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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Great Recession Roundup — March 5, 2009

Items of Interest:

J.W. Elphinstone / Associated Press:
Mortgage woes break records again in 4Q – Foreclosures are spreading by epidemic proportions, expanding beyond a handful of problem states and now affecting almost 1 in every 8 American homeowners.

It's an economic role-reversal: The economy, driven down by the collapse of the housing bubble, is causing the housing crisis to spread.

Figures released Thursday show that nearly 12 percent of all Americans with a mortgage — a record 5.4 million homeowners — were at least one month late or in foreclosure at the end of last year.

That's up from 10 percent at the end of the third quarter, and up from 8 percent at the end of 2007. In addition, the numbers now include many once-qualified borrowers who took out fixed-rate loans...

Paul Volcker is being treated like the crazy aunt in the atticCharles Gasparino / NY Post:
BRAIN-TRUST BUST -- WHAT'S REALLY SCARING WALL ST. -- ON Wall Street, they're calling the Obama economic team "the gang that couldn't shoot straight," after Jimmy Breslin's novel about a bunch of moronic mobsters.

If you really want to understand why the markets have been tanking, why the smart money is sitting in cash and gold - well, just study the policy, or lack of it, that these guys have come up with to address economic ills not seen since the Great Depression.

The sad thing is, the "gang" took office with high hopes on Wall Street. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, the former New York Fed chief, was supposed to have the experience needed to handle the banking crisis...

Perhaps the biggest disappointment is Volcker, a true American hero who as Fed chairman tamed the stagflation of the '70s - but seems to be muzzled at a time when the country needs him most.

Volcker, possibly the world's most experienced economist, is being treated like the crazy aunt in the attic. He's around, wandering the halls - but no one in the administration seems to care what he thinks...
David Goldman / InnerWorkings: Charles Gasparino is well informed
New York Times:
Matters of Principal — To stanch the hemorrhage of foreclosures, we don't need another bailout. What we need is a fix — and the wisdom to see what is in our own self-interest. — An avalanche of foreclosures is coming — as many as eight million in the next several years...
Arnold Kling / The Atlantic Business Channel: The Never-ending Mortgage Crisis
Megan McArdle:
GM is toast — After today's annual report, I don't think there's any question of GM's staying out of bankruptcy. The company's revenue fell from $180 billion in 2007 to $149 billion in 2008, with the worst crash in the fourth quarter. Car sales have continued to plunge into the new year...
Tyler Cowen / Marginal Revolution: Why is Asia doing so badly?
GM: ‘Substantial doubt’ about survival — Automaker's annual report says it hopes to get $7.7 billion from the government to remain viable. — NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — General Motors Corp. said in a government filing Thursday that its accounting firm has found there is “substantial doubt” about the automaker's ability to survive...

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