Items of Interest:
John Wasik, Bloomberg:
U.S. Housing Market Still Offers Hidden Value -- Some of the most durable areas have shown lower volatility because they experienced less bubble appreciation, show fewer foreclosures and have residents with higher average income levels. A few of these havens might surprise you.
The Connecticut areas of Bridgeport-Stamford, Hartford and New Haven are most resilient, according to HomeSmartreports.com, a San Capistrano, California-based online service that measures “collateral risk,” or the chance you will lose money on a property purchase.
Also on the “least-risky” list are Boston, Essex County and Worcester, Massachusetts; Honolulu; Bethesda-Gaithersburg, Maryland; Edison, New Jersey; New York/Nassau-Suffolk county; Albuquerque; Seattle and El Paso.
Neighborhood stability is almost always anchored by employment, above-average wealth and education...
- What Is Worse - Personal Bankruptcy Or Foreclosure? - Diana Olick / CNBC Realty Check
MADOFF BLISTERED HIS SISTER -- SCAMMED FOR '$3M'
Bernard Madoff didn't even spare his own family.
The Ponzi schemer scammed millions from his sister, who is now desperately selling her Florida home, sources told The Post.
Sondra Wiener, 74, "has nothing," said one of her neighbors in the BallenIsles Country Club, a gated Palm Beach enclave where she and her husband, Marvin, live alongside such celebrities as Serena and VenusWilliams.
"She lost millions in this whole thing," said a source who estimated her loss at $3 million.
In response to questions about their financial straits, Wiener's son, David, said, "Yes, my family's a victim. More so than anybody else. It's very painful." ...
FoxNews: Report: Madoff's Sister Among Scammed Victims
Ritholtz / The Big Picture:
The Madoff Whistleblower
Madoff’s Freedom Ignites Rage of Neighbors Who Want Him Jailed -- U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner denounced a federal judge’s decision to allow Bernard Madoff to remain free on bond while awaiting trial for allegedly running a $50 billion Ponzi scheme.
“He should not be living at home, he should be in a jail cell,” said Weiner, a Democrat from New York, at a press conference today in front of Madoff’s Manhattan apartment on East 64th Street. His comment followed the judge’s ruling in Manhattan federal court. “This judge doesn’t seem to get it.” ...
- Finance Scoundrels Have Little to Fear - Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times
- The Real Bernard Madoff Game - Terence Corcoran, National Post
- Mini-Madoffs scam St. Louis investors - St. Louis Dispatch
- How Madoff suckered an expert on gullibility - Blogging Stocks
- The real Mado. game - National Post
The Trouble With Bernie: Nine Ways to Avoid a Madoff When You Meet Him -- 1. Don’t hire a money manager to get “new ideas” for your money. Most investment scams are timeless in structure, (e.g., Ponzi), ancient in motivation (e.g., greed), but usually appear to offer something that looks “new”: the promise of sure bucks in places where no man has gone before. In my day, I’ve seen tax shelters that guaranteed riches from big losses (1970s); junk bonds with double-digit returns and “virtually” no risk (1980s); dot-coms that promised value without cash flow (1990s); and after I left the business (2000) it was sub- primes, credit swaps and hedge funds. As Murphy said, everybody has at least one new idea that will not work...
The Terrible Lessons of TARP -- With the government now debating the release of the second half of the TARP funds, perhaps now is as good a time as any to look at how successfully spent the first $350 Billion dollars were.
The evidence is not very favorable.
What I can say without reservation is that the TARP spending prevented large brokers and banks from going to zero. Since the legislation was passed in the Fall, there has not been a major disruptive bankruptcy...
The short list of criticisms starts with the ad hoc way it was formed, and foisted on the public. There were no clear goals, no over-arching strategy, no milestones to evaluate its success...
- The Postmodern Financial Crisis - Andre Glucksmann, Forbes
- Does Bank of America Need Merrill's Bull? - Charles Gasparino, Daily Beast
- Citi's Getting Smaller, But That's a Good Thing - Laurie Kulikowski, TSC
- Banks Want The Old Bailout Back - Colin Barr, Fortune
- The Case for Bigger Government - Jeffrey Sachs, TIME
- A Note on Obama's "Stimulus" (Deficit Spending) Plan - Becker-Posner
- Obama's Fiscal Shot in the Arm Is Too Small - Clive Crook, Financial Times
- Memo to the Banks: Start Lending or Else - David Smick, Washington Post
- No Doubt the GOP Would Raise Taxes Too - Matt Miller, Wall Street Journal
- Less Tax Cuts, More Government Investment - Paul Krugman, NY Times
- Trillion-Dollar Spending Spree Is Road to Ruin - Kevin Hassett, Bloomberg
- Hedge Fund Crisis of '08 Was Deja Vu - James Mackintosh, Financial Times
- Massive Forces Cloud Market Outlook - Bill Fleckenstein, MSN Money
- Bonds Are Accident Waiting to Happen - A. Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph
- Was the Latest Rally a Head Fake? - Jacqueline Thorpe, National Post
- Mark-to-Market's Impact On Portfolios - Vanessa Drucker, Wealth Manager
- When Americans Save, They Are Stimulating- John Tamny, Forbes
- $1 Trillion Package Is the New Billion - Irwin Stelzer, Times of London
- Falling Prices: The Antidote to Deflation - George Reisman's Blog
- California: Budget Deficits Forever? - Kurt Brouwer, Fundmastery Blog
- How Earmarks Became The Law of the Land - David Warsh, Econ. Principals
- 2 Words for Wall St.--Disaggregate & Specialize - Information Arbitrage
- 2009 Will Be The Year of the Hedge Funds - DealBreaker
- California's Gold Rush Is Reversed - Devin Nunes, Wall Street Journal
- In India, Crisis Pairs With Fraud at Satyam - Joe Nocera, New York Times
- China Risks Madoff Treasury Treatment - William Pesek, Bloomberg
- What Big Three? Ford Adopts Scrappy Image - David Kiley, Business Week
- The Recession's Culture War - John Willman, Financial Times
- The Failure of Our 401(k)s - Tim Rutten, Los Angeles Times
- James Grant: Reports From the Tranches - Michael Thomas, Forbes
- Industry Recoils at Citi's Deal - Merle & Mandelbaum, Washington Post
- Why Barack Obama's 'Tax Cuts' Won't Work - Alex Brill, The American
- Priming the Economic Stimulus Pump - Nicholas Von Hoffman, The Nation