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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Great Recession Roundup — February 18, 2009

Items of Interest:

"President's strategy for economic recovery is a stool" — The White House

The White House:
Help for homeowners — The President's strategy for economic recovery is a stool with several legs, as he's said, and one of them is solving the foreclosure crisis. — “We must stem the spread of foreclosures and falling home values for all Americans, and do everything …

Jack Healy / New York Times:
Obama Plans $75 Billion Outlay to Fight Foreclosures – Seeking to stabilize the foundering housing market, President Obama is offering a plan to help as many as nine million families refinance their mortgages or avoid foreclosure, according to a summary released by the White House on Wednesday morning...
Big Tent Democrat / TalkLeft:
How HOLC-y Is HASP?...
David Leonhardt / New York Times:
Bailout Likely to Focus on Most Afflicted Homeowners – the key to understanding that plan will be remembering that there are two different groups of homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure.

The first group is made up of people who cannot afford their mortgages and have fallen behind on their monthly payments. Many took out loans they were never going to be able to afford, while others have since lost their jobs. About three million households — and rising — fall into this category. Without help, they will lose their homes.

The second group is far larger. It is made up of the more than 10 million households that can afford their monthly payments but whose houses are worth less than what is owed on their mortgages...

Benjamin Lockwood / The Atlantic Business Channel: A terrible housing idea
Krooney / TIME.com: Up Next: Mortgage Woes
Dan / Riehl World View: Housing: Bailout, Or O-Bunko?
Mark Silva / The Swamp:
Obama's housing plan: ‘All of us pay’ — President Barack Obama, announcing a $75-billion federal aid plan for millions of homeowners facing mortgage foreclosures, today will say the nation is facing “a crisis unlike any we've ever known.” — Appearing in Mesa, Arizona …
Help Is on the Way? Obama to Outline Mortgage Plan — President Will Unveil a Plan Today to Stop the Flood of Foreclosures — Perhaps no one word has defined this recession better than “foreclosure.” — In the last year, banks started foreclosure proceedings on more than 2.3 million households …

Tami Luhby / CNNMoney.com:
Obama's foreclosure fix on the way – The administration is also expected to ramp up loan modifications of borrowers in default. These modifications would lower monthly payments to more affordable terms - often 31% to 38% of gross monthly income - through reducing interest rates or lengthening the loan's term....

Mary Katharine Ham / Weekly Standard: Who Will Obama's Foreclosure Plan Bail Out?
Matt Lewis / Political Machine:
How Would Modern Americans React to a ‘Great Depression’? — Megan McArdle and Jonah Goldberg are both asking an interesting question — whether or not WWII ended The Great Depression. — As they point out, despite its nearly universal acceptance as a historical fact, even this “fact” is disputable...
Melissa Clouthier / Right Wing News: What If America Plunged Into Great Depression II?

Megan McArdle: Did World War II end the Great Depression?
Alan Greenspan wants to take out the Swedish ModelGreenspan wants to take out the 'Swedish Model'

Financial Times:
Greenspan backs bank nationalisation -- The US government may have to nationalise some banks on a temporary basis to fix the financial system and restore the flow of credit, Alan Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve chairman, has told the Financial Times.

In an interview, Mr Greenspan, who for decades was regarded as the high priest of laisser-faire capitalism, said nationalisation could be the least bad option left for policymakers.”

It may be necessary to temporarily nationalise some banks in order to facilitate a swift and orderly restructuring,” he said. “I understand that once in a hundred years this is what you do.” ...
Paul Krugman:
— Here. Truly, it's amazing how compelling the logic of temporary nationalization is. How long will it be before the Obama administration is ready to take the plunge? — The WaPo reports that Tim Geithner realized late …

Mish's Economic Analysis:
The Nationalization Train Has Left The Station -- Those who think Greenspan is the "high priest of laissez-faire capitalism" have holes in their heads. The very existence of the Fed and its micro-mismanagement of interest rates is in direct conflict with capitalism...

Alex Barker / Westminster Blog: Greenspan backs nationalisation
Myglesias / Matthew Yglesias: Eisinger and Salmon on Bank Nationalization
David Knowles / Political Machine: Alan Greenspan Says the N-Word
Lew Rockwell / LewRockwell.com Blog: Republican Socialists — Senators and now ex-counterfeiter in chief …

Matthew Richardson and Nouriel Roubini / Washington Post:
Nationalize the Banks! We're all Swedes Now -- The U.S. banking system is close to being insolvent, and unless we want to become like Japan in the 1990s -- or the United States in the 1930s -- the only way to save it is to nationalize it...
Mini-Madoff on lamb


Manhunt: Accused Financier Scammer Stanford Missing — Authorities say Investor Losses Could Rival Madoff Scandal — Texas financier R. Allen Stanford is accused of cheating 50,000 customers out of $8 billion dollars but despite raids Tuesday of his financial empire in Houston, Memphis …
The Coming Crisis: White Collar Homelessness -- According to data from the Labor Department, more jobs have been lost in the past 12 months than any other period since the government began keeping records in 1939. Perhaps most disconcerting is that experts predict unemployment will get worse before it gets better. In 1991 and 2001, unemployment didn't hit its peak until two years after those recessions ended.

As unemployment becomes worse, community-based organizations are noticing a change in their clientele. Shelters are seeing clients who are more representative of the newly unemployed...

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