The system for financing mortgages and regulating that financing has failed, completely and utterly. The mortgage and real estate markets are now in collapse.
Yesterday I wrote about how positive feedback loops lead to collapse. Welcome to the U.S. housing and mortgage markets. As I have documented here numerous times, the entire U.S. mortgage market has already been socialized: 99% of all mortgages are backed by the three FFFs--Fannie, Freddie and FHA--and the Federal Reserve has purchased a staggering $1.2 trillion in mortgage-backed assets in the past year or so to maintain the illusion that there is a market for mortgage-backed securities.
There is, but only because the mortgages are backed by the Federal Government and propped up by the Federal Reserve.
The mortgage market is completely dependent on government guarantees and quasi-Government purchases of securitized mortgages. If the mortgage market were truly socialized, then the Central State would own the banks which originate, service and own the mortgages.
But then the private owners and managers of the "too big to fail" banks would not be reaping hundreds of billions in profits and bonuses. And since the banking industry has effectively captured the processes of governance (that is, Congress and the various regulatory agencies), then what we have is a system of private ownership of the revenue and profits generated by the mortgage industry and public absorption of the risks and losses.
Could anything be sweeter for the big banks? No.
The incestuous nature of the system is breathtaking. The Fed creates the credit which enables the mortgages, the Treasury guarantees the mortgages via Fannie, Freddie and FHA, the Fed buys the mortgages ($1.3 trillion in mortgages are on their balance sheet) and the private banks collect the fees and profits.
One of the core tenets of the Survival+ critique is the State/Financial Plutocracy partnership. There are many examples of this partnership (crony capitalism in which the State is the "enforcer" which collects the national income and distributes it to its private-sector cronies), but perhaps none so blatant and pure as the mortgage/banking sector.
But now the entire legal basis for that privatized-profits, socialized losses system has dissolved. The foreclosure scandal…
And it appears this is one ‘reform’ that can’t be blamed on ‘the liberals’ and Obama. Crony Capitalism is not a political party, it’s a way of life in which power and greed are the measure of all things.
Well, some of the New York real estate developers are poor, relatively speaking, compared to an investment banker or a trader pulling down a fifty million dollar annual bonus for packaging fraudulent financial instruments. But they are all rich in their well connected friends in the government.
The kleptocracy never sleeps; crony capitalism knows no bounds…
The federal government may soon come to the rescue of stalled luxury condominiums in Manhattan.
Manhattan luxury condominiums known for posh amenities and high price tags are beginning to apply for Federal Housing Administration backing.
Condominium developers hope to open financing opportunities for their purchasers as well as guarantee a little protection for themselves. Not only will lending institutions be more willing to lend to purchasers with FHA backing, but the FHA will pay the mortgage should a home buyer default.
The FHA loosened the condo rules because of “market conditions,” Lemar Wooley, an agency spokesman told Bloomberg.com
The administration recently agreed to insure mortgages for apartments at the 98-unit Gramercy Park development, known as Tempo in Match, according to Bloomberg. That deal allowed buyers to make a down payment of as low as 3.5 percent in a complex where apartments run up to $3 million…
As you may know, and as we suggested the other day, the ADP report, based on payroll data from American business, showed a loss of 84,000 jobs in December, versus expectations of a loss of only 75,000 jobs.
We also suggested that this Friday’s US Non-Farm Payroll Report will be a positive surprise, at least 10,000 or so jobs to the good. Here are the details.
The Imaginary Jobs component, also known as the Bureau of Labor Statistics Birth-Death Model, will contribute approximately 72,000 jobs allegedly created by small businesses with less credible evidence than a Bigfoot or an Elvis sighting.
Not that they are always positive. Each January there is an enormous job loss shown here, in the neighborhood of about 350,000 jobs. The reason they do this is because the seasonal adjustment factor is so huge in January that this imaginary jobs number does not matter, since it is subtracted (and added) from the numbers prior to the seasonal adjustment.
We can expect this model to continue to show positive annual jobs growth until the End of Days, and perhaps longer than that if there is fireproof paper in the afterlife. [click on tables and charts to enlarge]
The ‘headline jobs number’ which is the Seasonally Adjusted Number will be a positive 58,000 jobs, and provide much joy and exultation in Washington and on Wall Street. Pundits like Paul Krugman will caution that the economy is still fragile and a second stimulus bill will be required to insure these positive gains.
What is the basis for these projected numbers? The same basis used by the BLS – nothing. At least nothing connected with the real world. These are the numbers that bureaucrats might mindlessly crank out in response to the desire of their bosses for certain targets, a phenomenon well understood by most corporate financial staffs.
We drew the trendline on that chart earlier this year, assuming that the government would wish to show a steady job increase with a positive number by December, or at least January. So far we have not been disappointed, although there have been quite a few revisions along the way.
There will also be revisions this time again, with some jobs added and borrowed from prior months to help
At first it was just the smaller banks, but now the big boys have joined the collective cry against FASB 166 and 167, according to which beginning January 1, banks will likely see up to $900 billion in off-balance sheet assets being onboarded to bank balance sheets. This would likely mean banks need to dramatically increase their Tangible and Tier 1 Capital to offset the capital needed to account for possible asset deterioration. And that, of course, is unacceptable to banks who know too well the deep shit they still find themselves in.
The irony is that banks, which have already virtually halted lending to those in need of credit, are threatening they will cut any available credit even futher. How anyone could admit to being stupid enough to believe this latest episode of Mutual Assured Destruction courtesy of the US banking system is a mystery. And yet this is precisely the type of "gun against the head" negotiating that Max Keiser was fulminating against, and that the banks are once again perpetrating:
“With any increase in required capital, a banking institution is likely to reduce the amount of lending using such securitization vehicles, as well as other lending,” the American Bankers Association wrote in a letter to regulators. The association, the nation’s biggest banking lobby, suggested that any transition period should be three years at least, with no change in regulatory capital impact in the first year.
Taking a cue from the ABA, the big 3 record earners have decided to join in: last thing one would want is JPMorgan not earning yet another record amount in Q4. First Citi chimes in:
Banks should be given three years to raise capital for offsetting assets and liabilities that must be brought onto their balance sheets, Citigroup Chief Financial Officer John Gerspach said yesterday in a letter to regulators. Requiring banks to “assume the risk-based capital effects immediately, or even over one year, is an undeniably severe penalty,” he wrote.
Then you have record earner JPMorgan:
The capital requirements “will have a significant and negative impact on the amount of consumer-conduit funding that will be made available by U.S. banks,” said
Jesse of Jesse’s Café Américain posted on the important subject of deregulation in his last post, “Why the Austrian, Keynesian, Marxist, Monetarist, and Neo-Liberal Economists Are All Wrong.” In it, he opined that it is entirely wrong-headed to assume everything will be alright if we just let free markets work their magic. I want to take his thoughts one step further because I think there is a misperception about what the free market entails and why the deregulation movement went astray.
To review, Diamond won a Pulitzer Prize in 1998 for his book Guns, Germ and Steel, which is a narrative of how Eurasian societies as a whole have dominated others throughout the last 10,000-odd years. One of his basic premises is that Eurasian societies are stratified, and hence less egalitarian, allowing individuals to specialize. The hierarchy and specialization have combined to give these societies advantages that less stratified (and less resource-rich) societies do not have.
The corollary of this – and where I want to concentrate – is that advanced societies are not egalitarian. Some will de facto have more, and others will have less. Moreover, as Diamond asserts, this lack of equality becomes, in essence, a kleptocracy i.e. a reverse Robin Hood organization where the elites enrich themselves at the expense of the others.
This has been the reality in all advanced societies based on agriculture, manufacturing and services for the last 10,000-odd years. This social structure has been net beneficial to the societies employing it in comparison to more simple societies – a case of a rising tide lifting all boats. So, on some level, kleptocracy is nothing about which to get irate.
The problem is that not all kleptocracies are created equal. At some point, the ruling class overreaches in a way that subtracts from rather than adds to the overall…
This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible. Feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts. After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.) Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.
It's time again for my weekly gasoline update based on data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Rounded to the penny, Regular and Premium were unchanged after eighth week of price declines. Regular is up 27 cents and Premium 25 cents from their interim lows during the second week of last November.
According to GasBuddy.com, only one state (Hawaii) has Regular above $4.00 per gallon, down from two last week, and one state (Alaska) is averaging above $3.90. South Carolina has the cheapest Regular at $3.15.
How far are we from the interim high prices of 2011 and the all-time highs of 2008? Here's a visual answer.
While Markit's Manufacturing PMI fell in August, the apparent demand for 'services' in China exploded. China Services PMI jumped from the worst on record 50.0 in July to 54.1 in August (18-month highs). This is the biggest MoM rise in the data on record... because they can. We have nothing to add because it's simply becoming too surreal and manipulated for rational explanation.
HSBC is quick to note that it's not all unicorns and ponies and that more stimulus sis till needed.
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Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. (Ticker: BWLD) shares are in positive territory in early-afternoon trading on Thursday, reversing earlier losses to stand up 0.50% on the session at $148.50 as of 12:15 pm ET. Options volume on the restaurant chain is running approximately three times the daily average level due to heavy put activity in the October expiry contracts. It looks like one or more traders are buying the Oct 140/145 put spread at a net premium of roughly $1.45 per contract. As of the time of this writing, the spread has traded approximately 3,000 times against very little open interest at either striking price. The put spread may be a hedge to protect a long stock position against a roughly 6% pullback in the price of the underlying through October expiration, or an outright bearish play anticipating a dip in BWLD shares in the next couple of months. The spread makes money at expiration if shares in BWLD decline 3.3% from the current price of $148.50 to breach the breakeven point...
Gradient Senior Analyst Nicholas Yee reports on six companies that are using a variety of techniques to shift pretax profits to lower-tax areas. Featured in this USA Today, article, the companies include CELG, ALTR, VMW, NVDA, LRCX, and SNPS.
Mt Gox may be long gone in the annals of bankruptcy, but its founder refuses to go gentle into that insolvent night. And, as CoinDesk reports, the disgraced former CEO of the one-time premier bitcoin trading platform has decided to give it a second try by launching new web hosting service called Forever.net and is registered under both Karpeles’ name and that of Tibanne, the parent company of Mt Gox.
Author Helen Davis Chaitman is a nationally recognized litigator with a diverse trial practice in the areas of lender liability, bankruptcy, bank fraud, RICO, professional malpractice, trusts and estates, and white collar defense. In 1995, Ms. Chaitman was named one of the nation's top ten litigators by the National Law Journal for a jury verdict she obtained in an accountants' malpractice case. Ms. Chaitman is the author of The Law of Lender Liability (Warren, Gorham & Lamont 1990)... Since early 2009, Ms. Chaitman has been an outspoken advocate for investors in Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC (more here).
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Well PSW Subscribers....I am still here, barely. From my last post a few months ago to now, nothing has changed much, but there are a few bargins out there that as investors, should be put on the watch list (again) and if so desired....buy a small amount.
First, the media is on a tear against biotechs/pharma, ripping companies for their drug prices. Gilead's HepC drug, Sovaldi, is priced at $84K for the 12-week treatment. Pundits were screaming bloody murder that it was a total rip off, but when one investigates the other drugs out there, and the consequences of not taking Sovaldi vs. another drug combinations, then things become clearer. For instance, Olysio (JNJ) is about $66,000 for a 12-week treatment, but is approved for fewer types of patients AND...
I just wanted to be sure you saw this. There’s a ‘live’ training webinar this Thursday, March 27th at Noon or 9:00 pm ET.
If GOOGLE, the NSA, and Steve Jobs all got together in a room with the task of building a tremendously accurate trading algorithm… it wouldn’t just be any ordinary system… it’d be the greatest trading algorithm in the world.
Well, I hate to break it to you though… they never got around to building it, but my friends at Market Tamer did.
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