Monday, October 31, 2011

Central Bank History

I have been advocating that the Fed should make loans to the Treasury to finance public intrastructure and consumer spending. If you think this is completely crazy, keep in mind what has actually happened. During the height of the recent financial crisis in 2007, the Fed loaned a German bank $350 million and Citigroup, JP Morgan, Bank of America, and Wachovia each $500 million. All this and more was done to keep the banks solvent so they could make loans to business.

None of this cost the American taxpayer a dime. The Fed was doing what any bank does everyday for its commercial customers, creating money by making loans. Security? The banks pledged various assets including residential mortgages that no one knew exactlly what they were worth. What could the US Treasury use for security? Why not the human capital assets of the nation? This would allow the Treasury to finance such local gvernment investments as teachers instead of laying them off. This makes too much sense and therefore probably won't be done!

For more, read William Krehm at

The Great Casino

"Many investors have bet against Greece, using billions of dollars in complex financial instruments, called derivatives, that turn a profit when there is a debt default." NYT Oct 28, 2011
This is immoral and absurd. No one should be able get rich betting against a sovereign nation.

Underwater Countries

Angela Merkel and the EU countries have forced the holders of Greek debt to accept 50% losses--called a haircut, in exchange for guaranteeing a bailout fund. There is no reason that the German and French taxpayes have to finance this fund. The European Central Bank still refuses to act like a bank and make loans to banks.
I doubt if the bailout fund will be sufficient to cover Greek bonds let alone Italy that owes $2.7 trillion or 120 percent of its GDP. If the central banks does not step up there will be chaos.

Underwater Mortgages

The ratio of total mortgage debt to property value:
Las Vegas 119%
Orlando 100
Phoenix 97
People have begun to stop outmigration from New York, Massachsetts, and Michigan to these supposed paradises. I guesss they have decided that snow is not so bad after all.

Karl Case estimates that the decline in home prices from 2005 to 2009 caused consumer spending to be $240 billion in 2010 than it would have been. This kind of decrease in the value of a major asset can not be absorbed by individuals or banks. Both need to start over. After all, this is an accounting problem and we could change the banking rules for banks that write off the decline and refinance their mortages.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Consequences of Burst Real Estate Bubble

A local government official in Livingston County, Michigan reports that the local government is stuck with the bill for water and sewer installation after the real estate developer went bust. The local government exercised its tax lein and put the land up for auction. Since prospects for development are slim and there are few buyers, a parcel may sell for $50. Under Michigan law, the developer may later buy it back for the auction price. If housing demand picks up, the delinquent developer makes out like a bandit. If not, the developer is only out $50.

The "Occupy Wall Street" people probably don't know these details, but they know the sstem is rigged in favr of the rich and they are mad as hell.

Selective Perception

What do you see when you look at the "Occupy Wall Street" participants? If you enjoy the status quo economy you probably see the trash they accumulate. If you prefer change, you probably see courageous people willing to scacrifice their comfort for a cause benefiting many.
It's called selective perception!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Occupy Wall Street has plenty of reasons

This is the kind of thing the "Occupy Wallstreet" protestors have in mind.
The SEC announced that Citigroup agreed to pay $285 million to settle charges that it misled investors in a $1 billion derivatives deal tied to the United States housing market, then bet against investors as the housing market began to show signs of distress.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Farm Subsidies

A new farm subsidy is being proposed by Senators Brown, Ohio, and Thune, S. Dakota, in spite of record high farm income. Current subsidies like many government programs go mostly to the rich. The top 10 percent of direct-payment recipients in 2010 received 59 percent of the money under the program. Those 88,000 people, including farmers, their spouses and absentee landowners, got an average of $29,598.
Here’s why this folly endures. Mr. Thune, a leading voice in favor of deficit reduction, received at least $80,000 in campaign contributions since 2007 from political action committees associated with commodity agriculture, according to data compiled by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign spending. Mr. Brown has received $5,500 in PAC contributions from such groups in that period.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Wall Street Protest

Maye the revolution has begun. The Occupy Wall Street demonstration started last week and is growing. 700 people were arrested on Sunday. "The event has drawn protesters of diverse ages and occupations who are speaking out against corporate greed, social inequality, global climate change, etc." A protestor said, "The bottom line is the feeling that the financial industries here on Wall Street have caused the economic problems, and they're not contributing their fair share to solving them."

Monday, October 3, 2011

Detroit Can't Read

Detroit football and baseball teams are doing very well. Probably even those who can't read at the sixth grade level know this. But that is about as far as it goes. An estimated 300,000 Detroit residents 16 and older read below the sixth grade level. Michigan has 1.8 million residents who read below that level. Rochelle Riley writing in the Free Press of Oct. 2, points out that this even makes them ineligible for federal job training programs.
The good news is that the Rotary Club has pledged 3,000 volunteers to tutor adults. Bless them.