February 2, 2013

Bits Bucket for February 2, 2013

Post off-topic ideas, links, and Craigslist finds here.




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Comment by goon squad
2013-02-02 04:45:15

Asia Times Online - From debtor’s prison to debtor nation:

“Imprisonment for debt was a commonplace in colonial America and the early republic, and wasn’t abolished in most states until the 1830s or 1840s, in some cases not until after the Civil War. Today, we think of it as a peculiar and heartless way of punishing the poor - and it was. But it was more than that.

Some of the richest, most esteemed members of society also ended up there, men like Robert Morris, who helped finance the American Revolution and ran the Treasury under the Articles of Confederation; John Pintard, a stockbroker, state legislator, and founder of the New York Historical Society; William Duer, graduate of Eton, powerful merchant and speculator, assistant secretary in the Treasury Department of the new federal government, and master of a Hudson River manse; a Pennsylvania Supreme Court judge; army generals; and other notables.

Whether rich or poor, you were there for a long stretch, even for life, unless you could figure out some way of discharging your debts. That, however, is where the similarity between wealthy and impoverished debtors ended.

Falling into debt was a particularly ruinous affliction for those who aspired to modest independence as shopkeepers, handicraftsmen, or farmers. As markets for their goods expanded but became ever less predictable, they found themselves taking out credit to survive and sometimes going into arrears, often followed by a stint in debtor’s prison that ended their dreams forever.

However much the poor organized and protested, it was the rich who got debt relief first. Today, we assume that debts can be discharged through bankruptcy (although even now that option is either severely restricted or denied to certain classes of less-favored debt delinquents like college students). Although the newly adopted US constitution opened the door to a national bankruptcy law, congress didn’t walk through it until 1800, even though many, including the well-off, had been lobbying for it.

Today, we have entered a new phase. What might be called capitalist underdevelopment and once again debt have emerged as both the central mode of capital accumulation and a principal mechanism of servitude.

In our time, the financial sector has enriched itself by devouring the productive wherewithal of industrial America through debt, starving the public sector of resources, and saddling ordinary working people with every conceivable form of consumer debt.

Household debt, which in 1952 was at 36% of total personal income, had by 2006 hit 127%. Even financing poverty became a lucrative enterprise. Taking advantage of the low credit ratings of poor people and their need for cash to pay monthly bills or simply feed themselves, some check-cashing outlets, payday lenders, tax preparers, and others levy interest of 200% to 300% and more.

As recently as the 1970s, a good part of this would have been considered illegal under usury laws that no longer exist. And these poverty creditors are often tied to the largest financiers, including Citibank, Bank of America, and American Express.

Credit has come to function as a “plastic safety net” in a world of job insecurity, declining state support, and slow-motion economic growth, especially among the elderly, young adults, and low-income families. More than half the pre-tax income of these three groups goes to servicing debt. Nowadays, however, the “company store” is headquartered on Wall Street.

Debt is driving this system of auto-cannibalism which, by every measure of social well being, is relentlessly turning a developed country into an underdeveloped one.”

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Front_Page/OB02Aa01.html

Comment by P.T. Barnum
2013-02-02 07:08:04

“Household debt, which in 1952 was at 36% of total personal income, had by 2006 hit 127%.”

I like it! Other people work hard and then send to me a big chunk of their hard-earned money which allows me to hang around at the beach all day long.

 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 08:06:40

“Household debt, which in 1952 was at 36% of total personal income, had by 2006 hit 127%. Even financing poverty became a lucrative enterprise. Taking advantage of the low credit ratings of poor people and their need for cash to pay monthly bills or simply feed themselves, some check-cashing outlets, payday lenders, tax preparers, and others levy interest of 200% to 300% and more.

As recently as the 1970s, a good part of this would have been considered illegal under usury laws that no longer exist. And these poverty creditors are often tied to the largest financiers, including Citibank, Bank of America, and American Express.”

Has their ever been a better time in U.S. history for Wall Street whales and vampire squids to feast on plankton? After all, it is mighty difficult for a vampire squid to suck blood from a victim who is locked up in debtor’s prison.

Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2013-02-02 12:31:49

After all, it is mighty difficult for a vampire squid to suck blood from a victim who is locked up in debtor’s prison.

Too true. What good is a debt-slave that is locked up somewhere in a state of forced inactivity, as compared to one that is toiling away so that he can send you your due?

 
 
Comment by Skroodle
2013-02-02 12:44:11

Now a days even regular prison no longer applies to the wealthy.

 
Comment by Bill in Los Angeles
2013-02-02 15:08:02

Nice point. I am laughed at by the young engineers in their $40,000 cars at work. Oh yes, they are mostly paying mortgages in L.A. At least one is an overt Obummer supporter. I laugh it off, knowing, yes, I can buy an ocean view crap shack in HB. But if I do, I would immediately become depressed, for then, the purchase would make me a slave in California, even though I would pay in cash.

 
 
Comment by arson winger
2013-02-02 05:21:07

Happy Souperbowl, y’ll!

Comment by In Purgatory
2013-02-02 06:08:21

It’s tomorrow, you frog!

 
 
Comment by goon squad
2013-02-02 05:34:17

The future belongs to Lucky Ducky, as reported in the UK Guardian:

http://m.guardiannews.com/commentisfree/2013/feb/01/unemployment-crisis-us-monthly-jobs-report

 
Comment by arson winger
2013-02-02 05:36:58

Harvard: Dozens disciplined over exam cheating

 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 05:49:50

Where do econ PhD students come from?

Comment by In Purgatory
2013-02-02 05:57:37

HYP

 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 06:03:57

March 23, 2012, 6:33 PM
Where in the World Is ‘Fabulous Fab’? Rwanda. Chicago.

By Deal Journal Staff

Fabrice Tourre, the Goldman Sachs trader known for dubbing himself “fabulous Fab” in emails cited by regulators suing the New York securities firm, spent part of last year in Rwanda before starting graduate school at the University of Chicago.

Court papers filed this week in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Manhattan identify Tourre as a resident of Kigali, Rwanda. The filing was first reported by Bloomberg News.

Tourre, who is on unpaid leave from Goldman as he awaits trial on a civil fraud charge by the SEC, is enrolled in a graduate program in economics at the University of Chicago, according to a person familiar with the matter. The leave from Goldman had been paid until he enrolled in the graduate program.

Comment by Skroodle
2013-02-02 12:45:33

I am sure Goldman must have been assured of an innocent verdict if they are willing to cut Fab out.

 
 
 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 05:53:53

How do California state workers afford to live in a state with artificially-inflated housing costs?

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 05:56:45

CALIF. JOBS RECORDS SHOW STATE WORKERS MOONLIGHT
Gov. Brown taking action to end same department hiring
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
12:01 a.m. Jan. 31, 2013
Updated 6:13 p.m. Jan. 30, 2013

Sacramento — Many full-time state workers are moonlighting with second jobs in the same department, California jobs records show.

January state jobs data revealed nearly a dozen state departments have allowed hundreds of employees to hold more than one job, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Some 571 nonunion employees held more than one position this month. Many of them are salaried managers and supervisors ineligible for overtime.

The data confirm claims by CalPERS pension officials that the practice is widespread.

CalPERS faced criticism earlier this month for paying hourly wages to salaried employees who did extra work with computer systems and customer service. Officials said the practice wasn’t unique to the retirement system fund, and saved CalPERS an estimated $1.6 million.

The Brown administration said it is taking steps to end the little-known moonlighting practice.

California’s Department of Human Resources said it is conducting a “full review” of the practice and has banned additional appointments without agency approval.

The Bee found around 75 lieutenants in the state corrections system also hold lower-level jobs as sergeants or correctional officers; another 55 sergeants held second jobs as correctional officers or sponsors of self-help programs. All of those jobs pay an hourly wage.

Some salaried employees with second jobs were prison medical staff, whose primary jobs as doctors or psychiatrists pay $10,000 to $20,000 per month.

The second jobs were not included in the employees’ pension calculations.

Comment by ahansen
2013-02-02 11:39:44

That’s nothing. My neighbor simultaneously held the position of Superintendent of Schools (two rural schools 20 miles apart, one with 98 K-8 students, one with 8 K-8 students), Principal of the larger one, and science teacher. Her husband was the bus driver, (who also owned the bus, which he leased to the school district),her son-in-law was the District Mechanic, and her daughter was a teacher (later principal).

After she retired, she drew her three pensions then went back to work there as a teacher.

Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2013-02-02 12:38:13

After she retired, she drew her three pensions then went back to work there as a teacher.

OMG. Wow… just wow.

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Comment by In Purgatory
2013-02-02 05:58:53

They get subsidies?

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 06:02:14

Full-time UC professors actually do get a pretty sweet deal on housing…

Comment by In Purgatory
2013-02-02 06:05:13

SFOwnerDebtor also got a sweet deal IIRC.

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Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-02-02 07:45:02

If throwing $2million at a depreciating asset over 30 years and still have nothing in the end is a deal, I’ll pass.

 
Comment by oxide
2013-02-02 08:29:20

If throwing [ fill in $X amount] at a depreciating asset over 30 years and still have nothing in the end is a deal, I’ll pass.

That sounds remarkably like RENTING, doesn’t it, pimpboi.

 
Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-02-02 08:42:28

It does doesn’t it….. of course you violently flail at the fact that the renters carrying costs are a fraction of buying at current asking prices.

But you knew this fact and ignored it at your own peril. Even in spite of everything you presumably read here by others who know better.

If you were honest, you would demonstrate that with your losses right here on this blog but we’re not holding our breath. Your road to reconciliation with truth is a long uphill path that is yours and yours alone. And it’s fun to watch you.

 
 
Comment by rms
2013-02-02 09:22:00

Full-time UC professors actually do get a pretty sweet deal on housing

http://www.ucop.edu/loan-programs/index.html

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Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 10:55:44

I can think of a couple of cases where this lured professors into buying expensive homes during the bubble runup on which (I suspect) they took a major financial beating in the crash.

 
Comment by ahansen
2013-02-02 13:58:05

Yep. Quarter mil loss on sale works out to about two-and-a-half times annual pension. Just about right for a mortgage, whose repayment, unfortunately for him, is tied to his pension. Tee hee.

 
 
 
 
Comment by Skroodle
2013-02-02 12:50:38

I met a guy in Tahoe who worked for the state of California in Sacromento. He lived on the Nevada side but said he still had to pay California income tax.

 
 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 06:00:14

Is shifting blame onto subordinates an essential survival skill for a Wall Street CEO?

Comment by In Purgatory
2013-02-02 06:03:44

It’s everywhere. You would be surprised how many corporate mid-level managers advance their careers with that schtick.

Comment by Combotechie
2013-02-02 06:06:18

“You would be surprised …”

No, I wouldn’t.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 06:10:24

Intellectual property theft is another big source of career advancement lower in the ranks, as I am gradually discovering…

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Comment by Combotechie
2013-02-02 06:13:50

Why work hard to develop something on you own when you can just steal it from somebody else?

And if you get caught? Well, what are subordinates for if not to take the fall?

 
Comment by In Purgatory
2013-02-02 06:35:09

Tourist section of any third world city is littered with pirated movies, CDs and software. I have picked picked few over the years.

 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 06:48:07

“Why work hard to develop something on you own when you can just steal it from somebody else?”

Actually, as I am sure you are aware, working hard to develop something of value has its intrinsic rewards. And there can obviously be political advantages to developing something of value that you let others take credit for doing.

 
Comment by Combotechie
2013-02-02 06:55:20

“Actually, as I am sure you are aware, working hard to develop something of value has its intrinstic rewards.”

Totally agree. But eventually the something that was developed passes from the hands of the intrinstically-rewarded developer to the hands of the money-driven exploiter. Hence the life cycle of a business, for one example.

 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 08:19:34

One of the saddest examples that comes to mind is Philo Farnsworth. Plowing furrows on the field of his father’s farm somehow sparked his imagination to invent the “image dissector.” He lost control of the intellectual property rights to his idea, and never became wealthy for inventing the first television system.

 
Comment by rms
2013-02-02 09:28:21

“Why work hard to develop something on you own when you can just steal it from somebody else?”

When lean times arrive lawyers frequently post an ad that starts with, “Are you an inventor with an idea that you need to protect?”

 
 
 
 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 06:08:30

MARKETS
Updated January 31, 2013, 11:55 p.m. ET
‘London Whale’ Sounded an Alarm on Risky Bets
J.P. Morgan Trader Alerted Bosses Before Losses Mounted; ‘Scary’
By DAN FITZPATRICK, GREGORY ZUCKERMAN and SCOTT PATTERSON

The J.P. Morgan Chase JPM +1.70% & Co. trader known as the “London whale” tried to alert others at the bank to mounting risks months before his bets ballooned into more than $6 billion in losses, according to people familiar with emails reviewed by J.P. Morgan and a U.S. Senate panel.

The apparent reservations of Bruno Iksil, who earned the nickname after making outsize wagers in debt markets, are among the details being examined by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, according to people familiar with the probe.

In one instance, Mr. Iksil told another trader that the size of his bets was getting “scary,” according to emails in a Jan. 16 report by J.P. Morgan and to the people familiar with the emails.

Mr. Iksil’s emails, according to people familiar with them, show there was concern within J.P. Morgan’s chief investment office before Chief Executive James Dimon dismissed as a “tempest in a teapot” reports on the whale trades, including an April 6 article in The Wall Street Journal. The New York company first disclosed the trading losses in May, and Mr. Dimon subsequently said he was wrong to have played down concerns raised by the news report.

After Mr. Dimon told analysts on April 13 that concerns were a “tempest in a teapot,” losses ballooned by $117 million the following week. Then, on six trading days between April 23 and April 30, losses went up by nearly $800 million more. The losses caused Mr. Dimon and other top executives to question whether the traders “adequately” understood the trading portfolio “or had the ability to properly manage it,” J.P. Morgan said in its Jan. 16 report.

Comment by GrizzlyBear
2013-02-02 17:29:34

Dimon should have lost his job over this.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-03 00:30:27

But he deftly shifted blame elsewhere in the company — apparently the hallmark of Wall Street CEO survival.

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Comment by Skroodle
2013-02-02 12:53:51

It’s a key skill needed to get promoted.

You can either get promoted a) on your own merit, or b) by making your competition look bad.

b) is often easier for the more devious managers

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-03 00:32:24

Clearly b) is the way to go, as it likely involves little work, other than slandering coworkers behind closed doors.

 
 
 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 06:12:57

Here’s to betting that if they pull this off, future returns on the special stock market for the 1% will underperform the broad market, unless some kind of systemic scam is rigged into the system…

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 06:14:15

Where do kooky ideas like this originate?

SEC panel seeks stock exchange only for the rich
Retail investors would be barred from investing on exchange: panel
February 01, 2013|Ronald D. Orol, MarketWatch

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — A panel that advises the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday recommended an exclusive exchange be created for micro- and small-capitalization public companies that would only be available for only high-net-worth investors.

Comment by oxide
2013-02-02 08:26:55

Stephen Graham, co-chair of the panel, told MarketWatch that it is difficult for small private companies to “cross the line” and become publicly traded because of the costs involved in being publicly traded.

Barring access to small-cap stocks based on income? I’m not well versed in these matters and even I smell a rat. Doesn’t this violate open competition somewhere? Sounds like the bankers want to keep these little potential successful companies for themselves.*

As for the costs of going public, why not include that in the price of the trade? Why not open the exchange to everybody, but tack on a small fee to help the little businesses with their disclosure expenses? Or better yet, just list the businesses directly on the Nasdaq and attach a fee for trading in all companies that are below X market cap. Then the baby companies get help in going public, anyone gets to invest, and you save the expense of creating a new exchange.

————
*e.g. under this new proposed exchange, Forrest Gump would have been barred from getting in on the ground floor of Apple.

Comment by Ben Jones
2013-02-02 08:46:14

‘Barring access to small-cap stocks based on income’

This is already the case. The SEC rules are there to keep unsophisticated people from getting fleeced. So if you want to start a company, there are limits to how and who you can raise money from. This is also a state by state thing, but if you want to go over say, $2 million bucks, you start running into these limits.

It is expensive to do the disclosure work for SEC. These lawyers can run you $400 hour and if everything isn’t just right, the SEC will fall on you like a tank. So every little detail is covered so if sued, you don’t go to jail.

It’s serious stuff. If you hold a little investors conference, and you put an ad in the paper for it, you can bet there will be an SEC person in the audience plain clothed. They do this so grandma doesn’t get her life savings taken in a scam.

It’s complicated, but what these guys are proposing is a little organization of the process to cut down on legal costs. I don’t see anything wrong with it, and it might help get more companies up and running, which might help the economy.

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Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 08:54:08

Ben, thanks for the insight. I still question the notion of income qualifications for the God-given right to gamble on Wall Street.

 
Comment by oxide
2013-02-02 09:23:03

I can see rules against using unsuspecting OPM on these risky little stocks. OK, so why choose “income” as the qualification? The Retail Investor advocates think that a low-pay accountant can be just as crafty and knowledgeable as a high-pay CEO… even more so. Why not let these small investors fleece themselves if they so choose? It still feels wrong.

Polly and Ben, do all these investment invites and unregistered shares happen before or after the company goes public. It appears to be a gray area.

 
Comment by Ben Jones
2013-02-02 09:25:40

‘the notion of income qualifications for the God-given right to gamble’

It’s been this way for a long time. I only know a little about it from the CPA exam and having observed from the sidelines. But this isn’t correct:

‘under this new proposed exchange, Forrest Gump would have been barred from getting in on the ground floor of Apple’

If it’s a small amount of money and only a few people are involved, anyone can invest, and get taken, for that matter. (As an aside, do you recall the guy who was one of three founders of Apple who bailed because Jobs had borrowed $15,000 and he got nervous?)

One thing about this; as far as I know the dollar limits haven’t increased with inflation. $2 million won’t start much of a company anymore. Many restaurants probably need more than that going in. But it’s hard to question what the securities people are doing because scams do exist and greed motivates rich and poor.

 
Comment by Ben Jones
2013-02-02 09:37:25

’so why choose “income” as the qualification?’

From a 2010 case:

‘Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has emphasized in its response to civil fraud charges that the financial institutions it allegedly duped in a complex derivatives sale were sophisticated investors who understood the transaction well. Although individual investors weren’t involved, the case highlights a persistent and vexing question for the investment industry and its clients: Just who, or what, is a sophisticated investor?’

‘It’s both a legal distinction and a commonly used description, both of which are subject to interpretation. This category of investor is one of several the Securities and Exchange Commission established to limit access to certain harder-to-understand products.’

‘Sophisticated investors, according to part of the SEC’s definition, have enough knowledge and experience in business matters to evaluate the risks and merits of an investment. The SEC exempts small companies from registering certain securities sold to these investors.’

‘A more restrictive category features “accredited investors.” These include institutions such as banks, insurance companies and registered investment companies, as well as individuals with a net worth of more than $1 million, including the value of their home, or an income above $200,000 for individuals and $300,000 for couples. These investors can be sold a variety of unregistered securities and vehicles, such as interests in certain hedge funds and private placements of shares in a company.’

‘Individuals in this category could, in theory, invest in other complex instruments such as the synthetic collateralized debt obligations sold in the Goldman case. But the size of these deals, which can involve hundreds of millions of dollars, means those arranging them want relatively few and large investors, typically institutions, that have been involved in similar transactions and can withstand potential losses, according to a structured products consultant.’

‘The thresholds for accredited investors were set in the 1980s, when a $200,000 annual income was less common than today, and it’s hard to argue that kind of income guarantees sophistication in financial affairs. The sweeping financial reform bill in the Senate includes a provision for adjusting these levels to inflation and for studying if they need bigger changes. The SEC proposed increasing the thresholds several years ago, but investors who didn’t want their options limited protested.’

‘Some investment vehicles, including certain types of hedge funds, require investors to meet a still higher threshold for “qualified purchasers.” According to SEC rules, this category includes individuals who own investments valued at $5 million or more. Brokerage firms defending themselves against claims they sold investors unsuitable products routinely describe those clients as sophisticated investors who understood what they were buying, according to securities attorneys.’

‘The arbitrators who hear cases brought before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s arbitration forum rarely include explanations with their decisions. But attorneys said an investor’s experience and wealth, or lack thereof, does factor into the decisions.’

‘The multiple standards for investors hinge on the notion that someone who has acquired a sizable amount of money must know something about making money. The guidelines also suggest wealthy investors can afford to take more risk than people who are scraping by and they can afford to hire consultants to help them analyze investments.’

‘But “wealthy” doesn’t necessarily mean “financially savvy.” Just ask a lottery winner or multimillionaire who inherited her money.’

‘Offering memorandums for private placements describes the objectives, risks and terms of investment. Investors complete and sign a subscription agreement attesting to their suitability for an investment. These documents are meant to both give investors details about the offering and protect the seller from liability.’

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/definition-of-sophisticated-investor-varies-2010-04-26

 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 10:54:05

“They do this so grandma doesn’t get her life savings taken in a scam.”

If the cost of protecting grandma from losing her life savings in a startup investment is $2m in attorney fees, then I suggest the system is broken.

Let grandma keep her money in safe long-term Treasury bond mutual funds if she doesn’t want to risk it in IPOs.

 
Comment by Ben Jones
2013-02-02 11:09:25

‘$2m in attorney fees’

As I recall (this isn’t legal advice) in Arizona you can raise around that amount without registering with the state or federal security regulators. There’s so many ifs and buts, any amount above this would require a security attorney.

I can’t say if the system is broken, just that what these people are proposing is a way to make it easier to raise capital within the existing limits. It’s an interesting idea. Kind of like the kick start model but for much larger amounts.

 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 11:16:27

“…what these people are proposing is a way to make it easier to raise capital within the existing limits.”

Now that you and Polly have elaborated on it, I agree. It seems like the system is choked with protections in some areas, while completely unable to regulate massive financial crime in others.

I.e. broken.

 
Comment by Ben Jones
2013-02-02 12:00:55

‘unable to regulate massive financial crime’

They don’t just not regulate it, they facilitate it. Look back at the GSE failure to produce financial statements. The SEC should have stopped all further security sales. (Bonds are securities, I believe. I had an attorney tell me a note payable is a type of security).

What happened? They continued to trade on the stock market and sold many billions in bonds until taken into receivership. There should have been long lines of people in orange jumpsuits. Heads should have rolled at the SEC. We got none of that.

 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 12:40:04

“There should have been long lines of people in orange jumpsuits. Heads should have rolled at the SEC. We got none of that.”

Exactly. Broken.

And the outcome of the 2012 election between the two major candidates would have made no difference, as both were in Wall Street’s back pocket.

 
 
 
Comment by polly
2013-02-02 08:41:18

If you want to issue stock on a regular exchange, it has to be registered. This is a long complex process whereby the SEC assures that the offering documents are not complete bullsh-t. There has to be a lot of disclosure and review and it takes time and lots of money but your stock can be purchased by anyone with access to a US broker.

If you want to sell stock but don’t want to go through that whole process, you can use a process set up for unregistered shares (not on an exchange) called a private placement. In this process, the SEC does not review the information you put out and people are buying the shares at their own risk to a much larger extent. These shares can only be sold to high net worth and institutional investors on the assumption that they don’t need the protection from fraud that the SEC provides.

Sounds like the proposal is just to change private placements from a process completely controlled by the investment banks (the ones who find the people who buy the stuff in the private placements) into an exchange where people and institutions that are otherwise qualified to buy unregistered shares could buy them. The IBs might get a bit less money, and the companies might get to keep a bit more of the money they raise by selling shares.

Not such a bad idea.

 
Comment by cactus
2013-02-02 21:13:45

high risk

 
 
Comment by azdude
2013-02-02 06:34:15

people are lining up to be flecced again. peoples memories are getting shorter and shorter.

Comment by Combotechie
2013-02-02 06:43:18

“If God did not want them to be sheared He would not have made them sheep.”

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 06:46:11

And if God didn’t want us to eat sheep, he wouldn’t have made them so tasty.

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Comment by azdude
2013-02-02 06:52:48

how long will wall street keep the rally going before we go into the next recession and they screw everyone again? Seems like the recessions are getting more engineered.

He who controls the money supply of a nation controls the nation.
James A. Garfield

 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 08:28:17

“…how long will wall street keep the rally going before we go into the next recession and they screw everyone again?”

I would guess the rally will last up until when da boyz on Wall Street have offloaded all of their sh!tty assets on to Main Street investors who finally decided it was safe enough to get back in the water. At that point, you can expect the next tsunami surge of volatility to hit.

 
Comment by azdude
2013-02-02 08:57:43

amen brother. Exactly how its done.

 
 
 
 
 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 06:15:47

Are happy daze now here again to stay?

Comment by Combotechie
2013-02-02 06:17:02

For some of us they never left.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 06:20:13

Who do you have in mind?

Comment by Combotechie
2013-02-02 06:24:07

Myself for one.

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Comment by In Purgatory
2013-02-02 06:27:24

Agree. For those of us who kept our jobs, things are still good. Still getting raises and bonuses. Not sure how long this will last…..

 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 06:36:21

You guys are right, and if I seem to complain a lot, it’s just a schtick. Anyone who survived the Great Recession with their employment intact should count their lucky stars. By contrast, I was a casualty in the early-1990s economic downturn, and probably in the 1980s crash as well.

And it can always get worse:

Man alive, that mournst thy lot,
Desiring what thou hast not got,
Money, beauty, love, what not;

Deeming it blesseder to be
A rotted man, than live to see
So rude a sky as covers thee;

Deeming thyself of all unblest
And wretched souls the wretchedest,
Longing to die and be at rest;

Know: that however grim the fate
Which sent thee forth to meditate
Upon my enviable state,

Here lieth one who would resign
Gladly his lot, to shoulder thine.
Give me thy coat; get into mine.

– Edna St. Vincent Millay

 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 06:37:57

The title of that poem is “Lines for a Grave-Stone.”

 
 
 
 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 06:18:25

Dow hits 5-year high, closing above 14,000
Gail MarksJarvis: Analysts see positive environment for stock market bulls
February 2, 2013

You’d hardly think a 7.9 percent unemployment rate and a negative GDP report would signal a Goldilocks economy and drive the Dow Jones industrial index over the 14,000 mark for the first time since October 2007.

But the Dow climbed Friday to 14,009 and closed in on the 14,164 peak of 2007, while analysts described a tantalizing environment for stock market bulls — a mixture of economic data that’s not too hot and not too cold.

“Goldilocks is fighting off the bears for now,” said BMO Capital Markets strategist Brian Belski.

In other words, investors see an economy that is still weak enough to prompt the Federal Reserve to continue the stimulus that makes investors crave stocks. But recent economic data on manufacturing, housing, jobs and consumer confidence also are strong enough to suggest an ongoing economic recovery and allay concerns of a dip back into recession.

Analysts have worried that the unrelenting five-week climb in the stock market, and a rise by about 7 percent, would be enough to send the market into decline. Typically after sharp, fast moves, stocks fall for a while. But on Friday, analyst Will Geisdorf of Ned Davis Research said he had to move away from such expectations because momentum in the market was too great to resist.

“You don’t fight the tape,” Geisdorf said. “That’s the No. 1 rule at Ned Davis Research.”

Comment by azdude
2013-02-02 07:27:51

you dont fight a rigged tape?

 
Comment by Anon In DC
2013-02-02 08:59:11

You’d hardly think a 7.9 percent unemployment rate and a negative GDP report would signal a Goldilocks economy and drive the Dow Jones industrial index over the 14,000 mark for the first time since October 2007.

High unemployment keeps wage low very good for the economy. The question is at what point do sales drop?

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 11:18:10

One logical explanation:

Persistently high unemployment coupled with gradual recovery gives the Fed scope for keeping the punchbowl fully spiked without sparking inflation concerns.

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Comment by Skroodle
2013-02-02 13:07:10

Sales are dropping now.

From my brothers neighbor that sells used cars to mainly undocumented aliens, December was the lase hurrah and the money and jobs are gone.

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Comment by GrizzlyBear
2013-02-02 17:36:58

Where did he learn how to predict he future?

 
 
 
Comment by rms
2013-02-02 22:32:32

“But the Dow climbed Friday to 14,009 and closed in on the 14,164 peak of 2007, while analysts described a tantalizing environment for stock market bulls — a mixture of economic data that’s not too hot and not too cold.”

In a February 25, 2011 speech, Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Janet Yellen examined the results of the recent use of unconventional policy tools by the Fed: “Each of these policy tools tends to generate spillovers to other financial markets, such as boosting stock prices and putting moderate downward pressure on the foreign exchange value of the dollar.”

 
 
Comment by In Purgatory
2013-02-02 06:20:05

Fonzie is old and will suffer the consequences. There’s no free lunch.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 06:24:43

Ah for the good ole daze…

Before There Was The Fonz, There Was This Guy With a Killer Mustache

In 1973, before the 1974 debut of Happy Days — and, more importantly, the debut of Henry Winkler’s The Fonz — this brief commercial featured a mustachioed Winkler extolling the virtues of Schick razors. (Unfortunately, the version with audio isn’t available, but the facial hair! Oh, the facial hair.)

 
Comment by Bill in Los Angeles
2013-02-02 10:58:37

last year on one flight to Los Angeles “The Fonz” was on the same flight a row behind me. He was very humble and gracious when the stewardesses asked to have him in a picture with them before the flight. At the end of the flight he helped a woman across the aisle with getting her things from the overhead bin.

He has a better character in real life than his “bad boy” (sorta) image of that TV show.

Comment by inchbyinch
2013-02-02 14:56:52

Bill in L A
Met Henry Winkler at a gas station in Encino post his peak of fame (Happy Days).He was driving a MBZ 2 dr coupe. He was very sweet and I thought a truly decent guy.

My youth went spent at Grandma’s by CBS studios in Studio City. I’ve met many in the entertainment world. Henry Winkler is old school, has gratitude.

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Comment by cactus
2013-02-02 21:23:31

they film movies where I work Barabra Streistand is nothing like the friendly jewish mother she played for this movie whatever it’s called some road trip thing ending up at Costco

nope not at all

on the other hand Halley Barry was pretty cool filming a call center movie about a kidnapped kid

 
Comment by Bill in Los Angeles
2013-02-03 19:20:37

Barabra Streistand is nothing like the friendly jewish mother she played for this movie

I wouldn’t expect her to be friendly or generous, based on being a limousine socialist.

 
 
 
 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 06:30:54

Actually I thought the nickname was QE-to-infinity-and-beyond!

The Fed’s Threat to the Stock Rally

By Nick Summers on January 30, 2013

By the time you read this, it may already have happened: The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index may have passed 1,565, the October 2007 peak the market has been climbing toward since the financial crisis bottomed out in March 2009.

More than five years later, stocks seem to be standing on firmer ground. The housing market is rebounding, with home prices showing their largest year-over-year increases since 2006. Jobless claims dropped to a five-year low for the week ended Jan. 19. And stocks may be, if anything, undervalued: The price-to-earnings ratio of the companies in the S&P 500 stood at 14.9 on Jan. 30, below its average of 19.8 since 1990.

The flow of upbeat data has helped lure small investors, who fled stocks for the perceived safe harbor of bonds after the crisis—and missed out on a 123 percent gain since March 2009. Americans have poured $39 billion into equity funds since Jan. 1, according to asset tracker EPFR Global, after pulling out hundreds of billions from stock mutual funds since 2008. “Optimism is significantly returning to the market, and investors of all stripes are adding on to their equity positions right now,” says Eric Johnston, a managing director in equities trading at Barclays (BCS).

So what’s left to worry about? In a word, the Fed. Some economists are concerned about what will happen when the Federal Reserve eventually begins to scale back its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases, which have pumped money into the financial system, keeping interest rates down and nudging investors toward riskier investments such as stocks. Members of the Federal Open Market Committee began signaling in December that this round of quantitative easing, once nicknamed QE Infinity for its lack of an expiration date, could ebb well before the end of 2013.

Markets may react strongly to the first hint of reversal.

Comment by azdude
2013-02-02 07:30:22

that’s the next engineered recession no one saw coming.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 08:30:07

How does the Fed decide on the timing of the recessions it causes by taking away the punch bowl?

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Comment by azdude
2013-02-02 08:58:48

buy on the rumor sell on the news?

 
Comment by Combotechie
2013-02-02 09:48:49

By the election cycle?

 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 10:19:14

Why would an independent central bank give a flying fork about the election cycle?

 
Comment by measton
2013-02-02 10:59:37

When the maximum number of guppies have been drawn in. When you see a big name banker cashing in and becoming treasury secretary, then it’s time to sell.

 
Comment by Combotechie
2013-02-02 11:08:06

“Why would and independent central bank give a flying fork about the election cycle?”

Assuming your question is serious you just might need to be reminded that the “independent central bank”, as you term it, was legislated into existence and can just as easily be legislated out of existence.

 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 11:22:06

“independent central bank”

I most certainly can’t claim credit for inventing that concept.

Jan 8, 2013, 9:15am CST
St. Louis Fed’s Bullard fears for central bank independence

St. Louis Fed President Jim Bullard warned Monday that politics may be intruding on global central bank independence as a result of the financial crisis.

“Financial crisis aftershocks have introduced a ‘creeping politicization’ of central banking globally,” he said during a panel discussion at the National Association for Business Economics meeting in San Diego. He noted “the macroeconomic performance of nations with politicized central banks has historically been quite poor.”

Read more at the St. Louis Fed’s website.

 
Comment by oxide
2013-02-02 12:33:39

When you see a big name banker cashing in and becoming treasury secretary,

Wasn’t that Hanky Panky Paulson?

 
 
 
 
 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 06:43:49

“In CA demand is increasing due to the low inventory. The low end is seeing multiple offers.”

I suspect this post from yesterday’s Bits Bucket reflects ignorance of basic economics, but I will reserve judgment.

How, exactly, does low inventory lead to increasing demand?

Comment by Combotechie
2013-02-02 06:59:59

Absence makes the heart grow fonder?

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 08:31:22

Now that’s an interesting theory, and there seem to be plenty of wannabe home owners with out-of-control nesting instincts posting here to back it up.

 
 
Comment by ibbots
2013-02-02 07:03:20

More like it creates increased competition for the reduced supply. Like the inverse to a bock discount.

Reduced inventory is creating urgency among buyers. We’re in dallas and anything under $200k in a decent school district is getting multiple offers within a few days of listing.

Comment by ibbots
2013-02-02 07:07:11

‘block’ - I bought an Acer laptop a while back, it was a good deal except for the really cheap key board it has. The ‘L’ key came loose a while back.

 
Comment by P.T. Barnum
2013-02-02 07:33:05

“More like it creates increased competition for the reduced supply.”

Which drives the price higher, which makes sense.

What doesn’t make sense if these higher prices draw in more buyers - the higher prices of houses makes them more attractive.

People who did not consider buying a house when the price was low are now lining up and out bidding each other because the prices went up. And their bidding up the prices drives the prices even higher which in turn makes them more attractive.

Now, just how screwy is that?

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-02-02 08:01:26

Not really.

Housing demand is at 16 year lows and falling

This is reality.

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Comment by Rental Watch
2013-02-02 13:09:55

“What doesn’t make sense if these higher prices draw in more buyers - the higher prices of houses makes them more attractive.”

It’s a leveraged purchase.

Prices falling scared more and more people off–regardless of whether prices were low enough for them to afford…why was that? Because they didn’t want to put their down payment at risk.

Now that prices are going up, more are willing to take the plunge…until prices rise to a level where they can’t make the numbers work.

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Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-02-02 14:55:24

Hey Liar,

Prices are falling as evidence by back to back months of declines per CS.

This is what happens when demand continues to crater.

 
 
 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 08:35:50

“More like it creates increased competition for the reduced supply.”

I believe that is correct, though calling it ‘increased demand’ is not. If you draw a simple Marshallian supply-and-demand diagram and shift the supply curve to the left, you will see how the most basic undergraduate model of market adjustment predicts reduced transactions at higher prices — exactly what we see in the market.

And given that demand dropped off to 1997 levels, a large top-down reduction in supply was needed to get prices up to even the depressed level where they currently stand.

Comment by Combotechie
2013-02-02 09:20:56

If it is volume you want then you will behave in one fashion, but if it is higher prices that you want then you will behave in another fashion.

If you are a holder of mortgages that are underwater then you want prices to go up - you want prices of the comps to go up. If the prices of the comps go up then the value of the mortgages that are associated with the comps will also go up.

If the game is to save the realtors then the game will be rigged to favor lots of volume. But if the game is to save the banks then the game will be rigged to boost the prices.

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Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 10:18:06

“But if the game is to save the banks then the game will be rigged to boost the prices.”

Part of this rigging is to convince clueless Realtors™ that higher prices are in their interest (never mind that almost nothing is selling!)…

 
Comment by Combotechie
2013-02-02 10:23:21

Love the NAR. They are spending their own money promoting houses so as to rescue the banks.

 
 
 
 
Comment by In Colorado
2013-02-02 09:25:03

How, exactly, does low inventory lead to increasing demand?

Buy now or get priced out forever?

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 10:15:28

We see now how that turned out for those who bought during the 2006 ‘inventory squeeze’…

 
 
 
Comment by oxide
2013-02-02 07:03:22

Two houses in my nabeL

House A has a bed + bath addition off the back, plus a converted garage. (many houses have additions around here.) And ugly HGTV paint. For the past year, it had been for sale for $30K over what I think it should have been priced. Then they cut the price $15K, got an offer. The Contract sign proudly went up. This week the Contract sign went missing. Yup. Buyer couldn’t get financing. It’s back on the market. I was surprised at a little phrase in the realturd blurb: “no bsmnt.” — unusual in this nabe. In my book that’s a major detriment.

House B shows that people now have to work much harder for their money than they did during the bubble. House B was flipped for a profit of $140K in 2006. Sold in 2010 for 47% off peak, probably a foreclosure. It’s recently been reno’d with The Usual pergraniteel kitchen, a lightly done-over basement (they kept the old paneling), and light blue paint everywhere. The house is now on the market for $90K more than the 2010 price. I don’t think they’ll sell that this price, but if they do, I think they’ll pocket about $55K. IMO, that’s reasonable for a bottom feeder. They probably can’t do more than 2-3 of these a year.

Comment by In Purgatory
2013-02-02 07:25:57

Buyer couldn’t get financing.

Can’t believe that. Everyone gets financing these days. We are almost there to NINJA days.

Comment by azdude
2013-02-02 07:31:53

u fog a mirror you get financing?

 
Comment by oxide
2013-02-02 07:51:44

We are not even close to Ninja days. Fannie and Freddie are being very particular in which new loans they accept now. They want 10% down, which few people have. (Isn’t the $40B QE still old loans?) The howmuchamonth is relatively high. For FHA 3.5% down, you need at least $15-20K cold hard cash in fees and down payment to buy a modest house in this area. The howmuchamonth is even higher because you put less down. Also little known is that FHA tacks on another ~$150-200 (don’t remember the exact amount) in fees to the howmuchamonth for the privilege of 3.5% down. Financing falling through is no surprise at all.

Comment by eight pieces of chicken
2013-02-02 13:08:58

For FHA 3.5% down, you need at least $15-20K cold hard cash in fees and down payment to buy a modest house in this area.

You have no idea. Here’s a true story.

Home listed for sell - $190K

The buyer doesn’t have any money for down payment and fees. The realtors from both sides agree and increase the home price to 212k and the seller covers the down payment and fees. (some form of sellers’ grant or some $hit like this) Buyer goes out and gets approved for the FHA loan of 212k.

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Comment by rms
2013-02-02 18:17:33

Is that NAR’s Tip #6 for closing the deal?

 
Comment by rms
2013-02-02 18:23:42

“…eight pieces of chicken”

Long ago is was, “A chicken in every pot.”

 
 
 
Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-02-02 08:08:38

“Everyone gets financing these days.”

Don’t be so sure of that. My super said “I can’t believe the information they wanted from me. They’re asking for everything and theirs still delays” when he bought a BofA dump in November. He’s a MechE earning $200k with an 800+ FICO.

Comment by Bigguy
2013-02-02 08:23:24

Well which is it, cause we’re hearing both.i’d tend to believe the mirror fog crowd is back. I’ve seen and heard of lots with prior foreclosures, short sales, etc. with no prob getting a new house, sometimes better.

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Comment by oxide
2013-02-02 10:15:52

Bigguy, are we sure there isn’t media selection bias at work? Financing that fails is probably so common that nobody cares and it’s never reported. But those outrageous foreclosure FB’s who obtain a mortgage are interesting and so they are the ones that make the news.

How would the foreclosure mavens get the mortgage? Are they in non-recourse states, did they keep their jobs, what prices are they paying, how long since the last foreclosure? It’s probably not too hard for an FB to not pay the $270K mortgage for a year, save the cash, walk, debt forgiven, rent, repair credit by charging toothpaste and paying it off, and live under the radar for a while. Then they reapply for $150K mortgage, some broker doesn’t do the diligence exactly right and voila, financing. There don’t have to be that many of those examples to get all over the news and make it look more prevalent than it actually it.

 
 
Comment by cactus
2013-02-02 21:29:05

He’s a MechE earning $200k ”

not where I work hes not

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Comment by JD
2013-02-02 08:14:31

Ad from a bank scheduled for the superbowl:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvyTc4RrQN4

Comment by azdude
2013-02-02 09:02:04

they have turned home ownership into a casino.

 
Comment by rms
2013-02-02 10:54:48

Her: “I want a baby.”

Him: “You want a puppy?”

Go ahead and leap you dumb chit!

 
 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 08:38:05

In this era when Wall Street and K Street are flush with Bernanke bucks, how many cities around the U.S. are collapsing in a pile of debt-financed rubble?

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 08:42:27

Not all prayers receive a favorable answer.

CREDIT MARKETS
January 31, 2013, 8:39 p.m. ET

Bottom Falls Out of Debt-Ridden City
By MICHAEL CORKERY
The Patriot-News/Associated Press

Closed out of the municipal-debt market, Harrisburg, Pa. is struggling to pay for upgrades to aging pipes that contributed to sinkholes.

HARRISBURG, Pa.—With midnight approaching on New Year’s Eve, Sherri Lewis and her two children knelt to pray for a better year ahead.

A few minutes later, she heard a rumbling that sounded like fireworks. The ground outside her apartment had opened up, revealing a municipal disaster that shows how far this city’s finances have sunk.

A sinkhole, measuring about 50 feet long and eight feet deep, had swallowed Ms. Lewis’s street, damaging water and gas pipes and forcing more than a dozen residents to evacuate one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods. “I thought the world was ending,” says Ms. Lewis, 42 years old.

Harrisburg officials have identified at least 40 other sinkholes around the 50,000-person city. The combination of particularly sandy soil and leaky pipes under Harrisburg’s streets make it susceptible to sinkholes, city officials say. But Harrisburg has a bigger problem: The Pennsylvania capital can’t afford to replace many of the aging pipes, some of which date back to the 19th century.

Harrisburg is in default on its debt and has been effectively shut out of the municipal-debt market, which cities and states use to finance everything from building schools to paving roads.

Harrisburg’s misery is familiar to many U.S. cities trying to climb out of debt used to finance convention centers, hotels and employee pensions. Some governments are cut off now from funding for necessities such as repairing infrastructure.

On Wednesday, Illinois officials postponed plans to sell $500 million of bonds to pay for school and transportation projects, fearing prospective bond investors would demand high interest rates because of the state’s pension problems.

Harrisburg’s latest problems started when city officials agreed to guarantee a large portion of the $350 million in debt used to retrofit a state-of-the-art trash incinerator. The project generated millions in fees for Wall Street bankers and lawyers, while leaving taxpayers with a mortgage they can’t afford. Amid this borrowing spree, city and state officials say, Harrisburg neglected to invest enough in its aging water pipes.

Today, Harrisburg is struggling to upgrade other critical infrastructure, including a sewage treatment facility that sometimes dumps untreated wastewater into the Susquehanna river.

“We can’t do anything right now because no one will lend to us,” said William Cluck, chairman of the Harrisburg Authority, the city agency overseeing the water-treatment facility.

Comment by scdave
2013-02-02 09:24:15

“We can’t do anything right now because no one will lend to us,” said William Cluck, chairman of the Harrisburg Authority, the city agency overseeing the water-treatment facility ??

And this in a environment of 2% 10-year’s….What happens to these municipalities when the 10 year goes to lets say, 5% ?? It will crush any municipality that is highly leveraged but still requires bond access to finance needed infrastructure repairs/replacement etc…

I say Meredith is correct…She is just way to early…The carnage for many municipalities will come well down the road when we have interest rates that reflect the mean…And let there be no doubt, we will see higher interest rates at some point…You may be able to stabilize things for the short term 5-10 years by printing your own currency but at some point the bug hits the windshield…

When that happens, many muni’s may just collapse just like Meredith has predicted…At that point we may finally get the supreme court test on if pensions have standing above all others…

It will be a double edged sword…If the supremos uphold for the pensions, the muni’s have no way out and you could see cities implode like detroit…If the supremos say the pensions are fair game, then their will be tens of Millions of old people effected…Not a pretty picture…

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 10:48:10

What makes you sure the FOMC can’t hold down interest rates forever?

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Comment by scdave
2013-02-02 10:54:26

Inflation….

 
 
 
Comment by 2banana
2013-02-02 11:57:24

The choice of cities run by public unions.

They collect massive amounts of tax money.

They can either:

Pay the insane pensions and benefits of the public unions.

Improve and repair the infrastructure. Build things. Clean things. Repair things. Make things safe.

We know which decision the cities will make. Public unions are the #1 campaign contributors IN THE USA. It is only fair.

 
Comment by Skroodle
2013-02-02 13:11:47

Harrisburg’s latest problems started when city officials agreed to guarantee a large portion of the $350 million in debt used to retrofit a state-of-the-art trash incinerator. The project generated millions in fees for Wall Street bankers and lawyers, while leaving taxpayers with a mortgage they can’t afford

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!

 
 
 
Comment by Combotechie
2013-02-02 08:55:15

A good video: “Iron Triangle: The Carlyle Group”.

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/iron-triangle-the-carlyle-group-2/

 
Comment by Anon In DC
2013-02-02 09:10:12

The bubble is alive and well. Was looking at Charleston, SC on realtor. com. Almost 200 listings for houses for $1M+. Many for much more than$1M. Most downtown / along the battery. That has got to be what a ten year supply? How many more people are there who would like to sell / need to sell but don’t try because of the bad market? High end RE and a lot downside in the years ahead.
P.S. Maybe it’s “different” in Charleston. Maybe rich feriners are on the way. :)

Comment by Anon In DC
2013-02-02 09:15:17

But there are cheaper places too. Here’s a cute house for $18K. http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/2640-Ranger-Dr_North-Charleston_SC_29405_M66638-84626

Comment by oxide
2013-02-02 09:49:37

Ooh, oil city houses! Love ‘em. :-)

This one on the same street is $10K more and even cuter!

http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/2841-Ranger-Dr_North-Charleston_SC_29405_M67509-64984

 
 
 
 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 10:23:06

How is the outlook for fundamental U.S. housing demand shaping up over the next couple of decades?

My personal take on it: With the way things are trending, pretty soon our all-cash Chinese and Canadian investors are going to enjoy the experience of jumping out of an airplane only to discover you forgot to pack your parachute.

Enjoy your ride to the ground, folks!

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 10:44:17

America should be grateful for the army of Fed-inspired all-cash Chinese and Canadian speculators snapping up U.S. residential properties, because end-user demand from U.S. households isn’t going to cut it for the next few decades.

The ongoing, worsening collapse in U.S. fertility rates is one of the seldom-discussed consequences of Fed and federal government policies designed to protect older, relatively wealthy Americans from the natural consequences of poor financial decisions before the 2008 financial crash, while throwing hapless twenty-somethings under the proverbial bus. Broke, debt-strapped young people don’t form households or start families.

Behold the primary source of future fundamental U.S. housing demand:

THE SATURDAY ESSAY
Updated February 1, 2013, 8:29 p.m. ET

America’s Baby Bust
The nation’s falling fertility rate is the root cause of many of our problems. And it’s only getting worse.
By JONATHAN V. LAST

Americans are not reproducing enough, and the long-term consequences are dire, says Jonathan V. Last, author of “What To Expect When No One’s Expecting,” in a discussion with WSJ Weekend Review editor Gary Rosen.

For more than three decades, Chinese women have been subjected to their country’s brutal one-child policy. Those who try to have more children have been subjected to fines and forced abortions. Their houses have been razed and their husbands fired from their jobs. As a result, Chinese women have a fertility rate of 1.54. Here in America, white, college-educated women—a good proxy for the middle class—have a fertility rate of 1.6. America has its very own one-child policy. And we have chosen it for ourselves.

Forget the debt ceiling. Forget the fiscal cliff, the sequestration cliff and the entitlement cliff. Those are all just symptoms. What America really faces is a demographic cliff: The root cause of most of our problems is our declining fertility rate.

The fertility rate is the number of children an average woman bears over the course of her life. The replacement rate is 2.1. If the average woman has more children than that, population grows. Fewer, and it contracts. Today, America’s total fertility rate is 1.93, according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; it hasn’t been above the replacement rate in a sustained way since the early 1970s.

The nation’s falling fertility rate underlies many of our most difficult problems. Once a country’s fertility rate falls consistently below replacement, its age profile begins to shift. You get more old people than young people. And eventually, as the bloated cohort of old people dies off, population begins to contract. This dual problem—a population that is disproportionately old and shrinking overall—has enormous economic, political and cultural consequences.

For two generations we’ve been lectured about the dangers of overpopulation. But the conventional wisdom on this issue is wrong, twice. First, global population growth is slowing to a halt and will begin to shrink within 60 years. Second, as the work of economists Esther Boserups and Julian Simon demonstrated, growing populations lead to increased innovation and conservation. Think about it: Since 1970, commodity prices have continued to fall and America’s environment has become much cleaner and more sustainable—even though our population has increased by more than 50%. Human ingenuity, it turns out, is the most precious resource.

Low-fertility societies don’t innovate because their incentives for consumption tilt overwhelmingly toward health care. They don’t invest aggressively because, with the average age skewing higher, capital shifts to preserving and extending life and then begins drawing down. They cannot sustain social-security programs because they don’t have enough workers to pay for the retirees. They cannot project power because they lack the money to pay for defense and the military-age manpower to serve in their armed forces.

There has been a great deal of political talk in recent years about whether America, once regarded as the shining city on a hill, is in decline. But decline isn’t about whether Democrats or Republicans hold power; it isn’t about political ideology at all. At its most basic, it’s about the sustainability of human capital. Whether Barack Obama or Mitt Romney took the oath of office last month, we would still be declining in the most important sense—demographically. It is what drives everything else.

If our fertility rate were higher—say 2.5, or even 2.2—many of our problems would be a lot more manageable. But our fertility rate isn’t going up any time soon. In fact, it’s probably heading lower. Much lower.

America’s fertility rate began falling almost as soon as the nation was founded. In 1800, the average white American woman had seven children. (The first reliable data on black fertility begin in the 1850s.) Since then, our fertility rate has floated consistently downward, with only one major moment of increase—the baby boom. In 1940, America’s fertility rate was already skirting the replacement level, but after the war it jumped and remained elevated for a generation. Then, beginning in 1970, it began to sink like a stone.

There’s a constellation of reasons for this decline: Middle-class wages began a long period of stagnation. College became a universal experience for most Americans, which not only pushed people into marrying later but made having children more expensive. Women began attending college in equal (and then greater) numbers than men. More important, women began branching out into careers beyond teaching and nursing. And the combination of the birth-control pill and the rise of cohabitation broke the iron triangle linking sex, marriage and childbearing.

This is only a partial list, and many of these developments are clearly positive. But even a social development that represents a net good can carry a serious cost.

By 1973, the U.S. was below the replacement rate, as was nearly every other Western country. Since then, the phenomenon of fertility collapse has spread around the globe: 97% of the world’s population now lives in countries where the fertility rate is falling.

If you want to see what happens to a country once it hurls itself off the demographic cliff, look at Japan, with a fertility rate of 1.3. In the 1980s, everyone assumed the Japanese were on a path to owning the world. But the country’s robust economic facade concealed a crumbling demographic structure.

The Japanese fertility rate began dipping beneath the replacement rate in 1960 for a number of complicated reasons (including a postwar push by the West to lower Japan’s fertility rate, the soaring cost of having children and an overall decline in the marriage rate). By the 1980s, it was already clear that the country would eventually undergo a population contraction. In 1984, demographer Naohiro Ogawa warned that, “Owing to a decrease in the growth rate of the labor force…Japan’s economy is likely to slow down.” He predicted annual growth rates of 1% or even 0% in the first quarter of the 2000s.

Comment by scdave
2013-02-02 10:56:07

Nice post Pbear…Thanks…

Comment by ahansen
2013-02-02 12:28:50

Malthus was right.

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Comment by Bill in Los Angeles
2013-02-02 11:06:23

I wonder if another factor is the outlook of less and less individual liberty in America? The “Patriot Act,” the attacks on the second amendment, perpetual wars, blow back (terror against Americans as revenge for meddling in the middle east) and so on. Why bring children into the world where they will become serfs to the State?

 
Comment by measton
2013-02-02 11:07:32

I think concentration of wealth is the problem. With robotics I think we will need fewer and fewer workers. This could be offset by rising consumption by the remaining people, but this won’t happen because the elite have all the wealth.

Comment by Bill in Los Angeles
2013-02-02 11:14:55

However note if most people are not working, the price of many things have to fall since there would be fewer buyers and far more inventory. The more automation, the lower the prices. “Voyage From Yesteryear” a good read about a utopian scenario where everything is free.

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Comment by scdave
2013-02-02 11:22:53

I think concentration of wealth is the problem ??

I believe that to be part of the problem…Look at the Romney’s…Look at the Kennedy’s…

On the other hand, I can go to the poorest scholl districts in my valley and the classrooms are bursting at the seems with kids…

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Comment by ahansen
2013-02-02 12:39:16

Bingo, scdave. The meritocracy has a self-limiting mechanism. Most advanced-degree families of my age cohort have had 0, 1, or at most 2 children, and those children, raised in that culture of expectation have had even fewer.

The lifestyle choice for the aspiring upper-middle class is to balance home and career, with the emphasis on career achievement and comfortable accoutrements. When your career is picking strawberries, the balance tips towards procreation as one’s legacy.

 
 
 
Comment by Bill in Los Angeles
2013-02-02 11:09:19

Our future appears to be a bumbling statist society run by Gilligans (idiocracy) with statist guns. Danger, Will Roninson!

 
Comment by 2banana
2013-02-02 11:54:07

You want kids in society?

Have religion in society and low taxes/limited government.

You don’t want kids in society?

Have a hedonistic socialist society with high taxes. Make all people debt slaves.

Don’t worry, the socialists will import new workers to pay for the insane welfare state. Even if it means cultural suicide.

Comment by scdave
2013-02-02 12:02:07

Have religion in society ??

Which one ??

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Comment by ahansen
2013-02-02 12:44:18

The one with the best marketing campaign.

(Whose grand poobahs hit that “be fruitful and multiply” thing so the church will grow itself exponentially.)

 
Comment by Bill in Los Angeles
2013-02-02 19:33:54

That religion produced a bunch of child molesters.

 
 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 12:14:03

“…will import new workers to pay for the insane welfare state.”

These imported workers can also serve to increase the fertility rate, to make up for long-time U.S. taxpayers whose children cannot afford to start families.

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Comment by Skroodle
2013-02-02 13:14:38

Steady state population will be here sooner or later.

It’s about time we figured out how to run a world with out a growing population.

 
Comment by 2banana
2013-02-02 14:18:16

The ponzi/buy my next reelection programs of socialist governments say NO.

It’s about time we figured out how to run a world with out a growing population.

 
 
Comment by Bill in Los Angeles
2013-02-02 14:32:36

“Have religion in society.”

Just as bad as socialism. See essay “Atilla and the Witch Doctor,” by Ayn Rand.

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Comment by cactus
2013-02-02 21:37:08

Beats growing real fast and having a massive die off

 
 
 
Comment by Spook
2013-02-02 10:59:25

One reason I support large capacity magazines and assault rifles is because of the threat of home invasions.

Home invasions usually involve 3 or more criminals operating as a team; you may need 17 to 30 rounds to repell such a team of criminals, especially if you have limited tactical training for such an event.

Just knowing you have 17 to 30 rounds on deck will go a long way towards calming your nerves.

In addition, concealed carry is necessary incase you come home while an invasion of your property is in progress.

How many of you have left your house only to turn around and go back because you forgot something?

This is very dangerous because criminal gangs are often watching your house, waiting for you to leave so they can enter and clean you out.

Never forget that the work of a criminal is crime. They don’t think like you do. They think like criminals. Even though they may not value their own life, they value yours even less.

*Be advised*

Comment by Bill in Los Angeles
2013-02-02 11:10:37

Agreed. An AR15 is on my shopping list (in Arizona).

Molon Labe!

 
Comment by 2banana
2013-02-02 11:50:05

Criminals value their life very much.

That is why they prefer unarmed victims.

That is why they leave armed citizens pretty alone.

————

Sammy ”The Bull” Gravano has, by his own admission, sent 19 men to their graves. So it’s safe to say that the former underboss of the Gambino crime family knows a thing or two (or 19) about guns and violence.

That’s why his remarks about gun control, published in Vanity Fair, have resonance.

“Gun Control? It’s the best thing you can do for crooks and gangsters. I want you to have nothing. If I’m a bad guy, I’m always gonna have a gun. Safety locks? You pull the trigger with a lock on, and I’ll pull the trigger. We’ll see who wins.” — VANITY FAIR 9/99 page 165 Sammy “the Bull” Gavano

 
Comment by Skroodle
2013-02-02 13:16:34

I bought a steel door.

Problem solved and my door seldom accidentally kills someone.

Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2013-02-02 14:15:32

How strong is your door jamb?

That’s what actually fails when you kick a door in, not the door itself.

In case you are wondering, yes, I’ve seen a steel door kicked in. It took only a couple of solid kicks from a normal size/weight adult male.

 
Comment by hazard
2013-02-02 17:01:16

“I bought a steel door.”

Well that ain’t gonna work.

Black Hawks Used In Military Training Exercise In Miami « CBS Miami
http://miami.cbslocal.com/2013/01/25/blackhawks-used-in-military-training-exercise-in-miami/ - 111k - Cached - Similar pages
Jan 25, 2013 … A blackhawk helicopter conducts a training exercise over downtown … MIAMI ( CBSMiami) – Some members of the U.S. military were busy in …

 
Comment by Anon In DC
2013-02-02 17:06:39

I am sure no door ever intentionally killed. Neither has any gun. For hundreds of years millions of Americans and others have lived with guns without murdering anyone. But yep go ahead and believe that guns are a problem.

 
Comment by Dale
2013-02-02 19:22:14

Can you buy steel windows to go with that?

 
 
Comment by hazard
2013-02-02 16:33:27

“One reason I support large capacity magazines and assault rifles is because of the threat of home invasions.”

30 round mag is just that a 30 round mag. Large capacity magazine is a term that comes from the Dianne Feinstein crowd. I never hear anyone say a 10 round mag is a “Low capacity magazine”.

By Emily Miller
The Washington Times
Sunday, January 27, 2013

The anti-gun crowd labels any firearm magazine capable of holding more than 10-rounds “high-capacity.” It’s a scare tactic.

Many firearms come from the factory with devices that feed between 15 to 30 rounds — some hold more, some less depending on their configuration and purpose. Ten is a number chosen out of thin air for reasons of political theater. The gun grabbers use it to imply the higher-capacity magazines enable murderers to kill more people, but it doesn’t actually work out that way.

In a 2004 study for the Department of Justice linked on Mrs. Feinstein’s own website, Christopher S. Koper, a professor of criminology, reported that “assailants fire less than four shots on average, a number well within the 10-round magazine limit” of the “assault weapons” ban.

“Studies prove that the arbitrary magazine capacity restriction that was in place for a decade did not reduce crime,” Lawrence Keane, the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s senior vice president and general counsel, told The Washington Times. “In searching for effective means to reduce violence, we should not repeat failed policies, especially when they infringe on the constitutional rights of the law-abiding.”

Violent crime has decreased 17 percent since the assault weapons ban expired.

Even though Mrs. Feinstein used to carry a handgun in San Francisco for her own personal protection, she does not realize what other gun owners know: It can take about two seconds, or less, to drop an empty magazine and insert another.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jan/27/the-high-capacity-magazine-myth/#ixzz2Jmsyh39Y
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

 
 
Comment by BetterRenter
2013-02-02 10:59:52

The False Recovery is here. The question is, how long will it last, before the next downslope arrives? I’m guessing 18 months, so we should see serious despondency return nationwide in early-to-mid 2014, just in time to bollix up the mid-term elections.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 11:28:18

Depends in part on the outcome of the government sequester chicken game currently playing out. Stay tuned until March 1 for the exciting conclusion!

Did Hagel’s Nomination Make The Sequester A Fait Accompli?
The Huffington Post | By Jon Ward
Posted: 02/01/2013 10:30 am EST | Updated: 02/01/2013 10:30 am EST

During our interview, Levin said something on the sequester that I thought was interesting but which didn’t fit into the story about Ryan and Medicare. Chuck Hagel’s nomination to be secretary of defense by the president, Levin said, essentially guaranteed that House Republicans will let the sequester happen.

The sequester is set to hit March 1, and would restrain the federal budget over the next decade by roughly $1 trillion. Half would come from defense spending, and half from non-defense. It wouldn’t actually cut current spending levels, but would rather reduce future projected increases in spending. But for massive enterprises like the Pentagon, losing $45 billion out of next year’s budget is a big deal, especially because the scale of what they do requires so much advance planning. Even if the money being taken out of the budget is not technically a cut, it functions like one because they have been planning on using that money for some time.

Levin’s theory is that “the Hagel nomination really changed the thinking of the defense hawks” by sending a signal that President Obama and his new defense secretary (if he’s confirmed) don’t really care whether the Pentagon gets cut by $500 billion over the next decade.

 
Comment by 2banana
2013-02-02 11:47:09

We just had -0.1 in the last quarter GDP.

Two negatives in a row is an official recession.

Can obama blame obama?

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 12:11:15

Can you possibly drop the political strawmen? Such as the lame notion that the sitting president’s policies are the key economic driver of the economy? Or should we conclude that you are dumb enough to believe your own tired BS political propaganda?

 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 12:47:08

Is there any chance this photo-shoot will calm down the paranoid “Obama gonna take away all my guns” lunatic fringe?

White House releases photo of Obama shooting a gun

President Obama shoots clay targets on the range at Camp David, Md., on Aug. 4, 2012, in a photo released by the White House on Friday. (Pete Souza / White House / February 2, 2013)
By Noam N. Levey

February 2, 2013, 10:47 a.m.

WASHINGTON — Facing questions about President Obama’s experience with firearms, the White House has released a photo of the chief executive in the act of firing one.

Obama, in an interview published by the New Republic, claimed that had used a gun at the Camp David presidential retreat. “We do skeet shooting all the time,” the president said. “Not the girls, but oftentimes guests of mine go up there.”

That prompted snickering from some of the president’s conservative critics and questions for the president’s press secretary. On Monday, Jay Carney was asked whether there was a photo of Obama shooting. “There may be, but I haven’t seen it,” the spokesman said. “When he goes to Camp David, he goes to spend time with his family and friends and relax, not to produce photographs.”

Comment by Skroodle
2013-02-02 13:23:26

Don’t forget that Reagan with the support of the NRA signed the Mulford Act which was aimed at getting guns away from Black Panthers.

Nothing scares a Republican more than a Blackman with a gun.

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Comment by Spook
2013-02-02 13:56:49

Nothing scares a Republican more than a Blackman with a gun.
————————————-

Interesting. I heard the same thing about the origins of The Citadel in South Carolina.

According to the story, when some of the white survivors of the Hatian revolution escaped to SC with tales of a horrible slave rebellion, the legislator approved funds for a military institute to guarrantee no such event could ever occur in South Carolina.

Not sure if this story is true, but given what happened in Haiti, it makes sense; there are no civilians in a race war.

 
Comment by eight pieces of chicken
2013-02-02 14:12:27

Nothing scares a Republican more than a Blackman with a gun.

Actually it’s all white people. White liberals who live close to the cities also want to get rid of guns for the same reason.

 
Comment by 2banana
2013-02-02 14:21:48

If you knew anything about history (ie - much more than they teach you in public schools).

1. The first gun control laws in American were aimed at keeping free blacks from defending themselves.

2. They were passed by democrats

Nothing scares a Republican more than a Blackman with a gun.

 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-03 00:40:05

“Nothing scares a Republican more than a Blackman with a gun.”

The NRA put a proverbial gun to Obama’s head and made him do the photo-shoot.

 
 
 
Comment by oxide
2013-02-02 12:53:03

Much of that drop was attributed to Hurricane Sandy.

In other words, we can blame Reagan for ripping the solar panels off the White House.

 
 
 
Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-02-02 11:36:59

“Housing could still drop significantly and the bottom might not arrive for years.”- Robert Shiller

Comment by 2banana
2013-02-02 12:00:21

It won’t drop with $6-12 Trillion of obama deficit spending.

It is the housing bubble v2.0.

Everyone on the property ladder!

Comment by Bill in Los Angeles
2013-02-02 14:37:14

It will drop relative to precious metals and stocks and the price of guns.

Brand new AR15 by Colt at my dealer sells for $1770 and still climbing. Ammo prices probably going up too.

Comment by cactus
2013-02-02 21:50:06

I wonder if a shotgun is better home defense bullets won’t penetrate walls and kill innocent neighbors

don’t really need to aim all that well either

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Comment by m2p
2013-02-03 13:44:44

I wonder if a shotgun is better home defense bullets won’t penetrate walls and kill innocent neighbors

don’t really need to aim all that well either

They are according to VP Biden,

“Guess what? A shotgun will keep you a lot safer, a double-barreled shotgun, than the assault weapon in somebody’s hands [who] doesn’t know how to use it, even one who does know how to use it,” the outspoken vice president, a shotgun owner himself, replied. “It’s harder to use an assault weapon to hit something than it is a shotgun. You want to keep people away in an earthquake? Buy some shotgun shells.”

link

 
Comment by Carl Morris
2013-02-03 14:10:45

It’s a valid point. But if I’m going shotgun I’d rather have a semi-auto that they’d like to ban.

 
 
 
 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-02 12:09:03

When a home price gain cheerleader like Shiller is making such statements, you know that another leg down to follow the current slow-motion dead cat bounce is a likely prospect.

Comment by eight pieces of chicken
2013-02-02 13:00:42

Shiller is sneaky shill for the nra.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-03 00:41:33

“…for the nra.”

Do you have any idea how many guns he owns?

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Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2013-02-02 15:02:09


Comment by Rental Watch
2013-02-01 12:10:01

[...]
We have historically high numbers of cash buyers. My own perspective is that the Fed’s ZIRP pushed investors to seek yield wherever they can, and one place they found yield was in buying and renting homes.

I think you are dead on with this perspective, Rental Watch. ZIRP pushes investors into riskier asset-classes, and many have been chased into rental housing in an effort to find some yield.

However, that equilibrium can swing both ways: imagine what happens when more normal yields return, and those investors all flood OUT of rental housing.

 
Comment by cactus
2013-02-02 21:55:50

A Scottsdale man who once had a role in a $64 million Ponzi scheme will spend his weekends in jail for the next eight months for stealing cacti.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona says 46-year-old Kenneth Cobb stole eight saguaro cacti from federal land, which is one of the biggest no-nos in Arizona.

Cobb pleaded guilty in September to theft of government property and a violation of the Endangered Species Act.

Not only did Cobb steal eight of the cacti from land near Wickenburg, and sold them for $2,000 a piece.

Two of those cacti were exported to Austria, which was another problem, since he didn’t have a permit to export them.
For this, Cobb’s going to be jailed on the weekends for the next eight months, then spend five years on probation, and also pay $32,000 in restitution.

Other than that it’s not clear what Cobb’s been up to since being sentenced in 2001 to 78 months in prison for his role in a “world-wide,” $64 million Ponzi scheme.

He wasn’t the so-called “ring-leader” of the scheme, according to federal appeals court filings, but a federal judge did order him to pay $23 million in restitution.

The role of Cobb and another man in the case “was to bring as much money to the table as possible to line everyone’s pockets,” according to an appeals court ruling.

 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-03 06:43:39

Sequester could cancel Blue Angels air shows in 2013
By Dennis Pillion | dpillion@al.com
on February 02, 2013 at 2:46 PM

The Blue Angels at the Pensacola Beach Air Show, July 14, 2012

The Pensacola Beach Air Show begins with a performance from “Ernie,” the C-130 filling in for “Fat Albert,” the usual cargo plane that travels with the Blue Angels. Then the Blue Angels take to the sky for a modified low-ceiling show for the crowd of thousands that braved scattered showers and constant cloud cover to see the show. (Dennis Pillion / al.com)Watch video PENSACOLA, Florida — Stormy weather almost canceled last year’s Pensacola Beach Air Show. This year, it’s the budget forecast that could stop the event dead in its tracks.

If the automatic budget cuts known as the sequester go into effect on March 1, the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels could be grounded in the second half of 2013, according a document obtained by U.S. News and World Report.

According to the brief by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert, the Navy would cut all funding to the Blue Angels for the third and fourth quarters of 2013 if Congress does not act to stop the sequester.

The Blue Angels have more than 30 air shows scheduled during that time frame, including the Pensacola Beach Air Show on July 13 and the Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show at NAS Pensacola Nov. 1-2. The Blue Angels web site estimates that 11 million people see the Navy Flight Demonstration Team (the group’s formal name) at shows every year.

The sequester contains $1.2 trillion in automatic, across-the-board budget cuts that no one seems to think is a good idea. It was designed to be “abhorrent to both parties,” according to The Washington Post, in order to bring Democrats and Republicans to the bargaining table to reach a better deal on the budget deficit.

Leaders of both parties have spoken out about the damages the sequester would cause, yet The Post reports Congress is unlikely to compromise and replace or repeal the automatic cuts.

I think it’s more likely to happen. And I’m ashamed of the Congress, I’m ashamed of the president, and I’m ashamed of being in this body, quite frankly,” Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), an Air Force Reservist told the Post.

 
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