Friday, December 19, 2008
1. productivity increases for 20 years but wages are stagnant
2. manufacturing and finance as a fraction of the economy (total corporate profits) swap positions in relative size (i.e. the tail wags the dog)
3. 50% of ALL consumer spending in the last 10 years was entirely attributable to mortgage refinancing
4. total consumer debt steeply increases while savings rate decreases to the point of being negative for a few years prior to the final breaking point
5. and let us not forget the failure of education
6. and let us not forget deregulation of all depression-era safeguards
7. and let us not forget the wanton corruption and stunning incompetence of 8 years of BUSH
Can it be that yet another gullible female has succumbed to the allure of Limbaugh's millions and is going to actually marry this obscenity of a human being?
What will she do when he is off to the Dominican Republic for his regular pedophiliac vaction?
Shall we hold our breath awaiting any progeny from this marriage of convenience? ahahahahahahahah, puh-lease
One wonders if it ever occured to her to talk to the other victims of Limbaugh's perverse need to appear 'normal', aka ex-wives, to see exactly what hellish torment she is in for, and exactly what it will take to shut her up once she smartens up and seeks out a lawyer to terminate the 'arrangement' lest she be damned for all eternity as the consort of Satan's own spawn.
bhenry112 See Profile
Q: What is the difference between Limbaugh and the Hindenberg? A: One is a flaming Nazi gasbag, and the other one is a ballon.
MissTerry See Profile "Kathryn Rogers" is an anagram for "I'm Just A Beard For This Guy So Please Don't Think I'd Ever In A Thousand Years Touch Him I Mean Do You Really Think I Would He Just Needs Cover For His Fact-Finding Trips To The Boy Buffets In Costa Rica"
kellygrrrl See Profile junkies don't see things the same way a sober person does. They just see junk and the dealers who can provide it.
MacTheBlogger See Profile Kucinich, 58, Wife, 30, I realize today's immature political environment obligates many to act and insult like children, but this is pathetic. Surely we can do better than this.
(but at least they probably actually consummated, no doubt that is the last thing on Rush's mind)
eidhsubplz See Profile She must have a pre-teen son for rush to be interested.
BobSF94117 See Profile Heck, I'm in favor of anything that will distract him from his radio show...
Durango See Profile "Works as a party planner for the South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee."Is that a euphemism for an expensive, institutional hooker? I would love to see the Job Description.
America's Best Long-Term Housing Bets
1. Seattle, Wash.Job-growth projections 2008-2017: 1.5%
Seattle's peak building period in the 1980s run-up was in the second quarter of 1986. The Savings & Loan crisis didn't fully halt building activity until the fourth quarter of 1992. What lands it in the first position on this list is the combination of strong job growth with a building cycle that hasn't run in high excess of demand and, in part, its constrained geography. Especially compared to cities on the West Coast, Seattle has historically not overheated in boom times.
2. Washington, D.C.Job-growth projections 2008-2017: 0.9%
Building activity hit high points in the second quarter of 1986 and the first quarter of 2006. In the most recent bust, D.C.'s exurbs have been particularly hard hit. Even so, the region has the lowest rate of unemployment in the country, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Despite recent building exuberance, it has the second lowest demand volatility in the country, meaning that vacancies have historically been very low.
3. San Antonio, TexasJob-growth projections 2008-2017: 2.0%
There may be little zoning in Texas, and the state may be a model of sprawl (read: lots of homes built in good times), but San Antonio has fared better than its Lone Star brethren throughout the peaks and valleys of the last 20 years. Volatility in home building and vacancy were in the middle of the pack nationally, while the metro area's job-growth figures have been national leaders.
4. Minneapolis, Minn.Job-growth projections 2008-2017: 1.1%
Minneapolis has not experienced the same sort of booms seen elsewhere. In the most recent run-up, building activity peaked in the third quarter of 2004; this will help the market in the short term as it means less new inventory dragging down prices. The city's real strength is its economy, which has less of a manufacturing base than most Midwestern cities and hosts a handful of multinational corporations.
5. New York, N.Y.Job-growth projections 2008-2017: 0.6%
Part of why New York City prices are so expensive is because the cost to build is one of the highest in the country. There's also no open land to be found. While that hurts affordability, it stems overbuilding relative to demand. Historically, the New York metro area has the lowest vacancy fluctuations of any city in the country. Unless a new island is added, expect that to continue.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
"Cardholders had $962 billion in unpaid balances on general purpose and proprietary cards at the end of 2007, an 8.6 percent increase from the previous year, according to the Nilson Report, an industry newsletter. That figure is expected to climb to $1.2 trillion by the end of 2012, or $6,373 per cardholder. "
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Wrapping a microphone cord around your neck - another bad idea for a stage act in your band, along with repeatedly flailing your neck around like a demented chimpanzee (causes vein tears and blood clots and paralysis from strokes). Helps to know a little about basic anatomy and the relative frailty of the neck structures if one is contemplating a career in thrash metal.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
December 16, 2008 4:34 pm Link
Currently the American taxpayer is on the line for about $7.75 trillion for the worthless paper “bailiout (i.e. looting) on top of the already existing $9+ trillion of debt…in other words, the sham that is the US economy has finally become exposed. Central banks, as Jefferson warned, now own us: “Everything predicted by the enemies of banks, in the beginning, is now coming to pass. We are to be ruined now by the deluge of bank paper. It is cruel that such revolutions in private fortunes should be at the mercy of avaricious adventurers, who, instead of employing their capital, if any they have, in manufactures, commerce, and other useful pursuits, make it an instrument to burden all the interchanges of property with their swindling profits, profits which are the price of no useful industry of theirs”— thedude
12. December 16, 2008 5:08 pm Link
I’ll see you all in the soup line at the FEMA trailer park. We’ll swap stories around the campfire about the good old days of cheap credit and mindless consumerism.— Scorpio69er
13. December 16, 2008 5:34 pm Link
DESPITE THE HALLELUJAHS FROM THE “PAPERHANGERS,” THINK PANIC! THINK DESPERATION!
BEWARE OF THE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES OF TODAY’S ACTIONS WHICH WILL DEFINITELY OCCUR!— David G. Ward
Monday, December 15, 2008
it was funny to hear Limbaugh defend himself against Powell's criticism this morning, he is sounding increasingly desperate, if one or two more big names pile on with Hagel and Powell, Limbaugh may just crack under the pressure and O.D. on whatever pills he is on this month. Then may our country be free of his poisonous, bigoted, ignorant, fascist, self-hating-gay blather.
"Colin Powell said that Republicans have to, quote, "stop shouting at the world and at the country," unquote, saying the party needs to "take a hard look at itself." Powell said he was impressed by a recent article by Mort Kondracke in the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call that asked the question, "Can we continue to listen to Rush Limbaugh?" Powell asked if this is the "kind of party" the Republicans really "want to be, when these kinds of spokespersons seem to appeal to our lesser instincts rather than our better instincts." Talking about that gasbag Limbaugh. So here’s the question: Should Republicans stop listening to Rush Limbaugh? Here’s a hint: Yes! Go to CNN.com/CaffertyFile to post a comment on my blog. His currency, I think, in the wake of these recent election results has probably gone down a little bit."
Friday, December 12, 2008
"The sad part is...
Fri, 12/12/2008 - 09:45 — Tyler Durden
the democrats inability to frame the party of the Great Depression, The Watergate, the Iran-Contra, the S&L scandal, the stock crash of the 80s, the recession of the early 90s, 9/11, Iraq war, Enron, Katrina, et al... for the disastrous group of treasonous bastards they are.
After Hoover, and the fascist plot by republicans like Prescott Bush in the 30s, the GOP should have been made such a stigma, they would have gone out of business faster than Paris Hilton at a Mensa meetup."
Bush personally lobbied recalcitrant Senate Republicans after Vice President Dick Cheney failed to round up support Wednesday during a contentious two-hour meeting.
"If we don't do this, we will be known as the party of Herbert Hoover forever," Cheney told them, according to a Senate Republican aide, evoking the president whose inaction is widely blamed for helping trigger the Great Depression in the early 1930s.
Well, as Steve Benen acidly observes, that seems to be a mantle they wish to bear proudly.
Posted Dec 12, 2008 12:45pm EST by Henry Blodget in Investing, Newsmakers, Banking
Dec. 12, 2008:
Interesting tidbits coming in about Bernie Madoff (read indictment here).
Specifically, we're hearing that the smart money KNEW Bernie had to be cheating, because the returns he was generating were impossibly good. Many Wall Streeters suspected the wrong rigged game, though: They thought it was insider trading, not a Ponzi scheme. And here's the best part: That's why they invested with him.
For years and years I've heard people say that [Bernie's] investment performance was too good to be true. The returns were too steady -- like GE earnings under Welch -- and too high given the supposed strategy. One Madoff investor, himself a legend, told me that Madoff's performance "just doesn't make sense. The numbers can't be straight." Another sophisticated Madoff investor actually went through trade confirms in order to reverse-engineer the strategy and said, "it doesn't add up."So why did these smart and skeptical investors keep investing? They, like many Madoff investors, assumed Madoff was somehow illegally trading on information from his market-making business for their benefit. They didn't consider the possibility that he was clean on that score but running a good old-fashioned Ponzi scheme.
And another from Whitney Tilson:
One friend who saw this coming said Madoff had his own broker-dealer and a relative as his finance guy; another friend said he was suspicious because of the 1-2%/month returns with never a down month (much less quarter or year), combined with never showing a a down month (much less quarter or year), combined with never showing anyone his portfolio. 99% of the time, if it sounds too good to be true, IT IS!
Got your own Bernie Madoff stories? Please send them in. (email@example.com).
See Also: Bernie Madoff: The Indictment
Thursday, December 11, 2008
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Bernard L. Madoff and his investment firm, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, with securities fraud for a multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme that he perpetrated on advisory clients of his firm. The SEC is seeking emergency relief for investors, including an asset freeze and the appointment of a receiver for the firm.
The SEC's complaint, filed in federal court in Manhattan, alleges that Madoff yesterday informed two senior employees that his investment advisory business was a fraud. Madoff told these employees that he was "finished," that he had "absolutely nothing," that "it's all just one big lie," and that it was "basically, a giant Ponzi scheme." The senior employees understood him to be saying that he had for years been paying returns to certain investors out of the principal received from other, different investors. Madoff admitted in this conversation that the firm was insolvent and had been for years, and that he estimated the losses from this fraud were at least $50 billion.
"We are alleging a massive fraud — both in terms of scope and duration," said Linda Chatman Thomsen, Director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement. "We are moving quickly and decisively to stop the fraud and protect remaining assets for investors, and we are working closely with the criminal authorities to hold Mr. Madoff accountable."
Andrew M. Calamari, Associate Director of Enforcement in the SEC's New York Regional Office, added, "Our complaint alleges a stunning fraud that appears to be of epic proportions."
According to regulatory filings, the Madoff firm had more than $17 billion in assets under management as of the beginning of 2008. It appears that virtually all assets of the advisory business are missing.
Madoff founded the firm in 1960 and has been a prominent member of the securities industry throughout his career. Madoff served as vice chairman of the NASD, a member of its board of governors, and chairman of its New York region. He was also a member of NASDAQ Stock Market's board of governors and its executive committee and served as chairman of its trading committee.
Economic homicide 101
What's happening is an object lesson in the most powerful financial law known to humanity – the Law of Unintended Consequences. In virtually every aspect of the economy that the Fed bails out, its help brings toxic consequences that end up making things worse. Here are just a few examples:
Free money: The Federal Reserve keeps handing out limitless cash at rates below what any lender without a printing press would charge. As a result, private capital is getting squeezed out of the market -- leading to ever more Federal interventions and further weakening of the private lending market.
The consequence of this destructive policy is that even cash flow positive companies like General Growth Properties (NYSE: GGP) can't easily roll-over existing debts. The longer this keeps up, the more healthy companies will be forced into bankruptcy due to the government's "help."
Free houses: It started with IndyMac, and now it has moved on to Freddie Mac (NYSE: FRE) and Fannie Mae (NYSE: FNM). As the government seizes control of mortgage firms, it stops foreclosures. As kindhearted as that may sound, it's doing little more than telling everyone who's struggling but able to make their mortgage payments that it's OK to stop paying. That, of course, leads to higher delinquency rates and an even larger reluctance among banks to loan money to prospective home buyers, no matter how creditworthy.
As this Fool pointed out a year ago, the housing market cannot recover if lenders lose their ability to foreclose. Thanks to all this "help," the housing market is still getting worse. It's so bad now that even homebuilders like Toll Brothers (NYSE: TOL) and Pulte Homes (NYSE: PHM) are begging for their own bailout.
State of permanent failure: Perhaps the best vision of the long-term consequences of these bailouts comes from looking at the state of America's automakers. Lobbying for a bailout that is now up to $34 billion, automakers General Motors (NYSE: GM), Ford (NYSE: F), and Chrysler are lunging for the trough. In truth, their problems date back decades and are largely due to issues they caused themselves.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
An Amazon reviewer waxes 'nostalgie de la bou':
"For adults, WALL-E is not so much about a cute little robot as it is about the future of man. What happens when humans become such creatures of the consumer culture, so fat they can't even stand up without assistance, living literally on auto-pilot, that they do nothing but buy cheap merchandise, stuff their faces at the Regurgitated Food Buffet and lie around watching video screens? Can they ever get back to the land and set their souls free? Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young asked that question decades ago; Pixar asks it today. "
"A few decades hence, when the Great Crash of 2008 is a distant memory and the economy is humming along again, our government—at our urging—will begin to weaken many of the regulatory requirements and systems we put in place now. Why? To make our economy more competitive and to unleash the power of our free-market system. We will tell ourselves it’s different, and in many ways, it will be. But the cycle will start all over again.
So what can we learn from all this? In the words of the great investor Jeremy Grantham, who saw this collapse coming and has seen just about everything else in his four-decade career: “We will learn an enormous amount in a very short time, quite a bit in the medium term, and absolutely nothing in the long term.” Of course, to paraphrase Keynes, in the long term, you and I will be dead."
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
In the election of Jimmy Carter in 1976, the electorate was 90% white, in the election of Obama, the electorate was 75% white. Verrrrry interesting. Explains why the Republicans are so desperate to suppress the vote by whatever means necessary illegal or not.
Monday, December 8, 2008
it all seems so obvious now, but in 2007 ...
"Nature of the beast In describing the finer points of risk arbitrage, Bookstaber explains why it's normal -- expected even -- for trading desks to take a good whack every so often. The nature of the beast is to make relatively steady profits, month in and month out, and then give back a chunk of those profits when something goes haywire. (That's how you move huge sums on an arb desk; grind out small bets that are almost guaranteed to work, juice up the returns with leverage, and try not to be in the vicinity when the rare position goes kablooey.) In light of this general modus operandi, perhaps it isn't surprising that the "quant" funds recently took a major hit (as of September 2007). They had been minting money for an extraordinarily long period, had the leverage to show for it, and now, after the recent "oops," seem to be generally back in business. In fact it appears natural for much of Wall Street to work in this "make a little, lose a lot" fashion... the key idea being that all the little updrafts make up for the once-in-a-blue-moon downdrafts. (Such calculus works better for the fee collectors than the fee payers, but that's a different kettle of fish.) Bookstaber's detail-rich description of the various trades that investment houses put on, many of them lasting years, is also enlightening. The details seem to confirm that, by and large, Wall Street is a gigantic, slow moving, conventional-returns type machine. (And what else could it be, really, with such an ocean of capital to allocate and so many jobs to fill? There is only so much creativity and contrarianism to go round.) "
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Check out this old grade-school history video on the Great Depression and see if it doesnt sound like DejaVu all over again.
Especially the quote: "The public also grew increasingly hostile as Hoover refused to consider giving direct government aid to those in need." (i.e. Paulson's refusal to slow the foreclosure tidal wave (now 9000 per DAY!) via direct aid to homeowners.)
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Q: How bad do you think things will get?
A: Tens of millions of people unemployed, inflation spiraling out of control, the government instituting price controls that result in shortages and blackouts and long lines for things. I think things are going to get very bad.
From an investment point of view, investors need to stay clear, because they need to realize that it's not just U.S. stocks and real estate that are going to lose value, but U.S. bonds. This is the last bubble yet to burst. I think we're going to see a collapse of the bond market sometime during Obama's first term, and interest rates are going to spiral out of control, and the dollar is going to just be destroyed.
Q: Why do you oppose bailouts of troubled companies?
A: Nobody should be bailed out. Failure is supposed to be punished and success is supposed to be rewarded, not the opposite. When companies fail, their resources, their assets, get redistributed. What happens is people who are incompetent lose their assets and people who are competent buy them, and they reorganize them. The government is propping up and rewarding bad behavior.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
“Personally, my theory has been that the specter of peak oil pretty clearly implies the inability of industrial economies to continue producing real wealth in the customary way. In the face of this, either consciously or at a more mystical level, the worker bees in banking recognize that, in order to maintain their villas in the Hamptons, money has to be loaned into existence some other way (than in the service of industrial productivity). We've tried just about everything else. There was the so-called service economy, an attempt to replace manufacturing with hamburger sales. Then there was the information economy, in which work would be replaced with knowing about stuff. Then there was the tech thing, which was about bringing internet companies that existed only on the back of cocktail napkins to the initial public offering stage of capitalization -- which allowed a few-hundred-or-so thirty-year-old smoothies to retire to vineyards in the Napa Valley, while hundreds of thousands of retirees lost half the value of their investment portfolios. Then there was the housing boom, which was all about the creation of more suburban sprawl under the theory that houses (or "homes" in the jargon of the realtors) represent an obvious sort of wealth, and therefore that using houses as collateral would allow humongous sums of money to be loaned into existence -- along with massive fees for structuring the loans into bundles of bond-like thingies. This has all failed now because the racket went too far. Every possible candidate for a snookering got snookered. Too much collateral for which there were no takers went into the ground. The insane run-up in house values made a downward price movement inevitable, and as soon as the turnaround happened, it fell into the remorseless algebra of a deflationary death spiral. More importantly, however, this society ran out of tricks for loaning money into existence and instead began to experience the pain of money thought-to-be-in-existence being defaulted into a vapor -- and worse, these defaults led to logarithmic chains of money destruction in its places of origin, the investment banks that had created the racket. The important part of this is that the money is gone. What makes matters truly eerie is that the "bubble" in suburban houses has occurred at exactly the moment in history when the chief enabling resource for suburban life -- oil -- has entered its scarcity stage. The logical conclusion of all this is not what the American public wants to hear: we have become a much poorer society and are now faced with the unavoidable task of making major changes in how we live. All the three-card-monte moves at the highest level of finance lately amount to an effort to avoid the unavoidable, acknowledging our losses. Certainly the political fallout of all this will be awesome. But it's not about politics, really. It's about the entire society's inability to form a workable new consensus of reality.”