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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Great Recession Roundup — March 31, 2009

Items of Interest:

Home Prices Drop - Banks starting to walk away from foreclosures

NY Times:
Record Drop in January Index of Home Prices --

The decline in housing prices maintained its record-breaking descent in January, according to data released Tuesday.

Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller Home Price Index, a widely watched measure of 20 metropolitan areas, fell 19 percent in January from January 2008. That was slightly faster than it dropped in December.

The worst hit metropolitan areas have now fallen nearly in half. None of the cities showed month-to-month improvements. Thirteen showed record annual rates of decline.

“There’s no daylight that I can see in this report,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S.&P...

discussion:
The Big Picture: Case Shiller Index Falls 19%
Housing Wire: Home Prices Fall Record 19.4 Percent in January: Report
related:
Banks Starting to Walk Away on ForeclosuresNY Times:
Banks Starting to Walk Away on Foreclosures --
City officials and housing advocates here and in cities as varied as Buffalo, Kansas City, Mo., and Jacksonville, Fla., say they are seeing an unsettling development: Banks are quietly declining to take possession of properties at the end of the foreclosure process, most often because the cost of the ordeal — from legal fees to maintenance — exceeds the diminishing value of the real estate.

The so-called bank walkaways rarely mean relief for the property owners...
----
Gov't Ramps Up Emotional Rescue

Reuters:
U.S. website offers emotional rescue from economy — WASHINGTON - Stressed out by the economy? The U.S. government is offering an online emotional rescue kit. — The “Getting Through Tough Economic Times” guide at www.samhsa.gov/economy/ is meant to help people identify …
discussion:
Steve M. / No More Mister Nice Blog: DRUDGE'S ASININE “GOTCHA”
Robert Stein / Connecting.the.Dots: Drudge Suicide Watch
Michelle Malkin: The soul-fixer-in-chief is here to dry your tears
----
Wall Street Journal:
U.S. Threatens Bankruptcy for GM, Chrysler
discussion:
Stephen Grocer / Deal Journal: Deals of the Day: Bankruptcy Looms Over GM and Chrysler
Keith Koffler / Roll Call: Obama Tilts Power Balance
Sharon Silke Carty / USA Today: GM's future at stake as Obama's team steps in
Ben Pershing / Washington Post: Who's Next on Obama's Chopping Block?
The Politico: Carrots for banks, sticks for autos

related:
Paul Ingrassia / Wall Street Journal: Richard Wagoner Had to Go
Larry Kudlow / RCM: GM: A 'Truly Breathtaking' Departure
William Holstein / New York Times: One Roadblock Too Many for GM
Rick Newman / Flow Chart: Carmaker Bailout: What's In It for Car Buyers
Alex Taylor III / Fortune: Rick Wagoner: He Could Have Been a Contender
J. Hussman / Hussman Funds: Bondholders Must Be Given Massive Haircut
----
David Brooks / New York Times:
Car Dealer in Chief — Some companies are in the steel business, some are in the cookie business, but General Motors is in the restructuring business. For 30 years, G.M. has been restructuring itself toward long-term viability. — For all these years, G.M.'s market share has endured a long, steady slide...
discussion:
Eugene Robinson / Washington Post: Detroit Dissonance — Tough Love for Carmakers, Pillows for Wall St.
----

Monday, March 30, 2009

Great Recession Roundup — March 30, 2009

Items of Interest:

GM & Chrysler Will Restructure — Bankruptcy Looms

Washington Post:
Obama Says Automakers Not Moving 'Fast Enough' — President Gives GM, Chrysler Deadlines to Complete New Turnaround Plans

President Obama announced today that his administration will withhold additional federal aid to General Motors and Chrysler unless the ailing U.S. automakers submit acceptable restructuring plans, but he vowed that the American auto industry will not be allowed to "simply vanish." ...

----
Peter Whoriskey / Washington Post:
GM Chief to Resign at White House's Behest — Obama Pushes General Motors and Chrysler to Slim Down, Make More Concessions — The Obama administration has forced the longtime head of General Motors to resign and said yesterday that it would withhold additional federal aid to the auto industry unless …
Kevin G. Hall / McClatchy Washington Bureau:
Feds declare GM, Chrysler not viable, refuse more aid — WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Monday will reject requests for almost $22 billion in new taxpayer bailout money for General Motors Corp. and Chrysler, saying the car makers have failed to take steps to ensure their viability.
discussion:
Paul Sherman / CapitalBeat: White House Rejects Viability Plans From GM, Chrysler; Obama …
Dschabner / Political Punch:
Chris Cillizza / The Fix:
White House Cheat Sheet: Obama Plays Hardball on Autos
discussion:
Rob Christensen / Raleigh News & Observer: Who will challenge Burr?
The Huffington Post:
Rick Wagoner, GM CEO, Will Step Down At Obama's Behest
discussion:
Michael Laprarie / Wizbang: Obama to Wagoner : Drop Dead
Eric Zimmermann / The Hill's Blog Briefing Room: Huffington Post's banner headline
Steve M. / No More Mister Nice Blog: OH, NOW IT'S “FASCISM”?
----
AIG Greased Sen. Dodd

Jennifer Haberkorn / Washington Times:
EXCLUSIVE: AIG chiefs pressed to donate to Dodd — $160,000 streamed in as senator gained power on banking committee — As Democrats prepared to take control of Congress after the 2006 elections, a top boss at the insurance giant American International Group Inc. told colleagues …
discussion:
Ed Morrissey / Hot Air: AIG-FP strongarmed donations for Dodd
Jonn Lilyea / This ain't Hell …: AIG pressured to donate to Dodd
----
Greenspan / Rubin / Summers Tarnished

Paul Krugman / New York Times:
America the Tarnished — Ten years ago the cover of Time magazine featured Robert Rubin, then Treasury secretary, Alan Greenspan, then chairman of the Federal Reserve, and Lawrence Summers, then deputy Treasury secretary. Time dubbed the three “the committee to save the world,” …
discussion:
Kevin Hayden / American Street: America just hung out with a bad crowd
----

Friday, March 27, 2009

Great Recession Roundup — March 27, 2009

Items of Interest:

Wage Deflation Coming?

Mike Shedlock / Mish's Economic Analysis:
Wage Deflation Sets In -- Wage deflation is setting in. Let's look at some anecdotal evidence.

Wage Deflation Tally:
  • 9 Publishers
  • IBM
  • Hewlett-Packard
  • Microsoft
  • Con-way Freight
  • Shinchang Electrics
Wage deflation is setting in like wildfire in the publishing industry. Technology and trucking are affected as well. Budget cuts in California and other states are affecting teachers. Rest assured this is not inflationary news.
related:
Bloomberg: Japan Heads for Deflation as Retail Sales Tumble 5.8% -- Wages fell for a third month in January, leaving consumers with less money to spend and forcing retailers to lower prices...
----
Mary Williams Walsh / New York Times:
Inquiry Asks Why A.I.G. Paid Banks — Members of Congress and the New York State attorney general demanded detailed information Thursday on how tens of billions of taxpayer dollars flowed through the American International Group during its crisis last fall and ended up in the coffers …
discussion:
Big Tent Democrat / TalkLeft: Cuomo Investigating AIG CDSs And Counterparty Payments
----
Paul Krugman / New York Times:
The Market Mystique — On Monday, Lawrence Summers, the head of the National Economic Council, responded to criticisms of the Obama administration's plan to subsidize private purchases of toxic assets. “I don't know of any economist,” he declared, “who doesn't believe that better functioning capital markets …
discussion:
Arnold Kling / The Atlantic Business Channel: I actually agree with Paul Krugman
Mary / Pacific Views: MAJOR SYSTEMIC BREAKDOWN
----
Stimulus 'Road to Hell' was paved by AC/DC

NY Times:
AC/DC Inspired Czech Leader’s “Road to Hell” Riff -- To anyone who heard echoes of AC/DC when the Czech prime minister assailed President Barack Obama’s stimulus plan, calling it “a road to hell” on Wednesday: You were right.

It turns out that the heavy metal band AC/DC played a show in Prague last week which was attended by Mirek Topolanek, the country’s prime minister. Mr. Topolanek, who is now just a caretaker prime minister, after losing a vote of confidence this week — one unrelated to his flights of rhetorical fancy — told a Czech newspaper that he was influenced by one of the group’s most famous songs, “Highway to Hell,” when he veered off script this week during his speech before the European Parliament and criticized Washington’s stimulus spending...
----
Jonathan Wheatley / Financial Times:
Brazil's leader blames white people for crisis — Brazil's President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on Thursday blamed the global economic crisis on “white people with blue eyes” and said it was wrong that black and indigenous people should pay for white people's mistakes...
discussion:
Fausta / Fausta's Blog: More on Lula's “white people with blue eyes”
George Moneo / Babalú Blog: Is he talking about me?
----
Alan Greenspan: Enabler of the Housing Bubble, the internet bubble...Shameless: Greenie 'The Enabler' Won't Shut Down

Alan Greenspan / Financial Times:
We need a better cushion against risk — The extraordinary risk-management discipline that developed out of the writings of the University of Chicago's Harry Markowitz in the 1950s produced insights that won several Nobel prizes in economics. It was widely embraced not only by academia …
Henry Blodget / Clusterstock: Greenspan's Fatal Flaw: A Desperate Need To Be Liked
The Big Picture: Greenspan’s Amnesia

related:
David Henderson / Wall St. Journal:
Greenspan Didn't Cause Housing Boom
----
More Debate on the Geithner Plan:
The Week Magazine:
The crisis — and Geithner plan — explained — Q: What is the problem? — A: The problem is that unemployment is rising like a rocket. — Q: Why is unemployment rising like a rocket? — A: Because those businesses that normally would be expanding and hiring right now are not expanding and hiring...
discussion:
Myglesias / Matthew Yglesias: Brad DeLong's Case for the Geithner Plan

related:
Julianna Goldman / Bloomberg:
Obama Seeks JPMorgan, Goldman, Citigroup Support on Bank Plan
----
Minyanville:
Monopoly: Greed & Graft Edition --

Trading Partner did not really have AAA rating, You pretend it had, Collect $13 Billion----

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Great Recession Roundup — March 26, 2009

Items of Interest:

U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis:
GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT: FOURTH QUARTER 2008 (Final) — Fourth quarter 2008 — Real gross domestic product — the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States — decreased at an annual rate of 6.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008

discussion:
Diana Golobay / Housing Wire: GDP Contracts 6.3% Annually in Q4
Jack Healy / New York Times: Shares Higher, Despite Mixed Economic Signals
----
The Big Picture:
New Home Sales Fell 41% in February 2009 -- No, New Home Sales data did not improve. In fact, they were not only not positive, they were actually horrific. The year over year number was a terrible down 41%. Sales from this same period a year ago have nearly been halved...
----
Jeffrey Sachs / Financial Times:
Obama's bank plan could rob the taxpayer — The Geithner-Summers plan, officially called the public/private investment programme, is a thinly veiled attempt to transfer up to hundreds of billions of dollars of US taxpayer funds to the commercial banks, by buying toxic assets from the banks at far above their market value...
discussion:
Richardson & Roubini, NY Daily News: Give Credit to Geithner's New Plan
John Tamny / RCM: Once Again, Timothy Geithner Gets It Exactly Wrong
James Pethokoukis / Capital Commerce: Alternatives to the Geithner Plan
Lee Brodie / Fast Money: Has Tim Geithner Rescued America?
Dealbook: Dick Bove: Are Those Bank Assets Really So Toxic?

more discussion:
Jennifer Rubin / Commentary: The Flim-Flam — Smart people differ on how successful Tim …
Henry Blodget / Clusterstock: How Tim Geithner Is Robbing You Blind
Nouriel Roubini / Nouriel Roubini's Global …: Jeff Sachs's Critique of the Geithner Plan
----
Rahm Emanuel's Short Freddie Mac stay made him at least $320,000Chicago Tribune:
Rahm Emanuel's profitable stint at mortgage giant — Short Freddie Mac stay made him at least $320,000 — Before its portfolio of bad loans helped trigger the current housing crisis, mortgage giant Freddie Mac was the focus of a major accounting scandal that led to a management shake-up …
discussion:
----
Washington Post:
Geithner to Propose Vast Expansion Of U.S. Oversight of Financial System — Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner plans to propose today a sweeping expansion of federal authority over the financial system, breaking from an era in which the government stood back from financial markets …
discussion:
Ben Armbruster / Think Progress: Beware — Gingrich Warns That Obama's Financial Regulation Plan …
Patricia Murphy / Political Machine: Morning News Round-Up
Mary Kane / The Washington Independent: Geithner's Plan and the New Reality of Shanty Towns
Krooney / TIME.com: Geithner Gets Down to Business
Karl Denninger / The Market Ticker: Geithner Grows a Brain?
Domenico Montanaro / MSNBC: First 100 days: More financial overhaul
James Piereson / The Corner: Too Big to Fail, Once More
----
Diana Furchtgott-Roth / RCM:
Obama's Spending Billed As 'Investment' -- As every politician knows, if you define spending as "investment" it sounds less extravagant. Take that new car you’ve always wanted. The $40,000 price tag is high. But hey, if it’s an investment in the future, it may last longer and save money on repairs, and so, you tell yourself, maybe it pays for itself....
----
Wall Street Journal:
China and the Dollar — Markets don't like Treasury talking down the dollar's status. — As if the dollar didn't have enough problems, Timothy Geithner took China's bait yesterday and said he was “quite open” to its suggestion this week to displace the greenback with an “international reserve currency.” ...
discussion:
James Joyner / The Atlanticist: Geithner Dollar Remarks Create Panic
----
Richard A. Epstein / Wall Street Journal:
Is the Bonus Tax Unconstitutional? — The Supreme Court defers too much to Congress. — Bills now winding their way through Congress would tax between 70% and 90% of bonuses paid to any executive earning in excess of $250,000, if he or she is employed by a business that received more than $5 billion from U.S. bailout funds...
discussion:
Betsy Newmark / Betsy's Page: How the Supreme Court might look at the tax on executive bonuses
J. Kwak / Baseline Scenario: Are All of These Rescue Plans Constitutional?
----
New Hoovervilles Are Sprouting

2009 Shanty Towns - monder Hoovervilles
Jesse McKinley / New York Times:
Cities Deal With a Surge in Shanty Towns — FRESNO, Calif. — As the operations manager of a outreach center for the homeless here, Paul Stack is used to seeing people down on their luck. What he had never seen before was people living in tents and lean-tos on the railroad lot across from the center....
discussion:
Dan Collins / pw: Fact-Checking Obama's Presser
----

Calculated Risk

MishTalk - Mike Shedlock

Paul Krugman - NY Times

The Big Picture - Barry Ritholtz

naked capitalism - Yves Smith

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