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Monday, May 18, 2009

Great Recession Roundup — May 18, 2009

Items of Interest:

Arthur Laffer & Stephen Moore / Wall Street Journal:
Soak the Rich, Lose the Rich — Americans know how to use the moving van to escape high taxes. With states facing nearly $100 billion in combined budget deficits this year, we're seeing more governors than ever proposing the Barack Obama solution to balancing the budget: Soak the rich.

Lawmakers in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York and Oregon want to raise income tax rates on the top 1% or 2% or 5% of their citizens. New Illinois Gov. Patrick Quinn wants a 50% increase in the income tax rate on the wealthy because this is the "fair" way to close his state's gaping deficit...

NY Times Interactive Map:
Mapping Foreclosures in the New York Region ---

Mapping Foreclosures in the New York Region, May 2009
NY Times:
Henry & Roberts / NY Times:
Long Island Foreclosures Rise, With No End in Sight -- “Over all, Long Island’s foreclosure rate is 3.7 percent, with at least 31,000 homes in some stage of foreclosure from 2005 through August 2008, according to the data, from The Long Island Real Estate Report. That is slightly higher than the 3.3 percent rate for the region, covering New York City, western Connecticut, Long Island and New Jersey.

What worries housing counselors and policymakers is that Long Island’s housing problems appear to be worsening. Recent bank data on mortgage delinquencies show that at least 6 percent of mortgages held by Long Island homeowners were 90 days or more past due, compared with 3.5 percent during the same period last year.” ...
NY Times: A Federal Program Helps Flip Houses on Long Island
Berger & Roberts / NY Times:
Foreclosure Crisis in Westchester Crosses Economic Boundaries

Haughney & Roberts / NY Times:
Connecticut Foreclosure Crisis Appears to Be Worsening

Fahim & Roberts / NY Times:
In New Jersey, Dreams of a Better Life Dashed by Foreclosure Crisis

Powell & Roberts / NY Times:
Minorities Affected Most as New York Foreclosures Rise

NY Times:
Financial Times: US housing market
James Anderson / Minyanville:
Why Commercial Real Estate Can't Be Saved -- In my opinion, the Fed has no interest rate bullets left, and quantitative easing hasn't moved longer term rates lower since the program was announced in March. In fact, they're higher. So far, the Fed has managed to drive the TED spread and LIBOR back to reasonable levels. Higher-quality commercial paper trades much better than it did a few months ago. Mortgages rates are also down. All because the Fed has been buying. The only thing that isn't down to reasonable levels is the corporate bond spread to Treasuries, both investment grade and junk.

It’s only a couple of data points, but here’s what scares me: The John Hancock Building in Boston, an absolute landmark, sold in foreclosure in April at 50% of its appraised price in 2006. It make it worse, the buyer took over a mortgage at a coupon of 5.6% for 97% of the purchase price. There's no 5.6% commercial mortgage money around any more, so the real purchase price was lower, closer to 40% if real financing could have been found...
Jonathan Wheatley / Financial Times:
Brazil and China eye plan to axe dollar
Don Surber: Daily scoreboard — 1. Brazil and China are thinking of dumping …
David Cho / Washington Post:
At Geithner's Treasury, Key Decisions on Hold -- Many Advisers' Roles Are Undefined And Others Still Awaiting Confirmation...
Peterr / Firedoglake: Team Obama Caught Bringing a Football to a Basketball Game
Robert J. Samuelson / Washington Post:
Obama's Dangerous Debt -- Just how much government debt does a president have to endorse before he's labeled "irresponsible"? Well, apparently much more than the massive amounts envisioned by President Obama. The final version of his 2010 budget, released last week, is a case study in political expediency and economic gambling...
Eric / Viking Pundit: Mortgaging away our money and freedom

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