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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

New Obama Political Era Meets Old Problems

Items of Interest:

Election 2008

Andy Barr / The Politico:
2008 turnout shatters all records — More than 130 million people turned out to vote Tuesday, the most ever to vote in a presidential election. — With ballots still being counted in some precincts into Wednesday morning, an estimated 64 percent of the electorate turned out, making 2008 the highest percentage turnout in generations...
Michelle Malkin:
Gird your loins, conservatives — There is no time to lick wounds, point fingers, and wallow in post-election mud. — I'm getting a lot of moan-y, sad-face “What do we do now, Michelle?” e-mails. — What do we do now? We do what we've always done. — We stand up for our principles …
David Bernstein / The Volokh Conspiracy: Looking for a Post-Election Republican Agenda?:

John Derbyshire / The Corner:
Sour Loser — Just watched Wonder Boy's speech. Hmph. “Callused hands?” When did he ever have callused hands? — All right, I'm sour. The most liberal member of the U.S. Senate! And that shakedown-artist of a wife, with the permanent frown! And Joe Biden! ... I'm sour about the GOP too.
Discussion: Vox Popoli and THE ASTUTE BLOGGERS
Voters in U.S. 2008 presidential election: c. 131 million
Total voters in all U.S. pres. elections, 1788-1908: c. 137 million - via PPI
Scott / Power Line:
TEN THESES ON PRESIDENT-ELECT OBAMA — The historic election of Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States calls for reflections far beyond these provisional thoughts, but here are ten: — 1. The original thesis of the Obama candidacy was that, in a multiparty field …
Bill Turque / Washington Post:
Emotional Day Ends in Jubilation for Some, Stoicism for Others — When history landed, it was with car horns, tears, gunfire and echoes from historic corners of the city. — In a heavy drizzle shortly after midnight, several thousand people filled the barricaded segment …
Robert Arena / AMERICAblog News: Spontaneous Celebration in DC
Paul Kedrosky / The Daily Beast:
Sorry Obama, Wall Street Doesn't Care -- The new president doesn’t much matter to bankers, as major policy changes are off the table right now.

Honestly? Wall Street doesn't care. Yes, I know that's not the answer anyone wants. People want to believe that Wall Street is obsessing over the presidential race the way most of the country has been. It seems only right somehow, sort of mirrored pathologies. There is a pathology going on, however, but it's much, much stranger...
Economic Woes

Planned job cuts most in 5 years -- Report by outplacement firm Challenger shows job cuts announced by U.S. employers in October rose by highest amount since January 2004.

October was another awful month for jobs as a key employment report released Wednesday showed the largest number of planned job cuts in nearly five years.

Job cut announcements by U.S. employers soared to 112,884 in October, up 19% from September's 95,094 cuts, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. It was the highest number of pink slips handed out since January 2004. Layoffs last month were up 79% from October 2007, when 63,114 job cuts were announced.

The report was an ominous sign for the jobs market ahead of the Department of Labor's monthly unemployment report on Friday...
Dell asks workers to take unpaid vacation -- Computer maker Dell Inc has asked employees to consider taking up to five days of unpaid vacation as it struggles to cut costs in the face of weak global demand.

The No. 2 computer maker, which is near the end of a program of 8,900 job cuts, is also offering voluntary severance packages and has instituted a global hiring freeze...
Minyanville: Dell to Force Employees to Take a Week's Vacation
Bill Bonner / The Daily Reckoning:
We Pity the Fool Who Gets Elected Today -- Election Day. Pity the poor fellow who wins.

A Swiss banker wrote to tell us that according to his proprietary indicator of World Economic Health "conditions are shown to be some 2.5 times worse" than the last recession which occurred in the 1990s....
Wall Street Journal:
'Underwater' Need Not Mean Foreclosure -- What does being "underwater" in your house really mean? Probably not that you're drowning.

The number of underwater homeowners -- those who owe more on their mortgages than their home is now worth -- has been growing sharply since 2006 as real-estate prices have tumbled. By some estimates, between one in six and one in eight homeowners are in that position, most of them people who bought homes in the past few years or who put down small or no down payments.

This worries economists and policy makers, since owing more than your home is worth is the first step toward foreclosure. And it's a concern to the rest of us because foreclosures are roiling the financial markets and, closer to home, they drag down our neighborhoods. (Most people who still have equity, by contrast, would rather sell their houses at a loss than lose what's left of their investment.)...
Barry Ritholtz / The Big Picture: Does Underwater = Foreclosure ?
Euro Land Crumps

Yahoo / Reuters:
Euro banks spread gloom as profits, forecasts fall -- A raft of European bank results did little to lift gloom around the sector on Wednesday, with a recurring trend of falling profits and rising bad debts stemming from the global financial crisis.

France's biggest bank BNP Paribas posted a 56 percent fall in third-quarter profits, Allied Irish Banks cut its earnings forecast, and Greece's Emporiki Bank swung to a loss.

Capital rebuilding continued in the face of a tough outlook as Royal Bank of Scotland looked to raise up to 3 billion pounds ($4.7 billion) from a government-backed bond, and Austria's Raiffeisen Zentralbank said it may ask the government for 2 billion euros ($2.6 billion)...

Profits have tumbled across the sector, and several banks have warned of more writedowns and rising bad debts this year, though there is optimism that government rescue packages have left balance sheets strong enough to withstand more losses.
Tony Barber / Financial Times:
EU Calls For Tighter financial controls -- European Union finance ministers approved a set of proposals on Tuesday in advance of a global summit this month on strengthening the world’s financial system.

They called for improved supervision and tighter risk control mechanisms at banks and other large cross-border financial institutions.

The ministers’ ideas, adopted at a meeting in Brussels, stopped short of a root-and-branch reform of world capitalism, as suggested last month by Nicolas Sarkozy, French president.

But they amounted to a tactical success for France, the current holder of the EU’s rotating presidency, and other states which contend that the global financial crisis was caused largely by a “frenzy of deregulation” over the past 20 years in the US, the UK ...
BBC News:
Fall in eurozone retail sales
-- Retail spending across the 15 nations of the eurozone fell in September, official European Union figures released by Eurostat have shown. Hit by slowing consumer spending and the threat of a painful recession, retail sales fell 0.2% from August, and by 1.6% compared with September 2007...
U.K. factory production is falling at its fastest rate since the 1980's
-- Manufacturing output decreased by 1.3 per cent in the third quarter of 2008 compared with the second quarter of 2008. Output decreased in 11 out of the 13 sub-sectors and increased in two sub-sectors. Factory production fell for a seventh month in September, the worst streak for almost three decades, adding to evidence the economy is in its first ...