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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Crash of '08 Roundup — December 2, 2008

Items of Interest:

Bill Vlasic / NY Times:
G.M. Asks for $18 Billion as It Tries to Avoid Collapse-- General Motors said it needed $12 billion in loans and a $6 billion line of credit and that it will cut jobs, factories, brands and executive pay...

Ben McConnell / Church of the Customer Blog: Creativity under pressure

Ken Thomas, AP / MPR:
GM says it needs $12 billion loans by late March — General Motors Corp. said Tuesday it needs $12 billion in government loans to keep operating, telling Congress in a bluntly worded report that its collapse could have "severe, long-term consequences to the U.S. economy." GM said it would seek up to $18...

GM Requests $4 Billion to Survive 2008 — From Bloomberg: GM Asks U.S. Lawmakers for Up to $18 Billion in Aid General Motors Corp. asked Congress for as much as $12 billion in loans to provide adequate funding through 2009, as well as a $6 billion line of credit should industry conditions worsen. ... GM anticipates an “initial draw” of $4 billion this month The WSJ headline is: GM ...

NY Times:
Contrite Over Misstep, Auto Chiefs Take to Road -- As the fate of the United States auto industry hangs in the balance, a profound question has taken center stage: what about the planes?

The chief executives of Detroit’s Big Three auto companies are hoping to avoid another drubbing like the one they received during a Congressional hearing on Nov. 19 for having flown on their private jets to Washington to plead for a bailout...
NY Times:
Bailout Monitor Sees Lack of a Coherent Plan The head of a new Congressional panel set up to monitor the federal bailout says the government still does not seem to have a coherent strategy for easing the crisis...

Twist / Housing Doom:
Here-A-Bailout, There-A-Bailout - With No Cohesive Plan -- Does it seem to you like there is no carefully thought out plan with all these bailouts? You’re not alone...
Kenneth Rogoff / Guardian:
Embracing inflation -- This once-in-a-lifetime global economic recession requires a unique response. Inflation is needed to combat the crisis

It is time for the world's major central banks to acknowledge that a sudden burst of moderate inflation would be extremely helpful in unwinding today's epic debt morass. Yes, inflation is an unfair way of effectively writing down all non-indexed debts in the economy. Price inflation forces creditors to accept repayment in debased currency.

Yes, in principle, there should be a way to fix the ills of the financial system without resorting to inflation. Unfortunately, the closer one examines the alternatives, including capital injections for banks and direct help for home mortgage holders, the clearer it becomes that inflation would be a help, not a hindrance...

Fear of inflation, when viewed in the context of a possible global depression, is like worrying about getting the measles when one is in danger of getting the plague.
Discussion: EconLog
Vikas Bajaj / NYT:
Fund Investors Sue Countrywide Over Loan Modifications-- A hedge fund sued the Countrywide Financial Corporation, demanding that it compensate holders of some securities backed by mortgages if the terms were changed..
Zac Bissonnette / BloggingStocks: The Grinch sues Countrywide over loan modifications
The Mess That Greenspan Made: Tuesday morning links

Diana Olick / CNBC:
The Investor "Revolt" Over Modified Loans -- I’m actually surprised it took this long. As more and more banks announced they were getting more and more aggressive on loan modifications, it seemed the investors in these loans were being just a little too silent...
NY Times:
Manhattan Awash in Open Office Space -- Last year, when the New York real estate market was still frothy, large blocks of office space were hard to come by. Not anymore.

Almost 16 million square feet is currently listed as available in large blocks in 68 office buildings in Manhattan, according to Colliers ABR, a commercial brokerage firm. That is nearly double the space available a year ago, both in terms of the number of large office blocks — which in New York usually means 100,000 square feet or more — and in terms of total square feet...
Jane J. Kim / Wall Street Journal:
Delinquent Mortgages Set to Nearly Double in 2009 -- The number of consumers with delinquent mortgages is poised to almost double by the end of next year, hitting its highest level in at least 16 years, according to a leading credit bureau.

TransUnion LLC, which analyzed about 27 million consumer records in its database, predicted that the proportion of consumers with mortgages that are 60 days or more past-due will hit 7.17% in the fourth quarter of 2009...
Discussion: Wonk Room

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