Save housing, at any cost.

From the WSJ:

No Easy Exit for Government as Housing Market’s Savior

After a year of extraordinary interventions in the economy, the federal government is starting to pare its support for the private sector. It doesn’t look that way to Peter Lansing, president of mortgage firm Universal Lending.

The Denver home lender sees every day how dependent the housing market has become on the government. At the height of the boom, just 20% of Universal’s mortgages were backed by the Federal Housing Administration, an arm of the government that guarantees loans to borrowers who can’t afford big down payments. Today, the FHA accounts for more than 80% of his business. For Mr. Lansing, this represents a new way of life — more government, more paperwork, but also a lot of sales that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

“Over 29 years in business, we’ve always thought of ourselves as being in the free-enterprise system. Today I think of myself as a government contractor,” Mr. Lansing says. “My business strategy is to get more of my employees to embrace that idea. Plan B would be to sell pencils on the corner.”

Over the past year, the government has intervened heavily at essentially every stage of the home-buying process. In fact, more than 80% of the new residential mortgage loans made this year benefited from some form of government support, according to the trade publication Inside Mortgage Finance.

To keep funds flowing to the housing market, the government bailed out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac last year and now effectively owns the mortgage finance giants and their combined $5.4 trillion in loan portfolios. To keep mortgage rates low, the Federal Reserve is on track to purchase nearly $1.5 trillion in debt issued or guaranteed by the government’s various mortgage arms and another $300 billion in Treasurys, which set the benchmark for home lending.

And to boost sales, the government also is offering $8,000 tax credits to first-time home buyers.

Yet the government’s efforts are the primary reason the housing market is functioning at all, economists and housing experts say, which makes an exit unlikely any time soon. Despite the signs of improvement, the housing market is still a shell of what it was during headier times. U.S. home prices are back around 2003 levels, having fallen by about one-third since their peak in the second quarter of 2006, according to Standard & Poor’s. Sales of distressed homes still account for about one-third of existing home sales, and prices continue to fall in some markets such as the Sun Belt states. In addition, relatively few “jumbo” loans are being made — those above the limits of what Fannie and Freddie will buy or guarantee.

The government’s role in housing has a long pedigree. The 1930s gave birth to Fannie Mae and the FHA, which traditionally insured loans aimed at low-income borrowers. Freddie Mac was created in 1970. Since the housing crash, these players are in some spots the only game in town.

That seems to have helped to put a floor under housing sooner than many officials expected. At the same time, it has created distortions in the market.

If the Fed stops sooner than expected, it could jolt the mortgage market and short-circuit a housing recovery. Barclays’s Mr. Rajadhyaksha estimates that even if the Fed carries on as planned, mortgage rates will rise by half to three-quarters of a percentage point, simply because the Fed will cease to be as a big a presence in the market.

Still, Ms. Gifford fears that the U.S. will pull back when the loans it’s backing start going bad. “I’m worried what the future could hold if we put all the eggs in one basket,” she said.

This entry was posted in Economics, Housing Bubble, National Real Estate. Bookmark the permalink.

212 Responses to Save housing, at any cost.

  1. grim says:

    From the Star Ledger:

    Corzine to announce program to boost hiring of N.J. residents who have used up unemployment benefits

    Gov. Jon Corzine today will announce an initiative to encourage businesses to hire out-of-work New Jerseyans who have exhausted their unemployment insurance benefits.

    The program, expected to be unveiled this morning in New Brunswick, will offer employers a $2,400 incentive for each individual hired who has used up unemployment benefits. For a business to qualify, an employee must work for the company for six months.

    The federally funded program will start with a pot of $8 million, though the state will work to obtain additional federal resources.

  2. serenity now says:

    Corzines plan = just another bandaid on a badly
    hemorrhaging economy.

  3. grim says:

    From the WaPo:

    What’s the Line on Extending the $8,000 Tax Credit?

    Odds are improving that Congress will extend the first-time-home-buyer tax credit beyond the Nov. 30 deadline as it pushes to revive the housing market, said Jaret Seiberg, a policy analyst at Washington Research Group, a unit of Concept Capital. There’s a 60 percent chance that lawmakers will keep the tax credit intact, especially since policymakers from both parties have voiced their support, including Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid, who represents foreclosure-plagued Nevada, Seiberg said. But fiscally conservative lawmakers may rally against it in part because it could cost at least $10 billion to extend the tax credit through Sept. 30, 2010, Seiberg said.

  4. freedy says:

    NJ in keeping with ,,, NJ has been a welfare state for years now.

    soon, corzine will be in the housing business. otherwise,

  5. roy b biv says:

    Fifth !!!

  6. grim says:

    $8,000,000 / $2,400 = 3,333 jobs

    If I recall a piece late last week, roughly 3000-4000 NJ residents were falling off unemployment each week.

    Super, this program takes care of approximately one weeks worth of expirations.

  7. stan says:

    As one who has chosen to wait on purchasing a home and watch the housing collapse from the sidelines, the extent of the govt intervention is something I anticipated, but not on this scale.

    Grim-that lead article is unbelievable as it defines the scope of the govt intervention. It all in one pisses me off, frustrates and scares me how even more on the hook taxpayers have become.

  8. If anybody thinks FHA won’t implode like a 10-megaton plutonium bomb, they’re smoking crack.

    The entire biz is saturated with processors, originators and underwriters who bombed straight out of subprime…and brought their whole bag of tricks with them.

    The funny thing is, you don’t have to pull so many dirty tricks to do a fraudulent FHA loan. The system has so much slack in its guidelines, you can run through a lot of deadbeats clean…or with just minor “alterations” to the file.

  9. veto that says:

    US credit shrinks at Great Depression rate

    Both bank credit and the M3 money supply in the United States have been contracting at rates comparable to the onset of the Great Depression since early summer, raising fears of a double-dip recession in 2010 and a slide into debt-deflation.

    “There has been nothing like this in the USA since the 1930s,” he said. “The rapid destruction of money balances is madness.”

    “For the first time in the post-WW2 [Second World War] era, we have deflation in credit, wages and rents and, from our lens, this is a toxic brew,” he said.

    It is unclear why the US Federal Reserve has allowed this to occur.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financetopics/recession/6190818/US-credit-shrinks-at-Great-Depression-rate-prompting-fears-of-double-dip-recession.html

  10. Essex says:

    7. You should make plans to host or attend a raucous town hall meeting or a TEA party. Ask your landlord first though.

  11. stan says:

    Essex-

    Just got two months free on a 13 month lease and a 12% rent reduction on the new lease.

    Also saved in the neighborhood of 100k on my target purchase.

    My landlord asks me permission to wipe his a**

  12. make money says:

    http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/279166

    China urges its citizens to purchase gold and silver

  13. stan says:

    Just realized I sounded like shooter McGavin there…

    “you eat pieces of sh** for breakfast”

  14. chicagofinance says:

    8.Cyclonic Action Vacuum says:
    September 15, 2009 at 7:10 am
    If anybody thinks FHA won’t implode like a 10-megaton plutonium bomb, they’re smoking crack.

    The entire biz is saturated with processors, originators and underwriters who bombed straight out of subprime…and brought their whole bag of tricks with them.

    The funny thing is, you don’t have to pull so many dirty tricks to do a fraudulent FHA loan. The system has so much slack in its guidelines, you can run through a lot of deadbeats clean…or with just minor “alterations” to the file.

    vac attack: did you read the book?

  15. chicagofinance says:

    No comments about my neighbors al-Qaida?

  16. frank says:

    Retail sales up by 2.7%. Where’s the recession??
    All those unemployed must have a lot of money to spend.

  17. John says:

    Happy Lehman Anniverary!!!!!! CHifi, whatup with Fifth Third, that 2038 bond keeps pumping.

    That is great news people in NJ are dropping off unemployment!!!!!!! That is one sure fire way to get them back to work.

    FIFTH THIRD BANCORP BOND 08.25000% 03/01/2038
    Price Quantity Date/Time Buy/Sell
    93.875 — 09/14/2009 05:15:34

  18. tbiggs says:

    #9 –

    “‘There has been nothing like this in the USA since the 1930s,’ he said. ‘The rapid destruction of money balances is madness.'”

    No, it is the beginning of sanity; but it’s going to be very painful because the madness ran on for decades prior.

    “It is unclear why the US Federal Reserve has allowed this to occur.”

    “Allowed” – don’t make me laugh. They could no more have stopped it than old King Canute could command the tide to stop coming in.

  19. biggs (18)-

    Can’t reinflate the Hindenburg.

  20. freedy says:

    20 corzine said he could.

  21. Sean says:

    re: FHA

    Took a pic of a Toll Brothers Banner in Hoboken yesterday advertising Condos for 18.5K down.

    http://www.freeimagehosting.net/uploads/dd0b7c7509.jpg

    That would be the FHA 3.5% down program. They still think they can sell these their Condo Boom leftover turds for 600K +.

    Bob Toll is going to implode that town any day now just like he did with Williamsburg where prices have been slashed about 37% more.

  22. kettle1 says:

    from last night:

    Well, the option of moving out is only available to the retirees, but not for thos who still have the jobs.

    What should I do if I still have a job? Vote for Corzine? He is not going to reduce my tax! Vote for Christie? He is not going to reduce my tax either! I don’t trust any politician.

    the only answer is to vote ALL of them out regardless of party. A 0 tolerance voter policy. but who am i kidding?

  23. kettle1 says:

    Veto

    here is why you haven’t seen the housing correction you have wanted to date:

    -90 percent of all new home loans are funded or guaranteed by taxpayer

    -“Absent government intervention, there would be no lending,” said Nicolas Retsinas, director of Harvard University’s center for housing studies.

    -All told, the government now stands behind 86 percent of all new home loans, up from about 30 percent just four years ago, according to Inside Mortgage Finance. For the first time in decades, the rate of home ownership ticked up, reaching 69.2 percent. Many first-time buyers were of lower income, and many such buyers were African-American or Hispanic.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/realestatenews/ci_13309700

    You have the government artificially propping up the housing market. And we now see an increase in the % of the least likely group to be able to support a mortgage in a severe down turn, the low income group.

    The second the government stops propping up the mortgage market the bottom will rapidly fall out of the market. what bank is going to step up to the plate and hand out loans that are highly likely to default with out an express guarantee that the taxpayer will take on the liability for the loan.

  24. Sean says:

    In-case you missed it Santelli rant from yesterday on CNBC.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8ANCD-Ykk4

    Both Santelli and Ratigan go off. I wonder if GE is looking for more money from the Gov?

  25. John says:

    Kettle, yea but why is the high end holding up that was not eligible for the 8K credit and with Jumbo loans being such a mess.

  26. I was on Navesink River Rd this weekend.
    I was very very surprised at the number of homes for sale and a number of “Estate for Lease” signs (this struck me as something of an oxymoron).

  27. veto that says:

    Ket, I agree. thats been my whole frustration through this process. Govt is holding up the whole global economy, not just us housing.

    But now we have this situation where housing bears are betting that the guvt will fail. i hate being on the other side of their bet because they are wreckless, they make and change the rules and they will think nothing of pumping the whole thing back up for ten years regardless if it severely weakens the economy over the longer term.

  28. kettle1 says:

    Veto

    The rest or the world enabled reckless US housing and financial policies on the basis that we were buying all of their crap and they were making money on the deal.

    How long will they continue to finance us now that we are no longer able or willing to buy massive quantities of their junk.

    I’m not saying you can time the break point, but it will come at some point.

  29. EWellie says:

    Veto,

    This whole thing is a bummer. I know someone who should have never gotten a loan for the amount she did and it was all thanks to FHA. Like you, I was also really annoyed to see what houses sold for in our area of Central Jersey last month. It’s really frustrating, but I’ll just sit by and happily rent for as long as I need to–we’re saving money and if I never see prices at the level they should be, then I’ll just buy that one room flat in Paris!

  30. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [3] grim

    More from BNA:

    “Home Buyer Credit ‘Fix’ Contemplated

    According to a congressional staffer, the House is mulling over a legislative “fix” to a provision from the 2009 economic stimulus law (Pub. L. No. 111-5) that included an $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers but applied only to home purchases that would close by Nov. 30, 2009.

    Although some lawmakers have proposed extending the credit, because the provision carries a high cost Democrats are more likely to modify the original provision to make it clear that their intent was that it applies to all home purchases with an agreement in place by Nov. 30. The provision as signed into law cost $6.6 billion over 10 years but was not paid for as part of the stimulus package. The “fix” would carry a cost significantly smaller than that but it is unclear if it would need to be offset.
    The staffer said lawmakers must balance their original intent with the high cost that would accompany an extension, as well as how stimulative the provision would continue to be beyond the original designated date.

    House Ways and Means Committee Democrats are expected to meet Sept. 16 to discuss health care reform, unemployment insurance, and possibly whether or not to move forward with a provision related to the home buyer tax credit.”

  31. Nicholas says:

    http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/mld/apa/1374915160.html

    I thought you guys might get a kick out of this listing for a 3/4 of a million dollar home that welcomes section 8 tenants.

  32. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [23] Kettle

    Absolutely correct. Unless the voters totally clean house and sweep out the legislative stable, all you are doing is replacing the maitre d’hotel. The food will still suck.

  33. bi says:

    a few days ago, a WSJ article mentioned chinese government fund was buying U.S. comercial real estate through U.S goverment. Since then REITs have been outperformed general market significant.
    To Chinese, it’s simply diversify their treasury holdings with better yield. To Timmy and Begabe, it’s santa claus.

  34. veto that says:

    “How long will they continue to finance us now that we are no longer able or willing to buy massive quantities of their junk.”

    While this is a big piece of the problem, the relationship isnt going to change overnight, we’ll need a few decades to sever this relationship as we are still dependent on eachother.
    In the mean time they’ll start making things that are more important to us in a down economy and we’ll buy less but still will be a significant customer since we depend on them to produce these goods.
    So they’ll buy less debt and well buy less goods buty the relationship will still be significant and ongoing.
    And the govt will continue its policy of pumping up home prices to keep the economy going.

  35. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    Sometimes, you just need a laugh.

    From the tax news:

    “Deductions for Prostitute Visits Denied by Tax Court

    The U.S. Tax Court Sept. 14 held that attorney William G. Halby was not entitled to claimed medical expenses deductions for visits to prostitutes and other claimed expenses in amounts greater than allowed by the Internal Revenue Service . . . .

    Halby frequented prostitutes in New York and kept track of the visits in a journal that included the date and name of the “service provider” and the amount paid during the two years. The visits were not a part of a course of prescribed therapy, and he did not discuss the visits with his doctors afterwards to determine their impact on his health, the Tax Court said. Halby also claimed deductions for medical books, magazines, videos, and pornographic materials for both years and recorded the dates and amounts of purchases in his journal.

    The Tax Court disallowed the majority of the claimed expenses for the prostitutes and various materials and found him liable for the Internal Revenue Code Section 6662 penalty explaining that Halby “has been an attorney for 40 years and specialized in tax law. Petitioner should have known that his visits to prostitutes in New York were illegal and that (tax code) section 213, the regulations thereunder, and caselaw do not support his claimed deductions.”

    I especially like the court’s last observation—-the guy was a freakin’ TAX LAWYER. Sometimes lawyers take losing cases just for the publicity, but I am not so sure this helps him.

  36. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    Sometimes, you just need a laugh.

    From the tax news:

    “Deductions for Pr0stitute Visits Denied by Tax Court

    The U.S. Tax Court Sept. 14 held that attorney William G. Halby was not entitled to claimed medical expenses deductions for visits to pr0stitutes and other claimed expenses in amounts greater than allowed by the Internal Revenue Service . . . .

    Halby frequented pr0stitutes in New York and kept track of the visits in a journal that included the date and name of the “service provider” and the amount paid during the two years. The visits were not a part of a course of prescribed therapy, and he did not discuss the visits with his doctors afterwards to determine their impact on his health, the Tax Court said. Halby also claimed deductions for medical books, magazines, videos, and p0rn0graphic materials for both years and recorded the dates and amounts of purchases in his journal.

    The Tax Court disallowed the majority of the claimed expenses for the prostitutes and various materials and found him liable for the Internal Revenue Code Section 6662 pena1ty explaining that Halby “has been an attorney for 40 years and specialized in tax law. Petitioner should have known that his visits to pr0stitutes in New York were i11egal and that (tax code) section 213, the regulations thereunder, and caselaw do not support his claimed deductions.”

    I especially like the court’s last observation—-the guy was a freakin’ TAX LAWYER. Sometimes lawyers take losing cases just for the publicity, but I am not so sure this helps him.

    (grim, feel free to kill 36 in mod)

  37. RentinginNJ says:

    What’s the Line on Extending the $8,000 Tax Credit?

    99%

    The real question is, “what’s the line on the tax credit becoming permanent”?

    Now it won’t just become permanent overnight, because that would require the Congressional Budget Office to show added budget deficit into the future and people will complain about that. It will be more like the annual AMT extension, where everyone knows its coming, but Congress will pass an extension each year.

  38. Firestormik says:

    Cyclonic Action Vacuum says:
    September 15, 2009 at 7:10 am
    If anybody thinks FHA won’t implode like a 10-megaton plutonium bomb, they’re smoking crack.
    ————————————–
    Can’t agree more. I know a family that recently bought a 450K house in Freehold using FHA and 10K loan from a friend. The guy is a truck driver, delivering gas, making probably close to 100K working 14hr a day 6 days a week. Leased Lexus, loan on Benz. I just cannot see how the can pull it.

  39. Firestormik says:

    Cyclonic Action Vacuum says:
    September 15, 2009 at 7:10 am
    If anybody thinks FHA won’t implode like a 10-megaton plutonium bomb, they’re smoking crack.
    ————————————–
    Can’t agree more. I know a family that recently bought a 450K house in Freehold using FHA and 10K loan from a friend. The guy is a truck driver, delivering gas, making probably close to 100K working 14hr a day 6 days a week. Leased Lexus, loan on Benz. I just cannot see how they can pull it.

  40. veto that says:

    http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/86-Deacon-Dr_Hamilton_NJ_08619_1112600986

    Here is my problem with this short sale in mercer county. It was bought at top of market Apr-2007 for $414K. They are in preforeclosure now and doing a short sale for a measly 10% discount from peak – asking $375K???
    How is that a good deal? Case Shiller NY Metro says that prices have plunged 22% since April 2007. And this is a very average town.
    The worst part about this listing is that it will sell for $370K no problem as thats where the comps are – 10% from peak in decent neighborhoods. This is like the twilight zone.

  41. veto that says:

    “If anybody thinks FHA won’t implode like a 10-megaton plutonium bomb, they’re smoking crack.”

    Cyclonic: Through all its liquidity programs and backstops, the housing bubble has now morphed into a guvt debt and credibility bubble. Through that process, we have gone from calling the collapse of re prices into now what has become calling the collapse of the guvt itself.
    i dont like what this has turned into.

  42. Nicholas says:

    This was a few days ago but the NAR and the NAHB seem to be lobbying pretty hard to keep the tax credit going.

    http://www.dsnews.com/articles/extra-innings-pending-for-homebuyer-tax-credit-2009-08-27

    Extending the tax credit for one year would cause the government lose about 20 billion in revenue. That revenue would indirectly go to banks, brokers, and agents unless the subsidy remained in effect forever.

  43. Nicholas says:

    I told a coworker that the FHA was in trouble and she said “No, I need them because I’m using them to close on my house”.

    I said “If you need the government to protect your lender against you defaulting on the loan then you shouldn’t be buying a house”.

  44. chicagofinance says:

    Sean says:
    September 15, 2009 at 8:54 am
    re: FHA Took a pic of a Toll Brothers Banner in Hoboken yesterday advertising Condos for 18.5K down. http://www.freeimagehosting.net/uploads/dd0b7c7509.jpg

    sean: this is so nice…

  45. Secondary Market says:

    @39
    i’m surrounded by stories like this, it’s crazy. why people take the max loan pre approval amount is beyond me. it leaves zero wiggle room/safety net for life hiccups.

  46. Here For Now says:

    Maybe this is why all those banks are holding onto their foreclosures …

    “Wells Fargo fires partying executive

    The bank employee used a foreclosed beach house for her own fun.

    Who wouldn’t want to party in Malibu?

    Wells Fargo (WFC) said late Monday that it fired Cheronda Guyton, a senior vice president in charge of commercial foreclosed properties, for using a foreclosed beach house in Malibu, Calif., for private parties and weekend guests ….”

    http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/Dispatch/market-dispatches.aspx?post=1273624

    Good times.

  47. zieba says:

    Nicholas,
    …and then you wonder why your coworkers give you the stink eye at the cooler.

  48. John says:

    BTW Kettle and Clot this is the bond you jumped on me when I said at 14% interest it was a good buy, at 5.8% interest it is a stupid buy.

    CITIGROUP INC SUB NT 5.00000% 09/15/2014
    Price (Ask) 96.335
    Yield to Worst (Ask) 5.857%

  49. EWellie says:

    NIcholas,

    You’re right, of course, but I want to know whether she replied to this comment?

  50. freedy says:

    the Wells exec. will sue and win.
    who’s kidding who.

  51. veto that says:

    John, that is the one piece of cr@p that i bought early this year on your recomendation. but i was losing sleep having it in my portfolio so i sold it as soon as it hit par.
    Was a good trade, but too risky for me.

  52. make money says:

    Recession is likely over, Bernanke says

    Buy now or be priced out forever.

  53. Firestormik says:

    kettle1 says:
    September 14, 2009 at 11:43 pm
    Simple memorization can be ultimately self limiting. You can only go so far without understanding the underlying structure and how it interacts with the world.
    —————————————-
    I agree 100% on this. But anyway, one should remember and understand the basics that are taught in HS as well as the language. Without it any further advance is doomed.
    To be honest, I don’t remember a thing from my university years despite my A and B scores on the exams. The reason of it? My university teaches were very liberal – as long as I did all the tasks and show up at the exam they didn’t care about my attendance rate. My HS taught me 2 main things – the basics and how to self-educated myself, so my university time was like a breeze. It took me 2 weeks to learn what was taught for 4 month before exams time. As you said, knowing where to get information + remembering my basics I’m pretty sure I can self educate myself again on, for example, how to solve differential equations in no time.
    Despite having the best universities in the world, HS education in US is a shame.

  54. Sean says:

    So it seems the NJEA and the teachers are tying to hold the line this year on 4.44% raises.

    http://www.northjersey.com/news/Despite_economy_teachers_in_line_for_4_raises.html

  55. Stu says:

    Veto That (41):
    “Through that process, we have gone from calling the collapse of re prices into now what has become calling the collapse of the guvt itself.
    i dont like what this has turned into.”

    You ain’t seen nothing yet. The moral hazard in bailing out our Wall Street friends will surely lead to bigger gambles on riskier schemes in the near future. Plus, now there are fewer firms making them even larger to let fail. I have read some articles that claim the propensity for greater risk is already happening now at JPM and GS. For you can’t really lose with the backing of the American taxpayer. No?

    This will all end horribly.

  56. chicagofinance says:

    Luigi Zingales on NPR’s Marketplace

    By Luigi Zingales
    Public Radio, Marketplace, September 10, 2009
    Professor Luigi Zingales speaks with NPR’s Marketplace host, Kai Ryssdal, about Lehman Brothers’ collapse last year and how the trust between Americans and the finanical sector was destroyed and what it will take to restore it.

    http://www.igmchicago.org/2009/09/14/luigi-zingales-on-nprs-marketplace/

  57. Stu says:

    Secondary Market (45):

    “i’m surrounded by stories like this, it’s crazy. why people take the max loan pre approval amount is beyond me. it leaves zero wiggle room/safety net for life hiccups.”

    Moral hazard once again. If your parent’s rewarded you for f’in up, and punished you for doing the right thing, wouldn’t you f up again?

    No surprise at all. All of the bankrupt mortgage companies have amassed enormous wealth. Why not do it again?

  58. scribe says:

    gator,

    did you see this story?

    http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20090914/FREE/909149992

    I was surprised at how much VF’s ads had dropped. I get it, and it looks pretty hefty.

  59. Stu says:

    “did you see this story?”

    I heard it’s on Conde’s intranet.

  60. Sean says:

    Any of our Legal Eagles care to comment on this one?

    Hearing This Week in Judicial Watch Lawsuit Challenging Hillary Clinton’s Constitutional Eligibility for Secretary of State

    Challenge Filed on Behalf of State Department Foreign Service Officer — Court Hearing Set for September 16, 2009
    Highlighted Links

    Judicial Watch

    WASHINGTON, DC–(Marketwire – September 14, 2009) – Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that a lawsuit challenging the constitutional eligibility of Hillary Clinton to be Secretary of State (Rodearmel v. Clinton, et al., (D. District of Columbia)) will be heard by a special three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia:

    Date: Wednesday, September 16
    Time: 9:30 AM ET
    Location: Courtroom 22A
    The E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse
    333 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20001

    At issue is Hillary Clinton’s constitutional ineligibility to serve as Secretary of State. Article I, section 6 of the U.S. Constitution provides:

    “No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time.”

    This provision, known as the “Emoluments” or “Ineligibility” clause is an absolute prohibition and does not allow for any exceptions. The “Ineligibility Clause” is interpreted by most as designed by our Founding Fathers to protect against corruption, limit the size of government, and ensure the separation of powers among the three branches of government.

    On January 29, 2009, Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit on the grounds that Mrs. Clinton is constitutionally ineligible to serve as Secretary of State under the Ineligibility Clause. The “emoluments” or salary of the U.S. Secretary of State increased at least three times during Mrs. Clinton’s most recent U.S. Senate term. That term, which began on January 4, 2007, does not expire until January 2013, regardless of Mrs. Clinton’s resignation.

    The Judicial Watch lawsuit is on behalf of Foreign Service Officer and State Department employee David Rodearmel. The lawsuit maintains that Mr. Rodearmel cannot serve under Secretary of State Clinton as it would force him to violate an oath he took as a Foreign Service Officer in 1991 to “support and defend” and “bear true faith and allegiance” to the Constitution of the United States.

    “Our goal is to vindicate the U.S. Constitution,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The Constitution clearly prohibits Hillary Clinton from serving as Secretary of State until 2013. We hope the court puts a stop to this attempt to do an end-run around the Constitution in the name of political expediency.”

    For more information on this lawsuit, see

    judicialwatch dot org

  61. kettle1 says:

    Now for some RE related news.

    Extravagant Dubai island project sinks under weight of the credit crunch

    They were designed to make Dubai the envy of the world: a series of paradise islands inhabited by celebrities and the super-rich reclaimed from the azure waters of the Arabian Gulf and shaped like a map of the Earth. It was called The World.

    …Instead it has become the world’s most expensive shipping hazard, guarded by private security in fast boats and ringed by warning buoys to keep the curious away.

    …”The World has been cancelled. It doesn’t even look like the world. Basically there is one island that is maintained that is said to be owned by the Sheikh [Dubai’s ruler] and the rest looks like a pile of muck,” said one local property agent.

    http://www.independent.ie/world-news/middle-east/extravagant-dubai-island-project-sinks-under-weight-of-the-credit-crunch-1884856.html

    Makes one wonder how the multiple super tall skyscrapers are going to fare. Do you leave them unfinished or do they take the hit to their pride and demolish the unfinished structures?

  62. veto that says:

    “This will all end horribly.”

    Stu, yes, were fk’d.
    still, im tempted to buy a ton of stocks and a big house and then ride this next next bubble up before it all goes to hell in 10 or 20 years.

  63. Sean says:

    Kettle1 – I would not call this deflation.

    PPI rose 1.7% month over month

    Producer prices rose 1.7% month-over-month, a much greater rate than expected in August. Consensus forecast a rise of only 0.8%.

    Further, a closer look at monthly data shows that the increase in the month-over-month headline inflation was due to a strong rebound in both oil (8.0%) and food prices (0.4%).

    Excluding oil and food prices, the core index rose a much more modest 0.2%.

    Finished consumer good prices increased 2.3% in August after falling 1.5% in July. Increased car prices (0.7%) pushed up consumer durable prices 0.3%. Capital equipment prices increased 0.3% after declining 0.2% in July.

    The intermediate materials, supplies, and components stage of processing group posted a 1.8% month-over-month increase in August. As with the finished goods, most of the increase was due to higher energy prices as core intermediate prices increased only 0.6%.

    The crude stage of processing group increased 3.8%. The details are a little more troubling. Even though energy prices rose 6.9%, a decline in food prices pushed core crude prices up 6.0%. Much of the increase in core crude prices was due to a large increase in iron and steel scrap prices 13.5%.

    http://news.briefing.com/GeneralContent/Investor/Active/ArticlePopup/ArticlePopup.aspx?ArticleId=NS20090915091717HeadlineHits

  64. bi says:

    stu,

    wanna predict your beloved etf? close under $10 or above $10? it’s $10.05/10.06 at 12:04 pm.

  65. kettle1 says:

    Sean,

    I see your point and respectfully disagree.

  66. #61 – kettle1 – There was a report on
    Bloomberg radio over the weekend about the Dubai SWF shutting down a large RE fund of theirs. They had apparently lost a massive amount.
    I tried looking for it earlier but have been busy today.

  67. kettle1 says:

    Bi,

    SRS? really? your still on that? This has gone way beyond SRS as Veto pointed out.

    We are now gambling on the integrity of the US government

  68. kettle1 says:

    Tosh,

    line of the year? The World has been cancelled

  69. John says:

    Bottom Line, don’t be an Ari Gold. When you are going 50/50 with Vince Chase at a casino and he is way down don’t worry as Vince Chase never loses.

    Also, Veto Citi never lost its investment grade rating, was listed as too big too fail and was never in danger of default.

    That said the media and bloggers beat the living heck out of the bonds.

    veto that says:
    September 15, 2009 at 10:51 am
    John, that is the one piece of cr@p that i bought early this year on your recomendation. but i was losing sleep having it in my portfolio so i sold it as soon as it hit par.
    Was a good trade, but too risky for me.

    Investment-grade corporate bonds yield 2.50 percentage points more than Treasurys, according to an index compiled by Merrill Lynch. That’s the lowest since early 2008, an environment that makes issuing debt in this environment more attractive for companies.

  70. freedy says:

    how long can the casino industry last
    with the number of venues in AC.

    how many will make the end of the year?

  71. Shore Guy says:

    “Super, this program takes care of approximately one weeks worth of expirations.”

    Grim,

    You think to logiclly. In the hands of a political advertising consultant, this drop in the bucket becomes:

    “John Corzine is working hard to protect the working men and women of NJ from the ravages of corporate greed. John Corzine fought Washington power brokers to obtain millions of dollars to put thousands of our hard-working neighbors back to work. John Corzine, looking out for the little guy, like all his houshold staff. This message was brought to you by people saved from starving by John Corzine.”

  72. Shore Guy says:

    freedy,

    They will make nice SRO housing.

  73. John says:

    Veto just looked, good thing you didn’t do the full monte with me. I am still sitting on BAC, C, CMA, COF, FITB, HSBC, JPM, M&I, NCC, SOV, STI and ZION bank bonds. I think you would be in therapy by now from lack of sleep.

  74. Shore Guy says:

    “We are now gambling on the integrity of the US government”

    Huh? The USG is like someone who was playing strip poker and long ago lost the last shred of clothing. God knows what we are doing to whom in order to be allowed to stay in the game.

  75. veto that says:

    John, Investment Grade doesnt mean anything when the rating agencies are changing ratings from AAA to CCC overnight, its like saying blue chip. lol.

    and the citi bonds werent protected right away, there was alot of initial fear that the govt would give bondolders a 40% haircut.

    At first i thought you were nuts but you did well with your bonds. You get full credit from me. good for you. Not everyone can hold steady to their strategy when the world was collapsing like that. if i were you i would keep bring it up every single day too.

  76. Shore Guy says:

    ” I would not call this deflation.

    PPI rose 1.7% month over month

    Producer prices rose 1.7% month-over-month, a much greater rate than expected in August. Consensus forecast a rise of only 0.8%.”

    If the money supply shrinks, will that not push up the cost of goods?

  77. d2b says:

    Wife and I are looking for a new car and we are having a problem. Nobody has any cars. She wants a small SUV and every dealership only has one or two.

  78. Stu says:

    There’s a rare spot open on my ice hockey team if any of you fools are interested in joining our aged squad. I remember a few of you mentioning that you played a bit.

  79. Shore Guy says:

    “Deductions for Pr0stitute Visits Denied by Tax Court”

    Nom, can you e-mail me a pdf of this decision? You have the address I believe.

  80. HEHEHE says:

    Sean,

    Re Clinton, she’s supposed to resign and run for NY Gov so this is likely to end up moot.

  81. John says:

    But what now. I am sitting on 500K worth of bonds and now wife is realizing we have enough for a downpayment on a trade up house so it may soon be gone!! All this work and I will have nothing to show for it.

    veto that says:
    September 15, 2009 at 12:34 pm
    John, Investment Grade doesnt mean anything when the rating agencies are changing ratings from AAA to CCC overnight, its like saying blue chip. lol.

    and the citi bonds werent protected right away, there was alot of initial fear that the govt would give bondolders a 40% haircut.

    At first i thought you were nuts but you did well with your bonds. You get full credit from me. good for you. Not everyone can hold steady to their strategy when the world was collapsing like that. if i were you i would keep bring it up every single day too.

  82. kettle1 says:

    shore 79

    concerned about some recent tax deductions?

  83. Secondary Market says:

    Stu – @57:
    “Moral hazard once again. If your parent’s rewarded you for f’in up, and punished you for doing the right thing, wouldn’t you f up again?

    No surprise at all. All of the bankrupt mortgage companies have amassed enormous wealth. Why not do it again?”

    yup! my sister-in-law, a career student, 2 advanced degrees and a j.d. who happens to be an only child avoided real life as long as possible. spent 1 month as a law clerk and now is a guidance counselor in basking ridge (at the job 1 year).
    anyway, while in law school, grand pappy forks over 50k to help her and hubby buy a house. up to this point she never had a paying job outside of high school and bought an absolute pos cape in south river for 300k. two months later, my brother in law who works accounts receivable making 47k knocks her up and now burdened w/ supporting a family and house on 47k. a month or so into it they fall behind on mortgage payments and her mom and dad step in to save the day. they fit the bill for 3 months while she begins to look for work and or goes back to school! well she wises up and lands the job in b.r. as it stands now, grand pappy dies and the 50k “loan” is now a gift and the 3 months mortgage payments were taken on the chin by the parents.
    on top of all of this we recently found out they went to my wife’s father looking for 20k to help upgrade their kitchen. he rightfully said no fuk’in way and they are now besides themselves trying to figure out why he would say no!

  84. PGC says:

    #79 Shore.

    Do you have some tax returns you need to revisit …… :*)

    I think PPI was up due to Cash For Clunkers. Back to School retail I think was a big bust.

  85. kettle1 says:

    secondary market:

    its time for a genetic reboot of the human species.

  86. veto that says:

    “If the money supply shrinks, will that not push up the cost of goods?”

    Shore, the ppi increase was referring to the cost of goods, whether money supply shrinks or not…

    or did i miss something?

    Anyway, thats my 2 cents/question.

    Now nobody can say i never contribute to the conversation???

  87. Stu says:

    Secondary,

    Pardon my directness, but that marriage ain’t gonna last.

  88. veto that says:

    “All this work and I will have nothing to show for it.”

    john, you have that all mixed up.
    You’ll have a bigger house, and happier wife.
    Plus you’ll have your internet reputation as master bond trader, mike milken of NJREReport

  89. yo'me says:

    UMM/quotes/nls/umm 25.74 -0.16 -0.62%
    DMM/quotes/nls/dmm 23.51 +0.16 +0.69%

    Spread is thightening.Brewing problem with the housing market?

  90. Secondary Market says:

    Stu, it only gets better. They got married in college and are going on 10 years! Baby 2 is on the way and she’ll be taking maternity leave just 10 months into her new(er) job. He is now laid off and entered the Montclair teaching fellowship for laid off financial employees. He plans to teach math. I’m expecting 2010 to be a repeat of 2007 for them.
    Meanwhile, my wife, 4 month old and I rent, make twice as much money as them and still scratch our heads on how to buy a home!

  91. Painhrtz says:

    Stu – would gladly jump at the chance but I travel too much for me to even be remotely dependable for games. I need new ice skates anyway, and with the current economic crisis I’m hording cash for gold. then again with new skates I can make a quick escape when HE double hockey sticks freezes over and the government admits we are f’d. Decisions decisions

  92. Victorian says:

    He plans to teach math

    Secondary –
    Sorry, but this is too funny.

  93. bi says:

    last december, i was here predicting srs would be traded under $30 ($25 after dividend adjustment) this year. stu wanted to take all my predictions to a seperate thread and mock them every day. just check my screen. it’s $9.92/9.93 bid/ask.

  94. Stu says:

    Secondary Market (90):

    They’ll be OK. Our tax dollars will make sure of it. Don’t you see the moral hazard in renting?

  95. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [80] shore

    Will try. Flat out today. Was here late last night and tonight no different. Lotsa deadlines, so I gotta stop fcuking around here and get to work.

    Peace, y’all.

  96. Stu says:

    bi,

    You lost the bet. You are lucky I’m not a bookie. I’d happily hurl your disloyal backside over the falls in Paterson.

    I made a bet with you, won it fair and square, and you welched on it.

    This will be my last communication with your sorry soul. I will not, however, continuously stop making fun of you and your pea brain until you hold up your end of the bargain. Considering that you have about as much self-control as the average Chrone’s disease sufferer, I fully expect your muzzle to last no more than three posts past this one.

    No one likes a welcher, should have been smart enough to know not to strike a deal with a real life village idiot. Lesson learned.

  97. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [84] 2ndary,

    Dare I ask where she got her j.d.? I hope to hell it wasn’t my alma mater.

    But then I have always maintained that law school should be harder and that the bar exam should be an absolute b1tch. Both are too fcuking easy.

    (yeah I know. I said I was getting back to work. I lied. Sue me)

  98. kettle1 says:

    Nom,

    what address would you like to be served at?

  99. kettle1 says:

    nom

    ;)

  100. John says:

    Ok now for something completely differnet. Had a conversation with a friend and of course the old subject was that as soon as any man meets any women in any setting of course the first thing we think is would I do her?

    Well anyhow he married a rich women who could not have kids of her own who was pretty and never married. She focused on her career and was honest about fact she could not have kids which turned off most men as she was only in her early 30’s.

    Well anyhow he married her shortly after his life left him and I asked how he lucked out. He told me every man has a “back-up” wife when he has young kids he may get stuck taking care of. She was a senior manager on a consulting project at his firm and stayed in touch as she was his number one back-up wife. Well he made me think of it and I came up with my number one back-up wife. It seems it is like a normal DR/BCP thing to do at work. Do other men and women do that? I mean if you have a couple of kids under 10 years of age you realy do need a spouse pretty quick.

  101. bi says:

    96#, stu, to congrat your winning, please take any prize you feel you deserve:

    http://hubpages.com/hub/Top-Ten-Most-Expensive-Womens-Handbags

  102. Eagle says:

    to Sean/comment 60 (regarding Clinton’s eligibility to hold office):

    Most people generally regard this as a non-issue because Congress has dealt with this on so many other instances. Specifically, the Emoluments Clause is designed to prevent Senators from increasing a salary and then “sneaking” into office with this higher salary. However, to address this issue, whenever a Senator is set to take office in a President’s Cabinet, congress simply lowers the salary of that cabinet position to prevent a violation (which happened with Clinton’s appointment).

  103. lisoosh says:

    I don’t have a back-up husband. If I end up single again I want to stay that way for a while. A husband is just another kid.

    Probably have to move near family though for some assistance with the kids.

  104. lisoosh says:

    Men need wives though.

  105. A.West says:

    I guess married men who constantly wonder “would I do her” should have some sort of backup plan for their current marriage.

    An alternative back up plan would be learning to stop being a jerk.

  106. John says:

    I don’t want to be a back-up husband myself. My Back-up wife list would include late 30’s early 40’s “career” women with no baggage who missed the marriage boat who always wanted to be a mother. If I can get one with around 20 years plus of 401K and Pension contributions who can get a juicy severance package around honeymoon time even better!! The best would be one at a firm that stil gives free medical for life. But of course I am not only taking the I am looking for a women with a house and a boat, must send picture of house and boat approach, she must be as least as hot or hotter than my prior spouse otherwise people will give me the WTF look. Also even better if she would have one kid with me that way she is locked in and can’t run screaming out the door one day when she is overwelmed taking care of kids. But I guess if I have a back-up wife picked out I need to now pick out a back-up to the back-up wife now. They do this stuff with data centers why not spouses.

  107. meter says:

    @3, wasn’t there congressional discussion for the credit to be upped to $15k?

  108. Stu says:

    Veto (102):
    “stu, take the louis vuitton bag.”

    If I took any of those bags, I would immediatelly slap the village idiot upside the head with it.

    Although, I am slightly bi-curious as to why such a masculine character such as our resident village idiot is perusing ladies handbags in the first place?

  109. Nicholas says:

    Nicholas,

    You’re right, of course, but I want to know whether she replied to this comment?

    Her reply was, “No, No, No, No, NO. I don’t want to hear that” as she covered her ears.

  110. Stu says:

    John,

    “But I guess if I have a back-up wife picked out I need to now pick out a back-up to the back-up wife now. They do this stuff with data centers why not spouses.”

    Got to avoid that single point of failure.

    I don’t need a backup wife. Ask Gator about the ‘inflatable mom’ concept I came up with.

  111. John says:

    Now that I 100% agree with. Women don’t need husbands, but a good sugar daddy is a big time plus. Remember there are four animals every woman needs, A jaguar in her driveway, a mink on her back, a tiger in her bed and a jackass to pay for it all.

    lisoosh says:
    September 15, 2009 at 1:42 pm
    Men need wives though.

  112. John says:

    ‘inflatable mom’?

  113. HEHEHE says:

    The Senseless Recovery

    “This is a balance sheet contraction, a credit bust. You even hear the government saying it’ll take years to recover. It’ll take years for the consumer to delever (unwillingly).

    I think most stock buyers know this, but aren’t buying stocks because they think the economy will recover and profits will too.

    I think a lot of people are buying stocks to 1. catch up with other buyers, and 2. because they’re worried about “inflation”.”

    http://www.minyanville.com/articles/recovery-minyanville-debt/index/a/24500

  114. Sean says:

    John you quoting that show American Dad now?

  115. Secondary Market says:

    Vic,
    What’s worse: Him teaching Math or Her counseling kids on career decisions?
    She has 60k student loan debt and roughly 25k consumer debt. But hey, they just bought a new car!

    Nom,
    I believe it was California Western School of Law – San Diego. Not sure what the official accreditation is but its lost all respect in my book.

  116. John says:

    For fun I wanted to research the subject of back-up wive’s and did a google search and this is all that came up. Crazy stuff.

    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090508114103AAiDMoH

  117. Sean says:

    John NSFW please, some of us like our jobs.

  118. Shore Guy says:

    From tht handbag article:

    “4. Urban Satchel Louis Vuitton Bag – $150,000

    The Louis Vuitton Urban Satchel Bag is created from all sorts of urban junk e.g. cigarette packets, water bottle, tea bags and band aid, the handbag is lavish and luxury fashion accessory with charms of beauty [but it looks like a load of rubbish – I guess that’s so nobody will steal it] ”

    I have newfound respect for the maker of this bag. Any company that can get some over-financed idiot to buy such a thing for even $100, they deserve kudos for marketing ability.

  119. Qwerty says:

    RE: “Extravagant Dubai island project sinks”

    Related…..

    Dubai property scandal claim emerges amid media blackout

    Around 500 property buyers of varying nationalities collectively purchased three planned tower blocks named Ebony 1, Ivory 1, and Ivory 2 in the Jumeirah Lakes Towers area of the Gulf city last year from property development firm Al Fajer Properties, at a total cost of £428 million.

    The firm is part of the Al Fajer Group, ran by company president Sheikh Maktoum bin Hasher Al Maktoum, brother-in-law to the supreme ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

    But at the weekend it was claimed that Al Fajer Properties and its marketing agent Dynasty Zarooni misled their customers into parting with millions of pounds by presenting photographs showing construction of three buildings, purported to be Ebony 1, Ivory 1, and Ivory 2, up to the sixth storey.

    In fact the photographs were of buildings on neighbouring plots. Today, the plots on which Ebony 1, Ivory 1 and Ivory 2 are to be built, are empty holes in the ground, as our photographs show.

    Dubai’s property market has been likened by some to a giant ponzi scheme, where bigger and more grandiose projects were announced in a bid to keep investment rolling in until the financial crisis tamed the city’s galloping development.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/dubai-property-scandal-claim-emerges-amid-media-blackout-1691537.html

  120. Sean says:

    John since you are so big on TBTF Citi, why not pony up for some common shares?

    The U.S. Treasury Department and Citigroup Inc. have begun discussing how to sell the 34 percent stake that the government acquired in the rescue of the bank, people familiar with the matter said.

    The Treasury, which owns 7.69 billion common shares after a recent preferred-stock conversion designed to shore up the bank’s capital, may start unloading the stake as soon as October, one of the people said. It aims to sell the holdings over the next six to eight months, the person said.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=acs7LZGlwiYU

  121. Qwerty says:

    RE: “All this work and I will have nothing to show for it.”

    Granite counters?

  122. Sean says:

    Dubai – The Burj tower is set to open the First week of September.

    I bet they will have massive occupancy problems.

    http://www.burjdubaiskyscraper.com/2009/09/bd0906.jpg

  123. Sean says:

    Correction Dubai Burj tower opens December 09.

  124. Kettle1 says:

    Sean

    just from the contruction photos in the article, you can see massive over development. Who exactly is going to occupy all that space?

  125. Sean says:

    Kettle1 – re: Dubai – Once everything fully seizes up in construction you can expect there to be major problems. Dubai population is 1.4 million the “locals” are only about 100k strong. I believe the population is around 900k Indian/Asian construction workers.

  126. kettle1 says:

    sean,

    security/deportation services for guaranteed oil shipments…..

    I see a job for the US Army!

  127. Stu says:

    “I see a job for the US Army!”

    It’s not like our army would be unfamiliar with how to use Dubai’s military hardware. After all, we sold it to them.

  128. Sean says:

    kettle1 – Dubai has less than 10 years of oil left or less at current production levels of 2.3 million barrels a day, and that won’t sustain the expat workers only the Royals and their entourage. Most expats will all will be booted soon enough.

    I have a female cousin living there with her husband and son. I last saw her when I was in Ireland in May. We joked about Dubai and when she was coming back home and she said never and went on and on how great Dubai was. During our conversation she really could not put a finger on where the money was really coming from when asked. She said oil and I said not even close. I hinted to DEBT Bubble there, many of the expats have no idea but will soon. Things are grinding to a halt there, it is only a matter of time.

    I bet her she will be moving back home or out of Dubai by the next time I am in Ireland. I am headed there this May for another wedding, should be interesting to see if I win on my bet.

  129. lisoosh says:

    John says:
    September 15, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    “Women don’t need husbands, but a good sugar daddy is a big time plus. Remember there are four animals every woman needs, A jaguar in her driveway, a mink on her back, a tiger in her bed and a jackass to pay for it all. ”

    I like it.

  130. scribe says:

    John,

    The back-up wife bit …

    Your ability to come up with unexpected tangents is amazing!

  131. lisoosh says:

    tosh – men totally need wives. Widowers almost always remarry or drop dead quickly.

    Research bears it out – men are happier married, women happier when single. All that whining about wives is just a smokescreen.

  132. Sean says:

    lisoosh – “men are happier married”

    only if she is a good cook.

  133. #133 – tosh – men totally need wives

    I wouldn’t argue that some men do. A noticable amount seem to want another mom, that’s not all of us though.

  134. kettle1 says:

    sean,

    i never said where the oil had to come from, just that for a small fee consisting of black hydrocarbon liquids, i am sure the US military could end its assistance.

  135. Schumpeter says:

    John (48)-

    In the words of Ralph Nader, unsafe at any speed.

    CITIGROUP INC SUB NT 5.00000% 09/15/2014
    Price (Ask) 96.335
    Yield to Worst (Ask) 5.857%

    What to do when the guy holding this vial of nitro gets crammed down to Marcal-quality equity?

  136. Sean says:

    Here is a good one from France just in time for the G20 meeting. Who needs wealth when you have happiness?

    “French president Nicolas Sarkozy wants to do away with GDP as the measure of national well-being and create an index that includes “happiness.” Prime example: ‘Traffic jams may increase GDP as a result of the increased use of gasoline, but obviously not the quality of life.”

    “Endorsing the recommendations of a report given to him by Nobel Prize winners Joseph Stiglitz and Amartya Sen, he said governments should do away with the ”religion of statistics” in which financial prowess was the sole indicator of a country’s state of health.”

    http://www.theage.com.au/world/sarkozy-seeks-economic-happy-talk-20090915-fpmf.html

  137. Victorian says:

    Kettle –

    What is going on with NG? Why is someone paying 27x the price for hydrocarbons with 6x the energy content.?

    Obviously, since the market is efficient, there has to be a fundamental reason.

  138. Schumpeter says:

    sean (63)-

    Please repeat: inflation is first and foremost a monetary phenomenon.

    Price inflation and wage inflation are very real, but they can exist in a time of deflation, debt destruction and credit contraction.

  139. Schumpeter says:

    John (73)-

    SOV bonds? Nice. You can be there when both N America and W Europe go into Three Mile Island mode.

    Talk about a twofer…

  140. Schumpeter says:

    stu (96)-

    As I have discovered, it is akin to addressing a wall.

    His oversized concern with our positions can only be construed as a marker of what has to be his own absolute horrorshow of a portfolio.

    IF he even has one.

  141. John says:

    Actually SOC is STD, my favorite weird ticker symbol. Banco Standandar is one of the strongest banks in the world. SOV bonds are trading at 103 buddy. Today I bought some Sunguard and GNW bonds at 11% interest as I had some interest to re-invest. 11% to me is soo sad, I miss 18-40% interest.

    Sean I am like the loanshark, I don’t want to be in business with them I just want the interest on the loan. Plus I like to constantly re-invest my interest a stock that pays no dividend I am all in.

    I only own JPM stock outright.

    Sean says:
    September 15, 2009 at 2:23 pm
    John since you are so big on TBTF Citi, why not pony up for some common shares?

    The U.S. Treasury Department and Citigroup Inc. have begun discussing how to sell the 34 percent stake that the government acquired in the rescue of the bank, people familiar with the matter said.

  142. Schumpeter says:

    stu (129)-

    I see Dubai as an excellent candidate to host a massive new rendition center for the CIA.

    Sort of like an upgraded Gitmo.

  143. Schumpeter says:

    John (146)-

    Santander is a massive housing player in a market (Spain) that is generally considered to be collapsed. Of course, Spain will soon be sprouting green shoots, as their UE rate among young adults has just topped 25%…so, no worries there.

    In addition, they are the parent of Sovereign Bank, one of the US’ most hard-hit housing lenders.

    Please explain how Santander can be considered one of the strongest banks in the world.

    Oh, I almost forgot: they have massive credit exposure in stable, uneventful countries such as Mexico and Argentina.

  144. Alap says:

    John,

    I ended up buying that Cap One bond you posted couple weeks back. Up to 107+ now.

  145. bi says:

    145#, i certainly don’ have one which is down somewhere between 60% to 90%.

    >IF he even has one.

  146. John says:

    That has one big old coupon, 10%+!!!

    Alap says:
    September 15, 2009 at 4:20 pm
    John,

    I ended up buying that Cap One bond you posted couple weeks back. Up to 107+ now.

  147. Alap says:

    Yes sir it does. Now lets hope it can stay afloat for 10 years!

  148. JS says:

    Speaking of commercial RE…

    Blockbuster may close as many as 960 US stores

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Blockbuster-to-shutter-as-apf-158686565.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=5&asset=&ccode=

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Blockbuster Inc. may close as many as 960 stores by the end of next year, shedding more dead weight as the struggling video rental chain tries to reverse its losses and fend off rapidly growing rivals Netflix Inc. and Redbox.

  149. Sean says:

    Schump and Kettle1 – When the next shoe drops, we will do what we did when the first shoe dropped last year.

    We will fire up the printing presses again, read helicopter Ben’s plan from 2002. He has been following it to the letter.

  150. veto that says:

    “governments should do away with the ”religion of statistics” in which financial prowess was the sole indicator of a country’s state of health.”

    Sean, this is brilliant and promising.

  151. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    Stu says

    “Ask Gator about the ‘inflatable mom’ concept I came up with.”

    Do I even want to know what inspired that????

  152. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [99] kettle

    nomdeplumenj@gmail.com works now

  153. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    You just can’t make this stuff up. You can’t. Unless you are John.

    “WICHITA, Kan.—A tender moment in a trash bin went all wrong for a couple who found themselves being held up at pocket knifepoint. Police said two 44-year-olds had climbed into a dumpster to be alone just after 6 p.m. Saturday when two men interrupted them and demanded their belongings. Officers said the man and woman were engaged in “an intimate moment” when they were robbed of their shoes, jewelry and the man’s wallet.”

  154. John says:

    When Cap One merged with North Fork they got some good old nuts and bolts banking guys who are a lot smarter than the what’s in your wallets guys.

    Alap says:
    September 15, 2009 at 4:27 pm
    Yes sir it does. Now lets hope it can stay afloat for 10 years!

  155. Sean says:

    re#156 veto – A measure of “State of Health” of a country is all about carbon tax.

  156. Qwerty says:

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/09/15/samurai.sword.killing/

    A Johns Hopkins University student killed an apparent burglar with a samurai sword after discovering the man in his garage, police said Tuesday.

    Four students, one armed with a samurai sword, had confronted the suspect in the garage.

    The man “lunged” at the students, and the student with the sword defended himself, severing the man’s left hand and cutting his upper body…

    Burglars had taken two laptops and a Sony PlayStation from the students’ home Monday…

    The burglary suspect had been released from prison Saturday…

  157. Qwerty says:

    25 years, and authorities still can’t get it right…..

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/09/15/ohio.execution.problems/

    Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland on Tuesday gave a death-row inmate a one-week reprieve after authorities tried for hours to find a vein to administer his lethal injection.

    Broom, 52, was convicted of abducting, raping and fatally stabbing a 14-year-old girl in East Cleveland in 1984…

  158. chicagofinance says:

    make money says:
    September 15, 2009 at 4:50 pm
    Albani, I’m related to this guy.

    mm: did you see my old neighborhood? I’ve played handball on these garage doors when I was 8-9 years old.
    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/queens/bomb_raid_at_home_visited_by_associate_8BSSuO280oy7oBlXoUCIpI

  159. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    Qwerty

    The sword story was great, however, Balt. officials may still charge the student. After all, can’t have visitors killing off their constituents, can they?

    As for the execution story, whaddya wanna bet that the guy went and larded up? This is the newest thing in lethal inject. states. By fattening up, they lessen the likelihood of finding a vein and it gives their ACLU lawyers new issues to litigate about.

  160. kettle1 says:

    Nom,

    we clearly need to knife ban similar to the UK’s in order to crack down on this unnecessary knife violence.

  161. BklynHawk says:

    164/Qwerty, the student that allegedly wielded the sword is from Wall, NJ…

  162. kettle1 says:

    Shore,

    Any thoughts, comments, or experience with Carriacou???

  163. veto that says:

    Sean, i like the carbon tax too.

  164. Danzud says:

    #138 Sean,

    Happiness to measure GDP. I think this relates to yesterday’s thread where John discussed how math questions have changed over the years. This is perfect for Obama. Why measure unemployment when instead we can measure how good the leftist media tells us it is (as long as Democrats control everything) and why don’t we just let Bernake and Geithner just tell us the recession is over?

  165. kettle1 says:

    Shore,

    i liked this prominently displayed statement on a website for the island

    There is no restriction on the amount of foreign currency which can be brought into Grenada.

  166. Pat says:

    Sean

    “French president Nicolas Sarkozy wants to do away with GDP as the measure of national well-being and create an index that includes “happiness.”

    Apparently, qualitative measures are coming into vogue. Have you checked out the new rent vs. buy calculator on bankrate dot com?

    What a load of pandering crap. Somebody please blow up that site.

  167. kettle1 says:

    a more comprehensive measure then GDP would be a good thing. but preferably a quantitative one.

  168. Qwerty says:

    Nom, that fattening up would work wonders with a gallows. No anti-gravity cheats available — yet.

  169. lostinny says:

    78 Stu
    DH wants to know where your team is.

  170. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [168] ket,

    “we clearly need to knife ban similar to the UK’s . . .”

    About that, is it helping the violence? By all accounts, it is, as there seems to be quite a lot of it.

    And New Jersey is soooooo safe, now that they keep you and me from getting guns. Yep.

  171. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [173] ket

    Most nations will let you bring in lots of cash. That isn’t the problem. It’s that ours won’t let you bring it out.

    True story: Attorney teaching the tax penalty and prosecution course at NYU told the class that “drug sniffing” dogs aren’t taught to just sniff for drugs. They are taught to sniff for cash.

  172. Pat says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGC1mCS4OVo&feature=popt00us08

    O.K., she’s well-spoken and angry, but something’s not right.

    Why TF does she have so much debt that it matters?

    25% of nothing is nothing. You pay it off.

    Would she be doing this if she could do an old-fashioned bk?

    When you borrow, you risk.

    I’m not voting for her as a John back-up wife. Next.

  173. Pat says:

    John, I’d go for Taylor Swift instead of that one.

  174. Kettle1 says:

    Nom

    the UK just banned the boys outs from having knives. And this was the land of constant braveheart scenes for the last few hundred years?

  175. Stu vd lmfd;ffffffc says:

    Lost…

    We play in the HNA league which plays in various rinks around North Jersey. Typically we go as far east as Hackensack and as far west as Mennen (Morristown). Last year most of our games were in South Mountain Arena in West Orange. Some years we traveled down to Woodbridge and as far east as Bayonne. It is the best run league around by far as league prides itself on parity, which is not the case in most house leagues. For info, go to hna.com. You can even look up my stats. Our team is the Americans.

  176. Stu says:

    As for the inflatable mom…I had this conceptual idea when lil gator was in his first year. It seemed that every time we left his bedroom, even when he appeared to be sleeping, he would notice we left and would start to cry. I suggested to the wife that we get a blow-up doll, fill it with warm water and then plop it in his crib. Then there were the options such as dual warm milk dispensers. The accessories were endless and fueled by my sleep deprivation as all new parents know what I am talking about. Unlike most infant purchases, this one could be used long after junior grows up. Like to dispense hot chocolate for example.

  177. Essex says:

    Lemme guess Stu, you had one just laying around.

  178. PGC says:

    I think Jimmy Carter just gets better with age. He has just elevated the blood pressure of those on the “Conservative Right” off the scale.

    “I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man,” Carter said. “I live in the South, and I’ve seen the South come a long way, and I’ve seen the rest of the country that share the South’s attitude toward minority groups at that time, particularly African Americans.”

    Carter continued, “And that racism inclination still exists. And I think it’s bubbled up to the surface because of the belief among many white people, not just in the South but around the country, that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country. It’s an abominable circumstance, and it grieves me and concerns me very deeply.”

    http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2009/09/15/2070242.aspx

  179. Essex says:

    186…it aint cause he’s black Jimma….it’s cause he aint qualified.

  180. Barbara says:

    stu

    “Unlike most infant purchases, this one could be used long after junior grows up. Like to dispense hot chocolate for example.”

    sure. :P

  181. kettle1 says:

    stu,

    hot chocolate? ….101 things you didnt want to know about stu…..

  182. On the fence says:

    @kettle

    How about these quantitative measures?:

    –Life expectancy
    ( https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2102rank.html )

    –Infant mortality rate
    ( https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2091rank.html )

    –Number of people in prison, and prison population rate
    ( http://www.kcl.ac.uk/depsta/law/research/icps/worldbrief/wpb_stats.php?area=all&category=wb_poptotal )

    –The correlation between wealth and happiness (hint: near zero)
    ( http://yalepress.yale.edu/yupbooks/book.asp?isbn=9780300091069 )

    –Percentage of population that’s obese
    ( http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7151813.stm )

    –Percentage of population that’s clinically depressed
    ( http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=By_Illness&template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=7725 )

    Could come up with lots of other quantifiable indices.

    It’s so easy to utter the word “France” and fool yourself into thinking that you’ve made a valid point or a clever joke. It’s much more difficult to look in the mirror.

  183. Happiness is a warm onion.

  184. stu (183)-

    I’ll come watch if the rinks allow fans to drink liquor.

  185. I can be sort of a one-man blue seats.

    Potvin sucks.

  186. Qwerty says:

    Jimmy Carter was no doubt the inspiration for the “Opposite” Seinfeld episode.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKUvKE3bQlY

  187. Deflating like a badly-mixed souffle:

    “It was just yesterday that Tim Geithner was pleading that banks are increasing consumer lending. Well, yet another lie refuted. Banks, and not just any banks, but those receiving government bail outs and subsidies, continued constricting lending in July, with total average loan balance outstanding declining by $54 billion from $4,295 billion to $4,241 billion, a 1.3% decline, following a 1.1% decline in June. The Truth: the consumer, the one followed by the ABC Confidence Report, not the manipulated, CNBC-friendly one, has retrenched to a point where he has no desire to even approach the bank lending window.”

    http://www.zerohedge.com/article/bailout-recipient-banks-lending-drops-sixth-consecutive-month

  188. sas says:

    i go down to 8 Mill Street
    out in Lodi with the M5 to MVC cause me DL is about to expire. They ask me if I want to be an organ donor.

    man, your crazy if you register as organ donor on your DL card.

    why? say you have trauma or medical troubles, and get in a wreck on the NJT.

    These Vodoo doctors see that you have donor registration, they quit quality care. Almost like a DNR, then they call the israel underground and try to harvest your organs.

    I’ll be god damned i register myself as a donor.

    and it ain’t just the israel underground. All nations do it. China, Russia, US.

    abu ghraib, and you think they just played grab ass there with a few electrical wires? ha ha.

    They were doing Y cuts

    SAS

  189. sas says:

    “These Vodoo doctors”

    well, a few rogue. Not all.

    but believe me, they are out there, and you better hope you never have one.

    SAS

  190. What’s a spleen really worth?

  191. NJGator says:

    Clot 192 – Would you play if the league allowed players to drink hard liquor during the game?

  192. sas says:

    “What’s a spleen really worth?”

    more than your house:)

    SAS

  193. sas says:

    and mine too.

    hell, you can hardly get a big toe with my little shack.

    SAS

  194. Sean says:

    time to run down to Walmart for your H1N1 vaccination and it’s FDA approved..

  195. sas says:

    “time to run down to Walmart for your H1N1 vaccination and it’s FDA approved”

    and make sure you have your will set in motion. cause you’ll be getting a nice cancer dose virus.

    SV40 anyone?
    SAS

  196. Firestormik says:

    O just started production a new drug! :)
    http://tinyurl.com/HydrogenBarackside

  197. sas says:

    “Hydrogen Barackside”

    lol. good one.

    SAS

  198. yo'me says:

    Gold Expert: Sell, Sell, Sell

    Tuesday, September 15, 2009 11:28 AM

    By: Dan Weil Article Font Size

    One of London’s leading gold experts has urged his clients to dump their gold and silver holdings.

    John Reade, an analyst at UBS, told investors to erase all their positions until the latest upward price surge ends, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard writes in the London Telegraph. Last week, gold ran up to $1,011 an ounce, not far from 2008’s record high of $1,030.

    Gold has climbed amid the dollar’s drop to a one-year low.

    Reade says futures contracts on New York’s Comex exchange are flashing warning signals. The Comex experienced a surge of 6.4 million ounces in net long contracts last week. Such jumps in the past have on average presaged a 5 percent drop in gold prices over the next month.

    “We recommend that nimble investors take profits on any long gold and silver positions, looking to re-enter after a correction,” Reade says.

    He sees gold slipping to $950 over the next month and then resuming its rally next year.

    The last time Comex long contracts approached last week’s levels was in February 2008, when gold hit its record high and then crashed.

    Others also see a pause for gold before its next rally.

    Kaname Gokon of Okato Shoji told Reuters, “Gold looks like it will stay strong, as there is a general preference for the precious metal. But in order to gain further momentum, we first have to deal with a heavy pile of long U.S. futures positions.”

  199. sas says:

    “Gold”

    for me, gold & silver is something i have to maintain some level, not to try to get rich quick.

    but, i know nothing.
    SAS

  200. chicagofinance says:

    Touche

    WSJ
    ROI
    SEPTEMBER 15, 2009, 6:29 P.M. ET.
    What Price Suits Gold?
    Leading Gold Bugs See Prices Tripling Someday, But Others Say its Current Level Is About Right
    By BRETT ARENDS

    Gold bullion just crossed $1,000 an ounce. But what’s it really worth?

    Bud Conrad, chief economist at Casey Research and a leading gold bug, says it’s worth far more. Based on long-term analyses of macroeconomic trends such as the money supply, he says, “a lot of ratios… get you into the $4,000 to $5,000 level without any problem.

    Congressman and former presidential candidate Ron Paul—also a major gold bug—likewise sees the price of bullion rising from today’s levels. “It’s trebled in the last ten years,” he says. “There’s no reason it can’t triple in another ten years, that wouldn’t surprise me.” Congressman Paul says the government will erode the dollar’s purchasing power, so gold will gain value—however, he says this is a political opinion, and not investing advice.

    Is it realistic to think gold could really go to $3,000?

    A long-standing rule of thumb among gold enthusiasts is that an ounce of gold should equal the cost of one high-quality man’s suit. (A fund manager I know in London argues that this goes back to ancient Rome, when an ounce of gold—allegedly—was enough to purchase a top-of-the-line toga.)

    That wisdom isn’t particularly helpful today. At Saks Fifth Avenue you could pay $795 for a Hugo Boss suit, or $2,050 for Dior. When I last bought a suit on Savile Row in London some years back, it cost me about $1,200, but one could have spent a lot more.

    Michael Narwani, a tailor and the owner of Custom Clothiers in Wellesley, Mass., says his bespoke suits vary from around $700 up to many thousands, but “$1,000 would buy you an excellent suit.” By that measure, gold would be about the right price now.

    A silly debate? Maybe. But this is the central issue any investor faces when dealing with gold.

    With stocks, you can look at the price-to-earnings ratio and the dividend yield and reach some conclusions about likely returns. With bonds, you can look at the yield to maturity, which includes both the coupons and any capital gains.

    But gold generates no income. It is, in a sense, a perpetual zero coupon bond. So valuing it isn’t easy.

    You can, at least, establish a threshold price. A rational person wouldn’t buy an ounce of gold for $1,008 today unless he or she was very confident it would be worth at least $1,500 or so in ten years’ time, and at least $2,400 in twenty years. (Otherwise, that person could earn the same amount simply by investing in Treasury bonds.)

    Some months ago I suggested here that gold could easily become the next bubble. Some people thought I was suggesting gold already was a bubble. Hardly: I would have to know what something was worth before I could conclude it was overvalued.

    But there is potential—albeit uncertain—for gold to go much higher. Led by the Fed, central banks world-wide have flooded financial systems with vast amounts of money in the year since Lehman Brothers failed. Those moves risk devaluations in the dollar, along with other paper currencies. Gold and other items in limited supply may well benefit.

    The most bullish news for gold is that the public hasn’t gone crazy for it yet. Demand for gold coins and gold funds is certainly higher than it was a few years ago, but we’re a long way from speculative mania. Sales of the SPDR Gold Shares exchange-traded fund (GLD), the world’s largest bullion fund, have actually turned negative in recent months. And Financial Research Corp., a firm that tracks mutual fund sales, says the same holds true for funds across the gold sector.

    On the other hand, though gold just crossed the big $1,000 barrier, a number of signs should give investors at least pause for thought. Canaccord Adams, the Canadian investment bank, says September is traditionally the strongest month for gold: October, by contrast, has historically been much weaker.

    Meanwhile the insiders at the big gold mining companies are sitting on their hands. Research company Form 4 Oracle, which follows stock sales and purchases by company bosses, reports little insider buying at gold companies. By contrast they were heaving net buyers last fall, just before the big rebound.

    And although gold looks bullish in dollars, that specifically reflects the greenback’s weakness—gold remains well below last winter’s peaks when priced in pounds, euros, yen, or Swiss francs.

    Despite gold’s rise, the market is not, yet signaling any great concern about inflation. On the contrary, when you compare the yields on regular 10-year Treasury bonds and the yields on inflation-protected bonds, the market right now thinks inflation is likely to be about 2% a year for the next decade. That’s well below the levels seen before the 2008 crisis.

    In short: Stay tuned. Gold may boom from here, or it may not. At this juncture dry powder may prove a better investment than yellow metal.

  201. PGC says:

    This could get interesting

    Could war erupt in arms-spree LatAm?
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8256686.stm

  202. chicagofinance says:

    WSJ

    SEPTEMBER 15, 2009
    The Devil’s Dictionary — Financial Edition

    The Wall Street Crisis of 2008 Changed the Business Lexicon, Conjuring a Cloud of Acronyms, Neologisms and Euphemisms
    By MATTHEW ROSE

    Just as the financial crisis has morphed into a daily grind instead of a daily fire drill, its peculiar argot has found its way into everyday conversations. This is probably an unwelcome surprise to those not conversant with the narrow byways of Wall Street. So, in the spirit of Ambrose Bierce — whose “Devil’s Dictionary,” originally published in 1906 as “The Cynic’s Word Book,” provided a guide to the political and cultural language of the day — here is a Wall Street Journal Baedeker to acronyms, neologisms and bastardizations that shape the popular understanding of the pickle in which we remain one full year after the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

    AAA, n., obsolete. A rhetorical device used to dupe buyers into purchasing securities backed by shacks dressed as houses, and to secure the highest possible spot in telephone directories. Common usage: AAA Septic Drainage and Mortgage Backed Security Services.

    ADVERSE FEEDBACK LOOP, n. See FEEDBACK LOOP.

    BAILOUT, n. First known use: Noah. Novel regressive taxation scheme whereby vast sums of capital are transferred from those citizens who didn’t participate in the illusory Bacchanalia of the housing bubble to those who did and weren’t clever enough to get out in time.

    BANK, GOOD, n., archaic. Sober, conservative, risk-averse institutions designed to midwife customers’ capital and enable prudent lending to deserving businesses and consumers. See Capra, F., the Bailey Building & Loan Association.

    BANK, BAD, n. 1. Everyone else. 2. Especially Goldman Sachs.

    BANK FAILURE, n. 1. A process by which towns across America are denuded of their feckless local bankers, paving a way into the market for feckless private-equity investors. 2. An increasingly common Twitter tag that spikes on Friday afternoons. See #bankfail, #wheresmymoney, #runitsthefdic.

    BORROWERS, n. For liberals, the unwitting dupes of unscrupulous bankers and lenders whom one shouldn’t blame for the crisis. For conservatives, irresponsible graspers with a credit-busting taste for cathedral-ceilinged entryways and 70-inch flat-screen televisions whom one should absolutely blame for the crisis.

    CHRYSLER, v.t. To torch all pre-existing contractual obligations. Entered dialect after Truman’s seizure of U.S. steel mills. Reference spotted in 1952 editions of obsolete periodical “Steel and Steelmen,” under the “News You Can Smelt” section: “We just got Chryslered!”

    CREDIT-DEFAULT SWAP, n. loose translation from the original Latin “ubi mel ibi apes,” or “where there’s honey there are bees.” 1. A complex financial instrument vital to the functioning of a modern economy in the way it spreads risk among consenting parties. (Greenspan, A., pre-Sept. 2008.) 2. A complex financial instrument that nearly destroyed modern capitalism (Greenspan, A., post-Sept. 2008).

    CREDIT LINE, n. A set amount of borrowed money available only to those who don’t need it.

    CREDIT-RATING FIRMS, n. Firms that do scant rating of people with scant credit.

    DEFICIT, n. For the party in power, at worst a minor irritant and at best a precondition for economic growth. For the minority, the gravest threat to the stability of the Republic.

    DEFLATION, n. The state of being when confronting unified theories of the financial crisis with grand names — The Great Contraction, The End to Moderation, The Bubble Era — that don’t, in fact, explain much more than our continuing inability to agree why we are in such a deep hole.

    FEEDBACK LOOP, n. Process by which the significance of an event is amplified by constant repetition. Orig: CNBC. See ADVERSE FEEDBACK LOOP.

    GREEN SHOOTS, n. 1. The first signs of spring, often clobbered by summer’s heat and autumn’s rain. 2. A sign the economy is falling apart more slowly than previously thought. Related: DAISIES, PUSHING UP. See also THINKING, WISHFUL.

    LIGHT TOUCH, n., obsolete. Theory of regulation in which financial companies recycle profits to lawmakers as campaign contributions, prompting them to relax the rules until the banks inevitably mess it up, at which point the dominant theory switches to “heavy hand,” prompting years of economic contraction and the cycle to repeat.

    PPIP, or PUBLIC-PRIVATE INVESTMENT PARTNERSHIP, v.t. Orig: Gladys Knight. To use a form of hypnotism in which merely saying you intend to fix a problem has the effect of making everyone forget about the problem. Usage: “We really peepipped Congress on those AIG bonuses.” See ASSETS, TOXIC.

    QUANTITATIVE EASING, n. A regulatory approach based on the point in Western movies when the sheriff, having fired all available bullets, in an act of final desperation throws his gun at the bad guys. See also INFLATION, HYPER.

    RESET, v.t. A process by which an initial expectation is altered to another expectation, as in mortgage payments, or deficits or personal fulfillment. As in, “I have reset my views of financial regulation.”

    RISK MANAGEMENT, n. Until recently, the process by which banks make giant bets with other people’s money before persuading someone else to take the fall. Currently known as “federal supervision.”

    SECURED CREDITORS, n. In modern American capitalism, the parties last in line for repayment after a company’s failure. The others in line include the government, unions, sundry suppliers, friends of the union, friends of the government, unsecured creditors and people vaguely familiar with the matter.

    STIMULUS, n. An indeterminate sum of taxpayer money used to generate violent debate. Previously known as “government spending.”

    STRESS TEST, n. 1. A measure of arterial blood flow to the head. 2. Alchemic process by which struggling, undercapitalized banks are transformed into paragons of modern finance. (See BANKS, GOOD.) Also known as the “Timothy F. Geithner Seal of Approval,” which some bankers insist is good until it isn’t anymore. (See BANKS, BAD.)

    SUBPRIME, adj. A measure of diminished intellectual capacity and increased financial mendacity.

    TANGIBLE COMMON EQUITY, n. unknown origin. Definition unknown; purpose unknown; how it’s calculated, unknown; what federal regulators think it means, unknown. Usages: “Macbeth,” Shakespeare, W., Act II, Scene (i): “Is this TCE which I see before me…I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.”

    TARP, n. acronym. 1. A synthetic device designed to cover up an unsightly mess, or to protect perishable goods (firewood, banks) from the ravages of the elements, typically costing somewhere between $12.99 and $700 billion. 2. Prime example of how governments use otherwise anodyne acronyms, abbreviations and sports metaphors to disguise matters of controversy. See also TALF, TLGP, TURF, FHFA, BACKSTOP, WRAP, OFHEO and SPECTRE.

    TOO BIG TO FAIL, idiom. Banks, insurance companies, car companies, presidential approval ratings, Fed chairmen seeking second terms, other people who think they should be Fed chairman, the reputations of people who’d be responsible for letting things fail. Antonym: TOO BORING TO SAVE.

    TOXIC ASSETS, n. 1. A collection of bad loans and other botched financial bets that caused big losses for banks, prompted a credit crunch and sank the economy (Sept. 2008 to May 2009). 2. Long-term investments that will pay handsomely when the housing market recovers (June 2009 onward).

    U-SHAPED RECOVERY, n . An opportunity for economists to incorrectly predict the timing and nature of the recession’s end just as successfully as they incorrectly predicted its inception, depth and duration. Variants include V-shaped recovery, L-shaped recovery and :-( shaped recovery.

    Write to Matthew Rose at matthew.rose@wsj.com

    Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page A17

  203. cobbler says:

    sas[200]
    spleen is free – one of those rare body parts which we can well do without. If it gets ruptured in a car accident (happens frequently) they just take it out.

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