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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Great Recession Roundup — February 11, 2009

Items of Interest:

New York Times:
Congress Reaches Deal on Stimulus Plan — Senate and House leaders announced Wednesday evening that they had reached agreement on a $789 billion economic stimulus bill, clearing the way for final Congressional action and President Obama's signature, perhaps by the end of the week...

Mark Silva / The Swamp: Obama praises economic stimulus deal
Noam Scheiber / The New Republic: Grading the Stimulus Compromise
David Kurtz / Talking Points Memo: A WIN IS A WIN
David Espo / Associated Press: Stimulus Deal Reached: $789 Billion
Maha / The Mahablog: Dumb, Dumber, Dumbest
Michael Falcone / The Caucus: Response to Liberal Groups' Ad Causes Uproar
Teri Finneman / The Note: GOP Shut Out of Stimulus Negotiations
FixChristopher Hayes / The Nation: Today in The Nation: A Stimulus Deal
Dorian De Wind / The Moderate Voice: Agreement Announced on Economic Stimulus...What Now?
Carter Wood / Shopfloor: Stimulus Agreement Nears
Glenn Thrush / The Politico:
Did Reid roll Pelosi? — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid played a little high-stakes chicken with each other at the tail end of Wednesday's shotgun stimulus talks. — It's not clear who won - or who blinked. — According to a half dozen Congressional aides and members …
Connie Hair / Human Events:
Republicans Shut Out of Stimulus Conference Negotiations — Republicans have caught the Democrats in a midnight “stimulus” power play that seeks to cut Republican conferees out of the House-Senate negotiations to resolve a final version of the Obama “stimulus” package...
Veronique de Rugy / Reason:
800 Billion Reasons To Be Worried — The Senate stimulus bill should only stimulate taxpayer anger — How bad is the stimulus bill just passed by the Senate? Well, at least as bad as the one passed last week by the House of Representatives, but probably not as bad as the final bill …
Nate Silver / FiveThirtyEight.com:
Give Geithner a Break — I don't think he did well yesterday. I don't know that he's the right guy for the job. But what I do know is the following: — 1. Nobody, absolutely nobody, has more incentive to get this right than the Obama Administration. If the economy collapses — well …
Meredith WhitneyDaily Beast:
Top Seven Attention-Hungry Doomsayers -- The banks are imploding! Your home is worthless! We’re all going to die! A new crop of Dr. Dooms are making careers out of scaring you.

So there you have it: With the news that both Obama’s stimulus plan and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s new bank-bailout plan are likely to go full steam ahead, the stock market reacted with a 300-plus point plunge. Investors, it seems, are finally wise to the fact that the global economy is in one hell of a bind, and a few hundred billion here or there won’t make a damn bit of difference.

It was only a few years ago, you will recall, that the stock market was pretty much a daily Pamplona—the Bulls were running, and they were a large pack indeed. Everyone was having a hell of a time watching the value of his or her portfolio climb to ever-greater heights. These days, it’s a different kind of stampede—the Bears are in charge now, and they’re soaking up the attention as they are periodically wont to do. Herewith, we present those bears you should be most afraid (or in awe) of...
Daily Options Report:
Blame Bubblevision! -- Who do I blame? CNBC of course. What are our impressionable college age youth to think when they turn on a financial channel to find out whether the market is in a bottoming process or not, and then hear Bob Pisani say this.
We need a bong break. The whole country needs a bong break.
Mortgage applications at 8-year low -- Falling home prices and expectations that the government will work to lower mortgage rates has kept prospective homebuyers on the sidelines.

Demand for U.S. mortgage applications tumbled nearly 25% last week, with requests for loans to buy homes sinking to an eight-year low, the Mortgage Bankers Association said on Wednesday, as potential buyers hold out for better terms and government help.

The Mortgage Bankers Association's seasonally adjusted home purchase applications index slid 9.8% in the week ended Feb. 6 to 235.9, its lowest level since the end of 2000.

Average 30-year mortgage rates slipped to 5.19% from 5.28% a week earlier, the trade group said...
Fraud 'Directly Related' to Financial Crisis Probed -- FBI Agents Could be Reassigned from National Security Due to Booming Caseload

The FBI has opened investigations into more than 500 cases of alleged corporate fraud, including 38 that involve major firms and are "directly related" to the national economic crisis, FBI Deputy Director John Pistole told Congress today.

"The FBI has more than 530 open corporate fraud investigations, including 38 corporate fraud and financial institution matters directly related to the current financial crisis," Pistole told the Senate Judiciary Committee today....
Infectious Greed: FBI: Financial Crisis Not Just a Passing Fad