Daily Digest

Daily Digest - April 15

Thursday, April 15, 2010, 9:56 AM
  • Dow 12,000 Next? Or New Record 14,165?
  • NPR: Inside Job
  • General Election 2010: We Need People Power Not State Power, Says David Cameron
  • Soros Says Greek "Death Spiral" Risk Remains After Aid Package
  • DataQuick: SoCal House Sales Increase In March, "Propped Up" With FHA-Insured Loans
  • Prospectus For The United States - Would You Invest?
  • Greek Aid In Doubt As German Professors Prepare Court Challenge
  • Peak Oil Is Soooo....May of 2008
  • World Oil Demand To Hit Record High This Year: IEA
  • Energy Prices To Triple, Says Origin Chief
  • In Connecticut, Community-Supported Agriculture Gaining In Popularity
  • Global Area Planted To Biotech Crops

Economy

Dow 12,000 Next? Or New Record 14,165? (hucklejohn)

Yes, we hit 11,000. Propaganda. Yes, we'll quietly sneak past 11,722 (Dow's 2000 peak). Yes, we'll happily climb to 14,164 (Dow's 2007 peak). Maybe. But you're being conned: Even a new record of 14,165 barely equals CPI inflation the past 10 years.

Get it? Wall Street's lost more than 20% of your money the past decade. Now they're blowing a new bubble, filled with more toxic costly hot air.

NPR: Inside Job (BrockH)

For seven months a team of investigative journalists from ProPublica looked into a story for us, the inside story of one company that made hundreds of millions of dollars for itself while worsening the financial crisis for the rest of us.

General Election 2010: We Need People Power Not State Power, Says David Cameron (SolidSwede)

In calling for the role of the state to be scaled back, Mr Cameron sought to establish a philosophical divide with the Government after 13 years of public sector expansion under Labour. Government, he said, could not do everything. Because of the dire state of the public finances, a Tory administration would seek to do more with less.

Soros Says Greek "Death Spiral" Risk Remains After Aid Package (Christian W.)

“While it’s better than what the market is currently willing to offer, it’s still rather high,” Soros said at an event in London late yesterday organized by the Economist magazine. “It is a question of solvency. If you start charging very high rates as the market does in anticipation of solvency then that pushes you into insolvency.”

DataQuick: SoCal House Sales Increase In March, "Propped Up" With FHA-Insured Loans (Christian W.)

A total of 20,476 new and resale homes sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties last month. That was up 33.3 percent from 15,359 in February, and up 5.0 percent from 19,506 in March 2009, according to MDA DataQuick of San Diego.

“It’s a reflection of just how grim things got, that we’ve now had almost two years of sales gains and we’re still 18 percent below the sales average. ...” said John Walsh, MDA DataQuick president.

Prospectus For The United States - Would You Invest? (Davos)

We talk a lot about the economy in abstract terms.

On the other hand, many of us are well-versed at going over a prospectus and Jim Grant of the Interest Rate Observer has put one together for the United States of America as it seeks to raise $16Bn for 30-year Treasury Notes. According to the prospectus: "The Bonds will mature on April 15, 2040. Interest on the bonds is payable semiannually on April 15 and October 15, beginning October 15, 2010. Before giving effect to the offering of the Bonds and the securities to be issued concurrently, the United States had approximately $12,500,000,000,000 of indebtedness subject to the statutory debt limitation."

Greek Aid In Doubt As German Professors Prepare Court Challenge (SolidSwede)

The warning comes as fresh details emerge on the scale of the bail-out. Germany's Handelsbatt cited sources in Berlin warning that the bill may be three times as high as thought, pushing the EU share to €90bn (£79bn) - with an extra €15bn from the IMF.

Energy

Peak Oil Is Soooo....May of 2008 (Christian W.)

Despite gas prices having climbed a good chunk of the way back up to 2008 levels, the level of worry about higher prices hasn't seemed as high this time around. To test that, I pulled data from Google Trends on searches for "peak oil" and compared that to WTI crude prices over the same period. As this graph shows, while the two moved up together in 2007/2008, this time around "peak oil" and higher prices have disconnected in the public awareness -- at least for now.

World Oil Demand To Hit Record High This Year: IEA (Christian W.)

The agency said in its monthly Oil Market Report that world oil demand would reach an average of 86.60 million bpd this year, up from 84.93 million in 2009.

Energy Prices To Triple, Says Origin Chief (Christian W.)

He said the boom in sales of energy-inefficient flat-screen televisions was also pushing up household energy use, despite the development of more energy-efficient household appliances such as fridges and dishwashers.

"The price of electricity is going to go up substantially," Mr King said.

Environment

In Connecticut, Community-Supported Agriculture Gaining In Popularity (joemanc)

Once a week, people drive out to the farm to pick up their prepaid share — a bag or a box of fresh produce grown right there. They chat with the farmer who has planted the seeds and turned the soil that produced their tomatoes or peppers or squash.

These customers are partaking in community-supported agriculture, known as CSA. Ten years ago, there were fewer than 10 CSA farms in Connecticut. Today, there are more than 40.

Global Area Planted To Biotech Crops (Elsur)

Genetically modified crops were planted on 134 million hectares (335 million acres) in 2009, up 7 percent from 2008, according to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA).

The following is a look at the global area planted to biotech crops since the world’s first crop, a biotech soybean, was introduced in 1996.

Please send article submissions to: [email protected]

13 Comments

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Re: Daily Digest - April 15

"April 14 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. bond yields may jump like Greece’s did in its recent crisis if President Barack Obama’s administration fails to tackle the budget deficit in coming years, Legal & General Investment Management economist Tim Drayson said.

“The fiscal position is totally unsustainable,” Drayson, a former economist at the U.K. Treasury, said at an event in London today."

"Ultimately, a crisis of confidence in the dollar may lead it to being dropped as the world’s reserve currency, he said. Investors may look to invest in precious metals or emerging market currencies, Drayson said.

“This crisis will be different; it’s going to be a U.S. dollar crisis,” Drayson said. “You’re going to have to find some other safe haven. It could lead to a lot of volatility. You’re struggling to find a decent fiat currency.”"

"ATHENS, Greece — Greece's cost of borrowing is soaring again, despite a weekend pledge of financial support from its European partners.

The interest rate gap, or spread, between Greek 10-year government bonds and their German equivalent that are considered a benchmark of stability, reached 4.2 percentage points Thursday, up from 3.9 on Wednesday.

Greece won a promised euro30 billion last-resort loan package from all eurozone nations on Sunday, which briefly lowered its borrowing costs. But financial markets remain skeptical and are demanding high interest to hold Greek debt.

A week ago, the spread hit 4.8 percentage points, the highest since Greece joined the euro. The higher the spread, the lower market confidence in Greece's ability to pay, and the harder it becomes for Athens to reduce its bloated budget deficit and debt."

"To cover this year's deficit, lawmakers and the governor are postponing a $100 million payment to the state employee retirement fund, counting on additional federal revenues, using nearly $239 million originally allocated from the state's Rainy Day fund for next year, siphoning nearly $97 million from various accounts and funds, and making nearly $90 million in spending cuts.

Wednesday's vote came less than three weeks after the Democratic-controlled Senate passed a deficit-cutting plan in the early morning hours, only to have Rell vow to veto the bill. Since that vote, Rell met with legislative leaders from both parties behind closed doors and attempted to reach this latest compromise.

"It does prove that we can solve problems, difficult as they may be," Williams said."

"Under a plan approved by the Legislature last year, the state expects to clear at least $660 million once it pays off the debt on the properties. A total of 11 properties were put up for sale, including the massive East End complex and Attorney General Building in downtown and three other properties in Sacramento.

The state would lease back the buildings for 20 years at a total cost of about $5.2 billion, according to the Department of General Services. The size of the rental payments, which dwarf the amount the state would receive from the sales, are at the heart of the controversy.

Four board members of authorities that oversee the finances of state buildings were removed from their posts in recent weeks after questioning the Legislature's decision, said General Services spokesman Jeffrey Young.

"They were not in sync with (the department's) policies and philosophies with regard to sale-leaseback," Young said."

"April 14 (Bloomberg) -- The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is seeking bids on a $1.97 billion portfolio of loans from 22 seized banks, pushing the agency’s structured asset sales this year beyond the 2009 total.

The sale consists of 1,739 loans mostly tied to commercial real estate, with borrowers late on payments for almost half the portfolio, according to a preliminary announcement obtained by Bloomberg News."

"A day after legislators agreed on how to pay for another year of the state's foreclosure mediation program, a report released today shows foreclosure filings in Connecticut soared 22 percent in March compared with the previous month.

The national increase was 19 percent for the same period, RealtyTrac, the foreclosure tracking firm, said in its monthly report of national and state-by-state foreclosure trends.

The number of filings nationally in March was the highest monthly total since RealtyTrac first started reporting in January 2005."

........................6A) Foreclosure rates surge, biggest jump in 5 years

.........................6B) Foreclosure actions spike despite aid

"Foreclosure activity jumped 19 percent to a monthly record in March, driving first-quarter actions up 7 percent from the prior quarter and 16 percent from a year ago to a record of more than 932,000 properties.

One in every 138 U.S. households got a foreclosure filing in the quarter such as a notice of default, auction or bank repossession.

Banks took back more than 257,000 properties in the quarter, a record high, putting repossessions on pace to shatter last year's record of more than 918,000 properties."

"SEATTLE -- Thousands of people filing taxes this year might have unknowingly under reported their income for 2009.

They're among the many consumers managing to stay afloat financially, because creditors have dismissed some of their debt, but in many of those cases that dismissed debt did not really go away.

It's a tax law most consumers don't think about when they're drowning in debt and negotiating with their creditors. Reputable debt counselors are often able to get interest rates lowered and in many cases, a reduction in the total debt they owe. But where the IRS is concerned, that reduced balance is income.

"There are laws that address what's called 'cancellation of indebtedness,' " explained David Williams of the Internal Revenue Service. "In other words, basically what they say is, if you owed some money and then it got forgiven, you don't owe it anymore. That, in some circumstances is considered income to you.""

"Education Secretary Arne Duncan estimated that school layoffs could total from 100,000 to 300,000 unless Congress acts.

"It is brutal out there, really scary," Duncan told reporters on Capitol Hill. "This is a real emergency. What we're trying to avert is an education catastrophe.""

"Senators are expected to vote today to approve a temporary extensions bill that delays a 21.2% reduction in Medicare physician pay until the end of the month."

"Many senators have balked at the bill's $9.2 billion price tag, since the funds were not offset by spending reductions elsewhere. It is estimated that a permanent fix to the physician pay problem would cost roughly $200 billion over 10 years.

The bill only provides a two-week respite for physicians before the pay cuts return."

"WASHINGTON -A measure restoring jobless benefits to people struggling to find work is back on track in the Senate.

The $18 billion measure could pass Thursday and prevent even more people whose 26 weeks of state-paid benefits have run out from losing an average of $335 a week in federally funded benefits.

Democrats say deficit-financed jobless benefits not only are needed to help those unable to find work but are an effective way to pump up the still-struggling economy."

"The city will most likely start collecting rentals this September. This will help raise $2 to $3 million per year. Last year, New York City tried to charge rent, but later dropped the plan as they were threatened to be sued by Legal Society. According to Linda Gibbs, the rent is based on the sliding scale calculation, and about 15% of the shelter residents are able to afford the rent as they are making sufficient money."

"Sacramento County is considering cutting 200 jobs from the probation department, which would leave 11 officers supervising more than 21,000 ex-cons -- one officer for nearly 2,000 criminals.

"As our union president said, that's enough to fill Arco Arena and have a line waiting outside," said Probation Department spokesman Don Meyer.

That would spell the end of proactive enforcement, where officers search parolees' homes for contraband and evidence of criminal wrongdoing.

It would essentially be impossible for officers unable to keep track of everyone, Meyer said.

"They're basically just processing paper and that's it. They wouldn't respond to anything," he said.

Cuts will be coming to all 40 county departments as Sacramento County struggles to close a $160 million deficit."

.....................12A) Sacramento County staring at $166.5 million shortfall

"The impact of the economic crash continues to reverberate in Sacramento County, where officials will announce today that the county is facing a $166.5 million general fund shortfall in the fiscal year starting July 1.

As a result, county administrators have prepared a list of possible cuts that would delay death investigations by the coroner, reduce the number of cases the District Attorney's Office can prosecute, further reduce the number of Child Protective Services workers overseeing at-risk kids and virtually eliminate sheriff's patrols for the unincorporated area."

"Facing a record deficit, New Jersey’s pension fund is bolstering its finances by buying Build America Bonds from the state’s debt underwriters, then selling them for a profit in as little as five days, state records show.

The pension, whose $700 million in Build America investments would make it the seventh-largest holder of the bonds, earned $2.6 million last year by rapidly buying and selling, or flipping, the taxable debt issued by municipalities across the U.S., according to data compiled by Bloomberg."

"WASHINGTON (AP) -- China trimmed its holdings of U.S. Treasury debt 1.3 percent in February, the fourth consecutive decline. Those reductions are raising concerns that the U.S. government could face higher interest rates to finance its soaring budget deficits.

The Treasury Department said Thursday that China's holdings dropped $11.5 billion to $877.5 billion. That still left China as the largest foreign holder of U.S. Treasury debt. Japan retained the No. 2 spot with $768.5 billion, a drop of 0.4 percent from the January level."

"April 15 (Bloomberg) -- The number of Americans filing claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly increased last week, indicating the improvement in the labor market will take time to unfold.

Initial jobless applications increased by 24,000 to 484,000 in the week ended April 10, the highest level since Feb. 20, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. A Labor Department spokesman said the rise in claims was due more to administrative factors reflecting volatility around Easter than economic reasons."

"Continuing Claims

The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits increased 73,000 in the week ended April 3 to 4.64 million. The continuing claims figure does not include the number of Americans receiving extended benefits under federal programs.

The number of people who’ve used up their traditional benefits and are now collecting emergency and extended payments rose by 162,101 to 5.97 million in the week ended March 27."

"(Reuters) - U.S. states are unlikely to get a big burst of money from income taxpayers at Thursday's tax deadline to help ease their yawning budget gaps.

Collections from wage earners are expected to remain dismal as revenue lags low fiscal 2009 totals and in some cases just meets even-lower estimates for fiscal 2010.

"That means states will be limping toward the end of the fiscal year with further pain, further cuts," said Scott Pattison, executive director of the National Association of State Budget Officers, adding that the April-May period is critical for states in terms of the personal income tax."

"The global economy may be on the verge of a “sovereign debt crisis” following a severe financial crisis, a key member of the European Central Bank’s Executive Board warned Thursday.

“We may already have entered into the next phase of the crisis: a sovereign debt crisis,” Juergen Stark said at a Transatlantic Dialogue event in Washington.

The German economist also said risks to the global inflation outlook “seem to be tilted to the upside” given the prospects of a “multi-speed recovery” of the world economy.

“There is no doubt that the crisis will leave us a heritage of severe macroeconomic imbalances,” Stark said. “Dealing with them will represent one of the most daunting challenges for policymakers in modern history.”"

"Mr. Kanno at J.P. Morgan said deflation is leading to a rise in banks and individuals choosing what they wrongly assume are “risk-free assets” in Japan government bonds (JGBs), which yield more than bank deposits. While 94 per cent of debt is currently held by domestic investors, they won't be able to finance the government indefinitely, as tax revenue flattens amid higher demands for welfare spending.

“People forget about the credit crisis and the risk of JGBs,” Mr. Kanno said. “The JGB bubble will eventually burst some day. Japan's fiscal problem is a flow problem. Will domestic investors finance the deficit forever?”

Within three to five years, the government deficit will exceed tax revenue, and debt servicing costs will likely rise, Mr. Kanno said. “Japanese journalists don't want to tell the truth to the Japanese public. The current public pension system will not be sustained,” he said. “All the best policies are going to have short-term pain to get the best long-term results. Without taking these risks, Japan will fall into a trap from which we can't find an exit.” "

"April 15 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Postal Service may run out of cash as early as October unless Congress drops a requirement to prefund health benefits for retirees, Postmaster General John Potter told lawmakers today.

Potter asked the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to let the service cut Saturday delivery and stop paying health costs in advance. Dropping the funding requirement would allow the agency to be solvent when the next fiscal year begins Oct. 1, Potter said.

“Today we stand on the brink of financial insolvency,” Potter told committee members who expressed skepticism about endorsing his plan to reduce mail deliveries to five days from six. “If Congress is unable to act this fiscal year on broader legislation, our projections show that we will risk running out of cash the first month of fiscal year 2011.” "

  • Other news and headlines: 

Pakistan seeks two waivers from IMF

S&P Analyst: Taiwan Debt-GDP Ratio Relatively High In AA Category

Ambac Sold Insurance to Itself on Risky Bonds

Fuel Costs Cutting Poultry Potential (West Virginia)

Bankruptcies on record pace (Utah)

House budget could spell 1500 layoffs, slashes higher ed spending (MA)

Struggling Flint schools to lay off 261 teachers

China Raises Home Mortgage Rates, Down Payments

Hawaii Lawmakers Warned of Health Fund Insolvency

Commercial mortgage delinquencies spike in March

New York state budget late for 15th date as senators squabble

EU warns Portugal is in danger zone: must adopt tougher deficit cuts

Proposed 73% tax hike in Whitesboro draws contempt

Fortune 500 shed record 821,000 jobs in 2009

Insurance Sales Fall Most on Record as Companies Cut Coverage

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Re: Daily Digest - April 15

Middle Class -- Going Going -- Gone

http://email.seekingalpha.com/track?type=click&mailingid=4477&messageid=...

A Seeking Alpha "must read" highlights the dead end we are heading for. Whatever we thought the American Dream was is disappearing not only because of the 3 "E"s, but  a carefully engineered plan to relegate us all (most of us at any rate) to to the worker bee level is laid out for us to follow - much of which has been disguised as the free market in operation when all the while the power grab has been smoothly working in the background. Seems to me we've been had/are being had.

Jim

 

 

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Damnthematrix
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WTF?

With what money exactly........?

 

Obama unveils plans for trip to Mars

By North America correspondent Craig McMurtrie, staff

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/04/16/2874352.htm?section=justin

US president Barack Obama has set a bold new course for the future of US space travel, planning to send American astronauts into orbit around Mars within the next three decades.

Speaking at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, Mr Obama moved to reassure Americans that he still believes in human space exploration and defended his decision to kill NASA's multi-billion dollar Constellation rocket program.

Addressing an audience which included former astronauts, Mr Obama said he was 100 per cent behind the US space agency.

"The bottom line is, nobody is more committed to manned space flight, to human exploration of space, than I am. But we've got to do it in a smart way," he said.

To those who would return America to the moon as had been planned, Mr Obama said: "I just have to say pretty bluntly, we've been there before ... there's a lot more space to explore and a lot more to learn when we do".

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SagerXX
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Jim Sinclair's bank says: No bullion in your safe deposit box

...(also no cash)...

Link to relevant page on his website (scroll down past obscene yacht):

http://jsmineset.com/2010/04/09/in-the-news-today-511/

Link to letter he received from his bank:

http://jsmineset.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Bank.pdf

 

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Re: Daily Digest - April 15

Is it just me......  or are the news on the DD just getting worse exponentially by the day..?  Because today's bad news really are piling way higher than usual...

Mike

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Re: Daily Digest - April 15

April 15, 2010

More About That 'Healthy' Consumer Spending

I've highlighted posts at The Market Ticker, Business Insider's The Money Game, and Housingwire which have suggested that one reason why Americans can afford to keep on spending in the face of 20 percent underemployment and stagnant incomes is because many of them have decided to stop paying the mortgage.

Now, Edward Harrison, publisher of Credit Writedowns and a frequent contributor to another one of my daily must-reads, Naked Capitalism -- published by Yves Smith, author of ECONned, a great new book on how we got into the mess we are in -- is also weighing in on the subject. In the following excerpt from "Strategic Defaults Increase Consumer Spending," Ed reveals some of the eye-opening tidbits that others have passed along to him:

My anecdotes on strategic defaults

Here’s what I have uncovered via two anecdotes a friend sent me.

This first one comes via Bill Fleckenstein from a retired hedge fund manager. Catch Fleck via his daily newsletter (subscription) or his MSN column, which is free. Bill says the reader told him the following five anecdotes:

  1.  
    1. My 25 year old niece had $10,000 of outstanding credit card debt. Recently, she told the bank she couldn’t pay. She is not unemployed so the ‘hardship’ is all relative. Nevertheless, the bank offered her a concession which she refused. They offered another concession, she refused again. Finally, they told her if she paid $150/month for 2 years (total of only $3600 with no interest), they would call it paid in full! She accepted in a heartbeat. It is less than a month later, and she celebrated her good fortune by going on a cruise to Hawaii.
    2. A friend owns a small manufacturing co. He tells me of one of his female employees who was saddled with a $450,000 home she purchased almost five years ago with no down pmt. One year after her purchase she pulled $75,000 home equity and purchased ‘fun stuff’ including a boat. She recently walked away from the house (now saddled with $525K mortgage), purchased a new house for $200,000 (in her sister’s name) and kept all the goodies purchased from the home equity withdrawal. With the much lower mortgage payment she just bought a new car.
    3. Almost everyone in my "survey" is aware of, or knows someone living rent free in their home for an extended period of time, having stopped paying their mortgage. Many of these free boarders are spending lavishly on non-essentials. My hard-working part-time assistant knows two different 35+ yr olds who have enjoyed over 9 months (one is up to month eleven) of rent-free living in very nice homes they purchased in 2004/2005! Both are employed and both enjoy a non-frugal lifestyle. My assistant wonders if he should do the same or have me pay him more so that he too can enjoy the ‘good life’.
    4. My sister is a nurse with 25+ years on the job. She told me of a young couple that she is good friends with that both work at her hospital making a decent joint income. They didn’t like the fact that they grossly overpaid for their 3000 sq ft home in 2006. They stopped making hefty monthly payments six months ago and haven’t yet been contacted by the bank. They have decided to wait until contacted and then walk away. In the meantime, they just returned from NYC from a week vacation in the Big Apple.
    5. My brother-in-law wanted to know if he should stop making payments on everything. He lives in Virginia and his carpentry skills are not as marketable as they were in the height of the boom. He and his wife’s best friend have lived close-by for many years. For the past 13 months since they strategically decided to stop paying their mortgage, they had yet to be contacted by their bank. Not even one letter! My brother-in-law doesn’t understand how they get to pocket the mortgage and spend carefree, including a 10-day Caribbean vacation.

I can list numerous other, verified examples. And these are just from my tiny, tiny universe. I can’t help but assume if I know of this many instances, there must be millions of similar stories across the country. And I am sure many of your readers have first or second hand knowledge of similar situations.

Bill, for me, the weight of evidence is pretty powerful. I am convinced that it is a specific government policy to increase consumer spending by allowing massive debt repudiation. And, I think they are pulling it off, at least for now.

Another hedgie in San Francisco, responded with this after seeing these anecdotes:

From the West Coast I have at least that many stories.  They come in clusters.  One brave party takes the first step and "wins" then relatives or co-workers follow the successful example.  The persons are still employed – default on debt – they rarely get contacted by lenders and then negotiate hard (the debtors that is).  After some settlement they keep spending lavishly.  In every case a vacation is part of the program.  Every case!

In one example 5 employees at a local business that caters to wealthy clients have defaulted.  The first guy and his ex were a classic accident waiting to happen – big lifestyle and all on borrowed $$.  He’s still in his place 19 months later.  Then a guy who got his hours cut back – same story.  The last two are STILL making over $100k.  No one is making his mortgage payment.  No one is in foreclosure yet – only the first guy has even been contacted and he’s the most underwater.  The last two (one guy I know well) are still religious about the credit card debt, however. 

I have a place of the beach in Mexico.  One of the newer buyers on our beach got the money from a refi in Oregon in 2006 (about $300k).  He stopped paying last year on his Oregon place – still has the house, no proceedings – just some letters.  He even rents it out during the winter to another couple who walked away and mailed in the keys on their home last year (foolish them!!).

Small business here are getting killed, however.  There is very little new money and the terms to renew a line, or refi a CRE mortgage, are crazy.  Almost all small business lines are also tied to assets – real estate in most cases – and it’s very hard to renew with a smaller bank.

I know this sounds like lunacy but these are stories I know personally.

Clearly this is not scientific data in the least. But I hope you see the evidence is pretty substantial that strategic defaults are indeed goosing retail sales. The question is what comes next?

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MARCH MADNESS

Great Article by Brian Pretti, a definate must read.

http://financialsense.com/Market/wrapup.htm

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Re: Daily Digest - April 15

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20602099&sid=aFrMxm45pGps

American Electric Will Cut Up to 2,000 Jobs 

By Jordan Burke

April 15 (Bloomberg) -- American Electric Power Co., the biggest U.S. producer of coal-fueled electricity, is seeking to cut as many as 2,000 jobs to trim costs after the recession reduced power demand.

American Electric notified employees yesterday about the voluntary severance packages via a letter and Webcast, Melissa McHenry, a company spokeswoman, said today. The plan will reduce the number of employees at the Columbus, Ohio-based company by 5 percent to 10 percent.

American Electric’s power sales dropped 11 percent last year and its revenue fell 6.6 percent. Other utilities are also offering buyouts, with Duke Energy Corp. and Dominion Resources Inc. announcing their own staff reductions yesterday.

“Things don’t seem to be picking up as quickly as we might have hoped,” McHenry said. Some of the demand lost “looks like it is going to be a while until it comes back.”

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Re: WTF?
Damnthematrix wrote:

With what money exactly........?

Obama unveils plans for trip to Mars

US president Barack Obama has set a bold new course for the future of US space travel, planning to send American astronauts into orbit around Mars within the next three decades.

It may sound like really big news, but this appears to pretty much be lip service.  He states a timeline of fifteen years just to build the spacecraft that will be used to go to Mars, and 20-30 years to have the first manned mission to ORBIT Mars.  But not land on Mars.... the actual landing of people on the surface would take place in later missions.  The timeframes he gives show me he has little actual commitment... he KNOWS that these timelines are a joke, because the current nature of our political system and politicians do not allow for following very long-term plans in any aspect of government.  We could accomplish these tasks in half the time (maybe less) without dramatic budget increases, but a slow timeline like he gives is not likely to produce anything of value before the project periodically gets changed again and again.  And the plan to orbit Mars first doesn't seem to make any sense since the costs, the travel time involved, and the risks to astronauts are not much lower than for a landing mission, and the value added in having astronauts aboard is minimal from a scientific standpoint.  If you're going to place the astronauts at that much risk for that much cost you might as well make it a surface mission anyway, where on-site human mobility and adaptability can result in much greater scientific exploration and analysis.  So basically I see the Obama plan as somewhat of a brush-off, "here are some more jobs for your industry... now smile for the cameras, go play in your sandbox, and don't call us we'll call you."

The only thing I see potentially promising about his plan is the push to encourage private companies to provide launch services to orbit and the space station.  Major endeavors like the first manned missions to Mars and beyond are probably best served by public agencies leading the charge (due to the high cost and lack of an immediate return on investment)... but once shown such things are possible and the technology is proven then private companies should be allowed, even encouraged, to enter the game.  We've been doing launches into orbit for decades, and establishing private manned launch systems to orbit is long overdue.  I don't know the details of the plan to involve private companies, though... the principle sounds great, but I can easily see how the wrong plan or heavy political interference could do more harm than good.

I agree the US is broke and doesn't have the money for this, but if default/bankruptcy is inevitable anyway perhaps it's not so bad to use the last years of easy money to build things of useful value.  We will still end up broke, but at least we'll have something of value to offer (launch services in this case) to other nations we would still need to trade with Wink 

- Nickbert

idoctor's picture
idoctor
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 4 2008
Posts: 1731
Re: Daily Digest - April 15

http://finance.yahoo.com/taxes/article/109330/want-to-get-audited-apply-for-homebuyer-credit?mod=taxes-advice_strategy

Want to Get Audited? Apply for Homebuyer Credit

Problems with homebuyer tax credit prompting IRS audits, delaying tax refunds.

WASHINGTON -- Here's a good way to get audited by the Internal Revenue Service this year: claim the new homebuyer tax credit.

About a fifth of all IRS examinations done by mail in the past six months were for people claiming the credit, National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson told a congressional committee Thursday -- the filing deadline for individual tax returns.

The audits mean big delays in getting refunds -- as much as five months -- just as Congress and the Obama administration hope that tax refunds will spur economic growth and the homebuyer tax credit will improve the housing market.

"The first-time homebuyer credit is a program that I personally would not have run through the tax code," Olson, an independent watchdog within the IRS, said in an interview." The taxpayers need the money at the closing, and by definition, the tax code is a one-time-a-year filing event.

"Most people don't close on their houses on April 15," she said.

Congress passed an $8,000 credit for first-time homebuyers early last year to help jump-start housing markets as part of the massive economic recovery package. The program was so popular, Congress extended and expanded the program in November, opening it up to longtime homeowners who buy new homes.

Buyers who have owned their current homes at least five years are eligible, subject to income limits, for tax credits of up to $6,500. First-time homebuyers -- or people who haven't owned homes in the previous three years -- can get up to $8,000. To qualify, buyers have to sign purchase agreements before May 1 and close before July 1.

 

DmaxSilver's picture
DmaxSilver
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 20 2009
Posts: 24
Re: Daily Digest - April 15
Damnthematrix wrote:

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20602099&sid=aFrMxm45pGps

American Electric Will Cut Up to 2,000 Jobs 

By Jordan Burke

April 15 (Bloomberg) -- American Electric Power Co., the biggest U.S. producer of coal-fueled electricity, is seeking to cut as many as 2,000 jobs to trim costs after the recession reduced power demand.

American Electric notified employees yesterday about the voluntary severance packages via a letter and Webcast, Melissa McHenry, a company spokeswoman, said today. The plan will reduce the number of employees at the Columbus, Ohio-based company by 5 percent to 10 percent.

American Electric’s power sales dropped 11 percent last year and its revenue fell 6.6 percent. Other utilities are also offering buyouts, with Duke Energy Corp. and Dominion Resources Inc. announcing their own staff reductions yesterday.

“Things don’t seem to be picking up as quickly as we might have hoped,” McHenry said. Some of the demand lost “looks like it is going to be a while until it comes back.”

 

There's a lot of empty space out there

guardia's picture
guardia
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 26 2009
Posts: 592
Re: Jim Sinclair's bank says: No bullion in your safe ...
SagerXX wrote:

...(also no cash)...

Link to relevant page on his website (scroll down past obscene yacht):

http://jsmineset.com/2010/04/09/in-the-news-today-511/

Link to letter he received from his bank:

http://jsmineset.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Bank.pdf

OMG, no porn in the safe box? Surprised (How the hell do they come up with that stuff anyway?)

Samuel

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