by ilene - February 14th, 2011 11:46 am
Excellent article comparing current situation with lead up to the Great Depression. Well worth reading. – Ilene
Courtesy of Jim Quinn at The Burning Platform
by ilene - November 9th, 2010 8:07 pm
Courtesy of Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker
In a rather-stunning admission on Jekyll Island last weekend, Alan Greenspan "outed" what really happened.
What I’ve been talking about now for more than three and a half years.
And what many people have said was "an over-reaction" or "a distortion."
The claim has been repeatedly made that people made "mistakes" in our regulatory agencies, and that banks made "mistakes" making loans, packaging up securities and selling them to investors.
I have continually asserted that they were not mistakes.
They were scams and frauds.
This has been an unpopular viewpoint, with only a few – like Bill Black – agreeing with me.
Not any more…..
Is it time yet for America to force these banks into receivership?
To force prosecution for these frauds….. these crimes?
And to hold accountable the regulators…. including The Fed….. who intentionally ignored these frauds and crimes?
How many Americans have to lose their homes?
How many jobs have to go to China?
How much devaluation of our currency – undertaken to prop up these scams – will you tolerate?
How much higher does gasoline and food have to go in price, while your wages remain stagnant or you lose your job – and you’re evicted from your house - before you demand it stop and the scammers go to prison?
by ilene - November 2nd, 2010 2:55 pm
Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist
We all know the Federal Reserve is trying to herd
“A former hedge-fund manager who made a fortune shorting stocks has switched to the long side, and is raking in money in the process.
William von Mueffling surprised clients and competitors last June by announcing he would close his hedge funds and return $3.5 billion to investors. His firm, Cantillon Capital Management of New York, kept managing $1 billion in long-only assets, typically considered the unsexy piece of the business.
Now, the 42-year-old stock picker controls more money than he did before he closed his hedge funds. Cantillon has raised billions of dollars from pension funds in the U.S. and abroad, and from sovereign-wealth investors, according to clients and other people familiar with the matter.”
Von Mueffling couldn’t justify running the short end of the book as the Fed was priming the pump:
“After years of “long-short” investing, Mr. von Mueffling and his analysts and traders no longer short, or bet against, stocks at all. Instead, like a typical stock mutual fund, they stick to buying company shares they expect will rise. Mr. von Mueffling said the strategy is “the right long-term decision.”
“I’m not saying there aren’t overvalued stocks out there,” he said in an interview. “There are, but trying to short them when the government is printing money is a very, very challenging game,” he said, referring to, among other things, Federal Reserve programs to buy government bonds, which the Fed is widely expected to announce this week.”
That gives new meaning to “herding investors”. I think sellers play an important role in the price discovery process. After all, when the fundamentals of an asset are consistently in disequilibrium with its current valuation it makes the system that much more unstable. Selling, and thus lower prices, can actually make the system more stable in the long-term. This is just one more sign that nothing has really changed since the Greenspan Fed ended. And that was a Fed run by a man who admitted that his model was flawed….
by ilene - October 6th, 2010 2:45 pm
Very funny, don’t miss these… I know, I know, can’t seem to get off Joshua’s site. – Ilene
Courtesy of Joshua M Brown, The Reformed Broker
Soros, Buffett, Templeton, Livermore, Rothschild – This is the remix. I’ve updated their classic quotations for the modern investment world. Vote for your favorites below…Enjoy!
“We simply attempt to be greedy when others are fearful and to make others fearful when we do not have enough long positions on our sheets.” - Warren Buffett
“Capital goes to where it can escape taxation and be used to pay employees in sacks of rice." -Walter Wriston
“Stock market bubbles don’t grow out of thin air. They have a solid basis in the creation and marketing of ETFs.” - George Soros
“It takes 150 years to build an investment bank and only five minutes to convince you to sell me preferred stock in it at a 10% interest rate.” - Warren Buffett
by ilene - September 27th, 2010 1:22 pm
Courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant
How can an economic system be chronically undercapitalized for "40 or 50 years"? There’s only supposed to be as much money as there is demand for that money, right? Someone has to pay for something and sometimes they have to borrow money to get the things they want. That’s fine, it creates more demand for money (Someone A has to get the money to pay Someone B for the things they wanted but couldn’t afford and ends up paying both for the things and the interest on the money used to get the things) and supposedly our friends at the Fed are there watching that. Did any of these 40 to 50 years involve Greenspan?
“During the past 18 months, there were very few instances of serial default and contagion that could have not been contained by adequate risk-based capital and liquidity,” he said. In response to a question, Greenspan said “we were undercapitalized in the banking system for maybe 40 or 50 years.”
Maybe I’m completely off but I read that to mean all we have to do is continue to throw a whole sh*t ton of dirty Fed money out there and that could totally fix these rotting cesspools of residential real estate popping and fizzing around America.
The Google Maps foreclosure dots look slightly less contagious than they did last time I checked but it still looks like an outbreak out there.
Here’s a solution since we’re just making this up: rent out foreclosed homes and make "owners" responsible for collecting the payments and returning the majority to whomever owns the mortgage (you know, like normal f**king homedebtors do minus the rent). Make these nearly foreclosed but rented out homes like operating leases so struggling CRE companies can pick them up and make a percentage from rents for holding them. It’s genius. F**k it! Otherwise bulldoze half of them and call the housing problem "corrected".
Good thing Greenspan fixed that little undercapitalization problem by opening Pandora’s box on all sorts of creative blip-creating genius. Greenspan is the libertarian of the century for freeing the dollar, aren’t you glad he decoupled it from gold? Maybe that’s…
by Chart School - September 24th, 2010 2:19 pm
Courtesy of Doug Short
A few minutes after posting my latest Treasury Yield Snapshot, Claire at mortgagerates.info sent me this rather opinionated graphic of the Federal Funds Target Rate and how it played out in mortgages.
Infographic by Mortgage Rates
[Click on chart to enlarge]
by ilene - September 22nd, 2010 3:51 pm
Brief review of why it’s about time Summers says goodbye. – Ilene
Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist
It’s no secret that the economic recovery in the United States has been meager at best (and that’s assuming you believe this is not just one ongoing recession). While there is plenty of blame to go around for our current plight the buck ultimately stops with the most influential people in this
I’ve been highly critical of Obama’s economic team over the years because many of them were key players in helping cause the financial crisis. Tim Geithner was the head of the NY Fed when the banks were busy turning themselves into casinos. Ben Bernanke (who Obama should have never reconfirmed) failed to even acknowledge the potential existence of problems in the U.S. economy leading up to the financial crisis and then implemented his great monetarist gaffe which has now been proven to be what I called it from the very beginning – a bailout of Wall Street and a slap in the face for Main Street. He receives endless praise for helping to avoid a supposed second Great Depression. This is like the man who sees a fire in his front yard, ignores it, then when it’s finally becoming a widespread danger decides to save his own house from burning (the banks), lets all of the surroundings houses burn to the ground (Main Street) and then receives endless praise for his courage under fire.
But there have been few people in power over the last 25 years that have been more misguided and downright destructive than Larry Summers. This is a man who believes that women are intellectually inferior (I’ll tell you one thing – this economy wouldn’t be such a mess if it wasn’t run primarily by arrogant, narcissistic males) and has done more to help
by ilene - September 7th, 2010 1:44 pm
Excellent, brief summary of where we stand now, by Tyler at Zero Hedge.
Courtesy of Tyler Durden
We are not sure what is more amusing: the Masetro’s unwitting (and quite correct) observation that America is now nothing but a crony capitalist country, or his attempt to back out of what he said that so perfectly captures the essence of the failed corporatocracy currently raging in America.
In the following exchange from a DemocracyNow interview, Greenspan is forced to respond to his quote from Age Of Turbulence on the definition of crony capitalism: "When a government’s leaders or businesses routinely seek out private sector individuals or business, and in exchange for political support bestow favors on them, the society is said to be in the grip of crony capitalism. The favors generally take the form of monopoly access to certain markets, preferred access to sales of government assets, and special access to those in power."
Greenspan’s pathetic excuse is that while crony capitalism is a "dominant force" in some other regimes, it is "not the dominant force in this country." Perhaps all those who are fighting with the virtual monopoly granted to certain players, such as Goldman in fixed income trading, and Pimco in government bonds, would beg to differ. So yes, according to the Greenspan definition America is now nothing more than a crony capitalist society, which will only get worse as more and more power is granted to those who are believed to be able to ramp various asset classes, and thus the market in general, higher, because as Greenspan himself pointed out recently, nothing is as important a "driver" to the economy as the stock market: "if the stock market continues higher it will do more to stimulate the economy than any other measure we have discussed here". In the administration’s pursuit of Dow 36,000 to prove that all is well, America has given up on its core constitutional tenets, and is now nothing better than a dictatorial regime in some far-eastern backwater country.
Fast forward to 44:40 in the clip below (after the jump) to see the exchange.
h/t Geoffrey Batt
Photo: Courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant
by ilene - August 15th, 2010 5:29 pm
Courtesy of Jim Quinn of The Burning Platform
“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.” – Charles Mackay - Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds
The American public thinks they are rugged individualists, who come to conclusions based upon sound reason and a rational thought process. The truth is that the vast majority of Americans act like a herd of cattle or a horde of lemmings. Throughout history there have been many instances of mass delusion. They include the South Sea Company bubble, Mississippi Company bubble, Dutch Tulip bubble, and Salem witch trials. It appears that mass delusion has replaced baseball as the national past-time in America. In the space of the last 15 years the American public have fallen for the three whopper delusions:
- Buy stocks for the long run
- Homes are always a great investment
- Globalization will benefit all Americans
Bill Bonner and Lila Rajiva ponder why people have always acted in a herd like manner in their outstanding book Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets: Surviving the Public Spectacle in Finance and Politics:
“Of course, we doubt if many public prescriptions are really intended to solve problems. People certainly believe they are when they propose them. But, like so much of what goes on in a public spectacle, its favorite slogans, too, are delusional – more in the nature of placebos than propositions. People repeat them like Hail Marys because it makes them feel better. Most of our beliefs about the economy – and everything else – are of this nature. They are forms of self medication, superstitious lip service we pay to the powers of the dark, like touching wood….or throwing salt over your shoulder. “Stocks for the long run,” “Globalization is good.” We repeat slogans to ourselves, because everyone else does. It is not so much bad luck we want to avoid as being on our own. Why it is that losing your life savings should be less painful if you have lost it in the company of one million other losers, we don’t know. But mankind is first of all a herd animal and fears nothing more than not being part of the herd.”
Stocks for the
by ilene - August 2nd, 2010 4:40 am
Courtesy of Mish
Alan Greenspan is back mincing words. The big difference since Greenspan left the Fed is that his words are now understandable. It’s a huge improvement.
Please consider Greenspan Sees Quasi Recession
The dollar traded near its weakest since November against the yen on signs the U.S. recovery is losing momentum and after Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said the slowdown feels like a “quasi recession.”
The U.S. economy might contract again if home prices decline, Greenspan said in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” yesterday. “We’re in a pause in a recovery, a modest recovery, but a pause in the modest recovery feels like a quasi- recession,” he said.
Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke will speak today on “Challenges for the Economy and State Governments” in Charleston, South Carolina.
Recession, Quasi Recession, or Quasi Recovery?
I believe the word "recession" fits the bill better than the term "quasi recession". Of course, this all depends on your definition of recession as well as the meaning of "quasi". A quick dictionary check of "quasi" shows the meaning is "resembling; seeming;"
This sure does seem like a recession. However, please note that the NBER has still not proclaimed the end of the recession that started in 2007. Thus, it is quite likely that the US is still in recession and "quasi" needs to be dropped.
At least Greenspan minced words in the proper direction. For example "Quasi Recovery" would mean something that "seems like a recovery" even though it isn’t.
This sure does not "seem like" a recovery, for the simple reason it isn’t, at least in any practical sense, regardless of what the NBER may decide. However, we did have a recovery on Wall Street, amidst a series of high-fives, but Main Street America has not benefited much it at all.