February 20, 2013

Bits Bucket for February 20, 2013

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




RSS feed

276 Comments »

Comment by frankie
2013-02-20 01:37:44

The Chinese army has launched hundreds of cyber-attacks against western companies and defence groups from a nondescript office building in Shanghai, according to a report that warns hackers have stolen vast amounts of data from their targets.

Mandiant, a security company that has been investigating attacks against western organisations for over six years, said in a report (PDF) the attacks came from a 12-storey building belonging to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) general staff’s department, also known as Unit 61398.

Mandiant said it believed a hacking network named the Comment Crew or the Shanghai Group was based inside the compound, in a rundown residential neighbourhood. Although the report fails directly to place the hackers inside the building, it argues there is no other logical reason why so many attacks have emanated from such a small area.

“It is time to acknowledge the threat is originating in China, and we wanted to do our part to arm and prepare security professionals to combat that threat effectively,” said the report.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/feb/19/china-hacker-attacks-west

Comment by michael
2013-02-20 07:05:26

most favored nation.

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-20 10:11:19

Nixon!!!!

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-20 11:50:54
(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by Avocado
2013-02-20 13:12:36

Let’s just cover all bases and say, “Republicans.”

Nixon actually though the Chinese would buy from the USA.

 
 
 
 
Comment by Ben Jones
2013-02-20 07:27:08

‘The War Party never sleeps: there are always new variations of war propaganda coming ’round the bend. With the coming of the internet, the latest manufactured “threat” to rear its head is “cyber-warfare,” which is now being touted by the Obama administration and its media fan club as the Next Big Scary Thing – but what are the facts?’

‘Aside from ginning up conflict with the War Party’s chosen targets, the whole cyber-war scare-mongering campaign, whether the alleged “threat” is said to be emanating from China, Iran, or wherever, is also very convenient for proponents of Internet regulation who want to install back doors on every web site, and every software system, so the feds can “trace” these alleged “cyber-terrorists.” It is, in short, a scam, part and parcel of a political campaign to rein in the wild and wooly – and largely unregulated – Internet, and make it more amenable to the interests of our wise rulers.’

http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2013/02/19/the-great-cyber-warfare-scam/

‘the Next Big Scary Thing’ is pretty funny.

Comment by Bluestar
2013-02-20 07:59:19

Will this be the year the global internet fractures? From what I know about internet security there is only one way to prevent cyber attacks, you must segregate the web. Each political and economic zone must be isolated by IP address. It may even necessary to do this down to the state and county level. So far the economic and military risk is low enough that the governments are not willing to do it yet. But if we wake up one day to find a cyber attack has crippled a major piece of infrastructure or a financial system then I think they will be forced to act. On that day the share value of internet stocks will crash along with most of the banking sector.

Comment by michael
2013-02-20 09:06:47

isn’t that what they did in Battlestar Galactica?

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by MiddleCoaster
2013-02-20 14:50:32

IIRC, the Galactica was saved by its antiquated computer that was not linked with the remainder of the (more modern) fleet.

;)

 
Comment by MiddleCoaster
2013-02-20 14:51:48

That comment was supposed to end “geek mode off”. The wink makes no sense without it.

 
 
 
Comment by measton
2013-02-20 09:35:06

WASHINGTON (AP) — Evidence of an unrelenting campaign of cyberstealing linked to the Chinese government is prompting the Obama administration to develop more aggressive responses to the theft of U.S. government data and corporate trade secrets.

The Obama administration is expected to announce new measures Wednesday, including possible fines and other trade actions against China or any other country guilty of cyber-espionage. Officials familiar with the administration’s plans spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the threatened action.

The Chinese government denies being involved in the cyberattacks cited in a cybersecurity firm’s analysis of breaches that compromised more than 140 companies. On Wednesday, China’s Defense Ministry called the report deeply flawed.

I’m all for fining and putting up trade restrictions when countries or foreign companies steal from the US. Read up on American Superconductor and Catepillar’s experience in China. They are the tip of the iceberg.

 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-20 10:45:40

Sounds like a back-door approach to limiting First Amendment Rights to those in power.

 
Comment by Spook
2013-02-20 13:00:20

whether the alleged “threat” is said to be emanating from China, Iran, or wherever, is also very convenient for proponents of Internet regulation who want to install back doors on every web site,
——————————————————-

It also serves as a test bed for the ultimate fake war without end; the war against space aliens.

The war that will unite all mankind under a world government to defend humanity against the threat from UFOs destruction.

PS– I saw a member of Al Qeada drinkin a pina colada; his hair was perfect.

Comment by Cracker Bob
2013-02-20 14:12:43

Was he at Trader Vic’s?

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
 
 
 
Comment by oxide
2013-02-20 07:27:14

One tried-and-true strategy is to target a contract consulting firm which does both private sector and government contracting. For Example, hire the the private-sector side of the firm to evaluate a bridge design, and use the access to the firm’s networks and mail system to hack into the government contract side of the firm which evaluates helicopter blades for the Navy.

I don’t think companies are required to separate the data networks (especially email) per contract, especially if employees are interchanged between private and public sector depending on their expertise.

 
Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-20 07:27:50

““It is time to acknowledge the threat is originating in China, and we wanted to do our part to arm and prepare security professionals to combat that threat effectively,” said the report.”

Missed that boat by about ten years.

 
Comment by rms
2013-02-20 07:39:23

We have “honey pots” filled with meaningless minutiae as well as malicious payload; we wrote the book.

Comment by Beer and Cigar Guy
2013-02-20 11:56:57

As well as massive pools of internet porn. Mind where you step.

 
 
 
Comment by frankie
2013-02-20 04:11:07

Figures from HSBC show that the average retirement in the UK is expected to last 19 years, but the average person’s retirement savings will last for just seven.

Christine Foyster, head of wealth development at HSBC UK, said that the 12-year shortfall was the worst found in HSBC’s international study. “People are living longer, through tougher economic times, but their expectations about their standard of living in retirement remain unchanged,” she said. “They are putting off the inevitable.”

Worldwide, the study found that people will on average run out of retirement savings just over half way into their retirement. According to the study, more than half of the UK working population is not preparing adequately for retirement, with one in five saving nothing at all.

Figures last month from Nest, the state-provided default pension scheme, showed that seven in 10 private sector workers do not currently pay into a retirement scheme. The number of “active” pension savers in the UK fell from 12.2m at the peak in 1967 to 8.2m in 2011, according to the Office for National Statistics.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/pensions/9882001/Brits-worst-in-world-at-saving-for-retirement.html

http://www.hsbc.com/retirement

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-20 07:31:07

Lucky Duckies!

 
Comment by vinceinwaukesha
2013-02-20 12:15:25

I personally believe a large part of the “demand” for people to “invest” in retirement schemes is to make sure there will be some meat for the govt to confiscate, when then get around to the inevitable confiscation. You don’t seriously think they’re going to let social security / everything else fail without nationalizing all 401Ks and such, right?

I would put money toward confiscation happening via forced investment in govt savings bonds which will be annihilated via inflation, rather than simple robbery. Although I would not completely eliminate outright confiscation via class envy… how can we have rich guys with $1M in their retirement account when so many others are eating canned dog food, etc etc.

Now depending on your age, gullibility toward ponzi schemes, etc, your personal opinion of likelihood of living to see this varies greatly. This is not a serious issue for my elderly mother and probably quite a few on this board. I’m young enough and open minded enough to see no point in investing in a 401K because even the rosiest projections indicate I’ll have time after the inevitable collapse to rebuild, at least I hope, assuming BAU WRT retirement even survives the collapse.

I also see the stockholm syndrome desire to drag others into “investment” to be VERY much like the stockholm syndrome desire to drag others into home (loan) ownership.

My wife dragged me to our insurance agent / financial advisor type drone last week and he’s all hot for us to buy asian pacific and medium cap equities. I’m like, looking at the current situation, is this dude crazy? Just wait a year or three and buy at a discount to current prices… Right now near the peak is the time to be selling that kind of stuff not buying. More PRPFX for me, thanks.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-20 15:24:31

401K?

They’ve already made a direct play for privatizing SS.

 
 
 
Comment by hazard
2013-02-20 05:23:12

I missed this, were there cheerleaders in the background with a big R on their sweaters?

“Part of our rebuilding effort must also involve our housing sector. Today, our housing market is finally healing from the collapse of 2007. Home prices are rising at the fastest pace in six years, home purchases are up nearly 50 percent, and construction is expanding again.

But even with mortgage rates near a 50-year low, too many families with solid credit who want to buy a home are being rejected. Too many families who have never missed a payment and want to refinance are being told no. That’s holding our entire economy back, and we need to fix it. Right now, there’s a bill in this Congress that would give every responsible homeowner in America the chance to save $3,000 a year by refinancing at today’s rates. Democrats and Republicans have supported it before. What are we waiting for? Take a vote, and send me that bill. Right now, overlapping regulations keep responsible young families from buying their first home. What’s holding us back? Let’s streamline the process, and help our economy grow.”

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-02-20 06:13:58

“home purchases are up nearly 50 percent”

False.

A snapshot in time across 30 days is the source of this misrepresentation.

The truth?

Annual housing demand has sunk to 1997 levels….. and continues to sink ever lower.

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-20 10:47:08

The truth is: In CA, the inventory is so small for the low end that homes are selling fast and getting multiple offers. This is fromt he front line. I am actively searching for a SFR to buy and rent, and I refuse to pay over asking so I never get one. Call any bank loan office to confirm.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-02-20 11:15:53

No.

The truth about California is that there is a massive and growing backlog of foreclosures.

Why are you lying about it?

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by Avocado
2013-02-20 11:30:48

Sure, backlogs might be growing. But currently there is very little inventory, and the low end is selling with multiple offers and more than one are all cash. I am connected, I am in the trenches.

Current home shoppers dont care about “shadow inventory” they care about listings to choose from.

it might all end horribly, but right now it is what it is.

 
Comment by Beer and Cigar Guy
2013-02-20 12:33:36

…”Current home shoppers dont care about “shadow inventory” they care about listings to choose from.

it might all end horribly, but right now it is what it is.”

Yes. An unethical, overly-manipulated system which promotes malinvestment, thwarts the self correcting mechanisms of supply and demand and seduces the ignorant and greedy. It is careening off the rails where it will indeed end horribly for those who got suckered. And they will attack and vilify those who ’saved the market’ by withholding the inventory and masking the truth about housing, fooling them into making one of the biggest financial mistakes of their lives. Watch.

 
Comment by Arizona Slim
2013-02-20 12:43:30

Yes. An unethical, overly-manipulated system which promotes malinvestment, thwarts the self correcting mechanisms of supply and demand and seduces the ignorant and greedy. It is careening off the rails where it will indeed end horribly for those who got suckered. And they will attack and vilify those who ’saved the market’ by withholding the inventory and masking the truth about housing, fooling them into making one of the biggest financial mistakes of their lives. Watch.

Dang, Beer and Cigar Guy, you nailed it. Nailed it.

 
Comment by Avocado
2013-02-20 13:15:05

yes, the system sucks and is full of cheaters, but some people are getting rich off it, same as always.

good luck changing what has taken place for 100+ yrs.

 
Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-02-20 14:35:49

Nobody is “getting rich”. Not on housing. And no…. this hasn’t been “taking place for 100 years”.

Do you just come up with this nonsense ad lib?

 
Comment by Beer and Cigar Guy
2013-02-20 14:44:07

Just because something is common, doesn’t mean it is good, acceptable or desirable. Syphilis, for example, is very prevalent but I’m in no hurry to embrace it. And no, I’m not naive enough to think that I can change events that took place in the past. I’m also not desperate enough to think that I need to participate in a fraud-riddled market now, simply because fraud is commonplace. If I know the game is rigged against me, I will elect not to play. Especially when I can see all around me the signs that the game is changing…

 
Comment by Avocado
2013-02-20 14:57:39

We all made lots of money, well… anyone else who bought before 2003 and sold before 2007.

100 yrs of cheating, to get rich…. ok….1000

Look at Soros this month, for every 100 losers, there is a big ass winner.

 
Comment by Avocado
2013-02-20 14:58:48

In logic and critical thinking, a slippery slope is an informal fallacy. A slippery slope argument states that a relatively small first step leads to a chain of related events culminating in some significant effect, much like an object given a small push over the edge of a slope sliding all the way to the bottom.

 
Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-20 15:26:50

More than a hundred years.

Google 1st and 2nd Bank of the United States.

 
Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-02-20 15:30:57

Housing hasn’t been 5x annual income for 100 years.

 
 
 
Comment by Mo Money
2013-02-20 11:18:13

“Annual housing demand has sunk to 1997 levels….. and continues to sink ever lower.”

Try posting actual evidence, not your fantasies.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-02-20 11:54:14

Try refuting it.

Demand is at 1997 levels…. and falling.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
Comment by GrizzlyBear
2013-02-20 11:57:55

Struck a nerve?

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
 
Comment by Avocado
2013-02-20 11:23:52

It is not demand, it is supply and number of transactions that are low.

You can spin it, and call it demand. but that is simply not true.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-20 11:38:01

Low demand can be masked by constraining supply, thereby artificially propping up prices.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-02-20 11:55:57

Demand for housing is low…. irrespective of available supply. Take a look at YoY sales….. they’re at 1997 levels…..It’s not that difficult a task.

 
Comment by Avocado
2013-02-20 15:00:59

yes it is artificial. except to the guy who bought in 2011 and sold for 25% profit in 2013. He gets to spend real money.

we dont write the rules. we just try to draft behind the big boys and pick up the crumbs.

fighting the fed is not wise

 
Comment by Avocado
2013-02-20 15:03:33

If I just bought in 2011 and my house went up 25%, do you think I care that housing is at 1997 levels. Remember i leveraged to buy it so that 25% is huge.

no. i cash out.

you make it sound like everyone is depressed and losing everything they have. speak for yourself.

 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-20 22:09:34

“Demand for housing is low…. irrespective of available supply.”

It takes both the demand and the supply side to determine prices and transactions.

Given the same level of demand, a higher supply will result in more transactions at lower market prices.

Conversely, tight (low supply) and tepid demand will result in a trickle of transactions at higher prices.

 
 
Comment by cactus
2013-02-20 20:46:14

I was told by a flipper that in Pacific Palasades CA seling prices are above the 2006 peak

Westlake Village CA a co-worker brought in a flyer stuck to the door of his rental whinning about no inventory and listing recent sales prices which were not above 2006 prices BTW

Inventory of homes for sale seems low but rental inventory looks to be increasing

what next ?

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-02-20 20:48:33

In California? Collapse.

 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-20 22:06:58

“In California? Collapse.”

Sorry if I seem dense about this, but can you explain why this necessarily will happen? It seems just as plausible to me for government price supports to keep California housing prices on a permanently high plateau.

 
Comment by rms
2013-02-20 22:50:26

“Sorry if I seem dense about this, but can you explain why this necessarily will happen? It seems just as plausible to me for government price supports to keep California housing prices on a permanently high plateau.”

Didn’t “the head” refer to it as “foaming the runway?”

 
 
 
 
Comment by Overtaxed
2013-02-20 06:20:07

I don’t get it, I really don’t. Does everyone think that if you keep shouting “credit is tight” that will, in fact, make credit tight?

The market right now for conforming loans is normal. It’s not tight and it’s not crazy like it was 10 years ago. I JUST finished a re-fi on my house, and, the info they wanted, documentation, etc, was all exactly in line with what you’d expect. They also wanted a prime credit score and no more than 80% LTV. How is that “tight”?? That’s simply a normal market, you know, the kind that worked out just fine for the prior 75+ years until we decided no/low doc was the way to go.

My loan took about 4 weeks from approval to closing. It also has the distinction of being the cheapest money I’ve ever borrowed in my entire life. Cost me almost nothing to do the re-fi, and the interest rates are eye-poppingly low.

The hurdle for people trying to buy is the downpayment and their credit score. NOT tight credit. If you have 20% down and a decent score, you’ll get a loan, no doubt about it. And that loan will be incredibly cheap compared to any historic measure you use.

My question.. How do we play the coming disaster when interest rates start to rise? Who actually has the interest rate risk on all this paper going out at 3-3.5% for 30 years? Because, IMHO, if you can figure that you, you’ll make a LOT of money when the rates start to turn. Lenders assume people will keep the loan for 5-7 years, so they do their risk calculations based on that. Problem is, if rates go up from 3% to 6% and stay there (a normal market), they are going to have the loans they write today (3%) for the next 30 years, nobody will move/re-fi out of those rates if they can avoid it. That; IMHO, is a big money making opportunity out there in the medium term horizon.

Comment by scdave
2013-02-20 07:29:09

coming disaster when interest rates start to rise ??

nobody will move/re-fi out of those rates if they can avoid it ??

When rates rise, the obvious is that at current price levels housing would become more expensive/less affordable…Hence, barring any significant increase in wages at the same time housing prices should fall….

But, even if the neighbor may have negative equity to some degree, will they walk from a 3% 30 year mortgage ??….That, IMO, is the money question because we have probably 10’s of millions of home-owners out their that will have these ultra low interest rate loans…

So, will they walk or stay ??

If they stay, will that change the historical 7 year turn-over rate for houses limiting the amount of inventory available and thereby support higher prices…

OR

Will they walk, and make this last foreclosure crises, as bad as it was, look like a picnic….

That; IMHO, is a big money making opportunity out there in the medium term horizon ??

Well, how you play it would depend on how all those home-owners play it….There is one thing that we all inherently know…Interest rates rising is not question of “if” but “when”….After that, we will have our answer…

Comment by oxide
2013-02-20 08:01:30

I don’t buy this idea that homeowners are going to “walk” on short notice, like they were selling some liquid stock. Are they really going to change addresses, move the family, go through the trouble of finding another house, pay $10K to $15K in closing costs… to do what? Move to an equivalent house with a similar howmuchamonth (no matter what fraction is interest and what fraction is principle)? Do you really think the family is going to rent? Rent is more expensive than buying.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by goon squad
2013-02-20 08:30:27

Rent is more expensive than buying

Your losses will be incalculable.

 
Comment by eight pieces of chicken
2013-02-20 08:45:38

Rent is more expensive than buying.

Tell that to my landlord. I renewed my lease for another 6 months 2 weeks ago. 3% discount. Close to 10% was on the table for a year long renewal. I asked him it’s not what I hear in the local or national news. He said, well we are trying to keep our tenants. He must know something that many in the media have no clue.

 
Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-02-20 09:53:56

“Rent is more expensive than buying.”

Only when you’re using liars math.

Did you really lean on liars math before you made your irrecoverable tragic error?

 
Comment by rms
2013-02-20 23:04:37

“I don’t buy this idea that homeowners are going to “walk” on short notice, like they were selling some liquid stock.”

IIRC, it’s a function of how far underwater the debtor is before they decide “to walk.” As long as the president, our venal congress and the criminal investment bankers are willing to leverage the next couple of future generations the underwater debtors will keep making their payments.

 
 
Comment by MacBeth
2013-02-20 08:51:29

Depends.

I see your scenario, Overtaxed, as a possibility in locations where houses are expensive.

Not so in flyover.

Seems to me that if one is smart, one buys a cheap house now at low rates and keeps cash at the ready. Possibility for higher interest rates yet to come, but definitely for higher expenses yet to come.

Blowing big money on a house (say $300K+) is an idiotic thing tio do these days, no matter where you live.

Unless you have $2M+ set aside. In that case, $300K is relatively meaningless.

We’ve agreed here that houses are not investments. What folks here seem to forget is that money sunk in houses is “gone” money and should be treated as such.

Maintain the idea that your house is worth $0 and always will be worth $0. That is the ticket. The mortgage paid every month is not “equity”. It never will be.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
Comment by Avocado
2013-02-20 11:20:57

What happens to all those FIRE jobs, especially loan brokers when rates move back towards 5%?

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
Comment by Rental Watch
2013-02-20 18:19:07

What is the context of rising interest rates?

Stronger economy?

Or stagflation?

Look to what happened on the early 80’s when prime was close to 20%. There are a few points of rate increases to go before we see any meaningful impact on prices, IMHO.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
 
Comment by Avocado
2013-02-20 10:48:15

No doc loans are back in CA at 70% LTV.

 
Comment by Northeastener
2013-02-20 12:38:34

ow do we play the coming disaster when interest rates start to rise?

Have interest rates risen in Japan in the last 20+ years? No. What makes you think it is different this time, in this place?

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-20 15:21:37

The similarities between Japan and the USA are few, same with Greece or Zimbabwe.
A look at the 100 yr interest chart, makes me think it will go back up. That and currency wars.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
 
Comment by mathguy
2013-02-20 14:56:40

Basically, the ones holding the bag are fannie mae and freddie mac, along with a few pension systems holding tons of MBS, in short, the taxpayers. AFAIK, the only way to go short on the taxpayers of the United states of America is to divest yourself of US currency. This can be by going in on foreign currency, or by converting currency to hard assets like real estate, machinery, commodities, or other durable goods.

Since real estate continues to be in a bubble, machinery, commodities, and durable goods are left. Commodities are currently rising like nobodies business. I believe wheat is up 100%, and corn something like 50%. Now might be a very good time to invest in nuclear energy.

 
 
Comment by hazard
2013-02-20 06:29:36

Would have looked something like this.

http://www.amazon.com/Mattel-M0683-Barbie-Grease-Sandy/dp/B000W9QC1A - 256k -

 
Comment by goon squad
2013-02-20 06:42:18

Because the path to Recovery® is overpriced housing.

Never mind the $1 trillion outstanding student loan debt, 10+ million of shadow inventory, median wages that have dropped 10% in the last five years, most baby boomers nearing retirement have almost no retirement savings, gas at $3.75 and climbing, unemployment including underemployment at 20%, two percent payroll tax increase, under-reported inflation, and a bipartisan-supported continuation of policies explicitly designed to favor the 0.1%.

Now go buy a house. Hurry!

Comment by azdude
2013-02-20 07:33:25

the path to recovery is more debt.

 
Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2013-02-20 10:08:59

Well, when you put it like that….

 
Comment by Avocado
2013-02-20 10:56:01

yep! Thank you “trickle down” economics.

I wonder if it will take 40 years to fix?

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-20 15:29:21

Depends on how restless the natives get.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-20 11:19:38

“Never mind the $1 trillion outstanding student loan debt,…”

A workout for ‘responsible’ student borrowers is doubtless forthcoming…

 
 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-20 10:51:44

“…that would give every responsible homeowner in America the chance to save $3,000 a year by refinancing at today’s rates.”

Why not just identify who these ‘responsible homeowners’ are and hand each of them $3,000 a year for as long as they own their homes? Why dress up the handouts in the form of a change in the refinance rules?

One possibility: $3,000 a year isn’t really much money compared to what some ‘responsible homeowners’ might reap from this change in the rules. Take a typical underwater California owner whose 6.5% mortgage on his $500,000 starter home could be refinanced at 3.5% if only the rules allowed it. The interest rate reduction of 3% would be worth around 3% X $500,000 = $15,000, not $3,000.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2013-02-20 10:58:53

I could use three grand around now.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-20 11:36:19

Are you a ‘responsible homeowner’? If so, maybe some money will come your way soon.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-20 11:18:27

Another way to consider the value of principle reduction is to calculate the lump-sum present value needed to finance it. For my example above, assuming a 30-year refinance period, a reduction in interest of 3% from 6.5% down to 3.5% on $500,000 of principle would result in a decrease of $915.12 in monthly payments. The present value of this at 3.5% APR is $203,791.89.

Comment by Blue Skye
2013-02-20 14:06:50

No boubt this is a calculation that every young person makes before buying a house.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-20 22:01:41

No doubt this is a calculation the Democratic politicians who are pushing ever harder for interest reductions on underwater loans have made.

 
 
Comment by oxide
2013-02-20 14:31:22

Principle reduction? I think you mean interest rate reduction.

If anything, such a calculation would push somebody to buy now. See, if they can lock in the low rates, they’ll save $200K on interest payments.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-02-20 14:37:13

And lose 50% of the principle.

 
Comment by Blue Skye
2013-02-20 20:49:45

Saving by paying interest is beyond my ken.

 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-20 22:04:37

Oxide — you are right; I should have said “interest reduction.” I think my Freudian slip was due to the eye-popping cost of providing this, at least for the assumptions I used.

I don’t know how many Californians are locked into underwater loans at interest rates as high as 6.5% with outstanding principle balances north of $500,000, but I’m guessing those assumptions are not out of line for more than a few cases.

 
 
 
Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-20 15:30:35

“Why not just identify who these ‘responsible homeowners’ are and hand each of them $3,000 a year for as long as they own their homes? Why dress up the handouts in the form of a change in the refinance rules?”

Churn and the off chance that not everyone will be smart enough to make their claim.

 
 
 
Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-02-20 05:27:46

What’s really going on in California

California imposed a new law on banks innocuously called “Homeowners Bill of Rights” which forces banks to switch over to a judicial foreclosure process, which they can opt to do on their own, but takes a year or more to renegotiate contracts and compensation structures for the foreclosure law firms who do all the leg work for the banks. And while those changes are being made… it makes it appear that foreclosures have slowed down dramatically in the state.

The reality?

Defaults (undeclared) are spiraling upward that yet have to pass through the foreclosure pipeline.

The truth?

California is still the highest foreclosure state in sheer volume and percentage.

The low-down?

Resale housing is still massively overpriced as a result of unprecedented interference by individual states and the federal government. The market distortions will be removed and the down draft will continue allowing the market to correct.

If you play with fire, you will get burned.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-20 07:34:44

It’s GOOD to be the Banksta!

 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-20 10:53:16

“The market distortions will be removed and the down draft will continue allowing the market to correct.”

I’m still waiting to hear about what will make this happen, when it will happen, and how it will happen.

Comment by dude
2013-02-20 13:31:37

I’ve conclude it will not happen PB. I’ve been waiting and watching since late ‘09 when we bought our house to ’snap up’ some rentals in the fire sale. It hasn’t materialized, and at this point I don’t think it will.

I really think the losses will just be inflated away year by year using the same QE tactics TPTB have used up to this point.

If we are lucky there will be a bottom when the average American has the same standard of living as the average Guatemalan.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-02-20 14:30:18

There is no “inflated away”. Wages are falling and far out of synch with traditional housing price metrics.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by dude
2013-02-20 15:15:33

How many generations live together in the average Guatemalan residence?

 
 
 
 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-20 13:08:54

Look, Ma: Abracadabra, presto-chango — no more foreclosures!

HOUSING MARKET MAKING STRIDES

Foreclosures and defaults dropping, and new law may help keep them low
By Lily Leung
12:01 a.m.Feb. 20, 2013
Updated5:03 p.m.Feb. 19, 2013

Housing distress in San Diego County has eased considerably during the past two years. Will a new state law suppress it for good?

Mortgage defaults in the county are at their lowest level in nearly 7½ years, while foreclosures are hovering near a six-year low, based on the latest numbers from real estate tracker DataQuick.

Tuesday’s report covers all of January, the first full month since some new homeowner protections went into effect statewide.

One part of the California Homeowner Bill of Rights prevents banks from starting the foreclosure process while a loan modification or short sale is in progress, a practice called dual tracking. The provision is meant to help borrowers who are making genuine strides toward saving their homes, only to learn that their bank decided to foreclose on their property.

Brian Ruhl, a San Diego real estate agent who specializes in short sales, said banks such as Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase began paying attention to the dual-tracking rule even before it officially took effect. He found that starting in mid-2012, they stopped issuing a notice of default if a homeowner was undergoing a short sale or loan modification.

Notices of default, which signal the start of the foreclosure process, saw a dramatic fall in January throughout the county. A total of 310 were filed, a 65 percent drop from December and a 78 percent dip from the same month a year ago.

Filing activity fell among all the major loan servicers, the companies to which borrowers send their mortgage payments, DataQuick figures show. Bank of America filed 12 notices of default in January, down from 266 — a 96 percent drop — the same time a year ago. Bank of America and other major lenders don’t routinely address third-party data.

Foreclosures rose slightly in January but are still near a six-year low set in December, according to DataQuick. The county recorded 381 repossessions, up 7 percent from December but still down 48 percent year-over-year.

Another factor that has kept home repossessions and mortgage defaults suppressed is the rise of short sales, considered more favorable than foreclosures because they put less of a dent on credit reports, usually cost less for everyone involved and give borrowers a quicker chance at homeownership again.

Short sales — lender-approved deals that allow homeowners to sell their properties for less than what they still owe — made up more than one-fifth of the total housing market in San Diego County, according to an estimate from DataQuick.

Major banks went full steam with such deals after entering a $25 billion deal with 49 states to settle allegations of mortgage abuse. A majority of consumer help provided through the settlement has been short sales.

 
Comment by Rental Watch
2013-02-20 18:28:09

Watch non-current loan rates for the reality of whether the shadow inventory is increasing or decreasing. Time will tell if short sales can make up for slower foreclosures, and/or if the reduction in foreclosure filings is because of the elimination of dual tracking, or just fewer foreclosures. So far, Realty Trac hasn’t noted a significant increase in judicial filings.

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-02-20 19:16:26

And so far, you continue to lie and misinform.

 
 
 
Comment by hazard
2013-02-20 05:54:21

Napolitano stands by controversial report

By Eli Lake and Audrey Hudson
Thursday, April 16, 2009

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Wednesday that she was briefed before the release of a controversial intelligence assessment and that she stands by the report, which lists returning veterans among terrorist risks to the U.S.

“Rightwing extremism,” the report said in a footnote on Page 2, goes beyond religious and racial hate groups and extends to “those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely.”

“It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration,” said the report, which also listed gun owners and veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as potential risks.
———————————————————————————-

This guy is clearly rejecting government authority.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9efgLHgsBmM - 205k -

Comment by palmetto
2013-02-20 07:12:08

“It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration,” said the report, which also listed gun owners and veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as potential risks.”

Now, did it say anything about short, dumpy women with law degrees, prior careers as state governors, pop-eyes and a face frozen into a mask?

 
Comment by goon squad
2013-02-20 07:18:49

So was Vickie Weaver. And so was the Weaver’s dog. And so were all of David Koresh’s wives and kidz. F*ing terrorists, all of them! Better punch a hole in the wall and pump in some flammable gas and burn them all alive :)

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-20 07:37:10

Especially them damn *dog whistle*

 
 
Comment by hazard
2013-02-20 07:26:57

If Gomer had done that today there would be a Drone flying over his Filling Station.

Comment by Dale
2013-02-20 11:08:53

Clearly a drone strike would be justified in any of these cases.

 
 
Comment by eight pieces of chicken
2013-02-20 08:29:55

We take their innocence by sending them to kill in foreign lands. Now we are worried they may turn their guns at us?

You reap what you sow, MOFOs!

ROTFLMFAOABCXYZ

Comment by hazard
2013-02-20 16:23:34

“Now we are worried they may turn their guns at us?”

The government is not worried they will turn their guns on us, the government is worried they will turn their guns on the government.

 
 
Comment by Neuromance
2013-02-20 10:05:46

“Don’t commit thoughtcrime,” is what they’re trying to say.

 
Comment by snowgirl
2013-02-20 11:04:57

I don’t for a minute believe this was just brought to her attention. We know veterans involved in the Occupy movement were targeted last year. In fact I’ve long wondered about the one that was hospitalized after taking a tear gas canister in the head at point blank range.

I feel this statement is laying the groundwork for some type of removal of veterans’ rights. Maybe surveillance.

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-02-20 12:02:59

It least it’s a good indication that they are aware that military types have issues with an unconstitutional agenda. Hopefully that makes them question whether the active duty military might find themselves bound by their oath rather than blindly following orders at some point.

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-20 12:09:27

That’s why the 0.1% are replacing the traditional military with the brownshirted jackboot thugs of DHS.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by Northeastener
2013-02-20 12:50:37

Those DHS types bleed red, just like every other meat-sack on this planet. All it takes is a bit of applied physics. Give it time… they will inevitably commit atrocities against Americans and then it will be open season on anyone with a Federal on their back.

The recent spate of Sheriffs and Judges at the State and County levels turning their back on Federal authority is just the start.

 
Comment by palmetto
2013-02-20 14:59:14

“The recent spate of Sheriffs and Judges at the State and County levels turning their back on Federal authority is just the start.”

Yep. The Federal gobmin is a frustrated loser, and like most such entities that have lost badly, it’s looking for something to kick the peewadden out of.

Defeated by the Middle East, bullied by Israel, shafted by China, unable to control the border, blackmailed by the banks and Wall Street, bled by foreign aid, cowering before grievance groups, suborned by lobbyists. Well, who CAN we defeat? Hey, what about our own law-abiding citizens?

 
Comment by Carl Morris
2013-02-20 15:22:53

We showed Dorner who was boss.

 
 
 
Comment by ahansen
2013-02-20 12:47:27

That “epidemic” of PTSD diagnoses (and documented VA medical records) will classify a whole lot of would-be gun owners as “treated for mental illness” on their background check forms.

Ironically, only the psychotic and sociopathic will get through.

 
 
Comment by rms
2013-02-20 23:15:44

“Rightwing extremism,” the report said in a footnote on Page 2, goes beyond religious and racial hate groups and extends to “those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely.”

Nothing like god and guns!
http://photoblog.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/23/16661068-god-bless-these-guns

 
 
Comment by Ylekiot
2013-02-20 06:02:47

I need advice. I have a contract on a home that started the foreclosure process a week after contract signing. This home the buyer in not upside down. How does this change things? I am being told that the sale will continue but some paperwork will change. Is this true? My realtor didnt inform me of the foreclosure change even though he got the title commitment that stated this. We are now two weeks from closing and i find out about this yesterday. Wont the seller and disclosure statement need to be redonein the contract? If so what are my options?

Comment by palmetto
2013-02-20 06:30:03

“My realtor didnt inform me of the foreclosure change even though he got the title commitment that stated this”

This is not going to be a helpful answer, but now you know why some here at the HBB say “REALTORS ARE LIARS”

 
Comment by Blue Skye
2013-02-20 06:31:55

Why are you not asking your lawyer this question?

Don’t take legal advice from a realtor.

Don’t take any advice from a realtor.

Comment by polly
2013-02-20 07:19:03

What he said. You need to hire the best real estate lawyer in town pronto. There should be a way to get the foreclosure process suspended if enough money to pay off all the loans (and/or liens) against the property is about to come in, but it depends entirely on how competent the office is at the bank/loan servicer you are dealing with. You need a lawyer who has dealt with that process and that bank a dozen times or more.

Do it today.

 
Comment by eight pieces of chicken
2013-02-20 08:51:46

Don’t take legal advice from a realtor.

What if the realtor has a law degree?

Comment by Rental Watch
2013-02-20 20:44:41

If they are representing you as an attorney? Ok

If they are your agent, they should not be giving you legal advice.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
 
 
Comment by azdude
2013-02-20 07:45:55

Surely there is a due on sale clause in the sellers loan. That means the sellers loan has to be totally paid off before the note holder will release their lien and give you clear title.

The real question here is whether or not he can use your proceeds coming from the potential sale and apply it to what he owes.

If he owes more than what the sale of the home will bring this will never work unless he brings cash to the table to make up the difference. If it is a large sum this deal will never go down.

Sounds like you got into a can of worms.

I think this should have been disclosed to you before you entered a purchase contract.

 
Comment by Avocado
2013-02-20 11:00:51

Never ever rely on a Realtor, they tell you anything you want to hear just to get their commission. you have no recourse, over verbal discussions in most cases. Think of them as shoe salesmen at Pay less shoes (they have the same skill set). You always have to do your own DD, even though you pay them 3% to open door locks and drive the Yukon around (make sure they have water bottles and snacks).

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-20 11:02:29

I lost a house in 1999. It was an REO, and the bank gave the owner one last try, even though I was under contract to purchase it.

 
 
 
Comment by Ylekiot
2013-02-20 06:04:33

I meant seller is not upside down, I blame lack of coffee…:-)

Comment by azdude
2013-02-20 08:01:04

Try and find out how far he is behind on payments.

Has he got a notice of default?

All the noteholder cares about is getting their money there owed. In a normal sale your proceeds would be first applied toward paying off the notes on the house. Anything left after that would be go to the seller.

So if there is enough money (equity) to pay off the notes you should be fine.

Find out what he owes on any notes. If it looks like the proceeds will be enough to clearly pay those notes off then should be ok.

one hangup could be a law that says the loan has to be current before home could be sold. Look into that because it could differ by state or individual contract.

Comment by polly
2013-02-20 09:18:13

That only works if the different offices of the bank are actually talking to each other. Remember all the talk about parts of banks pursuing foreclosure while another part of the same bank was working on a loan modification? You even have to worry that at a certain part of the process, they won’t take all the money they are owed - won’t even cash the check or if they cash it, won’t apply it to the account. He needs a lawyer that dealt with this situation with this bank as often as possible.

I don’t usually suggest that you need a really good lawyer. For most situations, competent is more than sufficient. This is a case for an attorney who knows how to make the people at the bank feel scared of getting their asses sued off and terrible local publicity and getting ratted out to the state attorney general and maybe a nastygram from the CFPB. Doesn’t have to do all those things, or even any of them, but has to be able to make them scared that it could happen.

 
 
 
Comment by Ylekiot
2013-02-20 06:40:49

I was calling legal counsel today, yes i know Realtors lie. Makes me want to walk away… I hate this profession with the grey areas in all aspects of this, in this day and age with technology. Makes me want to start a blog, oh wait…..;-)

Comment by rms
2013-02-20 07:44:45

“Makes me want to walk away…”

How about a cursory overview, where, when, $$$, etc., the good stuff?

 
 
Comment by scdave
2013-02-20 06:48:09
Comment by goon squad
2013-02-20 08:01:52

This is what “the future belongs to Lucky Ducky” means:

New York Times - It Takes a B.A. to Find a Job as a File Clerk

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2013/02/20/business/college-degree-required-by-increasing-number-of-companies.xml

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-20 09:23:46

I’ve been joking for over 10 years that one day you’ll need a degree just to be a janitor.

But “Futurama” made it popular.

Comment by GrizzlyBear
2013-02-20 12:43:05

Makes more sense to save the money and open up a janitorial service.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by polly
2013-02-20 15:37:22

But you can borrow the money for a college degree. Who will give a high school grad a loan to open a janitorial business.

Or, you could ask you parents for the money…you know….like Mitt recommended.

 
 
 
 
 
Comment by goon squad
2013-02-20 06:53:40

Here, Bloomberg ignores the $1 trillion student loan bubble. And the 10% default rates on student loans. And the chronic underemployment of Gen Y. What those kidz need are $350,000 starter homes ($500,000 on the coasts). Hurry! It’s never been a better time to buy!

http://www.bloomberg.com/video/it-s-time-to-move-out-of-your-parents-house-NWmJJE~qRZeGTBqvbExhQg.html

Comment by PeakHubris
2013-02-20 15:19:25

I was golfing with a friend and a couple gals a few weeks back. They were ooohing and ahhhing over some houses lining the fairway. I simply stated that they looked like massive cash drains to me, that I’d rather spend time golfing than cleaning one of the monstrosities. They all thought for a moment then agreed.

 
 
Comment by goon squad
2013-02-20 06:59:04

Hope and Change

“A fiscal emergency grips Detroit, according to a report that opens a path to a state takeover of General Motors Co’s home town, citing deficits that have stymied city officials after a $326.6 million gap last year.

Michigan’s most-populous city needs help to take difficult steps and make crucial changes to restore its long-term viability, according to the report, ordered by Governor Rick Snyder.”

http://mobile.bloomberg.com/news/2013-02-19/detroit-may-get-state-manager-as-finances-in-disarray.html

 
Comment by goon squad
2013-02-20 07:13:02

Coming soon to USA:

“The problem is the prospect of stagflation, that awful combination of economic weakness and high prices, something the Bank of England has arguably encouraging by suggesting it’s prepared to relax its inflation target and provide even more quantitative easing if needed …

The answer is probably because the newly employed aren’t working full time, and even those that are do so for less money in real terms than they used to (sound familiar in USA?). The data also showed that average earnings, without bonuses, rose by only 1.3% in the three months to December, the lowest increase in three years.

So where does this leave U.K. consumers?

In an even deeper hole with earnings on the decline and inflation eroding their spending power even further.

Evidence of that erosion has been coming from the retail sector over the last few months (again, sound familiar in USA?). A decline in domestic demand will doubtless take its toll on overall economic activity and make a recovery even more elusive.”

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323549204578315730603790020.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Comment by scdave
2013-02-20 07:35:01

+1 +1 for the goon….Your on a roll this morning with the links…

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-20 07:44:50

We are most in our element when we can unfurl a roiling sh*tstorm of relentless negativity. It really jump-starts our day with a smile :)

 
 
Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-20 07:39:22

Stagflation - 1% goodness since 1974

Comment by scdave
2013-02-20 10:03:51

Stagflation - 1% goodness since 1974 ??

Remember it well…

 
 
Comment by rms
2013-02-20 07:49:15

“The problem is the prospect of stagflation…”

Remember that party especially the hangover.

 
Comment by GrizzlyBear
2013-02-20 12:44:20

Prospect? We’re there.

 
 
Comment by goon squad
2013-02-20 07:29:56

Starving the beast:

“Local governments in the Washington region are struggling to cope with huge economic uncertainties posed by the massive federal spending cuts known as sequestration, which could place nearly 450,000 public and private sector jobs at risk, according to one study.

Federal agency employment and contracting are the economic lifeblood in Northern Virginia, Maryland and the District. If the worst is realized and jobs disappear by the thousands, the flow of money through the local economy could be choked off, leading to more foreclosures, slower growth among businesses and less spending among households.”

http://m.washingtonpost.com/local/local-governments-cope-with-uncertainties-caused-by-federal-spending-cuts/2013/02/19/e5d5412c-7abe-11e2-9a75-dab0201670da_story.html

Comment by Ben Jones
2013-02-20 07:47:57

‘jobs disappear by the thousands, the flow of money through the local economy could be choked off, leading to more foreclosures, slower growth among businesses and less spending among households’

They forgot dogs and cats sleeping together.

The other day I was listening to the radio while driving and I heard that the govt might cut out the Blue Angels. I had to pull over, and yelled out to the sky, “not the Blue Angels!”

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-20 07:55:11

See also:

Seven of nation’s 10 most affluent counties are in Washington region

http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-09-19/local/35496568_1_household-income-census-rankings-counties

 
Comment by Bad Chile
2013-02-20 08:00:58

The two mini-Chiles are very excited about the prospect of seeing the Blue Angels later this year, and we were well aware they were on the chopping block. Face it - with youtube and other media outlets the need to have a bunch of jets zooming around the country as a recruiting and public relations tool is essentially zero versus the cost of $37 million per year (that seems very low, but is the only number I could find).

Yeah, they sure are cool and I always enjoy seeing them, but the long term view is that the Blue Angels money could perhaps be put toward enhancing the science, technology, engineering, and math programs at inner-city schools.

Of course, the reason they are on the chopping block - despite being only 0.0057% of the Pentagon’s budget - is they are visible. Good PR move by the DOD to get more money.

Comment by Bluestar
2013-02-20 08:16:24

The DoD is the world’s largest energy consumer. Do you think that the high fuel prices are having an effect?

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
Comment by Ben Jones
2013-02-20 08:19:22

‘the Blue Angels money could perhaps be put toward…’

There is no Blue Angels money. They have to borrow it. And what they don’t borrow they take from somebody.

We’ve gotten used to this idea that the federal government is super wealthy. Rolling in cash. But the truth is, if they couldn’t borrow billions every day, the feds would shut down tomorrow.

Almost everything about the US govt is a lie. The most powerful military; that can’t beat a bunch of goat herders living in mud huts. They are protecting us; while they spy on us, shred our civil liberties, plot to take our rights to defend ourselves. They are what keeps the economy going; while huge numbers are on food stamps, under the poverty line, have huge debts by the time they’re 25 years old,and incomes have fallen for 30+ years.

We’ve gotten so conditioned about the govt. Turn on the news; “First up, what’s our Leader doing today? No not today, this minute! Is he playing golf? Let’s go to Admiral Muckymuck for his take on the Leader playing golf. Then, back to our correspondent in Washington for the latest fiscal crisis. “Well Bob, more on the devastating Blue Angel cuts.”

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
Comment by goon squad
 
Comment by eight pieces of chicken
2013-02-20 08:37:50

If this is what “recovery” looks like, I wonder what depression might look?

 
Comment by goon squad
2013-02-20 08:49:15

what depression might look?

The 0.1% have recovered rather well, thank you. They are the only ones who matter. And their bipartisan fluffers in elected government will ensure their continued economic rape of the American middle class. That’s what the “recovery” looks like :)

 
Comment by Spook
2013-02-20 13:27:03

Im not sure who it was, but last summer they spent 3 days screaming military jets, in formation over Baltimore at pretty low altitudes.

I think the display was over the harbor, but they had to come over the ghetto to turn around.

Very cool.

 
Comment by polly
2013-02-20 15:53:14

There were several of the close formation teams that flew in that airshow. It was quite a big deal. The second and third days were the airshow and some other activities related to the 200th anniversary of the start of the War of 1812. The first day they did a few practice passes. I was in one of the performing groups along the waterfront and we got buzzed a few times (had to pause the show - you can’t sing over a low flying formation of jets).

I am impressed with the skill that kind of flying shows. As a person who has issues with parallel parking in most circumstances, I’m not sure how the heck they keep the formations that close at those speeds. Doesn’t mean it belongs in the military budget.

I’m pretty sure the use of it as a “recruiting tool” is more tradition than anything else. Kids can play video games that simulate doing it. You don’t have to bring out the actual machines for the kids to be excited about it. But I have also heard that a solid 3/4’s of recruiting is convincing the parents, who may or may not play the video games.

 
Comment by joe smith
2013-02-20 15:56:47

It was the Blue Angels and it was for the 200th anniversary of the Battle of 1812.

http://starspangled200.com/air-show

It was a pretty awesome show. There were a bunch of other flyovers as well.

 
 
Comment by michael
2013-02-20 11:29:47

Whenever a republican discusses eliminating waste, fraud and abuse within any social program he is ignored or ridiculed by the democrat as to how insignificant the cuts would be in relation to the overall deficit but the same democrat has no problem hollering about waste, fraud and abuse contained within the defense budget…even if it’s just $ 38 million.

A rational mind would strive to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse in all instances.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by Carl Morris
2013-02-20 12:04:33

A rational mind also understands low hanging fruit and diminishing returns.

 
Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-20 15:40:54

Remind us again who was in charge of the government when the economy failed anb who’s policies directly contributed to its failure.

 
Comment by michael
2013-02-20 15:56:25

the federal reserve?

 
 
 
Comment by scdave
2013-02-20 10:30:09

LOL Ben….

Comment by scdave
2013-02-20 10:34:14

The 0.1% have recovered rather well, thank you ??

In full spades around here…..

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
 
Comment by Avocado
2013-02-20 11:12:08

+1

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
Comment by ahansen
2013-02-20 13:01:12

Ditto, sc.

Snowing heavily here today= 100% cloud cover over restricted airspace= experimental warcraft test day! They and their fighter escorts have been rumbling through our skies all morning, apparently oblivious of the fact that hicks with night scopes are enjoying a private airshow.

Stealth bomber-type drones? Yikes.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
 
 
Comment by Sean
2013-02-20 08:18:39

And when these jobs disappear there will be a mass exodus back to your hometown. All of us (including me who moved here to DC for my wife’s job) will go packing. Good for me my dad has an 18 foot trailer I can borrow - The UHaul trucks will be rented out for months.

The amazing thing is people are blind to it. You’ll still hear the “it’s different here” line from the ignorant. I like this area but they really are ignorant from the rest of the country problems in terms of pain and suffering from job losses.

Comment by palmetto
2013-02-20 09:57:18

Excellent post, Sean.

 
Comment by scdave
2013-02-20 10:36:48

Thanks for the local perspective sean….

 
Comment by Avocado
2013-02-20 11:13:56

Just think of the yard sales!!!

Opportunity is always disguised as a problem.

 
Comment by Spook
2013-02-20 13:32:03

they really are ignorant from the rest of the country problems in terms of pain and suffering from job losses.
————————————————

Guilty as charged.

I lived in DC for so long I forgot you can be poor and white at the same time.

Comment by Sean
2013-02-20 14:07:53

I moved from Ohio, where we lived for a few years while my wife got her PhD. Nowadays when we visit (her parents) it’s a decimated shell of itself with plenty of closed down businesses and properties. It’s sad really, as there are a lot of good people who just want to work and live happily. When I hear people in DC panic I just have to shake my head. This place still has a ton of opportunity.

One thing people don’t discuss around here much, which would have a huge effect on housing, are whole department picking up and moving 20 or 30 miles away. Most office space around the DC area is leased, so you’ll see entire departments such as the FBI moving to PG County, or US Fish and Wildlife moving towards Leesburg or NOAA leaving Silver Spring. These jobs will still be here, with the departments paying MUCH less for their respective campuses, but leaving workers with a choice of a much worse commute (if that’s possible) or picking up and moving to a new community, or the most likely scenario: Old Government Workers flat out retiring. My wife got an email about planning for retirement (even though she isn’t close) and it said that 1/3 of all government workers will be eligible for retirement in 6 years. (Which I find true, since the last time I went to a function sponsored by her department we were by far the youngest people there. Wasn’t even close).

I’m rambling here, but to paraphrase another HBB member: “If you buy DC area real estate you’ll lose money…..a LOT of money”

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
Comment by ahansen
2013-02-21 02:14:23

Great line.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
 
 
Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-20 09:26:07

Like I said, when the going gets tough, the Galts start whining.

Comment by Neuromance
2013-02-20 10:11:12

Squeaky Galt gets the grease.

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-20 12:05:49

“contractors make up seventy percent of the Pentagon’s costs for delivering services”

That’s a lot of cash flowing into Galt Gulch.

http://m.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2013/01/11/federal-union-blasts-pentagon-budget-plan/

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
 
Comment by scdave
2013-02-20 10:37:51

LOL eco….Funny board today

 
Comment by AbsoluteBeginner
2013-02-20 11:35:24

‘Like I said, when the going gets tough, the Galts start whining.’

?

Comment by ahansen
2013-02-20 13:02:35

HAH!

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
 
 
Comment by Neuromance
2013-02-20 13:42:36

Starving the beast is a failed notion. Why? Because all politicians hate taxes and yet they all love spending money.

Conundrum: How then, to get spending money without raising taxes?

Answer: Borrow/print. Easy and good for politicians. Gets around Starve-the-beast attempts.

Starve-the-beast policies won’t work because the government will always simply turn to borrow/print. When borrow/print breaks, it results in inflation and wealth being stripped fixed income types and savers. But it helps debtors. The exact blast pattern isn’t clear, but one thing is: people will always choose tyranny over anarchy. And when borrow/print fails, and there’s social unrest, they will tends towards tyranny to maintain order. The opposite end result desired in starve-the-beast policies.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-20 15:43:58

No, the answer is “fees”.

 
 
 
Comment by goon squad
2013-02-20 07:42:01

This is what the recoveryless recovery looks like:

“The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline has jumped 45 cents in the past 31 days, according to AAA, the fastest run-up since 2005.

Retail gasoline prices have climbed for 33 days in a row. A month ago, a gallon of regular gasoline cost $3.30; on Tuesday it stood at $3.75 nationwide.”

Add in the 2% payroll tax increase, and keep pimping the lying liar Recovery® in an economy that is 70% consumer spending where the consumers don’t have any money.

http://m.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/gas-prices-are-on-a-mysterious-climb/2013/02/19/26298f84-7ade-11e2-82e8-61a46c2cde3d_story.html

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-20 08:05:24

USA Today - 2013 gasoline prices could hit record highs:

http://m.usatoday.com/article/news/1930681

Comment by measton
2013-02-20 09:31:02

Well the wife is driving a volt and will burn about 10-20 gallons of gas over the next 6 months. My electric car will be upgraded soon so I’ll burn no gas. Then we put up solar panels and tell big oil opec wall street and other terrorists to kiss our voltage.

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-20 09:42:18

kiss our voltage

An idealistic sentiment, but how many of the products you buy (and need to buy) are transported on trucks burning diesel?

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by scdave
2013-02-20 10:41:07

(and need to buy) are transported on trucks burning diesel ??

or jet fuel….Everything ??

 
Comment by measton
2013-02-20 11:38:58

No doubt fuel affects the whole economy, but the amount of fuel I consume with my meager consumption is dwarfed by what I consume commuting and heating my home. I plan on minimizing these costs as we live in a country of oligopolies that manipulate the market to extract wealth from me. I plan on locking in as much of my future energy costs as possible.

1. If we get inflation or speculators drive prices higher. I’ll save a ton of money.
2. If the FED looses and we get a deflationary spiral I’ll have back up energy for when the masses start stripping copper wire.

 
Comment by PeakHubris
2013-02-20 15:25:36

I am actually, for the first time in life, considering a hybrid. I’m tired of the oil speculators.

 
Comment by measton
2013-02-20 15:25:45

I’m always curious why those that scream that inflation is right around the corner are often the ones who bash energy saving technologies and alternative energy the most.

 
 
Comment by Avocado
2013-02-20 11:18:36

Good job! Even though you are doing your part, people will complain you have to move into a cave and eat local squirrel to really be off oil.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
 
Comment by scdave
2013-02-20 10:39:09

2013 gasoline prices could hit record highs ??

Along with a lot of other necessities….Stagflation…

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-20 11:41:24

Love the smell of stagflation in the morning!

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by rms
2013-02-20 23:57:08

“Love the smell of stagflation in the morning!”

FWIW, stagflation is an awful thing to live with as it doesn’t discriminate; it eats away at everyone.

 
 
 
 
Comment by whirlyite
Comment by scdave
2013-02-20 10:43:17

Thanks for the Houston post whirlyite…..

 
 
Comment by goon squad
2013-02-20 08:43:05

And the most disturbing article we’ve read today:

“Vegetable prices soared 39% — the biggest gain in almost one year — to drive up food costs.”

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/more-expensive-vegetables-push-up-ppi-2013-02-20?link=MW_latest_news

Fruits and vegetables are a substantial percentage of the squad household’s food expenses. We do not consume packaged, processed garbage made with High Fructose Death Syrup.

Comment by palmetto
2013-02-20 09:55:49

“Vegetable prices soared 39% — the biggest gain in almost one year — to drive up food costs.”

So much for the “guest” workers keeping the costs down, lmao.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-20 10:40:55

…and rising wages causing inflation.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
Comment by Mo Money
2013-02-20 11:24:48

“So much for the “guest” workers keeping the costs down, lmao.”

Had you been paying attention you would have noticed several backwater states made it impossible for their farmers to hire “guest” workers. Now food is rotting in the fields so white people can feel better about those lazy illegals not taking their jobs.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by palmetto
2013-02-20 11:58:19

“Now food is rotting in the fields”

Oh, stuff it. Had YOU been paying attention, you would have read the interesting saga of the anglo guy who went up to Washington state for apple picking season, where they were whining about apples rotting on the trees, and couldn’t get hired, even though he was willing to work for the standard wages.

Yeah, I’m looking for the link.

I don’t necessarily care if people hire guest workers, but for pity’s sake, don’t make the taxpayers house them and pay for their offspring and education.

The “food rotting in the fields” is a tired, mau-mau meme. Sometimes it’s supposed to rot in the fields (or on the trees or vines, etc.) due to farm subsidies. Don’t forget these jamokes are sometimes paid NOT to produce.

 
Comment by PeakHubris
2013-02-20 15:29:11

I remember seeing a lady on tv, decked out in dress slacks and jewelry, with long fingernails, complaining her orange pickers didn’t show up. My first question to her would have been “hey lady, why are you wasting time talking to the media when you could be picking your oranges?” Alas, she was above it. F**k her and her ilk.

 
 
 
Comment by goon squad
 
Comment by MiddleCoaster
2013-02-20 13:55:52

That reminds me it’s time to order seeds for the spring suburban yard gardening season. Who cares what the neighbors think, it IS possible to supply a fair portion of your own veggies on a 1/5 acre lot.

Comment by oxide
2013-02-20 14:51:41

The problem with small lots isn’t the plotch of dirt. It’s when you have buildings close enough together that the dirt plotch doesn’t get enough sunlight.

This year I’m growing veggies in pots on the deck because that has the most sunlight, and the rabbits aren’t really comfortable on the deck.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-02-20 15:23:10

Welcome Blog Vegetables.

 
 
 
 
 
Comment by goon squad
2013-02-20 07:52:11

Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%

“Applying stricter accounting standards for derivatives and off-balance-sheet assets would make the banks twice as big as they say they are — or about the size of the U.S. economy — according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

U.S. accounting rules allow banks to record a smaller portion of their derivatives than European peers and keep most mortgage-linked bonds off their books. That can underestimate the risks firms face and affect how much capital they need.

U.S. accounting rules for netting derivatives allow banks to erase about $4 trillion in assets, the data show. The lenders can remove from their books most mortgages they packages into securities, trimming an additional $3 trillion.”

http://mobile.bloomberg.com/news/2013-02-20/u-s-banks-bigger-than-gdp-as-accounting-rift-masks-risk.html

Comment by eight pieces of chicken
2013-02-20 08:31:13

The whole country is a gigantic accounting fraud.

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-20 09:44:15

FASB = F*ck America to Save the Banks

 
 
Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-20 10:42:17

…GOOD to be the Banksta!

 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-20 11:03:53

“…mortgage-linked bonds…”

Are these the ones the Fed’s QE-to-infinity purchases in $40 bn monthly installments?

 
 
Comment by palmetto
2013-02-20 09:29:35

I dunno, guys, but does it seem like to you that the gubmin is getting awful nervous all of a sudden? Get rid of those guns and label everyone a terrist. Spread as much propaganda AP, ASAP. Keep the lid on, ’cause it is about to BLOW!

“This sucker’s going down”. GWB.

Comment by goon squad
2013-02-20 09:47:15

Paranoid much?

Again, thanks to HBB poster Spook for sharing this link:

http://westernrifleshooters.wordpress.com/

Comment by palmetto
2013-02-20 11:08:59

“Paranoid much?”

Just becuz yer paranoid, doesn’t mean they aren’t out to git ya!

 
 
Comment by snowgirl
2013-02-20 12:11:33

See my earlier comment above. I think the fear escalation is just about getting us to beg them to take care of us even if it does mean giving up our rights. I’m sure their timetable is based on the length of time they perceive they can keep the top card on the tremoring Ponzi from falling over.

 
 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-20 11:22:44

The gold bug chatter is becoming very entertaining!

 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-20 11:28:20

FT Global Markets @FTGlobalMarkets

Gold has delivered a “death cross”. The price of the yellow metal has seen the 50-day moving average fall below the 200-day moving average
8:35 AM - 20 Feb 13

Comment by PeakHubris
2013-02-20 15:41:57

Notice the instantaneous $20 per ounce price spike right at the close? Should be investigated.

Comment by PeakHubris
2013-02-20 16:04:07

Hmmm. Now it is not showing on the Marketwatch ticker. Weird.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
 
 
Comment by vinceinwaukesha
2013-02-20 12:37:35

Yeah tell me about it, I just checked and my lifetime dollar cost average for gold is exactly $566.90/oz which is coincidentally now almost exactly one thousand bucks per oz less than what a price collapse supposedly looks like. Another thousand bucks/oz lower and I’ll be in the red on a total lifetime basis.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-20 12:57:57

Like in housing, it pays to have bought early in the gold market…

 
Comment by Avocado
2013-02-20 13:27:07

Ever think of taking half of those profits, then let it run with the “house’s” money?

gold will drop again, not if, but when.

 
Comment by Bill in Los Angeles
2013-02-20 21:38:44

Gold is becoming “out of favor” fast. This is when it’s starting to become more and more attractive!

Keep falling the next two weeks! I want to buy more!

 
 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-20 13:01:29

All parabolic bubble price blowouts end in tears.

P.S. I enjoy Polya Lesova’s level-headed commentary.

Markets
Why Is Gold Slumping Again?

The price of gold, which touched $1,750 an ounce in December, is now around $1,600 - and falling. Polya Lesova joins Markets Hub. Photo: AP.

2/20/2013 10:52:52 AM3:21

 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-20 13:24:46

What could be worse for the gold price than an end to quantitative easing?

Stock and bond prices are due for a hammering as well. The selloff is already underway on the mere mention that the Fed next month plans to discuss ending its quantitative easing program at some point in the indefinite future.

Only housing prices will stay high, thanks to myriad interventions in place to support them.

New York Markets Close in: 0:41:59

Fed plans March debate on the future of ‘QE’: minutes
Meeting minutes show Fed policy makers are set to consider major changes to bond-buying program.
• Pimco’s Gross: ‘QE’ could be at risk later in 2013 | Text from minutes of Fed’s January meeting
• Goldman: Without ‘QE,’ 10-year Treasury would yield 3% | No sign of rising inflation in U.S. economy
• U.S. stocks slide in wake of Fed minutes; B. of A. weighs on Dow

 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-20 22:14:02

BiLA — your buying opportunity seems to be steadily improving!

I’m starting to wonder if this is a temporary correction or the bursting of a historic bubble in gold prices. I guess time will tell?

Feb. 21, 2013, 12:01 a.m. EST
Gold futures plunging further
By Sarah Turner, MarketWatch

SYDNEY (MarketWatch) — Gold futures took another tumble in Asia on Thursday, dropping almost $20 an ounce as investors moved out of the precious metal.

Comex gold for delivery in April (GCJ3 -1.17%) fell $19 in electronic trade to hit $1,559.00 an ounce.

In regular trading on Wednesday, gold skidded $26.20, or 1.6%, to settle at $1,578 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, marking its fifth straight session of losses. Read: Gold sinks below $1,600 amid ‘death cross’ talk

“Bullion’s slide continued amidst heavy macro-hedge-fund liquidation in early trading ahead of the release of Federal Open Market Committee meeting minutes,” said HSBC metal analysts, discussing Wednesday’s losses in New York.

The regular Comex session for gold closed before the release of the Federal Reserve minutes, which prompted another drop in the gold price to $1,570 an ounce on Globex.

The Federal Reserve meeting minutes stoked concerns that policy makers could pull back on their massive quantitative-easing program, as the U.S. central bank said that it would review the program in March. Read: Fed, uneasy over ‘QE,’ plans bond-buy debate

The Fed’s quantitative easing has supported gold due to worries that it may spur inflation. As a result, any indication that the Fed may scale back or end bond buying soon pressures gold prices. Gold is traditionally seen as a hedge against inflation.

The price of gold, which touched $1,750 an ounce in December, is now around $1,600 - and falling.

A pullback in quantitative easing can be seen as a reaction to an improving economy, and the HSBC analysts said the recent “ongoing liquidation” in gold prices “seems to be in response to an easing of financial-market anxieties and equity-market strength.”

“Gold also was undermined by a drop in the 50-day moving average below the 200-day moving average, which encouraged technical selling,” the analysts said, referring to a phenomenon sometimes known as a “death cross” and considered a bearish signal.

Still, Tyche Group associate director Martin Hennecke said that he believes gold’s recent losses present a buying opportunity.

He said that last weekend’s Group of 20 statement, in which countries pledged not to engage in competitive devaluation of their currencies, as well as the Fed minutes and gold selling in the last quarter of 2012 by notable investors, have spooked the markets lately.

Hennecke said, however, that the debt position of many countries remains as weak as ever, and he believes that they will continue to print money to devalue their currencies in order to control debt.

“They have no choice but to print,” he said. “I think there will be upside [for gold] as people come to realize that the crisis isn’t over.”

 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-20 22:32:49

The Fed’s gold is good — now sell it!
February 19, 2013, 12:43 p.m.

So there really is gold in them thar Federal Reserve banks.

Seems the Treasury Department conducted its first-ever audit of U.S. gold on deposit at Federal Reserve banks in New York and elsewhere last year, and lo and behold, the auditors, well, struck gold. Literally.

As my colleague Andrew Tangel reported:

As part of the audit, the Treasury tested a sample of the government’s 34,021 gold bars in the New York Fed’s vault five stories below Manhattan’s financial district, according to the inspector general’s office. Auditors drilled tiny holes into the bars to remove samples that were tested for fineness in a process called assaying.

In three of the 367 tests, the gold was more pure than Treasury records indicated, according to the Treasury’s inspector general.

Which is good news for most of us — but bad news for former GOP presidential contender and Texas congressman Ron Paul, who had questioned whether the government really had the gold it said it did. (Space does not permit me to delve into some of the wilder notions about our gold holdings hatched by those conspiracy types who live amongst us.)

So the U.S. is golden again, despite our Marxist/commie president’s best efforts to loot the Treasury, bankrupt the country and impose a dictatorship, starting with taking away everyone’s guns.

Oops, sorry, that was me channeling those conspiracy types (see above).

Back in the real world, it’s a good thing that Goldfinger hasn’t made off with our gold. But I’ve got to ask: Why should I care? What’s so special about gold, and does it really matter that the government has so much of it?

 
 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-20 11:29:52

All developments in housing starts are welcome for the home building sector.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-20 11:31:05

Feb. 20, 2013, 12:15 p.m. EST
Housing starts slump as apartment building slows
By Ruth Mantell, MarketWatch

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Construction on new U.S. homes fell sharply in January as apartment building slowed, according to data released Wednesday that nonetheless contained signs of longer-term growth.

The U.S. Department of Commerce reported that construction on new U.S. homes fell 8.5% in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 890,000.

Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected January’s starts to decline to a rate of 914,000 from an original December estimate of 954,000, on lower apartment construction. See economic calendar.

On balance the moderation in starts activity can be seen as a welcome development for this sector as it will bring the level of construction activity closer to a pace that is more sustainable and consistent with the current tone in the economic recovery,” according to Millan Mulraine, a macro strategist at TD Securities.

 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-20 11:41:11

Financial Times
February 20, 2013 2:43 pm
US new home starts hit four-year high
By Anjli Raval in New York

US builders broke ground on the most new houses in four years in January, while more permits were issued, pointing to continued momentum in the housing sector recovery.

Starts on single-family homes rose to 613,000 last month – the most since July 2008 – up 0.8 per cent from 608,000 in December, according to the commerce department.

Building permits, a sign of future demand, rose 1.8 per cent in January to 925,000 – the highest level since June 2008.

An improving jobs market, record-low interest rates and the bottoming out of home prices have spurred housing demand. Economists say a healthier property sector will support consumption and provide one of the most fundamental boosts to the US economy since the end of the recession.

Overall, new home construction – which includes apartment blocks – fell 8.5 per cent in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 890,000 from an upwardly revised 973,000 the month before.

“The drop in the headline starts number is eye-catching, but it is not the real story here. Starts were hugely elevated in December – and have been revised up still further in this report . . . likely because of the much warmer than usual early winter weather. A correction in January was always in the cards,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. “All the January drop was in the wildly erratic multi-family [apartment] component.”

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-20 12:35:31

Er….. :lol:

The Ministry of Truth is slipping.

 
Comment by Blue Skye
2013-02-20 21:14:21

“US new home starts hit four-year high…”

Housing starts are still at pre 1960 levels. What an accomplishment! Breaking a four year record!

Yet we hear of shortages and pent up demand.

 
 
 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-20 11:34:17

Feb. 20, 2013, 1:28 p.m. EST
5 dangers set to trip a 100-year bear market
By Paul B. Farrell, MarketWatch

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (MarketWatch) — He’s known for his prediction of a “100-year bear market. “One thing I’ve repeated consistently,” Robert Prechter, author of “At The Crest of the Wave” and “The New Science of Socionomics,” told me years ago, “is that the great bear market will take the DJIA at least below 1,000 and likely to below 400. Precedents for this severe a decline are the English stock prices in 1720-1722 and American stock prices in 1929-1932.”

Yes, Prechter’s a permabear, but his success as a forecaster dates back to 1978 when he predicted a “raging bull market of the 1980s.” Nobody believed him back then either. Later he was called “Guru of the Decade” by the Financial News Network. The title “Dr. Boom” would have fit too.

But today Prechter is remembered more for his later doomsday predictions. No wonder it’s hard to believe any updates after all these years, especially with the DJIA closing in on its all-time record of 14,164 set in October 2007 before the crash. Nor with CNBC reporting that “after a 13% gain for the S&P in 2012, strategists remain bullish on equities.”

Comment by WT Economist
2013-02-20 12:55:42

“Precedents for this severe a decline are the English stock prices in 1720-1722 and American stock prices in 1929-1932.”

And those lasted just 22 and 3 years, respectively.

 
 
Comment by Dave of the North
2013-02-20 13:11:11

File under Greater Fool, Canadian division. Woman in Toronto (now moved to BC) bought a house in Saint John NB without ever coming here - just looking at pictures on the Internet. She paid $ 97 K for a slum building 4 years ago, now after bad tenants, bad poroperty management decision, copper wiring theft, the city has condemned the building. She has it for sale for $ 20 K

“She says she thought she had an ideal situation when the agent offered to manage her Saint John income property without her having to come to the city. Over the next four years, however, that relationship soured.”

Linky next post

Comment by Dave of the North
2013-02-20 13:13:29

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/story/2013/02/20/nb-absentee-landlord-caution.html

“”He just seemed like a really, really nice guy, the kind who would want to help you out for nothing,” said Michalski, declining to name the real estate agent, who is no longer licensed.”

You know it’s bad when the agent can’t hold on to his license…

 
Comment by Arizona Slim
2013-02-20 13:19:28

I love St. John! Great city.

 
Comment by frankie
2013-02-20 13:37:51

Is she interested in some Purbolivian Tin Mine shares I’m being forced to sell, due to a looming tax bill; going cheap ;)

 
 
Comment by Avocado
2013-02-20 13:23:42

Pentagon informs Congress of plans to furlough 800K civilians
By Jeremy Herb - 02/20/13 03:00 PM ET

The Pentagon notified Congress on Wednesday it will be furloughing its civilian workforce of 800,000 employees if sequestration goes into effect March 1.

___

The Mexican standoff continues.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-20 15:48:29

Soldiers may actually have to do thier own cooking, cleaning, repairing and paperwork again?

OH NOS!!!!

 
 
Comment by frankie
2013-02-20 13:30:20

Egypt, the world’s largest wheat importer, is struggling to buy the staple in the international market because of the impact of a currency crisis, creating a fresh challenge to the government of Mohamed Morsi, the Islamist president.

Grain traders shipping wheat to Egypt said Cairo had cut back on its overseas purchases as the Egyptian pound plunged against the US dollar. The slowdown has depleted the country’s grain stocks to unusually low levels, traders added.

High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/828043ca-7608-11e2-8eb6-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz2LTP2dXBu

Hungry people is never a good thing.

 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-20 13:33:37

Barn door left open.
All of the horses have fled.
Hurry, shut the door!

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-20 13:35:47

Financial Times
Last updated: February 20, 2013 7:33 pm
Fed backs away from asset buying
By Robin Harding in Washington and Claire Jones in London

The US Federal Reserve is backing away from open-ended asset purchases as officials grow nervous about the dangers of a bigger balance sheet.

According to the minutes of its January meeting released on Wednesday, “many” officials are concerned about the costs and risks of further asset purchases, as the Fed buys securities at a pace of $85bn a month.

The minutes suggest that QE3 – as the Fed’s third round of quantitative easing is known – could end earlier than previously thought and is no longer a truly open-ended programme. The Fed’s balance sheet has reached $3,078bn and could exceed four trillion dollars if QE3 continues for the rest of the year.

Launching QE3 last September, the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee said it would keep buying assets until there was substantial improvement in the labour market. The goal of asset purchases is to boost the economy by driving down long-term interest rates.

But according to the minutes, “a number of participants stated that an ongoing evaluation of the efficacy, costs, and risks of asset purchases might well lead the committee to taper or end its purchases before it judged that a substantial improvement in the outlook for the labour market had occurred”.

That could reduce the support that QE3 provides to the economy because markets can no longer be certain that the Fed will keep buying assets until the labour market recovers.

The Fed minutes hit the US bond markets, with most Treasury prices briefly paring gains or turning lower after the release of the document. The US dollar rose broadly, with the trade-weighted dollar index climbing 0.4 per cent as the euro fell below the $1.33 mark.

In the UK, by contrast, it emerged on Wednesday that the governor of the Bank of England had called for more quantitative easing at its February meeting, pushing sterling to its lowest level against the dollar since the summer.

The Fed minutes show that the duration of QE3 remains hotly disputed on the FOMC, with “several” other participants sticking to open-ended purchases and warning that stopping too early could damage the economy.

But the balance appears to have shifted since December, when the FOMC was evenly split on whether to keep buying assets until the end of the year or stop earlier. In FOMC terms, “a number” is more than “several”.

The FOMC decided not to change its January statement on the costs and benefits of QE3 pending a review of asset purchases at its March meeting.

Several participants said the FOMC should be ready to slow down the pace of asset purchases. Some dovish officials raised the idea that the Fed could hold its portfolio of assets for longer instead of making its balance sheet bigger.

The risks that are starting to worry Fed officials include difficulties when they eventually come to sell assets, undermining financial stability, the functioning of financial markets and the possibility of capital losses when interest rates rise.

Comment by dude
2013-02-20 14:06:48

Head fake, IMHO.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-20 14:16:24

Maybe the Fed wanted to create a good entry point for itself to load up on The Precious™?

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by dude
2013-02-20 18:02:03

Not likely, unless it is for the personal accounts of FOMC members and their cronies.

 
 
Comment by eight pieces of chicken
2013-02-20 15:12:11

Agree. Soon you will hear whispers that Fed is ready to “whatever” it takes…wink ..wink.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-20 16:07:19

You have to at least credit the Fed with giving the gold bug brigade a clear indication on the source of their investment gains.

 
 
 
 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-20 13:42:38

So long as QE3 liquidity mainly flows into wealth gains of the 0.1% who own most corporate stocks and bonds, where is the problem?

February 20, 2013, 2:43 p.m. ET
U.S. Stocks Hold Declines After FOMC Minutes
By Chris Dieterich

NEW YORK–Stocks held shallow losses after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s most recent policy-setting meeting showed rising unease about its recent stimulus efforts.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 21 points, or 0.2%, to 14915 in afternoon trading. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index shed eight points, or 0.5%, to 1523, stepping back from its highest closing level since October 2007, hit Tuesday. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 23 points, or 0.7%, to 3191.

Materials stocks on the S&P 500, such as Alcoa, fell most sharply. Caterpillar was among the worst-performing stock on the Dow, after the heavy-machinery maker’s rolling three-month sales numbers in January fell 4% from the month earlier, and were down 11% from a year ago. Shares fell 1.6%

In other corporate news, Apple fell 1.5% after Foxconn Technology Group, which assembles consumer electronics for a broad range of customers including Apple, said it was freezing hiring of assembly-line workers in China.

Shares of Office Depot and OfficeMax each dropped, cutting in to strong gains for each on Tuesday. Office Depot said Wednesday it agreed to buy OfficeMax in an all-stock deal that values the rival office-supplies retailer at roughly $1.19 billion. Under the companies’ definitive agreement, Office Depot will issue 2.69 new shares for each OfficeMax share outstanding.

Minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee’s Jan. 29-30 policy meeting showed that officials worried the central bank’s easy-money policies could lead to instability in financial markets and might be hard to pull back in the future. Fed officials at the January meeting deemed the larger economic picture still troubling and decided to keep purchasing $85 billion a month of mortgage-backed and Treasury securities, programs aimed at boosting investment and hiring.

My sense is that as long as the Fed continues to stay the course, the markets are going to continue to feel as though as there is a bid underneath it,” said Paul Nolte, managing director at Dearborn Partners.

On the economic front, new residential construction dropped more than expected in January from the month earlier, although December’s construction figure was revised upward, the Commerce Department said. Meanwhile, the number of new building permits rose last month to the highest level since June 2008.

“It still looks like we’re in the early innings of a [housing] recovery,” said Terry Sandven, chief equities strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-20 14:25:18

More bad news for Mr Market lies dead ahead. Kudos to the HBB’s financial analysis team for front-running this story.

Wall St. jittery ahead of Wal-Mart results on Thursday

February 20, 2013, 4:11 PM

So far this year, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT +0.65%) shares inched up about 1.5%, trailing the performance of the S&P 500, the Dow, the index’s other retail member Home Depot Inc. and rivals including Target Corp. and Costco Wholesale Corp.

Ahead of the company’s fourth-quarter earnings release on Thursday morning, Wall Street is feeling jittery about how factors including the increase in payroll tax, the delay in tax refunds and rising gasoline prices may hurt the spending patterns of the company’s bread-and-butter, low-income customers.

The 2% increase in the Social Security payroll tax, the result of the end of a tax break, will reduce the average household’s disposable income by $1,300 this year, or $54 per paycheck, Citigroup analyst Deborah Weinswig said in a report on Monday, adding that would total $110 billion on an annual basis, or 0.7% of GDP.

“The low-end consumer is facing significant headwinds,” she said. She added federal tax refunds paid to consumers are down 21%, or $13.8 billion, through Feb. 13, because of the government’s decision to not allow consumers to file their tax returns until Jan. 30.

“We are negatively biased on (Wal-Mart) shares heading into” the fourth-quarter release, said Morgan Stanley analyst Mark Wiltamuth. “While we think that Walmart posted a strong holiday, we believe that (fiscal 2014) consensus estimates will fall post earnings.”

 
 
 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-20 14:11:21

If you want a break from ongoing reports of looming financial Armageddon, I recommend LDS girlfriend turned killer porn, freely available on the internet:

Jodi Arias Said Travis Alexander Had ‘Bill Clinton’ View of S3x
By COLLEEN CURRY
Feb. 6, 2013

Accused murderer Jodi Arias testified today that her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander, had a “Bill Clinton view of s3x” because Alexander was eager for #### and **** s3x to get around Mormon church rules against premarital s3x.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-02-20 15:51:16

That’s why she had to hit, stab and shoot him, what was it? 27 times?

It was the only to be sure he would never watch that nasty old porn again!

(she’s going to fry)

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-20 16:04:53

Read the story. He wasn’t watching porn — they were making it.

If she has evidence to support at least a few of her many wild allegations, I don’t think the case is as cut-and-dried as it appears on the surface. That said, I would never overestimate the ability of the average jury member to weigh evidence.

Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned,
Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.

– William Congreve

 
 
 
Comment by Housing Analyst
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-20 15:00:10

The great thing about selling these as REOs instead of putting them on the MLS is that the lender has a huge informational advantage in selling an REO one-on-one.

Comment by Avocado
2013-02-20 15:18:55

My point: there is a big difference between reality and cyber-space (sometimes).

SD is a crazy market, just try to find a house under $400k with out 10 offers on it.

 
 
Comment by Avocado
2013-02-20 15:10:11

http://sandiegocastles.com/sandiegohomeblog/partying-like-its-2003-multiple-offers-aargh/

yet, you cant run out and buy a cheap house in SD.

ps. i hate realturds

 
 
Comment by CRATER!!!!
2013-02-20 15:19:54

Craterton USA. It’s your town.

Comment by hazard
2013-02-20 16:28:41

8618 Crater Terrace, Lake Park FL - Trulia
http://www.trulia.com/property/3107358090-8618-Crater-Ter-Lake-Park-FL-33403 - 205k - Cached - Similar pages

 
Comment by hazard
2013-02-20 17:15:12

“Craterton USA. It’s your town.”

Well, I was born in a Crater town
And I live in a Crater town
Prob’ly die in a Crater town
Oh, those small communities

All my friends are so Crater town
My parents live in the same Crater town
My job is so Crater town
Provides little opportunity

Educated in a Crater town
Taught the fear of Jesus in a Crater town
Used to daydream in that Crater town
Another boring romantic that’s me

But I’ve seen it all in a Crater town
Had myself a ball in a Crater town
Married an L.A. doll and brought her to this Crater town
Now she’s Crater town just like me

No, I cannot forget where it is that I come from
I cannot forget the people who love me
Yeah, I can be myself here in this Crater town
And people let me be just what I want to be

Got nothing against a big town
Still hayseed enough to say
Look who’s in the big town
But my bed is in a Crater town
Oh, and that’s good enough for me

Well, I was born in a Crater town
And I can breathe in a Crater town
Gonna die in this Crater town
And that’s prob’ly where they’ll bury me

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-02-20 17:25:36

BRAVO JETHRO!!!

Comment by hazard
2013-02-20 18:06:39

I only changed one “small” word.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-02-20 18:50:19

Simplicity is the key.

 
 
 
 
 
Comment by hazard
2013-02-20 16:31:02

It’s a neighborly day in this beauty wood,
A lawn mowing squatter would spruce up the hood.
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?…

 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-20 16:37:17

In hard-hit Spain, bartering becomes means of getting by
Meritxell Mir, Special for USA TODAY
6:08p.m. EST February 20, 2013

Story Highlights
Some Spaniards are bartering their way through the recession
‘Sharing economy’ has grown since economic crisis hit
Spain’s unemployment rate is 26%; 55% among young workers

BARCELONA — With two small children and no income for the past two years, Antonio Delgado, 44, says things were so bad he had considered taking his life.

Then a few months ago, Delgado found out about a group that rents small parcels of farmland cheap near his town of La Rinconada in southern Spain. Now he’ s bringing home boxes of tomatoes, onions, peppers, lettuce, zucchinis and pumpkins. But he is not selling them.

Delgado and others are bartering, or trading, their way through a recession that has lasted years and left more than a quarter of the workforce unemployed. Tens of thousands of households have no wage earners, but they have skills and time on their hands to do work that can be traded for things they need but have no money to buy.

“I had no clue about agriculture,” Delgado said. “But this has changed my life.”

 
Comment by CRATER!!!!
2013-02-20 17:47:51

Well we’re living here in CraterTown
And housing prices they are going down
In the suburbs they’re running out of time,
Filling out forms
Standing in line
And we’re living here in CraterTown.

CRATERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!>/i>

Comment by hazard
2013-02-20 18:15:05

Is that Billy Joel’s Allentown? :)

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-02-20 18:57:31

It’s California CRATERTOWN! lmao

 
 
 
Comment by hazard
2013-02-20 17:50:06

Boomtown, Rats, Don’t, Like, Mondays, lyric - YouTube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2I84-A9duY - 222k

I don’t like Mondays- school murder by Brenda Ann Spencer

When I was a teenager Sir Bob Geldolf and his band the “Boomtown Rats” were No 1 in the charts for four weeks during the summer of 1979. The title of the song was, “I don’t like Mondays” in which the main character said they were going to “shoot the whole day down”. The song was a success and I guess many people of may age could quite happily sing along as near word perfect as they were over thirty years ago.

However the song was based on a true real life story of Brenda Ann Spencer who really didn’t like Mondays.

Brenda Spencer was born on the 3rd of April 1962 and at Christmas 1978 her father Wallace gave her a shot gun. For those of us who live in towns and cities this seems a totally off the wall present to give to a 16 year old child.

Brenda Spencer lived opposite a school, the Grover Cleveland Elementary school in San Diego. Sitting comfortably in her own home Brenda Spencer started to fire at people as they came to the school. The first target was the headmaster Burton Wragg as he bravely tried to shield the children from her bullets. The Head Custodian Mike Suchar also died as he tried to help Mr Wragg protect the children.. These brave men were the only people to die but Brenda also managed to injure 8 children and one policeman who had come to investigate and help.

Police soon realised where the shots were coming from and surrounded the Spencer House laying seige for about six hours before Brenda finally gave herself up.

The bizarre nature of the shootings started to emerge when Brenda gave herself up to the police.

When asked how she selected people to be shot she answered that she aimed for red and blue jackets. When asked why she had shot the people that day she made her soon to be famous reply ” I don’t like Mondays” she added that the shooting had livened up the day and it was a lot of fun undertaken for no reason. Brenda Spencer likened the children to “shooting ducks in the pond” adding that the children looked lile a herd of cows standing around which made them “easy pickings”.

Brenda Spencer pleaded guilty to two counts of murder and assault with a deadly weapon and was sentenced to 25 years to life imprisonment.

This sentence meant that Spencer had to apply to the parole board to be released. An attempt for parole in 2005 was denied. At the parole hearing Spencer claimed that at the time of the incident she had been high on drugs and tht she had been sexually abused by her father since her teenage years. This was the first time that she had ever mentioned this.

Grover Cleveland Elementary school was closed in 1983 as it had too few pupils

http://case1worker.hubpages.com/hub/I-dont-like-Mondays-murder-by-Brenda-Ann-Spencer - 42k -

 
Comment by cactus
2013-02-20 18:21:27

Hi Inch by inch

“Redid brick patio made it bigger and level again. ”

Cactus
Would you like to share your brick guy’s name? Ready to do a front walkway to the front door.

I did it myself I am very slow though. it was bricks on sand. You may want bricks on cement ? I can send you a picture I sent everyone else at work pictures ;-)

I don’t know any good contractors except one young carpenter guy

most of them are too expensive and or just lame brains.

You got a roof guy ? I have a small leak over garage and I think I’m too heavy and will bust tiles although I did see used tiles at “habitat”

 
Comment by Ben Jones
2013-02-20 19:30:31

‘China’s government bonds fell after the central bank drained funds from the financial system for the first time in eight months. The People’s Bank of China conducted 30 billion yuan ($4.8 billion) of 28-day repurchase agreements on Tuesday and didn’t offer any reverse contracts that add cash to the money market, according to a statement. “The central bank is probably worried that there is too much money in the banking system,” said Wang Huane, a senior trader at Qilu Bank Co in Jinan, the capital of Shandong province.’

http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90778/8136160.html

Comment by hazard
2013-02-20 19:54:35

China Stocks Drop Most in Five Weeks on Property Concerns

By Weiyi Lim on February 19, 2013

China’s stocks fell the most in five weeks after valuations for the benchmark index climbed to the highest level in 17 months and on concern the government may introduce measures to curb property prices in March.

China Vanke Co. and Poly Real Estate Group Co. slumped more than 4 percent, sending a gauge of developers to its biggest loss in six months after China Business News said the government may impose real-estate curbs around the time of an annual legislative meeting. Anhui Conch Cement Co. slid the most since September 2011 after the government forecast slowing cement output growth. SAIC Motor Corp. dropped 4.5 percent, leading losses for consumer companies reliant on economic growth.

“There’s been speculation that there will be more property tightening as home prices have not fallen,” Zhang Lei, an analyst with Minsheng Securities Co., said by phone from Beijing. “This talk is still making the rounds and there are expectations more measures will be announced. Stocks are also down after rallying a lot.”

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-02-18/china-s-stock-index-futures-fall-signaling-decline-for-index - 68k -

 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-20 21:52:37

Aside from central banks pumping money in or taking money out of the financial system, does anything else determine asset prices these days?

 
 
Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-02-20 19:30:37

Joe Trelane: I want to ride my bicycle!…. right after I play my harpsichord!

 
Comment by hazard
2013-02-20 19:36:40

This is just all fuqed up. Rent for a two-bedroom unit was $898 in 2005 and is $1,183 now. Investors are capitalizing on the real estate crash by purchasing apartments, condominiums and houses to rent to people at inflated prices while TPTB allow tons of inventory to sit either empty or with the chosen non payers living rent free while others have to pay 1/2 their income to keep a roof over their heads.

They need to do now what they needed to do in 2007, let it crash.

Posted: 4:42 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013

Two apartments sell for combined $110 million

By Kimberly Miller

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Two Palm Beach County apartment complexes sold to new owners this month with a combined purchase price of nearly $110 million, evidence of a continued demand for rental units in an evolving real estate market.

In Delray Beach, Spring Harbor at the Landings was sold Friday to a California-based company for $69.1 million, according to a deed filed with the Palm Beach County Clerk of Courts. The buyer of the complex south of Linton Blvd. and near South Congress Ave. is Fairfield Spring Harbor, LLC, a subsidiary of Fairfield Residential Company in San Diego.

The Stonybrook Apartments west of Boynton Beach sold for $40.1 million Feb. 6 to a subsidiary of the South Carolina-based company Greystar, according to a deed filed Friday.

A Greystar representative said in a statement Wednesday that the company has plans to buy three additional apartment communities in South Florida before the end of March. The Stonybrook purchase was part of a $1.5 billion portfolio acquisition from Equity Residential.

Both Greystar and Fairfield already have several properties in South Florida.

“The hottest commodity on the street right now is multi-family rentals,” said Peter Zalewski, a principal with the Miami-based Condo Vultures real estate firm.

Zalewski said investors are capitalizing on the real estate crash by purchasing apartments and condominiums to rent to people who lost a home to a short sale or foreclosure and can’t turn around and buy right away. Another market of renters are people who can’t find a home they like because of the lack of inventory, or those who are having a hard time getting a loan because of tighter lending standards.

The Greystar statement said the company believes South Florida has strong growth potential, but “barriers” to new multifamily construction ups the value of established apartments and condominiums.

Palm Beach County rental rates have been on the rise. In 2005, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said fair market rent for a two-bedroom unit in Palm Beach County was $898. The most recent calculation for a two-bedroom was $1,183.

 
Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-02-20 19:39:53

Gee wiz…… the new Angies List commercial shows endorsers who work for… you guessed it…. mortgage companies.

Friggin’ housing-debt junkies everywhere.

Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2013-02-20 23:07:28

Yep. Kinda like how every realtor conveniently has a mortgage rep to refer you to, to “help” you.

 
 
Comment by AnnGogh
2013-02-20 19:44:02

Your Next Healthcare Advisor Might Be Your Tax Guy
Takepart.com – 5 hrs ago
Email
Share7Tweet90
Print
With April 15 (Tax Day) less than two months away, it’s no surprise that H&R Block, the largest tax services firm in the world, is already busy processing tons of 1040 forms. What is unexpected, though, is that they’re advising their customers on health insurance as well as taxes.
This year, if you come to H&R Block for tax prep, you’ll also get a free, personalized review on what your insurance costs are likely to be, and what subsidies you might qualify for under the Affordable Care Act, which really kicks in for most people in January 2014.
Why Panic and Greed Are Driving Up Your Health Insurance Costs
“We discovered that three out of four taxpayers don’t know what it takes to become eligible for health insurance under the new law,” said Kathy Pickering, executive director of The Tax Institute at H&R Block, referring to a survey the company did that also found that 44 percent of respondents ages 18 to 34 didn’t know about the possible tax penalty if they didn’t sign up for health insurance with an employer or a state health insurance exchange. (Sign-up for insurance under the exchanges begins October 1, 2013.)
Bad News: Obamacare Is Going to Make the Doctor Shortage Worse
Tax returns aren’t as far removed from health insurance as you might think. While it’s not necessary to file a tax return to enroll in a qualified healthcare plan, according to the tax preparer, people who do file a return will find it’ll be used by state exchanges to verify your household income and family size to determine eligibility for government-sponsored plans, the premium tax credit (a tax refund to help offset health insurance costs for some individuals and families), and subsidies. In other words, having a tax return handy this fall may make it easier and faster to figure out if you’re eligible for financial help in paying for your insurance. People who don’t file a return may be asked to submit documents to help determine eligibility and costs.
So far, no other tax preparation firms have announced plans to help their clients with health insurance questions. H&R Block has launched a website that anyone can use to see some family and individual scenarios for healthcare and penalty costs. The site also has a good FAQ section that explains certain parts of the new healthcare law, such as “Will there be changes in my taxes because of health care reform?” (Yes, but not for everyone.)
A Quickie Guide to Obamacare: Four Big Changes You Need to Understand
While H&R Block customers who opt for the health insurance review may feel a little more at ease about the coming new world of health insurance, you won’t be missing out if you’re not getting your taxes done there. Beginning July 1, 2013, all states will have call-in centers set up to answer questions about health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, as well as “navigators” who can provide specific information based on individual or family circumstances, says a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Each state exchange will make specific decisions about how the navigators operate, for example, call-in hours, and, in some cases, probably in-person appointments. Sign up at Healthcare.gov to get health insurance updates from your state exchange by email or text message.
And you can also expect more companies and nonprofits to start offering counseling on health insurance in the months ahead. “We’re taking a lot of calls from people who are concerned about being able to afford coverage in 2014,” says Keith Mendonsa, a consumer specialist at the online health insurance company ehealthinsurance.com. “Most of them don’t understand how the subsidies will work and what they’ll be required to pay for their coverage. There’s a lot of room for consumer education on the issue this year.”
Have Cancer But No Insurance? No Problem — You Can Pay with Your Life
Michael Hsiung of Los Angeles says he “kept hearing about new subsidies for people who can’t afford health insurance and wondered if I’d be one of them…but I had already gone so long without health insurance I didn’t want to keep waiting,” he explains. “So I bought a plan for $105 and will wait to see what happens with the Affordable Care Act.” Hsiung’s plan is a month-to-month one, based on guidance from the sales person he worked with at ehealthinsurance.com, who pointed out that he may qualify for a lower-cost option once the health insurance exchange in California opens for business.
Are you afraid of what health insurance might cost you starting in 2014? Have you spoken to a tax preparer or accountant or do you plan to?

 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-20 22:29:43

Bill Clinton’s economic legacy: Boom or collapse?
President Obama, President Clinton

Former President Clinton speaks to reporters during a news conference with President Obama in the White House Briefing Room in Washington. (Bill Auth / Getty Images / December 10, 2012)

By Doyle McManus

February 18, 2013, 6:45 a.m.

In my Sunday column, I wrote that President Obama, with his permanent campaign promoting the poll-tested proposals in his State of the Union address, was beginning to resemble Bill Clinton.

That provoked some angry email from readers who thought I was being too easy on the president — President Clinton, that is.

“Clinton left office with a solid list of accomplishments, high popularity and a healthy economy,” I wrote. Several readers asked if I had forgotten the collapse of the “dot-com bubble” in 2000 and the recession that followed in 2001.

Clinton left behind a collapsing economy — a recession. Period,” wrote one reader from Los Angeles. “The other thing that Clinton left behind was the housing bubble and the makings of the subprime crisis which led to the great recession.

 
Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-20 22:34:53

If the FOMC merely making a plan to discuss the end of QE led to market carnage, just imagine how ugly things will get when the Fed actually unwinds their balance sheet!

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-02-20 22:38:35

Feb. 20, 2013, 10:54 p.m. EST
Asia stocks tumble after Fed minutes
By Sarah Turner, MarketWatch

SYDNEY (MarketWatch) — Asia stocks tumbled on Thursday after minutes from the latest Federal Reserve policy meeting stoked concerns that central-bank policy-tightening moves will reduce the global liquidity that has supported stocks in recent months.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index (-1.96%) dropped 1.8%, while the Shanghai Composite Index (-3.17%) fell 2.6%.

In Japan, the Nikkei Stock Average (-1.39%) lost 1%, South Korea’s Kospi (-0.50%) declined 0.5%, and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index (-2.33%) fell 1.8%.

Minutes out Wednesday covering the Federal Reserve’s meeting in January offered investors differing views over the prospects for continued stimulus, prompting a sharp fall in U.S. stocks Wednesday. Read: Fed, uneasy over ‘QE,’ plans bond-buy debate

The Fed, along with other global central banks, has provided massive amounts of liquidity to markets since the onset of the global financial crisis — liquidity which has worked its way through to various asset classes.

The Fed’s most recent addition to its liquidity-boosting moves came late last year, when it pledged billions of dollars a month of asset buying until the U.S. jobs market picks up.

Still, the minutes out Wednesday revealed that many Fed officials are worried about the costs and risks arising from the central bank’s quantitative-easing program, with the Fed’s balance sheet recently passing the $3 trillion mark. The Fed minutes indicated the central bank will review the program in March.

 
 
Comment by Bluto
2013-02-20 22:37:46

My local paper in Santa Rosa, CA ran a piece on the front page today on the very high percentage of all cash RE purchases by flippers and speculators but had no mention of what this does to people who are trying to buy a house for the right reason (TO LIVE IN) and to neighborhoods, Tried to buy myself for a year but gave up as my bids were ignored several times as there were cash offers. Tried to comment on the lousy story but even that was not possible as I do not have a Facebook account. It will be interesting to see how this all shakes out…in the meantime am a reasonably happy renter and sold my last place in 2007 largely due to what I learned here…

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20130219/BUSINESS/130219493/0/FRONTPAGE

 
Comment by hazard
2013-02-22 18:18:31

-18

 
Name (required)
E-mail (required - never shown publicly)
URI
Your Comment (smaller size | larger size)
You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> in your comment.

Trackback responses to this post