Items of Interest:
Bennet Sedacca / Minyanville:
Welcome to the Depression -- I actually hoped the unprecedented credit unwind would end up in a nasty recession; but I fear a depression is either upon us or will soon be upon us. To be truthful is essential in markets and life: To face head-on the bad news which isn't at all fun or exciting to face.
I hate to say this, as unpopular as it may be: Welcome to the depression. For my reasoning, please read on...
Brad Setser / Council on Foreign Relations:
A truly global slump. Do not look to the emerging economies for good news …
Eliezer Yudkowsky / Overcoming Bias
Investing for the Long Slump
Odds of a Depression -- Cumulative Decline in US GDP over Four Quarters to be -10.0% or worse -- Annualized quarterly Real GDP figures for 4 consecutive quarters sum to worse than -10% (i.e -10.1%)
Congress Needs to Help the Economy Fast -- Let's not debate another rescue bill in a few months.
The historic inauguration of President Barack Obama went a long way toward renewing American hopes for a better future. But our nation's economy remains on shaky ground. We must act immediately to solidify our economy by addressing weaknesses in our financial and housing industries, while at the same time kick-starting job creation with our national economic stimulus plan.
Our country faces an economic crisis not seen since the Great Depression. The housing collapse caused a crisis in our financial institutions, triggering a broader economic slide that is eliminating jobs, shredding retirement accounts, and wiping out household wealth at a breathtaking pace...
Existing Home Sales Rise as Prices Plummet -- Existing-home sales jumped 6.5 percent in December to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 4.74 million, led by a surge of sales in the West, the National Association of Realtors reported Monday...
Single-family home sales rose 7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.26 million in December, while condo sales increased 2.1 percent to 480,000. For all of 2008, single-family sales fell nearly 12 percent to 4.35 million, while condo sales dropped 21 percent to 563,000.
For 2008 as a whole, sales fell 13.1 percent to 4.91 million, NAR said. November and December were the weakest sales months of the year on a seasonally adjusted basis...
Seeking Alpha: Still Blowing Sunshine... But Not Quite as Much
There's More To Fear Than Fear — No, we haven't turned the corner on the banking crisis—we can't even see the corner. What's needed is a bold, massive jolt to the system. … From the magazine issue dated Feb 2, 2009 — Franklin Delano Roosevelt's first inaugural address is now known …
related:Discussion:Michael Goldfarb / Weekly Standard: Fareedonomics — From Zakaria's latest column...
David E. Sanger / New York Times:
Discussion:Noam Scheiber / The New Republic: The Mainstreaming of Bank NationalizationConn Carroll / The Foundry: Morning Bell: A Conservative Alternative to Obama's Permanent Spending PlanBarry Ritholtz / The Big Picture: Nationalize Now — We've been repeatedly noting that the fastest …Stormy / Angry Bear: A Brief Obama WatchThe Heretik / theheretik.us: Good Morning — Maybe politicians will wake up if they add …
Lending Drops at Big U.S. Banks -- Lending at many of the nation's largest banks fell in recent months, even after they received $148 billion in taxpayer capital that was intended to help the economy by making loans more readily available.
Ten of the 13 big beneficiaries of the Treasury Department's Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, saw their outstanding loan balances decline by a total of about $46 billion, or 1.4%, between the third and fourth quarters of 2008, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of banks that recently announced their quarterly results...
Mary Kane / The Washington Independent: The Ultimate Bailout Failure: Banks Decrease Lending Under TARPDonald Douglas / American Power: Abortion Stimulus: Family Planning Will Help EconomyChris Black / TPMMuckraker: The Daily Muck — The Speaker of the Massachusetts state House …Barry Ritholtz / The Big Picture: Bank Lending DropsYves Smith / naked capitalism: Quelle Surprise! Big Banks Who Got TARP Funds Reduced LendingRex Nutting / MarketWatch: Economy in free fall in fourth quarter
Even though the bank's stock is as cheap as a gallon of gas and it's burning through a $45 billion taxpayer-funded rescue, the airhead execs pushed through the purchase of a new Dassault Falcon 7X, according to a source familiar with the deal …
Discussion:Myglesias / Matthew Yglesias: Meet The New Jet — Citigroup may be an insolvent zombie bank …Ryan Powers / Think Progress: Citigroup about to complete purchase of brand new $50 million corporate jet.Melissa Clouthier / Right Wing News: The Financial “Crisis” Produces AnUnwelcome Shift In PowerAmanda Carpenter / Townhall.com: Citi Gets Baillout, Buys $50M JetHamilton Nolan / Gawker: Rich Folks Think They're Slick, but They're NotMoe Lane / Redhot: What a pretty jet, Citigroup. I'll be needing it next week.Jen Chung / Gothamist: CITI GOES AHEAD WITH BUYING $50 MILLION WINGSBob Cesca / Bob Cesca's Awesome Blog!: BRING YOUR SHOES
Cosmo, Alleged Ponzi Scheme Operator, Surrenders -- A New York businessman sought by U.S. authorities in connection with an alleged $380 million Ponzi scheme was arrested and charged with one count of mail fraud. Nicholas Cosmo, founder of Agape World Inc. in Hauppauge, New York, surrendered at the Long Island Railroad train station in Hicksville, New York. He is suspected of defrauding thousands of investors through his firm, which purports to provide bridge loans, said a person who wasn’t authorized to speak about the case. He was brought in handcuffs to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Hicksville at about 7:30 p.m ...
The Definitive Craigslist Guide for the Recession -- To paraphrase one shopping expert, nearly everyone wants better deals on everything these days. Craigslist is a great place to get those deals, and you don't have to be a jerk to get them....
But Craigslist Buyer Beware....
Armored truck robber uses Craigslist to make getaway -- the robber had planned ahead. In case anyone was hot on his trail, he had at least a dozen unsuspecting decoys waiting nearby, which he recruited on Craigslist...
Discussion:Tom Maguire / JustOneMinute: Old Dogs, New Tricks, All ChangeJames Joyner / Outside The Beltway: Government Created Jobs Worth the Cost?Sara K. Smith / Wonkette: Paul Krugman's Angry Screed About Stimulus HatersJill / Brilliant at Breakfast: Now let's see just how far Obama's “I won” stance goesPrairie Weather: Vote Republican. Stuff happens.Buck Naked Politics: Krugman Refutes GOP's Specious Arguments for Bush-Style Corporate Tax CutsCharles Lemos / MyDD: Illusory ThinkingJoe Sudbay / AMERICAblog News: Must read: Krugman debunks the GOP's misleading claims about the stimulusLibby Spencer / The Impolitic: Bad faith objectionsTahman Bradley / The Note: McCain Opposes Stimulus Bill
- We're Back to 1931, Not Yet 1933 - Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Daily Telegraph
- We Are Dealing with 3 Crises in One - Robert Samuleson, Washington Post
- How Obama Can Correctly Implement Keynes - John Judis, New Republic
- What's Wrong with Populist Stimulus Plans - Greg Spielberg, BusinessWeek
- It's All In the Economic Family - Bill Frezza, RealClearMarkets
- 6 Errors on the Path to the Financial Crisis - Alan Blinder, New York Times
- John Thain's Final Days at Merrill Lynch - Greg Farrell, Financial Times
- Unions Will Restore Middle-Class Prosperity - Robert Reich, LA Times
- Markets Ably Solve the Immigration 'Problem' - John Tamny, Forbes
- Geithner Is Exactly Wrong On China - Bret Swanson, Wall Street Journal
- You Knew Earnings Would Be Bad, But This Bad? - Tech Trader Daily
- Is It Time To Trash The Euro? - Free Exchange
- Could Market Force Fed to Buy Treasurys? - Michael Derby, RT Economics
- Cramer's Four Hopeful Signs for the Market - Tom Brennan, CNBC
- Don't Just Stand There, Do Something! - Asymmetrical Information
- It's Too Early To Fear China's Ascendancy - Chin & Helleiner, Foreign Policy
- The First Bailout Formula Had It Right - Joe Nocera, New York Times
- Economy in Shock: It's Failure Overload - Tom Petruno, Los Angeles Times
- Madoff Shows Banks Must Be Whistleblowers - Michael Sesit, Bloomberg
- The Future of Finance--Inside The Banks - The Economist
- Get Government Out of the Banking Business - Knowledge@Wharton
- What I'd Like To Hear Obama Say About Taxes - Russell Roberts, Forbes
- Ratings Agencies Can Do You Harm - Paul De Grauwe, Financial Times
- Detroit Bets Its Future on Washington - S. Dalmia & H. Payne, WSJ
- BofA's Ken Lewis Isn't Going Anywhere Soon - Mike Taylor, TheStreet.com
- CapOne Dealt Losing Credit Card Hand - J. Silver-Greenberg, Business Week
- Layoffs a Bleak First For Microsoft - P. Whoriskey & A. Shin, Washington Post