March 24, 2013

Bits Bucket for March 24, 2013

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

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Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 05:22:16

I have a great idea: Why not colonize Detroit with new immigrants from Mainland China?

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 05:24:11

美国底特律房价低至1美元 国人欲组团“抄底”
2013年03月20日07:16 来源:金羊网 手机看新闻


Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 11:21:54

Check out the Chinese language video for some photos of Detroit which show how China’s ghost cities are destined to look in two decades.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 05:28:08

I guess since China already has so many ghost cities, why not acquire another on the cheap in the U.S.?

Chinese investors eye bankrupt house market in Detroit
Thursday, 21 March, 2013, 1:35am

An abandoned house in Detroit. Photo: SCMP/ Nandu

Two days after a Chinese real estate agency, whose location was not disclosed, advertised an investors’ tour in Detroit, thousands of people have expressed interest, according to a report in the People’s Daily.

The same agency is advertising a tour to the US east coast in April, which costs 25,000 yuan and will take investors to Washington DC, Boston and New York City.

Apparently Detroit’s plummeting home prices have become attractive to Chinese investors who have seen a hike in housing prices at home, according to a report by CCTV.

The report recounted Detroit’s fall from US automotive industry hub to “ghost town” due to a decline in industrial output and poor management.

The CCTV report featured a real estate developer in Detroit who acquired 363 properties in two years. Most cost only a few thousand US dollars, while smaller properties can cost as little as US$500.

Comment by azdude
2013-03-24 06:50:29

bring a very large caterpillar dozer such as D7 with lots of diesel. hey u might create a couple jobs.

Comment by Patrick
2013-03-24 09:05:33


D12 - why use a ball pin when a sledge hammer is faster ?

Oh, I get it. Use two D7s instead of one 12. Twice the jobs.

And those D7s are so old they will break down a lot - need a serviceman on site.

And each one probably burns at the same rate as a 12. More jobs.

And those old cable winches will need upgrading with new steel - made from where?

If we keep this up, there won’t be enough labour available.

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Comment by Combotechie
2013-03-24 06:50:44

I’ve seen this happen in Compton. Investors from somewhere else (somewhere other than Compton) are presented with some nifty numbers and some nifty projections of numbers-to-come and - presto! - they rush in to plunk their money down.

THEY - the investors - plunk their money down, and another THEY - the promoters - get to scrape their share right off the top.

Comment by SUGuy
2013-03-24 07:44:48

I have seen this happen many times. Some people left on their own might not make any investment decisions but if prodded by a great salesman will feel like a fish out of water if they don’t participate in the investment scheme and part with their money. Sometimes they are very business savvy and still get compelled to join.

Buying is always an emotional decision and we rationalize this decision after the purchase.

Salesman wins

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Comment by SUGuy
2013-03-24 07:58:52

In short brainwashing them quickly in to believing that the investment will full fill some void they feel inside themselves.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 10:27:54

Are all-cash Chinese investors more or less difficult to brainwash into parting with their money than their American counterparts?

Comment by aNYCdj
2013-03-24 07:30:57

Well The FED cant sell a million homes to the Chinese without some serious political fallout…. but Hedge funds can.

Comment by goon squad
2013-03-24 06:04:18

Yo Professor Bear. Why so many double posts with the one line intro post and the post with the quote and the link nested under it?

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 06:07:50

It’s a quick organizing strategy for throwing together several posts on the same topic (e.g. check out the thread below on Tim Geithner’s housing market Dutch auction later this morning).

Comment by palmetto
2013-03-24 06:08:35

Looks to me like someone hijacked the ID.

Having said that, what’s the point of “colonizing” Detroit with Chinese? Revival of the manufacturing base? Why not give the residents there the opportunity?

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 06:17:31

What’s wrong with a little early morning pre-coffee sarcasm? (The humor may seem a bit more obvious once the underlying posts appear.)

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Comment by palmetto
2013-03-24 06:18:52

Can’t wait to see the Fang-Fang post.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 06:24:34

Wouldn’t you know JPMorgan would employ someone named Fang Fang?


Comment by oxide
2013-03-24 15:22:55

Actually I thought it was a very clever way to get around links getting stuck in moderation. Post the commentary first, and we know in a little while that a link is coming right under it. Good on the Prof. :cool:

Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2013-03-24 17:53:19

Good on the Prof. :cool:

For the record, I like that style too…

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Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 05:31:40

Canadian house prices fall 0.2 pct in February from Jan-Teranet
Wed Mar 20, 2013 10:23am EDT

(Reuters) - Canadian home prices fell in February from January, the sixth straight monthly decline, and February’s price gain versus a year earlier matched January’s modest year-on-year rise, the Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index showed on Wednesday.

The index, which measures price changes for repeat sales of single-family homes, showed overall prices fell 0.2 percent in February from a month earlier.

The index was up 2.7 percent from a year earlier, matching January’s smallest year-on-year gain since November 2009. The annual rate has been slowing for a year for more than a year.

The report added to evidence that Canadian housing market activity has been slowing since the middle of 2012. Economists are debating whether the market will crash or manage a soft landing.

Comment by Blue Skye
2013-03-24 06:56:00

Canada will be fine as long as the Chinese building boom continues to grow exponentially.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 05:33:57

It’s a perfect storm!

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 05:36:19

Uh-oh…I noticed the U.S. real estate bubble isn’t fully deflated yet, either, “… which means lots more losses to come.”

March 21, 2013, 8:15 am
Cyprus: The Sum of All FUBAR

At this point the Cyprus situation is pretty clear — and clarity does not bring reassurance. In fact, it looks as if Cyprus has managed to combine in one place everything that has gone wrong elsewhere.

1. Runaway banking. Cyprus has a huge banking system — assets around 8 times GDP — based on a business model of attracting offshore money with high rates and good opportunities for tax avoidance/evasion.

I’ve done some asking around, and cleared up something that was puzzling me. Officially, only about 40 percent of the deposits in Cypriot banks are from nonresidents, which would imply resident deposits of almost 500 percent of GDP, which is crazy. But the answer is that I do not think that word “resident” means what you think it means. Some of the money is from wealthy expats living in Cyprus; much of it is from rich people who have resident status without, you know, actually living there. So we should think of Cypriot deposits as mainly coming from non-Cypriots, attracted by that business model.

And the business model only works until there’s a big loss somewhere; since Cypriot banks were investing in Greece and in their own domestic real estate bubble, doom was inevitable. Which brings me to:

2. Big domestic real estate bubble, Spain or Ireland-sized. Not yet fully deflated, which means lots more losses to come. And the combination of the real estate bubble and the income from dodgy banking also led to:

3. Massive overvaluation, with Cypriot prices and costs having risen much more than in the rest of the euro area. In 2008 the current account deficit was more than 15 percent of GDP!

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 05:39:05

Cyprus faces last ditch chance to save economy
By Michele Kambas and Karolina Tagaris
NICOSIA | Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:31am EDT

(Reuters) - Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, seeking a last-minute reprieve from financial meltdown at talks in Brussels on Sunday, has a “very difficult task” ahead of him if he is to save the island’s economy, a government spokesman said.

With Cyprus facing a Monday deadline to avert a collapse of its banking system and potential exit from the euro, late night talks in Nicosia to seal a bailout from the EU and International Monetary Fund broke up without result.

Anastasiades then headed to Brussels in a private jet sent by the European Commission to continue the talks ahead of a crunch meeting of euro zone finance ministers at 6 p.m. (12.00 p.m. ET).

The president and his team have a “very difficult task to accomplish to save the Cypriot economy and avert a disorderly default if there is no final agreement on a loan accord,” the spokesman said.

Underlining the gravity of Cyprus’ position, the EU’s economic affairs chief said there were now “only hard choices left” for the latest casualty of the euro zone crisis.

After negotiations ended in the early hours of Sunday morning, the government issuing a statement saying talks were at “a very delicate phase” and deadlines were very tight.

The Cyprus government’s tone jarred with earlier expressions of cautious optimism during days of intense negotiations between Cypriot leaders and officials from the island’s “troika” of international lenders, the EU, IMF and European Central Bank.

Cyprus’ overgrown banking sector has been crippled by exposure to crisis-hit Greece, and the EU says the east Mediterranean island must raise 5.8 billion euros on its own before it can receive a 10 billion euro bailout.

Without a deal on Monday, the ECB says it will cut off emergency funds to Cypriot banks, spelling certain collapse and potentially pushing the country out of the euro zone.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 05:40:36

Political Economy
Cyprus Refuses to Learn From Its Mistakes
Published: March 24, 2013

Cyprus will pay dearly for its sins. The Mediterranean island has committed many follies over the years — and is still making mistakes.

The Cypriots always seem to overestimate their negotiating position. In recent years, their first big mistake was to reject in 2004 the U.N. plan for uniting their island. That irritated their E.U. partners, put Cyprus in a weak strategic position vis-à-vis Turkey and left a jagged scar across the island.

The last Communist government was also virtually criminal in its failure to act as the crisis in Greece threatened to swamp Cyprus. If it had been willing to restructure the banks, the Cypriot economy would now be a lot healthier. It also would have been easier to make a deal with Germany then than now, when Angela Merkel is only months away from an election.

The new center-right president, Nicos Anastasiades, has been in office for a month. But he has managed to turn a crisis into a disaster by initially backing a plan to impose a 6.75 percent tax on insured depositors.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 06:11:10

Cyprus facing ruin regardless of deal, islanders warn
Cyprus may be on the verge of hammering out a deal to address its chronic debt crisis but many Cypriots fear that the island’s economy is destined for ruin regardless.

By Nick Squires, Nicosia
11:25AM GMT 24 Mar 2013

Nicos Anastasiades, the Cypriot president, and Michalis Sarris, his finance minister, are on their way to Brussels for emergency talks over a deal under which deposits of more than 100,000 euros in the Bank of Cyprus will be hit by a 20 per cent levy.

Deposits of more than 100,000 euros in other banks will be targeted by a four per cent forced levy.

Cyprus’s leaders are expected to submit to the drastic plan - which critics call daylight robbery - in return for a 10 billion euro bail-out loan to save the country from bankruptcy.

Comment by azdude
2013-03-24 06:45:27

greece, cyprus, who else fell victim to goldman in the eurozone?

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 10:32:44

Got BRICs?

Goldman Sachs’ Jim O’Neill: China’s economy builds a Cyprus every week
By Louise Cooper || March 24, 2013 at 14:45 GMT

ForexLive’s Louise Cooper sits down with the BRICmaker and puts the most-important global trend in perspective.

He may only have five weeks left as Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management but Jim O’Neill is not changing his tune. We were both speaking at a conference Friday – he got the glamour of the BRIC 4 and I got the depressing Euro 17. But in Jim’s opinion, ignore the headlines – forget the Fiscal Cliff and the Eurozone crisis is extraneous, it’s all about the developing world. To put it into context economically, China creates another Cyprus every week. It’s still all about the acronym that made him globally famous and not just in finance.

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Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 06:22:25

Does your investment portfolio contain gold, dollars and Treasurys?

If so, keep reading…

March 23, 2013, 2:05 p.m. EDT
Cyprus bailout failure would shake stocks
Gold, Treasurys and the dollar to rise if bailout deal isn’t reached
By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch

People line up at an ATM outside a branch of Laiki Bank in Nicosia,Cyprus.

LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) — Investors faced a weekend of uncertainty as authorities in Cyprus race to put in place financial measures to secure an international bailout of their banking system aimed at averting a collapse of the tiny island nation’s economy and global market turmoil.

Monday is the deadline for Cyprus to reach a deal on how it will raise 5.8 billion euros ($7.5 billion) so that it can receive a €10 billion rescue package from international creditors. The European Central Bank said it would cut off emergency liquidity for Cyprus’s banks unless the country reaches an agreement to shore up its troubled financial sector. Follow streaming coverage of the Cyprus banking crisis.

The country took some steps in the right direction Friday night and Saturday, passing legislation to impose capital controls and set up a “solidarity fund” to help raise the money. Reuters reported Saturday that Cyprus was considering a 25% tax on savings accounts over 100,000 euros. More votes were expected during the weekend as negotiations continued.

Failure to reach a deal for a bailout would mean that U.S. stocks “will open down pretty big on Monday,” said John Canally, chief market strategist at LPL Financial, who expects Cyprus to reach a deal. “If we don’t get a deal done there, it does reintroduce some risk,” that could lift gold prices and the dollar, pull Treasury yields lower, and result in “anything associated with risk being sold off.”

Comment by Bill in Los Angeles
2013-03-24 08:54:46

This is a good illustration of why gold is associated with “flight to safety,” as are treasuries. Many people cannot comprehend what the 5,000 year history of gold as a store of value really means. They just point to minor blips such as when the Reagan Administration cut all the nonsense of the Carter malaise. On day one of the new administration they did the hostage rescue. This major no nonsense reversal of the insecurity Carter tried to foist on the population was bad news for gold bugs that took the cycle thirty years.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-03-24 11:12:14

They just point to minor blips such as when the Reagan Administration cut all the nonsense of the Carter malaise. balanced budget.

Public debt as a percentage of GDP fell rapidly in the post-World War II period, and reached a low in 1973 under President Richard Nixon. The debt burden has consistently increased since then, except during the presidencies of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton wiki

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Comment by alpha-sloth
2013-03-24 14:03:14

On day one of the new administration they did the hostage rescue.

The hostage rescue was tried, and failed, under Carter.

Reagan traded them arms for the hostages (illegally).

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Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2013-03-24 18:01:02

The hostage rescue was tried, and failed, under Carter.

Thank you for correcting that bit of disinformation, alpha. I noticed it as well, was planning to correct it, but then forgot to go back and do it.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 10:34:48

Fears grow as banks reveal exposure to Cyprus euro crisis
Britain’s largest banks have a combined exposure to Cyprus of more than £1bn, raising the prospect of new losses for the lenders.

Four main banks: Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and RBS
Fillings from Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group, HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland, show a total exposure to the troubled Mediterranean island of £1.06bn.
By Harry Wilson
6:00AM GMT 24 Mar 2013

Fillings from Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group, HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland, show a total exposure to the troubled Mediterranean island of £1.06bn.

Although a tiny fraction of their assets, the collapse of the Cypriot economy could see the banks nursing losses of tens or even hundreds of millions of pounds amid the country’s worsening financial crisis.

Barclays has the largest gross exposure to Cyprus, with £431m of lending and other links to Cypriots, including £102m of exposure to the country’s banks, £120m of corporate lending and £44m of residential mortgages.

RBS has the second biggest exposure of £377m, with £274m of corporate lending linked to Cyprus, as well as £15m of personal lending. Crucially, RBS has no exposure to Cypriot banks, though it does have £2m of assets linked to “other financial institutions”.

In its latest annual report RBS told shareholders that its links to Cyprus comprised mainly “lending to special purpose vehicles incorporated in Cyprus, but with assets and cash flows largely elsewhere”.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 11:28:31

March 24, 2013, 9:55 a.m. EDT
EU’s Rehn: Cyprus deal essential by Sunday evening
By MarketWatch

NICOSIA–A deal on Cyprus’s bailout talks must reached by Sunday evening when euro-zone finance ministers will meet in Brussels, European Union economics chief Olli Rehn said in a statement Saturday.

“Intensive work and contacts will continue in the coming hours,” Mr. Rehn said in his statement, which came as experts from the troika of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund in Nicosia were in on-and-off talks with Cypriot officials trying to broker an agreement that will seal a EUR10-billion aid package.

Comment by Mugsy
2013-03-24 12:24:38

All ATM withdrawls now limited to 100 euros. Life is getting very tough here. Stores empty of shoppers and soon to be empty of goods. Even if they work out a bailout of some sort the economy here is toast!

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 11:29:57

A closely-watched pot never boils over.

March 24, 2013, 9:54 a.m. EDT
Latvia PM: Cyprus to cause market turbulence
By Frances Robinson

SAARISELKÄ, Finland–Europe will find a solution to Cyprus’ woes, with the current predicament causing some turbulence on the markets, but no longer-term damage to the bloc, Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis said Sunday, hours ahead of a meeting of euro-zone finance ministers.

“We wouldn’t expect any major implications for Europe or euro zone since the Cyprus economy is less than half a percent of Europe’s economy,” he said at a meeting of European Union leaders in Lapland. “This solution will be found, there will be probably some turbulence in Europe in financial markets but we wouldn’t expect any major longer-term implications.”

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 18:01:00

The Eurozone is saved! Look for stocks to skyrocket tomorrow on the announcement.

March 24, 2013, 8:49 p.m. EDT
Cyprus, lenders agree bailout deal: reports
By Sarah Turner, MarketWatch

SYDNEY (MarketWatch) — Cyprus reached a deal late Sunday that would enable it to receive funds from its European and international lenders to prop up its ailing banking sector and prevent its exit from the euro zone, reports said.

The cash-strapped island nation agreed a deal with the European Central Bank (ECB), the European Council and the International Monetary Fund — collectively known as the Troika — to secure 10 billion euros ($13 billion) of aid, the reports said, citing European Union officials.

The proposal is now reportedly before the European Union’s finance ministers, known as the Eurogroup, for approval.

The Eurogroup was expected to hold a press conference later Sunday.

Comment by hazard
2013-03-24 05:37:44

I don`t know which one of Ethel Kennedy`s nephews raped Martha Moxley, broke their golf club while smashing her head in and then shoved the shaft down her throat in 1975. But I do know it was either Tommy or Michael Skakel and it was common knowledge in my town the day after Haloween 1975. Martha didn`t show up for school after that.

Michael Skakel: Brother, Thomas, lied about Moxley

David Hennessey
Published 11:04 pm, Saturday, March 23, 2013

Habitual liar. Capable of elaborate deception. Long neurological and psychiatric history. A history of temper outbursts.

All are phrases Michael Skakel and his defense team — intent on freeing the Kennedy cousin and convicted murderer, even after a decade in jail — are using to characterize Thomas Skakel, Michael’s brother, in a petition filed in state Superior Court in Rockville.

The issues about Thomas Skakel are just some of many that Michael Skakel’s attorneys may raise in an April trial that will focus on the alleged ways in which Skakel’s former attorney Mickey Sherman was ineffective in his defense of Skakel.

Desperate to clear his name and get out of prison, Michael is painting a picture of a dishonest and disturbed older brother, one of several men named in the document as people Sherman should have investigated more fully in connection with the 1975 murder of 15-year-old Martha Moxley.

Though the court document does not accuse Thomas Skakel of the crime, it does question Sherman’s failure to raise issues about him.

The family is saying the trial is about pursuing the legal avenues to set Skakel free. Success at the April 15 trial in Rockville could mean freedom for Skakel, 52, who is imprisoned at McDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield.

“This is about our brother, Michael, who was wrongly convicted more than 10 years ago for a crime he did not commit,” the Skakel family said. “It is time to correct this horrific injustice.” - -

Comment by Skroodle
2013-03-24 08:57:04

I disagree with waiting until the juvenile criminal is an adult and sentencing them as an adult. It would seem to give DA’s incentive to wait years before perusing cases.

Comment by ann gogh
2013-03-24 09:20:44

I never heard about the golf club in her throat?

Comment by hazard
2013-03-24 10:07:06

“It would seem to give DA’s incentive to wait years before perusing cases.”

It wasn`t until DNA became available, the Skakel boys changed their story and the case was reopened. In 1975 the Greenwich Police dept. wasn`t quite up to the task of investigating such a powerful family.

“I never heard about the golf club in her throat?”

We all knew this Nov.1 1975 without ever seeing a police report as well as knowing one of two brothers had done it.


October 30, 1975: It was “mischief night,” a time for pranks and hell-raising in the gated Belle Haven enclave of Greenwich. That evening, fifteen-year-old Martha Moxley and friends headed for the Skakel home where another group of teens had gathered after dinner and drinks at the Belle Haven Club. Accounts of the evening’s activities differ, and some have changed over time—but one fact remains: sometime after nine-thirty that night, Martha Moxley was beaten to death with a golf club.

Moxley’s body was found shortly after noon on October 31, the day after Mischief Night. She lay face down with her jeans and panties pulled below her knees. Her body had been dragged nearly thirty yards across the Moxley property. A large pool of blood in one location, and segments of a shattered golf club in another, scarred the grass. Toward the center of the front lawn, police found the bloodstained head of a Toney Penna six iron.
That this was an assault in transit, a crime scene with multiple discrete locations in the yard, is immediately apparent. The first blow, probably to the back of the head, was not lethal, nor did it render her unconscious. She stumbled forward as she moved away from her attacker, attempting to flee. The blasts to her head and neck came rapidly, breaking her nose and shattering her skull. He beat her until the golf club snapped. She did not expect to be hit, and had no opportunity to raise her arms to ward off the blows. Near an elm tree in her yard, the site where most of the blood was found, is where Martha Moxley went down. The attack had not ended. Her killer yanked down her jeans and panties and stood over her, continuing to beat her. He did not stop until he had plunged the broken shaft into her throat again and again. Finally, the killer dragged the teenager’s body across the lawn where he left her under a pine tree. - 30k -

Comment by ahansen
2013-03-24 12:23:34

Fascinating analysis, haz. Thanks for posting.

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Comment by Bill in Los Angeles
2013-03-24 19:41:13

The Kennedy clan is immune from serious charges though. They are limousine socialists.

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Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 10:39:24

Turning on your own brother to plea your case seems like a typical Kennedy cousin kind of thing to do…

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 05:42:02

If Fang Fang sez it, then it must be so.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 05:45:51

So far as I can recall, U.S. housing demand was never, ever stronger than just before the crash.

I realize it’s different in China, especially if Megabank, Inc’s operatives tell us so.

Kate Holliday, CNBC
March 7, 2013 14:52
No US-style crash for Chinese housing market, predicts JP Morgan
Strong demand ensures China’s housing market will not crash in the style of the US housing crisis.

China housing bubble skyline
A general view of the numerous apartment buildings after sunset on Feb. 22, 2013 in Beijing, China. (Feng Li/Getty Images)

What do you think? Odd!

China’s property sector is not headed for a US-style crash given strong demand and low leverage in the sector, said Fang Fang, chief executive officer for China investment banking at JPMorgan Chase.

Fang Fang, who is also part of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference — a political advisory body, told CNBC on Thursday: “The market has reacted negatively over the past few days [to the recent cooling measures] but people still believe there is solid demand for properties, particularly in the big cities, so the impact may be temporary.”

The Chinese government announced last Friday measures to curb speculative demand and stabilize prices. It called for stricter enforcement of a 20 percent capital gains tax on home sale profits and asked cities with fast property price increases to raise the down payment requirement and mortgage rates on second homes.

The curbs prompted panic over the re-emergence of a bubble in China’s property market leading to a steep fall in property stocks.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 05:49:07

Are there enough Arabs in China to have an Arab Spring there?

Ansuya Harjani, CNBC
March 5, 2013 15:48
Why China’s property market is getting scary
A steep decline in prices would impact millions of local investors.

China housing bubble skyline

A general view of the numerous apartment buildings after sunset on Feb. 22, 2013 in Beijing, China. (Feng Li/Getty Images)

Worries that China’s home market is over heating are spreading beyond mainland policymakers — who recently unveiled a slew of cooling measures — with key industry players including the head of the country’s largest real estate developer warning of huge risks in the sector.

Wang Shi, CEO of Vanke said on CBS News’ “60 Minutes” show over the weekend that China’s property sector was already in a bubble state.

China has seen a boom in the property sector recently, with some cities seeing a 10-fold increase in prices, that have driven the average home buyer out of the market. According to estimates, the cost of a home in Shanghai would be around 45 times the average resident’s annual salary.

Shi added that if the property bubble were to burst, it would be a “disaster,” with a plunge in home prices sparking an “Arab Spring” type social unrest.

Real estate is among the most popular investment vehicles in the country, given volatility in the domestic equity markets, so a steep decline in prices would impact millions of local investors.

Comment by ibbots
2013-03-24 07:45:56

More Chinese live below the poverty line now than when they had their communist revolution.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 10:41:04

I assume Chinese people living below the poverty line are not those driving the real estate investing craze, unless they have subprime lending like we had in the U.S. before the entire sector blew up in 2007.

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Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 05:51:01

How is Secretary Geithner’s Dutch auction coming along?

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 05:53:11

Tim Geithner’s Escape From DC Now Includes Listing Bethesda House for Sale
Date: March 19, 2013 | Category: Eye Candy | Author: Laura Vecsey

It looks like Tim Geithner will not be using his Bethesda, MD home to pen his new book. The former U.S. Treasury secretary and his wife have listed their Beltway dwelling for sale, now that one of the key players in the Obama administration’s economic recovery team has left his post.

The Geithners bought the 4-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom Cape Cod-style home for $950,000 in 2009, soon after Geithner was tapped to lead the Treasury Department. The home is now listed for $995,000, according to Curbed DC.

With the housing crisis playing a big role in the economic recession that struck in 2008, it’s interesting to see that the Geithners are seeking only a modest profit on the 2,300-square-foot home, perhaps just enough to cover real estate fees. The list price for the home is just above the $868,000 median list price for properties in Bethesda.

Despite his pedigree as the head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Geithner has not been immune to the housing market’s disruption. In 2009, he listed his home in Larchmont, NY for the same $1.6 million he and his wife paid in 2004. So this is the second home he has listed for sale that has shown little appreciation during the time he owned the property.

Maybe his new book will outline a way in which U.S. housing prices and the mortgage crisis can be addressed, or prevented from happening again.

Comment by joe smith
2013-03-24 07:56:36

That’s an average house in an average location in Bethesda. He should get about 900k or so for it. If it’s nicer than average inside, maybe about a mil. It’s definitely not anything extravagant, it would be easy to point out dozens of nicer houses on surrounding blocks.

In a nice area of Bethesda, a good size 2BR or a small 3BR can easily be a mil. That’s with basically no land.

Gotta love the DC bubble.

Comment by joe smith
2013-03-24 09:32:53

Also, places like Potomac, Burtonsville, and West Friendship are significantly more expensive than Bethesda. The reason Bethesda is the “gold standard” for DC area housing is its proximity to the important areas of DC where those people tend to work (Bethesda itself does have some major employers like Lockheed Martin, though).

I guess my point is, Geithner actually purchased a pretty modest house in the big scheme of things.And if he’d rented a house like that in Bethesda, it would cost him 4-5k/month at least.

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Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 15:19:37

“4-5k/month at least”

$5K/month X 12 months X 4 years = $240K — ouch! If true, I can see why he gambled on a purchase, despite the short-term tenure of his position.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 05:54:27

Got underwater houses?

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 05:56:34

If the Zestimate™ is below the 2004 sale price, think how far underwater this place really is — as everyone with two or three cells worth of gray matter inside his cranium knows the Zestimates™ are massively inflated.

32 Maple Hill Dr, Larchmont, NY 10538
Not for Sale
Zestimate: $1,575,247
Rent Zestimate: $7,795/mo
Est. Mortgage:
See current rates on Zillow

Bedrooms:5 beds
Bathrooms:4.5 baths
Single Family:3,665 sq ft
Lot:7,840 sq ft
Year Built:1931
Last Sold: Dec 2004 for $1,601,700

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 06:00:44

5709 Ogden Rd, Bethesda, MD 20816
Zestimate: $900,979
Rent Zestimate: $4,139/mo
Est. Mortgage:
See current rates on Zillow

Bedrooms:4 beds
Bathrooms:2.5 baths
Single Family:2,300 sq ft
Lot:10,026 sq ft
Year Built:1954
Last Sold: Aug 2009 for $950,000
Heating Type:Forced air

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 17:42:58

He’s roughly $75K underwater on the two houses, at least if the Zestimates™ are credible. While this would be a devastating loss for a typical American family, ’tis a mere flesh wound for a former Treasury Secretary with connections on K and Wall Streets.

He should just sell them both quickly and move on, rather than try to sell at a premium and losing even more when the sequester hammers Eastern Seaboard prices.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 05:58:12

Geithner’s Larchmont House for Sale
Date: March 12, 2009 | Category: Celebrity Real Estate | Author: Diane Tuman

Tim Geithner, who was lauded for his vast financial and economic experience as he was courted for the Treasury Secretary job and then quickly panned for his less-than-detailed preview of the stimulus package, not to mention his housekeeper problem and oversight in paying self-employment taxes, has put his Larchmont, NY Tudor-style home on the market. Price? $1,635,000 million — approximately $33,000 more than what he bought it for in 2004.

Geithner’s home at 32 Maple Hill Dr, Larchmont, NY, is tastefully done (take a look at the photos) and is “priced to sell” said Coldwell Banker real estate agent Debbie Meiliken. “He wants to sell it fast,” she said. “He’s moving to Washington.”

Geithner will quickly feel the Washington heat. He and President Obama were recently handed “F’s” by economists in reviving the economy.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 06:04:19

There has never been a better time to sell a home in the greater DC area!

Looming Sequestration Cuts Will Hit D.C. the Hardest
By Roy Oppenheim
March 1, 2013

With so many federal workers living in and around our nation’s capitol, those federal spending cuts will eventually translate to job cuts and unpaid mortgages.

With so many federal workers living in and around our nation’s capitol, those federal spending cuts will eventually translate to job cuts and unpaid mortgages.

The dreaded sequestration deadline has arrived, and with it $85 billion in automatic spending cuts that could plunge the nation’s strengthening economy back into the depths of recession.

(For some light reading on the topic, check out the 394-page Office of Management and Budget report.)

But contrary to many media reports, the majority of spending cuts will be felt most acutely in the federal government’s hometown: Washington, D.C., a region that, ironically, suffered the least in the economic downturn.

While most of the rest of the country’s housing market suffered during the recession—with foreclosures becoming the rule instead of the exception—the Beltway has had one of the strongest housing markets in the country.

Having visited the area during the economic crisis, it always struck me as odd how little suffering there seemed to be there compared to the rest of the nation, and in particular Detroit, Arizona, Las Vegas, and of course Florida.

Comment by azdude
2013-03-24 06:38:09

my investment advisor told me things will be ok in the long run.

Comment by rms
2013-03-24 07:53:47

“my investment advisor told me things will be ok in the long run.”

This statement would be equally valid for a southern-owned slave imparting his wisdom to a child 200 years ago.

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Comment by goon squad
2013-03-24 07:41:04

The losses in DC, Maryland, and Virginia will be incalculable.

Comment by ann gogh
2013-03-24 09:23:37

Im sure they will pass a law that says nobody gets a smaller paycheck in DC! Nothing to see here!

Comment by goon squad
2013-03-24 06:11:14

Wall Street Journal - Retirement Is No Holiday From Debt:

“Gone are the days when most Americans went into retirement with little credit-card debt and without a mortgage. Now, for a growing number of seniors, high levels of debt are threatening their retirement dreams.

At any age, debt troubles are a major challenge and can take a heavy emotional toll. But for retirees with limited ability to boost their income and greater likelihood of big medical bills, it’s even more of an uphill battle.

The statistics on debt among older Americans reflect a stark change in their finances. “More people are going into retirement with debt,” says Craig Copeland, a senior research associate at the Employment Benefit Research Institute.

EBRI has been tracking debt levels going back to 1992. In the group’s most recent report, released last month, which captures trends through 2010, the percentage of American families with a head of household aged 75 or older carrying debt rose to 38.5%, up from 31.2% in 2001.

Back in 1992, one quarter of Americans families ages 65 to 74 had debt tied to their home. In 2010, that stood at 41%, including homeowners who are tapping the equity in their homes via reverse mortgages. Meanwhile, for those 75 and older, the percentage with a mortgage or other housing loan was 24%, up from 7% in 1992.

Worse, those carrying high levels of debt compared with their income have also become more numerous. In 1992, 4% of families ages 65 to 74 had debt payments greater than 40% of their income. In 2010, that figure hit 8.3%.”

Comment by Blue Skye
2013-03-24 07:50:42

Just where does one get that “saved money”?

Comment by Bigguy
2013-03-24 08:16:19

Just sell you unwanted gold or silver jewelry and knickknacks laying around. Ask Dave Ramsey.

Comment by goon squad
2013-03-24 08:17:03

Obviously, from a sequence of perfectly timed house flips.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-03-24 13:53:01

…and well timed stock trades and successfully negotiating pension destruction.

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Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 15:06:53

Social Security?

March 24, 2013

Making Sense of Social Security and Medicare

Social Security, Medicare and other earned benefits make up, by far, the largest portion of the federal government’s expenses.

They also are among the most misunderstood.

We are starting an occasional series to help you better understand your benefits. We’ll answer your specific questions related to Medicare, Medicaid, estate taxes, retirement disbursement accounts, pensions and how government intervention, inaction or overreaction will affect the rest of your life.

Write to Jennifer Waters at

Q: Will I receive Social Security benefits?

A: That’s a big “It depends.” If you’re over 65, no sweat. If you’re 45-65, you might see some changes from the relatively generous benefits enjoyed by your parents. If you’re under 45, you have plenty to worry about.

The problem is more money is being paid out of the system than is going in. The shortfall, now about $200 billion a year, is being made up by drawing on the $2.73 trillion Social Security Trust Fund.

The fund is U.S. government bonds that have been bought by the Social Security Administration for 30 years with money paid by baby boomers. They have spent most of their working lives paying more into the system than it spent.

The extra money was lent to the government, which used it to offset some of the huge deficits of the 1980s and 2000s. (Without the overpayments, the government surplus in the late 1990s wouldn’t have happened.)

Now, the retiring boomers are taking out more than younger workers are putting in. According to current estimates, the trust fund could be fully tapped as soon as 2033.

Q: So what’s going to happen?

A: Time is running out, and the gridlock in Washington isn’t helping.

Among possible solutions? Changing the way cost-of-living adjustments are figured, reducing benefits slightly now, but far more over the long haul. Other suggestions range from raising the eligibility age to 70, to reducing benefits for wealthier retirees, to raising taxes.

Count on Social Security, in one form or another, being around for a long, long time. But don’t count on it to be as generous as it was in the past.

Q:What can I do about that?

A:Save. Save. And save some more. Social Security was always meant to be a supplement to savings, family support and pensions.

A recent survey from Banker’s Life and Casualty found that two-thirds of middle-income wage earners believe Social Security will pay at least half and some as much as 75% of their retirement costs. Some Americans consider Social Security their major income stream during retirement. Bad idea.

Comment by rms
2013-03-24 17:06:22

I know a good number of folks who are drawing Social Security, and more than half of them contributed very little to nothing at all during their scamming years. Just because someone is old doesn’t magically mean that they’re deserving. I see way too many early boomers who let themselves go; horrible teeth, lack of exercise, obese, smoking, unkempt scalp and facial hair, etc., and now they expect medical services and a monthly check.

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Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2013-03-24 18:09:31

I know a good number of folks who are drawing Social Security, and more than half of them contributed very little to nothing at all during their scamming years.

They have to have 10 years worth of contributions to draw SS, and the amount of their check is based on their contributions.

Admittedly, the formula favors the less-well-off over the well-off.

But can you please clarify how someone could contribute “nothing at all” and still draw SS?

Unless you are complaining about spousal benefits, or disability (a different ball of wax), I don’t see how that is possible.

Comment by rms
2013-03-24 18:33:57

But can you please clarify how someone could contribute “nothing at all” and still draw SS?

That would be SSDI; disability. Fraud actually.

Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2013-03-24 18:44:07

That would be SSDI; disability. Fraud actually.

Ok. I don’t refer to that as “drawing Social Security.”

I refer to that as “drawing OSDI” or “drawing disability.”

They’re different.

Comment by rms
2013-03-24 07:59:33

“The statistics on debt among older Americans reflect a stark change in their finances.”

Big changes in their morality too. These are self-centered losers who know that society will let them “off the hook” for their debts. A cast iron prison cell and two squares per day of cat food would change attitudes quickly.

Comment by Blue Skye
2013-03-24 08:43:57

That will make them pay up.

Comment by rms
2013-03-24 10:42:18

“That will make them pay up.”

Or deter others.

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Comment by ecofeco
2013-03-24 12:21:05

“Big changes in their morality too. These are self-centered losers who know that society will let them “off the hook” for their debts.”

Say WHAT?!

Comment by Skroodle
2013-03-24 09:00:22

A lot is do to the changes in the law preventing discrimination in providing credit to the older people.

Comment by rms
2013-03-24 10:46:18

“A lot is do to the changes in the law preventing discrimination in providing credit to the older people.”

And some creditors are able to be made whole again. Consequences?

BTW, “A lot is do…” ==> “A lot is due…”

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 06:14:23

So long as today’s Rentership Society members plan to eventually buy a place of their own, the housing market is saved!

The Nation’s Housing: Now it’s a renters’ market
By Kenneth R. Harney, Special to the Times
Saturday, March 9, 2013 3:30am

It’s a single-family renters’ market

WASHINGTON — Over the past five years, according to Wall Street analysts’ estimates, between $7 billion and $9 billion worth of distressed single-family homes have been purchased and converted to rentals by institutional investors — hedge funds, private partnerships of high net-worth individuals and even pools of capital raised among investors in foreign countries.

Unlike traditional “mom and pop” rental home investors, these funds have been scooping up dozens, sometimes hundreds, of properties at a time through all-cash purchases of foreclosures, short sales and bulk packages. Some of the bulk acquisitions have come from the troubled-asset portfolios of financing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, others from banks that have taken over homes left by defaulters.

Though single-family rental homes have long been a part of the American housing scene, the involvement of large-scale institutional investors is causing the category to explode. According to a new study conducted by pollster ORC International for Premier Property Management Group, a company that works with investors, roughly 52 percent of all rental units in the country are now single-family homes and house 27 percent of all renters.

Recent Census Bureau data cited in the study indicate that the number of single-family rentals grew by 21 percent between 2005 and 2010 — from the top of the boom through the depths of the bust and foreclosure crisis — compared with a 4 percent increase in total housing units.

What’s the significance of this rapid conversion of ownership units to rental? For one thing, according to Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic, a mortgage and real estate research firm, mass conversions are contributing to the severe declines in homes-for-sale inventories in markets where foreclosure rates were most pronounced during the bust. Lack of inventory, in turn, is pushing up prices of entry-level homes in those areas.

But the ORC-Premier study suggests that the new waves of single-family rentals may also be providing important pathways to home ownership, not only for first-timers but for those displaced by the housing bust. Fully 60 percent of rental home tenants say they plan to buy a house sometime in the next five years By contrast, only 44 percent of multifamily apartment building renters have similar plans.

Comment by Blue Skye
2013-03-24 07:54:50

Distortions are temporary and misleading. Too many houses eventually means the bottom drops out of both rents and sale prices. I wonder how long it will be until the buy in bulk to rent fad dies and these investors dump the houses.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 10:44:39

“Too many houses eventually means the bottom drops out of both rents and sale prices.”

Even if homes are indefinitely held off the market, with the artificial inventory shortage funded by other people’s money?

Comment by ecofeco
2013-03-24 13:50:01

During the Savings & Loan disaster, property of every kind was left to rot.

They can and will do that again.

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Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 15:03:40

I remember wondering in the late-1980s about all those shiny new glass-windowed office buildings in my area that obviously sat vacant.

Comment by Bigguy
2013-03-24 17:50:54

Where have residential rents fallen off the charts?

You’d think with all the hedge fund buy and rent stuff supposedly going on rents would crater. Where I am is ground zero for investors snapping up bargains, but rents haven’t cratered.

Comment by Blue Skye
2013-03-24 20:11:50

A billion $ worth of houses put up for rent and a Trillion $ held off the market. You’d expect rents to fall off the charts immediately?

Comment by goon squad
2013-03-24 06:18:34

Wall Street Journal - Parent Trap: What to Know Before Taking a College Loan

“Diana Jackson had no student debt when she got her Bachelor’s degree from Miami University in Ohio in 1982. But when her daughter graduated from the school in 2011, Ms. Jackson was stuck with about $33,000 in parent loans.

The 51-year-old now faces a monthly payment of nearly $800.

“I’m now looking at being in my mid-70s before I get that paid off,” says Ms. Jackson, an adjunct professor at a community college in Columbus, Ohio. “I am at the point in my life where I would like to be doing some of the things I really want to do. When you’ve got what is essentially another house payment, you can’t do that.”

It’s a harsh math lesson that’s becoming all too common for parents of college kids as incomes stagnate, saving becomes more and more difficult and college costs soar.”

Comment by alpha-sloth
2013-03-24 15:46:57

25 years at $800 a month to pay off a $33,000 loan?

I wish I’d made that loan.

Comment by Happy2bHeard
2013-03-24 16:05:41

That was my first thought. Many new cars come with 33K price tags and payoffs sooner than 20 years.

Comment by rms
2013-03-24 17:14:48

25 years at $800 a month to pay off a $33,000 loan?

That works out to a 29.069% interest rate. :)

Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2013-03-24 18:19:02

That works out to a 29.069% interest rate. :)

Or…… she’s lying.

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Comment by Happy2bHeard
2013-03-24 22:45:48

Or some kind of penalty has already been imposed.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 06:26:19

March 23, 2013, 6:02 a.m. EDT
New Critical Warning as 2013 shocker looms
Commentary: We are at a market top and an economic turning point
By Paul B. Farrell, MarketWatch

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (MarketWatch) — Yes, another dark “shocker” before the end of the year, an unexpected “black swan.” And sadly for Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke — who hopes his “I saved America from economic collapse” illusion stays intact till he leaves office — he’s not going to get a dream ending to his Fed career.

Why? The shocker will happen before his scheduled exit in January, damaging Bernanke’s egocentric “hero’s legacy.”

The big shocker that economist Gary Shilling sees coming will hit before year-end. And it’s what we see as “Critical Warning No. 12” for 2013.

So let’s put all this in context, a quick survey going back four years when Bernanke was reappointed and he began his grand ego trip as the Great Savior of the American Economy, believing he was destined to do the job our dysfunctional politicians were incapable of doing.

True, Wall Street banks love Bernanke’s non-stop cheap-and-easy-money printing presses, even if bad for the rest of America. We called him the “Most Dangerous Man on Earth,” and “Black Swan’s” Nassim Nicholas Taleb was so shocked by the reappointment of Bernanke — certain to become Obama’s “greatest domestic blunder” — that Taleb went into isolation.

Now, four years later, Bernanke is even more rigid and dogmatic, hanging onto former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan’s failed ideology pumping out bank QE stimulus while creating the illusion that he’s saving America from a dysfunctional gridlocked Washington that does nothing.

History will prove he’s made the economy worse, delaying the inevitable, blowing a new bubble, making the next crash ever bigger.

Comment by azdude
2013-03-24 06:43:31

If the stock market tanks how will this affect the boom in real estate prices been seen across certain geograghical areas?

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 10:46:01

I honestly expect the U.S. stock market to get propped up by the PTB (e.g. PPT) in case Cyprus blows a trannie.

Comment by PeakHubris
2013-03-24 17:22:06

Can this guy really see into the future. That’s cool.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-03-24 06:32:33


Bidding wars? Yes, Greater Lowell real-estate market’s back

LOWELL — Buy and sell like it’s the mid-2000s?

That’s the thinking of several Greater Lowell real-estate agents, who are anticipating the strongest spring housing market since at least 2008. Open houses are well attended, buyer activity is up and there aren’t enough houses on the market to meet growing demand, agents say.

“The Lowell-area market is very busy, with at least one out of every five offers in a bidding war. We haven’t seen that in nine years,” said Stacey Alcorn, owner of RE/MAX Prestige in Chelmsford. “There are low interest rates and having the (presidential) election behind us helps.”

….One local official, however, remains concerned about the high number of foreclosures and how it might affect the market.

“(The number of) foreclosures in the region aren’t as much as from 2008 to 2011, but it’s still a lot more than when the real-estate market is in especially good health,” said Richard Howe Jr., register of deeds at the Northern Middlesex Registry of Deeds. “Foreclosures are still high by historic standards, and every foreclosure tends to be a drag on the price appreciation in the vicinity. It’s also a signal that a lot of people are still underwater on old loans.”

From 2001 to 2005, which was a healthy real-estate market, the registry district of Lowell and nine surrounding towns had fewer than 50 foreclosures per year, Howe said. But the number skyrocketed to 602 in 2008 and came in at 342 last year. In the first two months of 2013, there were 34 foreclosures in the district.

“Whereas in a really good year, there are less than 50 foreclosures in 12 months, so we’re not there yet,” Howe said. “There are signs of increasing sales — I’ve seen some deeds recorded in Lowell at pretty good prices and that’s a good sign. However, quite a few properties are going for low prices, which means the sellers are not getting the value they purchased at.”

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-03-24 07:00:28
Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-03-24 06:34:41

You Be The Judge: Is The Housing Market Really Improving?

This week, optimists had no trouble finding fresh evidence to suggest that the housing market is recovering.

On Thursday, they learned from a Realtors’ report that existing home sales hit the highest level in more than 3 years. And earlier this week, a Commerce Department report showed homebuilding permits have been rising at the quickest pace since June 2008.

But not everyone is convinced that the sector’s momentum has staying power. Skeptics point to reasons why the housing sector might falter, just as it has several times over the past s

Comment by tresho
2013-03-24 06:38:44

NYTimes: Mortgage’s future looks too much like the past

IN a perfect world, policy makers, legislators and concerned Americans would have spent the last few years conducting an honest dialogue about two important issues: how to resolve Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-owned mortgage finance giants, and how to create a housing finance system that would serve borrowers without imperiling taxpayers…the future of housing finance in this country seems to be coming down to two taxpayer-backed concepts. One is the status quo, with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac continuing to back the vast majority of mortgages. The other is a newly conceived public guarantor with some of the same problems that got Fannie and Freddie into trouble.
Let’s begin with the status quo. The taxpayer rescue of Fannie and Freddie in September 2008 has cost $137 billion so far. While this has been paid down from an initial $187.5 billion, taxpayers aren’t likely to get their money back anytime soon. Last fall, the regulator charged with overseeing Fannie and Freddie estimated that the taxpayer bill for the companies could be $200 billion by the end of 2015.

Still, Washington has shown little interest in winding down Fannie and Freddie. The ostensible reason is that there would be no mortgage market without them; private lenders are still unwilling to make home loans that they want to hold as investments, so Fannie and Freddie still have to buy or guarantee them.

The second option is outlined here PDF download

Comment by Rental Watch
2013-03-24 07:28:20

The reason Washington DC hasn’t worked to wind down Fannie/Freddie is because they are too popular. No one wants to tell their constituents that they can’t have their free cheese.

The “there’s no alternative” is very shortsighted. There is no other alternative because Fannie/Freddie is a non-market based competitor, so no one is foolish enough to try to compete against the idiocy of their underwriting.

If the Feds would telegraph a gradual exit of Fannie/Freddie from the market, you would see a huge number of suppliers of this debt emerge.

Other countries have no Fannie/Freddie equivalent, and they do just a fine time providing debt to homeowners.

Comment by Blue Skye
2013-03-24 08:16:42

At what terms? Terms that would collapse the housing price bubble I suspect.

Comment by Rental Watch
2013-03-24 08:36:12

There was just a fine housing bubble in other places without GSEs.

The point is that no immediate shut down of the GSEs would fly…too much of a fear of system shock.

But, if they telegraphed, say, rising down payment requirements for the GSEs…up 0.5% per quarter until they are out of business, over time, more lenders would step up over time.

Would it collapse the housing market done this way? No. Would it make the housing finance market more of an actual market? Yes.

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Comment by Blue Skye
2013-03-24 08:49:34

In other words, have the taxpayer follow the market down with the sinking GSEs for the next couple of decades.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 10:49:06

“Would it collapse the housing market done this way? No. Would it make the housing finance market more of an actual market? Yes.”

God forbid replacing top-down command-and-control operation of the mortgage finance system with the return of the free market.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 11:35:08

The stark reality is that without GSEs or some other DC-controlled equivalent housing finance institution propping up home prices with federally-guaranteed lending, the U.S. Coastal bubble zone housing prices would quickly implode, leaving lots of California home owners far deeper underwater than they already are.

And that wouldn’t be fair!

Comment by ecofeco
2013-03-24 12:23:18

No, the real reason Washington DC hasn’t worked to wind down Fannie/Freddie is because it’s propping up many of their investments.

Comment by PeakHubris
2013-03-24 17:40:37

Exactly. Those with the most stand to lose the most. Every politician owns real estate, with many having tens of millions of dollars wrapped up in it.

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Comment by hazard
2013-03-24 06:42:01

Bloomberg, mayor group tout big gun control push

12 hours ago

NEW YORK (AP) — A new $12 million television ad campaign from Mayors Against Illegal Guns will push senators in key states to back gun control efforts, including comprehensive background checks.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the ad buy Saturday — just days after Senate Democrats touted stronger background checks while acknowledging insufficient support to restore a ban on assault-style weapons to federal gun control legislation.

“These ads bring the voices of Americans — who overwhelmingly support comprehensive and enforceable background checks — into the discussion to move senators to immediately take action to prevent gun violence,” Bloomberg said in a statement issued by the group he co-founded in 2006.

The two ads posted on the group’s website, called “Responsible” and “Family,” show a gun owner holding a rifle while sitting on the back of a pickup truck.

In one ad, the man says he’ll defend the Second Amendment but adds “with rights come responsibilities.” The ad then urges viewers to tell Congress to support background checks.

In the other ad, the man, a hunter, says “background checks have nothing to do with taking guns away from anyone.” The man then says closing loopholes will stop criminals and the mentally ill from obtaining weapons.
Bloomberg, Biden warn of political price for opposing weapons ban

By Kasie Hunt and Carrie Dann , NBC News

Days after lawmakers sidelined a proposed assault weapons ban, Vice President Joe Biden and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Thursday offered a stern warning to Congress: there are still political consequences for opposing the measure.

“Even though restrictions on military-style weapons will not be part of the bill that goes to the floor of the U.S. Senate, it will get a vote by the full Senate as an amendment to the bill. And everyone’s going to have to stand up and say yea or nay, and then the rest of us have to decide just how we feel about people and their stands,” Bloomberg said at a New York press conference with Biden and several family members of children killed in last year’s Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. - 60k -
Sorry about the infowars link but for some reason the (AP), CNN, NYT etc. did not run this story.

Decorated Combat Veteran Arrested: Charged With 5 Felonies For Possession of (empty) AR Magazines

Robert Richardson
Off Grid Survival
Feb 1, 2013

In the latest attack on the American people, a decorated War Hero has been arrested and charged with five counts of third degree criminal possession of a weapon, for having empty 30 round AR-15 Magazines in his vehicle. - 51k -

Comment by goon squad
2013-03-24 07:06:42

Bloomberg is SCUM.

It’s not “Mayors Against Illegal Guns”, it’s “Mayors Making Guns Illegal”.

Related piece from the Times:

Comment by goon squad
2013-03-24 07:25:22

Registration, confiscation, extermination.

The grabbers don’t give a sh*t about black kidz wasting each other or whitey committing suicide. They want a disarmed population that is defenseless against a tyrannical government.

“Some experts say mass shootings such as the one in which 20 first-graders and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in December can often be seen as extravagant suicides rather than homicidal rampages. And the young man behind that massacre killed himself before he could be apprehended. Preventing these killings, experts say, requires better treatment of mental health problems and limiting access to weapons.”

Comment by AmazingRuss
2013-03-24 07:52:54

You are already defenseless against the government. Deal with it.

Comment by hazard
2013-03-24 09:23:09

“You are already defenseless against the government. Deal with it.”

I guess mayor Bloomberg doesn`t feel that way, why would you need armed guards to protect you from defenseless people? Again, sorry about the link but for some reason the (AP), CNN, NYT etc. did not run this story.
In the video, Bloomberg is seen surrounded by security. Mattera approaches Bloomberg and asks, “In the spirit of gun control, will you disarm your entire security team?”

Bloomberg’s reply: “Uh, you, we’ll get right back to you.”

“Why can you defend yourself but not the majority of Americans?” Mattera asks as the mayor walks away. “Look at the team of security you’ve got. And you’re an advocate for gun control?”

The video then cuts to Mattera walking further down the street when one of the men guarding Bloomberg, identified as Officer Stockton NYPD, stops Mattera and asks to see his photo ID.

Mattera complies before asking, “Is this standard procedure for the press? Wait, wait, wait, it’s standard procedure to be questioning members of the press?

The officer reaches inside his jacket and grabs a pen, as if to write down the journalist’s name. “You’re going to write it down now?” asks Mattera. “Oh, no, sorry,” says Officer Stockton.

The video then cuts to a scene further down the street where Officer Stockton, trailing Mattera once again, can be heard saying, “Mr. Mattera, sir? Do you have a date of birth?”

“It’s none of your business what my date of birth is,” Mattera replies. - 90k -

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Comment by AmazingRuss
2013-03-24 10:36:38

What has Bloomberg’s security got to do with your self defense?


If they send the cops after you, and you stand and fight, you’re going down, Rambo. It has been this way since before we were born.

What will your next attempted subject change be?

Comment by usury camp resident
2013-03-24 11:17:30


You miss the entire point.

In Nazi Germany, you would have been one of those who wondered how in the h3ll Hitler rose to power.

How does it go?

First they came for the communists, I didn’t…

Comment by hazard
2013-03-24 11:34:40

You said…..

“You are already defenseless against the government.”

Now you say….

“What has Bloomberg’s security got to do with your self defense?”

Then you go on to say….

“If they send the cops after you”

Why would “they”? I have not nor do I plan to do anything wrong or illegal, nor do I paln to harm anyone. If some Amazing person were to attack me I would defend myself if I were armed or not like I always have.

Now what will your next attempted subject change be?

Comment by AmazingRuss
2013-03-24 11:43:00

Looks like I’ve stumbled into a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent.

Comment by hazard
2013-03-24 13:28:05

“Looks like I’ve stumbled into a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent.”

That is what I thought when you couldn`t figure out the point about Bloomberg needing armed guards to protect himself from people you say are defenseless.

Comment by Skroodle
2013-03-24 16:37:55

Hitler was against gun control (except for Jews).

Comment by ahansen
2013-03-24 09:06:27

Sorry haz. New York State passed extremely well-publicized legislation in the 1990’s banning all clips of more than TEN rounds (unless manufactured before 1994.) The recent pending legislation referenced reduced that only to no more than seven round clips.

Natan Haddad may have been a “decorated veteran” who “worked with disabled veterans” but as such he most certainly was aware that being in possession of five (FIVE?) 30-round clips in NY was a huge no-no. As always, there’s more to the story than the hysterical headlines.

Several days ago someone posted about “jack-booted thugs” who brought child services to the door of an innocent eleven-year-old who had posted a picture of himself with his tricked-out .22 on his Facebook page.

Omitted from the shrill copy presented here (and for which I could find no reputable news citation other than a “Northeastern gun owners” blog link given with the post), was the fact that the father had “his” Second Amendment attorney on SPEED DIAL of his cell phone, and that in this time of cutback and furlough, CPS doesn’t routinely go to the time and expense of rounding up two services workers, two ATF officers and four sheriff’s deputies to investigate a neighbor’s complaint about child abuse. Maybe there’s more to it than what’s posted on some anonymous blog?

Think, people.

PS. This in no way excuses the illegal actions of a hyper-vigilant DA’s office. (See: Waco, Ruby Ridge.) These people had plenty of time to obtain a warrant.

Comment by hazard
2013-03-24 09:45:21

“Think, people.”

You know you are right. A few years back when I took my Florida CCW class the instructor who was a local policeman went over how you could travel with a gun on the airlines in the United States as long as the firearm was unloaded, the ammo was in a seperate suitcase and you told the airline ahead of time. One dude raises his hand and asks…. So when I fly into New York where he was abrubtly stopped by the instructor….. I said the United States not New York.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-03-24 13:47:02

Little known fact: Just prior to the formalization of the USA as an independent nation, New York fought hard to become the capital and has not ever given up since.

Money wise, they ARE the de facto capital.

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Comment by hazard
2013-03-24 14:18:33

“Little known fact:”

That was no where near as good as your last “Little known fact:” But you are pretty good with little known facts.

Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2013-03-24 18:29:18

That was no where near as good as your last “Little known fact:”

What did I miss??

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-03-24 06:45:46

Future of the Housing Market Is ‘A Great Unknown’: Robert Shiller

There’s no doubt the housing market is recovering. New and existing home sales are well above the levels of a year ago and inventories are at their lowest level in 13 years. Plus, home prices are 7% higher than they were a year ago, according to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller report.

But along with this good news are growing concerns that another bubble is forming in the housing market. Feeding those fears is a growing number of all-cash purchases for homes—primarily by speculators. They account for 27% or more of existing home sales every month over the past year, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Related: Housing ‘Taking a Breath’ as Starts and Confidence Decline

The housing market “is becoming more of a speculative asset,” says Robert Shiller, co-creator of the S&P/Case-Shiller Index and a professor of economics and finance at Yale University. He expects the market will advance in the short-run but beyond that there’s “a great unknown.”

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-03-24 06:51:35

90% of Foreclosed Properties Held Off the Market

“With 20-30 million excess empty housing units in the US, housing demand fallen to 1997 levels and household formation at multi-decade lows, housing prices have a very long way to fall.”

Comment by azdude
2013-03-24 07:04:08

prices in certain ares of north county san diego are back to bubble levels. prices are not falling in s cal. everyone wants to live in CA.

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-03-24 07:07:36

And with demand at 1997 levels.

I can ask $30k for my 10 year old dated and worn out honda civic….. but there’s no demand for that either.

Comment by azdude
2013-03-24 07:20:51

demand is booming. people are lining up to buy houses in san diego. is that demand artificial too? bidding wars breaking out so price must be right. I am the messenger.

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Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-03-24 11:20:56

And with demand at 1997 levels.

Housing prices were rising in 1997. Why lie?

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Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-03-24 11:54:13

Wrong again.

Prices were flat and affordable in 1997.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-03-24 15:18:49
Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-03-24 15:36:44

And you got caught lying again.

Inflation adjusted prices were flat my friend.

Comment by tresho
2013-03-24 08:03:10

everyone wants to live in CA and they are willing to pay any price and bear any burden to do so, as long as they can continue to complain about how expensive things are there.

Comment by azdude
2013-03-24 10:41:02

the prices in north county san diego are out of control imo but I’m not the one buying there. not sure where the money is coming from. million dollar homes not uncommon. 600k for starter homes if you can find one. Everyone wants to be near the ocean I guess.

I wonder how many times most of these people actually go to the beach?

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Comment by rms
2013-03-24 11:02:56

“not sure where the money is coming from.”

Seriously? :)

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 11:06:22

Mexican criminals laundering money?


Jailed Mexican labor leader linked to properties in San Diego County Mexican labor leader charged with embezzlement linked to properties in S.D. County
By Sandra Dibble & Lily Leung • U-T
12:01 a.m.March 24, 2013
Updated8:40 p.m.March 23, 2013

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-03-24 06:55:16

“The Truth About The ‘Housing Bottom’: Home Prices Across The Northeast Are In Total Freefall

With housing demand at 1997 levels and falling,there is no bottom in sight.

If you buy a house today at current grossly inflated asking prices, you’re going to lose so much money that you’ll never recover from the loss.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 10:51:25

“The Truth About The ‘Housing Bottom’: Home Prices Across The Northeast Are In Total Freefall”

Sounds like a particularly bad time to conduct a Dutch auction housing sale in the Northeast, as the longer your home doesn’t sell, the farther the price has to drop to find a buyer.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-03-24 07:05:51

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.

With millions of excess empty houses and housing demand at 17 year lows, housing prices have a long way to fall. A very long way to fall.

Comment by azdude
2013-03-24 07:26:44

they will not let home prices crash. just look what lowering interest rates from 6 to 3% has done for prices. we have 3% to go to zero if needed.

all it takes is one house in the neighborhood to raise everyones price.

Stocks and homes are the economy.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 11:19:11

“…we have 3% to go to zero if needed.”

There is plenty of room for more hair-of-the-dog housing stimulus to come…

Comment by ahansen
2013-03-24 09:09:18

I liked it better when you just posted slogans….

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-03-24 10:13:20

You just don’t like the truth.

Comment by ahansen
2013-03-24 11:41:47

The truth, repeated ad nauseam, starts to suggest propaganda.

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Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-03-24 11:53:09

And lies, repeated ad nauseam, suggests what?

Comment by ahansen
2013-03-24 12:02:53

Never confuse methodology with veracity.

Here’s a fascinating (and admirable) demonstration:

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-03-24 12:49:03

It’s a real question.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-03-24 15:21:51

And lies, repeated ad nauseam, suggests what?

That Pimp Watch is posting… ALOT?

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-03-24 15:33:58

Your seaside shanty in the slums is bleeding you dry? Thought so.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-03-24 20:55:58

Your seaside shanty in the slums is bleeding you dry?

Yes…every month when I have to pay less in total than your monthly car insurance. It was 80 today. Getting cold.

Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2013-03-25 00:53:05

Yes…every month when I have to pay less in total than your monthly car insurance.

That cheap??? How?

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-03-25 04:58:46

Of course it’s not. He’s a liar.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2013-03-25 15:52:37

Yes…every month when I have to pay less in total than your monthly car insurance………..That cheap??? How?

Of course it’s not. He’s a liar.

I’m not a liar. Pimp is married so he has 2-3 cars and probably decent ones. Where he lives car insurance is expensive.

My house is paid for 100%. Property taxes are low where I live and based on low cost’s from years ago.There really isn’t any homeowner’s insurance worth buying here so I don’t. My house is new and built from 100% stone/masonry and reinforced concrete with a tile roof. This house could last 200 years with upkeep but there is very little upkeep costs so far. (Yesterday I did have to spend $10 on D batteries for my flash water heater.)

There is no need to heat houses here and I use big ceiling fans and use air conditioning 4-5 months a year at night in a couple bedrooms with highly efficient window units.

Yes, my monthly fixed housing costs are less than the car insurance on a couple’s decent cars in the expensive parts of the USA - and less than golden insurance on one expensive car around NYC. But I paid for this reality buy paying cash for my new, well built house.

Comment by San Diego RE Bear
2013-03-24 07:21:00

(I’m hoping I have the date right.)

Happy Birthday Ben!!!!!!!

I hope you have a fantastic year and make it out to the (surprisingly snowy today) midwest soon!

Just remember: You’re not another year older….you’re another year closer to affordable housing! :D

Comment by ahansen
2013-03-24 09:14:17

My sources corroborate.

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday you muckraking agitator….
Happy Birthday tooooo yoooouuuuu.

(with a swift smack on the rear for luck) :-)

Have a grand one, Ben!

Comment by hazard
2013-03-24 10:52:07

The Muppet Show Band “Happy Birthday” - YouTube - 198k - Cached - Similar pages

Dixieland birthday song especially for you from the Muppet band and the HBB

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 11:13:47

I wish this were my string quartet, but it isn’t.

Happy Birthday Variations

Comment by Mugsy
2013-03-24 12:35:42

Happy Birthday Ben! Please send all of your surplus Euros to the following address:

Cyprus 3090

Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2013-03-24 18:43:07

Happy Birthday, Ben! Hope your day is a fine one… :-)

Comment by Happy2bHeard
2013-03-24 22:42:21

Happy birthday, Ben! I hope you have many more happy ones ahead of you.

Comment by hazard
2013-03-24 11:20:44


The Muppets - Animal & Rita Moreno - Fever.avi - YouTube - 188k -

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 11:43:54

Parents: Beware the student debt trap form of moral hazard. (Speaking to myself as well as anyone else who cares to heed my warning…)

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 11:45:17

March 24, 2013

Parent Trap: What to Know Before Taking a College Loan

Diana Jackson had no student debt when she got her Bachelor’s degree from Miami University in Ohio in 1982. But when her daughter graduated from the school in 2011, Ms. Jackson was stuck with about $33,000 in parent loans.

The 51-year-old now faces a monthly payment of nearly $800.

“I’m now looking at being in my mid-70s before I get that paid off,” says Ms. Jackson, an adjunct professor at a community college in Columbus, Ohio. “I am at the point in my life where I would like to be doing some of the things I really want to do. When you’ve got what is essentially another house payment, you can’t do that.”

It’s a harsh math lesson that’s becoming all too common for parents of college kids as incomes stagnate, saving becomes more and more difficult and college costs soar.

This is the time of year when college financial-aid letters start rolling in. And taking out loans will be tempting for parents if Junior’s college savings, parental contributions and student loans fail to cover the tuition bill. But doing so without a plan to pay off the debt in a reasonable amount of time and not give short shrift to retirement savings can be financially devastating—especially since the terms of parent loans can be onerous.

Generally, parents shouldn’t borrow more than they can reasonably repay in 10 years, or before they retire, whichever is sooner, says Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of financial-aid website

Still, more parents are borrowing. Over 17% of graduates in the 2011-12 academic year had parent Plus loans borrowed for them, which are loans available directly from the federal government, each with an average $33,800, according to estimates based on U. S. Department of Education data. That’s up from 13% with about $23,300 on average in the 2007-08 academic year.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 12:12:25

March 23, 2013, 10:08 p.m. ET
Other People’s Money

Let’s face it: $300,000 a year isn’t enough.

When Federico Buenrostro Jr. left his post as chief executive of the world’s largest pension fund in June 2008, he said he was retiring from public service “to pursue private-sector opportunities.” He was making only about $300,000 a year in an industry where executives at his level made millions.

Never mind that before landing the top job at the California Public Employees’ Retirement System he was just a bureaucrat, the No. 2 guy in the Department of Personnel Administration in California. You take a pencil pusher, ask him to watch over nearly a quarter trillion dollars of other people’s money, and bam, the value of his alleged contributions to society just skyrockets.

When Mr. Buenrostro cut the cord at Calpers, it wasn’t because investment performance was slipping; it wasn’t because of dicey real-estate investments at the top of the market; nor was it because of divisiveness on Calpers’s board—all of which the press and others speculated. “Media speculation about reasons for my departure are unwarranted and incorrect,” Mr. Buenrostro said.

The day after Mr. Buenrostro left Calpers, he went to work for a firm called Arvco Capital Research in Nevada. Arvco had been founded by Mr. Buenrostro’s friend and former Calpers board member Alfred J. Villalobos.

Arvco was an agent that helped private-equity funds get a hold of the pension savings of public employees—the little people’s money that big people like to play with.

Last week, a federal grand jury in San Francisco charged Mr. Buenrostro, 64, and Mr. Villalobos, 69, with fraud. The indictment alleges the two forged documents to certify to federal regulators that Arvco had obtained required disclosure letters from Calpers to serve as a placement agent. The indictment says these faked documents allowed Arvco to bag $14 million in fees for getting Calpers to funnel money to New York-based private-equity firm Apollo Global Management.

Apollo uses the money to invest in all kinds of important companies. For instance, it owns burger joints Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s. Last week, a bankruptcy-court judge approved its investment in Twinkies, Ding Dongs and whatever else is left of Hostess Brands.

The allegations match lawsuits already filed by California and federal regulators. One day, these guys were calling themselves public servants, the next they were collecting fees for getting the savings of public employees into private-equity firms.

Corrupt as this may sound, it would have been perfectly OK if they’d received the required permissions. Prosecutors alleged they forged that part. They deny wrongdoing.

Comment by palmetto
2013-03-24 13:33:29

And then there was Jeb Bush’s involvement with Lehman, a few short months after he left office. Of course, that linkage has never been really explored.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-03-24 13:41:32

Sounds like they pissed off the wrong people and didn’t pay the right “tribute.”

Comment by The Great Realtor RipOff
2013-03-24 13:24:36

Resale Housing: “The Great realtor Rip-Off

Comment by CRATER!!!!
2013-03-24 13:39:06


That’s the sound of housing prices crashing through the floor in your neighborhood.

Buyer beware.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 14:36:20

‘Fess up: How many of our female posters and self-disrespecting male posters would vote for Hillary Clinton if she were the Democratic candidate in the next presidential race, just for the chance to see a female in the WH for the first time in history?

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 14:38:04

Hillary Clinton has a duty to run for president
By Kathleen Parker
Washington Post
Published: Sunday, Mar. 24, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 5E

No matter what Barack Obama does, he cannot escape the shadow of his former political opponent.

Hillary Clinton, back from her global travels visiting places and peoples hardly heard of on this continent, is stealing the spotlight without even touching the stage.

President Barack Obama visits the Middle East, makes history as he speaks war to Syria and Iran, and peace to Israelis and Palestinians, and the talk back home circles The Big Question: Will Hillary run?

The former first lady, the former senator and now the former secretary of state is everywhere – and nowhere to be seen. Sent away by this president upon his unlikely victory in 2008 against the Clinton machine and the inevitable first woman president, Hillary is back.

Few people – and far fewer women – have attracted so much attention as Hillary Clinton. She carries the unique burden of being something to everyone: Loved, despised, admired, feared, a role model, a terrifying omen, politician, mother, wife, nemesis, scold, muse. She is a conundrum of one.

And she is running for president. Isn’t she?

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 14:41:56

Her husband was a lot younger and more likable when he ran for the office.

Is Hillary Clinton too old to run for president, or is that just sexist and ageist?
The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Feb. 27 2013, 2:32 PM EST
Last updated Thursday, Feb. 28 2013, 2:22 PM EST

She still hasn’t said whether she will seek the Democratic nomination in the next U.S. presidential election, but Hillary Clinton is already under the microscope over about how old she would be when she hypothetically took office.

The former secretary of state (2009-2013), U.S. senator (2001-2009) and First Lady (1993-2001) has nowhere else to go in American politics other than to be the first woman to run for president under the banner of one of the two major parties. She lost that chance to President Barack Obama when he won the Democratic nomination in 2008 and, even though she continues to play coy, as any politician would at this point, it’s highly conceivable that she will take one more stab at it in November 2016, when she will be 69. (Her birthday is in October.)

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 14:56:59

“…under the banner of one of the two major parties.”

Since this article suggested the possibility, what are the prospects of the Republicans fielding Hillary Clinton as their candidate in the 2016 election?

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 14:59:49

Interesting, possibly-relevant fact: Romney will also be 69 in 2016.

Why not a Romney-Clinton ticket?

Comment by Happy2bHeard
2013-03-24 16:21:54

As far as her age is concerned, I think her health will have a lot to do with whether she is a viable candidate in 2016. Much like Chris Christie’s weight, her recent troubles with flu/dehydration and fall repercussions raise questions.

Still, Cheney’s heart issues did not keep him from being a heartbeat away from the Presidency. But perhaps being the Vice Presidential candidate, health was not as much of an issue as it would be for a Presidential candidate.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 14:47:03

If the GOP could lose their ‘gang that can’t shoot straight’ neocon heavies who dictate the candidate vetting process to the non-extremist majority of their party, perhaps they could find opportunity to regain the WH in a Hillary Clinton candidacy.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 14:52:09

Hoping the aging fraternity of out-of-touch wealthy white guys will somehow rise above the political fray to capture the hearts of the rainbow-colored American electorate ain’t gonna cut it.

RNC Post-Election Report A Line In The Sand For Divided GOP
by Ron Elving
March 19, 201310:31 AM

The release of a “postmortem” report on the 2012 national election by the Republican National Committee is either the first step toward the GOP’s recovery or the latest sign that the party is headed for a breakup.

Or, it could be both.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus put out a hard-eyed assessment of the state of his party, excoriating failures of communication, messaging, voter mobilization and, most of all, candidate selection and preparation.

“The Republican Party needs to stop talking to itself,” Priebus said. “We have become expert in how to provide ideological reinforcement to like-minded people, but devastatingly we have lost the ability to be persuasive with or welcoming to those who do not agree with us on every issue.”

Stern Criticism

The report is replete with tough love, even suggesting there is too much money being spent on TV ads and too much time going to TV debates among rival Republicans. Anyone who watched the more than 20 debates among the candidates for the 2012 nomination can attest to this.

By the time he was the nominee, Mitt Romney had found it necessary to position himself well to the right of the political center — largely renouncing his own career and issue history.

That and the heavy media concentration on provocative remarks made by Romney and others down the party’s candidate roster created the image lambasted in the RNC report. Pollsters had found younger Americans, in particular, regarding the Republicans as a collection of “stuffy old men” who tend to be white and partial to the privileged.

Despite all the negativity, Priebus insisted the party had bright spots to celebrate and positive assets to build upon. The GOP’s near-record number of Republican governors (30) looks solid heading into 2014, as does the party’s majority in the House. There’s at least a 50-50 chance the party can capture control of the Senate next year.

Moreover, the report from Priebus strongly asserts that with the right moves — including upgrades in its operations and renewed outreach to minorities and women — the party can be back in the White House after 2016.

Comment by Happy2bHeard
2013-03-24 16:38:27

“renewed outreach to minorities and women”

If that renewed outreach does not include rethinking some of their policy positions, then I think it will fail.

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Comment by azdude
2013-03-24 17:11:17

give people free stuff and they will vote for you.

Comment by Happy2bHeard
2013-03-24 20:27:20

Free stuff is your best response? That is so lame.

They should try backing off on voter suppression and fetal personhood (that could not even pass a voter referendum in that bastion of liberal thinking known as Mississippi).

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 15:26:25

Log Cabin Republicans may finally be on the brink of enjoying their day in the sun.

Karl Rove: ‘I Could’ Imagine A GOP Presidential Candidate Supporting Gay Marriage
By George Stephanopoulos
Mar 24, 2013 12:36pm

Fox News contributor and former Bush deputy chief of staff Karl Rove said this morning on “This Week” that he can imagine a future Republican presidential candidate supporting gay marriage.

When asked, “Can you imagine the next presidential campaign, a Republican candidate saying flat out I am for gay marriage?” Rove responded “I could.”

Rove’s comment came days after Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman, whom Mitt Romney considered as a running mate in the 2012 election, announced that he had shifted his position and supported gay marriage. The vast majority of Republicans in Congress do not support same-sex marriage. Portman is the only sitting Republican senator to support same-sex marriage.

Comment by Blue Skye
2013-03-24 17:30:09

Personally, I think this is one issue that the government should have no involvement in, the way it is worded. Marriage is a church issue. For the government to avoid involvement in religion, let them allow “financial partnerships” that can take whatever form the citizen desires.

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Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2013-03-24 18:50:06

Marriage is a church issue.

Agreed, it should be.

However, with our current tax code, it is also a tax issue…

Comment by Blue Skye
2013-03-24 20:08:20

For tax purposes, why shouldn’t I be able to declare any person who is part of my household economy as a codependant? The IRS shouldn’t care if it is a sexual partnership or not, or if it is a traditional sexual relationship or no sexual relationship at all.

Comment by Happy2bHeard
2013-03-24 20:34:44

Unfortunately, there are other issues. Gay partners have been excluded from medical decisions and funerals.

Comment by Blue Skye
2013-03-24 20:43:50

What do you mean by excluded from medical decisions? I am health proxy for one of my parents and one of my children. That doesn’t require a “marriage”.

Maybe you meant partner’s employer health benefits.

Call me crazy, but I won’t be protesting if I am denied funerals.

Comment by Happy2bHeard
2013-03-24 22:40:05

I don’t have all of the details, but I have heard of cases where the parents of one partner denied the other access to her on her death bed. And then subsequently denied her access to the funeral. I don’t know if there was a legal partnership in place at the time or if they had health proxies for each other.

Comment by Happy2bHeard
2013-03-24 16:31:44

I would not vote for her solely because she is female. As In 2008, I would base my decision on whether I thought she were the strongest candidate.

At this point, she is the strongest female candidate of either party.

If the Republican party were to become more reasonable on social and fiscal issues, I would consider voting for a Republican. But in their current incarnation, the Republicans are too far right for me to support them. IMHO, they are wrong on all of the crucial issues.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 17:34:14

God bless. Hopefully the majority of the American electorate is as rational and responsible as you are.

P.S. I will also vote for Hillary if I think she is the strongest candidate.

Comment by ahansen
2013-03-24 23:21:17

Depends on who she’s running against. If she runs. Which she won’t.

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-03-24 16:34:17

Isn’t it interesting with all the efforts to prevent a deflationary spiral, deflation is still raging…..

Comment by Blue Skye
2013-03-24 21:07:26

That’s not an easy sell to people who gauge such things on the price of yogurt and gasoline, or the Trueliar estimate of their mortgaged digs in San Diego. Money itself has never been cheaper to the debtor, though payment has never been more dear.

Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2013-03-25 00:56:29

Money itself has never been cheaper to the debtor, though payment has never been more dear.


Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 17:45:29

EU deal emerging to shut Cyprus bank, inflict losses
By Annika Breidthardt and Jan Strupczewski
BRUSSELS | Sun Mar 24, 2013 8:36pm EDT

(Reuters) - Cyprus reached an outline deal with international lenders for a 10 billion euro ($13 billion) bailout that would shut down its second largest bank and inflict heavy losses on uninsured depositors, an EU spokesman said early on Monday.

The tentative deal emerged after fraught negotiations between President Nicos Anastasiades and heads of the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund - hours before a deadline to avert a collapse of the banking system.

The draft proposal, which still has to be approved by euro zone finance ministers, would save the Mediterranean island from financial meltdown by winding down Popular Bank of Cyprus, also known as Laiki, and shifting deposits below 100,000 euros to the Bank of Cyprus to create a “good bank”.

Deposits above 100,000 euros, which under EU law are not guaranteed, would be frozen and used to resolve debts, and Laiki would effectively be shuttered. The EU spokesman said no levy would be imposed on any deposits in Cypriot banks.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 17:51:35

Lots of Democrats want DeMarco fired if he doesn’t hand out $100K+ in writedowns to underwater home owners.

White House Urged to Fire a Housing Regulator

Published: March 17, 2013

WASHINGTON — Prominent state attorneys general are calling on President Obama to fire the acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency and name a new permanent director, arguing that current policies are impeding the economic recovery.

Under its current leader, Edward J. DeMarco, the F.H.F.A., which oversees the bailed-out mortgage financiers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, has refused to put in place a White House proposal to reduce the principal on so-called underwater mortgages — a move that might prevent foreclosures and thus save the mortgage giants money, but also might expose taxpayers to additional losses.

Led by Eric T. Schneiderman of New York and Martha Coakley of Massachusetts, the attorneys general argue that writing down the principal on underwater mortgages — those where the outstanding mortgage is greater than the current value of the home — would aid the recovery. They note that write-downs were a central part of a multibillion-dollar mortgage settlement that 49 state attorneys general negotiated with five major banks a year ago. And they say the White House should name a director to take that action.

“Our nation’s economy will never fully recover until we address this foreclosure crisis,” Ms. Coakley said in a statement. “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been an obstacle to progress for far too long, and it is time for new leadership and a new direction to ensure that homeowners receive this important relief.”

Mr. DeMarco has held the position at the head of the F.H.F.A for more than three years. In the last year, especially, he has clashed with the administration over the issue of write-downs, also called principal forgiveness.

The Treasury Department has argued that write-downs would save money by reducing the chances homeowners would default. An F.H.F.A. analysis released last year seemed to show that a carefully directed program could save Fannie and Freddie money. But Mr. DeMarco has rejected the idea on the grounds that it would expose taxpayers to more losses. Fannie and Freddie have already required tens of billions of dollars of taxpayer aid.

The administration has frequently criticized Mr. DeMarco’s decision. “F.H.F.A. is an independent federal agency, and I recognize that, as its acting director, you have the sole legal authority to make this decision,” Timothy F. Geithner, who stepped down as Treasury secretary in January, wrote Mr. DeMarco last year. “However, I do not believe it is the best decision for the country.”

Yet the White House has failed to replace Mr. DeMarco.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 17:54:37

Beware the Kondratiev tsunami!

The Coming Crash In The Bond Market

Mar 10 2013, 09:22

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. (More…)

It is my contention that the 70-year debt supercycle has come to an end.

To put the current financial situation in perspective, here’s a long-term history of the debt-to-GDP ratio, which reached a record high at the beginning of the current crisis. It was a dramatic change in 2009, unlike anything since the aftermath of the Great Depression.

Comment by Blue Skye
2013-03-24 20:54:10


I’ve been asking for years if the Biggest Credit Expansion in history is over and you have been silent!

Hey, didn’t you buy long some bonds just a few days ago?

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 23:46:16

I believe it is quite tricky. There seems to me a pretty good chance the stock market is getting way ahead of the recovery and will come tumbling down within the next seven months, which would hammer interest rates down one more time and give bonds another leg up.

Comment by Cantankerous Intellectual Bomb Thrower™
2013-03-24 17:58:53

Warning Stock and Bond Market Crash
Stock-Markets / Financial Crash Mar 22, 2013 - 04:06 PM GMT
By: Dr_Martenson

After the shot across the bow in 2008, you might have expected that regulators and market participants would use the experience to change for the better, to become more prudent, and to reduce the sorts of risky behaviors that almost crashed the entire system.

Unfortunately, you’d be wrong.

LTCM and Moral Hazard

In 1998, there was a firm called Long-Term Capital Management (LTCM, as it is commonly referred to today), staffed by the best of the best, including one of the very top bond traders that Wall Street ever produced as well as two future Nobel laureates.

LTCM boasted of its use of complex models that were supposed to generate outsized returns while operating with a risk-minimizing profile that, mathematically, was only supposed to experience severe losses so infrequently that the periods between them would be measured in the thousands of years.

Unfortunately for LTCM, their models badly underestimated real risks, and their leverage was such that their original $1 billion in capital turned into total losses of $4.6 billion in a little over four years, nearly dragging down the entire financial system in the process.

While this experience has much to teach us in the way of market risk, hubris, and the dangers of leverage, it really needs to be understood in terms of the rise of moral hazard on Wall Street. The main lesson that Wall Street seems to have learned from the LTCM disaster is that if the wipe-out was big enough, the Federal Reserve would swoop in and rescue things.

Message received: Go big or go home. Take on as much risk as possible, secure in the knowledge that if things got bad enough, the Fed would simply print up what was necessary to make all the players whole again, with perhaps one core player or institution thrown under the bus for the sake of appearances.

Fast forward to 2008, and that exact experience was replicated perfectly, thereby reinforcing Wall Street’s perception that it is best rewarded by chasing big risks and big returns. And if things didn’t go as hoped, the good ol’ Fed would always be there to push the Reset button.

Since nobody of consequence went to prison after the overt fraud and excesses of the housing bubble were revealed, and no bank had to give back a single penny of their ill-gotten and outlandish profits related to such behaviors, one does not have to be a genius to guess what happened next.

Banks took the taxpayer funds, paid themselves gigantic bonuses, and immediately began taking on huge new risks. I mean, why not? If you had a rich uncle that promised to let you keep any gains from your trading portfolio but would absorb any losses you might incur, you’d soon be swinging for the fences like a pro.
Back to the Future

This is why today, instead of having been reduced, financial risks loom larger than ever. It’s why the next downturn will be just as bad – if not worse – than the last one. Nothing has been learned, and nothing has been changed. The most basic of human behaviors, the tendency towards moral hazard (so well understood by the insurance industry) has been completely overlooked by the Fed. Once again, that institution, entrusted with so much, has been exposed as being rather intellectually shallow, or at least devoid of common sense.

I’ll leave you with this: The very same Fed that could not and did not see that a housing bubble was forming is now equally complacent about corporate bond yields touching all-time record lows across the entire spectrum, right down to CCC junk that sits one skinny notch above default. Stocks are for show, but bonds are for dough – and with bonds now priced for perfection if not for something even better, there’s no room for error.

Comment by AnnGogh
2013-03-24 20:06:25

Mismanaged State Pensions Bill Taxpayers for Shortfall

Photo: iStockphoto/The Fiscal Times

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March 22, 2013
For years, state and local governments have been playing imaginative or patently dishonest games with their pension funds, thinking they could get away with it. But now the chickens are coming home to roost, as federal authorities have begun cracking down on corruption and mismanagement.

The modus operandi was much the same in state after state: government officials underfunding or skimming retiree pension funds to meet other more immediate costs; financial officers papering over or hiding the extent of the funding shortfalls; and private financial managers exaggerating the return they could deliver on pension fund investments while often leaving the fund vulnerable to unexpected market swings.
State pensions, still feeling the pain of the Great Recession, are now underfunded to the tune of more than $4 trillion, according to State Budget Solutions, a non-partisan fiscal watchdog.
In the past week alone, government officials and private investment groups with major government contracts have learned hard lessons about the risks of playing fast and loose with the government retirement systems:
• The Securities and Exchange Commission charged Illinois with securities fraud following years in which state officials misled investors and shortchanged the state pension system and stuck future generations of taxpayers with the staggering bill. The suit was part of a larger push by the SEC to bring greater transparency and accountability to the municipal bond market, according to the Wall Street Journal.
• A federal grand jury indicted the former CEO and former board member of the $232 billion California Public Employees’ Retirement System on bribery and influence peddling charges. The indictment accuses them of unduly using their influence to defraud a giant equity firm of millions of dollars.
• The nearly bankrupt city of Detroit was placed under a state financial overseer after years of mismanagement, corruption and obfuscation of major obligations – including billions of dollars in retiree health costs. Federal authorities meanwhile charged two former pension officials with bribery and accepting kickbacks.
These are arguably among the worst cases of state and municipal malfeasance in the handling of public employees’ vital pension programs, but experts say they represent the tip of the iceberg. Around the country, state and local governments are cutting corners and taking big chances to meet pension investment goals. Absent reforms or a turnabout in current practices, many state employees will end up with far less than promised when they retire.
“There are a lot of governmental pension plans that have been chronically underfunded, and this is a big problem,” said Chester Spatt, a former chief economist for the SEC and now the director of the Center for Financial Markets at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business.
A big part of the problem has been shoddy accounting practices by state and municipal officials who have operated with fewer restraints than financial officers in the private sector, Spatt said. Moreover, many states and local governments have misled investors by exaggerating the projected return on their bonds and securities.

Nowhere is the problem greater than in Illinois, where Democratic Gov. Patrick Quinn is facing the biggest crisis of his administration. Quinn inherited the budget crisis when he took office back in January 2011, at a time when many state governments were struggling to make ends meet.
Quinn and the Democrat controlled state legislature moved swiftly to pass a major tax increase to offset a budget deficit of at least $12 billion, or about 34 percent of the $35 billion general fund budget – plus another $6 billion of debt carried over from the previous year. That debt consisted of unpaid bills to public universities, schools, social service agencies, druggists and vendors.
On top of that, the state employee pension fund was woefully underfunded to the tune of $80 to $90 billion, and the state’s once shining credit rating was dangerously on the skids, which meant paying high interest rates to borrow money. “It’s the enormity of the deficit,” when compared to the overall budget, that sets Illinois apart from many other states, Richard F. Dye, of the University of Illinois’ Institute of Government, said at the time.
Even with the new tax revenue in place, Illinois has struggled to address its long term pension program problems. Standard & Poor’s downgraded Illinois Jan. 25 to A-, six steps below AAA, after lawmakers were unable to whittle down a backlog of $9 billion of unpaid bills or produce a plan to shore up the pensions, which have just 39 percent of assets needed to cover projected obligations, according to Bloomberg. No other U.S. state has a ratio that low.

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But the illegal practices that triggered last week’s SEC sanctions date back to 2005 and the administration of disgraced – and now imprisoned – Democratic governor Rod Blagojevich. The SEC charged that the state misled investors from 2005 to 2009 about shortfalls in retirement funds. Illinois failed to disclose how much it was underfunding its plans as it sold $2.2 billion in bonds, according to the SEC. The fifth-most-populous state became the second to settle over such charges. New Jersey resolved a similar case in 2010, as did San Diego in 2006.
Illinois neither admitted nor denied the SEC’s findings in the settlement, which didn’t include fines, according to a statement from Quinn’s Office of Management and Budget. However, the state is paying a steep price for its misdeeds in operating the pension fund. Investors demand 1.3 percentage points of extra yield to own 10-year debt of the state and its localities, almost seven times the average in 2005, when the SEC said the inadequate disclosure began.
“I can tell you it’s troubling because we have made promises we can’t keep in Illinois,” said Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill, the second-ranking Democrat in the U.S. Senate. “And the people who are affected by those promises have done everything they were asked to do. They’ve made all the payments they were expected to make, and many of them are in a vulnerable position personally.”

For years, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) was considered one of the best run in the nation. It was the largest public fund, with nearly $180 billion in assets at the end of 2008. It served 1.6 million workers, and had a reputation for taking a careful, balanced investment approach that provided consistent returns. Also absent were rumors of corruption.
That all changed in 2011, when the Justice Department launched an investigation into how the fund was managed. What followed was a scandal that followed a familiar script: former CalPERS CEO Federico Buenrostro Jr. and former board member Alfred J.R. Villalobos steered money to Wall Street investment houses in exchange for payouts. They also conspired to hide the payments, creating false document trails to mislead investigators.
According to Edward Siedle, a forensic expert who specializes in pension fraud crimes, the crimes committed in the CalPERS scandal are common in cases of pension abuse. He said lack of sufficient regulation allows board members to act without oversight.
“Funds aren’t regulated by any comprehensive federal or state laws. They’re subject to a patchwork or quilt of city, state or county laws that more often than not don’t have the power to oversee fund activities,” he said. “If you want to know if a fund can invest in derivatives, there’s almost certainly no law that requires the board to tell you.”
Siedle also said that the very make up of pension boards invite the prospect of mismanagement. “Pensions boards are composed of firefighters, kindergarten teachers, and garbage collectors,” he said. “There is no requirement that these boards require any kind of financial expertise.”
But mismanagement does not just exist on the public side, Siedle said. Money managers know they aren’t dealing with the most sophisticated investors when they pitch pension boards. They often oversell projected returns, making promises that they are unlikely to keep.
“It is often said that public pension boards are the dumbest investors in the room. If you want to pitch a billion dollar scam, are you better pitching it to a wealthy person or a bunch of schoolteachers or firefighters?” Siedle asked. The burden falls on taxpayers when money managers fail to deliver.
The financial crisis that led Republican Gov. Rick Snyder to installing bankruptcy attorney Kevyn Orr as emergency czar of Detroit last week was decades in the making and had much to do with an economy buffeted by a declining auto industry, white flight to the suburbs, widespread poverty and crime, and government corruption. But a state-appointed review board also found astounding examples of government mismanagement, particularly in the handling of employee pension and retiree health programs.
These included the hiding of $7.2 billion in retiree health costs until it was discovered by an outside consultant in 2005 and the use of tricks to hold down salary costs in the short term by offering employees inflated pension programs down the road without the resources to make good on them.
Last week, Ronald Zajac, the long-time general counsel of Detroit’s two pension funds, and Paul Stewart, a former trustee of Detroit’s Police and Fire Retirement System, were indicted on federal charges of taking part in a bribery and kickback scheme involving more than $200 million in Detroit pension fund investments.
A distraught Mayor Dave Bing issued a statement saying Detroiters deserved honest government, and that “when the public trust is betrayed, justice must prevail.”

This story was updated at 11:30 a.m.



Comment by AnnGogh
2013-03-24 20:32:33

Bank Manager Verifies Cash Withdrawal Limits & Reduced Hours Coming To US Banks Within 60 Days

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 22:19

Just received a call from a highly agitated bank manager who stated that within 60 days, banks will be greatly reducing their hours, days of operation, amount of withdrawals and a requirement to fill out “paperwork” if the amount is questioned by bank officials. Unless the form is completed, money will not be disbursed. What really irritated this manager is that after hearing our statements on the air, and receiving years of assurance that our positions and contacts were so much bravo sierra, now he hears from corporate people that it is apparently true after all. He said, “screw them, grab the money while you can.” The parameters given were banks open two days a week for four to five hours with below minimum staffs, increased security and greatly reduced amounts of actual cash in the vault. Amount of withdrawal will be held to $500-2000 per day per customer account–not customer. So my account could only have either my wife or I withdraw, not both. That level could change at ANY time. There is no plan (at least known) for automatic confiscation from accounts–yet, and he said that the banks hold the “ownership” authority and final disposition of any items found in safety deposit boxes. (surprise, surprise!) Withholding mortgage payments could result in expedited (30) day foreclosures and 15 day Sheriff’s locks on your front door.
The Federal Reserve could and will initiate other more draconian restrictions on all aspects of “private” banking and access to any property held by banks. It could include forfeiture of your primary (paid for) residence if your summer cottage has a mortgage and you fail to pony up to keeping it current or any forthcoming restrictions on your accounts.
Clearly, the only option is to close accounts or only keep funds that can be paid instantly to keep electric, water, or other critical accounts paid. Cash will be drying up—so, unless people hold precious metals, bullets (the new currency) or medicines, etc., you are screwed. Barter will be king. As the Colonel said yesterday, “the universe is contracting into the black hole. There is no way to escape its pull.” (Political/economic/social order black hole) Received at 1545 hours
20 March 2013
The Lawman

Mar 20, 2013

Comment by Blue Skye
2013-03-24 20:51:17

Dear Ann,

The banks have a record surplus of cash. They want to lend it to you.

P.S. If you have anything money like in your bank’s safety deposit box you are a fool. That hasn’t changed in generations.

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