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Saturday, February 9, 2008

Housing/Subprime — Random Notes

Items of interest:

Terence P. Jeffrey / Washington Times:
Your $455,000 loan to Uncle Sam -- Were a family to go out and borrow $455,000 on an adjustable interest rate to buy a big second home with no idea where they were going to get the money to pay it off, they would justifiably be seen as fools.

They certainly would not deserve a bailout from hardworking taxpayers who had been prudent stewards of their own earnings and savings.

Thanks to the compounded negligence of four successive generations of politicians in Washington, D.C., however, every family in America is now on the hook for $455,000 over and above what they owe on their own mortgage, or student loans, or credit cards or can expect to pay in taxes under the current tax system.

This is largely because of the middle-class welfare state initiated by President Franklin Roosevelt, expanded by President Lyndon Johnson, expanded again by President George W. Bush, and generally maintained and nurtured by all presidents and Congresses in between. [...]

comment: The National Debt Clock today shows the national debt at $9,244,756,626,093.17. It says, "The estimated population of the United States is 304,312,996 so each citizen's share of this debt is [currently] $30,379.11." The Jeffrey article is factoring in the future:
unfunded liabilities Uncle Sam has incurred on our behalf through already promised entitlements in programs such as Social Security, Medicare and the veterans benefits. These liabilities now exceed by $53 trillion the tax revenues projected to be available to pay for them. . .
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Prof's Reinhart & Rogoff / Harvard.edu:
Is the 2007 U.S. Sub-Prime Financial Crisis So Different? An International
Historical Comparison*
[PDF, 13 pages] -- The first major financial crisis of the 21st century involves esoteric instruments,unaware regulators, and skittish investors. It also follows a well-trodden path laid down by centuries of financial folly. Is the “special” problem of sub-prime mortgages this time
really different?

Our examination of the longer historical record, which is part of a larger effort on
currency and debt crises, finds stunning qualitative and quantitative parallels across a number of standard financial crisis indicators. [...]
discussion:
Barry Ritholtz / The Big Picture blog: 5 Historical Economic Crises and the U.S.
Paul Krugman / NY Times: A Long Story
Calculated Risk: Krugman on the Economy
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Calculated Risk

MishTalk - Mike Shedlock

Paul Krugman - NY Times

The Big Picture - Barry Ritholtz

naked capitalism - Yves Smith

Pragmatic Capitalism

Washington's Blog

Safe Haven

Paper Economy

The Daily Reckoning - Australia