a campaign “to pierce thousands of U.S. government, corporate and think-tank computer networks,” according to Microsoft cybersecurity experts. This comes just a few months after President Biden personally warned Vladimir Putin against renewing such attacks — while also going easy on the penalties the U.S. imposed for previous intrusions.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT comment;
Dear Bret, I have become a fan of yours, for many reasons, but this is one of your weakest pieces ever. If any of your points are correct and true, you didn’t convince me, since you covered too much, too poorly. On Afghanistan, I suggest you study the op-ed today by Thomas L Friedman. I think the L stands for smart. I haven’t fact checked his piece, and I don’t know if you are allowed to, but it the whole mid east is moving in interesting directions since we left Afghanistan somewhat abruptly, then bravo for Joe Biden and his team. Maybe we still have to wait for the month, after the month after the month.
I know some things about China through my book on Vietnam, and you are so off base from my view there. The Chinese are running jets towards Taiwan to distract their population from the bankruptcy of one of their biggest real estate and construction companies, and numerous other problems. You really sound like chicken little, and should also read Socrates in these comments. What you miss most, the elephant, is that Biden pulled out of Afghanistan, which was draining us dry, so he would have the power to stand up to China, and if necessary, prepare for war with them. I heard a rumor the other day, that chicken little was also a chicken hawk.
And, where in your analysis, was the climate crisis. I recommend the amazing video in the Times today about Greta Thunberg, and why she has hope.
David Lindsay wrote “The Tay Son Rebellion,” and blogs at

Paul Krugman | What ‘Dune’ Gets Right that ‘Foundation’ Doesn’t – The New York Times

“The blogger John Rogers once noted that there are two novels that can shape the lives of bookish 14-year-olds: “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Lord of the Rings.” One of these novels, he asserted, is a childish fantasy that can leave you emotionally stunted; the other involves orcs.

Well, I was a bookish 14-year-old, but my touchstones were two different novels: Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation” and Frank Herbert’s “Dune.”

Many social scientists, it turns out, are science fiction readers. For example, quite a few experts on international relations who I know are fanatics about the TV version of “The Expanse.” I think it’s because good science fiction involves building imaginary worlds that are different from the world we know, but in interesting ways that relate to the attempt to understand why society is the way it is.

Anyway, that’s my excuse for devoting today’s newsletter not to the latest scary developments in politics and economics but to a much happier event: the U.S. release of a wonderful, satisfying film version of “Dune” — the first movie I’ve seen in a theater since the pandemic began.”

Thomas Friedman | Biden and Climate Change Have Reshaped the Middle East – The New York Times

“So, I just have one question: Should I point out how President Biden’s withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan is already reshaping Middle East politics — mostly for the better? Or should I wait a few months and not take seriously yet what one Gulf diplomat drolly said to me of the recent festival of Arab-Arab and Arab-Iranian reconciliations: “Love is in the air.”

What the heck, let’s go for it now.

Because something is in the air that is powerfully resetting the pieces on the Middle East chess board — pieces that had been frozen in place for years. The biggest force shifting them was Biden’s decision to pull out of Afghanistan and tell the region: “You’re home alone. If you’re looking for us, we’ll be in the Straits of Taiwan. Write often. Send oil. Bye.”

But a second factor is intensifying the pressure of America’s leaving: Mother Nature, manifesting herself in heat waves, droughts, demographic stresses, long-term falling oil prices and rising Covid-19 cases.

Indeed, I’d argue that we are firmly in a transition from a Middle East shaped by great powers to a Middle East shaped by Mother Nature. And this shift will force every leader to focus more on building ecological resilience to gain legitimacy instead of gaining it through resistance to enemies near and far. We are just at the start of this paradigm shift from resistance to resilience, as this region starts to become too hot, too populated and too water-starved to sustain any quality of life.”

Paul Krugman | How Not to Let Corporations Kill Biden’s Agenda – The New York Times

“I’m not one of those liberals who believe that corporate greed is the root of all evil. It’s the root of only some evil; there are other dark forces, especially white nationalism, stalking the U.S. body politic.

But corporate money is surely the villain behind the latest roadblock to President Biden’s agenda: Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s opposition to any rollback to Donald Trump’s big 2017 corporate tax cut.

After all, Sinema, who was in the House of Representatives at the time, voted against that tax cut. And she attacked the tax cut the next year during her run for the Senate. Given that raising taxes on corporations has overwhelming public support, it’s hard to see any reason for her flip other than the corporate lobbying blitz against Build Back Better.

It’s a distressing story. But here’s what you need to know: While the Trump tax cut was bad and should be reversed, reclaiming the lost revenue isn’t essential right now. If the key elements of the Biden agenda — investing in children and in protecting the planet against climate change — have to be paid for in part by borrowing, that’s OK. It would certainly be better than not making those investments at all.”

“. . .  What about concerns that deficit-financed spending might be inflationary? Again, it’s important to do the math. If the U.S. were to end up borrowing another $1.75 trillion, that would be over the course of a decade, not a single year — and the Congressional Budget Office projects total G.D.P. over the next decade of $288 trillion. So while it might sound as if we’re talking about huge deficit spending, the additional deficit would be only 0.6 percent of G.D.P., which simply isn’t a big deal.”

At McKinsey, Widespread Furor Over Work With Planet’s Biggest Polluters – The New York Times

“As world leaders prepare to meet in Glasgow next week to address the devastating impact of wildfires, floods and extreme weather caused by rising greenhouse gases, a revolt has been brewing inside the world’s most influential consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, over its support of the planet’s biggest polluters.

More than 1,100 employees and counting have signed an open letter to the firm’s top partners, urging them to disclose how much carbon their clients spew into the atmosphere. “The climate crisis is the defining issue of our generation,” wrote the letter’s authors, nearly a dozen McKinsey consultants. “Our positive impact in other realms will mean nothing if we do not act as our clients alter the earth irrevocably.”

Several of the authors have resigned since the letter, which has never before been reported, came out last spring — with one sending out a widely shared email that cited McKinsey’s continued work with fossil fuel companies as a primary reason for his departure.”