September 15, 2008

Bits Bucket For September 15, 2008

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Comment by hwy50ina49dodge
2008-09-15 06:28:24

Good morning Vietnam! …Hello Wall Street!

Today we wake up to the American PSYCHO-BILLY Economy

It’s a Merrill / Lehman / Goldman Sachs / JP Morgan / Fannie / Freddie / Indy Mac / Countrywide / New Century / Long Term Capital / B of A… kinda day! :-)

To: Mssr. Paulson, Greenspent, Bernanke, Mozillo, Cox, Fuld, et al.
Compliments of Mr. Johnny Cash:

Turn up the volume & sing along! :-)

One Piece At A Time

One day I devised myself a plan
That should be the envy of most any man
I’d sneak it out of there in a lunchbox in my hand
Now gettin’ caught meant gettin’ fired
But I figured I’d have it all by the time I retired
I’d have me a car worth at least a hundred grand….

Now, up to now my plan went all right
‘Til we tried to put it all together one night
And that’s when we noticed that something was definitely wrong.

The transmission was a ‘53
And the motor turned out to be a ‘73
And when we tried to put in the bolts all the holes were gone.

So we drilled it out so that it would fit
And with a little bit of help with an A-daptor kit
We had that engine runnin’ just like a song
Now the headlight’ was another sight
We had two on the left and one on the right
But when we pulled out the switch all three of ‘em come on.

The back end looked kinda funny too
But we put it together and when we got thru
Well, that’s when we noticed that we only had one tail-fin
About that time my wife walked out
And I could see in her eyes that she had her doubts
But she opened the door and said “Honey, take me for a spin.”

So we drove up town just to get the tags
And I headed her right on down main drag
I could hear everybody laughin’ for blocks around
But up there at the court house they didn’t laugh
‘Cause to type it up it took the whole staff
And when they got through the title weighed sixty pounds.

Well, It’s a ‘49, ‘50, ‘51, ‘52, ‘53, ‘54, ‘55, ‘56
‘57, ‘58′ 59′ automobile

This is the COTTON MOUTH

Comment by Lost in Utah
2008-09-15 07:12:59

A 12 pack of Squatter’s Beer for Highway!! (Cause you need that much to get a buzz).

Comment by Olympiagal
2008-09-15 08:19:13

Utarr beer is icky. That’s why I had to start homebrewing. Washington beer, on the other hand, is excellent, but I kept the home-brew habit anyhow, as it is one of my few good habits and I didn’t want to waste it.

Say, are you still camping in the rocks, losty? Are your furry pets keeping you warm?

Comment by Lost in Utah
2008-09-15 10:56:37

Hey Oly, I sorta caught a cold camping, my doggers were slacking off keeping me warm, it was every dog for himself (they’ve been influenced by Wall Street), actually, I’m still kind of out of it (ask Blano), but it’s nice out now. Hey, actually, I’m out in your driveway, I need some hot tea…

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Comment by hwy50ina49dodge
2008-09-15 06:32:54

No Worries the SEC is here! ;-) The seal makes it so “Official” looking don’t yeah think?

“…Customers of Lehman Brothers Inc. may contact the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy for individual assistance at

Go Crissy, GO Crissy, Go Crissy…the man knows how to multi-task… managing an economic financial crisis…&…overseeing the loading of his DC “Office” belongings into the one way U-haul, ….Newport Beach, CA..I’m comin’ home babeeeeeeeeeee!

Comment by arizonadude
2008-09-15 07:08:09

You know I am really wondering where BofA is getting all this money to keep buyin companies like it is.40 billion here, 40 billion there has got to have people wondering.

Seems like wells, bofa ,usbank and jpmorgan are going to survive this.I bank at usbank and they are pretty conservative folks.

Wamu loaned to anyone with a pulse.

Comment by wjk
2008-09-15 07:11:04

“”The credit bubble was not a mistake folks. It was an intentional act undertaken for the explicit purpose of getting you to buy things you cannot afford at prices that are radically jacked up from where they should be. It has been a raw attempt to appeal to your “desire for more”, without regard to whether you can actually afford any of it. It was intended to and did operate as a monstrous transfer of wealth from you to a handful of bankers in New York!
You have been led around by the nose to think your kid needs an Ipod, you need a cruise vacation, one Lexus isn’t enough (you must have two) and you “deserve” a boat, an RV and a vacation home in the Hamptons - no matter how far in debt you must go to get it.
You have been told repeatedly by bankers and lenders that “you can afford it” when nothing of the sort is in fact true. Being naive and uneducated, you have believed these people -and been repeatedly shorn like sheep.”"

Comment by Faster Pussycat, Sell Sell
2008-09-15 07:17:36

Well, this is the flip side of credit. What are you gonna use the credit for?

It was all gee-gaws of questionable need.

You’re telling me that your “fancy” cellphone gives you that much more than a “basic” one? Likewise for the iPod. How much music does the average person listen to?

The whole fake perpetual-motion-machine is getting ripped apart.

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Comment by Blano
2008-09-15 07:20:28

Who the heck needs access to 2,000 songs at a time???

Comment by Faster Pussycat, Sell Sell
2008-09-15 07:30:52

Well, I’m one of those people who wouldn’t mind their (very very large) collection digitized but I’m sure not listening to them at that compression level (=sounds awful!)

That having been said, I’m with you on this one.

Comment by VaBeyatch in Virginia Beach
2008-09-15 07:44:34

Who cares about ipods and cell phones? The purchase price of those devices is nothing compared to say, overpaying for a house. When I was young my parents paid $3,000 USD for a home computer. Being an 8086 with 384K of RAM and a 20MB hard card, it did very little compared to the $500 Wal*Mart notebook PC of today. And money was worth quite a bit more then. The $300 ipod is a drop in the bucket, and nothing to get worked up over.

Cars and boats are something to get worked up over.

Comment by arizonadude
2008-09-15 07:49:39

Never had any need or want for an ipod.Is the ipod crowd the smae crowd that likes to overpay for other stuff too, likes home.I know my ex wanted an ipod and she was a total disaster w/ money.She screwed her way to some money though.

I just don’t have time to download and listen to music.The only time I listen to the radio is why cruising in my truck.I am to busy reading blogs and looking for pertinent information.

Comment by Faster Pussycat, Sell Sell
2008-09-15 08:20:03

Same thing.

Agreed once again that you should think longer and harder on larger purchases but I don’t think you appreciate how much “creep” there has been in the average person’s expectations even compared to 5-7 years ago.

Trips to Morocco and Turkey are de rigeur?!? Since when?

Comment by DeepInTheHeartOf
2008-09-15 09:07:58

Faster Pussycat,
I hope you do know that there can be a huge quality range in compressed music. The standards are for decoding and playback, not for encoding. i.e. You can have two different encoders compress the same song to the same bit-rate and get very different sounding results.

Two things for the serious listener and their iPod/etc.

1) RIp your own CDs using EAC or another ripper that can get a truly accurate extraction of the CD data. This means cleaning your CDs before ripping, and slower extraction than programs that just rely on the automatic error correction of the optical drive.

2) Pick an encoder that uses LAME, and set it to a very high VBR (Variable bitrate) setting - around ~192K-200Kbs average file size. VBR will put extra data in the file for the more complex parts to keep the reconstructed sound accurate to the source. Not all encoders are the same - some cheat by discarding inputs over a certain frequency, etc…

Do this, and the resulting MP3 files will sound so significantly better it’s not funny. Don’t worry that they are larger files - they still conform to the standard and storage space is cheap these days.

Comment by Olympiagal
2008-09-15 09:22:34

‘The $300 ipod is a drop in the bucket, and nothing to get worked up over.’

But, VaBeyatch, the drops add up. One drop, two drops, three…enough drops and you’ve got a full bucket, don’t you?
Heck, keep going with the drops and soon enough you’ve got a whole ocean.

Comment by VaBeyatch in Virginia Beach
2008-09-15 10:50:59

I guess I don’t see the big deal with iPods. I don’t own one, never have. But the savings by illegally copying music versus purchasing CDs are huge, so in the end I guess you could come out ahead. Plus many people use them for audiobooks and podcasts.

To try to put the failure of consumers on buying ipods, I still side with it’s not a big deal. I had *no* idea how expensive jetskis were until the other day. I figured they were maybe $2000 each.

Comment by SV_Renter
2008-09-15 10:51:10

I heart my iPod!

Comment by Silverback1011
2008-09-15 12:20:10

How the heck expensive are jetskis ?

Comment by VaBeyatch in Virginia Beach
2008-09-15 12:26:52

A friend was saying his were some $6,000 each, then the trailer. He sold them some time ago.

Comment by Deflationary Jane
2008-09-15 13:11:16

Couldn’t live without my cheap Gen 2 nano - sure beats lugging around CDs. I have a direct jack into my house stero, my car (not through an FM channel- yuck for sound!), a headset for running and the gym, and some rechargeable speakers that go anywhere. I love itunes and I haven’t bought batteries or CDs in years and I never miss my favorite NPR shows because they do podcasts. What’s not to love for a measly $100 initial outlay?

Now a $6k toy like a jetski? Ummm no thanks and frankly there is zero comparision. Comparing a nano to an overpriced hunk of dirt with some wood on it makes no sense either. But if I had an extra 6k floating around and I had to spend it, it would be on a Triumph speedmaster - great gas mileage, fun little bike, and easy parking which I might need if i end up back in the Bay Area which is looking likely >; (

Comment by exeter
2008-09-15 07:21:05

”The credit bubble was not a mistake folks.”

Prepare for the apologists to tell you it was “all a result of free markets”. I’ve stated here on this blog before that this entire housing debacle was a pre-planned, pre-engineered, contrived event. Anyone who thinks this “just happened” has lost their mind.

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Comment by sm_landlord
2008-09-15 08:39:12

Please refer to Hanlon’s Razor.

Comment by adge
2008-09-15 08:50:40

Cramer was already saying it, this hour!! He writes: “How could we let free-market capitalism still run wild? It obviously failed.”

Then, he reverted to the same old Cramer: “How can the Fed not cut rates right now in this deflationary environment? I put this one on the Federal Reserve. They had every chance to [cut rates] more, and all they did as fret about Chinese-led inflation”

Comment by santacruzsux
2008-09-15 08:59:44

Cramer would have loved to have been a politburo chief in the USSR. Double talking scum of the highest order.
Yeah that’s right Cramer, you’re so bamboozled you don’t know left from right anymore.

Why anyone still listens to this manipulative, bad call making, run to mommy for a hand out monkey of a man is beyond me.

Comment by Jon
2008-09-15 10:09:26

This is exactly the way free markets work. Everybody races to the bottom to beat the next guy, explode & start over. Look at charts of economic activity in the late 1800’s & early 1900’s prior to big goobermint stepping in and regulating everything. You had major economic catastrophes every 5 years.

Comment by Silverback1011
2008-09-15 10:24:55

To me, Cramer’s just a red-headed ape of middling ape intelligence, but to watch him trundle about on the stage on his knuckles, with froth flying from his mouth can be entertaining at times. Hopefully he’s paid off his mortgage; I’m sure he’ll be out of a job soon. I wouldn’t take advice from him about buying bananas at the supermarket.

Comment by ahansen
2008-09-16 00:53:24

Best visual of the week.

Comment by DinOR
2008-09-15 07:35:31


I’m sure you meant “present company excepted” ( as we’ve been saying that here for about 5 years now )

Still there’s truth in what you say in that over the last decade it’s become almost impossible to tell who does and who doesn’t have money?

Watching the Lewis/Thain interview is pure torture. Do you -really- think the BofA is going to turn the wolves at Merrill loose on their client base so they can pilfer their way thru the CD’s and money mkt. assets just to generate short-term revenure? I don’t think so. Access to their “book” of Premier Clients will very limited and slow in coming. Meanwhile existing Merrill clients are making for the door. It’s never been the “boom” that was being advertised.

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Comment by takingbets
2008-09-15 08:17:09

“Still there’s truth in what you say in that over the last decade it’s become almost impossible to tell who does and who doesn’t have money?”

you can sure tell it now! and were not even half way through this. it has been quite a flashback to last century. all the old beaters and boats are making a come back and most of them cant pass the smog test (lots of DMV stickers in the window). i will also bet none of them have insurance.

Comment by Frank Hague
2008-09-15 08:42:29

I think we’ve all had similar experiences in the past few years at wondering how people we know pay for the extravagant life styles they have. Now, the answer is becoming apparent, debt, mountains and mountains of debt. It will become much easier to see who was rich in debt and who is actually rich in the coming years.

Comment by Silverback1011
2008-09-15 10:26:00

I drive what could be considered a beater, and I have money. We have money in safe harbors. Driving beaters is partly how we keep said money.

Comment by BanteringBear
2008-09-15 11:00:08

What exactly did John Thain accomplish at Merrill to earn that outrageous salary they gave him? It would appear nothing, in light of the fact that they had to sell out to B of A to avoid BK. These guys are so overpaid it’s sickening. Nobody’s talking about that, of course. When will the media, et al, start calling them to the carpet over their salaries?

Comment by tresho
2008-09-15 11:31:14

When will the media, et al, start calling them to the carpet over their salaries? Arrr, they were but pirates after all. Just 4 days to National Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Comment by wjk
2008-09-15 08:04:04

“”What’s worse, this effectively makes The Fed a margin lender on the equity markets! You think they don’t have a reason to interfere in the market eh? Oh boy, now they have billions of reasons, all of them sitting on their balance sheet! Fair and open markets? Bah!
Note carefully folks - this effectively makes The Fed LONG (that is, a “buyer”) of STOCKS.
What’s even better is that they don’t eat their own losses if there are any - they’re yours!
That’s because The Federal Reserve Act says that the profits (or losses) from The Fed flow through to the Treasury (after operating expenses) which means that now, suddenly The Federal Government is potentially directly exposed to losses in the stock market!
Now it has always been true that The Government “loses” when the market goes to hell as it gets less in the way of tax receipts. But that’s different than suffering an actual capital loss - and that is now possible.
You think you’ve seen “intervention” in the stock market in the past? Bah! You’ve seen nothing yet; now we have The Fed going entirely outside of the boundaries of The Federal Reserve Act and literally making things up as they go along.”"

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Comment by wjk
2008-09-15 08:08:45

“”The Fed has announced that it will take equities as collateral for loans. “Equities” is a fancy name for stocks.
That’s right - for the first time in history, now banks can take stocks to the discount window. Maybe even their own stocks.
The Fed has gone from taking only the highest-quality securities - “AAA” rated debt instruments - to taking everything up to and including the most dangerous (common stock) all at once!
Now I may be blind but I’ve read The Federal Reserve Act multiple times and nowhere do I see where equities can be taken to the window (or anywhere else for that matter) for Fed Credit.
If they intend to actually do this, its quite clear they don’t care what the law says.
What’s worse, this effectively makes The Fed a margin lender on the equity markets! You think they don’t have a reason to interfere in the market eh? Oh boy, now they have billions of reasons, all of them sitting on their balance sheet! Fair and open markets? Bah!
Note carefully folks - this effectively makes The Fed LONG (that is, a “buyer”) of STOCKS.”"

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Comment by John in Texas
2008-09-15 08:25:51
Comment by vile
2008-09-15 10:26:33

“Who the heck needs access to 2,000 songs at a time???”

Do you own 300 LP’s? Can you carry THOSE around?

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Comment by SV_Renter
2008-09-15 10:50:02

Not just that you can afford it, but “you deserve it”!

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Comment by ouro verde
2008-09-15 07:16:30

Lastnight I watched an old english navy movie, at the end the captain went down with the ship.
Why can’t the same thing happen here in phoney balony land?

Comment by NoSingleOne
2008-09-15 07:45:56

The captains are being rewarded with luxury lifeboats and a hundred life preservers stuffed with cash, while the crew and passengers go down with the ship.

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Comment by cynicalgirl
2008-09-15 07:35:59

They’re getting the money from all those 32% credit card rates. Oh, and big tax write offs from Countrywide losses.

Comment by Robin
2008-09-15 23:39:01

Is it just coincidental or symbolic that the Bank of America again comes to the rescue?

Comment by Pondering the Mess
2008-09-16 09:13:09

In the end, they will be “The Bank of Amerika.”

That’s it - one bank for one brave, new world.

Comment by Les Pendens
2008-09-15 06:38:17


Has The Great Unwinding begun to accelerate ?

Looking at the markets, as an armchair layman, it looks pretty bad.

Just Wow…..Glad I have pulled what little life’s savings I have out of stocks.

Maybe….just maybe, the world will be a better place when this ugliness is cast aside and the financial system becomes reformed……at least I hope so.

Good Luck to all……


Comment by takingbets
2008-09-15 06:46:08

well, if indeed there is a plunge protection team, we will certainly see it in action today!

Comment by santacruzsux
2008-09-15 06:47:22

WOW! Talk about a panic into bonds. Whaddya think? 100 point cut tomorrow?

Comment by NoSingleOne
2008-09-15 06:59:10

What’s going to happen to mortgage rates now? F&F go under and rates drop…WTF? Now that Lehman and Mother Merrill have hit the skids, one would think the cost of borrowing would drop to 4% for a 30 year note!

Comment by santacruzsux
2008-09-15 07:25:01

That’s only if the lenders have money and they agree to lend it. Tell me, how many credit card solicitations have you gotten in the mail lately? I have stellar credit and used to get at least 5+ a week. In the last month and a half I have gotten 1. This is my anecdotal evidence, has anyone else noticed the same thing?

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Comment by packman
2008-09-15 07:32:28

No. I still get about 2 per day.

Though the difference should show up with those that *don’t* have stellar credit - the ones actually causing these problems. So in general this HBB isn’t the place to ask the question, since most of us have really good credit. :)

Comment by Murphy
2008-09-15 07:37:13

Yes… I used to get tons of preapproved credit card offers… Recently it went down!! I am happy that I have few junk mails to throw

Comment by cynicalgirl
2008-09-15 07:37:54

I only get them from Amex anymore. They’re pushing me to convert from the gold card to an interest charging card.

Comment by aharon5741
2008-09-15 07:49:26

I am still getting 6-7 offers a week, though this may be because I only have one card, and the average person has 3 or 4.

Comment by REhobbyist
2008-09-15 08:12:19

My college student son still gets them almost every day. His income last year was $3000.

Comment by shizo
2008-09-15 08:12:37

Want less credit card offers? Do what I do. When you get them take all the guts including the envelope it came in, fold the crappy but sounds too good to be true offer to fit the return envelope that is pre-paid and mail it back @ their cost. I love doing this!!! It will give you a smile every time….

Comment by Cassandra
2008-09-15 08:37:05

I just got my “checks” from Wamu. You know, the cash advance checks against my Visa credit line. Not that I’ve ever used them.

Silly me, I thought Wamu was short of cash.

Comment by Al
2008-09-15 09:46:11

I’m still getting credit card offers, but they’re all high annual fee types.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2008-09-15 10:23:01

Mean old Slim gets credit card offers now and then. I write rude comments all over said offers. Then I pop ‘em into their post-paid envelopes and send ‘em back to the credit card companies.

Comment by BanteringBear
2008-09-15 10:57:00

I am still getting bombarded with credit card offers. Several per week. What’s worse, B of A sends me those credit card “checks” with seemingly every statement.

Comment by bluto
2008-09-15 08:26:58

Rates dropped because Fannie and Freddie can once again borrow at effective treasury rates. Their big lenders were balking at continuing to lend until there was more assurance of government support.

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Comment by combotechie
2008-09-15 06:57:02

“Maybe…., just maybe, the world will be a better place when this ugliness is cast aside and the financial system becomes reformed … at least I hope so.”

This ugliness will present maybe one of maybe two or three buying opportunities of a lifetime regarding US stocks. Prepare yourself by doing your homework and amassing cash, and take advantage of the buying opportunities as they present themselves and you will become filthy rich.

Comment by onosurf
2008-09-15 07:03:28

And that buying opportunity would be….?

Comment by milkcrate
2008-09-15 10:41:55

That is, IMO, a critical question for which I would love to provide an answer. I do not have one. I’ve read repeatedly the best time to buy is when prices are in the toilet and everyove is afraid. But… buy what? Any takers?
The rug of fundamentals has been pulled out from everything. The technical watchers have to pull out a folding map for the general markets to see a reassuring trend. The map would have many folds.
I am usually steadied by being able to see a possible floor, so I can catch myself in a stumble.
But the floors are moving down, like trap doors.
Buy nothing, maybe.
I’m usually more upbeat.
But fall is coming, so the dust hereabouts will change color at least.

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Comment by combotechie
2008-09-15 16:52:19

“And that buying opportunity would be…?”

Do your homework and Mr. Market will tell you the What and the When.

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Comment by MARY LEE
2008-09-16 21:56:55

…a couple of years from now

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Comment by santacruzsux
2008-09-15 07:03:57

Yeah, well I’ll be buying stocks again when dividend yields make some sort of sense. Greater fool investing strategies have to end!

Ya see that crap! Stocks are crap!

When the avg hits about 7% I’ll get in there again.

Comment by santacruzsux
2008-09-15 07:17:44

Yeah I said 7%. We’ll be lucky if it stocks bottom at that level. If you click on the link scroll down and see the list of stocks in the grand ol’ SNPEE that pay no dividend.

Might as well own gold eh? :)

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Comment by InMontana
2008-09-15 08:30:06

Sheesh, dipped my toes into a conservative fund a couple weeks ago and had to jump back out again. Didn’t lose too much.

Ya’ll call the bottom for me, hear?

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Comment by tresho
2008-09-15 11:36:52

I just read the chart in at your cited url — according to it, Lehman was paying 19% dividends — is this a good time to buy LEH?

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Comment by santacruzsux
2008-09-15 11:55:51

Ya. Go for it. Knock yourself out. While you’re at it could you pick me up some of those smart-ass tablets that you use. I’m running a bit low myself.

Of course not. Duh. Healthy companies only please.

Comment by WT Economist
2008-09-15 07:07:50

Put a number on it. Do we retest the 2002 lows?

There is Japan to consider. The buying opportunity there goes on and on.

Comment by vozworth
2008-09-15 07:24:51

within 2 points

are you even paying attention?

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Comment by packman
2008-09-15 09:10:48

One stock? Please.

I think we retest 2002 lows easily, probably end up about 20% down from that IMO. Just a very broad general layman’s opinion based on my view that we’re still only about 30-40% into this thing (the downslope portion), which is based on various home price, foreclosure, savings rates, inventory rates, etc. numbers.

Comment by vozworth
2008-09-15 10:55:46

thanks packman.

just focus on the noise level of the indicies. forget about WTF its made up of.

good advice.

everyone should also ignore KFT and DOW, boring stuff, I dont even think Buffet would touch those two worthless piles of sh*t.

Comment by az_owner
2008-09-15 12:08:20

I for one agree, and have been making small and so far wrong moves into one stock - GE.

At $30 GE’s FPE was around 15 - now at $25 it’s 15, so the projected earnings are lower, but the overall picture is similar.

A few more big ugly days may see GE under $20, then I’m really going in - 2000 shares at least.

Hopefully in 20+ years after collecting dividends (currently 5% yield) the old “rule of 8%” will have worked its magic on the stock price itself, but maybe not.

Comment by cactus
2008-09-15 07:00:46

2nd Half of the big crash that started about 1 year ago.

Comment by bizarroworld
2008-09-15 07:06:01

I know it’s early, but I’m surprised the markets are holding up as well as they are so far. I’ve seen days when bad retail numbers or the fed not lowering interest rates do more to move markets down than the Lehman debacle has done so far today. Must be cooler heads are out than I thought, or it’s the fact that oil is crashing that is removing some of the sting?

Comment by Brian in Chicago
2008-09-15 07:22:41

I bought some of the double short ETFs late last week and put in some sell orders this morning before the markets opened. I was able to log in to my brokerage account after the markets opened to see that the trades went through (amazingly quite a ways above my ask, which I thought was pretty high), but I have been unable to log in for the past 20 minutes.

Maybe a lot of people are having trouble getting in and selling off their crap.

Comment by Asparagus
2008-09-15 07:30:07

Same on this end. Not being able to log in probably adds to an already anxious state for a lot of people.

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Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2008-09-15 08:43:11

Not being able to reach brokers to sell and the fact that the ticker ran hours behind was definitely a factor in some of the major declines that preceded the Great Depression…

It’s an interesting analogy with not being able to login to your online broker.

Comment by Silverback1011
2008-09-15 10:51:57

Wow glad I got rid of my crap last summer. I already got beat down in the great tech meltdown years ago and have been a lot more cautious ever since. Of course, I’m an old lady now, too, so I guess that makes a difference in my outlook.

Comment by Olympiagal
2008-09-15 11:23:55

‘Not being able to log in probably adds to an already anxious state for a lot of people.’

I generally freak right out when I can’t log in, for whatever reason; stocks, I want an egg recipe, I want to see the HBB…
And now here’s a helpful hint from Olygal to the rest of you. What I do when I can’t log in, is I do jumping jacks. Like about 90 or so, that’ll calm you down for a little while, especially if you do them in high-heels because that’s even more energy intensive and quite tricky.

Comment by GH
2008-09-15 06:42:44

This promises to be an interesting day. What with the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers and purchase of Merrill Lynch by BOFA.

One by one the cards are falling. The Greenspan legacy!

Comment by Les Pendens
2008-09-15 06:47:41

One by one the cards are falling. The Greenspan legacy!

More like the Greenspan Depression.

I get a little pissed watching him recuse himself from the very crisis he created. Watching him snipe from the sidelines in that Stephanopolous (sp?) interview last night was sickening.

I have a feeling that very soon Mr. Greenspan will be cancelling some of his talks on the lecture circuit.

When the pitchforks and torches finally come out this thing is gonna get ugly.


Comment by Lost in Utah
2008-09-15 06:55:05

If anyone wants to head for the hills, I can supply some good GPS coordinates: please specify if you’re an HBB regular or a banker/broker/RE “Pofessional”…

Comment by Blano
2008-09-15 06:58:17

“PO-fessional”……yep, that’s me. :)

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Comment by SanFranciscoBayAreaGal
2008-09-15 07:25:21


I love how you want to help/not help certain people. :)

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Comment by Lost in Utah
2008-09-15 07:37:11

Well, Blano, I’d send him good coordinates in spite of his claim to be a po-fessional, cause I know he’s A-OK, he can spell, too.

But I believe in being helpful to everyone, there’s just different ways to go about it. Some people just do better in certain places… :)

Comment by tresho
2008-09-15 11:40:53

GPS coordinates? What, have you found an abandoned fully-equipped missile silo in the Great American Desert?

Comment by Lost in Utah
2008-09-15 14:00:02

No, GPS coordinates are literally everywhere. All you need is a GPS to read them. Amazing stuff.

The missile’s for AFTER you figure out where you are and where *THEY are.

*Wall Street, Russkies, inlaws, ex’s, geocaches, bank vaults, whatever…

Comment by Cassandra
2008-09-15 08:40:51

got the coordinates for Alcatraz island? It is sure to be a popular destination.

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Comment by Lost in Utah
2008-09-15 10:20:03

yes, I’m posting from there. :)

just a joke…


Comment by maddog80
2008-09-15 18:33:50


Looking for good coordinates. Altitude and cold OK.

Regular HBB reader.

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Comment by chilildoggg
2008-09-15 07:03:30

I didn’t see the interview. Did he ask Greenspan what he thought was his biggest mistake that contributed to his failed tenure as Federal Reserve Chairman?

Comment by MARY LEE
2008-09-16 22:13:25

Greenspin was surely the cheerleader, but Gramm was the energetic soul who sheparded legislation thru Congress and onto Clinton’s desk which released these folk from quaint old regulations governing these schemers.

Comment by WT Economist
2008-09-15 06:45:54

Just remember, the current crisis is the symptom. Years of spending in excess of earnings and rising personal and government debt, capped off by a housing bubble, is the disease.

Debt was used to disguise the consequences of increasing income inequality for the bottom 90%. They were happy as long as they could keep selling the ever-falling future income, or (via the government) their children’s future income.

“I want it all, I want it all, I want it all, and I want it now.”

Comment by Les Pendens
2008-09-15 06:52:17


Very soon, at some banks, (like WAMU) we may see people lined up outside, chanting:

“Its MY MONEY and I WANT IT NOW !!!!”

Scary times are a-comin, folks. And the posters on here saw this coming 2-3 years ago….


Comment by shizo
2008-09-15 08:21:10

There has been no reply to your post because we are in line at the bank to retrieve our funds! Good thing I have this expensive cell phone so I can do 2 things at once! GIVE ME MY MONEY!!!

Comment by Steve W
2008-09-15 08:30:09

More than anything else, the fact that people here are already posting about doing this should be a sign that WAMU is not long for the world. I took out 20 k last week, and only the flooding in Chicago (and in my basement) stopped me from closing the account over the weekend.

Still kinda hoping chase just takes it over. An FDIC takeover would be a bit scary.

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Comment by ET-Chicago
2008-09-15 09:50:39

How bad was your flooding?

Comment by Olympiagal
2008-09-15 09:54:38

‘…and only the flooding in Chicago (and in my basement) stopped me from closing the account over the weekend.’

Flooded basements truly suck. Sorry to hear it. I hope you and your family are all doing okay and are safe.

Comment by Silverback1011
2008-09-15 10:54:15

Hope everything is okay. It’s a b–tch when you have the flooding in the basement problem. Been thru it 2x in my life - don’t want to repeat it.

Comment by Brian in Chicago
2008-09-15 11:20:20

It was quite the rainstorm. The Water Reclamation District says it was a little bit more than 100 billion gallons of water dumped on us. They had to open the control gates and let untreated water go. 75 billion gallons released and estimated as less than 1% of it wastewater. We shall see but I’m not going swimming in the lake anytime soon.

Yesterday I walked over to the grocery once the rain stopped. In my neighborhood you wouldn’t have known it was more than a sprinkle. No standing water anywhere. Besides the news, the only clue that we got so much water was the river. Walked across the bridge this morning @ Washington and the river was within about 2 feet of overtopping the sides.

I read that they were forced to open the control gate near Navy Pier early Saturday in an emergency - the river level had risen so much that a barge was in danger of getting stuck under the Wells St bridge.

Comment by Steve W
2008-09-15 11:21:10

Honestly, flooding not so bad with us as I must have caught it literally as it started happening. Only rugs and carpets screwed up, we’re all fine and nothing really valuable lost. That was on top of the power going out for about 9 hours on Saturday, so had to throw out most of the fridge stuff. Just a pain in the kiester, and my fingers feel like I put them through a blender after ripping out carpet and padding all night. The fans and the squeegees did their job, and as of this morning it was almost as dry as Arrakis down there. No wormsign, however. ;)

Thanks for the concern, everybody. As I told my wife, as annoying as our weekend was, at least we were’nt employed by Lehman or Merrill…

Comment by Steve W
2008-09-15 12:18:30

Spambot ate my lengthy post, but suffice to say, not as much damage as there could have been, we’re all feeling great, and thanks for all of your concern. Many, many worse things could have happened. Like, being a partner in Lehman brothers this weekend and having an electrical fire in the basement and noticing imminent wormsign.

Funny, I’m watching Ike on Friday and thinking, wow, that stinks to be going through that, and then I get 9 hour power outage and basement flooding this weekend…it’s like those goofy dudes who try to gain weight as their pregnant wife does, sympathy thing, ya know? Except I really didn’t want to be part of the sympathy thing.

Comment by Olympiagal
2008-09-15 13:44:57

‘…it was almost as dry as Arrakis down there. No wormsign, however.’

Fabulous! For, verily, mildew is super bad. I hate it. On a personal complaining note, it’s the only thing I react to, otherwise I stump through life as inert and non-reactive as gold, but excessive mildew spores makes me blotchy and sick and feel like killing people. Without mildew I only feel like killing people, and all is generally well.
Say, did I ever tell you about the time me’n my sister Rachel dressed up Murphy, who is an aged golden labrador, so that he was the Guild Navigator, you know the one in the big tank? This would be a Christmas family talent show a year ago, or maybe two. I had the tube thingie in my head and the black outfit on and we made the translator from some tinfoil and a pie-pan. Murphy was a fantastic Guild Navigator, except that he refused to pulse his nose in and out, and also got up and tried to run away when we tried to make him fold space and time. Good thing he’s so fat. With his vestigial forelimbs he was easily captured and made to be in the talent show.*

*I’m sure we won, me, Rachel, and Murphy. I can’t quite remember, thought, because we were all drunk, except for not Rachel, because she’s still a Mormon.

Comment by Olympiagal
2008-09-15 13:53:56

‘…and we made the translator from some tinfoil and a pie-pan.’

I forgot to add: moving beyond the pie-pan translator, I absolutely refused to shave my head. No way. Not even in the interests of cleaving to Guild translator accuracy, but I DID go ahead and put an exciting and cinematically accurate trickle of noxious fluid flowing from the translation tube hanging out of my nose.
It was pear and orange marmalade that Rachel and I had put up in the summer. Delicious! That’s good licking, baybee.

Comment by ET-Chicago
2008-09-15 14:42:27

The pear/orange marmalade is a nice detail (and delicious, I’m sure) — did anyone prance around in an Evildoers’ Space Speedo like Sting as Feyd-Rautha?

Comment by Silverback1011
2008-09-15 17:12:02

Hey, there was NUTHIN’ wrong with the way Sting was prancing around in his steel-blue Speedo. Nothing at all :)

Comment by Steve W
2008-09-15 18:40:06

Ah, Olygirl, that sounds like fantastic fun. Maybe I’ll try to teach my two-year old to talk and act like Count Fenring.

Well, minus the whole genetic-eunuch thing.

(My, Frank Herbert, you were a twisted, wonderful little man, weren’t you?)

Comment by salinasron
2008-09-15 09:36:30

Have you noticed how hush-hush the wires are on the pricing of the other banks!! Everyone knows we are on thin ice here.

Comment by Frank Hague
2008-09-15 14:52:37
Comment by Silverback1011
2008-09-15 17:15:45

What’s below junk ? Garbage ? Caca ? I mean, what is the lowest of the low ratings they can give WaMu ? Still wouldn’t be low enough.

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Comment by cougar91
2008-09-15 06:54:24

You nailed it. Americans have to learn how to save and invest again and not be totally dependent on foreigners lending us $$$ to buy what they are selling us (much like crack dealers lending to addicts to buy more cracks).

I predict the US economy won’t bottom until the average American savings rate go back to between 5%-10%.

Comment by WT Economist
2008-09-15 06:58:38

What has happened is enough to make me wonder if most people actually have free will.

I read somewhere that one domesticated animal (was it cows or turkeys) was so stupid that if let loose in a cornfield they would eat themselves to death. So, evidently, Americans and debt. So much of individual personal responsibility. It doesn’t exist, from the bottom of the income and education ladder to the top. We are like pigs, but stupider.

Comment by Lost in Utah
2008-09-15 07:07:40

I’ve always maintained that the average human bean is dumber than the average animal bean.

Big News: The Human Race will be held at the edge of the Grand Canyon…

buncha lemmings, though I hate to denigrad lemmings, they’re cute (well having never seen one, I can only guess)…

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Comment by Lost in Utah
2008-09-15 07:09:26

denigarde (Fr.)?

flippin’ keybroad, keyboard…argh..COFFEE!!!

Comment by Blano
2008-09-15 07:22:11

Denigrate maybe??

Comment by DennisN
2008-09-15 07:23:32

Actually it’s an urban legend, spawned by a Disney movie, that lemmings jump over a cliff. Humans, however…..all too many photographers have backed up over the edge of the grand canyon.

Comment by Lost in Utah
2008-09-15 07:32:03

Thanks, Blano, good buddy. Lots of rain last night, brain fog this morning…

Comment by Bill in Carolina
2008-09-15 07:46:33

Why would the photographer have the Grand Canyon at his back? I think its the photographer who asks his subjects to take one too many steps back.

Comment by tresho
2008-09-15 11:45:41

Most of those beautiful scenic shots of the Grand Canyon are the result of tourists taking one step too many in reverse.

Comment by speedingpullet
2008-09-15 07:17:32

That will be turkeys - at least some domestic, non free range ones.
Sadly, they’ve turned a once canny bird into something that resembles an avian Morlock - albino, unable to reproduce except with AI, can’t be left outside in the rain (they all look up with thier mouths open and drown when the water hits their oesophagous), have to have their numbers controlled in a pen (or when they get frightened they all run to the same corner and suffocate the ones at the bottom of the heap).

I know this because I had the misfortune to work (for one nightmarish day only) on a commercial turkey farm.

And why, when Thanksgiving comes around, I’ll only buy free-range, heritage-breed turkeys, which at least have the smarts that god gave pondlife.

BTW - I have a couple of grand in an E-Trade account, and am thinking of buying some S&P 500 ETFs. Am I crazy? Do I need to hold off longer? Should I not touch them with a bargepole?

Its the overflow (over FDIC limits) from a savings account, and I’ve never actually bought a financial product before. I know there’s a lot of very clever financial people here, so any advice for a complete total noobie would be gratefully received.

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Comment by Faster Pussycat, Sell Sell
2008-09-15 07:20:03

You are crazy. Hold off.

There’s more pain coming down the pipe. It’s far from over yet.

Comment by speedingpullet
2008-09-15 08:11:24

Thanks FPSS!

Any idea when it will be time to pull the trigger? 11,000, 10,000, 9,000, lower?

(PS: happy to PayPal you or donate to your favourite charity for the ‘free’ advice)

Comment by CarrieAnn
2008-09-15 08:13:05


Thanks for detailing the farm turkeys and how dumb they are. I posted about wild turkeys which seem able to figure those things out. I was laughing at loud at your graphic description.

Wild hens often follow their Tom single file unless they’re scared. They also have this running walk when they hear a noise that cracks me up. They really cover ground while maintaining a look of total calm like they’ve got some sort of pride to maintain or something.

Comment by ET-Chicago
2008-09-15 08:44:27

Ben Franklin famously nominated the wild turkey to be our national mascot / icon — he obviously held their cunning in high regard.

An “avian Morlock” (with enormous t!ts, to boot) is an apt description of the domesticated variety. That made me laugh.

Comment by Olympiagal
2008-09-15 09:32:40

The neighbors have turkeys and some of those birds can hardly walk, their breasts are so big. Serious lower back pain, I should think. I’ve never seen them look at the rain and drown, but it’s true they are not nearly as smart-seeming as geese. Geese are great. Lots of personality in your average goose, and of course chickens are super although not generally as opinionated and sassy as geese. One of my best friends I ever had was a chicken. This is when I was a wee lass and didn’t get off the farm much, but still, that was a quality chicken pal by any comparison.

Comment by speedingpullet
2008-09-15 10:04:12

Hey, ‘Gal - just came back from a road trip (L.A to Seattle, via the 101) through your neck of the woods.
Spend a glorious afternoon at Ruby Beach in Olympia NP, clambering over driftwood and playing with seaweed like a pre-schooler. The sea stacks gloomed in the fog like the legendary islands of Tir Nan Og. Incredibly mysterious and beautiful place :-)

Comment by Olympiagal
2008-09-15 11:27:33

WHAT?! Pullet, you were right here and you didn’t stop by?! Why didntcha? We could have eaten oysters and blackberry salsa and drank a gallon of homebrew in the sun!
Now I’m going to go CRY, out of my EYES, because I’m SAD.

Comment by speedingpullet
2008-09-15 11:41:26

So very sorry, gal.

Actually, you’ll laugh at this, I didn’t know where Olympia was until I got there.

However, both me and the husband were wowed with WA, and we’ll be coming back sometime. I’ll be sure to drop you an email and meet up?

I particularly liked Long Beach, for some strange reason - especially the northern parts up near Oysterville. Something about a peninsula full of the over-70’s and gaudy seaside shops cheers me up no end..

Though the Tsunami Warning signs everywhere were a bit freaky….

Comment by Bad Chile
2008-09-15 07:42:48

“I read somewhere that one domesticated animal (was it cows or turkeys) was so stupid that if let loose in a cornfield they would eat themselves to death.”

I’m pretty sure it was humans…

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Comment by CarrieAnn
2008-09-15 08:03:42

Well I’ve watched a few turkeys in cornfields..besides my friends that is. Can even provide photos. Most of them aren’t that fat. Wild Toms never look like the farm fattened ones although I did have 2 impressive wild Toms attack my car tire in Westwood, MA (not farm country)that were pretty well fed….mad as hell at my car it seems too.

OTOH I do believe my lab is capable of eating to the point of death. Lucky thing for her she has me to hover over her.

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Comment by speedingpullet
2008-09-15 08:52:21

LOL - I used to work for a guy who had a brace of Black Labs. One was a ‘fussy’ eater (by Lab standards, anyway) while the other would literally inhale her food.

10 minutes later, she regurgitate the whole thing up again - in can-shaped form, normally somewhere near my right foot.
The good news is that she’d be hungry again soon after and come back to ‘re-eat’ it, this time slightly more slowly.

I learnt, over time, to wear washable shoes at that job…..

DOW back up to -199… what gives?

Comment by Lost in Utah
2008-09-15 10:16:21

WIld Turkey’s are pretty…well, wild.

I had a gang knock me off my bike and steal it last time I was over there.

Comment by chrisinbirmingham
2008-09-15 09:07:51

read jared diamond’s book ‘collapse’ and you’ll see we have a history of being just as foolish.

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Comment by Muir
2008-09-15 10:17:21

Very competent book!

Comment by Silverback1011
2008-09-15 11:01:54

Bwawk Bwawk. Gooble Gooble. Oh wait a minute. I think that’s Cramer.

Comment by scdave
2008-09-15 11:47:52

Astute analogy WT…

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Comment by deogee
2008-09-15 19:47:44

“What has happened is enough to make me wonder if most people actually have free will.

I read somewhere that one domesticated animal (was it cows or turkeys) was so stupid that if let loose in a cornfield they would eat themselves to death. So, evidently, Americans and debt. So much of individual personal responsibility. It doesn’t exist, from the bottom of the income and education ladder to the top. We are like pigs, but stupider.”

Ecc 3:18 ” I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and they might see that they themselves are beasts.”

No science to demonstrate the possession of “free will”
[ by free will I mean the ability to make choices free from ANY influence, i.e.; internal/external causes etc.]

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Comment by Blano
2008-09-15 06:56:12

“I want it all, I want it all, I want it all, and I want it now.”

Truthful as it is unfortunately, that ad really annoys me.

Comment by In Colorado
2008-09-15 07:29:40

You mean the Wentworth ad? Yeah, I can’t stand it either.

Why do I wonder if they are buying these annuities at way below market rates? Maybe because the sheeple are to financially and numerically illiterate to understand what a fair market value would be?

Then again, who ever got a fair trade in value on a car?

Comment by JackRussell
2008-09-15 10:52:36

The ones that get me are the ones where you can “sell your gold for cash”. People must be desperate…

We won’t hit bottom until we start seeing TV ads for “Sell your kidney for cash”.

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Comment by Blano
2008-09-15 11:09:05

Those sell your gold for cash ones crack me up, especially the one where you just put your gold/jewelry/etc. in an envelope and send it to them. Does anyone actually do that??

Comment by bluprint
2008-09-15 12:03:51

Does anyone actually do that??

I knew a guy that did that (used to work with him). It was an engagement ring I think (she said “no”). Then he was pissed over what they gave him for it. But it was too much trouble to try and get it back, so he just dropped it.

Comment by Silverback1011
2008-09-15 12:31:15

He wouldn’t have gotten it back anyway - it would have gone right to that day’s melt, diamond and all, unless he had the diamond pulled out first. Hope he had it pulled. We used to have a scrap precious metal business for awhile. It’s amazing the stuff people sell/send etc.

Comment by polly
2008-09-15 08:08:29

I don’t know if there have been multiple versions of the ad, but in the end, the guy has actually purchased a very reasonably sized television despite being at least tempted by the ridiculous ones. At least, that is the version that I have seen.

Not very representative of most Americans faced with an lot of extra space on the credit card and a chance to but a TV if you believe the hype.

Comment by Blano
2008-09-15 08:20:33

I’ve only seen the one with the TV’s, but it’s the “I want it now” that gets me, mainly.

Maybe I’m just jealous ’cause my credit isn’t good enough to do that, lol, but I’m a cash and carry type now anyways. And my 28 inch 15 yr. old TV is more than enough for me.

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Comment by snake charmer
2008-09-15 11:58:30

Unfortunately my 21-inch, 17-year-old television blew up last month, forcing me to finally buy a flat-screen. I bought a smaller one but it looks gigantic.

Comment by tresho
2008-09-15 12:14:21

I bought a smaller one but it looks gigantic. You obviously need to buy a bigger house to go with it. It’s a good time to buy.

Comment by DinOR
2008-09-15 07:00:52

Right, and their health benefits and their dental benefits and their employer contributions etc. They made big BWHAHAHA’s at their ever shrinking comp. package as long as their home Zillow’d for more than it did last week.

Kudos on all that called this debacle last Friday. ( After all it WAS going into the weekend?! )

Comment by MEaston
2008-09-15 07:30:04

“”" Debt was used to disguise the consequences of increasing income inequality for the bottom 90%.”"”


Trikle Down Economics needed camoflage to be sold to the middle and upper middle class.

Comment by Leighsong
2008-09-15 06:47:09

Wow. If the financials aren’t enough -

UPDATE 1-NY Fed manufacturing shrinks unexpectedly in Sept

NEW YORK, Sept 15 (Reuters) - Manufacturing in New York state unexpectedly contracted in September while price pressures tumbled, according to a gauge of the factory sector published by the New York Federal Reserve on Monday.

The New York Fed’s “Empire State” general business conditions index fell to minus 7.41 in September — its lowest since minus 8.68 in June — from 2.77 in August.


Comment by Asparagus
2008-09-15 07:34:14

I thought the poor manufacturing would be worth a 1/2 % down itself, even without the financial turmoil. I just don’t think a 2.3% drop is big enough for today.

Comment by Silverback1011
2008-09-15 11:08:17

I agree, Asparagus. It should be a bigger drop. I was talking with our financial advisor ( yes, we like him, but we drive him crazy — Too Much in Cash ) this morning, just to make sure our gains were locked in and holding, and I told him that I think that these are historical times he’s living through as a stockbroker/financial planner. I also told him, and I believe this to be true, that this unwinding debacle will thin out the weak players in the financial industry, and could ultimately wind up giving him more clients than before, since I believe that there will be far fewer financial advisors/stockbrokers out there. Thinned out the realtors, didn’t it.

A side note - my daughter’s fiance’, who was a contractor at Fannie Mae for several years, left the country at the beginning of the month, and is now job-hunting in India. He has several interviews lined up at some of their banks. He’s overseeing the building of a family counpound-type flat in some luxury building, which they bought a couple of years ago, ( the building is now being built, and they got a good price on the flat before the prices went up in the last couple of years ), and seeing his very ill grandma for the last time. However, he has no intentions of returning to the U.S., and will be working online for Fannie for the next couple of months, and that’s it. I think he was pretty prescient.

Comment by WT Economist
2008-09-15 06:51:53

Paulson fired bazooka, bought a one day market rally.

Ammunition gone, country bankrupt.

Comment by NoSingleOne
2008-09-15 08:49:44

I’m not convinced that giving industry (especially industry that makes money on Ponzi schemes) a pass on taxes and removing regulatory oversight would have prevented this situation. If anything, it seems like the cause.

There was never a financial mania from WWII until the Reagan years. It seems more and more difficult to defend the economic stewardship of arch-conservatives like Greenspan when so many people were able to profit at the expense of others from graft, a lack of transparency, and a lack of oversight of weak sisters who fought it, and now are clamoring for their bailouts and entitlements.

This cannot be blamed on immigrants, liberals, taxes, or the usual bogeymen.

Comment by LehighValleyGuy
2008-09-15 09:18:10

Oh, I get it. It can be blamed on “arch-conservatives” but not liberals. Did Greenspan ever describe himself that way?

Comment by ET-Chicago
2008-09-15 09:34:10

Did Greenspan ever describe himself that way?

Greenspan’s description of himself is irrelevant. Witness his current attempts to revise the historical record and his role therein.

He’s a liar, fraud and egoist supreme.

(Non-topical aside: whenever I see Andrea Mitchell on TV, I think “How can I trust anything this woman is saying? She actually decided to marry Al Greenspan.”)

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Comment by palmetto
2008-09-15 10:05:54

She would have been better off marrying Al Green.

Comment by LehighValleyGuy
2008-09-15 10:15:20

“He’s a liar, fraud and egoist supreme.”

I’m not disputing this. I was taking issue with his being characterized as an “arch-conservative”.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2008-09-15 10:41:04

Methinks that Al Green would have been, ummm, better for Andrea in other ways. Just listen to his music and you’ll understand what I mean.

Comment by Silverback1011
2008-09-15 11:09:37

Hee hee, Arizona Slim. She has to have married Mr. Greenspan for his $$, not his other ( ahem ) qualities.

Comment by NoSingleOne
2008-09-15 13:55:31

Oh, I get it. It can be blamed on “arch-conservatives” but not liberals. Did Greenspan ever describe himself that way?…I was taking issue with his being characterized as an “arch-conservative”.

Considering he was appointed by Reagan, and that he has embraced trickle down economics and the free market, I think that is a very accurate description. Are you saying he’s liberal?

Besides, did the Clintons or Obama ever describe themselves as “liberal”…definitions put on their heads by arch-conservatives?

Give me a friggin’ break, Lehigh…

Comment by desertdweller
2008-09-15 22:10:17

No one is going to see this post now..too late..
But, if Greenspan believes in the
‘trickle down economic theory’, wonder how that works in the boudoir?

On the other hand, so to speak, how come I haven’t even got a trickle, I mean tickle, I mean, uhm

Can you Imagine looking in his face during….
I think I just burped throw up..

Sorry, no one is going to read this , it is too late.hehehe

Comment by MARY LEE
2008-09-16 22:38:26

Actually, he’s far to the right of actual conservatives - being one of Ayn Rand’s original legions

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Comment by rms
2008-09-15 06:57:54

Here’s an excerpt from this mornings speech to be delivered by Dubya; it’s being readied for the teleprompter: “This administration has a strong dollar policy. Gawd bless America. Now go back to work!”

Comment by chilildoggg
2008-09-15 07:07:26

the economy’s strong and getting stronger!

Comment by santacruzsux
2008-09-15 07:07:35

Is it just me, or does Bush look like a dried up husk of the arrogant swaggering man he used to be?

Part of me actually feels bad for this guy (it’s a teeny tiny part). He seems to have aged 20 years in 7.

Comment by Lost in Utah
2008-09-15 07:10:56

Not to worry, he’ll feel better when he’s down there drinking that Paraguayan water.

Comment by Arwen_U
2008-09-15 07:20:49

Opinion: This *might* turn out to be worse for the Democrats — Congress has a much lower popularity rating than Bush. Fannie and Freddie problems seem to fall harder on the Democrats. The Rangel scandal doesn’t help. It will be interesting to see what happens in seven weeks.

I don’t know if the “little people”, who don’t have money anyway, will worry so much about the big boys coming down, unless it affects their pocketbooks now.

Housing market observations: Rates are low and foreclosures are being bought up gangbusters here in Northern VA. I noticed that some new small regional banks are getting off the ground here and are hiring loan officers to deal with all the foreclosure buys.

Comment by yogurt
2008-09-15 07:32:44

Congress has a much lower popularity rating than Bush.

“Congress” doesn’t run for election. Individual Representatives and Senators do. People put the blame on “Congress”, not their own incumbent, which is why they have such a high re-election rate.

When tax money is dished out to someone else’s district or state, it’s “pork-barreling”. But when it’s dished out to your own, it’s “your politicians working for you”.

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Comment by tresho
2008-09-15 11:53:41

“Congress” doesn’t run for election. To emphasize, “Congress” can have a negative popularity rating, and congressional incumbents will still be re-elected in droves. “Congress” makes a nice rhetorical straw man for the electorate to vent at when they talk with a pollster.

Comment by exeter
2008-09-15 08:32:50

Arwen, by the the looks of the number of foreclosures stretching from VA beach to Arlington County and DC, I’d say there is no hurry if one is looking in that area. Lots of repo’ed condoze.

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Comment by SanFranciscoBayAreaGal
2008-09-15 07:36:45

Take a look at any of the pictures of the men before they became President and pictures of them in their last year. They all aged.

Comment by santacruzsux
2008-09-15 07:55:43

Yeah I have seen the difference with the prez’s, but with ol’ W the change has been terrific (in the old sense of the word.)

FDR looked better at Malta!

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Comment by Jay_Huhman
2008-09-15 09:48:41

Yalta not Malta. The city and not the island.

Comment by santacruzsux
2008-09-15 10:00:51

HA HA! I knew I’d catch someone. He was at both Malta and Yalta. Malta with Churchill only. Yalta with Stalin and Churchill.

I forgive you, as most people only know about Yalta which was a much better photo-op

Comment by CarrieAnn
2008-09-15 10:12:22

Perhaps its from the stress of hearing even people in his own party suggesting he is potentially the worst President ever.

Whether its true or not, wondering if that is going to be one’s label throughout history has got to weigh on the self-image.

Wasn’t Hoover so depressed after FDR’s terms that even Harry Truman got involved with trying to resurrect his reputation?

Comment by Skip
2008-09-15 11:27:51

The Yalta conference took place after the Malta conference. It was the last one FDR attended as he died 30 days later.

Truman was president by the time the Tehran conference came about.

Comment by Jay_Huhman
2008-09-15 15:24:59


You’re right. FDR did get around:

But he probably didn’t look too bad after the second Cairo conference.

Comment by ET-Chicago
2008-09-15 08:23:47

Dub-ya does look like hell, relatively speaking.

My own estimate is that the pressures of the position make any sitting president age 2X faster while in office. It’s a grind, even for the man who holds the record for Most Vacation Days In Office, Ever.

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Comment by auger-inn
2008-09-15 11:05:25

Probably finally realizes that he has sold out the American people and their constitutional rights for some obscure neocon agenda.
Oh well, easy come, easy go. Only several hundred thousand americans died over the years defending those rights. What an assh*le.

Comment by Silverback1011
2008-09-15 11:12:33

He’s still able to hand out those pre-canned platitudes, though. Wonder of wonders. What an idiot.

Comment by bizarroworld
2008-09-15 08:08:22

Our eCONomy depends on you, the American consumer, so be a loyal American and go buy things now (your buying habits are being monitored and if you don’t buy enough things we will deduct from your bank account what we believe you should have spent on things)! Thank you and good day.

Comment by In Colorado
2008-09-15 08:36:11

Doesn’t one need a positive balance to have a deduction?

I suppose they could just charge it to the Visa card (assuming it isn’t maxed out).

Comment by bizarroworld
2008-09-15 12:32:50

Details, details. They’ll just open up the fed window for the strapped consumer.

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Comment by Lost in Utah
2008-09-15 07:03:33

Wall Street on Red Alert

money dot cnn dot com

“After enduring one of the most dramatic days in its history, Wall Street received a climactic jolt on Monday when Lehman Brothers, a 158-year-old investment bank undermined by bad bets on real estate, said it will file for bankruptcy.”

Now, finally, the MSM is calling it like it was - bad bets on real estate - yes, you goons are just a bunch of lowlife gamblers.

Comment by ouro verde
2008-09-15 07:24:53

This presser reminds me of when AOL and Timewarner merged.
They are giddy now.

Comment by NoSingleOne
2008-09-15 07:34:12

Now maybe we’ll see these securities priced to market. The time to clean house has finally arrived, and no more sucking at the teat of free Fed bailout money.

What will this do to the housing market? Who in their right mind will want to continue lending so cheaply now?

Comment by rms
2008-09-15 07:24:19

Heard from a friend in the California Central Valley near Tracy this past weekend. His sister and her husband are being foreclosed and evicted at the end of this month. They had a solid equity position in a nice Antioch, CA home with only eight years remaining on their mortgage. Unfortunately, they got the “Real Estate Bug”, and they decided to buy a Lake Tahoe property as an investment using a HELOC as the seed money. As everyone here knows, things turned sour months ago, and no surprise, they haven’t been paying either mortgage. Last week, the husband, knowing the end-game is in clear sight takes his entire paycheck and puts it down on a new water ski boat! I guess he wants to be out playing on the water while being reduced to a lowly renter; it’s all about image, and he’s one of these gold chains bling type of people; both family cars have large diameter “wheels” too. Oh, they have four teenaged daughters too; not one cent saved for college. Don’t they set a fine example?

Comment by Bill in Carolina
2008-09-15 07:53:01

Any kind of ski boat is gonna cost in excess of $35K. Is his paycheck really that big, or was it the down payment and some idiot lender financed the rest?

I guess if you’re planning to go BK, you may as well take all the credit the lenders are willing to give you.

Comment by NoSingleOne
2008-09-15 07:55:00

I’m so impressed!


Comment by rms
2008-09-15 11:05:54

“I’m so impressed!”

Same here! Where to people get this wile?

Comment by Frank Hague
2008-09-15 08:36:03

I’ve seen similar behavior in friends I have (though not to that extreme). I know two couples who are having terrible financial problems, not due to real estate losses, but to severe reductions in income. Neither has made any changes to their spending habits, I can only assume that they are taking on debt via credit cards. It is difficult to face up to the fact that you are not going to have the life you wanted, unfortunately the people I know are making the day of reckoning much more painful.

Comment by bizarroworld
2008-09-15 08:37:14

Too bad he didn’t buy a nice cabin cruiser with room to sleep six; at least he would have had a place to stay while his homes go foreclosure…. Bling was his drug of choice and he abused it, so no sympathy there, except that the kids may (sarcasm on) - God help them - have to get a job to help pay for college (off)! Hopefully they aren’t chips of the old block and they learned some financial lessons from the parent’s bad choices.

Comment by takingbets
2008-09-15 08:58:34

“Last week, the husband, knowing the end-game is in clear sight takes his entire paycheck and puts it down on a new water ski boat!”

my nephew did the same thing right before his house was forclosed upon. his reasoning was that his credit was shot so he had better get that boat he’s always wanted, he knew that he would never have that opportunity again to make his dreams come true. what a moron!

Comment by potential buyer
2008-09-15 11:15:37

None of these people realize that credit negativity actually rolls off after 7 years?

Comment by Skip
2008-09-15 11:35:46

I had a friend declare bankruptcy last year (he of course bought a new car right before). I said its 7 years vs. 10 years for bankruptcy (he spent $2500 to a lawyer to file) why file? His response was “7 years, 10 years its all the same”.

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Comment by watcher
2008-09-15 07:29:13

Maybe Citi is next to go since Leh owed them $138 billion as of the bankruptcy filing this morning. Or maybe AIG (down 54%) won’t make it to the weekend. Interesting times.

Comment by michael
2008-09-15 07:49:28

of all the days this happens and i am at work busier than a one legged man in a butt kicking contest.

sept 15 is corporate deadline for income tax returns and im a tax accountant.

oh well…i will be off tommorow after the asian markets open.

Comment by DennisN
2008-09-15 09:07:17

Also the day that 3rd quarterly estimated taxes are due.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2008-09-15 10:57:38

Yeah, tell me about it. I just wrote that damn check, and it’s a whopper.

Comment by ouro verde
2008-09-15 09:13:18

I chose not to pay my estimateds Michael.
When I do open my portfolio I am way behind from last year. So keeping the money for other stuff.
Accountant says penalty is low.

Comment by tresho
2008-09-15 12:00:46

You need to worry about a 2008 tax penalty only if your 2008 taxable income is high enough, and 2008 has over 3 months to go.

Comment by Ria Rhodes
2008-09-15 07:50:55

A cry from the financial forums this early morning:

..”Enough of these economic card tricks that make money out of manipulations and creative fabrications.”

“We are observing the results of policies that set out to strip mine the wallets of upper through middle and lower classes, all for massive, untaxed riches for the very, very few at the top.”

“These policies have taken the economic lives of the many, to be used only as a source of the few to harvest their unearned riches.”

“I am disgusted and angry at these gangs of unrepentant thieves, the Conservatives in Canada (Harper) & the Republicans in the USA (Bush - Cheney & McCain - Palin). You sold out your nations for a buck to the insiders from numerous corporate interests that in turn poured money back into your election coffers to keep you in power.”

“Your house of cards has fallen. Your policies were not for the benefit of the nation, the citizens or any others but for the few who were invited to feast on our nations.”

“I truly, truly hope, the upcoming elections will not be won by malfeasance spin doctoring of events outside of real issues or by the mysterious counts of the Republican owned vote counting machines, but by a citizenry that will hold you all legally accountable for you actions.”

“I am a lifelong Republican-Conservative who will never, ever vote for you thieves again. We need to see you are never given the reigns of power again … just look at what your policies have done.”

“How prophetic it was said hundreds of years ago that our Nations could only be destroyed from within.”

— Terry, Vancouver, Canada

Yeah Terry, I hear you. Trouble is, the Democrats are no panacea to our ills either. The US as the strong economic beacon to the world is on very shaky legs. God help the children behind us, with or without a formal education.

Comment by NovaWatcher
2008-09-15 09:23:06

vote Ron Paul

Comment by OCMetro
2008-09-15 11:04:09

Before we get all partisan, most of these “Republicans” who won’t vote republican are actually DNC types feigning outrage.

The other thing, remember most of these major financial institutions CEO’s are MAJOR democrat donors.

Personally, I don’t really like either the Reps or Dems or most politicians to be fair, they are both very corrupt. However, to pretend that Dems had nothing to do with this mess is naive at best.

Take a look at Chris Dodd -D Conn and his relationship with Countrywide for example.

Comment by CarrieAnn
2008-09-15 16:24:39


“Before we get all partisan, most of these “Republicans” who won’t vote republican are actually DNC types feigning outrage”

Four family members. One registered Dem, rest are Repubs. One a devout Repub. Everyone’s voting Obama.

I can only speak for what I hear locally but I hear that story everywhere and I’m in conservative country.

Comment by Bill in Maryland
2008-09-15 17:39:21

Liberal city here. All four (McCain, Palin, Obama, and Biden) are conservative. Yes CONSERVATIVE.

“Liberal” in its proper sense, means FREE markets, and 100% civil liberties. If you disagree, just google Frederic Bastiat.

This is a conservative society for sure. I want none of it.

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Comment by patient renter
2008-09-15 14:57:40

Trouble is, the Democrats are no panacea to our ills either.

Amen. A quick glance at campaign contributions for both candidates ( shows that both parties are guilty.

Comment by B. Durbin
2008-09-15 21:04:38


Last I heard, Canada wasn’t part of the US, so “not voting for you” is a bit of an empty threat…

Comment by Lost in Utah
2008-09-15 07:54:10

Hope this isn’t a double post:

more from cnn:

“Lehman Brothers (LEH, Fortune 500) already announced last week that it was cutting 1,500 jobs in an attempt to right itself. But now, as the troubled investment bank reportedly hunts for a buyer, experts predict many more layoffs ahead. This would add to the the tens of thousands of layoffs that have already occurred this year on Wall Street.”

You know, being out here in La-La Land (no, not Hollywood, but rather, Telluride - land of Big Empty Homes Owned by Wealthy Wall Street Types), I used to kind of sometimes, in weaker moments, as I stood dripping wet and soggy from camping in bad weather, I’d wonder, why don’t I have some of that moolah?

Well, today, I’m very happy I’m not part of their ranks. I bet there’s some heart palpations there today, Jeez, Wilma, now how’re we supposed to pay for that big empty house in Tellyride?

More real estate crashing, I can hear it over the mountain from Tellyride’s direction, no wait, was that Aspen? Hmmm, Vail??? Park City?

Comment by Lost in Utah
2008-09-15 07:56:25

Whoops, guess it was New York City.

“Through August, financial firms have already eliminated an estimated 65,400 jobs over the past year, according to the latest employment figures from the Department of Labor.

But the pain has been particularly acute on Wall Street. Investment banks and brokerages there have shed about 9,300 jobs, or roughly 5% of their workforce, according to the latest figures from the New York State Department of Labor.”

(more CNN)

Comment by Cinch
2008-09-15 08:50:37

Hey Lost,

you gave me an incomplete email the other day..wanting to know more about Bozeman,MT


Comment by Lost in Utah
2008-09-15 10:07:33

Hey Cinch, try chinlemiller at yahoo dot com

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Comment by InMontana
2008-09-15 10:18:59

Bozeman has been hit hard, really hard, FYI. Friend of mine in a position to know says they’re just reeling.

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Comment by Lost in Utah
2008-09-15 10:40:06

I’m thinking of going to the only film school in the world that has an MFA in natural history filmmaking, which is MSU in Boze.

I want to record the ending of the Human Race. See who comes in first. OK, it’s a stupid pun, but it fits this bright optimistic day of financial ruin.

Might as well go back to school during a depression, nothing else to do…

Just one wrong turn,
That’s all it takes,
And there ain’t many signs,
You only get a few breaks,

Some get more, some get less
Once wrong turn,
leads to the next.

-Greg Brown

Comment by bluprint
2008-09-15 11:31:43

I want to record the ending of the Human Race

Who’s gonna watch the finished product? apes perhaps?

Comment by Lost in Utah
2008-09-15 14:02:30

Well, I can at least make a good trailer for me and my friends, even though we won’t be able to watch the whole film.

Comment by NoSingleOne
2008-09-15 07:58:15

WTF is Armando Montelongo? Flip and grow rich??? Tell me this is a joke!

Comment by Blano
2008-09-15 08:09:58

He’s got one of those house flipping shows on A&E or one of the other 3rd rate channels.

Comment by desertdweller
2008-09-15 22:16:41

Armando has been very successful, has seminars to promote himself ala trump.

Watched him a few times, the first shows were fine, but he showed his arsehole side more and more. While he was making the big bucks he would browbeat the mexicans doing his ‘dirty work’ into taking a pittance.

He was even an arse to his wife.
I don’t get it.

Comment by Bad Chile
2008-09-15 08:03:59

WaMu CD update:

So I log into all my bank accounts this morning and sure enough, two micro-deposits from WaMu is sitting there in the funding account.

Then I go onto CNN/Money, and there is a little article, “Who is left to save WaMu?” and within that article is the statement, “The only way that WaMu will have problems is if there is a run on deposits.”

Which seems to me a pretty good way to start a run on deposits.

Anyway, I have another three days to fund the CD before the 5.00% APR expires. Methinks I’m gonna wait for those three days to pass…

Comment by cougar91
2008-09-15 08:27:12

I was in your shoes last week and I decided to fund my 5% WaMu CD, at under the $100K limit. WaMu will be in FDIC receivership in a few weeks and assets passed into another bank. If FDIC goes bankrupt before then then that’s the end for everything else too so your current bank will be running out of money too.

Comment by bizarroworld
2008-09-15 08:19:26

I just received this from a trading house I used to use. Is this going to be happening at other places, too? And what’s the importance?

Due to continuing market volatility, xx has made the following margin requirement adjustments effective immediately:
-Short option requirement moving from 25% to 30%
-Concentrated position requirement moving from 40% to 50%

Also, various marginable stocks carry an increased margin requirement of 60% or higher. To view a list of these stocks, please reply to this message and we will send a complete list.

Please be mindful of these requirements as they pertain to your portfolio, since these margin requirement changes may place you in a house or risk call situation.

Comment by REhobbyist
2008-09-15 08:25:41

CNBC has kept Ken Lewis on the screen continuously this morning. He’s talking about how he and Thain just kind of got together over the weekend and decided to join forces to create this wonderful new concept in banking. It’s working - a Dow that should have fallen a thousand points has only fallen 250.

Comment by Frank Hague
2008-09-15 08:39:20

I expected a much larger drop as well. I’m also puzzled as to the reasoning, from B of A’s perspective, as to that deal. Merrill’s stock is down 40% this year, the whole industry is in a death spiral and they pay a $12 premium per share. There has to be something else going on here that is not yet apparent.

Comment by sf jack
2008-09-15 08:46:14

The PPT.

Comment by Blano
2008-09-15 08:48:44

Maybe the Merrill deal is considered “good news” which offsets all the bad (for now). BAC’s current price though is reducing that premium all by itself.

Comment by Frank Hague
2008-09-15 08:59:09

Yeah, I noticed their stock is getting killed today. What are the chances that the deal falls through? It just doesn’t seem to make sense, especially since BAC is still digesting Countrywide.

How do they continue to operate with a reduced credit rating is another question.

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Comment by Blano
2008-09-15 09:08:12

Other minds here could probably answer that better than me, but I was wondering if BAC is trying to make itself too big to fail by acquisitions.

Comment by REhobbyist
2008-09-15 09:11:08

Blano: the scary thing is, you’re probably right!

Comment by Frank Hague
2008-09-15 10:27:51

You would think after what has happened over the past year regulators would be wary of letting an institution get as enormous as B of A now is, but I guess they feel it is better than the alternative.

Comment by QinQueens
2008-09-15 09:38:49

Perhaps Merrill is a counter-party to BofA’s investments. I think Bear was JPM’s counter-party.

Comment by cougar91
2008-09-15 08:32:39

As you know I believe the negative/low US savings rate has a lot to do with the economic malaise that we currently find ourselves in, but I have a hunch that most HBB posters are not the norm when it comes to the saving arena.

A poll: Just curious on what others are saving as a percentage of their gross salary/income (before tax)? This includes 401K/IRA/cash savings. I have been saving an average of about 40% per year for quite a few years now. I know it maybe shockingly high, but after I pay my 35% in combined federal/state/SS taxes, I spent 25% on living expenses and save the rest.

Comment by Kim
2008-09-15 09:58:18

40% is fantastic! We’re only at 20%.

Comment by Jon
2008-09-15 10:47:26

I’m probably shockingly low here at around 9%. But I have a good pension, 6 figures in my 401K to start with, and set to inherit close to 7 figures at some point in the future. The only debt I have is my mortgage which is $82K with 10 years to go.

Of course all of the above could fall apart.

Comment by Blano
2008-09-15 10:54:36

Percentage wise, basically zero. Expenses aren’t the problem, it’s income.

Comment by exeter
2008-09-15 11:33:37

And that’s what happens when you don’t vote with your wallet.

Comment by Blano
2008-09-15 13:35:28

Lol…..I doubt either party would/could have helped me the last few years.

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Comment by octal77
2008-09-15 12:17:30

For me, its closer to 60%.

Much of my tax is to pay on income from passive investments
(ie 1099-INT, etc).

I have no debt. House is paid off. I live very frugally.

I pay cash only.

Not hard to do. You just gotta set your priorities.

Comment by Silverback1011
2008-09-15 13:08:56

Currently saving about 21 percent.

Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2008-09-15 13:46:56

My numbers are similar to yours, cougar91. Roughly 25% living expenses, plus taxes, then save the rest.

Comment by Frank Hague
2008-09-15 08:37:28

The psychology of markets can really turn on a dime. It wasn’t to long ago that analysts were predicting $200 a barrel oil, now it’s $70.

Comment by tresho
2008-09-15 12:06:18

I don’t know about the psychology of markets, but the psychology of market reporters shifts with the wind. $200/barrel oil will return & eventually seem like the good old days, but I don’t know when that will happen.

Comment by Frank Hague
2008-09-15 14:22:55

I don’t think we can see $200 a barrel oil until the economy starts growing again, and when that will happen is anyone’s guess.

Comment by Housing Wizard
2008-09-15 08:39:34

Funny, I took money and put it into BOA recently figuring they would survive (not that I like any of the options these days ).Looks like there
will be some big firms left standing and the rest …..well who knows .
Talk about having a few that will be to big to fall . I wasn’t betting on BOA
taking on more after Countrywide .

I think the government will step up and provide some easy money and I think a rate cut is in the cards . Insuring loans will be the new deal and eventually private capital will come in . Still don’t know how the economy
is going to be vibrant in the future with layoffs, debt to be paid , and real estate not being the big source of wealth creation .

Comment by packman
2008-09-15 09:27:26

Some big banks did quite well during the great depression - not only surviving but thriving - particularly in the latter stages by buying up all their competition or just watching them fail. Part of the reason was certain friendships between Wall Street and DC. JPM and Chase come to mind in particular. The same will be true this time, with some of the same names.

Comment by eastcoaster
2008-09-15 08:43:35

You know, frankly this all just blows. Absolutely needless. The percentage who made out like kings vs. the percentage who will now take huge lossess is so lopsided it’s ridiculous.

I have an IRA at Merrill, a 401k with T. Rowe Price (part of a divorce settlement that I kept with ex’s company for now vs. rolling into Merrill IRA), and a 401k with PNC (through my company). At this point, I probably have a better shot at getting my son groomed to be rich and famous (a la professional sports or a movie star) than I do relying on any retirement monies I presently have. What a joke. And the underlying cause - as I see it - just consistently goes back to the b.s. housing bubble.

But while my retirement money may be more small potatoes compared to others, my parents have a LARGE amount with Merrill. They called their guy this morning who, of course, played it down. “No problem! We didn’t go under! Everything’s fine! Phone’s been ringing off the hook, but for no reason!” My dad buys it, my mom’s a tad more concerned.

But what can one do at this point?

Comment by Ria Rhodes
2008-09-15 09:11:15

“But while my retirement money may be more small potatoes compared to others, my parents have a LARGE amount with Merrill.”

I hope your parents don’t have a ‘wrap’ account with ML. They fee you to death, and if they’re using Merrill funds the costs are even higher. If they’re not unbending to change, why not nudge them toward switching over their accounts to lower cost places like T. Rowe or Vanguard?

I have dreams of America moving toward a British-style caste system where 5% control the deck, and the rest of us bow to our dealing masters? I’ll draw the line against calling them ‘master’. They can steal from me, but not take away my dignity unless I let them.

Comment by Ria Rhodes
2008-09-15 09:13:30

“I have dreams of America moving toward a British-style caste system”

Make that ‘bad dreams’.

Comment by taxmeupthebooty
2008-09-15 09:17:05

wouldn’t mind UK legal system
loser pay
and French judge inquisitor might not be bad
=OJ not free

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Comment by Housing Wizard
2008-09-15 10:03:17

Aren’t a lot of pension accounts insured ?

Comment by WT Economist
2008-09-15 09:15:16

Instant indicator?

I’ve been working in deepest darkest Midtown Manhattan about three years. I usually bring my lunch, because the only thing affordable is the street meat pita from the Halal cart, which I pick up once a week or so.

I was $3.50 when I moved here. I went up to $3.75 and then to $4.00, which it was last week.

Today, back to $3.75.

Comment by santacruzsux
2008-09-15 09:39:11

How much is the crab juice?

Comment by QinQueens
2008-09-15 09:44:53

Instant shwarma gunna get you.

Comment by ET-Chicago
2008-09-15 09:51:57


Comment by taxmeupthebooty
2008-09-15 10:15:03

almost 1921

deflation is good unless you’re a debtball nation w everyone lining up for mo free sht

Comment by InMontana
2008-09-15 09:21:54

I was at 20% on the 401k and just went to 25%. Add probably another 10% for my own savings. I think next enrollment period I will bite the bullet and try to get the 401k up to where my takehome resembles what I have to live on when I retire. If I lose my job, it’s available, and it’s beyond the reach of creditors in case my financial SHTF.

Comment by Silverback1011
2008-09-15 13:24:07

That’s what I did 4 years ago when I joined my new employer and I’m glad I did it, Montana. It gets us used to living on less, and of course, more in the old retirement helps you enjoy the benefits of compounding.

Comment by bobo
2008-09-15 17:46:11

while we criticize the banks and IBs for their reckless behavior, it seems we are willing to give them our money in 401k accounts to get siphoned into their mutual funds. While I like the concept of retirement savings, I wish our company offered more than just a handful of funds that have performed poorly this year and still take sizable fees. While I haven’t researched the fees associated with borrowing against my 401k accounts, it seems a little odd that I would pay to borrow my own money and pay penalties.

No thanks, I only put in enough for my company matching and discipline myself to save/invest the liquid cash. Wasn’t there an article recently talking about how even S&P index funds would have only broke even the last 10 years? So much for the glorious compounding interest graphs they show at 401k presentations.

Whatever I do put in only go to the money market fund which is the only positive this year. I feel bad for those who have lost like 20-40% this year.

Comment by the_economist
2008-09-15 09:43:22

I think there are going to be a lot of boomers getting that deer in the headlight look when they open their next 401KOA(They will have to move in to a kampground of America) statement.

Comment by Silverback1011
2008-09-15 13:25:13

Cute, economist. Mine’s doing quite well, though.

Comment by takingbets
2008-09-15 09:52:22

Citi, exposed to Lehman, says it has ample capital

i wonder if these guys are the next ones to walk the plank?

Comment by WT Economist
2008-09-15 10:01:51

The State of New York (aka the vampire state) has given AIG “special permission” to take $20 billion from its regulated subsidiary (ie. money set aside to pay future insurance claims) and use it for the rest of the firm (ie. the part that gambled on real estate.

Anyone here insured by AIG?

This is another shoe dropping. Anyone still think private long term care insurance is a good idea? Ie. you give them the money now, they decide (based on assumptions) how much has to be set aside and how much can go to executive compensation, and someday you get to see if the money is there for you.

Comment by hoz
2008-09-15 12:46:21

Every major bank is exposed to AIG. Screw the mopes with insurance, they can be shoved aside for years. Banks need to be paid on defaults immediately. AIG insures banks and lending centers on all types of bonds.

SWAP Spreads
AIG trading upfront AIG 5yr 23/ +500

Just a little short of moneys.

Comment by takingbets
2008-09-15 10:16:16

does anyone wonder if the meltdown and the OJ trial were orchestrated to happen on the same day to keep calm among the sheeple?

Comment by CarrieAnn
2008-09-15 10:34:45

I thought Hurricane Ike’s remnant high winds that went through CNY last night were part of the PPT’s plan to keep us away from our tellies and computer screens with electrical and cable/internet connection losses. :)

For those who’ve already started drinking today:
/sarcasm off

Comment by Mormon_Tea
2008-09-15 10:28:44

We’ve been buying a lot of silver recently.

Now at 41,500 SLV.
Half of my retirement money.
The other half is in PTTRX.

And no real estate, as I rent.

And no one could see this coming.


Comment by jetson_boy
2008-09-15 10:50:15

No offense, but putting 50% of your retirement into silver is about the riskiest thing I could possibly think of. I’d seriously consider other options. Gold and silver can drop extremely rapidly and hard. It tends to only do very well in sour economic periods. Once the market picks up, people will be dumping metals like mad.

Comment by Mormon_Tea
2008-09-15 11:51:56

“Once the market picks up, people will be dumping metals like mad.”

OK thanks, jetson-boy.

Will you please send me a postcard once the market picks up?

Comment by Al
2008-09-15 12:25:38

I’d be leary about 50% of my retirement money in a single investment. Also, since silver has industrial uses it can get beater down in a bad economy too. Your move could really pay off, but could also wipe you out. I hope you have a long time horizon on that play.

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Comment by jetson_boy
2008-09-15 10:31:57

Here’s an off-topic question for some of you Texans. I’m seriously thinking about pulling the trigger and moving to Austin. I’ve been following it for a few years now. Its hard to tell what the situation is there. Some day its the next silicon valley and that home prices are gonnna’ keep climbing. Obviously a lot of hipsters from California are moving in.

So… what’s the situation there? Is it getting unaffordable? What are some suburbs that are remotely commutable to Austin? 200k for a home still do-able or will I have a choice of crumbs and outlying exurbs like it is in the Bay Area? What’s the tech job market situation? Overhyped or healthy? What’s the dirt? thanks.

Comment by dagan68
2008-09-15 11:37:25

I live in Dallas - It depends on where you are from how you will do in Texas. Most people that move here have no idea what July and August are like here. Please keep that in mind. Blast furnace is the best synonym. The rest of the year can be rather pleasant. There are no really hard winters - just occasional (and hideous I may add) ice storms. In Dallas - about a month of really cold weather scattered through the 3 months that comprise a normal winter elsewhere. Warmer in Austin and San Antonio.

Also, the religious fundamentalism is nightmarish at times. If that is your thing - great - if not - you will feel very quickly like you are in a rubber room. Austin may be the best place in Texas (way more “liberal” than anywhere else).

I have many friends there in Austin - of late, I have been repeatedly informed that the real estate market is in the crapper - this is probably not the best time to buy there. I also believe that many of the biggest employers there are going to be having some big big issues in the next 2 years.

Comment by Ria Rhodes
2008-09-15 14:00:19

“Also, the religious fundamentalism is nightmarish at times. If that is your thing - great - if not - you will feel very quickly like you are in a rubber room.”

That aptly also describes a lot of Central Arizona. No offense meant to the faithful, but if you aren’t in the God group you’re a pariah. I had employ here in the past working with mentally retarded adults. The agency dragged those people often kicking and screaming to church twice a week to get the God fix, but of course it was not about the handicapped people at all - it was about the caretakers asserting their beliefs with the expectation of earning brownie points from the guy in the clouds. I also lived in the south for years and know about the ‘question’ - what church do you go to? If I was in a bad mood I’d tell them I offered sacrifices to Beelzebub. That ended the questions.

Comment by Bill in Maryland
2008-09-15 17:54:23

Phoenix is nothing compared to living in Ridgecrest, CA, population 25,000, with the highest per capita churches in the U.S. and I was an athiest during those days (still am). 11 years there. It “sukked”. However, I found there was a small contingent of liberals like myself. Met one who took an honors class at the community college. She was atheist too. Very fun and down-to-earth. Her ex husband married a severe Bible thumper. Their church was against my lady friend. She told me her ex would abuse her and her kids. Met another gal there, an LDS who was punished by her church for her druggie husband who left her while she was pregnant. She was required to read some type of book. She told me she was made to feel guilty. I was angry at that church for preying on a woman who was so weak from the abuse her husband gave her.

But I was atheist long before these events.

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Comment by deogee
2008-09-15 20:15:22

Church is the wrong place for believers!
Rev 18:4 ” And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”

Comment by Skip
2008-09-15 11:48:34

jetson - checkout the HBB forum. There is a thread on Austin. hip in zilker seems to be on scene. I have just passed through a couple of times in the past year and the new buildings in the downtown area are just amazing. IMHO, real estate is going to be hit hard there real soon.

Comment by LA Wallflower
2008-09-15 12:23:07

Just be careful with how your salary will change when you start working there. There’s a bunch of video game companies in Austin, for example, and all of them say the same prominent thing in their recruiting pitch:

“Come live where the cost of living is half that of Los Angeles or the Bay Area!!” (or similar)

This is code for “we’re gonna cut your LA/Bay Area salary by 50% (or as much as possible anyway) for the exact same work!!”

Yeah. Sure. Cutting my salary by 50% after a move to Austin would mean that I would never be able to move away from Austin.

Comment by drumminj
2008-09-15 14:33:31

I do software development in Austin and make probably about 15% less than my counterparts in the bay area (who work at the same company). It all depends where you’re at. COL in Austin is reasonable, overall, and tech workers here seem to command decent salaries.

I think what you say is true for all game companies, wherever they are. They can get away with paying less because everyone wants to work for them…

Comment by Jon
2008-09-15 12:25:54

Can’t answer any of your questions, but I’ve lived in Houston and Dallas. Currently live in Florida. I think the only reason people live in TX is because they’ve never been anywhere else. The only thing to do in TX is eat, drink & shop. If you dig that, it’s ok. But traffic sux, the populace is fat and frankly not real bright (not that FL has a lot of bright bulbs).

Imagine that long San Fran commute at a dead standstill. Now imagine it at 110 degrees. Now imagine your fellow commuters drunk, angry and well armed. That’s TX.

Comment by Bill in Maryland
2008-09-15 17:48:45

Nothing bad about being “well armed.” I heard the same - lots of heiffers there. How could people let themselves become fatsos?

Comment by desertdweller
2008-09-15 22:23:41

Bill, they get fat shopping at Wally world where all the sizes are HUGE, the buckets are Huge, and they think they have to eat it all, plus the BIG Gulps.

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Comment by bizarroworld
2008-09-15 18:33:20

One of the few green areas in TX:

Austin, Texas
Home to the first Whole Foods Market and more than 300 days of sunshine a year (and you thought this city was all about the music) Austin spreads out among 205 parks, 14 nature preserves, and 25 greenbelts. Talk about green. The city plans to meet 20 per cent of its energy needs with renewable energy and energy efficiency by 2020. Factor in county laws protecting the region’s natural watershed from development, a recycling center that dates back to 1970, a dozen outdoor farmer’s markets, city buses that offer free rides on “high ozone” days and an innovative “pay-as-you-throw” trash collection program that rewards residents for being less wasteful and Austin easily earns a spot on the Green List.

Comment by Housing Wizard
2008-09-15 10:36:35

Why is it that the media even has to question why regulation is needed for all financial sectors ?We see what lack of regulation did and now we (the taxpayer) are blackmailed into bail-outs and loans for the folly and greed of the financial sectors . If a industry has the power to throw the USA into a financial crisis ,than why is there any question that these
industries have to be highly regulated with capital requirements and other disclosures.How was it even possible for junk paper back by real estate to be marketed as good stuff ? The corruption in the system still hasn’t been addressed .

I have never been adverse to loans from the government to give companies time to sell assets or write off losses ,but all these bail-outs
carry a big price . Its pretty bad that this society goes for fake bubbles instead of a more stable wealth creation ,(that usually comes from jobs,savings , or real production of something of value ).

it was all about get rick quick in a short amount of time . Investments use to be something you do with 10% or so of your income for long term gains for retirement .The boom years 2002-2007 were all about how to use real estate as a fake creation of a investment and leverage in which the value wasn’t there .

Oh well ,the damage is done already and now it’s all about how to handle losses . What about how to get this economy going again and what forces are stopping that redirection into production and job creation ?

Comment by LehighValleyGuy
2008-09-15 11:55:41

“If a industry has the power to throw the USA into a financial crisis ,than why is there any question that these industries have to be highly regulated with capital requirements and other disclosures.”

But you realize that there are already some 2,000 pages of new regulations issued *annually* by the SEC alone. Do you really think 3,000, or 4,000 will do the trick?

I think the problem is with the “if” part of your statement. Either (1) the power of the financial industry to throw us into crisis has been exaggerated, or (2) if they really have acquired such power, then it’s too late for regulations to save us.

Comment by tresho
2008-09-15 12:12:11

Read up on the history of capitalism. It’s been one dam crisis after another. Regulations were written to protect the king’s subjects/electorate. Then the writing & enforcement of regulations became influenced by capitalists, and so it has been & will be.

Comment by Bill in Maryland
2008-09-15 17:45:35

So…The place you want to go to is North Korea, no?

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Comment by AK-LA
2008-09-15 18:57:29

Chill, Bill. It’s not an either/or.

Comment by Housing Wizard
2008-09-15 19:05:38

LehighValleyGuy ….If there is any kind of a future ,than the system
has to be set up whereby the financial sector cannot play the leverage game to the degree they did . Wasn’t it the leverage game,(or buying on margin ) by Wall Street that brought about the 1929 stock market crash ? Doesn’t there have to be some control over the money supply ? Doesn’t there have to be a requirement for skin in the game on loans in real estate ,unless you don’t consider the borrower a risk factor in the transaction . What was the regulations on hedge funds and look at how much they affected the easy money
market that used real estate as the asset backing ? Also this leverage upon leverage upon leverage deals that took place was a great evil ,so doesn’t they have to be some more regulations regarding this leverage game ? Apparently there was not enough regulations regarding leverage with investment firms/lenders ,as well as borrowers of real estate .

Comment by Jon
2008-09-15 14:39:51

“Oh well ,the damage is done already and now it’s all about how to handle losses . What about how to get this economy going again and what forces are stopping that redirection into production and job creation ?”

All redirection into production and job creation is going to China. Why would anyone invest in production in America when your competitors can do it much more cheaply in China?

Our only hope is to time bubbles & get rich quick schemes and leave whatever you can get to your kids. They’ll need it to pay off our tax cuts.

Comment by Housing Wizard
2008-09-15 18:54:48

We have the hope of bringing back our manufacturing base ,getting productive again with products we need now and in the future . Even if it takes some government spending for job creation I’m all for it .
Enough of this American economy that is based on a monopoly of cheap foreign goods while people try to get rich on fake bubbles like real estate .

Comment by takingbets
2008-09-15 10:42:52

During emergency meetings between federal officials and investment bank executives over the weekend, SEC Chairman Christopher Cox indicated to the bankers that the agency plans in a few days to impose new protections against abusive “naked” short-selling, a person familiar with the matter said Monday.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the SEC actions haven’t yet been officially announced.

why now? wasent he the one who removed the rules that were in place for years to prevent this from happening?

Comment by speedingpullet
2008-09-15 11:02:15

Wow, watching Paulson on MSNBC atm, and the DOW is dropping about 5 points a second (now at -333.84). Seems he’s injecting optimism and hope with every word…

Still says the economy is basically strong. Psych!

Comment by santacruzsux
2008-09-15 11:15:06

Now let’s say you hire a plumber. You think he looks good and seems to have good refs. He puts in your lines and your drains gets his work inspected and passed. (As it turns out later, the inspector used to work for your plumber) A couple years later, every one of your drains is stopped up and your water lines are leaking like crazy. Are you gonna hire the same guy to come and fix that mess? Well that’s how it works on the street baby.

If Paulson can fix this mess without spillover into the real economy (what’s left of it), I’ll stand in sack full of rabid weasels.

Comment by tankingbets
2008-09-15 11:11:25

Secretary Henry Paulson just wrapped up question answer session at the White House. When asked how the financial turmoil happened, Paulson noted market excesses and an “archaic” regulatory system. He said the American people can be very confident about their bank accounts.

did anyone watch this? did he look scared?

Comment by boulderbo
2008-09-15 11:17:20

I liked that call the US economy “comparatively favorable”. WTF kind cheerleading is that?

Comment by bluprint
2008-09-15 11:37:23

compared to tomorrow.

Comment by tresho
2008-09-15 12:19:26

did he look scared? Paulsen and BB have looked and sounded scared ever since August 2007.

Comment by SV guy
2008-09-15 11:50:58

Totally of topic.

My FIL was awarded the american equivalent of the Nobel prize.

We’ve actually known about it for a while, just couldn’t say anything.


Comment by REhobbyist
2008-09-15 12:22:31

Congratulations to your family. Which one is he?

Comment by SV guy
2008-09-15 12:35:02

Stanley Falkow

Comment by desertdweller
2008-09-15 22:26:47

Congrats. Totally cool and after all that hard work, he is recognized. Really cool.

Bravo to him and your family.

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Comment by hwy50ina49dodge
2008-09-15 13:08:17

Congratulations to your FIL, that’s an awesome achievement! Sounds like he did fantastic research.

Comment by Lost in Utah
2008-09-15 13:09:34

Totally awesome, congratulate him and buy him some expensive wine on my behalf. Thanks. :)

Comment by mcat
2008-09-15 13:33:58


Comment by Leighsong
2008-09-15 15:18:11


I’m very happy for you and yours Mike.


P.S. In a teensy way, I’m a bit happy for me, as sharing this made me smile on a dreadful day - thanks!

Comment by SV guy
2008-09-15 15:49:00

You know, I thought all of those ideas I gave him were off the record :)

He’s an impressive guy. He’s involved with the Gates’ philanthropic fund. He’s served on advisory boards for presidents. He even gave a young senator (JFK) a booster shot in the rump during an emergency house call.

Still, he’s as down to earth as we are.

Just a little bit smarter though……….


Comment by CarrieAnn
2008-09-15 16:02:57


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Comment by Silverback1011
2008-09-15 17:22:57

Wow - what a life well-lived.

Comment by hoz
2008-09-15 17:23:29

Tremendous and well deserved pleasures!

“Independence from political and corporate influence”

Maybe he can give Bush a shot in the ass.

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Comment by CA renter
2008-09-16 03:54:13

That is fantastic!!!! :)

Congratulations to your FIL and the rest of your family!

Comment by watcher
2008-09-15 11:58:46

Last week Pimp Bill Gross was a genius. Today, not.

Sept. 15 (Bloomberg) — Pimco Advisors LP, Vanguard Group Inc. and Franklin Advisers Inc. are among investment companies that may face losses of at least $86 billion stemming from the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., the biggest bankruptcy in history.

Comment by Blano
2008-09-15 12:51:25

What a difference a week makes.

Comment by Boston Bruce
2008-09-15 13:55:15

Any bond index fund would have some Lehman debt based on its weighting in the, ahem, Lehman Aggregate Bond Index.

Wonder who the “keeper of the index” becomes? The Lehman Agg is like the S&P500 — the standard for bonds. Who does the arithmetic now?

Comment by hoz
2008-09-15 12:08:55

The end of the third inning.

Comment by vozworth
2008-09-15 12:43:20

China cut rates.

Hows that for a strong dollar policy?



Comment by vozworth
2008-09-15 13:03:16


thats a short gasm of epic proportions.

Comment by Blano
2008-09-15 13:27:27

What is this CR you’re referring too?? Saw it last night too, I see the number keeps getting bigger.

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Comment by hoz
2008-09-15 17:17:54

CR= Caloric restriction

Vozzie was putting on the pounds trying to look like me and the doctor put him on a diet! You have to switch from Pale Ale to a real brew.

“Having reached epic proportions, I am now doing CR”, Hoz weightingly said.

Comment by hoz
2008-09-15 13:04:35

Its not the batters fault, the pitcher cannot get it over the plate.

God, I hate being this right. So sad.

He who picks bottoms ends up with very stinky fingers.

Lets all Dollar Cost Average to zero.

The Fed made a mistake in not back stopping Lehman and then opening the window to Lars. “Hey dere, I own some stocks.”

Comment by vozworth
2008-09-15 14:09:51

dont get saucy with me, bernaise.

Im only bunting, and when I swing and miss….I punt.

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Comment by CarrieAnn
2008-09-15 15:55:20

He can’t hit? What is that, the newer private school version? :P Ya can’t even chant that with any passion!

’70s New England pick up game version:
He’s no battah, he no battah, he no battahhhh, he no battahhhh! Saaaaawinggggggg battah!


Comment by vozworth
2008-09-15 18:14:50

you almost get me.

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Comment by Blano
2008-09-15 12:12:47

Dow nearing 11,000 and S&P nearing 1200….time for the PPT to show up??

Comment by tankingbets
2008-09-15 12:36:21

i’ll be the first to say you called it! they stepped in when the DOW went below 11000.

Comment by Blano
2008-09-15 12:38:00

Didn’t stay under there for long……just a matter of seconds, twice.

Comment by speedingpullet
2008-09-15 13:01:53

Wow, actually closed below 11,000 - 10,934-ish

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Comment by speedingpullet
2008-09-15 13:05:16

I stand corrected - down over 500 points now.

Comment by palmetto
2008-09-15 13:12:30

WHOO-HOO! WE DID IT! Got that pig below 11,000. It was tough work, folks, but I want to thank all of you pessimists, bears and naysayers for all your hard work. I’d also like to thank my family, my producer, my agent, Hank Paulson, Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke and the whole host of big swinging dicks. You guys have been just great!

Comment by tankingbets
2008-09-15 13:13:11

all hope was lost, all eyes are now on the FED.

Comment by Blano
2008-09-15 13:26:25

LOL Palmy.

Comment by saladsd
2008-09-15 15:45:29

Last night I bet the market would go down by 500 points , my husband said I was just being a pessimist, and he bet 250. Man, I hate to be right!

Comment by Blano
2008-09-15 13:02:12

Ooops……spoke too soon.

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Comment by eastcoaster
2008-09-15 13:17:35

How low can it (ultimately) go? I’m still sticking with 10,000. Though that’s looking more and more optimistic these days…

Comment by johnny
2008-09-15 14:52:24

I told my mom 8000 when things were just starting to look bad at the beginning of this year. She was a bit shocked by my gloom, she’s looking to retire soon. I would say 10000 is def. too optimistic, we need to get at least to 9/11 (2001) levels.
I’m at least 30 years from retirement so I’m just staying all in and praying. I’ve inherited some gold which I’m getting appraised and then will decide whether or not to tie up a couple extra thousand in coins or not.

Comment by hoz
2008-09-15 15:25:02

IMHO the bottom of the stock market will be around historical lows. PE ratios of between 6 - 9 on 1 yr future earnings. Since next years earnings for the S&P 500 are projected at $50 - 65 the PE of 6 would be 390 or on the high side 585. My personal outlook where I intend to cover any outstanding short positions is 680.

In historical perspective from top to bottom, this would be an average bear market.

Comment by REhobbyist
2008-09-15 12:24:07

S&P nearing 1202 - look out below.

Comment by stanleyjohnson
2008-09-15 12:32:57

As Larry Kuntlow, don luskin, art laufer and bob pisani would say this is a great time to buy.

And to both melissa’s, maria and dumais O’neel where can I make money today Global or tech?

Comment by cvca
2008-09-15 12:41:21

On cnnmoney, the Real Estate section no longer has it’s own tab. It’s now a submenu under personal finance.

Is this a change in how Real Estate is viewed by Financial News websites?

Comment by tankingbets
2008-09-15 12:43:23

sounds to me like they are trying to draw peoples attention away from it.

Comment by Lost in Utah
2008-09-15 13:14:00

I just got back from my bank, made a run on it. They will only give me 10k a day.

I got it all in 50s so I’ll feel richer.

In many ways, I am an average American…so this may be the start of something. If so, you can blame me, it’ll make me feel important. :)

Comment by watcher
2008-09-15 13:30:31

Market wants a rate cut or it will start hitting circuit breakers tomorrow.

Comment by ET-Chicago
2008-09-15 14:15:23

Hopefully the market will hear this: “Suck it.”

Comment by hoz
2008-09-15 15:33:29

There aren’t many “Shock and Awe” rate cuts left.

Just go to Zero and get it over with. Who the F’k cares about the dollar anymore? The Chinese, the Russians? They are the only ones that have dollars.

Apres moi, le deluge.

Comment by vozworth
2008-09-15 18:26:02

After my reign, the nation will be plunged into chaos and destruction.

he’s been coming around here for a lot longer than me, with a much better track record….but the weird part is, Hoz is like my grandad… afraid of him, unless you consider him a friend.

key phrase of the post is really the “many” part.

Comment by ouro verde
2008-09-15 13:42:24

Make sure you get some little bills. 5’s 10’s and 20’s.

Comment by Lost in Utah
2008-09-15 13:49:09

Nah, Ouro, that’s what the 50s will be worth here in a few weeks, not to worry.

Comment by Blano
2008-09-15 13:46:00

WaMu down to 1.80 after the close.

Comment by NoSingleOne
2008-09-15 14:17:06

Ha ha! Those f*ckers! Couldn’t have happened to a nicer bank!

Comment by Blano
2008-09-15 15:04:29

Lol you guys are funny.

Comment by calex
2008-09-15 16:15:28

I like WM. If it wasn’t for them pushing it, you would still be paying money to the bank for having a checking account and using the ATM at your own bank. Bank Of Amerika charged me for everything, Wells business account charged me for, having a business account, deposits into that account, extra charge if I deposited to much money into the account, hell I think they charged me for walking through the door.

I hope WAMU makes it, but I did pull it down to below FDIC last year.

Comment by CA renter
2008-09-16 04:01:57

Yep. WAMU was the the bank that advertized “asterisk-free” checking. Remember that one?

Been with WAMU for years and have no complaints.

What’s funny is that I got to be with them as they took over all the failed banks during the late 80s/early 90s. They were the strong hands, and now look what’s happened to them. :(

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Comment by Greenlander
2008-09-15 14:43:01

That’s great news. It’s not too late to make $1.80 in profit by selling it short.

Comment by calex
2008-09-15 16:30:05

From Bloomberg

Washington Mutual held $52.9 billion of the mortgages, also called option ARMs or negative amortization loans, on its books in the second quarter, with defaults doubling to $3.2 billion from the end of 2007, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Washington Mutual was the second-biggest provider of option ARMs in the second quarter, behind Charlotte, North Carolina-based Wachovia Corp., which held $122 billion of the loans, according to a company filing.

Somebody guess how many houses are in the pool of both banks.

Comment by vozworth
2008-09-15 18:16:57

buck eighty….

thats change you can believe in, on two buck chuck.

Comment by hoz
2008-09-15 16:24:56

There are 2 US bank stocks I am now long. WaMu and Downey.

Considering everything, they are a reasonable risk. R/R greater than 10:1 Downey from the recent fdic data has brought its debt under control and is trading at 6% of book value; WaMu also has reduced its debt structure and is also a takeover candidate.

This does not mean they cannot go under and they may very well get crushed in the maelstrom. Just that the books are in favor and I trust my models.

Comment by vozworth
2008-09-15 17:15:50

I always give a longggggggg look at the play. the pivot on the 2’s on the Brasilero….amazing. keep em coming…


Comment by Housing Wizard
2008-09-15 20:44:42

I agree Hoz .

Comment by hoz
2008-09-15 16:29:42

“On a more positive note, we recognize that WaMu’s holding company liquidity position is currently solidly positioned to meet all of its fixed obligations through 2010,” S&P said. “The bank is operating with adequate capital positions from a regulatory perspective and has demonstrated funding resilience as the deposit franchise has remained stable.”

Comment by CA renter
2008-09-16 04:05:10

I think this is why they were pimping their 5% CDS (and I stepped up!!).

When we opened our CD (originally for only one week, then they extended the offer), the clerk told us that was all they were doing…opening up 13-month CDs at 5% APY.

Comment by Lost in Utah
2008-09-15 13:53:09

Great quote (from CNN)

“Lehman was only incompetent enough to blow up and destroy themselves, where as Bear’s degree of incompetence was enough to threaten the entire financial system,” Ritholtz said.

So, now we gauge companies by their levels of incompetence, not by their competence. See, we had it all wrong, that’s what all those AAA ratings really meant.

Comment by reuven
2008-09-15 14:11:25

And, despite all that’s happened, I still haven’t heard much from our Leaders about the impact on individual investors! Even Greenspan this morning said that we need to stop house prices from falling!

I am so angry at our nation of houseflippers who robbed savers and investors out of their money–even very conservative ones–and are being treated as poor victims! If it were up to me, every single person who bought a house he couldn’t afford would be forced to sell everything he owns, and have 50% of wages garneshed for the rest of their lives.

Comment by Wickedheart
2008-09-15 19:47:21

You really should save some of that vitriol for the @ssmuches on Wallstreet and our elected leaders who sold us down the river.

Comment by reuven
2008-09-15 22:01:17

Well, today is Tax Day so I’m angry in general! All this money I pay so people can sit in houses they can’t afford, and so our goverment can piss it away.

I’m beginning to think that–though I personally work within the law–cheating on taxes is a patriotic act of Civil Disobedience. If the houseflippers don’t have to pay income tax on a trillon dollars of forgiven debt, why should I pay income tax?

Comment by reuven
2008-09-15 14:12:53

Oddly, my portfolio is up today! Mostly from Gold and Silver, but also from my Canadian and South American mutual funds.

Comment by dude
2008-09-15 14:15:51

From TD Ameritrade website client note:

We are aware of the reported events that have taken place over the weekend in the financial services industry. As we learn the details and come to terms with their impact on the nation’s financial markets, we remind our clients, associates and shareholders that neither Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy nor Merrill Lynch’s sale have any overarching impact or reflect on our firm. Our capital structure and liquidity are strong and stable, and our clients’ assets remain secure. TD AMERITRADE continues to have no exposure to the U.S. real estate market and the associated complex financial securities that are at the root of this liquidity crisis.
TD AMERITRADE, Inc., member FINRA ( /SIPC (, receives clearing custodial services from TD AMERITRADE Clearing, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. TD AMERITRADE, Inc. and TD AMERITRADE Clearing, Inc. are subsidiaries of TD AMERITRADE Holding Corporation
Does the recent failure of Lehman Brothers or the acquisition of Merrill Lynch affect TD AMERITRADE?

Our capital structure and liquidity are strong and stable, and our clients’ assets are secure.

It is unfortunate that a number of firms have failed, or have struggled, over the course of the last 18 months as the result of investments tied to the nation’s struggling real estate markets.

We do have immaterial exposure through normal business operations to Lehman Brothers’ broker-dealer subsidiary, but we are appropriately collateralized and expect the Lehman Brothers broker-dealer subsidiary to continue operating.
2. Does TD AMERITRADE have liquidity issues? Are you at risk to suffer any of the challenges that other financial services firms have suffered this year?

TD AMERITRADE’s capital structure and liquidity are strong and stable.

TD AMERITRADE has no exposure to the U.S. real estate market and the associated complex financial securities that are at the root of this liquidity crisis.

The collateral backing our liquidity is in cash or U.S. securities, which are available and marked-to-market daily. The collateral backing our liquidity is not in real estate-related securities.

The credit and liquidity issues currently impacting other firms have not impacted our liquidity, which we monitor daily.

In addition, TD AMERITRADE does not take proprietary risk on its balance sheet. Our clear, transparent business model and commitment to conservative fiscal management has helped us avoid the troubles other firms have experienced from investment risks.
3. What is the current status of TD AMERITRADE’s debt? What are your most recent bond ratings? Are you comfortable with your status?

Our ratings agencies have echoed their belief in our financial stability and continue to deliver positive reviews of our Company. Our ratings have been and currently are as follows:
Ba1 – Moodys
BB – S&P
BB+ - Fitch

Our current debt stands at approximately $1.4 billion. We have paid down approximately $500 million from our original debt amount of $1.9 billion. Our debt is in the form of bank loans, and not bonds.

We view this debt as an attractive source of financing for us, and we are comfortable with the amount we are carrying, especially when we consider our ability to generate cash, as is evidenced by our financial results each quarter.

Anyone care to opine?

Comment by Lost in Utah
2008-09-15 14:38:10

My opine:

The fear is palpable. I don’t know how solvent they really are, but they’re acting very skittish.

Comment by LA Wallflower
2008-09-15 15:06:17

But TD Ameritrade is just a brokerage house, they make money on trade transaction commissions, yes?

They’re not completely immune, but they make money whether people buy or sell thru them.

Comment by dude
2008-09-15 20:46:45

I just thought it was interesting that they noted the amount of debt. I don’t understand why they state it’s bank debt vs. bond, as if that’s a good thing. What if the banks call the loan.

Comment by reuven
2008-09-15 14:23:12

I expect better from the WSJ! Look what they said to do today in a personal finance column:

4. Set up a home equity line of credit while you still can. I usually don’t like advising people to take on more debt, but if access to ready cash might be a life saver it’s best to line it up. That’s especially true if you are worried about your job. Credit is already tight, and it may get a lot tighter still.

Comment by Lost in Utah
2008-09-15 14:42:53

They must be figuring you’re going to lose your house anyway, so get as much out before it crashes.

Comment by tankingbets
2008-09-15 14:46:17

do they not know that the banks can take that line of credit away?

Comment by tankingbets
2008-09-15 14:36:06

New York housing market may feel Wall Street woes

Comment by WT Economist
2008-09-15 17:21:11

By that do they mean non-investment bankers my finally be able to buy a home?

Comment by exeter
2008-09-15 17:31:56

From the article:

“However, any downturn in prices is likely to be met with an influx of foreign buyers, taking advantage of the weak U.S. dollar, real estate agents say. Wealthy buyers from Italy, Russia and Great Britain in particular have snapped up properties in recent months, taking advantage of their strong currency compared with the U.S. dollar.”

Am I the only one to notice that this morally corrupt trade organization called NAR never provides data to back up these bullshit claims?

Comment by desertdweller
2008-09-15 22:34:12

Has ANyone in the media noted that the Asian market is down over 600 points?

I expect Tuesday to be another bad day.

HOpe all those WS jerks suffer baby suffer…

Comment by oc-ed
2008-09-16 06:11:18

I believe that it was established long ago on this blog that if their lips were moving they were lying.

Comment by Blano
2008-09-15 15:20:10

Had to chuckle just now……..Cramer was just talking about the head of AIG being on his wall of shame or something like that (IIRC) and about a minute later there’s AIG advertising term life insurance on his show.

Comment by hoz
2008-09-15 16:36:32

” Ode to Lehman Bros
Debt is like
an onion

you taste it
with delight.

But when lines go
you wonder,

Whatever made
you bite.”

“Mine eyes smell onions: I shall weep anon.”
Wm. Shakespeare (All’s Well that Ends Well)

Comment by Ria Rhodes
2008-09-15 16:47:09

Your portfolio in the dumps? Your home worth so much less than before? Poor babies.
Here in Bahrain we are laughing our asses off watching CNN about you battered American middle-class schlubs. Kind of nice these big parties in the desert with our air-conditioned tents and $25,000 Persian rugs the length of half a football field. Ali! Lets go screw around at the Llama races tonight - no? Or should we take the Bentley on an excursion somewhere since fuel is nearly free - just like our education and health care. Thank you fat, whiny American’s for sending us all your currency so you can continue your unsustainable existences, and rest assured - while we live like your San Simeon Hearst each and every day, we will be so sad for your hardships - n-o-t!

Comment by vozworth
2008-09-15 18:51:58

Oh yeah,

6 acres is 29k.


it depends on how much water you dont have…

**not investment advice ***

Comment by hoz
2008-09-15 18:56:53

“It is not permissible to add to one’s possessions if these things can only be done at the cost of other men. Such development has only one true name, and that is exploitation.”
Alan Paton in ‘Cry the Beloved Country’ chap 20

Comment by Professor Bear
2008-09-15 21:24:21

How soon will Wall Street transition from the denial stage of grief into the anger stage?

Talking Business
On Wall St. as on Main St., a Problem of Denial
Published: September 15, 2008

How can this be happening?

How can it even be possible that we wake up on a Monday morning to discover that Lehman Brothers, a firm founded in 1850, a firm that has survived the Great Depression and every market trauma before and since, is suddenly bankrupt? That Merrill Lynch, the “Thundering Herd,” is sold to Bank of America the same weekend?

Just months ago, Lehman assured investors that it had enough liquidity to weather the crisis, while Merrill raised some $15 billion over the last year to shore up its balance sheet. Now they’re both as good as gone.

Last week, it was Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that needed a government bailout. This week, it looks as though American International Group and Washington Mutual will be on the hot seat. We have actually reached the point where there are now only two independent investment banks left: Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. It boggles the mind.

But it really shouldn’t. Because after you get past the mind-numbing complexity of the derivatives that are at the heart of the current crisis, what’s going on is something we are all familiar with: denial.

Comment by desertdweller
2008-09-15 22:36:34

Asian Market down over 600 already.

Wonder where the money, even though we might be told that people are coming from foreign lands to buy our lands/houses, perhaps, not so much.

Comment by goedeck
2008-09-16 00:55:39

“Gentlemen, I have had men watching you for a long time and I am convinced that you have used the funds of the bank
to speculate in the breadstuffs of the country. When you won, you divided the profits amongst you, and when
you lost, you charged it to the [public] bank. You tell me that if I take the deposits from the bank and annul its
charter, I shall ruin ten thousand families. That may be true, gentlemen, but that is your sin! Should I let
you go on, you will ruin fifty thousand families, and that would be my sin! You are a den of vipers and thieves.”
-Andrew Jackson 1836 abolishing second bank

Comment by CA renter
2008-09-16 04:11:21

That was a good one!!!

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