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Monday, December 8, 2008

The Crash of '08 Roundup — December 8, 2008

Items of Interest:

General Motors Advertisement / AutoChannel:
GM'S COMMITMENT TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLEGM'S COMMITMENT TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE --

We deeply appreciate the Congress considering General Motors' request to borrow up to $18 billion from the United States. We want to be sure the American people know why we need it, what we'll do with it and how it will make GM viable for the long term.

For a century, we have been serving your personal mobility needs, providing American jobs and serving local communities. We have been the U.S. sales leader for 76 consecutive years. Of the 250 million cars and trucks on U.S. roads today, more than 66 million are GM brands - nearly 44 million more than Toyota brands. Our goal is to continue to fulfill your aspirations and exceed your expectations...

In summary, our plan is designed to provide a secure return on your investment in GM's future. We accept the conditions of your loan, the commitments of our plan, and the results needed to transform our business for long-term success. We will contribute to strengthening U.S. energy and environmental security. We will contribute to America's technical and manufacturing know-how and create high quality jobs for the "new economy." And, we will continue to deliver personal mobility freedom to Americans using the most advanced transportation solutions. We are proud of our century of contribution to U.S. prosperity and look forward to making an equally meaningful contribution during our next 100 years.

discussion:
Minyanville:
GM Still Finding Innovative Ways To Beg

related:
CBS News:
Poll: Americans Split On Automaker Bailout — CBS News Poll: Most Believe That If Taxpayers Do Help Big Three, Government Should Have Say In Companies' Management — (CBS) While a majority of Americans believe that bankruptcy for U.S. automakers would have a major impact on the economy …
discussion: TIME.com
Michael O'Brien / The Hill:
Frank predicts second auto bailout in March — Rep. Barney Frank said Monday that the incoming Obama administration will likely explore a second, long-term bailout of automakers next March while saying an agreement on the first is nearly complete. — The chairman of the House Financial Services Committee …
Discussion: Hot Air, RedState and Fausta's Blog
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CNNMoney:
Half of rescued borrowers default anyway -- Top federal regulator says many mortgages that are modified end up in default within 6 months.

More than half of delinquent homeowners whose mortgages were modified earlier this year ended up redefaulting within six months, a top bank regulator said Monday.

Some 53% of borrowers with loans modified in the first three months of 2008 and 51% of those with loans modified in the second quarter could not keep up with payments within six months, according to U.S. Comptroller John Dugan, who spoke at a housing conference...
discussion:
Diana Olick / CNBC:
Re-Defaults Prove It: We're Just Making Housing Problem Worse
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Sam Zell's Tribune Company declares bankruptcyLos Angeles Times:
Tribune Co. files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection — The Chicago company, which owns the L.A. Times and KTLA Channel 5, will stop making interest payments on $12 billion in debt as it attempts to restructure its loans, chairman Sam Zell says. — Tribune Co., the owner of the Los Angeles Times …
Discussion: Chicago Breaking News, Gawker, Deal Journal, TIME.com, Democracy in America, Blue Crab Boulevard, Buck Naked Politics, and New York Magazine
Related:
Editor and Publisher: DealBook:
Tribune Files for Bankruptcy
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N. Taleb & P. Triana / Financial Times [reg. required]:
Bystanders To This Financial Crime Were Many - A crime has been committed. Yes, we insist, a crime. There is a victim (the helpless retirees, taxpayers funding losses, perhaps even capitalism and free society). There were plenty of bystanders. And there was a robbery (overcompensated bankers who got fat bonuses hiding risks; overpaid quantitative risk managers selling patently bogus methods).

Let us start with the bystander. Almost everyone in risk management knew that quantitative methods – like those used to measure and forecast exposures, value complex derivatives and assign credit ratings – did not work and could provide undue comfort by hiding risks. Few people would agree that the illusion of knowledge is a good thing. Almost everyone would accept that the failure in 1998 of Long Term Capital Management discredited the quantitative methods of the Nobel economists involved with it (Robert Merton and Myron Scholes) and their school of thought called “modern finance”. LTCM was just one in hundreds of such episodes...
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Andrew Leonard / Salon:
Paul Krugman's depression economics -- The words "depression economics" don't necessarily mean that we are in a depression or inevitably headed toward one. A more accurate definition would be that we are witnessing economic problems reminiscent of the Great Depression, long after many economists concluded that the question of how to avoid depressions had been permanently solved. Not true, says Krugman. If we don't watch out, we could steer the current recession right into depression territory.

The Asian financial crisis was a dress rehearsal for the massive financial crisis now shaking the global economy, Krugman writes...
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zero hedge

Calculated Risk

Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis

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

Financial Sector and Stocks Analysis from Seeking Alpha

Gold / Oil

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