April 27, 2010

Bits Bucket For April 28, 2010

Post off-topic ideas, links and Craigslist finds here. The DC meetup link at the forum is here.




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407 Comments »

Comment by wmbz
2010-04-28 02:21:49

Funny, Baldy Blankfein, doesn’t know the provisions in the bill, but knows it will be good for wall street. I’ll bet.

Blankfein supports financial reform legislation
The Hill

A financial regulatory reform bill has at least one supporter outside of Congressional Democrats, Lloyd Blankfein, the head of investment bank Goldman Sachs.

“I’m generally supportive,” Blankfein told the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

Wall Street will benefit from the bill because it will make the market safer, Blankfein said.

“The biggest beneficiary of reform is Wall Street itself,” he said. “The biggest risk is risk financial institutions have with each other.”

American consumers also would benefit from better regulations, he said.

Blankfein said he didn’t know all the bill’s details and couldn’t speak to provisions that affect community and consumer banks and mortgage originators because they are “remote” to our experience.

Comment by pressboardbox
2010-04-28 02:59:54

I kept expecting one of the senators to say: “Lloyd Blankfein, you’re fired!”

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2010-04-28 07:51:21

I kept expecting one of the senators to say: “Lloyd Blankfein, you’re fired!”

lol

Either that or Lloyd Blankfein saying: “Senator, you’re fired!”

 
Comment by Sammy Schadenfreude
2010-04-28 18:43:35

They work for Lloyd, not vice versa.

 
 
Comment by Blue Skye
2010-04-28 03:17:43

“community and consumer banks and mortgage originators…….are “remote” to our experience.”

We only deal in the lofty, the imaginary, far above mere mortals.

Comment by jtie
2010-04-28 03:28:03

You made me smile. I guess when you think your on top of the pyramid, you don’t care if it’s built on quicksand.

 
Comment by stpn2me
2010-04-28 04:40:06

The U.S. taxpayer is about to reap up to 40% profit from the sale of Citigroup stock. Wasnt that a LOAN the govt gave them? I will be the first to admit I hadnt really looked into the details of that deal. So, Citigroup was given a loan by the fed govt, is actually paying it back, and the U.S. taxpayer is about to make a profit?

With so many strategic defaults, Citi seems to be setting the example….

http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/banking/2010-04-26-citigroup-stock-treasury_N.htm?csp=34&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+UsatodaycomWashington-TopStories+%28News+-+Washington+-+Top+Stories%29

Comment by Natalie
2010-04-28 05:58:06

No, it was not a loan. The US Treasury bought 7.7 billion shares of Citigroup common stock at a price of $3.25 a share in order to gain some control over shareholder voting. Shares are now trading at considerably higher prices.

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Comment by pressboardbox
2010-04-28 06:15:38

Citi stock is maybe a dollar higher - how is that a 40% reurn?

 
Comment by Natalie
2010-04-28 06:26:51

It passed the $5 dollar mark a few times in the last few weeks. It is a volatile stock and can change 5% or more per day.

 
Comment by arizonadude
2010-04-28 06:35:12

It is garbage as far as I see it.The company is insolvent.

 
Comment by polly
2010-04-28 07:14:21

Do you mean insolvent if they had to hold their bonds on their books at market value?

 
Comment by pressboardbox
2010-04-28 07:43:52

I see. So the gov is looking for a greater fool in the near future. Well, it certainly won’t be me who buys the $hiti stock from them.

 
Comment by pressboardbox
2010-04-28 07:45:27

Oh, and by the way. Couldn’t the USTreasury have bought $hiti for less than a dollar?

 
Comment by pressboardbox
2010-04-28 09:02:30

C was selling for less than a dollar. We got ripped-off at $3.25. Who dropped the ball?

 
Comment by Ki
2010-04-28 09:35:08

The govt is making a 40% profit the same way that GM has now supposedly paid back the govt for the bailout.

This is what happens when public schools teach “new math” to kids for decades. You can fool the masses into thinking 2+2=7

 
Comment by mikey
2010-04-28 14:27:13

“C was selling for less than a dollar. We got ripped-off at $3.25. Who dropped the ball?”

Forget the ball, tell me that somebody in all of these financial fiascos will be dropping the soap!

 
Comment by alpha-sloth
2010-04-28 14:52:12

When they drop the soap, we have to pick it up.

 
 
 
 
Comment by edgewaterjohn
2010-04-28 04:38:58

Yeah, but his lawyers know and that’s what matters. Certainly they feel they can cut holes into any legislation those bumbling pols can come up with, no sweat.

 
Comment by Martin
2010-04-28 05:45:59

I think business would be as usual at GS. They will keep making money and wouldn’t care much about ethics or main street as long as they can prove their actions legally in court. Moreover, a lot of their clients are GS alumni and have some sort of allegiance for GS.

Only way things can change in favor of main street is if the new financial reform addresses some issues. Otherwise business would be as usual and we may see another housing bubble in the next 5 years or so.

Comment by CarrieAnn
2010-04-28 07:29:27

I do wish the WSJ or FT would spotlight who the general GS client is. That would help us gauge any reaction to what’s going on.

Comment by Michael Fink
2010-04-28 08:16:38

I made the mistake of navigating to the GS webpage. Even though I have a pretty good understand of what GS does, I challenge you (on that webpage) to find something that they are involved in that provides some value to society.

:)

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Comment by Spokaneman
2010-04-28 09:40:39

They paid $5.4 billion in bonuses, which has or will make its way into the stream of commerce. Isn’t that a value to society? (TIC)

 
Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-28 10:08:30

…will NOT make its way into the commerce stream.

$400M might, but the remaining $5B will go right back into… more investments.

 
Comment by CA renter
2010-04-29 03:41:05

$400M might, but the remaining $5B will go right back into… more investments.

…with the expectation that they will get all of that back, plus more profits — essentially pulling even more money OUT of the economy.

 
 
 
 
Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-28 05:59:31

Would the bill stop Gollum from selling sh!tty assets to its clients without warning them about how sh!tty the assets really are?

Comment by Jim A.
2010-04-28 06:22:51

Well presumably there WAS a telephone book sized prospectus which revealed how poopy the loans underlying these bonds were.* At some level, you can buy a new car, or a used car with a warranty, a used car with no warraty that can still pass inspection, or junker for parts. But there’s a REASON that the sticker says AS IS or WARRANTY in big letters. So there’s no probem with them selling poo, the question is how forthright they were with their customers that this was, indeed poo, the fact that they’d packaged it in sausage links notwitstanding. Because this IS the equivalant of squeezing manure in sausage links, putting it in the refrigerated section of the grocery store with a small print label that says “manure” and acting all surprised that people weren’t buying it to spread on their gardens. “People are free to buy what they want, and the ratings agencies are free to give it whatever rating that they want,” is disingenous response considering that many in GS thought that the ratings were an inaccurate prediction of the chances of default.

*After all “stated income” translates as “We TOLD you that we just wrote down whatever crazy sh!t the borrower told us.” Why anybody paid attention to debt to income figures on stated loans is beyond me. Why anybody would buy a stated income loan with a loan to value percentage greater than ~60% is beyond me too. ‘Cause at SOME point, before this stuff was pooled and tranched into meaninglessness, somebody bought these as whole loans.

Comment by arizonadude
2010-04-28 06:38:58

Stated income is the amount you wish you made.You now stated income loans have their role in the market.You cant give people with poor credit stated loans.

If someone has good credit, assets, down payment and history of work then they might be a good canditate for stated.

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Comment by Jim A.
2010-04-28 07:02:43

Well the problem is that the only real, economic reason to give people with poor credit and unknown income loans is because even though you think that default is PROBABLE, you’re SURE that the underlying asset can be seized and sold for enough to make you whole. So the anticipation is that you’ll pocket a few months to a year or so of (very high) interest and then get your principal back in a foreclosure. These sorts of loans are generally considerd abusive because most borrowers would be in better shape if they sold (or didn’t purchase) the asset being used as security.

 
Comment by Jim A.
2010-04-28 10:01:48

oops, I misread your post arizonadude. But my point stands. Stated is admitting that you have NO IDEA whether the borrower has the capacity to pay back the loan or not. So you’re left with the other two “C”s… character (aka credit score) and collateral. You extrapolate from the fact that the borrower hasn’t gotten themselves in over their heads yet (25th floor, so far so good!) to assume that this loan won’t get themselves in over their head. Stated isn’t merely reduced underwriting, where you look at the 1040s for the last few years and figure that even though the borrower works on comission, he’s been pulling down good money for the last three years so we think he’ll be able to make his montyly nut.

During the bubble, most stated loans were to people who DO get wages or salaries and have incomes that are fairly easy to verify. Either people were paying significantly more for loans to avoid ~1hour of finding paperwork, or they were crooks or they were idiots. Adverse selection at it’s finest. I don’t remember the actual number, but something like 80% of these loans had incomes that were inflated by 20% or more. And a large number inflated their income by 50% or more.

 
Comment by drumminj
2010-04-28 10:49:48

During the bubble, most stated loans were to people who DO get wages or salaries and have incomes that are fairly easy to verify.

I’m pretty sure I ended up with a stated-income loan. When it came time to actually get my loan (After being pre-approved and having rate locked in), they didn’t need copies of my W-2s or anything. Of course I could have documented my income, but apparently the lender didn’t feel it was necessary.

Of course, I bought something I could easily afford, a little over 2x income.

 
Comment by Jim A.
2010-04-28 11:31:43

frumminj: Well there’s a good chance that the lender didn’t feel that it was necessery becuase they could charge you more in closing costs or interest if they didn’t get full documentation.

 
Comment by drumminj
2010-04-28 14:35:37

there’s a good chance that the lender didn’t feel that it was necessery becuase they could charge you more in closing costs or interest

Possibly. I got “quotes” from a few mortgage brokers, and the costs were roughly in line with each other. But who knows…

Sucks if that’s the case, as that kind of thing certainly wasn’t made clear to me.

 
Comment by X-GSfixr
2010-04-28 14:58:02

Once I “stated” to a woman that I was a Neurosurgeon, that made about a million bucks a year, I was single and hung like a racehorse………

Guess she should have read the fine print, and done some verification, too…… :)

 
Comment by CA renter
2010-04-29 03:43:57

:)

 
 
Comment by Diogenes (Tampa, Florida)
2010-04-28 09:23:11

‘Cause at SOME point, before this stuff was pooled and tranched into meaninglessness, somebody bought these as whole loans.

Yes, but the new financial model, with the approval of Greenspan was to “unload” the loans through securitization, thereby eliminating the need for keeping reserves, since the loans were no longer on the books of the ORIGINATOR.
that is what FANNIE and FREDDIE were for………..dumping crap onto the taxpayer, and whatever you couldn’t pass to the GSE”S,
well Wallstreet had Pension Funds, School Boards, Municipalities, and Mutual Funds that were DESPERATE for some kind of return higher than the 1% the FED set as the low end. They needed it.
They depended on it.
So………….when the Ratings Agencies said it was “AAA”, they bought it.
The Brokerages got their fees, sold insurance policies (unlicensed), hedged against losses, and started a huge ponzi finance scheme. And you will recall, they said they made the CDO’s and MBS and CDO squared and whole host of other “products” because that is what their clients “demanded”.

Well, actually, they just needed to get a better than 1% return on their money because all the actuarial tables that they used to fund their pension funds required them to make a minimum of 8% to not go into default. Otherwise, they needed more money from their employees. and more money for health insurance. GoldmanSachs and friends “SAVED” them from default………..for about 2 years. Now they are SUNK.

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Comment by CA renter
2010-04-29 03:46:36

Diogenes,

You are exactly right about the pension funds having to take on more risk because of the low interest rate environment.

IMHO, not enough people grasp this fact, and they prefer to blame the pension problem on the employees alone.

If not for all the financial bubbles and the artificially low interest rates, I believe the pension funds would be in fairly decent shape.

 
 
 
Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2010-04-28 06:58:33

Mr. Bear, now come on…you left out that “special” descriptive investor word: “sauvest”… clients ;-)

Comment by pressboardbox
2010-04-28 09:05:18

Sophisticated client = Way smarter than any Sentator = Smarter than a Mexican 5th grader.

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Comment by SUGuy
2010-04-28 06:38:34

It was a theater of fools.

Blankfein came across as a squirmy unpolished corrupt evasive and awful. I hope the world saw this and got the message that doing business with Goldman Sachs is a losing proposition. What a waste of time.

Comment by Rental Watch
2010-04-28 08:38:00

I was able to watch the first bit of the questioning yesterday. They need to have litigators coach these senators. They can’t question their way out of a paper bag.

Levin grumbled and fumbled his way through the first bit of questioning. At one point, the GS executive, when asked about whether if GS is short a security, whether it was proper to be selling that security without disclosing the position, the GS executive said “is Goldman short, or just that trading desk?”.

Instead of taking the opening, and saying “that’s a good question, let’s discuss both–what if Goldman is short?”, Levin went a completely different direction and didn’t drill the executive on the mistake (because saying that was a mistake).

Complete waste of time, until the senators know how to ask clear, simple, yes-no questions.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2010-04-28 08:45:47

I was able to watch the first bit of the questioning yesterday. They need to have litigators coach these senators. They can’t question their way out of a paper bag.

I agree.

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Comment by lavi d
2010-04-28 09:58:52

Complete waste of time, until the senators know how to ask clear, simple, yes-no questions.

Reminds me of Uncle Ted(YouTube)

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Comment by Diogenes (Tampa, Florida)
2010-04-28 09:13:44

It is never a losing proposition for Goldman. They are now a BANK, and can “borrow” from the FED at ZERO interest. Then, they sell the TREASURY back the money from the FED and get 3% for doing NOTHING. This is simply STEALING from the Taxpayer who is ultimately responsible for funding the TREASURY.

The entire actions of all the officials involved in the rescue of Goldman, Citi, JPM and Bof amerika is TREASONABLE. This is thievery in broad daylight, and NO ONE calls it what it is, as SCAM to re-fund the loses made by these geniuses.

The proposals don’t break up Goldman and restore GLass-Steagel which would make BANKS responsible to their depositors and keep brokerages from padding their books with their client’s and NOW taxpayer’s money. The entire democratic proposals are a sham, and the “media” is coming up with their usual propaganda:
The republicans want to block reform. The republicans are against healthcare. the republicans want to kill babies.

They NEVER give the facts of what the bill says. Just that it will help “reform” wallstreet. It is a power grab by the FED and the TReasury to work with the Administration to give away tax-payer money without the approval of Congress. That’s all.
Wallstreet is happy they can continue the casino and no brokerage houses get busted up as NOT banks.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2010-04-28 10:05:44

The entire actions of all the officials involved in the rescue of Goldman, Citi, JPM and Bof amerika is TREASONABLE. This is thievery in broad daylight, and NO ONE calls it what it is, as SCAM to re-fund the loses made by these geniuses.

I agree and right now the Tea Party is really the only active, large group of citizens trying to make at least some kind of point.

1. Does the Tea Party call BS on the issue above?

2. If not, why?

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Comment by drumminj
2010-04-28 10:51:23

1. Does the Tea Party call BS on the issue above?

You act like there’s one lone voice of the ‘tea party’, and that the members don’t have different beliefs/opinions.

It is quite possible that people come together for a common cause, yet have different beliefs. Look at Ron Paul’s supporters. Lots of different backgrounds, but with one thing in common - belief in limited government and personal responsibility.

 
Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2010-04-28 11:10:00

1. Does the Tea Party call BS on the issue above?

You act like there’s one lone voice of the ‘tea party’, and that the members don’t have different beliefs/opinions.

But this is such a major issue, one of the biggest issues we are facing. And I’m asking a question I don’t have an answer to but from what I am reading, I am not seeing ANY Tea Party position on this.

And if they don’t have a position on this central issue, what good are the Tea Party anyway?

What is their common cause?

 
Comment by packman
2010-04-28 11:19:32

What is their common cause?

My take is - their common cause is making this stop going up so fast.

Supposedly.

I’m all for that - however I have four problems with the “Tea Party” -
1. Their focus is on taxes too much - it should be strictly on spending. Reduce taxes only when (if) the debt gets lowered significantly.
2. They seem to have co-opted a plethora of conservative issues/viewpoints, instead of just the single one.
3. Sarah Palin
4. Sarah Palin

 
Comment by CA renter
2010-04-29 03:51:52

Rio,

Rick Santelli is actually what prompted the whole “Tea Party” movement, and it was originally about the bailouts. I supported very much how this started out, but it seems the movement was co-opted by the Republicans (because they were afraid of what might happen if they didn’t get control of it?).

Here’s the video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEZB4taSEoA

 
 
 
Comment by mikey
2010-04-28 15:09:23

These GS city canyon rattlesnakes seem to like to den up with other rattlesnakes.

Snakes like our Wall Street Boyz will always have The Pit Viper Hotel sign up, a vacancy and a light in the window for whoever wants to slither in with them by this winter which brings me to my main question.

“Anybody got…Gasoline ?”

:)

 
 
Comment by pressboardbox
2010-04-28 09:09:31

Headline: Goldman CEO Draws Blank, Avoids Fine

Comment by Green Shoots
2010-04-28 18:28:53

“Ouch! Where do you meanies get off slapping my wrist in public?”

 
 
Comment by samk
2010-04-28 11:41:42

“Blankfein said he didn’t know all the bill’s details”

They have to pass it so he can see what’s in it.

 
Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-28 18:06:01

Warning: Sleeping with lobbyists from Wall Street Megabanks could be toxic or fatal to your political future.

Goldman a Lobbyist Non Grata
By ERIC LICHTBLAU and ERIC DASH
Published: April 28, 2010

WASHINGTON — Last week, White House officials quietly approached leading financial firms seeking formal letters of support for a Congressional overhaul of financial regulations. One Wall Street powerhouse was left off the list: Goldman Sachs.

Given the government’s lawsuit against Goldman, “the message,” said a financial industry executive involved in the discussions about the White House solicitation, “was that Goldman’s opinion doesn’t matter and that it would be negative if Goldman was supportive of what we were doing.”

Goldman Sachs employs perhaps the country’s most well-connected stable of Washington lobbyists, and it spent $2.8 million last year to bend the ear of federal officials and lawmakers. But the pounding the investment firm has taken in recent days has left it sidelined — at least in public — as Congress moves toward a decision that could reshape the very industry it rules.

With Goldman the target of a Securities and Exchange Commission fraud lawsuit filed two weeks ago and nearly 11 hours of questioning in a Senate committee hearing on Tuesday, the company has been portrayed by many as a symbol of Wall Street excess and abuse.

All of the Wall Street banks today are politically toxic,” said Jaret Seiberg, a financial policy analyst for Concept Capital, a financial policy research group. “Goldman is in that bucket. The hearing makes it harder to get their message out in Washington, but that was true before the hearing and that is true today. To be a Wall Street bank today means there are already two strikes against you.

 
 
Comment by Blue Skye
2010-04-28 03:11:45

Picking up on a topic posted by Carrieann yesterday:

Grandiosity lives in backwater NY. $40M Finger Lakes Museum to be built in Branchport. This little Yuppie enclave in Penn Yan is too funny! Intent on destroying a state park on a remote part of Keuka Lake with OPM. I think it’s the only strip of undeveloped land on the lake. The “Youth Center” was a non-starter but where there’s a will to spend, there’s always another project. Yates county taxpayers are on the hook for the seed money. Grant writers, start your engines. We all know NYS is good for it. Public parks, rip um up! HAHAHahahahahahahaa!

It will feature an aquarium and zoo! 40,000 ft2 facility in a town of a few hundred. Talk about infrastructure gap.

http://www.democratandchronicle.com/article/20100427/NEWS01/4270329/Keuka-Lake-site-chosen-for-Finger-Lakes-museum

It’s still different here. Everybody wants to come here. We have wineries and Menonites. Plus Branchport has a cute general store at the traffic light and….well that’s about it.

Comment by CarrieAnn
2010-04-28 05:49:40

Maybe they’ll get increased foot traffic out there after they close Chittenango Falls Park and Clark Park here.

Syracuse was awarded the hospital expansions while they closed hospitals and wings in that area and you’ll get the park traffic while they close recreational areas in this area. The people who win: large construction companies and building suppliers. Probably the same guys that built those oh so necessary giant rest stop monstrosities on the thruway. Those things were my DHs first introduction to me about the flow of largesse in his home state.

Comment by oxide
2010-04-28 07:49:55

The rest stops on the Thruway had to be extra nice because drivers can’t exit the toll-road thruway for nicer restaurants in the towns.

Comment by Blue Skye
2010-04-28 12:30:05

Sure you can. I do all the time. There’s a toll booth, no big deal. You start again when you get back on the road.

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Comment by SUGuy
2010-04-28 07:19:59

It’s still different here.

Yes NYS has some very beautiful state parks, with cabins and camping facilities. The seasonal pass to the state parks is relatively cheap and a good value .We have gotten seasonal passes for the past 20 years and enjoy the short summers. The rest stop areas along route 81 and the thruway did need to be upgraded and are used by trucking industry as well as the traveling public during peak travel times. The rest stops areas in NYS are some of the best in the country. I have no complaints

Comment by CarrieAnn
2010-04-28 08:05:56

“The rest stop areas along route 81 and the thruway did need to be upgraded and are used by trucking industry as well as the traveling public during peak travel times. The rest stops areas in NYS are some of the best in the country. I have no complaints”

The rest stops are some of the best in the country! Well, woo, hoo! Dang, that’s something to be proud of. All most people ask for when en route is decent food and cleanliness. But hey, look what we’ve got! We’ve got soaring ceilings we get to heat through NY winters! Woo hoo! I’m sure the teachers and other workers soon to be losing their jobs this year can go hang out in those rest stops for comfort and to be reminded their leaders really do love them. Cuz eating your McDonalds level food in soaring windows and stone decoration is something we NYers deserve!

LOL I won’t complain as much as keep up on DH why its stupid to stay here and watch his wealth whittled away. There’s beauty to found among the more responsible.

Comment by SUGuy
2010-04-28 10:32:55

Please get your facts straight. There are NO FAST FOOD CHAINS on the rest stop areas along route 81. The transportation industry needs an area for the truckers to pull over and sleep at night. Try visiting one at night after 9PM and see for yourself. I get your point screw everything else so that we can direct more money for my kid’s schools. There are other people who also live and work in this state and have a life and pay taxes. Why does every thing in NYS boils down to some argument over teachers pay raises? Have you seen 20K taxes for 400K houses in Syracuse NY and most of it going towards schools with dismal graduation records? Give me a break. We need more money for the school district like we need a hole in the head. Woo, Hoo I think people with kids need to think beyond school districts. Btw most of the rest stop areas were constructed before 06 during the bubble economy.

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Comment by Bad Chile
2010-04-28 10:36:11

No kidding. And you have to use the rest stops otherwise you pay the toll.

One of the million reasons I’m not looking back when I leave Massachusetts in 10 days.

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Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2010-04-28 10:54:33

Help me out here. Don’t you have to pay the toll anyway? What I really mean is, if you leave point A and exit at B (paying the toll), then get back on at B and end in C, isn’t that the same total toll as going directly from A to C?

 
Comment by Bad Chile
2010-04-29 05:43:22

No, the tolls have a minimum. So it gets higher the more you exit.

 
 
 
 
Comment by CincyDad
2010-04-28 10:14:02

I always thought of the Finger Lake Region as its own “museum”. Now they want to actually build one?

Will it be like the Cheese Museum in the Utica area? Are they looking for synergies with the Curtis museum in Hamondsport (south tip of Keuka Lake)?

I must admit… the Adirondack museum is nice. I just can’t image a need for a Finger Lakes museum. And wouldn’t you put in with the Finger Lakes Performing Arts Center (now under a new name, I hear)? What’s next, a “Thousand Islands museum”? A “Central Leatherstocking Museum”? A “Southern Tier Museum”?

I’m sure there will soon be a “Thruway Rest Area Museum”, if a state senator can get the votes in exchange for their support on other pork.

Comment by SUGuy
2010-04-28 11:10:13

I must admit… the Adirondack museum is nice

Our family has devoted quite a bit of time and money towards the Arts. My mil is planning on donating original Hudson river paintings to the local museum.

The Arts are an essential part of public education. From dance and music to theatre and the visual arts, the arts give children a unique means of expression, capturing their passions and emotions, and allowing them to explore new ideas, subject matter, and cultures. They bring us joy in every aspect of our lives.

Arts education not only enhances students’ understanding of the world around them, but it also broadens their perspective on traditional academics. The arts give us the creativity to express ourselves, while challenging our intellect. The arts integrate life and learning for all students and are integral in the development of the whole person.

The Arts communicate and speak to us in ways that teach literacy and enhance our lives. We must continue to find a place for arts programs and partnerships not only for what it teaches students about art, but for what it teaches us all about the world we live in.

–Dr. Terry Bergeson

Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2010-04-28 14:57:28

1000% + :-)

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Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-28 10:18:55

NY, like CA and FL, is another state I would NEVER live in.

Beautiful country. Really stupid people.

Comment by CrackerJim
2010-04-28 11:42:40

Please don’t ever consider changing your mind about living in Florida. We definitely don’t need or want someone with your condescending and elitist attitude.

Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-28 11:54:06

I used to live there. I speak from experience.

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Comment by CrackerJim
2010-04-28 12:09:32

Then we’re glad you are gone. I don’t share your viewpoint and I have lived here 64 years.

 
Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-28 12:13:49

Me too. Thanks!

 
Comment by exeter
2010-04-29 04:37:07

Eco…. you are exactly correct on NY.

 
 
 
 
Comment by X-GSfixr
2010-04-28 15:01:43

Our Amish can kick your Mennonite’s Azzes… :)

 
 
Comment by jtie
2010-04-28 03:14:41

“A financial regulatory reform bill has at least one supporter outside of Congressional Democrats, Lloyd Blankfein, the head of investment bank Goldman Sachs.”

“The biggest risk is risk financial institutions have with each other.”

Huh?

“Blankfein said he didn’t know all the bill’s details and couldn’t speak to provisions that affect community and consumer banks and mortgage originators because they are “remote” to our experience.”

Remote?

I am craving a dictionary and interpreter.

How interesting: a banking “head” (all puns intended) that admits he doesn’t know some significant banking principles.

Nightmare on Wall Street.

Comment by packman
2010-04-28 07:29:23

You have to understand that GS isn’t actually a bank - it’s a trading house. I’m not sure if they even originate mortgage loans. They certainly aren’t “down in the trenches” looking at the details of what loans might be good or bad. So - he’s right.

But that’s exactly the problem. The people who have a vested interest in these loans’ success should have a lot more insight into the nitty gritty of the loans themselves; and best case should be the ones who actually originated them. Think Bailey Brothers Savings and Loan. We’re so far gone from that model though it’s not funny.

Comment by polly
2010-04-28 08:36:20

I beleive GS technically became a “regular” bank in order to get the bailout money (and access to the particularly loose Fed borrowing desk?). However, they are not a commercial bank. As far as I know they never opened up a branch where you can open a checking account or apply for a loan once they became subject to those rules. They are an investment bank, meaning they help clients get access to capital via the bond and equity markets. They also sell those bonds and equity to people. They act as an intermediary in derivatives transactions that do not trade on regulated markets. In addition, they trade debt and equity for their own accounts.

As far as loans go, they are part of the shadow banking industry rather than the regular one. Putting together people who issue bond and people who buy bonds rather than raising capital with deposits and lending it out. They are part of the system that figured out they could still make money by selling lower and lower quality loans by packaging them and selling them on to allegedly sophisticated investors chasing returns that they couldn’t get from regular banks when interest rates were so low.

Comment by packman
2010-04-28 09:11:30

Yes - that matches my understanding, and is stated way better and more completely than I ever could.

W/regards to mortgage lending - perhaps a good analogy would be the CEO of an agriculture company that’s never actually been to a farm.

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Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-28 10:22:21

You’ve just described many large corporations and politicians.

 
 
 
Comment by mikey
2010-04-28 15:42:39

Buying these Wall Street banks investments must be kinda like buying a brand new expensive luxury condo for cash.

You sign on the dotted like, plop your money down, open the shiny door and you own a great big bunch of AIR.

(which I might add in the condo case, may not be a totally a bad thing, as you could need it underwater)

:)

 
 
 
Comment by wmbz
2010-04-28 03:26:59

VIX Surges 31% in Biggest Jump Since 2008 on Greece Downgrade

April 27 (Bloomberg) — The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index jumped the most since October 2008 after Standard & Poor’s cut the credit ratings of Greece and Portugal, prompting speculation that European deficits will spur a global financial crisis.

The VIX, as the benchmark index for U.S. options is known, surged 31 percent to 22.81, the highest level since Feb. 11. The index measures the cost of using options as insurance against declines in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, which tumbled 2.3 percent. Europe’s VStoxx Index, a gauge of options on the Dow Jones Euro Stoxx 50 Index, climbed 17 percent to close at 28.56.

“It’s the sovereign debt issues in Europe and whether or not it’s going to implode,” Dominic Salvino, a specialist at Group One Trading, the primary market maker for VIX options, said in an interview from the CBOE floor. “People are looking for near-term protection.”

Greece’s credit rating was cut three steps to junk by Standard and Poor’s, the first time that’s happened to a euro member since the currency started, as contagion from the nation’s debt crisis spread through the bloc. S&P also lowered its rating on Portugal by two steps to A- from A+.

“It’s a very big concern,” Jon Corpina, senior managing partner at Meridian Equity Partners Inc. on the New York Stock Exchange floor, said in a Bloomberg Television interview. “It starts off with Greece and everyone looks at the map to see where else it can spread.”

Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-28 06:03:17

You have to admire the Greek populace. Rather than naively accepting the propaganda that the bailouts were necessary to save the financial system, as the gullible American public did, the Greeks are threatening outright rebellion against the international bankster establishment that rapes, pillages and defrauds ordinary, law-abiding citizens for the sake of personally enriching the wafer-thin upper crust.

Good for them.

Comment by michael
2010-04-28 06:32:05

i thought they were protesting the potential loss of all their free stuff.

Comment by Jim A.
2010-04-28 07:07:26

Six of one, half a dozen of the other. At some level this is the walkaway problem writ large. The Greek government can reschedule (=partially default on) their debts or not.

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Comment by ET-Chicago
2010-04-28 11:17:11

i thought they were protesting the potential loss of all their free stuff.

That, too!

Flaming cheese for ever’body! Oooooopah!

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Comment by Sammy Schadenfreude
2010-04-28 18:50:28

I’m surprised the German people aren’t more up in arms. Their globalist “leaders” are all too happy to throw good money after bad, but I wouldn’t thought the Herrenvolk would be more fired up about their forced bailout of their deadbeat southern neighbors.

 
 
Comment by pressboardbox
2010-04-28 06:18:22

Not to worry. PPT blitz at the open. (they seem able to manipulate futures more easily than during the trading day). Somebody should have asked Blankfein how he does this every day.

Comment by Ol'Bubba
2010-04-28 07:19:10

Does anyone really believe that the congress committee members that questioned Blankfein understand what a future is?
And if they did understand a future, could they articulate a question on how GS could/would/did/will manipulate them?

I really believe that the U.S. Congress is an embarrassment to our nation.

Comment by pressboardbox
2010-04-28 07:23:09

Couldn’t possibly agree with you more, Bubba.

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Comment by In Montana
2010-04-28 08:18:55

Doesn’t matter. They know J6P doesn’t know either so it makes good theater.

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Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-28 10:24:43

“I really believe that the U.S. Congress is an embarrassment to our nation.”

I think John Adams said the exact same thing.

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Comment by Ol'Bubba
2010-04-28 11:41:31

great minds think alike.

 
 
Comment by mikey
2010-04-28 16:02:17

This GS/Congress/Lawyer Circus doesn’t get really embarassing until everybody involved suddenly piles into one little clown car and then they try to head down to their favorite Georgetown watering hole for drinks together.

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Comment by wmbz
2010-04-28 03:30:37

Cabinet Plant, Largest Employer In Pike Co., Closing.

WAVERLY, Ohio — More than 1,200 jobs were being eliminated on Tuesday, after the Masco Cabinet Group announced it was closing its Hopewell Road facility.

The plant is the largest single employer in Pike County, 10TV News reported.

The company, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., said that it is phasing out the manufacture of its ready-to-assemble products.

The company manufactures KraftMaid, Merillat, and QualityCabinets brands and DeNova brand countertops.

The Waverly plant opened in 1987 and was purchased by Masco in 1999.

Masco has not identified a closing date but expects the facility to close in early 2011, according to a company news release.

Comment by Blue Skye
2010-04-28 05:10:22

I bought some Merillat cabinets 15 years ago for a doityourself kitchen makeover. Beautiful Cherry wood and well made for the price. There was no profit in that project, the house sold for about what i paid for it. If it was throwing money down the drain then, it would be a real looser these days.

 
Comment by oxide
2010-04-28 05:15:33

Wal-Mart and Tar-jhay are making a killing on the box furniture. Their stuff used to scream “poor grad student” — IKEA still screams that — but now the low-end stuff is starting to look passable. Passable enough that people don’t need to make the jump to a mid-grade. Furniture is the ultimate in discretionary spending.

Comment by WHYoung
2010-04-28 06:31:15

Furniture has also become a fashion item…

The disposable “cheap but cheerful” appeals to a certain mentality in dressers as well as dresses…

These days few people know what constitutes “heirloom quality” in furniture, and perhaps don’t really want it anyway.
There’s a lot of pricey stuff out there with a core of particle board…

There a a lot of students in my neighborhood, and at the end-of-semester moving season you could easily furnish another apartment with the stuff that’s left on the curb. Would cost more to move than buy more at the new destination.

Comment by Michael Fink
2010-04-28 08:22:32

I’d love to know the markup on a “Rooms to Go” or “City Furniture” type store. I’m getting at least 50% (and maybe 100%), but, that’s just a guess.

Also, I’d never want “heirloom quality” furniture. Then all you do is worry about the 10K couch; you don’t actually enjoy it! I’d much rather replace it every 5-10 years than worry about babying it (and hoping it stays in style) for the next 50.

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Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-28 10:27:52

Furniture markup is generally 400+%.

You top end brands are 1000+%.

 
Comment by Michael Fink
2010-04-28 11:08:49

OMG. All right then.. 400% markup? That’s obscene! :(

I guess the warehouses are very expensive, as are the showrooms.. But my God.. 400%?

 
Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-28 11:23:59

400+% markup is normal in most all retail operations. Furniture and appliances especially.

And yes, operational overhead is really that high. Between taxes, rent, utilities, staffing, inventory, insurance, marketing, equipment, etc, all of which are higher for businesses than consumers, you HAVE to charge 400% or more.

 
Comment by Kirisdad
2010-04-28 15:11:31

400% retail mark-up on appliances? Not a chance.

 
Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-28 16:00:28

O.K. Explain. (I should have qualified with “many”, bit not all)

 
 
 
 
Comment by Ki
2010-04-28 05:30:59

Another Michigan success story.

In 2008 when Obama was looking for a VP I remember many on the left decrying the silly rule that requires a president to be US born. Not because of Obama’s birth certificate. But because one of the potential nominees, Michigan’s governor, is Canadian born. And oh what a shame, since she would be perfect for the job.

Yes perfect. She helped destroy Michigan’s economy via tax and spend and tax some more policies. She would have been a great asset to Obama’s plans for the rest of the country.

But not to worry, there is speculation, the great governor is on the list of Obama’s SCOTUS names. So there is hope yet.

Comment by WHYoung
2010-04-28 06:32:53

And remember the governator is from Austria.

 
 
Comment by pressboardbox
2010-04-28 06:19:24

Green sPikes?

 
Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-28 10:30:17

Don’t think for a minute these brands are going away. They are a staple of remodels and starter houses.

The plant is most likely just moving to… come on, you know where they’re moving to.

Comment by james
2010-04-28 14:51:35

More likely out of business. Heck it is a housing related industry. How often do we really need a new set of cabinets?

F-it, you can always paint them or strip the paint and varnish.

Heck you can even change the doors!

Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-28 16:02:15

Not the really cheap ones. The paper veneer peels off and the screw holes become stripped because particle board isn’t made to be screwed into but one time.

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Comment by GrizzlyBear
2010-04-28 11:29:48

“WAVERLY, Ohio — More than 1,200 jobs were being eliminated on Tuesday, after the Masco Cabinet Group announced it was closing its Hopewell Road facility.”

This is what they mean by “green shoots” right? Right? Green shoots? Love these green shoots. I’m seeing these green shoots everywhere. Are these your green shoots, Bernanke? Bernanke?

 
 
Comment by wmbz
2010-04-28 03:32:24

Sallie Mae Announces Layoffs.

The loan provider recently told 1,200 staffers in service centers in Killeen, Texas and Panama City, Florida that they will be out of work by the end of the year.

Company spokeswoman, Martha Holler, anticipates an additional 1,300 additional jobs will be lost by the end of 2011, cutting the total workforce by nearly a third.

Sallie Mae maintains the layoffs are a direct result from changes made to the federal student loan program as part of the health-care reform billed signed by President Barack Obama.

Comment by Ki
2010-04-28 05:08:03

Hope + Change = no job.

Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2010-04-28 06:31:40

Cause & Effect 101:

Cheney-Shrub Shadow Legacy Effect #8: “We delivered the worst US Economy in 80 years, see ya” :-)

Comment by GrizzlyBear
2010-04-28 11:41:06

Exactly. It’s like not changing the oil for 50,000 miles in a vehicle you purchased new, selling it, then blaming the new owner when the engine blows the following week.

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Comment by wmbz
2010-04-28 14:24:09

Then along comes Barry… Takes the baton and makes bush look like a skin flint. Could have really made a difference instead he’s just another idiot.

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Comment by james
2010-04-28 14:34:47

Ya know, you might want to consider what the economy was doing in 2001 after the Nasdaq bubble expired.

The economy has been headed for disaster for a long time.

Felt like the last time we had a chace to turn away from this was under Bush1.

Clinton/Rubin/Greeny accelerated bubble mark 1. Bubble mark 2. was Bush.

I don’t really blame much of this on either guy. They both responded in classical Keynesian fasion. Lower taxes, run more debt equals stimulis 1. Obama is going down the same course.

The only thing you could say for Clinton was the bastard got out before things hit the fan. Rode the high revenues of the Nasdaq.

There isn’t any memory amoungst you partisan hacks. The economy was self destructing and the “conservatives” did the same thing as the “liberals”… create a lot of inflation.

Hence many here discuss the posibility of the prices and debt unwinding to 1996 levels.

Get that. Both parties did the exact same thing.

Last guy to crimp govt and military expenditures or at least slow them slightly was Bush1. And that because of congress/senate. Who promptly got voted out of office. And were controlled by democrats.

Alrightly then. Partisan away on that.

Only thing I can think of that might do long term good out of the republicans was welfare reform. That was a good thing. Course they went for the silver hair vote and blew it all on medicare and didn’t fix social security.

Alright. You just plain old exhaust me you bunch of disgusting paid hacks. Seems increasing certain that is what a bunch of you are.

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Comment by alpha-sloth
2010-04-28 17:16:19

Didn’t Clinton balance the budget? That should be worth a few brownie points. Admittedly, it was during a bubble, but the budget sure wasn’t balanced during the next bubble.

And if anyone had been responding in ‘classical Keynesian fashion’, interest rates would have been raised to choke off both the dotcom and the housing bubble. There is more to Keynes’ theory than increasing spending during downturns.

 
Comment by james
2010-04-28 18:20:22

Fair enough. Thought the balanced budget was a bit of a myth though. Just a bubble illusion along with more favorable demographics.

True about Keynes theory there however, you have to look at the “prosperity” of the 90s as a bubble building in SUVs and dotcoms along with a technolgy leap forward. Cell phones, internet and other lasting effects.

In the end it all seems wasted.

Believe me, back then I was screaming about trade with China, protecting American intelectual property and NAFTA. That along with Rubin/Greenspan creating sweeps and playing games with reserves.

Might have gone too far with cutbacks in military spending though. Got ourselves creamed on 9-11. Lucky that wasn’t a lot worse.

 
Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2010-04-28 22:25:29

Hey James, pedusa = Mr. Cole age 6 self-made public word for: A$s

Grocery.com
Laughing my pedusa off

3bdrm 2 bth on 3,200 sf lots in Chula Vista, CA for $496,000
Laughing my pedusa off

Sending “The Boy” to the UN to start a War in Iraq because: “he tried to kill my daddy!”
NOT laughing my pedusa off…Not laughing at all…

US Soldiers sent to prove a lie…in a foreign country…with US National Guard as support…”innocent Iraqi women & children & men” killed… to destroy a “perceived” threat…
NOT laughing my pedusa off…Not laughing at all…

“Alrightly then. Partisan away on that.”

Shall I throw in using private corporate “non-bid” contractors to carry shields to block the American draped caskets from the “We The People” eyes?…

 
 
 
 
Comment by Blue Skye
2010-04-28 05:11:51

“layoffs are a direct result from changes made to the federal student loan program as part of the health-care reform bill”

Can someone explain that one?

Comment by oxide
2010-04-28 05:20:10

Pres Obama tacked a student loan provision onto the “reconciliation fix” half of the health care law. It was the only way he could get it through Congress.

Gov-backed student loans were privatized, but that only resulted in nice skims for private business but high rates for starving students. Obama’s provision takes gov-backed loans out of private companies and puts them back into government hands.

Sallie Mae (semi-private) is going to lose a bunch of customers, hence the layoffs. Now, here’s where I would really like a follow-up. The customer base didn’t disappear; it just shifted to from private to public. Will those 1200 workers be rehired by the government or contractor to service those loans?

Comment by combotechie
2010-04-28 05:30:32

“Willl those 1200 workers be rehired by the government or contractor to service those loans?’

If those workers can be outsourced to India then I wouldn’t count on it.

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Comment by Martin
2010-04-28 05:53:02

Why isn’t anyone in the Govt.doing anything about outsourcing of good jobs to India. I think anything that would pay more than 30K should stay in the US. There would be ways to prevent the jobs leaving the US soil.
Otherwise, we could see another China like situation with all manufacturing in China and close to zero in US.

Last week I bought some house decoration just because it said “Made in USA”, not that I needed it.

Countries like Brazil and India are very protective of their businesses and not allow easy immigrant workers or outsourcing of their jobs.

 
Comment by oxide
2010-04-28 11:06:39

What, and cripple “free enterprise?”

 
 
Comment by Ki
2010-04-28 05:34:46

Probably. Except those 1200 new govt employees will be paid more, will work less and retire at 55 with a full pension and benefits courtesy of you and me. And 1200 will turn into 1800 and then 2500 as the bureaucracy of the federal govt grows with the new mandate.

Then again maybe not. The govt has shown itself to be so efficient at running Social Security, Medicare, VA, enforcing the border and delivering mail that I’m sure they will run the student loan operation with utmost efficiency and professionalism.

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Comment by In Colorado
2010-04-28 06:12:53

My understanding is that new Fed hires don’t get “full pensions” anymore. They still get a better deal than most private sector folks though.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the feds outsourced that work to a contractor. They already do a lot of outsourcing onshore.

 
Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2010-04-28 06:35:15

“…Then again maybe not. The govt has shown itself to be so efficient at running Social Security, Medicare, VA, enforcing the border and delivering mail that I’m sure they will run the student loan operation with utmost efficiency and professionalism.”

All those that want their private mailed delivered by the CORPORATION that also owns 7/11 & Yellow Cab and is a subsidiary of Goldenmansucks…form a line to the right… :-)

 
Comment by Ki
2010-04-28 06:54:01

What are you talking about?

 
Comment by measton
2010-04-28 07:02:04

Then again maybe not. The govt has shown itself to be so efficient at running

Social Security - Compared to what Wall Street?
Medicare - Much more cost efficient than private insurance. Very high satisfaction rate. Medicare Advantage that outsourced the same tasks to private insurance cost 15-20% more.
VA - Much more cost efficient than private insurance.

enforcing the border - Talk to corporate America about this one. They have no desire to control our border.

 
Comment by LehighValleyGuy
2010-04-28 07:20:08

You keep saying this over and over. You’re ignoring copious research that shows that any apparent savings in government-run programs is due to cost-shifting and discrepancies in measurement. And once again, I ask you, if government is so great at running health care, why don’t we just have them take over the whole economy? Why bother with a private sector at all?

 
Comment by Ki
2010-04-28 07:52:40

Oh don’t you worry. Govt run health care is coming soon enough.

 
Comment by polly
2010-04-28 07:56:41

The buzz in DC is that Sallie Mae, Citibank, et al would be hired as contractors to do the new servicing. Since the direct government lending is already about 50% of the market and not run by government employees, I don’t see why the other 50% would be run any other way. This just means that Citi and Sallie and company can’t bribe student financial aid offices to direct students to their own programs because they won’t have them. They are currently making big profits over handing out loans to students even though the government both provides the capital and guarantees the repayment of the interest. Nice deal for the banks. If they want to keep lending to students and making all the profit, they can lend their own money and forgo the government guarantee.

Federal employees hired now cannot earn a pension exceeding 40% of their ending salary (base plus location only, no bonuses or overtime or anything) no matter how many years they work. To get to 40% you have to work for the government for 40 years or more. So, to get “full” pension by 55 you would have to start working full time by 15. Pull the other one.

 
Comment by measton
2010-04-28 08:06:45

You keep saying this over and over. You’re ignoring copious research that shows that any apparent savings in government-run programs is due to cost-shifting and discrepancies in measurement

You keep saying this over and over and I say BS

If cost shifting occurs it occurs from private to public.

1 When people get old and use more medical care they go to Medicare.
2. When people get sick and use up their benefits they go on Medicaid, and other state programs. When insurance companies like Well Point set up teams to yank coverage of Breast Cancer patients as soon as they are diagnosed, those patients usually end up on the public system.

The best comparison is Medicare vs Medicare Advantage(which is a private program). Take a look at almost any of the other industrialized socialized medical system and you will see they pay about 50% less than we do. Oh I remember you said this is because we subsidize drug developement. Hard to see how prescription drug costs which = 10% of total medical spending account for a 50% difference in cost per capita.

 
Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2010-04-28 08:25:11

And once again, I ask you, if government is so great at running health care, why don’t we just have them take over the whole economy?

1. Canada’s per capita GDP is less than America’s.

2. Canada spends 10% of their GDP on health care and insures everybody.

3. USA spends 18% or our GDP on health care and 1/3 of our population has no insurance or BS insurance.

4. Canada has as good or better health stats than the USA.

5. Canadian government is “great” at running health-care, much better than our corrupt, cruel and bogus “private” system.

Straw man conclusion: If Canada is so good at running health care then why don’t we just let Canada take over America?
And while we’re at it, why don’t we jail everyone who still sings the Star Spangled Banner? Oh yea, then everybody gets an ID tatoo on their forehead. If you think the USA is expensive now, just wait till we’re free! (I think that’s how it goes)

 
Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2010-04-28 08:38:51

Take a look at almost any of the other industrialized socialized medical system and you will see they pay about 50% less than we do. Oh I remember you said this is because we subsidize drug developement. Hard to see how prescription drug costs which = 10% of total medical spending account for a 50% difference in cost per capita.

Here we go. It figures… Ya had to pull out the math card again huh?

 
Comment by fifty
2010-04-28 08:42:20

Take a look at almost any of the other industrialized socialized medical system and you will see they pay about 50% less than we do. Oh I remember you said this is because we subsidize drug developement. Hard to see how prescription drug costs which = 10% of total medical spending account for a 50% difference in cost per capita.

Comparing apples to oranges again, aren’t we with those industrialized nations? Add 10% extra due to malpractice, another 10% due to Salaries for doctors/nurses, another 10% Insurance overhead, another 10% due to Hi Tech medical equipments and so on. Another 10% with having to deal with 30% of population who’s morbidly obese. Voilla, it all makes sense now, doesn’t it?

You can’t expect your meal (end result) to be cheap while you are putting all the expensive and organic ingredients to prepare it.

 
Comment by LehighValleyGuy
2010-04-28 08:43:46

Rio, I offered to walk you through a detailed example and you declined, instead retreating into tired clichés such as “math is math”, “the system is toast”, etc. Now you spout a bunch of statistics without even defining your terms (what is “BS insurance”?) let alone providing cites. And you still haven’t answered my question. What’s magic about health care that makes the government supposedly so good at it? Or do you favor complete government takeover of everything?

 
Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2010-04-28 08:56:14

I offered to walk you through a detailed example

You mean like an actual entire nation example like Canada? or a BS one?

What’s magic about health care that makes the government supposedly so good at it?

The math.

Or do you favor complete government takeover of everything?

Do you favor killing puppies or starving grandma?!? If you do that’s BS.

(Do I need to define BS?)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BS

 
Comment by LehighValleyGuy
2010-04-28 08:56:16

Ya had to pull out the math card again huh?

Including numbers in a post does not make it “math”. You need to define your terms and back up your statements. Otherwise it’s just hot air.

 
Comment by salinasron
2010-04-28 09:08:24

“1 When people get old and use more medical care they go to Medicare.”

No. When people get to age 65 they automatically lose their private insurance and are forced into Medicare unless they belong to a union or work for the Fed’s.

 
Comment by lavi d
2010-04-28 09:25:53

If Canada is so good at running health care then why don’t we just let Canada take over America?

Eh?

 
Comment by Ki
2010-04-28 09:42:24

Canada spends less per person for health care. Whoopdedoo. Haiti spends less per person too. They spend less because the people get less.

Wait Times in Ontario according to the Ontario govt web site

Breast Cancer surgery: 43 days
Cardiac Surgery: 38 days

Hey what’s a month wait for cancer or heart surgery? I don’t mind waiting, do you?

How about an MRI? I had an MRI a couple of years ago. My wait was a weekend.

In Ontario? 116 days.

What’s the big deal waiting 4 months for an MRI? Just take some pain pills and suffer.

 
Comment by Ki
2010-04-28 09:47:05

RioBrazil,,

Care to comment….

“ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams will undergo heart surgery later this week in the United States. Deputy premier Kathy Dunderdale confirmed the treatment at a news conference Tuesday, but would not reveal the location of the operation or how it would be paid for.

“He has gone to a renowned expert in the procedure that he needs to have done,” said Ms. Dunderdale, who will become acting premier while Mr. Williams is away for three to 12 weeks.”

___________

Canadian health care is so wonderful, politicians have to leave the country to get decent care.

 
Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2010-04-28 11:05:38

Canadian health care is so wonderful, politicians have to leave the country to get decent care… What’s the big deal waiting 4 months for an MRI? Just take some pain pills and suffer. Ki

I know Ki. And you appear often angry and the world IS a scary place for those who only think in black and white. I know it’s complicated but the USA does certain things in health care better than Canada and Canada does certain things better than the USA.

We have to look at total results for money spent and take the good with the bad. America needs to grow up. Canada spends about half as much for better results in many areas. Since we are running out of money and our system is broken, I would take Canada’s system over the USA’s and then I’d be prepared to live with the good and the bad and there would be both. For the money spent, the Canadian system would offer more good than bad.

As far as waiting for procedures, with my California HMO, I had to wait for things too. I know uninsured people in the USA who had to wait for things too. (but only until they died)

Now here are some words and stats that explore concepts, that although not totally black and white in their conclusions, can be used for critical thinkers to form opinions (which have weighed pros and cons) that can be applied to the argument:

In 2006, per-capita spending for health care in Canada was US$3,678; in the U.S., US$6,714. The U.S. spent 15.3% of GDP on health care in that year; Canada spent 10.0%.[

Studies have come to different conclusions about the result of this disparity in spending. A 2007 review of all studies comparing health outcomes in Canada and the US in a Canadian peer-reviewed medical journal found that "health outcomes may be superior in patients cared for in Canada versus the United States, but differences are not consistent."[7] Life expectancy is longer in Canada, and its infant mortality rate is lower than that of the U.S., but there is debate about the underlying causes of these differences. One commonly-cited comparison, the 2000 World Health Organization’s ratings of “overall health service performance”, which used a “composite measure of achievement in the level of health, the distribution of health, the level of responsiveness and fairness of financial contribution”, ranked Canada 30th and the U.S. 37th among 191 member nations. This study rated the US “responsiveness”, or quality of service for individuals receiving treatment, as 1st, compared with 7th for Canada. However, the average life expectancy for Canadians was 80.34 years compared with 78.6 years for residents of the U.S.[8]
wiki

It’s difficult I know. Those words don’t really tell us how to think right off the bat which makes it hard to figure stuff out because each system has it’s pro’s and cons. And then there’s the money each system costs and the millions of uncovered in the USA and and the flag and deaf panels, oh yea and freedom.

Thank you Ki if you’ve made it this far into my post, we now look forward to your next Eddiesque post which if it follows your usual script and mission statement, will be an angry, slashing, nonsensical, straw-man mischaracterization of what I have just written.

 
Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2010-04-28 11:16:33

“…renowned expert in the procedure…”

I’m not sure how the existence of one guy going “abroad” for a specialized procedure to be done by a renowned expert makes the case that one whole country’s system is better than another whole country’s system.

 
Comment by measton
2010-04-28 11:16:33

Comparing apples to oranges again, aren’t we with those industrialized nations? Add 10% extra due to malpractice, another 10% due to Salaries for doctors/nurses, another 10% Insurance overhead, another 10% due to Hi Tech medical equipments and so on. Another 10% with having to deal with 30% of population who’s morbidly obese. Voilla, it all makes sense now, doesn’t it?

Fifty did you just pull these numbers out of your A##. That’s what it sounds like.

2005 CBO paper on this shows that obesity does not account for the difference, but you keep believing.

10% insurance overhead- Try 20-25%, that’s part of the problem. You can’t use it to justify private insurance.

10% due to high tech medical equipment - Who cares the bottom line is their health outcomes are similar and cost half as much.

 
Comment by measton
2010-04-28 12:06:15

Canada spends less per person for health care. Whoopdedoo. Haiti spends less per person too. They spend less because the people get less. Again I would point you to health outcomes data that show Canada does just as well as we do when you look at a broad range of health care metrics. But let’s look at your cherry picked data.

You state
Wait Times in Ontario according to the Ontario govt web site
Breast Cancer surgery: 43 days ie 2 weeks more than US.

Now show me some data published in a peer reviewed journal that says this two week difference affects survival.

 
Comment by Best Wishes
2010-04-28 15:08:47

Measton; just curious did you do any research on how long the wait for US women without insurance was?

You stateWait Times in Ontario according to the Ontario govt web site Breast Cancer surgery: 43 days ie 2 weeks more than US.

 
Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2010-04-28 15:14:39

Oh, the US Gov’t VA….horrible / terrible / evil…”WE The People” need a private CORPORATION to take of our wounded veteran military soldiers…so, go ahead “TruePatriot™ / TruePurity™” give us “We The People” a Corporate name Halliburton, Shaw Industries, Xe, AT&T…or…just keep on going BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, …but, but, but

US Mail = “TrueAnger™”
VA = “TrueAnger™”

None of ya “TrueAnger™” / “TruePurity™” answered this either:

“All those that want their private mailed delivered by the CORPORATION that also owns 7/11 & Yellow Cab and is a subsidiary of Goldenmansucks…form a line to the right… :-)

Lots of criticism & rear view mirror back seat driving… but, but, but, no solutions…

 
Comment by Ki
2010-04-28 16:31:44

I ask again Dodge, what in the world are you talking about?

 
Comment by Ki
2010-04-28 16:42:09

OK you want peer review studies….here it is:

Study from 2001 to 2003 data by June O’Neill, former director of the Congressional Budget Office, and economist David O’Neill:

Cancer survival rate in the US for women is 61% vs. 58% in Canada. For men it’s 57% in the US vs. 53% for Canada. This is for all cancers for all ages.

But what’s 3 or 4% difference? So a few thousand more people will die painful death from cancer every year. No big deal right?

Here is what they concluded:

“It is often claimed that people have better access to preventive screenings in universal health care systems. But despite the large number of uninsured, cancer patients in the United States are most likely to be screened regularly, and once diagnosed, have the fastest access to treatment. For example, a Commonwealth Fund report showed that women in the United States were more likely to get a PAP test for cervical cancer every two years than women in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Great Britain, where health insurance is guaranteed by the government.”

 
Comment by james
2010-04-28 17:12:48

Ki,

We’ve beaten healthcare to death around here and Brazil has repeated claimed how good things are in Brazil and Canada.

Though we’ve often commented that the US of A gets screwed because we end up exporting doctors to Canada all the time. Another way they save money up there. Spend less on schools and probably will to bet the doctors that go up there default on their loans while out of the country.

They have cost caps on drugs so get them at a discount as well.

Anyhow, it’s pretty rare that there is some free lunch in socialst systems. Pointed out the studies that show the goverment is more efficient in care is also somewhat of a confused peice of data. You get higher bills per patient on medicare hence the percentage spent on overhead is lower. However, the govt routinely is far worse on a per patient basis. So, if the mix of what the govt covers changes expect this number to change. Further the often cited study also mentions this calculation was somewhat simplistic on calculation of all the associated govt costs.
Another effect… the medicare system rewards poor quality hospitals with more patients.

I also figure the golden coverage provided to public employee unions also drives up costs. They people in those plans are completely disconnected from the cost and have little urge to fight for lower premiums. I think that along with all the money dumped in medicare results in the higer per capita cost we are seeing.

Other effects… oh Americans are unhealthy at many levels. Bad diet and lack of exercise. We’ve taken up dangerous sporting activities. We encourage too many marginal treatments.

So many things need fixing. They do have legitimate points about insurance companies dropping or not honoring coverage though. That is a legit gripe.

Still got a notice that my company is now required to insure adult children up to 24 yrs of age. I’m kind of like… Are you shitting me?

 
Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2010-04-28 18:11:26

OK you want peer review studies….here it is:

Here IT is? It? But anyway….

Good job for doing some research for a change. Please note how I argue the next point because it is not a Tea Party type argument. It requires more thinking than soundbites.

Yes, America leads the world in many aspects of medical treatment. When we spend double money than some industrialized countries per capita we should lead in certain areas as we do.

However, when one weighs overall health stats, results, money spent, societal justice, and the amount of money available to spend, Canada’s universal health care system is superior in delivering health (at a reasonable cost) for its entire population.

(As is France’s, and most of western Europe’s.)

 
Comment by CA renter
2010-04-29 04:43:17

Don’t forget that a large portion of our medical innovation is funded by…the government.
————————–

The government role in supporting research in the scientific community at large was greatly stimulated by the vision enunciated by Vannevar Bush. Bush wrote, “The Government should accept new responsibilities for promoting the flow of new scientific knowledge and the development of scientific talent in our youth. These responsibilities are the proper concern of the Government for they vitally affect our health, our jobs, and our national security.”8 Bush used the word “jobs” to describe what elsewhere he referred to as “prosperity” or “public welfare.” The concept is now commonly referred to as “economic security.” The three areas identified by Bush were those of most concern at the time. Were Bush writing today, he would probably add others, including “the environment,” “green manufacturing,” and “clean energy sources.”

Bush saw the benefits of research accruing to a wide range of national needs rather than to a single objective, such as defense. Indeed, he concluded his letter to President Truman transmitting his report with a broad vision of the impact of science on quality of life: “Scientific progress is one essential key to our security as a nation, to our better health, to more jobs, to a higher standard of living, and to our cultural progress.”9

Vannevar Bush clearly recognized that applications of research results often appear many years after the work is started and that there is no certainty as to which of the many national needs will benefit from this work. He also observed that “…basic research is essentially non- commercial in nature. It will not receive the attention it requires if left to industry.”10 Today this concept is recognized as a lack of “appropriability.” Because of the long-term nature of research and the uncertainties in predicting its practical applications, a company cannot be certain that investment in research will result in a competitive advantage in the worldwide marketplace. Indeed, the increase in global competition has exacerbated the “appropriability” issue. It consequently has increased the need for government support of research.

The Bush vision encouraged the mission agencies to support research universities in fields that were deemed to have probable long-term relevance to their missions. It also led to the establishment of the National Science Foundation and the gradual building of its budget to the point that it has become a major source of support for science and engineering in our universities. The National Science Board was created with its dual mission of overseeing the activities of NSF and monitoring the health of science in the Nation.

As a result of implementing the Bush vision, our research universities have become the envy of the world. The application of new knowledge and talent in science has indeed created handsome benefits in the three areas Bush identified. We will cite just one example in each area. The understanding of the structure and properties of DNA opened up totally new opportunities to address health issues and provided the basis for the vibrant new biotechnology industry. Polymer and photochemical research led to the creation of photoresists that are key to the success of the microelectronics industry, which accounts for well over a quarter of a million jobs in the U. S. today. The atomic clock, which was based on research in atomic physics and was stimulated by needs in astronomy, provided a foundation for the development of the Global Positioning System to satisfy a critical defense need. More recently, it is creating a large commercial marketplace for everything from ships to backpackers.

http://www.nsf.gov/nsb/documents/1997/nsb97186/nsb97186.htm

 
 
 
 
Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-28 10:50:11

From an April, 2009 article
http://www.itbusinessedge.com/cm/community/news/sou/blog/sallie-mae-bringing-2000-jobs-back-to-us/?cs=31621

“Student loan company Sallie Mae plans to bring its operations back from offshore locations, adding 2,000 jobs in call centers, information technology and operations support during the next 18 months, reports Reuters.

Analysts called the move by SLM Corp, as it’s legally known, an effort to curry favor with the Obama administration, which is planning major changes in the market for student loans.

It already employs 8,000 people in the United States. Sallie Mae has operations in 20 cities and manages $180 billion in loans. According to bizjournals.com, most of the hiring will be in Lynn Haven, Fla.; Fishers, Ind.; Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; Killeen, Texas; and Newark, Del. Those centers will take on work that has been done offshore for nearly 10 years.”

And although the current news is just a week old, I can no longer find the company that Sallie Mae is outsourcing those jobs to. Docu-something. Something this week’s articles aren’t mentioning at all.

Another good example of MSM spin.

 
 
Comment by jeff saturday
2010-04-28 04:27:37

“rising prices rebuild equity” Double bubble toil and trouble

Gotta make sure those “homeowners feel wealthier and more comfortable spending”

Home price index shows 1st annual gain in 3 years

By ADRIAN SAINZ The Associated Press
Posted: 9:06 a.m. Tuesday, April 27, 2010

MIAMI — Home prices in February nationally posted their first annual increase since the end of 2006, lifted by temporary tax credits for homebuyers.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index released Tuesday squeezed out a 0.6 percent gain. But that was half the increase analysts had expected. On a more cautionary note, 11 of the 20 cities tracked by the index showed declines from February last year.

The data underscored the fragile nature of the housing recovery.

And there is a “risk that home prices could decline further before experiencing any sustained gains,” cautioned David Blitzer, chairman of the S&P index committee. “It is too early to say that the housing market is recovering.”

Prices are getting a boost from temporary tax credits that expire at the end of April. First-time buyers can claim up to $8,000 and homeowners who buy and relocate can get up to $6,500. So buyers have more purchasing power.

That’s helped propel prices in San Francisco up 12 percent, the best in the index. Likewise, in Los Angeles, San Diego and Washington prices climbed more than 5 percent.

But there are still pockets of weakness around the country. Las Vegas saw the largest annual price drop at almost 15 percent. And, in six markets — Charlotte, N.C.; Las Vegas; New York, Portland, Ore.; Seattle; and Tampa, Fla. — the index fell to the lowest level since peaking in 2006 or 2007.

A rebound in prices is considered necessary to boost consumer optimism and help revive the economy. A home is the largest and most important financial asset for most Americans. So, as values climb, homeowners feel wealthier and more comfortable spending.

For homeowners who owe more on their mortgages than their properties are worth, rising prices rebuild equity.

But unlike U.S. businesses, which whittled down inventories during the recession, the housing market is suffering from a backlog of foreclosures. As banks unload these properties en masse, it could overwhelm demand and push prices down again.

“The bottom line is that we’re still fighting an uphill battle against a shadow inventory of foreclosures,” said Daniel Alpert, managing director of Westwood Capital LLC.

Comment by CA renter
2010-04-29 04:45:47

A home is the largest and most important financial asset for most Americans. So, as values climb, homeowners feel wealthier and more comfortable spending.
———————-

Because when housing costs are as high as possible, everybody has more money to spend! Right???

 
 
Comment by aNYCdj
2010-04-28 04:33:19

OK Dilbert is a FB:

http://www.dilbert.com/

 
Comment by Ki
2010-04-28 04:41:57

I guess Al Sharpton’s memo wasn’t read in Tucson or Phoenix. Even a majority of Democrats approve.

“A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey finds that 70% of likely voters in Arizona approve of the legislation, while just 23% oppose it. Eighty-four percent (84%) of Arizona Republicans and 69% of voters not affiliated with either major party in the state favor the new get-tough legislation. Democrats are more closely divided: 51% like the new law, but 43% oppose it.”.

This is a couple of days after a poll showed almost identical numbers nationally for the bill.

Yet reading the MSM it’s nothing but stories on how this or that group is protesting/boycotting. Screw them. I’ll make it a point to spend some money in AZ or buy services from AZ based companies to show my support.

Comment by palmetto
2010-04-28 05:06:20

“I’ll make it a point to spend some money in AZ or buy services from AZ based companies to show my support.”

If you want to support an AZ based company, you can do that right here, right now. Donate to Ben. His company is an AZ company. I was reading all the various pleas to support AZ business on some websites this AM and all of a sudden I realized I had an avenue to do that.

Comment by palmetto
2010-04-28 05:23:06

Just to qualify my above statement, Ben has too much class to use the new law as a fund-raising tool. And although members of the blog may support this or that political issue, the blog itself is a neutral venue. So the point would be that, in light of the fact that some traitors want to starve AZ for doing the right thing, it behooves us to support Arizonans, on general principals, just to help them out financially.

Arizona Slim also has a business that could use some support, and there may be others here as well.

Sheesh, I’ve just committed to dragging my sorry arse over to the Post Office for a money order.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2010-04-28 10:44:14

Arizona Slim also has a business that could use some support, and there may be others here as well.

Thank you, palmetto. Thank you very much, in fact!

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Comment by krazy bill
2010-04-28 16:34:36

Come on, do your duty and run (don’t walk) to the nearest Federal building ant turn the traitors in. Tell them U.S. Representative Raul Grijalva has committed treason and demand his arrest.

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Comment by lavi d
2010-04-28 09:33:14

If you want to support an AZ based company, you can do that right here, right now. Donate to Ben. His company is an AZ company.

Arizona Slim is an AZ company, too.

 
 
Comment by Left Ohio
2010-04-28 05:16:37

MSM still desperately struggling to frame the issue… today’s NYT: Republicans and Democrats face risks as they try to calculate their course on a divisive social issue.

By “divisive” they imply there is a side that favors legalization of 20 million criminal invaders. The coastal elites just don’t get it… average Americans who work for a living do NOT want their country to turn into Mexico.

While spending money in Arizona may counter the effects of a boycott, it will be hard to measure. Donating to immigration bill sponsor Arizona Representative Russell Pearce’s re-election campaign is measurable, and if large enough, impossible to ignore.

How will the MSM report it if Pearce and other bill co-sponsors receive donations from across the country? I don’t even live in Arizona but it’s money well spent. The money I’ve donated so far isn’t much but it’s money that will NEVER be spent on cable television or newspaper subscriptions.

Comment by Ki
2010-04-28 06:02:36

“The coastal elites just don’t get it… average Americans who work for a living do NOT want their country to turn into Mexico.”

They do get it. They don’t care. The NY Times wants as many illegals here as possible. And once here it wants them to get citizenship so they can vote for an ever expanding state.

Remember an illegal is a victim. And a victim needs government help. And for the government to help that victim, the government needs to grow.

 
Comment by measton
2010-04-28 07:06:06

By “divisive” they imply there is a side that favors legalization of 20 million criminal invaders. The coastal elites just don’t get it… average Americans who work for a living do NOT want their country to turn into Mexico.

I don’t think it’s the costal elites that are pushing for this, it’s the border state farmers, meat packers, Walmart cleaning companies, builders, etc.

Comment by Ki
2010-04-28 07:42:23

“I don’t think it’s the costal elites that are pushing for this, it’s the border state farmers, meat packers, Walmart cleaning companies, builders, etc.”

Yep.
Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are border state farmers who want illegals to work cheaply for them.

The mayor of SF, who today issued a ban on travel to AZ by city employees, own a cleaning company.

La Raza is really an organization of WalMart shareholders who push for open borders to get cheap labor for the stores.

It’s so obvious when you think about it.

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Comment by palmetto
2010-04-28 08:14:52

Call the closest Mexican consulate, tell them you wholeheartedly support their travel alert for Arizona and you’d like to know if they could do it for your state as well, heck, how about the entire US while they’re at it.

 
Comment by measton
2010-04-28 08:47:34

Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton elites?? OK I’d call them opportunists. Has the mayor of SF or either of these two been out campaigning to relaxe immigration restrictions over the last decade, uhm no. Again La Raza is an elite east cost organization??? I’d call it a political movement. You are correct I would add hispanic political organizations to my list.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Regelbrugge has spent much of the last decade pushing for an overhaul of America’s immigration laws.
“This is an issue that has always tapped into great passions,” Regelbrugge said in his Washington office, which has a view of K Street, the Washington artery synonymous with inside-the-Beltway lobbying.
Regelbrugge works for the American Nursery and Landscape Association. He’s also become a champion for dairy operations that say they need immigrant workers to stay afloat even in a recession. He’s sat down with lawmakers and brought together agricultural producers in a united front.Regelbrugge spoke to a group of Wisconsin farmers in Madison recently. He said they want action from their Washington representatives. Dairy farmers say they want access to workers without getting in trouble. Many say they could go out of business without immigrant labor and consumers would likely end up paying more for milk.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Buisness Week
Agriculture does not play the role it once did in the U.S. economy, of course. Though the amount of farmland used has remained fairly steady over the past century, changes to the structure of farms and improvements in productivity have cut the number of people involved dramatically. In 1900, for example, 41% of the U.S. population was employed in agriculture, while that number now stands at less than 2%. Farmers hire workers for about 3 million agricultural jobs each year, but only one-quarter of that workforce is legally authorized. Agriculture also makes up a lower share of the U.S. gross domestic product than ever, accounting for less than 1%.

Still, farm advocates say that immigrant workers are allowing U.S. farmers to compete in a fierce global marketplace, and that losing the workforce means losing domestic sources of food. “The choice is simple: Do we want to import workers or import food?” says Craig Regelbrugge, co-chair of the Agriculture Coalition for Immigration Reform.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
2007 Thecattlenetwork.com
OAKLAND, CA – National Meat Association represents nearly 500 companies, who employ over 200,000 meat industry workers in 50 states. Many of these workers are immigrants. Companies who employ immigrant workers need clear rules on immigration. Current policies have failed.

NMA was greatly disappointed when bipartisan legislation which might have had positive effect (S. 1348) was defeated yesterday on a procedural vote to end debate in the United States Senate.

“It takes courage to take a position on an issue that has brought out highly divisive views from the extremes in both political parties,” said NMA Director Emeritus Rosemary Mucklow, who is herself an immigrant from United Kingdom. “The fact that the President and a group of Senators from bothpolitical parties have tried to establish immigration policy that will be the basis for largely blue-collar workers into the future deserves our support. We hope that immigration reform efforts will not end here.”

The United States needs legislation that will provide for unskilled workers to come legally to this country. At the working level of America, and in the meat harvesting and processing facilities, reform of the process by which immigrants lawfully gain working status is long overdue.

The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007, or, in its full name, the Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act of 2007 (S. 1348) was a bill discussed in the 110th United States Congress that would have provided legal status and a path to citizenship for the approximately 12 to 20 million illegal immigrants currently residing in the United States. The bill died but was in reality a way go make illegal aliens legal with the soft promise that we won’t let anyothers in in the future. BS bill and it failed, but meat packers builders, farmers all supported it.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxAs I said, Agriculture, Meat Packing, and other industries are why we don’t have effective border control.

 
 
 
Comment by lavi d
2010-04-28 09:34:49

average Americans who work for a living do NOT want their country to turn into Mexico.

I cannot tell you how strongly I agree with this statement.

Comment by Left Ohio
2010-04-28 11:34:43

This is NOT about politics or race, it’s about criminal invaders who enter this country illegally, and the social and economic consequences thereof.

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Comment by CA renter
2010-04-29 04:51:57

Yes, exactly.

 
 
Comment by nickpapageorgio
2010-04-28 11:44:54

“average Americans who work for a living do NOT want their country to turn into Mexico.”

That’s exactly what the poverty pimps in government want. They want the U.S. to be just another chaotic and corrupt hell hole.

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Comment by Best Wishes
2010-04-28 15:12:22

“That’s exactly what the poverty pimps in government want. They want the U.S. to be just another chaotic and corrupt hell hole.”

Mission Accomplished!!!
Looks like we made it.

 
Comment by exeter
2010-04-29 04:48:46

That’s exactly what the Corporatist wage slave masters on Wall Stwant. They want the U.S. to be just another 3rd world low wage hell hole.

See how that works?

 
 
 
 
Comment by oxide
2010-04-28 05:26:04

Yet reading the MSM it’s nothing but stories on how this or that group is protesting/boycotting.

I said yesterday(?) that the pro-immigration contingent is smaller than the MSM is showing. I guess the Tea Party has met its match. :mrgreen:

Everbody sees the undocs milking American generosity to feather the nests and the nests of their extended families, while having no intention to become, act, speak, or contribute like American citizens. And few people like it.

Comment by palmetto
2010-04-28 05:35:47

How Mexico treats its illegal aliens:

http://michellemalkin.com/

As the author says: Hipocritas.

Comment by nycjoe
2010-04-28 08:28:44

Thanks for the link. She’s right on this one, even if she’s a nasty piece of work 99.5% of the time, otherwise!

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Comment by nycjoe
2010-04-28 08:59:00

Was just rereading the journals of a well-known Arizonan, Edward Abbey. He was railing about illegal immigration and liberal taboos against talking about the problem years ago:

9/9/83 –Tucson
“In conditions of conflict, when more and more people struggle for survival in a world of dwindling space and resources, it is natural and inevitable that racial strife should become more intense. Tribalism is basic. Each group looks to its own for protection. Biology. In a crowded chicken yard, the white leghorns and the Rhode Island reds become bitter enemies. …But doctrinaire liberals, in alliance with the growing “minorities,” are reluctant, are unwilling, are fearful of even beginning to rethink this situation.

“According to the morning newspaper, the population of America will reach 267 million by 2000 A.D. An increase of 40 million, or about one-sixth, in only 17 years! And the racial composition of the population will also change considerably. … I certainly do not wish to live in a society dominated by blacks, or Mexicans, or Orientals. Look at Africa, at Mexico, at Asia.”

———
And here we are 10 years later, with 300 million now, and urbanized Americans on the coasts shrugging at the thought of 400 million by 2050 … just numbers. But look at how the debate is being shaped, conventional liberals (I would be a contrary one, I guess) more or less in favor of open borders and unrestrained immigration. Looks like we’ve reached a tipping point in the population and culture.

 
Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2010-04-28 09:16:18

Thanks for the link. She’s right on this one, even if she’s a nasty piece of work 99.5% of the time, otherwise!

I agree with Ki too on the illegal immigration thing although I don’t agree with her point that it is just a liberal east coast bias.

The rich republicans benefit greatly from the illegal’s cheap, illegal labor.

 
Comment by lavi d
2010-04-28 09:40:59

I agree with Ki too on the illegal immigration thing although I don’t agree with her point that it is just a liberal east coast bias.

Eddie’s a girl???

 
 
 
Comment by Ki
2010-04-28 05:43:25

“Tea Party supporters are wealthier and more well-educated than the general public, and are no more or less afraid of falling into a lower socioeconomic class, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.The 18 percent of Americans who identify themselves as Tea Party supporters tend to be Republican, white, male, married and older than 45.”

18% of 300 million. That’s what, like 100 people at most. Why oh why does the MSM waste its time covering such a small group of people?

And wait a second. More educated than the general public?!??!? I was told repeatedly by the left that everyone in the tea party has an 8th grade education, lives in a trailer park and has no teeth.

Comment by Blue Skye
2010-04-28 06:46:22

By the time you get to 18%, it is a sure thing that they are already drinking their own koolaid.

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Comment by WHYoung
2010-04-28 07:07:50

Even so, recent events show us people with expensive educations don’t necessarily make good choices.

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Comment by Ki
2010-04-28 07:39:49

I see. So first tea party meant uneducated rube who should be ignored. Now it means over educated elite who should be ignored because they have too much education. Got it.

 
Comment by WHYoung
2010-04-28 08:39:16

Not what I meant at all… quite in favor of education. Since we tend to have education/expertise in a particular professional area it doesn’t necessarily mean we are able to make good decisions on other areas, especially regarding emotionally charged topics, unless we are willing to further educate ourselves so we can make an informed decision.

Think some of the Tea Partiers are worried about has merit, but see it as easily co-opted as a side show.

A lot of highly educated people were the source of our current problems.

And I don’t think you can be “over educated”. But achieving a certain level of education can make you a bit over confident and lead to a lot of grief.

 
 
Comment by measton
2010-04-28 08:53:41

Tea Party supporters are wealthier and more well-educated than the general public, and are no more or less afraid of falling into a lower socioeconomic class, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News

I imagine if you take a poll of any group you will find that they report being richer, and more well educated than they really are. Debt = money right.

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Comment by Ki
2010-04-28 09:58:40

This is amusing. First they are toothless hillbillies. Then they are Brooks Brothers wearing health care lobbyists. Then they are rich white guys. Now they’re back to being toothless hillbillies who lie to a NY Times pollster and pretend they’re rich white guys. My head is spinning from all the spin.

 
Comment by exeter
2010-04-29 04:51:15

Kerry… your spinning head is nothing new.

 
 
Comment by fifty
2010-04-28 09:01:25

18%??

Didn’t realize that it was that high. Didn’t Lenin or someone say that all you need is 20% committed in raising hell for a revolution. Not a tea partier myself. Their mute response to Republican corruption has turned me off pretty much.

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Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2010-04-28 06:39:11

I said yesterday(?) that the pro-immigration contingent is smaller than the MSM is showing. I guess the Tea Party has met its match. :mrgreen:

Heeheeheheehheee

Comment by Ki
2010-04-28 06:59:36

Martin,

Do you own stock in a company that designs emoticons?

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Comment by Ki
2010-04-28 07:00:40

Ughhh. That blew up in my face. Question should have been for Hwy50Dodge.

 
Comment by pressboardbox
2010-04-28 07:03:16

Goldman is currently short emoticon CDOs.

 
Comment by Ol'Bubba
2010-04-28 08:53:23

Here’s the CDO emoticon:

(_!_)

 
Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2010-04-28 15:22:07

“Here’s the CDO emoticon:” ;-)

This is the long form:

…………………./´¯/)
………………..,/¯../
………………./…./
…………./´¯/’…’/´¯¯`•¸
………./’/…/…./……./¨¯\
……..(’(…´…´…. ¯~/’…’)
………\……………..’…../
……….”…\………. _.•´
…………\…………..(
…………..\………….\…

 
Comment by Ki
2010-04-28 16:44:23

Classy.

 
Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2010-04-28 18:11:19

Don’t take it personally Ki, it was meant for the “Classy” “Patriotic” 28 year old traders at Goldenmansucks… :-)

 
 
 
 
Comment by GrizzlyBear
2010-04-28 12:19:25

Democrats Want Border Security Before Legalization

By SUZANNE GAMBOA Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON April 28, 2010 (AP)

An emerging immigration proposal by three Democratic senators calls for more federal enforcement agents and other border security-tightening benchmarks before illegal immigrants could become legal U.S. residents.

Those goals “must be met before action can be taken to adjust the status of people already in the United States illegally,” according to a copy of the draft legislation, obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, that Sens. Harry Reid of Nevada, Charles Schumer of New York and Robert Menendez are developing.

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory?id=10499818

There are so many things wrong with their plan that I don’t even know where to start but by saying that these politicians are working against the interests of those who voted them into office, and the country as a whole. This proposed bill is nothing but a give to big business for cheap labor and another nail in the coffin of the middle class, and the US as we once knew it. A country cannot continue on a path of outsourcing manufacturing, and importing cheap labor and expect to flourish. I am disgusted beyond words.

Comment by CA renter
2010-04-29 04:57:14

Me too, Grizzly.

The citizens of the U.S. have been pretty unanimous over the years about how they see illegal immigration: they don’t like it, and they want it stopped.

The pols never seem to care about what their constituents think.

 
 
 
Comment by edgewaterjohn
2010-04-28 04:50:10

Had an interesting conversation with a neighbor this past weekend. He bought a 1 bdrm foreclosure in our building last fall for $150k. He was sure it was bottom because another mini-mogul in our building was vying for it with him and concurred.

Fast forward last to last week - another 1 bdrm four floors further up sold in a “non-distressed” sale (yeah, they still happen) for $125k. So bam, $25k vaporized in six months. Of course there’s people here way worse off than that. That particular unit is also right below my next door neighbor - who bought his place in 2008 for $215k. Almost a “hunnert grand” poof!

Oh, and on Sunday afternoon as I was going to the store there was a uniformed county sheriff trying to get in the lobby - I haven’t got to the bottom of that one yet.

This is so far from over.

Comment by LehighValleyGuy
2010-04-28 07:16:59

Are you in Edgewater, NJ?

Comment by edgewaterjohn
2010-04-28 07:28:53

Nope, north side of Chicago.

 
 
Comment by ET-Chicago
2010-04-28 11:15:25

Fast forward last to last week - another 1 bdrm four floors further up sold in a “non-distressed” sale (yeah, they still happen) for $125k. So bam, $25k vaporized in six months.

Ouch! That’s a lotta vaporization.

How many units in your building, anyway? It’s obviously bigger than most of the stuff around me, but I don’t recall the size.

Have some friends with a 2 BR condo for sale in Albany Park who “don’t want to give it away” — they’ve lowered the price a little, but market interest seems tepid. Meanwhile, they’ve still got the monthly nut on the condo + rent in Minneapolis. I’m curious to see what their condo sells for — I hope for their sake that they don’t take a hit as big as your neighbors.

Comment by edgewaterjohn
2010-04-28 13:15:51

I’m dealing with just under 100 units.

It’s funny, but they say sales are way up YOY but from what I’ve been hearing on the street not much is actually moving. Meanwhile, there are a few environs that have “for sale” signs sprouting like weeds this spring - much more so than last year or 2008.

In particular I am keeping an eye on Uptown. That was the high water mark for the boom and the pocket north of Sheridan and Irving has signs galore right now. Something is afoot there, that’s for sure.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2010-04-28 13:38:10

Meanwhile, there are a few environs that have “for sale” signs sprouting like weeds this spring - much more so than last year or 2008.

Sounds like Tucson. And we’ve had quite a crop of weeds AND “for sale” signs this year.

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Comment by palmetto
2010-04-28 05:00:33

Think “conspiracy theories” are tin foil hat? Fannie Mae owns patent (think about that, a PATENT) on residential crap and trade exchange. A conspiracy 9 years in the making:

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columns/Fannie-Mae-owns-patent-on-residential-_cap-and-trade_-exchange-91532109.html

Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-28 10:55:04

A HUGE mistake was made when the Patent Office started allowing business processes to be patented.

 
 
Comment by JohnDanger
2010-04-28 05:11:58

Yesterday afternoon MPR news on the radio “pseodo-quote” (I don’t remember exactly the words but the message was this) :

After months of continuously hearing in the MSM that the economy is getting better, the consumers’ confidence finally started to rise last month.

My question: is there any way to say it more clear that the PROPAGANDA works?

Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2010-04-28 06:43:57

“…is there any way to say it more clear that the PROPAGANDA works?”

This worked for me: “uranium yellowcake from Niger” ;-)

 
Comment by CarrieAnn
2010-04-28 07:27:51

I do think there have been some real increases in certain numbers. There have been more trucks on the road, more box cars moving, more hires made. It’s just that people don’t seem to realize they are all based on the world’s central banks pouring stimulus money….trillions of dollars of taxpayer money, that is, to support those pretty graphs.

So on one hand people bitch about the reported taxes and fees they generally acknowledge are coming and yet at the same time skip with glee down to the store to spend like this thing is over. Those that understand can only shake their heads in dismay……and wait till the stimulus spending and the drop in those same green shoot numbers ends.

Comment by edgewaterjohn
2010-04-28 08:47:25

If markets do indeed inflict the greatest amount of pain and the greatest number of people - then the current set up should be obvious. Since it is not so obvious, it is best to hold one’s ground.

 
 
 
Comment by dennisd
2010-04-28 05:46:04

Northwest, FL

I was wondering if a legal argument could be made to demad FOIA information pertaining to mortgages and commercial loans from banks that benefited from bailout funds. For example, loan origination amount, remaining balance, mark to market value, days delinquent, borrower information, etc. In my opinion, once an organization receives goverment monies, a reasonable legal argument could be made that the organization is now subject to the provisions of the FOIA.

I work for a non-profit healtcare company and since we receive goverment funds, we are subject to the FOIA.

Any thoughts?

Thanks.

Comment by bink
2010-04-28 07:19:26

There was some talk a few months ago about whether GM, Fannie, Freddie, et al were subject to FOIA requests. IIRC it was ruled, at least temporarily, that they were not.

Comment by dennisd
2010-04-28 07:43:47

Well, isn’t that convenient?

Thanks.

 
 
Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-28 08:38:13

This act allows for the full or partial disclosure of previously unreleased information and documents controlled by the United States Government.

My guess is that the heathcare company generates and holds at least some government documents… probably related to medicare, since that program is administered by the US government.

Receiving govt funds wouldn’t seem to have anything to do with it.

 
 
Comment by wmbz
2010-04-28 05:46:41

Bernanke says prompt action needed on deficit

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Tuesday the country’s budget deficit is on an unsustainable path and requires near-term action from policymakers to avoid dangerous outcomes.

Though he offered no concrete proposals for fiscal reform, Bernanke flagged the rising cost of healthcare and social security programs as key hurdles in refreshing his warnings on the United States’ growing debt burden.

“In the absence of further policy actions, the federal budget appears set to remain on an unsustainable path,” Bernanke told the 18-member National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.

Bernanke said the nation’s heavy debt load risked putting upward pressure on interest rates.

Comment by Martin
2010-04-28 05:55:03

He needs to raise rates and at least bring them to 1% level.

Comment by pressboardbox
2010-04-28 07:42:15

Nooooo. This strong V-shaped recovery could never handle 1%. Must be zero for extended period or at least until the next collapse and subsequent round of bailouts.

 
 
Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-28 06:05:23

“Bernanke said the nation’s heavy debt load risked putting upward pressure on interest rates.”

If that were the case, wouldn’t interest rates already be moving upwards? The bond market’s complacence undermines the urgency of Bernanke’s concern.

Comment by In Montana
2010-04-28 06:27:50

supposed to be a threat, not a promise.

 
Comment by diemos
2010-04-28 06:38:53

“If that were the case, wouldn’t interest rates already be moving upwards?”

Look at Greece. Deficits aren’t a problem until they are, then they blow up in your face overnight.

Comment by measton
2010-04-28 07:09:43

If Greece controlled a printing press it wouldn’t have a problem would it. It’s people would be covertly taxed with inflation.

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Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-28 07:48:50

Bingo! The threat Bernanke should worry about is not rising interest rates, but rather the loss of the dollar’s reserve currency status. But perhaps the erosion of a leading competitor’s position (the Euro) has alleviated that concern?

 
Comment by measton
2010-04-28 10:41:43

It looks like Greece may actually control the printing press of the US and Germany since they will be baililng them out.

 
Comment by packman
2010-04-28 11:13:59

It looks like Greece may actually control the printing press of the US and Germany since they will be baililng them out.

Hmmm - this statement prompted me to this train of thought…

I wonder who the primary holders of Greek debt are?

I wonder - might there be a significant overlap of these holders and those who pull the strings at the EU commission and the IMF?

Therefore - seems like these bailouts aren’t so much a bailout of “Greece” as they are a bailout of this set of bondholders. At the expense of the general population of the world, via IMF funding.

Following that train of thought - seems like the same thing is and/or will be true in the U.S. Basically the “risk premium” of has been removed from sovereign debt bonds, because now in essence there is no risk.

And therefore - this seems like why the yield on U.S. treasuries is very low. There’s an assumption that one way or another we’ll always bail ourselves out, and therefore the risk premium is in essence near zero. Thus the yield curve isn’t really driven by risk premium anymore, as it used to be (or should be), but just by how long people are willing to let their money be tied up.

However that being said - if this behavior is driven for the benefit of the bondholders, they’re just screwing themselves since now yields are lower than they otherwise would be.

However - that being said; it’s only the new bondholders getting screwed. The people who have had bonds for 5-10 years or more are getting fantastic returns - 8-9%. So might this behavior be driven largely by them? I.e. we have a really big treasury bubble now, as driven by the endless bailouts and low interest rates.

Just some random thoughts.

 
Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2010-04-28 12:24:05

Just some random thoughts.

Interesting. There could be something big there.

And maybe the new bond holders are getting much less screwed than as could be. Maybe the received low yields are the price the main bond holders willingly pay in order to keep the system going.

The system is to be protected by bailouts and low yields at any cost.

And if and when things did fall apart for the main bond holders how bad would this really be for the American population in the medium term (15 years) if one accepts that lately, the main bond holders great wealth hasn’t done that much to increase the living standard of our general population anyway?

Maybe if the system would have collapsed we would have seen how much of a crock it is that we “need” Wall Street type crony-capitalism in order for America to advance or even tread water economically.

 
Comment by packman
2010-04-28 13:31:33

Maybe if the system would have collapsed we would have seen how much of a crock it is that we “need” Wall Street type crony-capitalism in order for America to advance or even tread water economically.

I can’t tell you how pissed I was that week in Sep 2008 when it became obvious that the “The Sky is Falling - Need Bailout!!! Need Bailout!!!” people were really in charge.

Here’s excerpts from my notes actually…

2008-09-18-Thu Hugely volatile today - then up big (DJI up over 400). Paulson said they may form a similar entity to the Resolution Trust Corporation (S&L) bailout, to put all the garbage into. Unbelievable - we are becoming a socialism almost overnight. Amazing. As a taxpayer I am disgusted.

….

2008-09-21-Sun Bush announced plan for $700 Billion bailout of bad debt.

2008-10-01-Wed New bailout bill passed the Senate - a very sad day. I predict big trouble in the future with our national debt.

Exactly then was the elbow in our debt level - it’s gone from 66% to now 88% of GDP, in just over a year and a half.

(P.S. take note - anyone who thinks I’m any kind of fan of BushCo.)

 
Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-28 14:40:59

“I wonder who the primary holders of Greek debt are?”

Random guess: Megabanks with their hands out, waiting for their next bailout…

 
 
 
 
Comment by michael
2010-04-28 07:09:08

VAT here we come…he’s just helping to set the stage.

Comment by wmbz
2010-04-28 08:41:26

Yep, yet when anyone brings up doing away with income tax and instituting a flat or fair tax, the “it’s not fair” whiners come out of the wood work. Now we’ll end up with income tax increases and a VAT tax along with a whole host of other levees and fees. So hang on to the few coins you have left poor folks, it’s hammer time.

Comment by measton
2010-04-28 10:40:05

The elite have essentially done away with the income tax, top 25 hedge fund managers pulled in 1 billion /yr and pay 15% effective federal tax rate. It’s only working stiffs that pay over 20%.

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Comment by Ki
2010-04-28 16:51:48

Yes and 15% of 1 billion is $150M. Someone making $100K pays $20K.

$150M vs. $20K.

You’re right, it’s so unfair.

 
Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2010-04-28 17:10:17

Yes and 15% of 1 billion is $150M. Someone making $100K pays $20K. $150M vs. $20K.

You’re right, it’s so unfair.

I agree. It is unfair and will change as it has in the past. A guy making a billion should pay a higher percentage of his income than a guy making 100K because the guy making a billion is generally much more of a leach on American society.

 
Comment by CA renter
2010-04-29 05:07:14

Thank you, Rio.

 
 
 
 
Comment by packman
2010-04-28 07:35:16

Easy Peasy Bennie - just keep interest rates low forever, buy some debt, and let inflation take over. Poof - debt problem gone.

Wait… he’s already doing that.

Comment by mrktMaven FL
2010-04-28 07:48:08

Greece has turned into a Keynesian Nightmare — 2 yr ylds went from OMG! to WTF?! — 26PCT to roll.

 
 
Comment by measton
2010-04-28 07:56:45

Yep this whole story boils down to

Bailout Wall Street Bankers and get rid of competition.

Slash wages, and benefits for American workers,

The cherry on top is a VAT tax on the middle class.

RIP

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2010-04-28 10:00:39

Yep this whole story boils down to
Bailout Wall Street Bankers and get rid of competition.
Slash wages, and benefits for American workers,

1. Why doesn’t the Tea Party pay more attention to the above issues?

2. How could the argument be framed so that they would?

 
 
Comment by Ki
2010-04-28 10:00:02

Why do I have a feeling when he says get the deficit under control, he’s not talking about spending cuts?

 
 
Comment by Martin
2010-04-28 05:58:48

And Govt. maybe able to save a lot by cutting down on a lot of contracting and consulting work. I know a lot of people still making close to $100 per hours as Govt. contractors and their companies are billing the Govt. maybe $200 per hour. What a waste as these people can easily be hired at an anuual salary of $70-80K plus 25% in benefits. These same people will work for $35 an hour when the funding reduces.

Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-28 11:00:19

But Martin, smaller government using more efficient private enterprise taking on many government functions, makes government more efficient!

Reagan said so!

Comment by CA renter
2010-04-29 05:08:47

I’ve heard some of the military “contractors” are making about five times what they were when they were enlisted, and they’re basically doing the same jobs.

Yes, let’s have some more of that “cost-saving” private market, please!

 
 
Comment by nycjoe
2010-04-28 11:57:54

I’m with ya, on cutting the contracting and consulting expenses back to something more reasonable. And then, would the GOP want to get real about what we pay for the troops stationed in how many countries around the world? We could cut the military budget in half tomorrow and not be one bit less secure in the U.S. Overseas outsourcers, though, would be on their own.

Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2010-04-28 15:27:27

“We could cut the military budget in half tomorrow and not be one bit less secure in the U.S…” ;-)

nycjoe, you gets the Dick Cheney “paddle of the week” award!

 
 
Comment by Bill in Los Angeles
2010-04-28 17:47:06

I’m one of those consultants (wearing my black hat) in the high double digits per hour.

Part of the premium for our higher incomes is this: Our jobs are temporary. There is no rehabilitation or second chance by the client to allow us to work smarter and be productive.

Secondly, contracts usually last 6 months to a year with several months of looking for work in between. Some contracts are only 3 month contracts.

Thirdly, we usually have to be very portable and willing to pick up and go thousands of miles for work. This means two residences. We get tax bennies for up to one year to make up for the double expenses.

If they kill the high hourly rates, the clients have to train unexperienced people over several months to do what we do. And if they make the rates the same as direct hire jobs (plus bennies), none of us would be consultants. There would be no reason to have so little job security.

My friends and I have Excel spreadsheets to weigh out the bottom line income (after taxes, 401k contributions, ESPPs if any, hourly rates or annual salaries, living expenses, travel costs, per diem, and so on). I do background research on rent prices in the new city and get that idea for lodging. In one case it made sense for me to go to Maryland on the east coast than to stay in Phoenix. The difference at the end of the year was $5,000.

Yes, we are very sensitive to the bottom line. If consulting does not pay better than direct hire jobs with bennies, consulting is dead.

 
 
Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-28 06:07:14

Ben Stein sure has changed his tune and his story over the years.

April 25, 2010
Stein: Obama Is So Right on Bank Reform
Says President’s Modest Proposals Will Rein in Wall Street Frat Boys and Prevent Financial Armageddon

Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2010-04-28 06:45:02

What does he do to earn cash?

 
Comment by bink
2010-04-28 07:29:18

If Ben Stein is for it you can be sure it doesn’t accomplish anything at all.

Comment by Gadfly
2010-04-28 12:03:28

“Bueller . . . Bueller . . . Bueller . . . Bueller . . . Bueller . . . Bueller . . . Bueller . . . Bueller . . .

 
 
Comment by mrktMaven FL
2010-04-28 07:52:52

What does he mean, “Prevent Financial Armageddon?” We’ve been in the eye of the storm the last nine months. Sovereign coffers are empty. It’s either debt deflation or printing presses. Choose your poison.

 
 
Comment by measton
2010-04-28 07:16:19

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Home buyer tax credits have been a boon to the U.S. housing market, but their expiration this week is unlikely to deter home purchasing activity as consumers grow more confident, according to a survey released on Wednesday.

Among consumers shopping for homes, 65 percent said the end of the tax credits will have little or no effect on their interest in purchasing a home, according to the survey, which was conducted by Prudential Real Estate and Relocation Services, part of Prudential Financial (NYSE:PRU - News).

1. Who is left shopping for homes after April?? This group has to be miniscule.
2. Those that are left are likely to be people who didn’t qualify for the tax credit to begin with.

Comment by packman
2010-04-28 07:38:01

Among consumers shopping for homes, 35 percent said the end of the tax credits will have significant effect on their interest in purchasing a home, according to the survey…

Has a little different ring to it if the exact same data is phrased a little differently - doesn’t it?

 
 
Comment by pressboardbox
Comment by edgewaterjohn
2010-04-28 07:31:15

That whole article is based on anecdote and conjecture. Let’s see who can close and who can’t and at what prices.

 
Comment by OCBear
2010-04-28 09:04:34

The survey was of 1,000 Americans between the ages of 25-64 with household income of at least $35,000; it was conducted from April 15-20. (1000 whole sheople? wow)

The Prudential Real Estate Outlook survey was conducted online.
(Prudential Houing PR, whered they post it at NAR.com…Nice, real nice Myer, lookin good buddy)

Just silly that this thing gets any play at all.

 
 
Comment by packman
2010-04-28 07:23:29

Got a response to this post from yesterday:

Interesting someone was saying on TV today that in 2002 that F&F started taking a back seat in lending and that is when Wall Street stepped in with
their CDO securities and flooded the market with easy lending and toxic product and the lending only went downhill more with time .
——————

This is what I’ve been trying to get across for a long, long time. Fannie and Freddie did NOT cause the credit/housing bubble and ensuing crisis. They were pulling out as the gamblers moved in (largely due to their issues in 2003 and 2004, when they were required to reduce their portfolios and increase capital ratios).

The true culprits in this crisis are sitting in front of congress right now (they and their ilk, along with their entourage of supporting entities).

- That would be fine and good if the housing bubble started in 2003-2004 when - as you correctly say - the WS companies took over much of the issuance. But it didn’t - it started in 1997. By 2003-2004 the bubble was already huge.

- Even still - even during the peak of the bubble - 2005 - Fannie and Freddie issuance exceeded WS issuance - $1,321 Billion vs. $901 Billion.

- Don’t think for a minute that F/F and GS are two entirely separate entities. E.g. James A Johnson - the head of Fannie Mae from 1991 - 1998, is on the board at Goldman Sachs. Johnson also was one of the ones to receive sweetheart loans from Mozillo, BTW. And, incidentally, is the person who formed the team to pick our current VP; though most believe it was just his pick all along. He is the consummate insider politician/banker - and IMO someone who’s gotten way less attention than he probably deserves. There are also other ties - e.g. Daniel Mudd, who was head of Fannie after Raines and now CEO of Fortress - a hedge fund company with their real estate arm run by a couple of Goldman Sachs guys. Basically there is a revolving door between many of the WS firms and F/F.

I agree BTW that some of the culprits are/were sitting in front of Congress. But only some of them - not “the” culprits, implying it was just them.

Comment by packman
2010-04-28 08:02:03

Follow-up - here’s a chart showing agency vs. non-agency MBS issuance. Fannie and Freddie never really “took a back seat” at all.

Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-28 18:17:14

Yeah — it’s cool how Fan and Fred stepped up their lending in the wake of their collapse, at the same time private issuance completely dried up. Bend over, spread ‘em wide, and enjoy this if you are into that sort of thing, taxpayers!

 
Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-28 18:19:05

P.S. I suggest you add a line to your graph representing the sum of agency / non-agency issuance (i.e., Total Issuance); I assume the total level dropped, but it is hard to guesstimate this “by eye.”

 
Comment by CA renter
2010-04-29 05:20:24

packman,

Yes, the housing market was well into bubble territory by 2003/2004 (we sold to rent in spring 2004 because we didn’t want to buy a bigger place during the bubble). That being said, the most “toxic” loans (stated income, neg-am, etc.) were created and traded in the private/non-GSE market.

If, for instance, a house down the street suddenly sold for $100K more than it did the year before because the buyer of that house used a “toxic” loan, any new transaction on that street could use the “toxic” sale as a comp, and they could use a more traditional (30-yr FRM with full doc) GSE loan for that purchase.

Like PB mentioned, the GSEs were forced to reverse course when the private market started throwing up. They lowered standards dramatically for the GSEs and increased the mortgage caps to $700K+/- so that the FBs could refi their private mortgages into GSE loans (IMHO, this was done to save the private financial firms, and the plan was already set to take over the GSEs and cover their losses with taxpayer money).

 
 
 
Comment by measton
2010-04-28 07:48:43

April 28 (Bloomberg) — European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet is on a diplomatic mission to Berlin as Germany’s reluctance to bail out Greece helps fan a fiscal crisis now burning around the euro region’s periphery.

Trichet and International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn will brief German parliamentary leaders in Berlin around noon today about the $60 billion aid package for Greece, which has met with opposition in Europe’s biggest economy. The joint European Union-IMF package would require Germany to stump up the biggest individual loan to Greece.

“It’s a sales pitch in front of an audience that needs it,” said Jacques Cailloux, chief European economist at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc in London. “The lawmakers probably need it spelled out that this is not about financing luxury pensions in Greece. Not helping Greece will unfortunately have a direct impact on the euro-area economy and German jobs.”

Standard & Poor’s yesterday cut Greece’s credit rating to junk status and slashed Portugal’s two notches, intensifying a bond market sell-off across the southern euro region amid concern that debt-ridden countries will struggle to refinance their loans. The crisis has highlighted the absence of a common fiscal policy to cement Europe’s monetary union, frustrating Trichet’s efforts to promote a “common destiny” for its 16 members.

‘Why do we have to pay?’

“Why do we have to pay for Greece’s luxury pensions?” Germany’s biggest-selling tabloid newspaper, Bild Zeitung, asked on its front page yesterday. Almost 60 percent of Germans don’t want to help Greece, Die Welt newspaper reported, citing a survey of 1,009 people.

Story sounds all too familiar, a Central Banker comes before the elected government and says if you don’t give us bags of cash the whole ship will go down. I’m a little disappointed that only 60% of Germans don’t want to help Greece. I’m sure a little propaganda will get them to sell their childrens future to help out bankers.

Comment by packman
2010-04-28 09:17:40

So question - where is the U.S. in all this? Not sure if everyone knew - but we’re contributing to this bailout too, via the IMF.

Talk of bigger aid plan takes edge off contagion fears

LONDON (MarketWatch) — Talk that the European Union and International Monetary Fund may significantly boost the size of a Greek rescue plan helped ease fears Wednesday that the nation’s intensifying fiscal crisis could trigger a debt restructuring and spread to other heavily indebted euro-zone nations.

A German television news report quoted an opposition politician as saying German lawmakers had been told the joint E.U.-IMF rescue package could total 100 billion to 120 billion euros ($132.5 billion to $159 billion) over three years. The plan as originally approved was expected to total around 45 billion euros.

The Financial Times had reported Wednesday that the IMF is weighing raising its share of the rescue package by 10 billion euros amid worries the bailout won’t prevent the debt crisis from spinning out of control. Under the plan, the IMF is currently expected to kick in around 15 billion euros, with euro-zone countries providing roughly 30 billion euros.

The U.S. is, of course, the IMF’s biggest contributor/component.

 
Comment by seekingsun
2010-04-28 11:05:26

Germany is only playing hard to get because of the upcoming elections beginning of May in NRW. They even admitted that they hoped Greece would hold of asking for money until after the elections. Just wait until May 10 and everything will be signed off.

 
Comment by Lesser Fool
2010-04-28 15:14:43

“Not helping Greece will unfortunately have a direct impact on the euro-area economy and German jobs.”

Wouldn’t it cost the Germans less to cover the cost of the German jobs that would be “directly impacted” than it would to subsidize Greece? If the beggars are playing the jobs card then I would call their bluff and take responsibility for the German jobs and nothing else.

Moreover, if Greece broke the rules of the EU (with regards to debt ratios and suchlike), why should Germany have to honor them? Portugal and now Spain are already getting ready to get in line!

I’m also VERY interested to find out who the counterparties to the Greek debt are.

Comment by alpha-sloth
2010-04-28 16:50:54

I believe a lot of German banks are counterparties, so that may explain Germany’s desire to keep them afloat- and paying.

 
 
 
Comment by mrktMaven FL
2010-04-28 08:01:08

What will the ECB do with the junk bonds it holds from Greek banks? Will it send them back to the banks or does it take a haircut? Who takes the haircut in this scenario?

Comment by measton
2010-04-28 08:51:43

It will do what any self respecting central bank would do. It will print money and tax the masses via inflation to cover the losses.

 
 
Comment by Green Shoots
2010-04-28 08:05:14

Buy now in San Diego before you are priced out forever!
============================================================
S.D. home prices stand alone
Area is only one in nation to rise in February survey
By Roger Showley, UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

Originally published April 27, 2010 at 11:33 a.m., updated April 28, 2010 at 12:05 a.m.

San Diego home prices are on the rise. Sellers of this 50th Street home promote the remodeling they did to make the home more attractive.

San Diego County’s housing market was the strongest in the nation in February, the widely watched Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Home Price Index reported Tuesday.

The price index for San Diego was up 0.6 percent from January, the only market out of 20 surveyed nationally with an increase. The index locally was up 7.6 percent from February 2009, second only to San Francisco.

The index for the 20 metro areas as a whole dropped 0.9 percent from January to February. But the good news, S&P analysts said, was the 0.6 percent increase year over year, the first such rise since December 2006. Still, of the 20 metro areas, 11 were down on an annualized basis.

Analysts attributed the overall annual increase partly to the federal homebuyer tax credit that expires Friday. It is thought to have pushed waffling buyers off the fence to take advantage of an $8,000 credit if they were first-timers and a $6,500 credit if they were moving up to a larger property. Buyers are required to have a signed purchase contract by Friday and close escrow by June 30 to take advantage of the program.

A similar program for California buyers, offering up to $10,000 in state tax credits, becomes effective for deals that close escrow after Saturday. Local agents said some buyers are holding off closing escrow until Saturday so they can take advantage of both programs.

But the agents also warn that the $200 million in state credits are likely to run out quickly, perhaps as early mid-May. Buyers of new homes can reserve the credits by signing a sales agreement; resale buyers must close escrow before they can apply for the benefit.

One buyer is Tri Nguyen, 30, a housing counselor at Community HousingWorks, an agency that helps distressed homeowners deal with default and foreclosure problems as well as placing would-be buyers into their first homes. Nguyen said a variety of subsidies helped him buy a 1,303-square-foot, 30-year-old home in City Heights for $220,000.

“I got frustrated, and my Realtor gave me the opportunity for this property in City Heights,” said Nguyen, who added that the agency is covering some improvements before he moves in. “It was hard for me to pass on that.”

Alan Gin, an economist at the University of San Diego, was at a loss to explain San Diego’s Case-Shiller numbers.

“It’s very unusual that every other market is down,” Gin said, noting that the unemployment rate of 11 percent here is worse than the national average.

Comment by pressboardbox
2010-04-28 11:48:36

Just wait till professor bear hears this. He is going to hit the roof!

Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2010-04-28 15:31:22

:-)

 
Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-28 18:15:09

Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn, as tomorrow is another day.

 
 
 
Comment by lavi d
Comment by San Diego RE Bear
2010-04-28 16:46:35

Less than a month after Obama expands offshore drilling. Oh well, I guess no one could have seen this coming.

 
Comment by krazy bill
2010-04-28 16:49:22

Just he results of “Drill baby, drill !” : The mantra of mindless morons.

Larger costs are the deaths and injuries of the energy extraction workers; 11 dead on this rig alone and 29 dead in the recent coal mine disaster.
Turn off the lights; in the darkness you can hear millions of workers whisper “Thank You”.

Today is International Workers Memorial Day

 
Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2010-04-28 18:02:05

Which is it? Is Thoreau laughing …or…crying…or both?

 
Comment by Sammy Schadenfreude
2010-04-28 19:02:06

That’s what she said.

 
 
Comment by cactus
2010-04-28 08:29:42

“Consumers remain unsure about the direction of the housing market, but are optimistic about real estate values, with 46 percent expecting prices in their area to increase over the next year. Just 12 percent expect prices to decline, the survey found.

Over the next five years, 79 percent expect prices to increase, and 20 percent expect prices to increase substantially.

well there you have it more news to make you run out and buy before its too late

Comment by edgewaterjohn
2010-04-28 08:41:05

“expect” or “hope”? Ah, when the masses hang their hopes on a real estate shooting star. It’s obvious which way the herd is still running.

BTW, I “expect” to win the lotto this Friday too. The fundamentals are no less solid than those behind a return to endless price gains!

Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-28 08:52:23

..Consumers remain unsure about the direction of the housing market, but are optimistic..

i get it.. You are unsure about what Lotto numbers will come up, but remain optimistic.

but seriously, I wonder if the lotto statistics might be a very real and reliable economic indicator..
How much money goes in this week compared to some other week.. where more or less of it is being bet.. etc.

 
 
 
Comment by measton
2010-04-28 08:50:43

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – WellPoint Inc said that as of May 1 it would expedite healthcare reforms and stop dropping healthcare coverage for customers after they get sick, responding to pressure from Democrats in Congress and the Obama administration.

The health insurer announced its decision on Tuesday after Democrats from three U.S. House of Representatives committees earlier in the day wrote to seven health insurance executives urging them to immediately stop the practice, known as rescission. A separate letter from 57 Democrats was directed at WellPoint alone.

Healthcare reform legislation passed last month makes rescission illegal except in cases involving fraud or intentional misrepresentation, allowing six months to comply. But Democrats pushed for action sooner following a Reuters report on April 22 that WellPoint used computer algorithms to target women with breast cancer for an investigation, with the intent of canceling their healthcare policies

They’ll stop as long as the spot light is on.

Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-28 11:05:59

Thank god they weren’t using death panels.

Oh wait…

 
 
Comment by serling
2010-04-28 08:53:03

I rarely post but have to post about a letter my parents got from a realtor. Are realtors still looking for homes to list?

Background: New England area. Parents live off the center of town in an area of 5 streets. Most of the homes were built in the 1950s and 1970s. There are about 100 homes total on these streets - must count one day. Of these homes, 2 homes are actively for sale. Both of these homes were sold within the past couple of years. In the past year or so another 2 homes were for sale/taken off the market unsold.

A search of the area shows Ziprealty has 15 active properties for sale in 1/2 mile radius, asking prices from $240K to $880K. There are 40 properties in a 1 miles radius. It is a good location in that it is off the center of the town, secluded but on a bus line, walking distance to the library, post office, 2 pizza parlors, drug store, etc.

The “Dear Homeowner” open letter states this realtor has “a client, a physician that (sic) is looking for a home in the center of town.” (I don’t know the client being a physician is relevant-could be a bricklayer, plumber for all that matters.)

This area, the center of town is “the only area of town he and his wife are interest in (sic.)” No small task, as you might imagine.” (No not really. Again, Ziprealty has 15 active listings and I know of 2 homes off the market in this section alone.)

“Upon searching the active market within this specific area over the last few weeks, there is very little available; (sic) as you may be aware. So, I am writing this letter to the neighborhoods that I believe would be of interest to them to see if there may be property owners that (sic) may be considering selling their home.”

If they have any interest, please contact the realtor as she will “look forward to hearing from you (sic).”

In this realty market, I’m wondering if my parents are being targets because they are elderly. The realtor has access to http://www.masslandrecords.com along with other sources and has got to know there is no mortgage on the house and it was first/last sold in 1952. There are a couple of other senior citizens in this neighborhood I am going to ask and see if they got this letter.

My first inclination is to toss it in the mail, while my second is to reply with a definitely not interested, stop bothering people.

Comment by lavi d
2010-04-28 09:56:17

…to see if there may be property owners that (sic)

“that” is an acceptable substitute for “who”.

“…American Heritage Dictionary says,

It is entirely acceptable to write either the man that wanted to talk to you, or the man who wanted to talk to you”

Grammar Girl

Comment by serling
2010-04-28 10:19:06

Thank you for the grammar update. I learned grammar ages ago in the stone age. The English teachers repeatedly drummed into students it was ‘who’ not ‘that’ - would get points off for doing THAT. Grammar was relatively easy, spelling was hard. Never could spell well enough to reliably use the dictionary.

Oh, my first inclincation was to toss it into the recycleable trash not the ‘mail’ as written. I just don’t get the letter.

Also, I just remembered there is a house going into/in foreclosure in this neighborhood. The auction notice was in 2 newspapers last month. I don’t know if there was an auction as it was during work hours. So this makes a potential 3to 5 of 100 homes available. This realtor should know about this foreclosure, because along with the public records, a fellow realtor in the same office lives next door to the foreclosing house.

To me, it’s just a strange letter to send.

Comment by lavi d
2010-04-28 10:41:55

Thank you for the grammar update.

Thank you for responding so graciously to my smart-assery.

Actually, I stick by “people who”, “things that” myself, but got a rude awakening after looking it up after insisting on it somewhere-or-other.

As far as the letter is concerned, I wouldn’t have too much concern over its being fraud targeting the elderly - people in sales do all kinds of wacky things to try to shake loose some possibilities.

Sounds like an envelope-licking campaign on behalf of a junior realtor.

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Comment by Cowtown
2010-04-28 11:09:28

“to reliably use” is a split infinitive. Just sayin’.

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Comment by serling
2010-04-28 12:20:19

Thank you for thinking I was gracious. I figure you can learn new things every day.

I guess I just tend to be overprotective sometimes as my parents age. They are currently getting estimates on having the roof replaced. They got a first estimate that seemed good, but as a backup wanted to get at least 2 more for comparison. The second guy, who had done the roof on the house accross the street, not only estimated the ‘number of squares’ needed as being 1000 more than the first estimate, but is charging $75/more a square.

The second guy also told them “the town doesn’t like the residents to put a roof on top of a roof.” He wants the job to involve getting a dumpster and tearing off the existing roof. At my parents’ ages, they just want to put a roof on top of the single roof.

The first guy is eager to do the roof and willingly gave references. Right now, due to the economy he had to lay off his one helper and will be doing the roof on his own.

 
Comment by jbunniii
2010-04-28 17:06:41

If they have any interest, please contact the realtor as she will “look forward to hearing from you (sic).”

OK, I’ll bite. Where is the grammar error in “look forward to hearing from you”? Or are you highlighting the fallacious assumption that there will be a response?

 
Comment by serling
2010-04-29 06:41:39

Don’t know if you’ll read this, but..

Was taught in high school that one cannot ‘look to hear.’ You can ‘look to see’, as in ‘look to see if there is a letter’, but cannot ‘look to hear’ - as one is sight and the other is sound.

Another thing was couldn’t use ‘at this point in time’ as it was redundant. Could use ‘at this point’ or ‘at this time’ but not together. Guess I was lucky to have such strict English teachers who taught me not to split infinitives, end sentences in a preposition, etc.

 
 
 
 
Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2010-04-28 15:41:51

“..I’m wondering if my parents are being targets because they are elderly.”
“…has got to know there is no mortgage on the house and it was first/last sold in 1952″

Here’s Hwy50’s POV for what it’s worth: ;-)

1. Yes, they are demographic targets.

2. The Realtor’s SO/husband/bil/fil/mil/sister/uncle/cousin is in the “Bidness” of: Reverse Mortgages.

Maybe start a rumor to see who speaks first on the block…send back a reply that says this: “Thanks, but no thanks…the property is going to be donated to a “Trust” that tends to the housing needs of severely mentality damaged children.” Good Luck. Sincerely,

 
 
Comment by measton
2010-04-28 08:56:05

LONDON (AP) — Credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s has downgraded Spain in another widening of Europe’s government debt crisis.

The move Wednesday follows its reductions of Portugal and Greece, which sent shock waves through world markets.

The agency says its decision to downgrade Spain’s credit rating by one notch to AA from AA+ is due to its expectation that the country will suffer an “extended” period of subdued economic growth.

Wuh wo!

Comment by packman
2010-04-28 09:05:26

No no no - it’s “Ruh Roh”. Get it right.

 
 
Comment by wmbz
2010-04-28 08:58:52

“In the end, more than they wanted freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life and they lost it all - security, comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility then Athens ceased to be free.”

-Edward Gibbon ~The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-28 09:06:01

what they.. ..wished for most was freedom from responsibility..

Wish all you like.. blame whatever you like on someone or something else.. it all comes back to us in the end.

There is no, and can be no, freedom from responsibility.

 
Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-28 11:08:52

It’s GOOD to be the Banksta!

 
Comment by alpha-sloth
2010-04-28 14:35:36

When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them,…

What did the Athenians’ desires have to do with the decline and fall of the *Roman* Empire? (And shouldn’t we be more concerned with the decline and fall of the Roman *Republic*, anyway?)

Comment by In Montana
2010-04-28 15:08:21

The two civilizations did overlap and interact with each other.

Comment by alpha-sloth
2010-04-28 17:01:21

The Roman Empire contained all of Greece. But the desires of Athenian citizens (Athens by that time was a relatively unimportant city) did not rank very high in the decision making process (or lack thereof) of the Roman emperors.

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Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-28 17:31:58

there are a few connections right around the fall.. Greece was apparently not able to repel an invasion.

5th Century —
The second war with the Visigoths, led by king Alaric, in which they raided Greece, and then invaded Italy, culminating in the sack of Rome (410)

and i guess as of about 476 AD and onward..

The Empire was to live on in the east for many centuries, and enjoy periods of recovery and cultural brilliance, but its size would remain a fraction of what it had been in classical times. It became an essentially regional power, centered on Greece and Anatolia.

Modern historians tend to prefer the term Byzantine Empire for the eastern, medieval stage of the Roman Empire.
wiki

 
 
 
Comment by pressboardbox
2010-04-28 08:59:27

Subsidized Nonsense Harder to Sell:

Who in their right mind would buy this crap? I know, the Fed is backing the debt, etc. but come on!

http://www.reuters.com/article/idCNN2817792020100428?rpc=44

Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-28 09:18:55

It might be you. Check and see if your mutual funds’ managers snatched some up…

 
 
Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-28 09:19:33

Main Street America’s conscience coupled with Wall Street’s lack thereof makes Main Street pockets ripe for the picking.

Legislating a Conscience on Wall Street

From J. P. Morgan to Goldman Sachs’s Lloyd Blankfein, the Street’s sense of social responsibility seems to have nearly evaporated.

JP Morgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon

The Greediest People of All Time

What They Got Away With

By Michael Hirsh | Newsweek Web Exclusive
Apr 28, 2010

Lloyd Blankfein doesn’t seem to feel responsible for anything beyond Goldman Sachs’s bottom line. Nor should he, according to the meager mores of Wall Street. Goldman, you see, is a “market maker,” as Blankfein loves to repeat. This absolves the firm of any fiduciary responsibility for the deals it sets up for its clients. Creating “liquidity” in the markets, Blankfein believes, is Goldman’s only social responsibility. At a hearing of the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations on Tuesday, Chairman Carl Levin repeatedly tried to get Blankfein to concede that Goldman was morally wrong to bet on the sly against securities that it had touted as solid investments to its clients. No, no, no, the Goldman CEO demurred, that’s not how the financial system works any more. “There’s been a change in the sociology of the business in the last 10 to 15 years,” Blankfein explained patiently. “Somewhere along the line,” he said, big clients stopped asking investment banks for good advice and started to seek them out only to set up deals for them—merely to underwrite the transactions and be on the other side of them. That forced Goldman to transform itself from a private partnership in the late ’90s into a publicly traded company in order to obtain the big-time capital it needed to create such deals. It also apparently gave Goldman carte blanche to shaft any helpless investor on the other side of those transactions. Liquidity is all. Nothing else matters.

Comment by SDGreg
2010-04-28 10:32:34

There is something very wrong with how we treat some corporations. Some of these corporations are no different from sociopaths and the financial harm they cause is immense. Much as we put away sociopathic killers, we need to eliminate sociopathic corporations.

Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-28 11:09:55

We’ll have none of that socialeest /commie talk around here!

 
Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2010-04-28 15:59:34

1st (SCOTUS person) Dr. Jekyll:

GoldenmanSucks Inc. = “TrueFinancialCult™”

2nd (SCOTUS person) Mr. Hyde:

GoldenmanSucks Inc. = “TrueSerialLiquiditist™”

:-)

 
 
 
Comment by wmbz
2010-04-28 09:31:06

Deport Children of Illegals: Hunter
Apr 28, 2010 NBCWashington

Representative Duncan Hunter wants to deport the U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants.

Hunter, who spoke at a tea party gathering in Ramona Saturday, said he does not believe children born to illegal immigrant parents should get automatic U.S. citizenship.

In a video posted Saturday on YouTube, Hunter appears to be taking questions from the crowd when he is asked if he would support the deportation of children born to illegal immigrants.

“I would have to,” he said.

“It’s a complex issue and it’s… you can look and say, ‘You’re a mean guy, that’s a mean thing to do, that’s not a humanitarian thing to do.’ We simply cannot afford what we’re doing right now,” he said. “California’s going under.”

“We’re not being mean,” he told the crowd. “We’re just saying it takes more than just walking across the border to become an American citizen.”

Our media partner the North County Times confirmed the statements when a reporter spoke with Hunter Tuesday.

Comment by mrktMaven FL
2010-04-28 09:57:58

How is deporting Hispanic natural born citizens not racist?

Comment by X-GSfixr
2010-04-28 15:37:12

Nobody said “deport Mexican illegals and their fugitive offspring”

It’s “deport illegals”……isn’t our problem that 80% (or whatever the percentage is) happen to come from Mexico.

I’d be saying the same thing if we had 20 million illegal Chinese, Russians, Somalis, Ukrainians; hell, even Martians or Romulans.

If some country was smart, they would start an airline with direct service to Tijuana or Juarez. Then give all their drains on society in general one-way tickets, and a map to the US border.

Legal immigrants from other countries should be pitching a fit, because they played by our (by world standards, pretty lax) immigration laws, while Juan6Pack decides on his own to cut in the front of the line, and “wears out the welcome” for legal immigrants.

Why do Mexicans feel they have a God-given right to live here, just because they happen to share a border with the USA? Some kind of “You owe us, because you stole Texas and California from us” sense of entitlement?

 
Comment by EastBayTom
2010-04-28 16:09:20

Where in that article does it say Hispanic?

Who’s racist?

Comment by mrktMaven FL
2010-04-29 05:06:37

You don’t think repealing the 14th amendment — adopted after the Civil War and declaring all persons born on US soil — is about race?

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Comment by mrktMaven FL
2010-04-28 10:06:21

Furthermore, how is it not unconstitutional?

Comment by SDGreg
2010-04-28 10:22:14

Of course it’s unconstitutional. I would prefer that the constitution be changed so that birth in this country to parents that are not in the country legally does not automatically confer American citizenship.

I would not deport children that are American citizens. But if their parents are deported and they choose to go with them, I wouldn’t be bothered by that in the least.

Comment by In Colorado
2010-04-28 10:38:33

+1

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Comment by mrktMaven FL
2010-04-28 11:27:55

Why do you willingly embrace Big Brother despots that deny the rights of fellow citizens, including children? Is your hate that blinding? We’re talking about babies, children. If you can’t defend defenseless babies, I don’t know what else there is left to discuss.

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Comment by SDGreg
2010-04-28 11:50:27

I’m confused. I don’t think I’m proposing to deny anyone rights to which they’re already entitled.

However, I do favor changes in the future which I think are appropriate and are long overdue. I don’t favor those possible future changes impacting those that are currently operating under the old standards.

I’m no fan of big brother and I don’t care to pay for the misdeeds of someone else’s parents.

 
Comment by Gadfly
2010-04-28 12:21:01

How far back do they want to go chasing the illegals? The Hispanics didn’t invent the phony document routine.

There are Poles, Irish, Chinese and others who’ve been living in the U.S. under adopted identities for decades.

Hell, I dated a gal whose entire immediate and extended family were fictitious entities. Now she’s a health professional in her thirties with kids of her own.

Oh yeah . . . I can see it now. People will be scrambling to find their tickets from the Mayflower. And the Native Americans will be laughing their collective a$$es off.

 
Comment by alpha-sloth
2010-04-28 14:50:26

Oh yeah . . . I can see it now. People will be scrambling to find their tickets from the Mayflower. And the Native Americans will be laughing their collective a$$es off.

‘Native’ Americans immigrated here from Asia. And we all came from Africa, originally. Following a reductio ad absurdum, everyone in the world should be deported back to sub-saharan Africa. Gonna be crowded… :wink:

 
Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2010-04-28 16:04:42

“I don’t care to pay for the misdeeds of someone else’s parents.”

Man, given genetics & sexual mating, I don’t see how you gonna get through life avoiding that every day you wake up & go outside…

 
 
Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2010-04-28 13:11:57

Question. Does the constitution even need to be changed?

If it comes to a Supreme Court ruling, couldn’t the Supreme Court interpret the Constitution to mean children born only to parents who are US citizens? Or does it specifically say any person born in this country regardless of his/her parents’ nationality?

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Comment by mrktMaven FL
2010-04-28 13:43:28

This is the first part of the 14th amendment. It was adopted after the Civil War, remember that little skirmish, and according to Wiki overruled the Dred Scott case which excluded slaves and their descendants from possessing constitutional rights.

1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

 
Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2010-04-28 14:42:33

I see that, but I also saw this part (as per Wiki on the Citizenship Clause of the 14th):

“In Wong Kim Ark the Supreme Court held that under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, a man born within the United States to foreigners (in that case, Chinese citizens) who were lawfully residing in the United States and who were not employed in a diplomatic or other official capacity by a foreign power, was a citizen of the United States.”

Notice the part, “who were lawfully residing in the US…”

I don’t see another, different, reference to those born here of parents who are not citizens (or who are here unlawfully). As such, my point is, the Supreme Court could find that the 14th Amendment doesn’t apply since children of illegal immigrants don’t have parents “who were lawfully residing in the US.”

 
Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2010-04-28 14:46:28

And my original point was that the original INTENT of the Constitution in #1 that you posted above was for children of US citizens only. So, if the SC is supposed to interpret the Constitution, they could rule that the intent wasn’t to allow children of non-citizens to automatically become citizens.

 
Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2010-04-28 14:50:18

Ugh, sorry for the multiple posts but I want to clarify that I don’t know the original intent of the 14th. I meant to question if the intent was as I stated…

 
Comment by mrktMaven FL
2010-04-28 16:07:31

Assuming you could deport a natural born US citizen child, why would you specifically want to? What’s your motivation?

Secondly, what country of origin would you send the child back to if the birth originated in the US?

Thirdly, will young brown children across the US have to show the authorities not only their own papers, but that of their parents as a result?

 
Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2010-04-28 16:30:11

1. Well, I find your first question (purposefully?) misleading. You’re ignoring the assumptions I made. I wouldn’t deport a US citizen, child or otherwise. The question was, is this child a US citizen? If the 14th Amendment was interpreted as a child born here is a citizen ONLY if his/her parents are US citizens, then they are not citizens.

2. I would send the child, with his/her parents, back to his/her parents’ country of citizenship.

3. Why are you obsessed with this as a race issue? And what is the scenario you are describing? Is the kid wandering the streets alone? Is the kid in school (and presumably registered as a legal resident to be able to be there)? Is the kid with a friend’s parents? The only time “the authorities” have asked for my “papers” is when I was up to no good with my parents nowhere in sight.

 
Comment by mrktMaven FL
2010-04-28 18:01:11

The amendment is pretty clear — All persons born … in the United States … are citizens of the United States. It doesn’t say except for …. ‘All’ implies no exceptions.

Further, the parents’ country of origin is under no obligation to accept children of another country of origin.

You’re the one who is focused on the child’s lineage — its parents — in determining and subsequently qualifying or disqualifying its citizenship. Given the broader context — the Arizona law targeting Mexican migrant workers — what else am I suppose to presume?

 
Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2010-04-28 23:25:05

Fair enough (to your first paragraph) but I’m questioning the interpretation of the amendment. An analogy would be the interpretation of citizens’ rights to bear arms. I understand what it says but I also realize that the original intent (militia in place of standing army) might be different than what is perceived today. I am questioning what the intent was at the time and trying to understand THAT, not the fact that it says “all persons born…” Read the rest of the page on the Citizenship Clause. It suggests to me our leaders at the time weren’t interested in giving citizenship to kids of non-citizens.

And yes, I’m most certainly questioning the lineage of the parents, which is paramount to the overall discussion, because that is exactly what the Citizenship Clause of the 14th does, as I’ve tried to point out.

Independent of that, you seem intent on ignoring the fact that these children even HAVE parents. If you were illegally living in another country, had kids there, and were told to leave, whose responsibility would you feel it is to take care of your kids?

 
Comment by mrktMaven FL
2010-04-29 07:05:20

The intent was to force confederate states into recognizing the citizenship rights of African Americans and their descendants.

The 14th Amendment is clearly about race. You’d like to repeal it in order to deny citizenship to a new group of people and argue it’s not about race. I think that’s disingenuous.

 
Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2010-04-29 09:30:46

??

Who said anything about repealing it? I was questioning the original intent, possible Supreme Court interpretation (should it come to that), and how it applies it to non-citizens. Have you read anything I wrote, or is your impulse to find someone to argue with?

And the denial of citizenship isn’t about race, it’s about being in this country illegally. I find your jump to incorrect conclusions (to prove a point I’m not arguing with) disingenuous.

 
 
 
 
 
Comment by SDGreg
2010-04-28 09:47:14

Bernie Sanders on Wall Street reform:

http://sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/news/?id=53b4e8e5-c911-4dc0-bab9-e97344129f71

- Break Up Huge Banks
- Financial Institutions Must be Integrated Into the Real Economy
- National Usury Legislation
- Transparency at the Federal Reserve

Comment by SDGreg
2010-04-28 10:03:53

Here’s the YouTube video of his speech on the Senate floor:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCS-PTCF8v8&feature=player_embedded#!

Around 5 minutes into the video:

“If a financial institution is too big to fail, that financial institution is too big to exist and the time is now to start breaking them up.”

Absolutely!

 
Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2010-04-28 16:15:39

He’s a Democrapt:

Anti-American + NON “TruePatriot™ / TruePurity™”

Senate vote totals:

Sanders: 1

“TrueDoNothing™ / “TrueObstructionists™ / TrueGridLokers™” : 40

Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2010-04-28 17:20:42

See, load up the haterade sling-shot & let’em have it! (Hwy has to set up a count-down day calculator for this years family “Thanksgiving Feast”…) ;-)

“During the bailout, the Fed lent trillions of dollars at zero or near-zero interest rates to large financial institutions,” says Sen. Bernard Sanders (D) of Vermont. “During the Budget Committee hearing, I asked Chairman Bernanke who received that money, he refused to tell us.”

“The bottom line is that trillions of taxpayer dollars were lent out and voters have a right to know who received it,” he added.

 
 
 
Comment by wmbz
2010-04-28 09:49:14

I swear you just can’t make this stuff up any better than the real thing. Wonder what kind of dope these wacky nut job clerics smoke?

Women With Suntans Will Be Arrested, Iran Police Chief Warns
NewsCore

The warning follows recent comments made by a hard-line Iranian cleric, who claimed women dressed in revealing clothing were disturbing young men and causing earthquakes.

Women with suntans are violating Islamic law and will be arrested in Iran, the capital city’s police chief was reported by The Daily Telegraph as saying Wednesday.

“The public expects us to act firmly and swiftly if we see any social misbehavior by women, and men, who defy our Islamic values,” Brigadier Hossien Sajedinia said.

“In some areas of north Tehran we can see many suntanned women and young girls who look like walking mannequins,” he continued. “We are not going to tolerate this situation and will first warn those found in this manner and then arrest and imprison them.”

A preacher has also told the residents of Iran’s capital Tehran to leave the city.

“Go on the streets and repent for your sins. A holy torment is upon us. Leave town,” said Ayatollah Aziz Khoshvaqt during a recent sermon in northern Tehran.

Comment by In Colorado
2010-04-28 10:37:00

Uh, don’t most Iranians have naturally dark complexions?

Comment by Gadfly
2010-04-28 12:25:44

Uh . . . no. I went to college with many. My freshman dorm roomie was from Tehran. Most are whiter than your average Florida cracker.

Comment by In Colorado
2010-04-28 12:56:38

Then they should arrest their prez. He has a nice tan.

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Comment by neuromance
2010-04-28 19:17:16

Some are white, some are brown.

Comment by exeter
2010-04-29 05:00:59

And many have blue eyes.

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Comment by goedeck
2010-04-28 10:00:09

Former Premier president copes with aftermath of bankruptcy

For the last year she has been largely silent about the events leading up to the demise of Deer Valley Lodging and Premier International, partly on the advice of attorneys and partly because each time she tried to explain what had happened she was overcome with emotion. But now she says she has “come full circle” is ready to talk about how she has been coping since closing the business that took 30 years to build.
Perfect storm begins to gather force

When the first signs of trouble bleeped across her radar screen, the president of Premier Resorts International reminded herself that she had weathered tough times before. Barbara Zimonja had no doubt that she could safely steer

http://www.parkrecord.com/ci_14969819?source=most_viewed

Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-28 10:36:26

“Most of the money that went into South Carolina was mine and that is where I lost my retirement, my nest egg, my everything.”

The rest is understandable, but risking that money was just nutty.

 
Comment by goedeck
2010-04-28 10:36:46

As a follow-up there are a lot of angry comments by locals who said this article was a puff piece. Many former employees in the area got stiffed as did rental owners.

Comment by SDGreg
2010-04-28 11:25:26

“The shortfall was particularly evident in Utah where property management firms are not required to hold reservation deposits in trust or escrow accounts as they are in some other states. According to Zimonja, in Utah the company was legally allowed to use those funds at their discretion.”

“We most certainly were doing intercompany loans. I think that is public knowledge. There is no impropriety with doing that at all, we were using business funds to fund the business.”

That infuriated Premier’s Utah property owners who accused Zimonja and Goulding of using their rental fees to build up the assets in South Carolina. In retrospect, Zimonja admits, “We did that, it was not my decision and we shouldn’t have.”

While that appeared legal, was it proper and was it what was expected? A cautionary note, I suppose, for anyone that might be contemplating a vacation rental in Utah.

 
 
Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2010-04-28 16:30:31

“…mentoring small businesses with a new set of hard-won lessons about success and failure..about: restraint”

Goldenmansucks quick-guide handbook:

restraint = “personal decibel laughter level when hearing that Lehman Bros was imploding”

BWAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHHAHAHAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! (fpss™) x10 :-)

 
 
Comment by Natalie
2010-04-28 11:02:53

Here is a decent article saying the same stuff I have been saying for weeks, and which generated a lot of hateful posts about me.

http://finance.yahoo.com/tech-ticker/article/475267/Now-Lets-Hold-Hearings-Into-the-People-REALLY-Responsible-For-The-Crisis

Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-28 11:19:27

This situation isn’t over yet. And to say that no laws were broken is an outright lie.

To use the Enron analogy, it took a few years for the prosecution and trials to really get underway while many people were saying the exact same things about legality and obligations.

Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-28 11:52:27

As far as anyone knows, no laws were broken.

 
 
Comment by packman
2010-04-28 11:49:37

In general, I’d agree with the article quite wholeheartedly, with some comments:

- Not sure why it doesn’t include Phil Gramm in the list of “people who decided Glass-Steagall was an unnecessary anachronism”. I believe it should.

- It needs to include “People who decided to ignore the Taylor Rule and keep interest rates way too low for too long (Greenspan).”

- It needs to include “People who promote economic engineering via artificial stimulii (Keynes, John Kasich, etc.)” (Ok - I know Keynes is obviously controversial - but I had to throw him in.)

- It’s interesting that it includes Daniel Mudd in the list - that’s the second reference to him today (see my other one above). However I’m not sure why they think that he got F/F into the subprime business. He didn’t even join Fannie Mae until 2000 - but Fannie Mae had already been mandated to get into the subprime business by the GSE Act eight years earlier.

- That being the case - it also needs to include “people who saw the need to give housing loans and subsidies to people who aren’t ready to own a house (Barney Frank, Bill Clinton, George Bush, etc.)”

- Not sure why it only includes Cox in reference to SEC loosening leverage rules. Arthur Levitt was the chair in 1998 when they started all that.

In general it seems like the author, like most people, focuses only on the late stages of the bubble, long after the bulk of the damage had been done.

Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-28 11:52:53

Good call.

 
Comment by packman
2010-04-28 11:53:32

P.S. I guess even though I said “I’d agree with the article wholeheartedly” I was referring only to the premise - there are lots of people responsible that are getting off scot-free - rather than to the details, which as you can see are sorely lacking.

P.P.S. Natalie - I have no clue about the history of your posts - I remember there was a lot of nasty discussion, but I didn’t really get involved.

Comment by Natalie
2010-04-28 12:23:39

It wasnt that big of a deal. Some thought that because I generally think that top investment bankers are bright and that most probably could not be convicted of engaging in criminal activity, that I somehow looked up to them and thought everything that happened was great. I have actually been calling for reform since 1998. It’s no biggie as I live in Philly and am called a B and worse on a regular basis. I just get annoyed with others incorrectly tell me what I believe.

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Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-28 13:27:36

I just get annoyed with others incorrectly tell me what I believe.

You believe that pulling your punches will make them treat you better..
It won’t. They must be pounded into submission.

 
Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-28 16:04:56

“I just get annoyed with others incorrectly tell me what I believe.”

er… really? :lol:

You did not just say that. Really?

 
Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-28 17:23:28

careful ecofeco.. she’s got twice your brains. Maybe more, but that’s as much as i can be sure of.

 
Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2010-04-28 19:13:10

You believe that pulling your punches will make them treat you better..
It won’t. They must be pounded into submission.
joey

In certain, rare occasions, we are given evidence of an individual’s true nature.

 
 
 
Comment by alpha-sloth
2010-04-28 15:45:33

He also forgot the ratings agencies.
And Ayn Rand! :wink:

 
 
Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-28 12:31:40

..And that highlights the REAL crime here: The laws in effect at the time.
So it’s time to call a few more people to the stand.

——
As long as we have the freedom to take risks in order to make money, bubbles are a possibility.
Lets think about the consequences before we throw away that freedom.

“He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither.” –Ben Franklin
—–

btw.. the choice will be ours. We are responsible for laws that are currently in existence.. we the people should be called to the stand to explain why laws are what they are.

Comment by measton
2010-04-28 14:56:45

As long as we have the freedom to take risks in order to make money, bubbles are a possibility.
Lets think about the consequences before we throw away that freedom.

Correction - As long as we have the freedom to get tax payers and pension funds to give us massive leverage and then take exploding toxic assets off our hands when the bubble collapses, bubbles are not only possible they are probable.

Signed Wall Street.

Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-28 17:52:44

..the freedom to get tax payers and pension funds to give us massive leverage..

I have no idea what you meant by that. Who is “us” if it’s not taxpayers?

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Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-28 18:23:15

disregard my last question.. i missed the “Signed Wall Street”.

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Comment by ecofeco
2010-04-28 16:06:42

No joey, the choice was NOT ours. They took a risk, got screwed and then WE had to bail them out.

WE DID NOT HAVE A CHOICE.

 
 
 
Comment by pressboardbox
2010-04-28 11:53:12

For those who think the recession ended:

As long as the Fed holds rates at ZERO, we are still in recession.

Period.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/When-Will-The-Fed-Finally-usnews-2604583743.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=1&asset=57d58c21740c8843aaf8ee6f6b8656c5&ccode=1

Comment by packman
2010-04-28 13:34:24

As long as the Fed holds rates at ZERO, we are still in recession.

+1

But add to that - as long as the Federal Government is pumping well over $1 Trillion of new unfunded $$ per year into the system, we are still in a recession.

 
 
Comment by wmbz
2010-04-28 13:00:16

Spain downgraded, Europe debt crisis widens
Germany says aid for Greece could be passed by May 7
Associated Press April 28, 2010

BERLIN — Europe’s debt crisis spread its contagion to another country Wednesday when a major credit agency downgraded Spain’s credit rating, even as Germany grudgingly moved closer to bailing out Greece from imminent collapse.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany would speed up the approval process and could have its share of a euro45 billion joint bailout from other euro countries and the International Monetary fund for Greece rushed through parliament by next week.

That would beat a May 19 deadline when Greece has debt coming due — debt it can’t pay without the money promised.

“It’s absolutely clear that the negotiations between the Greek government and the European Commission and the IMF have to be accelerated now,” Merkel said ahead of a meeting with IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn. “We hope that they will be completed in the next days.”

 
Comment by wmbz
2010-04-28 13:04:17

It takes a global village…

Obama concerned about Greek debt, monitoring closely
Apr 28, 2010

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE, April 28 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama is concerned about Greece’s debt problems and his administration is in touch with Europe about the issue, White House spokesman Bill Burton said on Wednesday.

“This is something that is of great concern to the president and we’re monitoring it very closely,” Burton told reporters on Air Force One, adding that the U.S. Treasury Department and other agencies were “in close contact with folks in Europe about the issue.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said earlier on Wednesday negotiations with Greece over a planned aid package for the country should be accelerated because the stability of the euro zone was at stake.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2010-04-28 13:25:19

Obama concerned about Greek debt, monitoring closely

The defaults of once sovereign nations are now a threat to Wall Street’s and global finance’s hegemony.

Comment by measton
2010-04-28 14:58:52

Yes because this leads to riots, and riots lead to people overthrowing governments. Banks stand to loose if that happens.

Just like welfare is not for the poor, bailing out the Greece is not for the Greeks.

 
 
Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-28 13:42:00

Corruption is widely regarded as one of the triggers of the Greek debt crisis threatening the euro common currency. A new study by Transparency International suggests that corruption is part of everyday life in Greece, and claims private households paid more than 780 million euros in bribes in 2009.

The Greeks paid an average of €1,355 ($1,830) in bribes last year for public services such as speeding up the issue of driver’s licenses and construction permits, getting admitted to public hospitals or manipulating tax returns, according to a new study by Transparency International, the Berlin-based global corruption watchdog.

In 2008, average bribes were even higher, at €1,374, the study said, according to a report in the German daily Die Welt on Tuesday.

Bribes paid for private sector services such as lawyers, doctors or banks were even higher, rising to €1,671 on average in 2009 from €1,575 in 2008, the study said. It is based on a survey by polling institute Public Issue among 6,122 Greek adults, of whom 13.4 percent stated that they had been asked to pay bribes.

According to Die Welt, Transparency International calculated that Greek households paid a total of €787 million in bribes in 2009 - €462 million to civil servants and €325 million in the private sector. The total sum is up 23 percent from 2007, when TI estimated that bribes totaling €639 million were paid.

http://freeinternetpress.com/story.php?sid=24777#top
——–

i guess everyone’s aware of that, a lot of relief money will be stolen, and it’s one reason nobody’s really anxious to bail them out..

Comment by packman
2010-04-28 14:24:24

In a related note - Greece has the second-lowest ranking of economic freedom of the 27 EU states.

 
Comment by james
2010-04-28 14:57:15

The Greeks paid an average of €1,355 ($1,830) in bribes last year for public services such as speeding up the issue of driver’s licenses and construction permits, getting admitted to public hospitals or manipulating tax returns, according to a new study by Transparency International, the Berlin-based global corruption watchdog.

Oh it so reminds me of the healthcare debate. Rio had them on the list of nations with “better” healthcare.

My ex, from a somewhat civilized country in Africa, had similar public health care options.

Pay for your own doctor OR go die at the public hospital.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2010-04-28 16:00:23

Oh it so reminds me of the healthcare debate. Rio had them (Greece) on the list of nations with “better” healthcare.

Come on James, that’s a bogus representation of the context. Look at the original post Below. Greece is on a large list of countries that provide universal health coverage that I posted at the bottom of a long post with cites.

The argument is for universal coverage. You don’t think America would do a better job of universal coverage than Greece, Oman, Sri Lanka, Ukraine or that “somewhat civilized country in Africa”? I do. That was a straw man James. Jeez. Here’s the post.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2010-03-04 08:34:34
How about universal housing, better yet?

We’re working on that with all the bail-outs and affordable housing schemes utilizing taxpayer money.

As far as heath-care, here’s a chart “Health-care spending as % of GDP of 30 countries.” We’re number 1! USA! USA!! (as you see, I didn’t just “pull these numbers out of the air”.

The 17 (and 24 out of 29) countries directly under the USA on the chart spend much less than we do but they all have universal coverage and many have better health stats than the US does.

Please Note: This chart cites 2006-2008 figures which shows US health-care spending at a bit less than 16% of GDP. Warren Buffet just was quoted that 2010 figures come in at over 17% with Canada only spending 10% of GDP on health care. However, Canada covers their entire population, has many better health stats than the USA and the USA has 1/3 of our population not covered or under-covered.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a1/International_Comparison_-_Healthcare_spending_as_%25_GDP.png

Here’s a list of countries with Universal Health Care Coverage:

Afghanistan*, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Cuba, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iraq*, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Oman, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Ukraine and the United Kingdom
*Universal health coverage provided by United States war funding

Source:
http://www.gadling.com/2007/07/05/what-countries-have-universal-health-care/

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Comment by james
2010-04-28 17:22:36

We also had a talk about Canada and Brazil before. I expect that health care for the extreemly poor in Brazil isn’t better than health care for the extreemly poor in the US of A.

I probably have not been fair. However, the debate has been so charged and we are not looking into enough detail at what some countries are doing to lower costs.

Honestly saw some really good concepts for specialist hospitals in India that did a better job at a far lower cost per patient in India. The cost differences not being totally related to wages. A lot of the cost difference was they ship in all sorts of heart patients and the doctors had a very full docket all day. Hence utilization was very high and they great sucess rates because they did the same opperations all the time.

A pretty interesting business model that would be a step in the right direction for us.

As I stated in the debates before: lots of things to fix but the insurance reform didn’t look to be a part of it.

Dude. Some of those countries are really laughable on the list. Not that it’s entirely related to healthcare.

 
Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-28 17:49:30

You don’t think America would do a better job of universal coverage..

Why would anyone think we can do a “better job” of it? Far as I know, money doesn’t grow on trees.. not even in the USA.

 
Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2010-04-28 17:54:33

Geez, don’t know that I’ll ever make it to Rio, but I really would like to buy you a few drinks…

Tankxs! :-)

 
Comment by pmseatac
2010-04-28 18:02:07

I see that Chile is on this list which is a bit puzzling. My wife is from Chile, we have a lot of family there, and we spend a lot of time there. As far as I know, they do not have universal coverage. People who have jobs are often covered by company insurance plans, but poor unemployed people generally have little access to anything but the most rudimentary medical treatment. There is a network of neighborhood and rural clinics that provide some basic services ( I believe they are government funded ) but for any serious problems you need either lots of your own money or a good insurance plan, or you’re screwed. Just like here. And when I am in Chile I hear people complaining about their insurance companies scamming them. Just like here.

 
Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2010-04-28 19:41:17

The argument is for universal coverage. You don’t think America would do a better job of universal coverage than Greece, Oman, Sri Lanka, Ukraine or that “somewhat civilized country in Africa”? I do. Rio (ME)

Why would anyone think we can do a “better job” of it? Far as I know, money doesn’t grow on trees.. not even in the USA.
joey (Them)

Well then that’s pathetic.

That’s the difference between you and me joey. I know the USA will do a better job than Oman, Sri Lanka, Greece and Ukraine in providing universal health-care for its citizens. We are Americans. Hell, we’ll do a better job than Europe.

You have forgotten from where you’ve come from joey. It’s sad. What has perverted-Wall Street “capitalism” done to us? What? Greed, lies, distortions and strife…

I believe in America and the American people before I believe in your parasitic bank and corporate masters. I believe in American manufacturing more than your outsourcing and your globalization jive. I’ve lived in countries who’ve proved your theories wrong.

And I believe you and yours have seen your high water mark and you are starting to realize it.

 
 
 
 
 
Comment by wmbz
2010-04-28 13:17:26

It amazing just how ignorant so many knee jerkers are…

Opponents of immigration law call for boycott of Arizona Iced Tea
The problem: Arizona Iced Tea is actually brewed in New York.

Opponents of Arizona’s new anti-immigrant law are calling for a boycott of the state’s products - including the popular Arizona Iced Tea.

Online, misguided tea fans vowed to switch to Lipton or Snapple.

“Dear Arizona: If you don’t change your immigration policy, I will have to stop drinking your enjoyable brand of iced tea,” Twittered Jody Beth in Los Angeles.

“It is the drink of fascists,” wrote Travis Nichols in Chicago.

The company did not return messages asking if they planned to set the public straight.

Founded in Brooklyn in 1992, the firm was based in Queens before moving into a new $35 million headquarters in Nassau County last year.

The new state law allows cops to demand citizenship papers from anyone they think looks illegal.

Actual Arizona firms facing a boycott: Cold Stone Creamery, U-Haul and Best Western.

Comment by packman
2010-04-28 13:37:28

I supposed they’ll stop buying Tucsons (Hyundai) as well.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2010-04-28 13:41:12

And they’re the product of a Korean company.

As for Arizona Iced Tea, I don’t care for the stuff. I buy green tea in bulk from our local food co-op. Then I make my own tea.

Comment by wmbz
2010-04-28 13:54:47

It’s my understanding that green tea is the best for you.

I do buy on occasion the Arnold Palmer half tea, half lemon aid by Arizona Ice Tea, I like the taste. Mostly I drink water, but beer runs a close second.

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Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2010-04-28 16:39:49

“As for Arizona Iced Tea, I don’t care for the stuff.”

Who cares! NY or AZ it’s tea flavored CORN SYRUP from MONSANTO!

BOYCOTT! BOYCOTT! BOYCOTT! BOYCOTT! BOYCOTT! BOYCOTT! :-)

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Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2010-04-28 16:49:09

Oh, by the way…guess who is the #1 “Bidness” trade partner for Arizona?

Sonora, Mexico

BWAHAHAHicHAHAHicHAHAHAHAHicHAHAHic* (DennisN™)

Score:

“TrueAnger™” = 1
AZ state revenue increases = -0

No. 1 trading partner

Fernando Jimenez, the director of trade and investment for the Americas for the Arizona Department of Commerce, says that in 2009, nearly $4.5 billion worth of products were exported from the state to Mexico, which is Arizona’s No. 1 trading partner. That includes semiconductor chips, machinery, and plastics.

“Trade with Mexico is extremely important for our state,” he says.

Also, nearly 40 percent of fruits of vegetables imported to the US from Mexico pass through Arizona, according to research by the Colegio de la Frontera Norte.

 
 
 
Comment by wmbz
2010-04-28 13:59:20

Probably, these clowns just jump for ’cause’ to ’cause’ they haven’t a clue. Then their show comes on the boob tube and they forget what they are against.

 
 
Comment by joeyinCalif
2010-04-28 14:03:03

While it’s misguided, i can appreciate the sentiment… kinda like us switching to “Freedom fries” when France didn’t want to join the coalition..
I wonder if the French even know what a french fry is.

..On March 11, 2003, Representatives Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio) and Walter B. Jones, Jr. (R-North Carolina) declared that all references to French fries and French toast on the menus of the restaurants and snack bars run by the House of Representatives would be removed. House cafeterias were ordered to rename French fries to “freedom fries”. This action was carried out without a congressional vote, under the authority of Ney’s position as Chairman of the Committee on House Administration, which oversees restaurant operations for the chamber. The simultaneous renaming of French toast to “freedom toast” attracted less attention..

Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2010-04-28 17:03:40

Oh, that almost …bankrupt McDonald’s CORPORATION! ;-)

 
 
Comment by alpha-sloth
2010-04-28 17:38:34

People should refuse to watch Raising Arizona, or any movie with River Phoenix in it.

 
 
Comment by Arizona Slim
2010-04-28 13:43:09

Oh, one more thing about boycotting Arizona…

It’s about to get toasty-hot here. May is just around the corner, and that means that triple-digit temperatures are in the offing. Our tourism tends to drop off until the fall, and that’s almost six months away.

I’m willing to wager that, this coming fall and winter, tourism here will be about what it always has been.

Comment by wmbz
2010-04-28 14:00:23

“I’m willing to wager that, this coming fall and winter, tourism here will be about what it always has been”.

Without a doubt.

 
Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2010-04-28 16:52:58

Sorry Slim, didn’t get to this post, but look above…tourism may remain, but other things might not…

Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2010-04-28 17:41:38

Also, sorry Mr. Ben…I just don’t see illegal Mexicans as Arizona’s biggest FRAUD Sit-U-Ation. If you pile mortgage fraud on one side of the… teeter-totter… and cost of illegal’s (minus the taxes they pay) buying beer & whatever…I’m inclined to think the former not the latter should be the focus of the “TrueAnger™” / “TruePurity™” advocates. But, hey I’m in CA so what do I know of monetary damages to state economies via these two adversaries of “TrueACitizen™” anger… :-)

Main St “Conundrum”:

Peoples that look “Illegal” = “Touchables”

GoldenmanSucks = “Un-touchables”

 
 
 
Comment by eddiamond
2010-04-28 14:08:08

I want a better life for my family. My neighbor has a beautiful estate with servants and low hanging fruit and a hospital on the grounds and on and on. Needless to say, I would like this paradise for me and my family. So one day, I jumped his fence and became a squatter with the rest of my family. His security force could not question why we were there because it would violate our rights. Even though we were trespassing which is illegal, there was nothing they could do about it and more and more of my relatives came until this lush paradise was a lot like the place we left. We brought our language, customs and way of life and never bothered to learn the ways of the new land. We felt no remorse for the suckers waiting in line at the front gate to get in because we don’t need no stinkin’ laws. What part of this is controversial?

Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2010-04-28 16:56:44

“What part of this is controversial?”

Well, let’s ask some of the military troops that Cheney-Shrub sent to Iraq & Afghanistan that send letters back home to their “family members” in the States…

 
 
Comment by wmbz
2010-04-28 14:17:53

Gas prices jump to more than $9 in Alaska town
(04-28) Anchorage, Alaska (AP)

Most Americans are paying about $3 a gallon for gas. The residents of McGrath, Alaska, saw their gas prices jump by that amount in one night. The price at the only pump in the remote town 415 miles northwest of Anchorage went from $6 a gallon Friday to $9.20 the next day.

Crowley Petroleum Distribution says it was forced to raise the price because the winter nearly drained the town’s supply, and the only option was to fly in more fuel.

The cost increase is the difference between flying the gasoline and shipping it on a barge. Crowley says it won’t be able to send a barge until June at the earliest.

Some of McGrath’s estimated 400 residents have formed an anti-Crowley Facebook page and are trying to boycott the company while city officials look for ways to get cheaper fuel.

 
Comment by drumminj
2010-04-28 14:33:16

Got an interesting ‘gift’ today…

While I was getting my hair cut, someone put a CD/DVD on my car, with a note: “Saw your Ron Paul bumper sticker. Give me a call!”

The DVD is in a cardboard sleeve with the title “The conspiracy against your money”. Anyone seen this? It’s got a write-up on the back that makes me curious to watch it - will have to do that this evening. Seems relevant to the discussion on here lately regarding GS among other things…

Comment by pressboardbox
2010-04-28 15:17:55

Nobody with a McCain or Obama sticker ever got a free DVD
(maybe a key-job though). See, that Ron Paul one is good for something.

 
Comment by ET-Chicago
2010-04-28 15:59:41

The DVD is in a cardboard sleeve with the title “The conspiracy against your money”. Anyone seen this?

Let us know if it’s any good. Funny way to go grassroots with a documentary (or whatever it is), no?

 
Comment by oc-ed
2010-04-28 17:34:40

http://globalinternetsuccess.com/conspiracy-against-your-money-review

“The film finishes by clearly mapping out the lucrative compensation plan for those that choose to join the organization. It is a brilliant design as a company and there is nothing else like it on the planet. As a member of the WMI community not only do you become educated in a holistic design of wealth, health and wisdom but also have the opportunity to sell this education to others, and one then has the tools through the education itself to know how to create a lasting legacy.”

MLM …

Comment by drumminj
2010-04-28 21:05:21

MLM …

Not all the way through it yet, but it’s at least factually on point. Rallys against the fed, discusses the gold standard, inflation, etc. Kind of a bummer to have strings attached to something that might actually be effective at educating the masses regarding the (mis-) management of our currency.

 
 
Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
2010-04-28 17:48:39

I’m a saver…I don’t need no stinkin’ CD/DVD or “TrueCult™” to spin a “CONspiracy Theory” to me…I’m living it!

“I’m a saver” …BWAHAHAHicHAHAHicHAHAHAHAHicHAHAHic* (DennisN™)

Forest Gump: “Mama always said…” ;-)

 
 
Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-28 16:24:07

Oh oh… Merkel has come down with a case of Spitzer face, which cannot be a good sign…

Debt crisis: Germans rage at picking up bill for ‘pampered’ Greeks

As public opposition towards bailout grows by the day, so too does Angela Merkel’s dilemma

* Kate Connolly in Berlin
* guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 28 April 2010 22.26 BST
* Article history

Angela Merkel’s coalition could be destabilised by a state election in which the Greek bailout is topping the agenda. Photograph: Gero Breloer/AP

When a reporter from the German tabloid Bild was sent to Athens this week to hand out now defunct drachma notes to Greeks in an attempt to persuade them to drop the euro, they were “virtually ripped out of his hands,” according to the paper.

The tabloid stunt did more than any of the passionate headlines of the past few days to sum up the frustration and anger being felt in Germany towards Greece.

“If they reintroduced the drachma, that’s the best possible thing that could happen to our euro,” the paper said, quoting experts and politicians suggesting that indebted Greece should be forced to leave the euro rather than drag Germany, and the rest of the eurozone, down with it.

The public opposition in Germany towards a bailout of Greece – in which Europe’s largest economy would shoulder around €8.4bn (£7.3bn), almost a third of the overall bill that the eurozone is expected to pick up – is growing by the day. Polls show between 66% and 86% of Germans are against a Greek bailout.

With that in mind and with less than two weeks to go before an election in the nation’s most populous state, North Rhine Westphalia, the issue has the potential to upset the stability of Angela Merkel’s coalition government, and ultimately even to overturn it.

Comment by Professor Bear
 
Comment by Professor Bear
 
 
Comment by Professor Bear
2010-04-28 18:23:52

Good thing the Greek debt crisis is contained. Next…

* APRIL 28, 2010, 1:08 P.M. ET

UPDATE: S&P Downgrades Spain As Sovereign Debt Crisis Deepens

(Updates with comment from analyst, Spanish government, background)

By Jonathan House and John Kell
Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

MADRID (Dow Jones)–Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services issued a one-notch downgrade on Spain in a new sign of a deepening euro-zone sovereign debt crisis.

Spain become the third euro zone nation to be hit with a S&P downgrade in just two days, following steeper cuts on Portugal and Greece. On Tuesday, S&P slashed its ratings on those nations, even junking Greece, amid concerns that nation’s policy options are narrowing because of weak economic growth prospects.

The ratings actions underscore mounting concerns that Greece could default on its debt and that E.U. authorities are failing to halt contagion of its financial problems to other highly indebted euro-zone sovereigns. Spain, the euro zone’s fourth largest economy, is grappling with a double-digit budget deficit and faces years of weak growth following the collapse of a decade-long construction boom.

“Spain is the 800 pound gorilla in the room. Greece and Portugal are small countries, but Spain is about five times their size with regards gross domestic product,” Win Thin, senior currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman & Co, said in a note to investors.

The news of the Spanish downgrade sent equities in Spain and the U.S. broadly lower. S&P said it reflects a downward revision of its medium-term macroeconomic projections.

“We now believe that the Spanish economy’s shift away from credit-fuelled economic growth is likely to result in a more protracted period of sluggish activity than we previously assumed,” said analyst Marko Mrsnik.

 
Comment by Green Shoots
2010-04-28 18:26:32

We sure haven’t run out of handwringers just yet. Why do these Chicken Littles natter endlessly about their paranoid debt crisis fears? Can’t they tell by now that it’s fully contained?

The Financial Times
Greek fire turns to Spanish fever

By Victor Mallet in Madrid, David Oakley in London, Kerin Hope in Athens, Nikki Tait in Brussels, and Quentin Peel and Gerrit Wiesmann in Berlin

Published: April 28 2010 17:51 | Last updated: April 28 2010 21:25

Fears that Greek debt crisis will spread to other eurozone nations intensified on Wednesday when Spain suffered a debt downgrade from Standard & Poor’s, sending the euro to fresh lows against the dollar.

The downgrade, by one notch from AA plus to AA, dealt a blow to Spain’s frantic efforts to avoid contagion from Greece and followed S&P downgrades this week of Greece and Portugal.

 
Comment by Green Shoots
2010-04-28 23:06:11

The Wall Street Journal

* LAW
* APRIL 29, 2010

For Employees, Concern and Shots

By KATE KELLY

Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s thrashing in Washington left many employees angry, some discouraged and others worried their email and other internal documents could be snatched by regulators and investigators.

“Let me remind you that we should anticipate continued external focus on Goldman Sachs for the foreseeable future,” Goldman Chairman and Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein said in a voice-mail message to employees after what he described as a “rigorous” hearing by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations on Tuesday.

“Please do not let this distract you from your daily responsibilities,” he said.

Some employees of the New York company told each other how unfair it seems to them that Goldman is being singled out for betting against the housing market in 2007 as it was pitching mortgage-backed bonds to certain clients. Many other Wall Street firms did the same thing but escaped the relentless, nearly 11-hour pummeling Goldman got.

According to employees, Goldman managers have urged them to keep a low profile, think carefully about the restaurants and parties they attend and watch how they behave in public. Some employees are even reluctant even to go out to lunch with co-workers for fear of being overheard talking about Goldman, said one person familiar with the matter.

On Wednesday, Goldman employees still were sizing up the performance of Mr. Blankfein, accused trader Fabrice Tourre and other current and former executives who testified before the Senate panel.

Some people at the firm said Mr. Blankfein seemed insufficiently apologetic, focusing too much on Goldman’s role as a trading operation and not enough as a trusted underwriter securities sold to clients.

A Goldman spokesman declined to comment.

 
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