April 25, 2013

Bits Bucket for April 25, 2013

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

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Comment by sustainable development
2013-04-25 04:23:03

Stay away from the drills.

Men at the Boston Marathon National Guard Civil Support Teams?
http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/04/the-black-and-tan-men-at-the-boston-marathon-were-national-guard-civil-support-teams.html - 74k -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pvKFmZ-2Zc - 205k -

By Josh Levs and Monte Plott, CNN
updated 10:25 AM EDT, Thu April 18, 2013

Another explosive device found

Authorities in Boston found at least one other explosive device that they were dismantling, Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said.

Rep. Bill Keating of Massachusetts, meanwhile, said two more were found.

One unexploded device was found at a hotel on Boylston Street near the bomb site and another unexploded device was found at an undisclosed location, Keating, a Democrat and member of the House Homeland Security Committee, said. He called the bombing a “sophisticated, coordinated, planned attack.”

FBI to take lead in investigation, seeks bomb ’signature’

It was unclear who may have planted the marathon bombs. There were no credible threats before the race, a state government official said.

Investigators warned police to be on the lookout for a “darker-skinned or black male” with a possible foreign accent in connection with the attack, according to a law enforcement advisory obtained by CNN. The man was seen with a black backpack and sweatshirt and was trying to get into a restricted area about five minutes before the first explosion, the lookout notice states.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/15/us/boston-marathon-explosions - -

Comment by goon squad
2013-04-25 09:53:15

Alot of those marathon runners are from East Africa. The “darker-skinned or black male” with a foreign accent was probably one of Obama’s cousins from Kenya, because Obama was born in Kenya.

Comment by joe the IRA stuffer
2013-04-25 04:33:54

Don’t buy a house today, wait until later and buy 2 or 3 for 65 percent off.

Was in fells point last night, took a long walk, took a route on the water taxi, and got dinner on the water. Basically my dream neighborhood but way over priced, several hundred bucks per square foot. They are building luxury rentals like crazy though. It’s a very old neighborhood, I wonder how the cobblestone streets will handle the traffic. Still a great place to visit. In the 80a and 90s the city was giving the existing houses away if people escrowed money and promised to fix the houses up and occupy them. It was a blighted area, now dotted by high rises amongst the 1700s/1800s structures.

I’ll pull the pictures of my phone later, on train now.

Comment by Joe the patriotic bootstrapping IRA stuffer
2013-04-25 06:21:31

A couple pictures….

(New Under Armour headquarters complex)

The building that was used as the police headquarters in the tv series “Homicide”


Museum of Ceramic Art

Comment by Joe the patriotic bootstrapping IRA stuffer
Comment by scdave
Comment by Joe the patriotic bootstrapping IRA stuffer
2013-04-25 07:15:06

yep, hipster Heaven.

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Comment by alpha-sloth
2013-04-25 07:45:58

I might open a pirate shoppe there.

Comment by scdave
2013-04-25 08:06:33

Thats just what I was thinking…Eye patch and all…

Comment by Joe the patriotic bootstrapping IRA stuffer
2013-04-25 08:34:05

There already are a bunch of shops with pirate type stuff. This big pirate festival was last weekend: http://www.fellspointmainstreet.org/privateerday.html

There is also a pirate ship that sails out of Fells Point. I caught some pictures of it last night, I will check my phone later.

Comment by Joe the patriotic bootstrapping IRA stuffer
2013-04-25 08:38:31

Here’s the Urban Pirates ship, as taken from my table on Bond Street last night. People basically pay money to go out and act like idiots and get trashed during happy hour/sunset cruises. I’m going to a retirement party on this boat in mid-May, will enjoy several types of rum.


I just hope they have someone to swab the deck after all the wannabe privateers over-indulge and have sea sickness.

Comment by alpha-sloth
2013-04-25 08:44:41

Argh, matey.

Perhaps an overpriced (Asian farm-raised) seafood restaurant then? With a pirate theme?

Comment by sfhomowner
2013-04-25 09:18:46

Is that the neighborhood that was in The Wire when the gangster turned RE developer?

Comment by scdave
2013-04-25 10:00:43

People basically pay money to go out and act like idiots and get trashed during happy hour/sunset cruises ??

So…Whats wrong with that… :)

Comment by Joe the patriotic bootstrapping IRA stuffer
2013-04-25 11:16:05

@alpha - No that was either Harbor East (which is where all the new office buildings are built now, owned by the Paterakis family) or City Center aka “the Super Block” (which has been held up with the city litigating with Peter Angelos).

Fells Point is where Frederick Douglas lived and learned to write before eventually escaping to Pennsylvania on a ship headed north.

Comment by Joe the patriotic bootstrapping IRA stuffer
2013-04-25 11:18:24

@ Dave - I didn’t say anything was wrong with that, I’m looking forward to trying it out next month.

DC’s national harbor (which, funny enough, is in Maryland) isn’t nearly as much fun. But they are getting a casino thanks to a ballot referendum last fall.

Comment by oxide
2013-04-25 11:45:34

National Harbor is weird. It’s got this self-contained Gaylord resort surrounded by a mini-city of self-contained city blocks and expensive parking, surrounded by a half-mile buffer of dirt. With its own exit form the Beltway.

Comment by tresho
2013-04-25 12:56:40

happy hour/sunset cruises
Call them “booze cruises”.

Comment by sustainable development
2013-04-25 05:02:46

If you go out to dinner with this Professor, do NOT taste his food.

Florida Atlantic University Professor Claims ‘Actors’ Possibly Used In …
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7ZO9hSG0×0 - - Cached - Similar pages
11 hours ago

Comment by Weed Wacker
2013-04-25 14:54:29

I like him. We have been lied to by gov’t and media so often that it is difficult to trust they are telling the truth about anything anymore. That is where it all breaks down and why we need transparency. Obama claimed he was going to increase transparency but has done the opposite. Maybe he really had good intentions but when he got into office what he saw scared him. You know, the who “you can’t handle the truth” shtick.

Comment by ahansen
2013-04-25 22:06:43

I find it fascinating that the 911 attacks, the Madrid bombing, the London tube bombing and the Boston Marathon bombing were all carried out during official emergency-response drills….

On the other hand, I met a 51-year-old woman runner last night who was within three minutes of the finish line when the bombs went off. One of her parents (who were waiting at the finish line for her) is still in hospital with severe lower-extremity lacerations. She’d probably find allegations that this was staged with actors pretty disturbing.

Comment by unfunded liabilities
2013-04-25 05:22:00

While America is more than $16 trillion in debt, we also have nearly $122 trillion in unfunded liabilities, which no one seems to be focusing on :)

4 Ways to Maximize Your Social Security Benefit

Published: Wednesday, 24 Apr 2013 | 2:34 PM ET

By: Geoffrey S. Cable, managing director, Destination Wealth Management

Most Americans don’t understand all the ways that Social Security can benefit them, and no wonder — Social Security is an enormous, complex system that covers retirement, disability and death, with rules that are under-explained and confusing.

As a result, many recipients find out how to maximize their benefits only after beginning to receive them – when it is too

Here are four things that you need to know to maximize your Social Security benefit before you begin receiving your check.

You can receive benefits even if you never paid in. Spouses who have never worked (meaning they never paid Social Security taxes) may still be able to get retirement benefits under Social Security. You need to be at least 62 years old and your husband or wife must be eligible for retirement or disability benefits to apply. This second payment can significantly add to the total amount couples receive.

You may choose to a payment equal to half of what your spouse gets. If your spouse made more than you did in the course of your lives, his or her benefit is most likely higher than yours. When you apply, you can elect to take the benefit calculated on your salary, or one-half of your spouse’s higher amount, without affecting your spouse’s benefit. This can provide a much higher total benefit for working couples.

Wait to receive your benefit, and it continues to grow. Consider delaying benefits if you do not need them immediately – the additional income down the road may be significant. Benefits are increased by a certain percentage (depending on your date of birth) for each year that you delay your retirement. The increase can amount to up to eight percent more for each year that you wait to retire.

You may start receiving benefits before your spouse is retired. As long as your spouse has reached full retirement age (typically between 66 and 67), he or she can file for a benefit but suspend it. As your spouse continues to work and that benefit continues to grow, you may start to collect.

(Read more: Social Security Cuts: ‘Hard to See as Humane’)

By simply doing a little homework, you can make educated decisions about your Social Security and avoid mistakes you will have to live with for the rest of your life. Start by creating an account on the Social Security Administration (SSA) website. Check to make sure that the administration has recorded your work and earnings history accurately, as your retirement benefit is based in part on this history. Check back periodically to be sure the information stays accurate.

As you get closer to retirement, discuss your options with a financial planner or make an appointment with someone at the Social Security Administration.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 06:50:32

“…we also have nearly $122 trillion in unfunded liabilities, which no one seems to be focusing on…”

Who wants to face the grim process of bagholder identification?

Comment by Steve J
2013-04-25 09:58:11

The average SS monthly benefit is only $1,200.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2013-04-25 11:18:48

I’ll be eligible for full SS in exactly 11 years. And I’m taking it!

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-04-25 13:08:25

So are you saying it’s your birthday? Or half birthday?

Comment by Arizona Slim
2013-04-25 14:34:26

My half birthday was earlier this month. The whole enchilada birthday will be in November.

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Comment by Weed Wacker
2013-04-25 14:58:31

He forgot the most important thing. If you have any money, spend it before you reach retirement age. They will do means testing and if you have any money that you have saved you will not be getting as much, if any, SS. So live it up, old person!

Comment by perkonkrusts
2013-04-25 05:39:32

It’s just really hard for me to believe there is even a debate about this. I understand builders and consumer advocates calling for smaller down payment requirements, but banks? Really, banks? Judging by this, banks are 100% certain that they will always be bailed out no matter what stupid decisions they make over and over and over.


Comment by sfhomowner
2013-04-25 09:22:04

banks are 100% certain that they will always be bailed out no matter what stupid decisions they make

Yeah, but what is a bank? Just a bunch of individuals making decisions based on their own personal best interest.

As long as each individual believes they can get away with making their salary plus benefits, AND that they can get another job if their bank goes belly up AND not get prosecuted for any wrong-doing….

Comment by Rental Watch
2013-04-25 09:51:51

Banks want the rule as low as possible, so that they can make and sell more loans.

They want to do the same thing they did in 2005/2007…make risky loans, and offload the entire amount of the risk immediately.

The question comes into the definition of “risky”.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-04-25 05:45:59

“Falling housing prices to dramatically lower and more affordable levels is bullish optimism.”

Comment by jose canusi
2013-04-25 05:47:33

Headline from Politico:

Obama: ‘President Bush loves this country’

You can’t make this stuff up.

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-04-25 05:51:20

The Caesar Club=mutual admiration society

Comment by AmazingRuss
2013-04-25 06:22:25

I think he does. Unfortunately, he’s not very bright.

Comment by albuquerquedan
2013-04-25 07:08:55

Considering the number of Bush policies that Obama has continued, it does not speak well of his intelligence. However, I do not think either one is really dumb, they just both have an agenda which is not the best interest of most Americans.

Comment by it's hard out here for a pimp
2013-04-25 07:10:41

The greatest trcik W ever pulled was convincing the world he wasn’t bright.

The dumbest trick O ever pulled was convincing the world he was the smartest man in the world and can fix anything.

Comment by aNYCdj
2013-04-25 07:13:17

and Ohbewanna used his affirmative action credentials to hoodwink the American public

Comment by scdave
2013-04-25 08:17:54

Ohbewanna used his affirmative action credentials to hoodwink the American public ??

I strongly disagree…I think he was the first Black Man since Martin Luther King that gave the country an opportunity to elect a Black President they could feel confortable with…And thats exactly what happened “twice”….

Let there be no doubt…The country has now left the confederacy behind in the dust…Why do you think the R party is reeling…They are fragmenting and now have reduced themselves to just anger…

The final blow will be when Hilary gets elected in 2016…Even if Jeb runs, barring a severe economic crisis, Hilary will win even if its a closer race than the last one…

The country has crossed the bridge with ethnic racism…Next will be crossing the bridge with gender racism…

Comment by aNYCdj
2013-04-25 08:43:31

Sorry Dave Ohbewanna is the most racist president we ever had, and We are in for 4 more years of racist crap.

But you are right he has proven black people are just as incompetent as white ones…Who hoo.

I guess what surprised me the most was he continued the white racist cracker polices of benign neglect of the black communities. And he made being a black rascist cool.

Cant wait till the Trayvon martin trial when all his gansta FB photos are produced and we as a country realize the cute kid did not talk to zimmerman its was the gansta thug which bullied and assaulted him . and if you had a gun you would probably have shot him too.

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Comment by scdave
2013-04-25 10:11:18

Sorry Dave Ohbewanna is the most racist president we ever had ??

Ever ?? Boy, thats going back pretty far….But, you are entitled to your own opinion…I do think the man is a little narcissistic with emphasis on “little”…

Look at the barrier he broke….And then broke it again…In the middle of the greatest recession since the great depression..The republican party was convinced they had the black man…They were wrong…Just my opinion…

Comment by aNYCdj
2013-04-25 10:22:29

yes dave never ever ever a mention of black on white assaults..but 1 lone incident and he creates a riot.

I guess calling out black thugs is only for white people to do, so they can claim we are racists and get more money.

Comment by scdave
2013-04-25 11:44:55

so they can claim we are racists and get more money ??

We ?? I am white….I don’t feel any claim of racism…

Comment by Joe the patriotic bootstrapping IRA stuffer
2013-04-25 08:51:17

The GOP isn’t hurting because of Obongo (TM), it’s hurting because their own primary voters fill the run-up to elections with people suited mostly to caricatures. Look at the people who held leads in the polls for the 2012 nomination - Herman Cain, Michelle Bachman, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and finally Mittens.

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Comment by it's hard out here for a pimp
2013-04-25 08:58:11

I strongly disagree…I think he was the first Black Man since Martin Luther King that gave the country an opportunity to elect a Black President they could feel confortable with…And thats exactly what happened “twice”….

Jesse Jackoson? what’s wrong with him? Too black?

He’s more committed to “his” people and democratic policies than O ever was/is.

Don’t foget Colin Powell. If he wanted I think he would have been president.

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Comment by Steve J
2013-04-25 10:01:00

Powell sold his soul to the neocons years ago.

He lost all his integrity when he held up a baggy full of fake anthrax and said it came from Iraq.

Comment by it's hard out here for a pimp
2013-04-25 10:33:58

BTW did we ever figure out who was behind the anthrax scare?

Also, isn’t it interesting we had anthrax scare with 911 and ricin with boston marathon bombing?


Did the ricin guy screw it up by mailing few days before?


Comment by AmazingRuss
2013-04-25 11:19:26

“Sorry Dave Ohbewanna is the most racist president we ever had, and We are in for 4 more years of racist crap.”

When you barf up Glen Beck conspiracy talking points, you’re not advancing the conservative cause… you’re giving people something to point to and say “conservatives are stupid, angry, and crazy”.


Comment by Arizona Slim
2013-04-25 11:22:35

BTW did we ever figure out who was behind the anthrax scare?

I think they finally figured out that it wasn’t Dr. Hatfill. It was someone else who worked in the military’s bioweapons lab outside of DC. And that guy committed suicide.

Comment by scdave
2013-04-25 11:53:51

Jesse Jackoson? what’s wrong with him? Too black ??

No…He is a idiot….You see haw far his presidential aspirations went didn’t you ?? Got to be able to raise hundreds of millions today for a presidential run…Something tells me that was not “the poor minorities” funding that campaign…

Don’t foget Colin Powell ??

IMO, Colin Powell could have became President…I would have voted for him…Whisper/Rumor is there is something hiding in the closet that prevented him from running…Possibly with his wife…Did not want her dragged through the mud…

Powell sold his soul to the neocons years ago ??

No he didn’t…He got sold out by Cheney & Rumsfeld and the little twerp Bush had no nuts to stop it from happening..General’s follow orders..Period…That is until he found out he was sold out…Then he resigned…Powell is a middle/right thinker…

Comment by Steve J
2013-04-25 13:02:31

Saw an interview with the supposed ‘anthrax bomber’s boss. He said it would have taken a minimum of 9 months to make all the anthrax that was sent. He hinted someone in the lab would have noticed all that work.

Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2013-04-26 08:22:11

The country has now left the confederacy behind in the dust…Why do you think the R party is reeling…

Your analogy is confused, and you should feel confused.

The southern Democrats were the confederacy, not the R’s.

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Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 05:51:19

To understand the impetus for housing market reflation policy, look no further than the huge disparity in the distributional effects of the supposed U.S. economic recovery.

Unfortunately, thanks to the policy’s success in attracting a huge influx of already-wealthy all-cash foreign and hedge fund investors into purchasing U.S. residential property just at the point when it was finally becoming somewhat affordable for Main Street households, many of the housing market wealth effects during the recovery have only served to widen the wealth divide.

Comment by scdave
2013-04-25 06:57:00

+1….I agree totally….

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 08:21:58

The housing bubble reflation policy creates a new generation of winners and losers, and it is easy to tell who they are:


– older, wealthier people who already own homes
– investors who can milk short-term gains and dump their holdings before housing prices resume their long-term decline


– young families who are priced out forever
– young families who overpay on their purchase prices due to competition from deep pocketed investors trying to cash in on housing reflation gains

Comment by inchbyinch
2013-04-25 11:24:00

Well said.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 13:01:04

Forgot a category of loosers: RENTERS

Comment by "Uncle Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2013-04-25 09:23:13

I found an article the other day where they were interviewing the manager of an RE hedge fund. It was the Muller group or the Mullen group or something like that. The guy said he was getting 50% financing on his assets. That isn’t all cash, and it’s not a conventional mortgage either. 50% financing is what you normally get with a hard-money loan. The terms on hard-money loans range from 9 months to 5 years.

It is a complete myth that the billionaire investors are all cash.

Comment by PeakHubris
2013-04-25 10:40:52

The real “nobodycouldaseenitcomin” moment will be when the losses on these speculative purchases are found to be sitting squarely on the shoulders of the US taxpayer.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 13:02:22

“It is a complete myth that the billionaire investors are all cash.”

They may be all cash, alright, only it’s a pool of OPM.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 05:57:38

Housing market wealth effects don’t cut it when jobs are scarce, incomes are stagnant, and worker discouragement runs rampant. A shrinking economic pie leads to hunger games wealth distribution. May the odds be ever in your favor.

Wealth of nearly all Americans fell after the recession

The richest 7% of U.S. families saw their average wealth soar 28% from 2009 to 2011, while the remaining households lost 4% of their net worth over the same period, a new report finds.
April 23, 2013 | By Don Lee, Los Angeles Times

Most of the wealth of 93% of U.S. households has been tied up in homes, and the values plummeted both during and after the Great Recession and only recently have been climbing, the poll found.

WASHINGTON — The richest 7% of American families saw their average wealth soar 28% from 2009 to 2011, while the remaining households lost 4% of their net worth over the same period, according to a new report.

The analysis of Census Bureau data by the Pew Research Center draws on the most recent statistics on wealth. The findings throw into stark relief the dramatically uneven nature of the recovery.

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The economy officially emerged from recession in mid-2009, and since then, affluent families have benefited handsomely from recovering stock prices and surging gains in bonds.

The report found that the average wealth of the upper 7% of households jumped to $3.17 million in 2011 from $2.48 million two years earlier, thanks largely to the strengthening stock market. Six out of 10 households with a net worth — assets minus debts — of $500,000 or more owned stocks and mutual funds in 2011.

Most of the wealth of the remaining 93%, however, has been tied up in homes, and the values plummeted both during and after the Great Recession and only recently have been climbing. Only 13% of the households owned stocks and bonds, and their average wealth dipped to $133,817 from $139,896.

The housing market, though recovering, has not grown nearly as fast as stocks and other financial assets. And that means the country’s wealth gap is likely to have widened further in the last 16 months.

“This recovery is sort of unique in that the housing market, rather than leading, has lagged,” said Richard Fry, a coauthor of the Pew report.

This Census data set is not used as much by scholars as the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances, which compiles comprehensive statistics on the financial health of U.S. families every three years. But the Fed’s latest data are for 2010, making it difficult to assess the magnitude of the wealth gains made in the recovery.

Edward Wolff, an economist at New York University who has written extensively on wealth distribution, said the new Pew report is helpful in understanding how “very sensitive wealth is to the housing market.”

Close to two-thirds of U.S. households own their homes. But of more concern than un-recovered home values, Wolff said, is the stagnant incomes of Americans.

Economists attributed the varying recovery in wealth partly to Fed policies that supported gains in stock and bond markets. “The Fed has kept things pretty good for the wealthy,” Wolff said.

Comment by goon squad
2013-04-25 06:22:59

The lower 6% of that 7% have been enjoying their crumbs, but the top 0.1% are laughing at all of you. Loosers!

The future belongs to Lucky Ducky :)

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 06:53:47

My household lives on the razor’s edge between the gainers and loosers in the Great Recession. No crumbs for us…just a few scraps that fall off the table.

Comment by Joe the patriotic bootstrapping IRA stuffer
2013-04-25 07:36:59

If you’re not gaining, you’re losing. People shouldn’t have to work their a$$es off just to tread water. Time is finite and each day someone treads water is time they toil away.

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Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 07:41:47

“If you’re not gaining, you’re losing.”

Nope. Pretty much balancing on the razor’s edge in our case…

Comment by goon squad
2013-04-25 07:43:05

Deep thoughts from philosopher joe smith.

You should write some business/management/self-help/psychology type books. Some suggested titles:

“Chicken Soup for the Government Contractor”

“Who Moved My RFP?”

Comment by ecofeco
2013-04-25 08:34:36

Instead of days, think decades.

Comment by Joe the patriotic bootstrapping IRA stuffer
2013-04-25 08:47:30

I guess if you’re focused on keeping your head above the water, you can’t really feel your @$$ getting raped by the system.

It’s not deep philosophy, it’s brute reality. I remember when I was a kid, I played water polo and one of the exercises we had to do every practice was go in the diving well and do 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off treading with big jugs full of water held with the bottom at eye level. One of the hardest things about it was that even during the down time, when you pass the jug to your partner, you couldn’t really relax because you were still treading, just without the extra weight. Fast forward to grown up life, I can’t dealing with financial issues in this way. “Woo hoo, my head is above water.” No. Just no.

Comment by Happy2bHeard
2013-04-25 10:21:38

“Fast forward to grown up life, I can’t dealing with financial issues in this way. “Woo hoo, my head is above water.” No. Just no.”

You don’t have kids, do you? I was doing better than treading water until I had kids.

Comment by goon squad
2013-04-25 10:46:49

Happy2b, we do not want to breed for that reason (among others), the opportunity cost is too great. We’re not rich like joe smith is.

Comment by sfhomowner
2013-04-25 10:55:50

The children of rich parents seem to be the most unhappy. They either have meddling, middle aged, stay at home moms or parents who are so interested in making money and maintaining their lifestyle that they have little time or energy left over for their kids.

Comment by Joe the patriotic bootstrapping IRA stuffer
2013-04-25 11:27:16

I don’t have a mini human yet, giving it another few years but I turned 30 so the clock has now started (wife is same age).

SF homeowner, I specifically don’t want to spoil or meddle with my kiddo, I plan to send her (hopefully a her) to public schools. I’ve said before that I think this will actually be an advantage because she’ll have stress-free parents (got finances in order AND don’t feel need to keep up consumption) yet most kids in the US today have stressed homelives. Not saying it’s right, I’m saying its reality. And doing well in a Balt City school means, at a minimum, a hefty scholarship to Johns Hopkins if the kid can’t get into an Ivy. Hopkins gives a big advantage to local kids, kind of like UPenn does in Philadelphia. My wife is a science teacher, definitely not obsessed with making money, but also not a stay at home mom. Good balance, summers off, etc. She’s a good person, basically my opposite.

Comment by Happy2bHeard
2013-04-25 21:35:48

“Happy2b, we do not want to breed for that reason (among others), the opportunity cost is too great.”

Parenting is not for everybody. I am glad I did it, even with the financial penalty, the constant worry, and the ups and downs.

Comment by "Uncle Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2013-04-25 09:26:56

Makes sense. The wealthiest Americans were the ones lending money to the poor so they could buy houses. When the loans went sour, the poor were compelled to pay taxes to cover the losses for the rich, but the poor were still evicted from their houses. Naturally, the rich have gotten richer and the poor have gotten poorer. But it was for our own good, Congress told me so.

Comment by PeakHubris
2013-04-25 20:24:51

Now the wealthy are buying up the same houses they loaned money for, for pennies on the dollar, and renting them back to the same unsophisticated borrowers they suckered into exotic option ARMs with teaser rates.

Comment by Rental Watch
2013-04-25 10:02:37

Is this a surprise?

The wealthy own stocks and other assets. The stock market rose what, 35% from the beginning of 2009 to the beginning of 2011?

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 06:02:05

Maybe dumping hundreds of billions of dollars into the hands of failed Wall Street Megabanks saved the world, but it apparently did little to help the average American Main Street household weather the financial pummeling of the Great Recession.

What recovery? US rich get richer, middleclass treading water

Published time: April 24, 2013 08:38
Spencer Platt / Getty Images / AFP

Income inequality surged during the first two years of the economic recovery, as the top 7 percent of American households was the only group to experience an increase in their net worth.

“Inequality is as dear to the American heart as liberty itself,” William Dean Howells once observed. But this quaint aphorism notwithstanding, the latest report on wealth polarization in the US may be difficult for many Americans to accept.

The top 7 percent of Americans saw their average net worth explode by 28 percent between 2009 and 2011, while the wealth of the remaining 93 percent of the population steadily declined during the same period, according to a study by the Pew Research Center.

From 2009 to 2011, the average net worth of the country’s 8 million wealthiest households surged from an estimated $2.7 million to $3.2 million, the Pew study said. For the 111 million households that make up the bottom 93 percent, average net worth plunged 4 percent, from $140,000 to an estimated $134,000.

The wealth chasm separating the top 7 percent and the rest of American society increased from 18-to-1 to 24-to-1 between 2009 and 2011. Meanwhile, the most affluent 7 percent of households owned 63 percent of the nation’s household wealth in 2011, up from 56 percent in 2009.

The results of the study throw a spotlight on a decades-long trend of increasing wealth disparity across the country, despite growing social and political awareness of the issue. In September 2011, protesters from the Occupy Wall Street movement descended on Manhattan, the financial heart of the US, and in Washington and elsewhere, to protest against rising social and economic inequality, corporate greed and political malfeasance.

Although the last presidential election between Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney attracted attention to issues of inequality, proposed tax legislation aimed at narrowing the wealth gap has failed to pass in Congress.

Meanwhile, too-big-to-fail banks and other corporate entities that failed magnificently during the crisis, only to be rescued by a massive government bailout, continue to grow in size and – critics say – vulnerability to another setback.

Comment by goon squad
2013-04-25 06:26:30

More evidence that the future belongs to Lucky Ducky :)

Because a 70% consumer economy doesn’t need consumers, right?

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 06:55:24

“Because a 70% consumer economy doesn’t need consumers, right?”

Not so long as the Fed is willing and able to pull all the right monetary policy levers to stave off deflationary pressures.

Comment by scdave
2013-04-25 07:06:39

able to pull all the right monetary policy levers to stave off deflationary pressures ??


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Comment by ecofeco
2013-04-25 08:32:52

You don’t “tread water” in our economy. Due to inflation, you’re either surfing or sinking.

Comment by goon squad
2013-04-25 08:41:20

turkey lurkey, the downest debbie downer on hbb.

“don’t be economic girlie men” - Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 06:03:05

April 17, 2013
Majority in U.S. Want Wealth More Evenly Distributed

And 52% support heavy taxes on the rich to redistribute wealth
by Frank Newport

PRINCETON, NJ — About six in 10 Americans believe that money and wealth should be more evenly distributed among a larger percentage of the people in the U.S., while one-third think the current distribution is fair. Although Americans’ attitudes on this topic have fluctuated somewhat over time, the current sentiment is virtually the same as when Gallup first asked this question in 1984. Slightly fewer have favored a more even distribution since October 2008.

Comment by macboy
2013-04-25 06:14:11

Let’s guess which 60%. The ol’ Venn Diagram probably shows a good overlap with a certain 47%…

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 06:56:51

The 47% are going to hit up doctors who own multiple investment properties with ginormous tax bills.

Comment by macboy
2013-04-25 11:51:53

The 47% are going to hit up unicorns suffering from overly vivid imagination complicated by projection. Those whacky unicorns…

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Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 13:05:56


Comment by macboy
2013-04-25 14:57:39

It learns… Excellent.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 20:24:38

Do trollbots like macboy learn?

Comment by macboy
2013-04-25 20:37:59

Tactic 2 from the Losing Debater’s Manual: “When you realize you have nothing of substance to offer, cry ‘Troll’”

Just sayin’…

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-04-25 20:40:54

What does it mean when someone cries “trole”?

Comment by macboy
2013-04-25 21:24:55

Straw Man. Just sayin’…

Comment by ahansen
2013-04-25 23:35:05

Referring to one’s opponent in third person to imply superiority, Tactic 14 from the Loosing Debater’s Manual.

Just sayin’….

Comment by macboy
2013-04-26 05:15:06

From the Introduction to the Losing Debater’s Manual: “Spell ‘Lose’ as ‘Loose’”

Tactic 7 from the Losing Debater’s Manual: “Having nothing of substance to offer, adopt the tactics of the opposition”.

It is a big book. Let us explore it together…

Comment by ahansen
2013-04-26 10:31:59

Tactic 15 in the LOOSING Debater’s Manual:
Confronted with inconsistency of argument, employ scorn to miss the point. Strive always to deflect irony or whimsy.

And sure, I’d love to thumb your pages, evil. But let us do so in a manner that encourages commonality rather than the stirring up of juices?

Comment by macboy
2013-04-26 10:41:41

Introduction to the Losing Debater’s Manual: “Spell ‘Lose’ as ‘Loose’”

Tactic 7 from the Losing Debater’s Manual: “Having nothing of substance to offer, adopt the tactics of the opposition”.

Tactic 13 from the Losing Debater’s Manual: “While offering nothing of substance to the debate, accuse your opponent of using scorn, and be sure to do it scornfully”

Tactic 16 from the Losing Debater’s Manual: “Use CAPS”.

Independent Comment by Macboy: Quotes from the LDM are aimed at those who do not contribute to issues, but merely repeat trite bromides and employ diversionary tactics.

Comment by PeakHubris
2013-04-25 20:42:54

“Doctor” as in “I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.”

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Comment by "Uncle Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2013-04-25 09:33:11

Never fight the 47%, McBoy.

Comment by macboy
2013-04-25 11:55:18

Fighting? That’s so… concrete.

Macboy never fights. Rather, Macboy observes.

One observation is that once a voting block is established that dwarfs any other voting bloc in the country, one which can vote for increase income taxes (on everyone else only, because it never pays any), then folks like Uncle Fed are well and truly screwed.

Remember, Democracies die when the populace discovers it can vote itself largesse, leading inevitably to dictatorship.

And, ya’all are worried about house sale prices…

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Comment by macboy
2013-04-25 11:57:36

Fighting? That’s so… concrete.

Macboy never fights. Rather, Macboy observes.

One observation is that once a voting block is established that dwarfs any other voting bloc in the country, one which can vote for increase income taxes (on everyone else only, because it never pays any), then folks like Uncle Fed are well and truly screwed.

Remember, Democracies die when the populace discovers it can vote itself largesse, leading inevitably to dictatorship.

And, ya’all are worried about house sale prices…

Big picture…

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Comment by goon squad
2013-04-25 06:33:43

There should be a transaction tax on stock trades to curtail high frequency trading and hedge funds that create no economic value

Hey look! That Occupy Wall Street dude just took a dump on a police car!


And so the discussion was derailed by the corporate media, and the “movement” quashed with a little help from Obama’s DHS thugs :)

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 06:12:00

Long delays at the airport seem like a great way to hit Republican Congressmen where it hurts, as I assume that while they are likely exempt from sequester travel restrictions, most of them aren’t wealthy enough to own their own airports and staff of private air traffic controllers?

Best part: Obama will win this blame game, hands down.

How the GOP Learned to Stop Smiling and Hate Sequestration
By Leslie Marshall
April 24, 2013

Months ago, a little thing called “sequestration” was facing the American people: cuts, cuts and more cuts – something Republicans normally love. At the time, soon after the two parties had played nice and come together at the eleventh hour to reach a deal as we all looked down at our toes tipping over the edge of the fiscal cliff, most of us, myself included, thought that sequestration wouldn’t happen. We assumed the Democrats and Republicans would hold hands, sing “Kumbaya” … well, you get the picture.

And … you know that didn’t happen.

As the hug festival we all anticipated and hoped for failed to materialize, President Obama listed the areas of cuts that would come. He spoke of the furloughs that would be given to the air traffic controllers; the cuts that would be made to the Federal Aviation Administration and its budget. Now these are union employees, so you would think this would be a double score for the GOP as they smile with glee.

[See a collection of political cartoons on sequestration and the fiscal cliff.]

If you recall, the GOP accused the president of trying to scare Americans when he spoke of those long lines and delays at the airport, as if it were fiction, something the President conjured up from the North Pole.

Now the furloughs are beginning – which union officials said months ago would take about four months to fully incorporate – and so to the lines and delays have begun. So the Republicans, seeing that Americans will blame them for the sequestration, want to place the blame on their favorite fall guy … the president.

I can see the political ads now: Long lines and delays at the airport? Don’t blame us, we who wanted the sequestration … blame the president. So I have a question, was the GOP lying then when they said the president was exaggerating? Or are they lying now that he is doing this for political gain?

[See a collection of political cartoons on airport security.]

And of course Republicans would have you believe that the president could change all of this with the swipe of his pen. And that’s not true. As Jay Carney reported, and the terms of the sequestration clearly show, only Congress can do that. Otherwise folks, this would be a dictatorship.

Seventy percent of the FAA budget is payroll; that’s personnel – jobs like … air traffic controllers.

So isn’t it clear why the GOP is pointing fingers at the president for these delays? They, their family, their friends, their lobbying buddies and corporate honchos are being affected. Where was the screaming at the federal employees who have been laid off? Not a word.

Comment by 2banana
2013-04-25 06:25:46

Remember when Presidents were LEADERS?

Now they play the “blame game” like 4 year-olds.

Nothing gets fixed. Nothing get solved.

But we blamed the other guy really well!

Comment by goon squad
2013-04-25 06:36:44

Eisenhower was a “leader”, the only leadership that Reagan and Bush 43 did was to lead this country off a cliff.

Comment by rms
2013-04-25 07:30:08


Eisenhower’s policies were extremely harsh on German civilians following WWII. I’d hate to share a similar fate for our use of drones over sovereign lands because I didn’t “rise-up” and stop Obama.

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Comment by goon squad
2013-04-25 07:38:22

I’m talking about domestic policies. Back then, we built infrastructure like the Interstate Highway system. Today we let our infrastructure rot or sell it off to foreigners.

Comment by (Now that I'm "diversified") Jetfixr
2013-04-25 09:22:12

Well, if the Germans didn’t like Eisenhower’s “harsh” policies, they could always move to the Russian zone.

Comment by Joe the patriotic bootstrapping IRA stuffer
2013-04-25 07:49:46

Eisenhower couldn’t get nominated by the GOP today.

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Comment by scdave
2013-04-25 07:11:11

Republicans wanted cuts….Thats what they got…Now go explain to your constituents that your just trying to shrink government…

Comment by MightyMike
2013-04-25 08:00:00

Obama would only lead us all into a gulag. It’s a good thing that he’s no good at that leadership stuff.

Comment by goon squad
2013-04-25 08:32:20

But when it comes to taking vacations, Obama sure is a leader!


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Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 07:32:07

Does Obama have to sign off on changes to the across-the-board sequester cuts?

Senate leaders weighing possible votes on Thursday to stop FAA furloughs created by automatic spending cut law: aide

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-04-25 08:14:04

Long delays at the airport seem like a great way to hit Republican Congressmen where it hurts,

I thought you were going to make a joke about the more time they had to spend in airport bathrooms, the higher the risk of an “incident”.

Comment by goon squad
2013-04-25 09:59:47

Nothing says “family values” like chasing some downlow.

Comment by sfhomowner
2013-04-25 09:27:53

cuts, cuts and more cuts – something Republicans normally love

It’s all fun and games until you’re stuck in a metal box on the tarmac.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2013-04-25 11:28:32

I’d love to be a fly on the wall of a delayed plane with a Republican Congressman/woman on board. Bet he/she will get an earful from fellow passengers.

Comment by Rental Watch
2013-04-25 13:14:01

The GOP offered to Obama the ability to move around the cuts to his pleasure with one caveat: no more than 50% of the cuts can be in Defense (just like the current sequester).

Obama declined, in an abdication of any leadership.

Comment by macboy
2013-04-25 14:17:20

Sequester was Da Prez’s plan.

And finger pointing is occurring because it remains… unclear… how a drop in an annual raise in a total budget results in furloughs and short staffing critical services. Why not just impose a pay cut and maintain staff? Oh… less… dramatic, that.

Go figure.

Comment by goon squad
2013-04-25 06:12:11

List of the top 12 “boomtowns” in USA. If you don’t want to click through the slideshow, they are:

New Orleans
San Antonio
Washington D.C. (no defense contractor left behind)
Oklahoma City
San Jose


Comment by perkonkrusts
2013-04-25 06:20:44

I was going to say 9 out of the 12 are in the South, but I don’t know if people from Oklahoma call themselves Southern. Is anyone here from OK? I think in some places like Missouri you get to choose whether to be Southern, right?

Comment by alpha-sloth
2013-04-25 08:54:02

I would say they are all in the South, except Portland.

Comment by Rental Watch
2013-04-25 13:15:14

San Jose is in the south?

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Comment by alpha-sloth
2013-04-25 19:13:35

San Jose is in the south?

Oops- San Jose is not in the South. But 10 out of 12 are.

Comment by 2banana
2013-04-25 06:48:47

Not one public union goon controlled, high tax and “gun free” city on the list…

Comment by azdude
2013-04-25 08:04:11

what would u call san jose?

Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2013-04-25 11:09:14

Uh, Portland? Hello? Just paid my “Arts Tax” a few weeks ago.

Literally. That wasn’t a euphemism. That’s what it’s called.

Comment by it's hard out here for a pimp
2013-04-25 11:52:02

It’s for the children.

Children of some beaurocrats….

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Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2013-04-25 12:37:33

We actually have 3 new “for the children” taxes from this past election cycle.

There was an automatic library tax (permanent revenue stream, instead of bringing increases to vote every x election cycles), Arts Tax, and school levy for earthquake retrofits on 3 schools.

In the post-election review, it was concluded that most voters could swallow (voted in favor of) 2 of the 3 increases but not all 3. But so many people supported 2 of the 3 that they ALL passed. LOL.

Comment by polly
2013-04-25 12:18:27

Washington DC doesn’t have any unions? Huh?

Comment by scdave
2013-04-25 07:18:02

Nice post…Thanks Goon…

Comment by ecofeco
2013-04-25 08:14:38

I’ve been to all but 2 of those places.

You really don’t want to live there if you don’t have to.

Comment by "Uncle Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2013-04-25 09:39:36

Hard to believe Phoenix isn’t on that list.

Comment by Steve J
2013-04-25 10:04:48

Hard to believe San Antonio is on the list as well.

There are no decent paying jobs in that town.

Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2013-04-25 11:13:12

Those towns aren’t about jobs. They’re about coffee-swilling, food-cart noshing, skinny-jeans-wearing, move-there-to-retire-in-your-20s, hipness.

(Okay, maybe that’s just Portland…)

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Comment by oxide
2013-04-25 13:43:54

The skinny jeans alone are enough to stay away.

Comment by rms
2013-04-25 17:43:12


My favorite. Heck, my other half still wiggles her caboose into size #6 jeans with a 35″ inseam, and at 49 there’s still not a single cottage cheese dimple. She’s only met one guy here that could out-swim her for distance, and we’re talking about miles. Veggie.

Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2013-04-25 23:21:03

When I related hipness to skinny-jeans, I meant on the dudes. Nothing says hipster d-bag than skinny jeans, Toms shoes, and some wacky mustache or, god forbid, those we refer to around here as beardos.

But skinny-jeans on the right femmes? Ooh la la!

Comment by Brett
2013-04-25 10:46:10

Austin is #1 again!

Comment by Joe the patriotic bootstrapping IRA stuffer
2013-04-25 06:17:02


Tight budgets are forcing the Homeland Security Department to buy less ammunition, two top officials are slated to tell Congress on Thursday as the House oversight committee continues investigating the Obama administration’s ammunition purchases.

Despite the potential for cuts, the department still reported stockpiling more than 260 million rounds of ammunition as of November 2012 — a two-year supply, according to information provided to the committee ahead of a hearing on Thursday.

Comment by goon squad
2013-04-25 06:39:37

The Washington Times, seriously?

Has joe smith been clicking Drudge links again?

Comment by Joe the patriotic bootstrapping IRA stuffer
2013-04-25 07:54:26

DHS is running short of bullets, they only have ~200 million. Need to get input on this from the “go time” contingent.

Comment by Northeastener
2013-04-25 08:12:54

Puts my personal “arsenal” of 5000 rounds of various calibers to shame I guess…

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Comment by goon squad
2013-04-25 08:27:55

The bedwetter media considers a few hundred rounds to be an “arsenal”.

Comment by Northeastener
2013-04-25 08:33:59

I know… I put a few hundred rounds down range every other weekend.

Comment by it's hard out here for a pimp
2013-04-25 08:37:50

I know… I put a few hundred rounds down range every other weekend.

What does it cost?

Comment by goon squad
2013-04-25 08:46:06

Anything other than .22LR costs ALOT. that’s why we don’t shoot our gunz anymore. better to save our ammo for “go time”.

Comment by Northeastener
2013-04-25 08:47:19

Under a $100 per shoot, so a couple a hundred a month.

Figure $1.00/round for .308, $.60/round for 5.56, $.35/round 7.62×39, $1.25/round for .45ACP and $.32/round for 9mm. I’ve got plenty of .22LR at $.06/round.

9mm and 5.56 have been difficult to find/replace so I’ve been shooting mostly .22LR, .45ACP, and 7.62×39.

Comment by Northeastener
2013-04-25 08:48:44

Sorry, that’s $.50/round for .45ACP…

Comment by it's hard out here for a pimp
2013-04-25 09:13:46


Golf is way cheaper. Goon has the right idea…save it for the go time.

Comment by "Uncle Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2013-04-25 09:42:58

But do bullets kill zombies though? I don’t think they do.

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-04-25 10:01:18

Only head shots.

Comment by Steve J
2013-04-25 10:06:11


Comment by it's hard out here for a pimp
2013-04-25 10:40:13


It was for the Tsarnyev brothers. YMMV.

Comment by Happy2bHeard
2013-04-25 10:52:33

“Under a $100 per shoot, so a couple a hundred a month.”

That’s an expensive hobby.

Comment by Northeastener
2013-04-25 12:33:17

That’s an expensive hobby.

It can be. Many people stick to .22LR to keep costs down. Others reload their own ammunition to save on shooting costs (easily 50% cost savings), but at the expense of time.

It’s comparable to golf, which has club membership fees, green fees and expensive equipment costs. I dislike golf. Much prefer shooting, with the added benefit of being ready for a SHTF/Zombie Apocalypse…

And don’t get me started on the long-term value of firearms… if well-maintained and in good condition, they don’t lose value. I have a 1975 West German-made Walther PPK/S in .380ACP that is worth more than a brand new pistol manufactured today.

Comment by Happy2bHeard
2013-04-25 17:28:40

I like to shoot, too, except I do it with a camera. With digital, it is much cheaper than it used to be.

Would you have as much fun with a digital gun if it had the kick and sound of a real one?

Comment by goon squad
2013-04-25 06:19:02

Hope and Change

“Basic dynamics of supply and demand would dictate that if there were a domestic labor shortage, wages should have risen. Instead, researchers found, they’ve been flat, with many Americans holding STEM degrees unable to enter the field and a sharply higher share of foreign workers taking jobs in the information technology industry.”


Comment by AmazingRuss
2013-04-25 06:26:06

There is a shortage of STEM grads willing to work for 30k a year.

Comment by Northeastener
2013-04-25 08:16:09

For perspective, when I started in IT/Software back in ‘98, I started at $45,000. Can’t imagine after 15 years of inflation, especially in the cost of a college degree, that starting wages would be lower.

Comment by AmazingRuss
2013-04-25 08:55:40

You graduated into a massive IT boom, when nerds walked on water. These days they’re seen as an expendable cost center.

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Comment by MacBeth
2013-04-25 08:57:18

You’ve lived in a bubble world, Northeasterner.

Not blaming you. Just stating it as it is.

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Comment by Northeastener
2013-04-25 12:05:36

As someone else posted recently, my entire professional career has been defined by at 3-4 bubbles and at least 3 crashes… waiting for the 4th crash any time now.

Comment by "Uncle Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2013-04-25 09:45:25

IT and software have nothing to do with science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. It’s just coding.

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Comment by Carl Morris
2013-04-25 10:02:40

Coding that lots of people in your list depend on for tools they need.

Comment by Northeastener
2013-04-25 10:30:43

IT and software have nothing to do with science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. It’s just coding.

Right, because a recommendation engine that I’ve worked on didn’t use mathematics like Mean Squared Error (MSE) to quantify the difference between values as part of it’s function. I mean, us software developers don’t need to understand that to code it, right?

And then that geolocation app I worked on… no mathematics to understand there except maybe the Vincenty inverse formula…

And those are just my personal examples… not like I work for Google or Cisco or some other big-name company where real software gets written.

Comment by AmazingRuss
2013-04-25 11:21:35

“IT and software have nothing to do with science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. It’s just coding.”

Coding IS mathematics. You’d understand this if you knew more about mathematics than freshman calculus.

Comment by Steve J
2013-04-25 10:08:14

Noreasterner-Indian outsourcers do not pay as well as you’d think.

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Comment by Kirisdad
2013-04-25 09:03:34

The bottom line is stock price and as long as CEO compensation is based on stock price, the trend will continue.

Comment by Happy2bHeard
2013-04-25 14:06:49

It is not just salary. Companies want to hire people who have the exact qualifications they are looking for. Very few people graduating with a STEM degree have 5 years experience with a very specific skillset.

I think the mindset may have grown out of the mobility of the workforce in the late 90s. Companies do not want to spend money and time training someone and then have them leave. Especially in a fast paced startup, there is no time for someone to get up to speed.

Comment by MacBeth
2013-04-25 09:01:02

And I didn’t even need the Washington Post to tell me so.

Perhaps I should write for The Washington Times. I could provide better insight sooner.

Sadly, that ain’t saying much.

Comment by cactus
2013-04-25 11:06:00

“So why do we hear so much about a shortage of tech workers? Simple: Tech employers want wages to fall. “

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 06:19:34

The Economic Assassins Who Killed Cyprus
By Andreas C. Chrysafis on April 24, 2013 in Cyprus, News, Politics

Cypriots by all accounts are a resilient people and yet, one wonders why this small island has never enjoyed peace. Disraeli, the first Jewish minister of Britain, described Cyprus to Queen Victoria in 1878 as, “This jewel of the Med is the key to western Asia” and wanted to formulate the island as a “defensive dyke.” which describes why Cypus has been geo-politically doomed and in constant turmoil. Like a wake of ravenous buzzards, everyone wants bits of its entrails.

Today, Cyprus is not only a vital military “defensive dyke” but a financial center attracting billions of dollars worth of transactions. This economic miracle has provoked envy and even resentment in some EU member-states, especially Germany. Subsequently, the recent discovery of vast quantities of natural gas – estimated at €500 billion if not more – has exacerbated the urge to move against a vulnerable Cyprus, which seems like a trophy.

Dark EU forces lurking in dark corridors and have devised an unpalatable scheme and come up with a devious plan: Debtocracy. Reduce the nation to a pauper state through asphyxiating crippling loans and then it can be manipulated in any shape and form. Crashing its economy was a good start.

Unfortunately, the Cyprus government failed to read the danger signs until it was far too late. On the near-verge of bankruptcy, it was obliged to approach the Euro-Group lenders for a bailout. Last year, it was established that a staggering €17 billion was needed for Cyprus to remain in the Eurozone.

The Troika jumped at the opportunity to test its “innovative” radical new program devised under a shroud of secrecy. Advocated by both Germany and the ECB they put into action a most devious plan against the island and cunningly gave their “approval” to a €10 billion loan – out of €17 billion required. Under pressure, Cyprus agreed to raise the rest in compliance with Troika’s strict instruction. The trap was then set.

As a prelude to the final act of betrayal, a campaign was initiated to spin the real facts of the crisis – one of them being the ECB’s own funding of up-to €10 billion shortfall to a failing Cyprus bank. The ECB’s financial misconduct had caused an economic tsunami and helped to trigger the collapse of the Cyprus banking system.

Money laundering accusations soon began to spread around the world to scare off investors and the slurring continued with a vengeance. Those unfounded accusations of money laundering – mainly directed against Russian investments – were fervidly debated in EU parliaments but especially in Germany where an election climate existed.

George Soros, “the man who broke the Bank of England,” said in a speech last week that: “In the bailout of Cyprus, Germany went too far and Cyprus was a tremendous political victory for Chancellor Merkel.” Bad rumors instantly caused an irreparable damage to the nation’s economy and credibility. Its credit rating took a nosedive to junk status making it impossible to raise loans on the open market. By then, Cyprus had become the chunk of cheese caught in a trap to be nibbled away by friends and foes.

The European Central Bank then tightened the screw up forewarning that it would cut off all funding to the Cyprus banks and force its financial institutions into bankruptcy. The gloom and doom scenario has sent shock waves across the nation fearing that Cyprus will be the Troika’s next victims to experience a similar fate as Greece. It was to be worse than that.

Comment by 2banana
2013-04-25 06:52:11

Wow - not one word on your country being invaded and half of it being occupied…

Of total ethnic cleansing of your people to include thousand year old religious building being confiscated.

To the banning of your religion.

Oh wait - we don’t care when muslims do it…

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-04-25 08:17:29

When your goal is to enslave entire nations it’s easier to start with the small ones I suppose.

Comment by alpha-sloth
2013-04-25 09:20:24

Cyprus had become the chunk of cheese caught in a trap to be nibbled away by friends and foes.

Interesting metaphor. The cheese has been caught in the trap?

Comment by "Uncle Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2013-04-25 09:54:57

Leave it to a sloth to notice something like that.

Comment by AmazingRuss
2013-04-25 11:23:51

Each morning, the cheese trappers check their traplines for cheeses that were caught the day before. They wrap them in plastic, and ship them to your local supermarket.

Cheese pelts are used to make fashionable outerwear.

Comment by ahansen
2013-04-26 01:09:43


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Comment by "Uncle Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2013-04-25 09:57:34

Debt can’t be slavery if you don’t pay it back. I wonder why Cyprus feels obliged anymore. What do they have to gain from actually paying any of this money back? If they already can’t sell their government bonds as junk, then I just don’t see why they would bother.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 06:21:15

Off the Charts
Seen From Greece, Great Depression Looks Good
Published: March 15, 2013

FIVE years into the Great Depression, one out of five workers in the United States was unemployed. The economy was nearly 20 percent smaller in 1934 than it had been at the peak, in 1929.

The Greeks can only wish they had it so good.

The Greek government this week released its estimate of economic output in the fourth quarter of last year, and also published its unemployment report.

For the year as a whole, the Greek economy, measured in 2005 euros, fell to 168.5 billion euros, down 6.4 percent from the previous year. That was a little better than the 7.1 percent decline in 2011. The last time the Greek economy was smaller than in 2012 was in 2001. The cumulative decline since 2007 was 20.1 percent.

In December, the unemployment rate was 26.4 percent, and that figure actually looked a little encouraging because it was lower than the 26.6 percent reported for November. Not since May 2008, when the rate fell half a percentage point to 7.3 percent, had there been a single month when the unemployment rate was reported to have fallen.

The accompanying charts compare the changes in gross domestic product and unemployment in the United States during the five years after 1929 with the changes in Greece during the five years after 2007.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-04-25 15:18:11

Heck, the real unemployment rate in the US right now is greater than 20%.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 06:23:54

Unemployment misery deepens in Spain and Greece
By Charles Riley @CNNMoney April 25, 2013: 5:55 AM ET

The eurozone debt crisis extracted a heavy price in Spain and Greece to start the year as labor markets in both countries continued to shed jobs.

The number of unemployed in Spain broke the 6 million barrier during the first quarter, a new record. The unemployment rate rose to 27.2%, according to data released Thursday by the government.

Spain’s out-of-control unemployment is matched in Europe only by Greece, which posted a 27.2% jobless rate for January, the most recent month available.

Spain’s economy, the fourth-largest in the eurozone, is much bigger than that of Greece, and more systemically important.

But the countries have been plagued by a similar concoction of budget deficits and economic stagnation. Both responded with austerity measures that have eased their debt problems but have hurt their economies.

They also share severe crises in youth unemployment.

In Greece, 34.2% individuals aged 25 to 34 are unemployed. It’s even worse for younger workers — 59.3% of Greeks aged 15 to 24 are out of work.

For Spaniards aged 16 to 24, the unemployment rate is 57.2%.

Comment by scdave
2013-04-25 07:24:17

Wow…They are in full fledged meltdown…I wonder when the civil unrest starts ?? How would you like to be a well to do citizen living there….It would be unnerving to say the least…

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 06:26:21

Irish House Prices Fall for 4th Straight Month
By Eamon Quinn
Published April 25, 2013
Dow Jones Newswires

Irish home prices fell for the fourth consecutive month in March, suggesting the country’s housing slump is far from over after more than five years.

The government and its international bailout creditors continue to watch home prices for signs that Ireland is recovering from its banking and fiscal crisis.

The country came close to bankruptcy when its over-heated property market crashed in 2007. The Central Statistics Office said house prices are now 51% lower than at their 2007 peak, marking one of the largest declines recorded worldwide.

Prices nationwide dropped 0.5% on average last month from February and were down 3% from March 2012, the CSO said. In Dublin, residential prices fell 0.8% from February, but were 1.4% higher than in March 2012.

Home prices have now fallen in five of the last six months, including 1.5% in February, 0.6% in January and 0.5% in December.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 06:28:03

The Role Of The Media In Propping Up Ireland’s Housing Bubble
23/04/2013 by Julien Mercille

Ireland’s economic crisis has its roots in a housing bubble that collapsed in 2007. Commentators have pointed to a number of bankers, politicians, developers and builders who share part of the responsibility for the orgy of lending and borrowing that preceded the crash, but the key role of the media has not yet been systematically examined. This is the task that a research project at University College Dublin seeks to address, on which this piece reports. The full academic article can be found here.

In the two decades before the crisis erupted, Ireland’s real GDP grew at an average rate of 6 per cent annually, while unemployment dropped from 16 per cent in 1994 to 4 per cent in 2000. The so-called ‘Celtic Tiger’ years were in fact made up of two different and successive booms. In the 1990s, the economy expanded thanks to export growth fuelled by American multinational corporations taking advantage of low tax rates in Ireland, which allowed the country to emerge from economic stagnation. However, as the growth of exports decreased significantly after 2000, a credit-fuelled construction boom sustained high economic growth rates. Real residential property prices tripled between 1994 and 2006, and construction ultimately accounted for more than 20 per cent of the size of the economy (the average for a developed country is about 5 per cent). As of April 2013, average house prices have dropped by a little more than 50 per cent nationwide relative to their peak in 2007.

It is not too difficult to identify a housing bubble in the making, based on simple indicators such as the P/E (price/earnings) ratio and the price-to-income ratio. This is what a few analysts did, such as The Economist magazine, which stated in 2002 that Ireland’s real estate market had been ‘displaying bubble-like symptoms in recent years’ and estimated that it was then overvalued by 42 per cent. However, the Irish media were almost without exception cheerleaders for the booming property market, only dampening their enthusiasm months after prices had started to decline in late 2007 and 2008.

Comment by 2banana
2013-04-25 06:54:52

So let me do the math on this…

Property prices are STILL way too high.

Real residential property prices tripled between 1994 and 2006…

The Central Statistics Office said house prices are now 51% lower than at their 2007 peak, marking one of the largest declines recorded worldwide…(from above)

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 07:00:01

Yep. Fifty percent too high:

3*0.5 = 1.5 = 150% of 1994…

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 06:31:33

What better place on the planet to expect hair-of-the-dog housing stimulus to work than Ireland? (I’m imagining that the original hair-of-the-dog hangover cure might have been invented there, but I’m not certain…)

Apply American solutions to the many Irish property problems
There are many demand and supply-side solutions to our property woes staring us in the face
Sean Ryan
Tue, Apr 23, 2013, 06:00
First published: Tue, Apr 23, 2013, 06:00

The landscape of the Irish property market is disjointed. In first quarter 2013 we have witnessed some rising house prices. However, this is only in certain parts of the country and particularly in Dublin. In other areas unemployment and high supply are keeping the market suppressed.

There is uncertainty over the impact of the Personal Insolvency Act on supply; there are legal roadblocks to bank repossessions; there is a very high percentage of mortgage arrears; there are a high number of cash transactions; and finally there is the perception that the banks are not open for business.

Solving problems
This article deals with some of these issues with most focus on mortgage arrears and solving that problem. It is important to note that at current new-build levels (8,000 or so in 2012) we are way below where the demand in this country is expected to be for the next 10 years given the demographics and the expected trends. We will need up to 30,000 new builds annually to meet the needs in the country.

Estimates put the number of mortgages in distress at about 13-16 per cent of all mortgages in the country or about 140,000 mortgages. It’s important to note that half the property stock in Ireland does not have any mortgages so the overall number in distress is 8 per cent or below.

Anecdotal evidence would suggest that there are also a lot of people close to a distressed state and are fighting to maintain payments. The people must not be forgotten in a solution because the last thing we need is for them to fall into a distressed state. In the United States the banks and the government are much more advanced in dealing with the same issues, having started the process back in 2009.

More on this later, but firstly lets deal with the demand side. We are all hearing stories of the banks not lending and refusing perfectly good applications for loans and mortgages. One story I heard recently was of a husband and wife who wanted to extend their home. They have no children and both of them are in professional, well-paid, secure employment. The bank refused the mortgage loan.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 06:33:30

Italy housing market slumps, sales drop 23%, mortgages 39%
134,984 property deal closed in third quarter of 2012
15 April, 14:53

(ANSAmed) - ROME - The big impact the recession is having on Italy’s housing market was shown on Monday when Istat said property sales in the third quarter of last year were down by over 23%.

It said 134,984 property sales were closed at notaries between July and September last year, 23.1% down on the same three months in the previous year.

The national statistics agency added that the number of mortgages granted in the first nine months of 2012 was 39.5% lower than in the same period of 2011.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 06:35:56

Property prices take another tumble
by TPN/ Lusa, in General · 27-03-2013 10:31:00

The average evaluation of Portuguese properties carried out by mortgage providers dropped again in February to stand at €998 per square metre and down an annualised 5.5 percent, the National Institute of Statistics announced Tuesday.

The statistics show that the month on month drop was a full percentage point down from €1,008 per square metre in January.
Both of Portugal’s main metropolitan areas saw continued downward pressure on housing prices with Lisbon and Porto registering falls of 0.8 percent and 0.4 percent on January to stand at €1,183 and €947 per m2, respectively.

In year-on-year terms, the two metropolitan regions have taken six percent and 4.1 percent hits to the average value of properties as evaluated by banks with the statistics pointing to an acceleration of the decrease in February.

However, the worst performing region in annualised terms are the Azores, down 9.5 percent and the Algarve, down 8.6 percent.

In terms of detached homes, they saw an average national monthly fall of 1.8 percent to stand at €943 per square metre in February and reflecting a year-on-year fall of six percent.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 06:36:56

Housing prices drop in Victoria and Vancouver, bucking national trend
Andrew Duffy / Times Colonist
April 4, 2013

The real estate markets in Victoria and Vancouver appear to be bucking a national trend. Both have reported significant drops in average selling price through the first quarter of the year while the rest of the country is experiencing gains, according to a new Royal LePage survey.

The average selling price across common types of housing were higher year-over-year in most Canadian markets, with gains for houses at 2.4 per cent and condominiums up 1.2 per cent. But the same could not be said for the two largest B.C. markets.

In Victoria, the average price of a standard detached home dropped 1.5 per cent to $452,115 over the first three months of this year. The price of a bungalow dropped 3.8 per cent to $452,140 and condos fell 7.0 per cent to $267,000.

In Vancouver, which is still the most expensive housing market in the country, the average selling price of detached houses dropped 5.6 per cent to $1.116 million, bungalows fell 5.1 per cent to $1,013,750 and the average condo price slipped 5.6 per cent to $481,250.

B.C.’s decreases across all housing types is down to an overall reduction in activity from both buyers and sellers, which continues to drive prices down, Royal LePage said.

Comment by AmazingRuss
2013-04-25 07:12:30

I saw fieldsod for sale signs in Victoria 6 months ago. Apparently they’ve bourne fruit.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 06:42:34


Silver lining for lenders: Since these mortgages were presumably covered by federal guarantees, they get made whole, courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer (i.e., you, dear reader).

The Tell
The Markets News and Analysis Blog
Modified mortgages show ‘alarming’ default trend
April 24, 2013, 9:01 AM

Troubled homeowners who received modified mortgages through a federal program are seeing high default rates, a troubling trend that officials inadequately understand, according to an investigator’s report released Wednesday.

The oldest permanent modifications made through the federal Home Affordable Modification Program, which launched in 2009, were redefaulting at a rate of 46.1% as of March 31, according to the report from the special inspector general overseeing the Treasury Department’s efforts to shore up the U.S. financial system. HAMP’s permanent modifications from 2010 have redefault rates ranging from 28.9% to 37.6%.

The number of homeowners who have redefaulted on a HAMP permanent mortgage modification is increasing at an alarming rate,” the report said. “Treasury’s data shows that the longer a homeowner remains in HAMP, the more likely he or she is to redefault out of the program.

Unfortunately, Treasury officials have an insufficient understanding of factors behind failures, according to the report.

“Better knowledge of the characteristics of the loan, the homeowners, the servicer, or the modification, more prone to redefault will increase Treasury’s understanding of the underlying problems that cause redefaults and provide Treasury an opportunity to address these issues proactively,” the inspector general said.

HAMP mortgages are modified to lower monthly payments by cutting interest rates and extending terms, among other actions. Servicers and borrowers receive incentive payments through the program.

Unsuccessful modifications have a “devastating effect,” according to the report.

“Redefaulted HAMP modifications on already struggling homeowners when any amounts previously modified suddenly come due,” according to the report. “When the homeowner cannot pay it, they lose their home to foreclosure.”

When Treasury launched HAMP, officials said the program could help 3 million to 4 million at-risk homeowners avoid foreclosure. However, as of March 31, only about 2 million HAMP modifications had been started, and 54% of these have been cancelled, according to the report.

Looking at Treasury’s use of funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which was designed to shore up the U.S. financial system, less than 2%, or about $7.3 billion, has been spent on homeowner-relief programs, such as HAMP, as of March 31. Meanwhile, Treasury has spent 75% of TARP funds on rescuing financial institutions, the report said.

“For example, the PNC Financial Services Group (PNC +0.94%), a large regional east coast bank, alone received $7.6 billion, nearly the same amount of TARP funds used to help struggling homeowners throughout the nation,” according to the report. “Treasury pulled out all the stops for the largest financial institutions, and it must do the same for homeowners.”

–Ruth Mantell

Comment by azdude
2013-04-25 06:52:03

home owners sure do get a lot of welfare these days.

Comment by aNYCdj
2013-04-25 07:41:19

too bad Polly hates my idea of giving the lucky duckies some cash to pay bills and maybe stimulate the economy from the ground UP.

Comment by "Uncle Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2013-04-25 10:39:48

Especially home owners that are banks.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 06:44:56

China Housing Bubble? Watch These 2 Cities: Vanke
Sunday, 21 Apr 2013 | 11:20 PM ET
By: Reported by Ross Westgate, Written by Ansuya Harjani

CNBC speaks exclusively with Wang Shi, Chairman of the mainland’s biggest property developer, Vanke, at the China Entrepreneur Club’s Annual Summit of Green Companies in Kunming.

Controlling home price increases in China’s capital Beijing and financial hub Shanghai is critical for cooling the country’s broader property market, according to Wang Shi, chairman of Vanke, the mainland’s largest real estate developer.

“My concern is that if the price increases in those two cities can’t be controlled, it will result in price increases in other cities as well and that won’t be a good thing,” Wang told CNBC on the sidelines of the China Entrepreneur Club’s Annual Summit of Green Companies in Kunming, which is located in the country’s southwestern Yunnan province.

(Read More: Why China’s Property Market Is Getting Scary)

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 06:47:27

Why is the MSM so fond of quoting ignorant people who offer bad financial advice?

Comment by it's hard out here for a pimp
2013-04-25 06:53:04

I need names.

Comment by 2banana
2013-04-25 06:55:59

John Corzine?

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 06:58:15

That was a leading question if ever I asked one.

Comment by oxide
2013-04-25 09:15:15

Mark Zandi?

Comment by azdude
2013-04-25 06:55:05

thats a good question. It seems like one big fraternity of bullsh@tters.

Look at suze orman. Her advice sucks but she gets a lot of face time and sells a lot of dvds.

I guess ratings over at the circus show known as cnbc are at 8 year lows.
I guess cramers picks havent panned out for the sheep?

Comment by Joe the patriotic bootstrapping IRA stuffer
2013-04-25 07:56:50

What, specifically sucks about Suze’s advice? (I’m not sure, I have seen very little of her, and most of what I’ve seen has been her telling broke people to stop eating at restaurants and shopping “just because”.)

Comment by "Uncle Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2013-04-25 10:45:58

Suze makes silly formulations, presented as “financial advice for women”. For example, you need to buy the highest-possible insurance policy for everything. The purpose of insurance is to buy peace of mind, which is more valuable to women than it is to men. I wonder if she takes black-market advertising dollars.

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Comment by Arizona Slim
2013-04-25 11:43:17

The purpose of life insurance is to protect your dependents from financial hardship caused by your death. That’s it.

And life insurance isn’t an investment, despite what your friendly commission-based salesman says.

Comment by oxide
2013-04-25 10:52:14

Suze’s advice was tailored for young single women in entry-level jobs with at least some promotional potential. Mainly about financial protection from scams or mindless spending. He older books are still very practical. It was Suze who invented, or at least popularized, the idea of banking 100’s of K in retirement just from investing Sbux money instead of drinking it.

Suze’s advice fell apart when the job market did. Even Suze can’t do much with a Lucky Ducky income, a food-stamp lifestyle, a mountain student loan debt big enough to buy an Oil City house, or interest rates so low that you may as well enjoy the Sbux now. Suze has had to shift to life-coaching and motivational speaking, which is why it sucks.

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Comment by Arizona Slim
2013-04-25 11:44:17

I have yet to meet a life coach who doesn’t come across like a dingbat. Same goes for business coaches.

Comment by AmazingRuss
2013-04-25 07:13:35

They’re cheap and willing.

Comment by Neuromance
2013-04-25 08:57:59

Bullsh•tter fleeces suckers! News at 11!

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 07:03:12

Rapid improvement in the U.S. jobs picture seems quite likely to lead the Fed to exit QE3 “sooner than expected.” Perhaps Ben Bernanke will manage to hand over the reins before all hell breaks loose.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 07:11:52

Have you already pictured a future world with Hilary Clinton in the WH and Janet Yellen at the helm of the Fed?

It’s a liberal Democrat’s wet dream…

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 07:13:42

Roubini takes on Yellen, a clash for the ages
April 16, 2013, 6:12 PM

Chamberlain vs. Russell. Magic vs. Bird. Gibson vs. Eckersley, and now Roubini vs. Yellen. Sometimes it takes one great competitor to bring out the best of another.

In a moment of magic at an otherwise dense IMF discussion of post-financial-crisis monetary policy, Nouriel Roubini, known for his pessimistic outlook and aversion to economic policymakers, procured a microphone and asked Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen if, maybe, just maybe, she was all wrong about the looming threat of asset bubbles.

Roubini had in mind Yellen’s earlier prepared remarks to the panel that she didn’t see any clear and present danger of an asset bubble and her conclusion that bank regulatory policy was the best flame retardant to combat any overheated markets.

He slyly noted that other top Fed officials, notably the new whiz kid of the Fed board, Jeremy Stein, have raised some doubts that regulatory policy is the best way to burst a bubble.

With the Fed pledging to keep rates low until at least the jobless rate falls to 6.5% and then promising a slow exit path, “aren’t you at risk of repeating what happened in 2004-2006 in creating huge credit and asset bubble, and macro-prudential policy will not work?” he asked.

So Roubini threw his best fastball and, to her credit, Yellen did not duck.

Her answer shows clearly that the risk of fostering financial market imbalances is among the top concerns of Fed officials as they continue to press the pedal to the metal to spark a sustainable economic recovery.

“It is not my expectation that financial stability concerns will rise to the level that that becomes the dominant factor that controls our policy,” Yellen began.

Comment by "Uncle Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2013-04-25 10:51:19

The Federal Reserve can’t make unemployment drop to 6.5%. Only Congress could do that (with tariffs), but they won’t. In the meanwhile, the Federal Reserve gets to use high unemployment rates as a great excuse for monetary policy that grossly favors the wealthy, at our expense.

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Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 13:10:00

The Federal Reserve can’t make unemployment drop to 6.5%. Only Congress could do that (with tariffs), but they won’t.

In normal times, unemployment would have already dropped back to 6.5%.

Suffice it to say that this time is different.

Comment by AmazingRuss
2013-04-25 07:16:20

The GOP keeps sinking into a morass of self-involved crazy. I’ll lay some of the blame at their feet for the second Clinton presidency if it happens.

Comment by goon squad
2013-04-25 07:28:37

’self-involved crazy’

i thought that the platform of ‘pregnancy can’t result from a legitimate rape’ was a guaranteed electoral victory last time.

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Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 07:39:52

What about moon colonization? I thought it was in the bag for Newt once he raised that issue.

Comment by Northeastener
2013-04-25 08:21:17

I would rather we put a put a permanent US colony on the moon then pursue Obama’s NASA vision of “rope-an-asteroid”. We aren’t going to Mars without some long-term learnings from the moon.

Comment by albuquerquedan
2013-04-25 08:33:01

Obama needs the precious metals to cover the short positions he talked his friends on wall street to make to hide the inflationary aspects of QE to infinity.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-04-25 15:24:17

I would rather we put a put a permanent US colony on the moon then pursue Obama’s NASA vision of “rope-an-asteroid”. We aren’t going to Mars without some long-term learnings from the moon.

I don’t expect to see a moon base or a mission to Mars in my lifetime.

Comment by Northeastener
2013-04-25 08:24:22

The GOP keeps sinking into a morass of self-involved crazy. I’ll lay some of the blame at their feet for the second Clinton presidency if it happens.

Republicans managed to foil libtared plans on Federal gun control. They have my vote and will continue to as long as Democrats are the anti-2A party.

Having said that, I think Rand Paul needs to stop flip-flopping: “I’m against drone strikes on American soil.”… “If you rob a 7-11, I see no difference with a cop shooting you and a drone shooting you.”

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Comment by Carl Morris
2013-04-25 08:26:58

The GOP keeps sinking into a morass of self-involved crazy. I’ll lay some of the blame at their feet for the second Clinton presidency if it happens.

I can’t disagree. But at the same time if we end up with Jeb Bush you have to lay that at the feet of the Ds for helping to unify their opposition.

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Comment by AmazingRuss
2013-04-25 09:03:47

I don’t see GOP unification in the cards. The Sky Wizard worshippers will drive away anybody with a shred of ability to think. The only way I can see it working is if they somehow manage to rope in the poor and ignorant from the left… but I don’t think the “God wants to punish you for not praying enough” message is going to have much traction.

Be it Hillary, Jeb, or any of their carbon copies, the country will continue to suffer.

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-04-25 09:40:15

I don’t know. Stuff like talking about taking away guns after making fun of people for worrying about it sure helps smooth over the differences.

Comment by it's hard out here for a pimp
2013-04-25 09:25:15

It’s a liberal Democrat’s wet dream…

And it’s my biggest nightmare, a world rules by ugly women.

We are getting f**** anyway…can we seriously get some “good looking” women to rule us please? I know how to mute my TV.

Comment by goon squad
2013-04-25 09:47:42

That’s kinda sexist.

And besides that, the world is owned and run by ugly old men.

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Comment by Northeastener
2013-04-25 10:33:08

Better to be a rich, ugly old man than a rich, ugly old woman?

Comment by Arizona Slim
2013-04-25 11:48:59

How about Cristina Elisabet Fernández de Kirchner, the President of Argentina? I don’t often say this online, but that gal is a babe.

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Comment by it's hard out here for a pimp
2013-04-25 13:24:32

Nah…I was thinking more like Burlosconi’s female ministers.

Comment by MightyMike
2013-04-25 14:08:59

Yeah, she’s attractive. But we’ve already got Sarah Palin, so we don’t need to import any babelicious politicians.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 07:05:30

Mr Market seems blithely oblivious to the risk that QE3 may end long before anyone currently predicts.

April 25, 2013, 8:43 a.m. EDT
U.S. jobless claims fall near five-year low
New applications for unemployment benefits drop 16,000 to 339,000
By Jeffry Bartash, MarketWatch

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — The number of people who applied last week for new unemployment benefits fell near a five-year low, though the decline probably reflected temporary distortions that often occur after the Easter holiday and not a marked improved in the U.S. labor market.

Initial jobless claims dropped by 16,000 to a seasonally adjusted 339,000 in the week ended April 20, the Labor Department said Thursday. That’s the second lowest reading in 2013 and approached levels last seen in January 2008.

Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected claims, a rough gauge of layoffs, to fall to 351,000 from a revised 355,000 in the prior week.

U.S. stock futures extended gains after the data.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 07:07:21

Mr Market seemed perfectly willing to overlook this dark cloud on the economic horizon.

Updated April 24, 2013, 10:14 a.m. ET
Durable-Goods Orders Drop 5.7%

WASHINGTON—U.S. orders for long-lasting manufactured goods fell sharply in March as businesses cut investment, suggesting that economic growth has cooled since the start of the year.

Durable-goods orders decreased 5.7% from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted $216.28 billion, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires expected a 2.9% drop in March orders.

Durable goods are usually big-ticket items designed to last at least three years. Businesses and consumers typically make such purchases when they are confident about the economy.

Much of the weakness came from a drop in civilian aircraft and defense goods, volatile components of the monthly report, while demand for machinery and metals also softened. Orders for computers and electronics climbed.

Comment by goon squad
2013-04-25 07:10:08

Adding to joe smith’s recent discussion about the baby boomer generation, why should we have to pay for the consequences of their bad lifestyle choices?

“If enough young people stay out of the market, then the risk pool in each group will be older and, presumably, sicker. And that will eventually drive up costs for everyone who remains.”

I just ran a marathon last weekend. I don’t want to pay for these fat olds’ diabetes meds and bypass surgeries.


Comment by "Uncle Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2013-04-25 11:00:23

Running a marathon will not prevent you from getting old.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 07:15:19

The report of my death was an exaggeration.

– Mark Twain

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 07:16:44

April 25, 2013, 10:00 a.m. EDT
Gold halfway back from rout, up $23 for day
By Barbara Kollmeyer and Carla Mozee, MarketWatch

MADRID (MarketWatch) — Gold futures jumped nearly 2% on Thursday, on track for a second consecutive advance, driven by bargain hunters and prospects for easier global monetary policies, but analysts warned that the moves may not be lasting.

Gold for June delivery (GCM3 +1.88%) pushed higher by $23.50, or 1.7%, to $1,447 an ounce as U.S. markets got underway.

Gold has crawled back about halfway from its big rout that began in the second week of April. “If you take the fall from $1,560 to $1,320, gold has indeed pared roughly 50% of it,” said Carsten Fritsch, analyst at Commerzbank, in emailed comments.

Commerzbank noted that gold has hit levels not seen in around 10 days on Thursday, with sentiment being driven by rate speculation ahead of the European Central Bank meeting and prospects for ultra-loose U.S. monetary policy. That sentiment was boosted by some weak data in the U.S. and Europe a day prior.

Comment by albuquerquedan
2013-04-25 07:16:04

The civil war I predicted, in January, for Iraq has began:


Comment by Ben Jones
2013-04-25 07:18:32

‘The civil war I predicted”

It’s been ongoing since 2003.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 07:28:14

The most accurate predictions are those which inform the ignorant about events which are already underway.

Comment by scdave
2013-04-25 07:48:35

Haven’t they been waring for thousands of years ??

Comment by tresho
2013-04-25 12:38:59

Haven’t they been waring for thousands of years ??
You are mistaken. That entire area was an idyllic Jeffersonian democracy until 2003 when you-know-what happened.

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Comment by albuquerquedan
2013-04-25 08:06:58

There is a difference between terrorist attacks and actually seizing territory. Moreover, when we left Iraq we claimed that we had restored stability and there were only a few terrorist elements left. This is far more than that, this is a real divide between the Sunni and Shiite populations and the beginning of the unraveling of the country. Finally, yes there has been a history of warfare between Shiites and Sunnis and it was predictable it would erupt again. Just like there has been a history of warfare between Islam and everyone else. The trick is predicting the timing of a renewal and that is what I did.

Comment by it's hard out here for a pimp
2013-04-25 08:29:03

Let’s get a son of a Bush and re-invade. Third thime’s the charm?

You predicted jack $hit. Iraq’s been in civil war since the estblishment of the “State of Iraq.”

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Comment by albuquerquedan
2013-04-25 08:53:41

Six years of accurate predictions including on global warming. I could write a list as long as war and peace about the wrong predictions about the incorrect predictions from the people that attack me but I do not call people out.
You know this board gets less and less intelligent every day and more and more inclined to just engage in personal attacks. If the board wants an echo chamber and a level of analysis that you see on MSNBC, fine. It is not like I am paid to post, I like a good intellectual discussion but that does not seem to be the direction of the board. More like resentment that I correctly predicted things like how the “Arab Spring” would work out as opposed to how CNN said it would.

Enjoy the renewed housing bubble which I also called three years ago due to Fed policy.

Comment by it's hard out here for a pimp
2013-04-25 09:30:38

Looks like I hurt someone’s feelings.

Your predictions are as pedestrians as they come. Also stop saying “I predicted.” Anyone with common sense could have thought and “predicted” the same thing. If you have to make yourself look good by comparing to paid shill in MSM, you are not helping your claim.

Comment by Pimp Watch
2013-04-25 09:49:53

It’s smackdown day for ABQDan. :mrgreen:

Comment by albuquerquedan
2013-04-25 09:56:32

Even the Huffington post has stories that demonstrate this is different: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/24/iraq-clashes_n_3148259.html?iraq

“Pedestrian predictions”, yea like six years ago there were a lot of people questioning the extent of AGW on this blog. Recently, the wide consensus on this board was the Republicans would cave on sequester due to the defense cuts. I was one of the few predicting otherwise.
I think I am one of the few people on this board that does not post under multiple names so they cannot be held to account for his or her previous predictions. I point it out my predictions to demonstrate the track record since certain posters like to repeat the same tired lied that I actually called the election for Romney every time I make a prediction. Six years and that is all you have. Actually it would be a very good record even if it were true that I made that bad call which I did not.

Comment by goon squad
2013-04-25 10:04:27

The squad predicted that “the future belongs to Lucky Ducky”, and so far we are 100% correct on that.

Comment by albuquerquedan
2013-04-25 10:14:38

And I agreed with you Goon because it was a good prediction. But here is another story that was posted just 7 minutes ago. The leaders in Iraq know that this is different and people that cannot see it are just ignorant and the attacks on me just show that they prefer to stay in that state:


Comment by Bluestar
2013-04-25 12:30:02

Just for the record exactly how would we know if you changed your mind on the key issue of Anthropogenic climate change?

By the way, the price action volatility on gold is running about 5 sigma. Things that have that kind of volatility might not have a good predictable value when you must liquidate in a hurry. You seem pretty disciplined but gold was a good buy back @ $700, now it’s very speculative IMO.

Comment by scdave
2013-04-25 12:01:11

Wow…I am sure glad that Bush decided to Nation Build…Look what we achieved with all that shock & Awe….Mission Accomplished…

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Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 07:19:11

What about the Fall 2012 election win you predicted for Romney? How’d that one turn out?

Comment by azdude
2013-04-25 07:25:56

I guess prices in carmel valley are approaching 400/ sq ft. U missed out again.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 07:45:39

Carmel Valley never began to reach affordable price levels. Have you been there? It is a sea of overpriced tract home developments. If I had a million dollars to blow on a San Diego home, that is one of the last places I would look for a place.

Comment by azdude
2013-04-25 07:56:06

I have never been there, just seen lots of pics of the area. Seems like a bubbleicous area. I guess large homes approaching 2 million dollars.

How would you compare it to scripps ranch?

The only part of that county ive seen is cruising on i5 and i15 north and south bound lots of times.

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Comment by In Colorado
2013-04-25 09:29:52

I’d say that Scripps Ranch is nicer.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 13:19:21

“How would you compare it to scripps ranch?”

- Similar, though newer, housing stock in Carmel Valley

- Houses are closer packed in Carmel Valley than Scripps Ranch

- Carmel Valley is much closer to the coast, with close access to La Jolla, beaches, and natural air conditioning

- Scripps Ranch has beautiful San Diego foothill scenery

- Scripps Ranch has high wild fire hazard (e.g. they got burned in the October 2003 Scripps Ranch Fire), which is a lesser concern near the coast (though areas of Carmel Ranch along the canyons could burn under the wrong conditions)

Comment by scdave
2013-04-25 07:50:35

you predicted for Romney ??

Ah, give the guy a break…He was just channeling Rasmussen….. :)

Comment by albuquerquedan
2013-04-25 08:11:05

Too bad I never made that prediction no matter how many times people say it. Some people cannot understand the difference between saying someone has a chance to win and will win. I stated the day before the election I considered it too close to call, that is very clear. I have been on this board for about six years and I have a history of making accurate predictions. Unlike you I do not need to change my name every few months because I make so many bad predictions.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-04-25 09:28:01

I seem to recall you defending the Rasmussen polls that showed Romney ahead all the way up to election.

Comment by oxide
2013-04-25 11:00:03

a-dan, could you tell us when housing is going to craaater by 65%? And if I would have been better off renting and waiting?

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 07:23:12

For anyone who has the time to peruse my various posts this morning from housing markets all over the planet, I have a simple question:


If propping up housing prices is good policy, how come every central bank isn’t doing it?

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 07:34:27

Fed withholding ‘exit’ documents, Republican lawmaker says
April 23, 2013, 3:44 PM
Rep. Darrell Issa

The Federal Reserve is “willfully” withholding documents related to their exit strategy planning, says Rep. Darrell Issa, Republican from California and chairman of the House Oversight Committee.

In a letter sent to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke that was released to the media on Tuesday, Issa repeated a request for internal Fed studies of how it plans to unwind its balance sheet, now well over $3 trillion. Read how it may take a decade for balance sheet to return to normal.

If the Fed does not produce the material by May 6, the House panel may consider “the use of compulsory process,” Issa wrote.

Some Fed officials have raised concerns that the exit will be politically unpopular. The Fed could lose money on its holdings as interest rates rise. In addition, the Fed plans to raise the interest rate that it pays banks to park their excess reserves at the central bank.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 07:43:59

Policy shell games are the Fed’s primary modus operandi, accompanied by false claims of New Era glasnost.

Comment by azdude
2013-04-25 08:09:46

what if the economy never takes hold on its own? do we just do QE constantly like japan?

I guess japan is 12 trillion in the hole but their gdp is much smaller than ours. Their debt / gdp ratio is off the charts. I think like 200% but their still chuggin along.

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Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 08:24:54

“do we just do QE constantly like japan?”

I guess. But note they also saw a quarter of a century of economic malaise and asset price decline; apparently the Fed has figured out how to avoid the latter.

Comment by Bluestar
2013-04-25 12:40:09

Only 200% debt to GDP? Watch us sell them $30 billion of advanced weapon systems in the next few months on easy credit terms.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 07:29:53

Norway’s March s/a housing prices fall 0.2 pct m/m
OSLO, April 2 | Tue Apr 2, 2013 5:07am EDT

(Reuters) - Norwegian seasonally adjusted housing prices fell 0.2 percent in March compared to February, real estate industry associations reported on Tuesday.

On a year-on-year basis, prices rose by 7.0 percent in March, the association of real estate agents (NEF) and the association of real estate agency firms (NFF) said.

Unadjusted prices rose by 0.1 percent in March from February.

“We don’t see any effects of Easter on the sales volumes, which indicates that prices are levelling out,” the agency said in a statement. (Reporting by Camilla Knudsen, Writing by Victoria Klesty)

Comment by Joe the patriotic bootstrapping IRA stuffer
2013-04-25 07:34:08

sadly for teabillies everywhere, the story about the COEXIST sticker on the bomber-carjacked mercedes in Boston was an internet hoax.


Comment by it's hard out here for a pimp
2013-04-25 08:04:42

Too late?

Articles been written…..chests were thumped…..jokes were made……believes were reinforced…..

What’s truth gotta do with it?

Comment by goon squad
2013-04-25 08:17:48

If the meme has legs, the meme runs.

Comment by Northeastener
2013-04-25 08:31:55

What’s truth gotta do with it?

Huh, kind of like the libtarded idea that “Assault Weapons” need to be taken off American streets? Meanwhile, according to FBI data, hammers and other blunt objects account for more murders in the US than “Assault Weapons”. Why the furor for an assault weapons ban when rifles account for less than 2% of all firearm-related murders per year?

Like you said, what’s truth got to do with it?

Comment by goon squad
2013-04-25 08:57:39

As we’ve said before, the coastal elitist bedwetters don’t give a sh*t about black kidz wasting each other in Chicago. They are scared of flyover whitey owning gunz.

And remember, when seconds count, the police are only minutes away :)

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Comment by it's hard out here for a pimp
2013-04-25 09:20:00

I think the secret is coastal elites don’t want black people to have guns since they are the ones living “closer” to the bad neighborhoods. They are so politically correct….they can’t only target blacks, can they?

And the real absurdity is if the elites wanted to ban the guns only for black/latino/asians, NRA would be in favor as well.

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-04-25 10:00:18

That is an interesting thought if the coastal elites really don’t care what the flyover rednecks have, but are willing to screw over them and the constitution (including the whole concept of the people being able to rein in the government by force if necessary) in hopes of a getting a bit of safety without having to be politically incorrect or actually fix the problem.

Comment by MightyMike
2013-04-25 16:50:01

Huh, kind of like the libtarded idea that “Assault Weapons” need to be taken off American streets?

There’s a difference there. The presence of a bumper sticker is a matter of fact. It was there on the car or not.

The desirability of assault weapons ban is a matter of opinion. Such an opinion cannot be proven to be incorrect in the same way as the claim about the bumper sticker.

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Comment by tresho
2013-04-25 12:48:05

The hijacked car in question wasn’t a Mazda at all. It was an SUV, and people seem to be confusing this small, Japanese sedan with this small, Japanese sedan:
… which is clearly not the same car. The car above, which was at the scene of the shootout, was the bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaez’ personal Honda Civic. It’s clearly not the same car — just look at how the taillights are split on the body and trunk on the Civic, and aren’t on the Mazda. Also interesting to note: there’s no Coexist bumper sticker on Tsarnaez’ car.

This supposedly ‘debunking’ post was so incoherent I stopped reading at this point. There were TWO cars at the scene of the shootout in which both brothers participated. Who would have expected that the car the brothers hijacked would have been the exact same make & model as Dzhokar’s personal vehicle. ‘not a Mazda, but an SUV’ ? What BS.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 07:37:52

April 25, 2013, 10:00 a.m. EDT
15-year mortgage rate hit record low of 2.61%
By Ruth Mantell

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — The average rate on the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage hit a record low of 2.61% in the week ending April 25, down from 2.64% in the prior week, Freddie Mac said Thursday in its weekly report. These data go back to 1991. A year ago, the 15-year rate was 3.12%. Meanwhile, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage ticked down to 3.40% in the latest week from 3.41% in the prior week, nudging closer to a record low of 3.31%. The average rate on the 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage also hit a record low in the latest week, declining to 2.58% from 2.60% in the prior week. The data on the 5-year mortgage go back to 2005. The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM ticked down to 2.62% in the latest week from 2.63% in the prior week.

Comment by aNYCdj
2013-04-25 07:46:26

You know if the lucky duckies could get even Double that rate on their credit cards there would be lots of Billions in free cash each month available to ummm boost the economy…

Comment by "Uncle Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2013-04-25 11:12:18

In the meanwhile, I can buy houses using my 0% interest-rate credit card, and then transfer the balance every 15-18 months among 3-4 cards for a mere 3% fee. Why get a secured mortgage at 2.61% annually, when you can get an unsecured mortgage at a lower rate?

Don’t you guys feel like this whole thing is getting kinda whacky?

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 12:48:17

Under the circumstances, no. See Gillian Tett article excerpt I just posted below (when it shows up later…).

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 07:47:31

All dollar-denominated asset prices are rising today on a tsunami tide of QE3 liquidity.

Comment by scdave
2013-04-25 07:53:03

Yep…What happens when the music stops…Last one out please shut off the lights…

Comment by azdude
2013-04-25 08:12:14

bankers enriching other bankers, who would have thought?

Comment by Bigbubbabear
Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-04-25 09:45:07

“Even in the absence of the excess empty housing inventory estimated in the tens of millions, historically housing prices fall. Why? Because houses depreciate. ALWAYS.”

Comment by goon squad
2013-04-25 10:20:36

Hope and Change

“The NYPD is looking for two children, one as young as 10-years old, who attempted to mug a woman in Central Park.”


Comment by aNYCdj
2013-04-25 11:13:00

can a kid be charged with a racial hate crime? Notice they never mentioned the color of the victim.

Comment by scdave
2013-04-25 12:05:22

Must be good parenting….

Comment by it's hard out here for a pimp
2013-04-25 13:16:11

Must be a high profile victim. Othewise would cops even bother?

Comment by Housing Analyst
2013-04-25 12:17:56

“90% of All Foreclosures Held Off Market” ……..…. And There Are MILLIONS of Them


Comment by nh transplant
2013-04-25 12:30:06

[i]Comment by ecofeco

2013-04-24 12:50:45

It seems our only choices have been Tweedledee or Tweedledum Dum for decades.

However, this does not detract from the main issue of the GOP doing far more to deliberately screw J6P, than anyone else.[/i]

This may be your main issue but I must say it did not seem to be [i]the[/i] main issue.

Anyone with an “if we could just get rid of one of the parties the other party would fix what ails us” point of view is missing the point entirely.

Comment by Neuromance
2013-04-25 12:32:10

Pesky building codes, clean air, clean water and worker welfare rules in America? Not a problem, just move the factory elsewhere.

DHAKA, Bangladesh — Search crews on Thursday clawed through the wreckage of a collapsed building that housed several factories making clothing for European and American consumers, with the death toll rising to at least 238 and many others still unaccounted for.

The collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Savar, an industrial suburb of Dhaka, the capital, came only five months after a horrific fire at a similar facility …

Labor unions are almost nonexistent, and a labor organizer, Aminul Islam, was tortured and murdered last year. The case remains unsolved.


Comment by goon squad
2013-04-25 13:54:02

ah, the cruel invisible hand of the free market.

we had our triangle shirtwaist fire back in the day, now it’s their turn.

Comment by ecofeco
2013-04-25 14:38:19

No, we had our Deepwater Horizon and they haven’t had theirs yet.

Comment by "Uncle Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2013-04-25 16:20:07

There is no reason to believe that the United States trades in a free market with India.

Comment by In Colorado
2013-04-25 15:26:13

Hey, but Bangladesh is “business friendly”, right?

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 12:44:59

This will come as no surprise whatsoever to readers here, but still worth posting.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 12:47:08

ft dot com
April 25, 2013 5:45 pm
US mortgage market depends on state support
By Gillian Tett
Private sector involvement is minimal

This week, the American economy passed a small milestone. For the first time in six years, a Gallup survey showed that just over half of Americans now expect house prices to rise over the next year.

That is a sharp contrast to last year, when most people expected further falls. And it follows a host of other upbeat signals: CoreLogic reports that US house values rose at their fastest pace in February since 2006; the pace of home sales has jumped; unsold inventories have declined; and developers have even started to build more homes again.

Little wonder that some senior US economic officials are quietly celebrating an end to the great housing market crash; or, at least, are expressing hopes that the market is “healing” due to a typically American combination of creative destruction (ie. defaults) and entrepreneurial instincts (bottom-fishing investors).

But amid these hints of optimism, there is a profound irony too: if you look at what is currently driving America’s housing “market”, the funding side of this equation has less and less to do with genuine market forces. Never mind the fact that the US Federal Reserve is gobbling up mortgage-backed securities at a rate of $40bn a month, to try to lower mortgage rates. And ignore the modest (and generally ineffective) measures that the Federal government has unveiled for homeowners who are underwater on their mortgage loans.

What is most startling of all is the level of government guarantees for mortgage bonds, following the collapse of the private securitisation market in the wake of the financial crisis. “Investors have nearly completely abandoned the private label [mortgage backed securities] market— the government is responsible for nearly 100 per cent of the securitisation market,” a Congressional committee on financial services noted this week.

“In fact, the displacement of private sector competition is so large that roughly 90 per cent of all residential mortgage originations are securitised into government-backed [bonds].

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 13:56:04

“Investors have nearly completely abandoned the private label [mortgage backed securities] market— the government is responsible for nearly 100 per cent of the securitisation market,”

More accurately, private insurers and their investors, who don’t want to lose money, can’t compete with GSE insurers who lose money by design and charge off the losses to taxpayers.

Comment by azdude
2013-04-25 16:06:28

FHA, USDA, VA, Ginne MAE, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and I’m sure I missed some players.

Yep the mortgages of you neighbor are backstopped by you.

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Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 20:13:10

Farmer Mac (Yes, there is a special federal agency with a mission to blow farmland price bubbles…)

Comment by Carl Morris
2013-04-25 14:03:01

For the first time in six years, a Gallup survey showed that just over half of Americans now expect house prices to rise over the next year.

Mission accomplished.

Comment by michael
2013-04-25 14:25:51

“Mission accomplished.”

sweet…wo now the fed can start raising rates right? right? hello? anyone? buehler?

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Comment by In Colorado
2013-04-25 15:04:32

Not until the shadow inventory has been unloaded.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 15:46:25

“Not until the shadow inventory has been unloaded.”

Can’t say for sure, but I doubt there are enough people with boxes of money and buckets of stupid to ever get there.

Comment by Rental Watch
2013-04-25 23:42:43

Just to put some data behind this: LPS noted the percentages of loans that were government backed loans going back to 2005 in their January “Mortgage Monitor”.

2005: 52%
2006: 52%
2007: 69%
2008: 87%
2009: 91%
2010: 89%
2011: 87%
2012: 84%

No commentary needed.

Comment by Michael Viking
2013-04-25 12:59:53

Had lunch with my cousin today. His house has been in foreclosure for around two years now and the whole time his kid has been squatting in it while renting part of it out to somebody else (income with no expenses!). He told me he just received a $300 check in the mail from the government as some kind of reimbursement program for people who are being foreclosed on…Onward!

Comment by it's hard out here for a pimp
2013-04-25 13:13:48

I would start voting if I can get a check like that once in a while.

Comment by Pete
2013-04-25 13:59:34

Is he saving for when the party ends?

Comment by michael
2013-04-25 14:24:02

i would love to know the magnitude of these situations.

Comment by Rental Watch
2013-04-25 21:58:32

Probably no more than about 3 million.

There are a bit over 3 million homes that are 90+ days delinquent and/or in the foreclosure process. Of the homes in the foreclosure process, there are about 300k that are empty and abandoned.

It is safe to bet that a large portion of the rest are milking the situation for all they can. Some are probably behind and desperately trying to keep up. Others are just biding their time until the foreclosure is completed and living rent free while they can.

Comment by howiewowie
2013-04-25 14:13:08

Cape Coral couple cry foul over foreclosure, eviction

A pair of Fort Myers men who invented Bagel Bites have left a bad taste in the mouths of a Cape Coral couple being evicted from their house by the culinary duo.

Stan Garczynski and Bob Mosher, who created the bite-size pizza bagels in 1985, bought the waterfront home of Nickie Haggart, 70, and Jim Haggart, 83, at a foreclosure auction in January for $4,350.

Before the real estate market crashed, the 2,991-square-foot home was listed for $1.2 million. It is currently assessed at $387,906.

The house was placed on the auction block after Cape Coral foreclosed on an unpaid water assessment impact fee lien that totaled $620 plus unspecified interest, penalties and attorney fees, according to court records.


Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 14:42:30

“Stan Garczynski and Bob Mosher, who created the bite-size pizza bagels in 1985, bought the waterfront home of Nickie Haggart, 70, and Jim Haggart, 83, at a foreclosure auction in January for $4,350.

Before the real estate market crashed, the 2,991-square-foot home was listed for $1.2 million. It is currently assessed at $387,906.”

They missed the boat on what must have approached the largest real estate investment percentage gain in history!

Comment by ecofeco
2013-04-25 14:43:25

The oldest and dirtiest trick in the book.

Sucks, but just goes to show that anyone, anywhere, any time can lose control of their lives.

Comment by Resistor
2013-04-25 15:35:18

“The oldest and dirtiest trick in the book.”

Paying someone else’s bills?

Comment by Resistor
2013-04-25 15:45:18

“Nickie Haggart, who was notified Wednesday she and her husband must vacate by Friday morning, said the couple were hit hard by the economic downturn and stopped paying their mortgage five years ago after buying the house in 2004.”

Ohhh, o.k.

The details are important. Next victim, please.

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Comment by azdude
2013-04-25 16:10:57

sounds like a loser to me.

Comment by sustainable development
2013-04-25 15:58:45

Church Split on How to Manage $2 Billion Legacy of a Queen

Published: Thursday, 25 Apr 2013 | 9:39 AM ET
By: Sharon Otterman

There has never been any doubt that Trinity Church is wealthy. But the extent of its wealth has long been a mystery; guessed at by many, known by few.

Now, however, after a lawsuit filed by a disenchanted parishioner, the church has offered an estimate of the value of its assets: more than $2 billion.

The Episcopal parish, known as Trinity Wall Street, traces its holdings to a gift of 215 acres of prime Manhattan farmland donated in 1705 by Queen Anne of England. Since then, the church has parlayed that gift into a rich portfolio of office buildings, stock investments and, soon, mixed-use residential development.

“Given the resources, I think they do exactly what they should be doing,” said Susan V. Berresford, a current member of the vestry and the former head of the Ford Foundation. “This, I think, is a first-class philanthropic operation and one that is using its resources very wisely.”

“The Trinity Church properties are now among the most valuable in all of New York City, because they are sitting on the edge of the hottest neighborhoods in the city — SoHo, TriBeCa and Greenwich Village,” said Mitchell L. Moss, a professor of urban policy and planning at New York University. “Trinity has been either very wise or very prudent, but they have let the market mature around them, and now they are ready to take advantage of it.”

The church, which calls itself “one of the largest landowners in Manhattan,” has also been building an equity investment portfolio that was worth about $160 million in 2011. And the value of Trinity’s real estate holdings is expected to grow because rezoning of much of the church’s land will allow up to 3,200 new residential units, with the first large project planned for Duarte Square on Canal Street.

Some details are not included on the form, church officials said, like Mr. Cooper’s $475,000 annual salary — which rises to a total compensation of $1.3 million when his pension and the estimated cost of his residence in a $5.5 million, church-owned SoHo town house are added. For at least some of the defecting vestrymen — who complained Mr. Cooper was circumventing them in decision-making, subverting a review of his leadership and de-emphasizing religious education and philanthropy while obsessing about reconstructing the church’s administrative headquarters at 74 Trinity Place — those numbers rankle.

Mr. Cooper said he believed the church had the right balance between ministry, charity and its real estate business.
Global agenda and plan of action crafted during the Earth Summit, the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is a comprehensive set of plans of action to promote sustainable development and eliminate national sovereignty in favor of allowing global control by the United Nations and their approved NGOs



International Council on Local Environmental Initiatives which was renamed to Local Governments for Sustainability to make the group seem less International. Created in the 90’s after the 1992 Rio summit by the United Nations. This is one of the primary United Nations certified organizations. Also sponsored by the Kaiser Foundation from Oklahoma.

Mixed-Use Development

Buildings where residential and business is designed to be mixed so that no one building is only residential or business.

Sustainable Development

Development that considers future generations in planning and is not allowed to impact the planet or the environment in any way

http://tulsansforsustainablefreedom.com/glossary.html - -

Comment by Happy2bHeard
2013-04-25 18:34:17

If I wanted to destroy a meme that might have a negative effect on my business, starting a conspiracy theory would be an excellent way to do it.

Comment by sustainable development
2013-04-26 04:55:19

“The Episcopal parish, known as Trinity Wall Street, traces its holdings to a gift of 215 acres of prime Manhattan farmland donated in 1705 by Queen Anne of England. Since then, the church has parlayed that gift into a rich portfolio of office buildings, stock investments and, soon, mixed-use residential development.”

Terrorism and the Illuminati
http://www.terrorism-illuminati.com/rosicrucians-freemasons - 53k -

In March 1702, William died and the throne passed to Mary’s sister who became Queen Anne. The failure of either Anne or of her sister to produce an heir precipitated a succession crisis, for, in the absence of a Protestant heir, the Roman Catholic James II could attempt to return to the Throne. The Parliament of England then passed the Act of Settlement in 1701, whereupon the Electress Sophia of Hanover, the daughter of Frederick of the Palatinate and Elizabeth Stuart, was designated heir to the British Throne, if William III and his sister-in-law, Anne, both died without issue. Sophia was the closest Protestant relative of the British Royal Family, though numerous Catholics with superior hereditary claims had to be bypassed. When Sophia died a few weeks before Anne, Sophia’s son George became the first Hanoverian king of England.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 16:13:38

ft dot com
April 24, 2013 11:22 pm
Housing industry defends US tax breaks
By James Politi in Washington

The US housing industry will warn lawmakers not to curb the tax deduction on mortgage interest as they grapple with ways to reform the US tax code and reduce America’s budget deficits.

In testimony prepared for a hearing on Thursday before the ways and means committee in the House of Representatives, Gary Thomas, president of the National Association of Realtors, will mount a vigorous defence of the mortgage tax break, according to a copy obtained by the FT.

“Congress should avoid further raising taxes on homeowners in a quest for additional revenue while federal spending is at record highs. Congress must first look to reduce spending in order to get our nation’s fiscal house in order,” Mr Thomas, a realtor in California, will say.

Led by Republican chairman Dave Camp, the House ways and means committee is pressing ahead with plans for a sweeping overhaul of the US tax system, and is considering any ways it can to raise revenue that could be used to lower the top individual tax rates. Meanwhile, Democrats including Barack Obama are eyeing tax reform as a way to reduce deficits and make the tax code more efficient and competitive.

This combination has put the mortgage interest deduction – claimed by more than 36.7m taxpayers in 2010 – in the crosshairs, since it is one of the largest US tax breaks in the system, costing the government more than $100bn per year.

Proponents of curbing the mortgage interest deduction have argued that it disproportionately benefits upper-middle class and wealthy Americans, and distorts incentives in the US economy toward home ownership in an unhealthy way. Some even believe that its existence contributed to the housing bubble of a decade ago that eventually burst, leading to the financial crisis.

But Mr Thomas rejects those arguments. “The tax system does not cause home ownership. People buy homes to satisfy many social, family and personal goals. The tax system facilitates home ownership,” he will tell lawmakers, saying they “should not dismiss or underestimate America’s passion for home ownership, notwithstanding the most recent economic crisis.”

Furthermore, the NAR president will say that the last time Congress withdrew tax breaks for housing in the 1986 reform under president Ronald Reagan, a recession followed. “Congress must be mindful that eliminating widely-used and simple tax provisions can have harsh and dangerous unintended consequences,” Mr Thomas will say.

Comment by ?
2013-04-25 17:06:13

What a scumbag lying bastard realtor.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 17:03:05

Furthermore, the NAR president will say that the last time Congress withdrew tax breaks for housing in the 1986 reform under president Ronald Reagan, a recession followed. “Congress must be mindful that eliminating widely-used and simple tax provisions can have harsh and dangerous unintended consequences,” Mr Thomas will say.

Post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy in action!

Comment by sustainable development
2013-04-25 17:10:54

More photos of the voulntary house search in Watertown.


: Americans Ordered Out Of Homes At Gunpoint …
http://www.infowars.com/shocking-footage-americans-ordered-out-of-homes-at-gunpoint-by-swat-teams/ - 74k -

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 19:53:07

It’s mighty hard to argue nuances of constitutional rights with a SWAT team carrying assault rifles.

Tsarnaevs did not hold Boston under siege, law officers did (Column)
By Norm Pattis, New Haven Register
Posted: 04/25/2013 01:44:02 PM PDT
Updated: 04/25/2013 01:44:07 PM PDT

A settlement has been reached in the Los Angeles Police Department’s Feb. 7, 2013 shooting up of this pickup truck in Torrance during the Christopher Dorner manhunt.

Before leaping to the conclusion that lawmen in Boston worked a miracle last week by locking the city down as they searched for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, consider the following: It was only after folks were told they could leave their homes that a private citizen spotted a trail of blood that led to the young man’s hiding place and capture.

This is important because Boston will now stand as a textbook case of what municipal police officers should do in an emergency. Close down businesses. Order people to stay in their homes. Keep folks off the streets. Search homes one by one at gunpoint.

“It was really creepy,’ a reporter who was in Watertown, Mass., during the search and lockdown told me. “It felt like the police wanted to do this to test their emergency response drills. It made me very uneasy. I called you to talk about it because I figured anyone else would accuse me of supporting terrorists.’

Wow, I thought. Criminal defense lawyers rarely play priest to the press.

Although composed in words that do not change, the United States Constitution is written in language in broad terms. The Constitution’s meaning changes depending on how we define its words. This is particularly clear in the area of our freedom to remain free from unreasonable searches and seizures.

The text of the Fourth Amendment is concise: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not
be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.’

But don’t confuse concision with clarity. What, for example, is an “unreasonable’ search and seizure? That’s where Supreme Court rulings end up being the real law of the land. It has the final say on what the Constitution’s words mean.

Our current Supreme Court regards an unreasonable search as one transgressing boundaries we are collectively prepared to honor. If that sounds ambiguous, that’s because it is. The court, not a public opinion poll or a referendum, determines the content of our collective expectations. In doing so, the court relies upon all sorts of things, including many things not found in the Constitution at all.

Some of you are no doubt troubled by all this. I thought the Constitution was the fundamental law of the land, you might say. Ponder this question long enough and you will come to understand the furious politics surrounding the appointment of judges. It’s not enough to promise simply to follow the law. Judges make law.

That’s what makes the Boston bombing case so potentially frightening. What if the court concludes when a terrorist is on the loose, all bets are off? Didn’t the good people of Boston submit willingly to what amounted to martial law? Why isn’t their reaction in their time of extraordinary crisis illustrative of what the American people are prepared to accept as reasonable in the war on terror?

Not so fast.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 20:15:04

This incident should give yet another boost to gun sales…

Comment by ?
2013-04-25 17:40:05

How many of you scumbag realtors have the intestinal fortitude to admit your occupation?

Comment by macboy
2013-04-25 21:57:33

You sound insecure…

Comment by ?
2013-04-25 18:20:52

How much do you think NAR and MBA pay the owner of Patrick.net?

Comment by macboy
2013-04-25 21:58:57

Perhaps you can tell us…

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 21:54:12

More than half a decade after the housing bubble popped, it seems we still haven’t run out of housing market victims. The latest: Banks that were victims of inflated ratings on their sh!tty mortgage assets.

April 24, 2013, 6:57 p.m. ET

Suddenly, Banks Are Victims

In their S&P lawsuit, the feds discover a new crisis narrative.

Standard & Poor’s on Tuesday asked a federal judge to dismiss a $5 billion fraud lawsuit filed by the Justice Department. The judge ought to grant S&P’s motion for many reasons, not least because otherwise no one will be able to sort Washington’s list of victims and villains.

The lawsuit covers the years before the financial crisis of 2008. Justice accuses S&P of claiming to be “independent” and “objective” and then—in order to please clients—assigning Triple-A ratings to mortgage-backed securities that S&P knew were more risky. S&P denies this.

In this latest Beltway telling of financial history, the alleged victims include two bailed-out U.S. financial giants and a failed credit union. Yet in other federal suits, all three have been charged as perpetrators of the mortgage crisis.

Former executives of Western Federal Corporate Credit Union, known as WesCorp, must be shocked to learn that Washington now blames their troubles on somebody else. WesCorp bought a lot of the mortgage paper at issue and its managers were fired and then sued by regulators after the feds seized the failing credit union in 2009.

Few would argue that these managers were blameless. Last year WesCorp’s former chief economist Dwight Johnston described the problem to trade publication Credit Union Journal. “Management was well aware the housing bust was possible,” said Mr. Johnston. “But from 2004 through 2007, no one inside WesCorp really wanted to hear about it.”

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 22:05:52

Rumor has it that homes are selling like hot cakes in our nook of North County San Diego during this red hot spring sales season at a high premium to last year’s sale prices.

The bubble is back with a vengeance, and it is only a matter of time until the next crash.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 22:15:44

Zillow sez:

Sept 2012 price = $429K

April 2012 price = $474K

Annualized rate of appreciation over last seven months:

((474/429)^(12/7)-1)*100% = 18.6%, and it’s appreciating at an accelerating rate — something that first shows up this year!

Sadly, also according to Zillow, the home was “worth” $599K in September 2005, and no amount of cargo cult wishful thinking is likely to soon return the price back that high again.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 22:22:35

The BOJ can print and print some more, but they never, ever can seem to be able to stop deflation, no matter how much they print!!!

Luckily deflation can never happen here, because this is America, where the stock and housing markets always go up.

Kia Profit Tumbles Steeper-Than-Estimated 35% on Production, Won

Japan Deflation Deepens as BOJ Maintains Policy Stance: Economy
By Toru Fujioka & Andy Sharp - Apr 25, 2013 9:53 PM PT

Japan’s consumer prices fell the most in two years, underscoring the challenge facing Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda as he works to meet a 2 percent inflation target.

Consumer prices excluding fresh food slid 0.5 percent in March from a year earlier, the statistics bureau said today in Tokyo. The median estimate of 25 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was for a 0.4 percent decline. Overall prices dropped 0.9 percent.

Today’s data will be no surprise for the BOJ, which this month said that it expects prices to keep declining for “the time being” even after unveiling a plan for unprecedented easing. The bank today kept its pledge to expand the monetary base, and later may raise its forecasts for consumer prices to signal confidence it will reach its inflation target by 2015, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News this month.

“We can expect more easing later this year if prices refuse to edge up,” said Junko Nishioka, chief economist at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (RBS) in Tokyo and a former BOJ official. “It’s imperative for the BOJ to clearly communicate its objectives to maintain expectations that prices will rise.”

The BOJ’s easing is pushing up property prices and is likely to lead to higher rents — a key consumer-price driver, Nishioka said. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is also using his ties with business leaders to try to pressure companies to raise wages, she said.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 22:25:11

Got physical?

U.S. Mint Runs Out of Smallest American Eagle Gold Coin
By Debarati Roy - Apr 24, 2013 2:02 AM PT

The U.S. Mint ran out of its smallest American Eagle gold coin after demand surged following the biggest drop in futures in three decades.

Sales of the coins weighing a 10th of an ounce were suspended after demand more than doubled in 2013 from a year earlier, the Mint said yesterday in a statement. Total sales of American Eagles in April have almost tripled from a month earlier, according to its website.

Shoppers from India to China and Japan joined consumers in the U.S. and Australia in the rush to buy jewelry and coins after futures slumped 13 percent in two days through April 15. Indian buyers flocked to stores and banks for ornaments, coins and bars as purchases from the Perth Mint in Australia doubled and retail sales across China tripled.

“This week has been very busy for us,” Michael Kramer, the president of New York-based MTB Inc., a dealer authorized to purchase coins directly from the Mint. “We do not yet anticipate suspension” of heavier coins, he said. The Mint also sells 22-karat American Eagles of 1 ounce, half an ounce and a quarter of an ounce.

“The 1-ounce gold bullion coins are the most popular,” Michael White, a Mint spokesman, said in the e-mail.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 22:37:01

It seems odd that while Ben Bernanke has no inkling there is a new housing bubble developing, other knowledgeable experts see highly visible signs that the Fed is deliberately creating one.

This should pose no problem, so long as the Fed can indefinitely maintain interest rates at 100 year lows.


Updated April 9, 2013, 7:44 p.m. ET
Is the Fed Blowing a New Housing Bubble?
Stagnant real incomes suggest that rising home prices reflect artificially low interest rates.

Over the past year, the Federal Reserve has ramped up its policy of quantitative easing, with the result being new stock market highs and surging bond prices. Moreover, housing prices jumped 8%, the biggest annual gain since 2006.

The result is that more than a trillion dollars have been added to the market value of single-family homes. Homeowners are now wealthier and according to what economists call the “wealth effect,” they should be willing to spend more, helping the economy.

But there is another, less sanguine view of the housing recovery. Recent data released by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) suggest that the increase in house prices is not being driven by a broad-based improvement in the economy’s fundamentals. Instead, the Fed’s lower rates are simply being capitalized into higher home prices. This does not bode well for the future.

A comparison of FHFA’s conventional home-financing data for February 2012 and February 2013 shows that borrowers bought newly built and existing homes in 2013 for 9% and 15% more respectively than in the previous year. Increases of this magnitude cannot be attributed to higher incomes, as these rose a mere 2% over the last year, just keeping up with inflation. It appears that home prices are being levitated by quantitative easing. Because interest rates were .625% and .90% lower on new and existing homes respectively this year compared with last year, the monthly finance cost to purchase a new home remained the same and went up only 3% for an existing home.

While a housing recovery of sorts has developed, it is by no means a normal one. The government continues to go to extraordinary lengths to prop up sales by guaranteeing nearly 90% of new mortgage debt, financing half of all home purchase mortgages to buyers with zero equity at closing, driving mortgage interest rates to the lowest level in 100 years, and turning the Fed into the world’s largest buyer of new mortgage debt.

Thus, with real incomes essentially stagnant, this is a market recovery largely driven by low interest rates and plentiful government financing. This is eerily familiar to the previous government policy-induced boom that went bust in 2006, and from which the country is still struggling to recover. Creating over a trillion dollars in additional home value out of thin air does sound like a variant of dropping money out of helicopters.

Will history repeat? When it comes to interest rates, whatever goes down must go up.

The average mortgage rate during the first nine years of the 2000s was 6.3% compared with today’s rate of less than 3.5%. If mortgage rates were to increase to a moderate 6% in three years, say, some combination of three things would have to happen to keep the same level of homeownership affordability. Incomes would need to increase by a third, house prices would need to decline by a quarter, or lending standards would need to be loosened even further.

The National Association of Realtors and the rest of the government mortgage complex can be relied on to push for looser lending. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently came out with new rules that would grease the skids for relaxed lending standards, compliments of Fannie Mae, (FNMA +0.12%) Freddie Mac (FMCC -0.85%) and the Federal Housing Administration.

Given the continued subpar economic recovery and our past experience with the disastrous impact of loose lending encouraged by federal policies, homeowners would best be cautious about spending their new found “wealth.” Americans have seen this movie before and know how it ends.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 22:39:37

How will history ever figure out a way to thank any number of today’s big name economists for doing such a fine job of royally screwing up the financial system?

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2013-04-25 22:42:28

Paul Krugman Advised Fed To Create A Housing Bubble In 2002
Bloomberg View | By Matthew C. Klein Posted: 04/19/2013 3:14 pm EDT | Updated: 04/19/2013 3:23 pm EDT

Americans have been whipsawed by devastating cycles of boom and bust over the past three decades. Now some at the Fed want us to go through it again.

The excesses of the 1980s — leveraged buyouts, the junk bond bubble and wild property speculation — led directly to the original “jobless recovery” of the early 1990s. This occurred despite a prolonged period of very low interest rates. (The 1990 tax increases and post-Cold War defense cuts were probably counterproductive.) In many ways, that episode was a dress rehearsal for the recent crisis, so it makes sense that some of the most interesting writings about the dangers of excessive private borrowing come from that earlier time.

It didn’t take long for the next boom and bust cycle to hit. In the second half of the 1990s, the irrational exuberance of stock investors fueled a binge of business spending. Real nonresidential private investment increased at an annualized rate of more than 12 percent between the beginning of 1996 and the middle of 2000. That changed once firms realized that they had been wasting their money on bad investments and unneeded capacity. Capital expenditures plummeted by nearly 20 percent between the middle of 2000 and the end of 2001. Real business investment didn’t return to its pre-recession level until the beginning of 2005.

The massive swing in capital spending plunged the economy into recession and held back the recovery for years. According to the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, real median incomes (for individuals, not households) increased at an annualized rate of just 0.2 percent from 2001 through 2007. More Americans were working in the private sector in December, 2000, than in May, 2005. Since the population of prime-age workers was expanding throughout this period, the actual damage was even worse. Again, this was in spite of the fact that real interest rates were very low for a long time and in spite of the large tax cuts and spending increases of the early 2000s.

In 2002, economist Paul Krugman, who would go on to win a Nobel Prize in 2008, advised that the Fed “create a housing bubble to replace the Nasdaq bubble.” In his view, this would allow “soaring household spending to offset moribund business investment.” (Krugman began warning that the housing bubble was dangerous in 2005.)

We now have extensive evidence that the wanton borrowing that fueled the recent housing bubble made the economy vulnerable to the devastating downturn the U.S. endured. This shouldn’t have been surprising. After studying every business cycle experienced by 14 rich countries since 1870, Oscar Jorda, Moritz Schularick and Alan Taylor found that excessive private credit growth systematically predicts deeper downturns and slower recoveries.

Back in the 2000s, however, most people just wanted to get out of the funk associated with the aftermath of the tech boom. There was also a widespread belief that bubbles aren’t dangerous as long as the central bank is around to “clean up” the mess when they burst. This view was best articulated by Ben Bernanke in 1999. As a result, many monetary policymakers were untroubled by the prospect of creating a new bubble to replace the old one.

Transcripts of the Fed’s internal meetings make it clear that this was their conscious plan. On March 16, 2004, Donald Kohn, a longtime Fed staffer who later became the Fed’s vice chairman, said that the credit bubble was “deliberate and a desirable effect of the stance of policy.” According to Kohn, the Fed’s strategy was: “boost asset prices in order to stimulate demand.” That appeared to work for a short time, but it ended badly. We’re still struggling to emerge from the wreckage despite, yet again, incredibly low real interest rates and very large government budget deficits. Clearly, cleaning up after bubbles is harder than it’s made out to be.

One might think that the Fed has learned something from this experience. A recent speech from Nayarana Kocherlakota, the president of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank, suggests otherwise. He said that the Fed “will only be able to achieve its congressionally mandated objectives by following policies that result in signs of financial market instability.” In other words, he wants to repeat the exact same formula that Donald Kohn endorsed in the 2000s.

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