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Posts Tagged ‘Economic Crisis

No Bailout Plan Will or Should Restore Fictitious Value

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the economy is one big fixer-upper

the economy is one big fixer-upper

Here’s your number one problem. We got into this mess because of inflated housing values, sourced from low interest rates, easy-lending, lax regulation and runaway derivatives. The bubble burst when price discovery kicked in and everyone realize they had nothing. The bottom fell out, and people who bought houses at fictitious valuations got slammed. The problem is that these fictitious values can’t be restored. They’re gone. Therefore there has to be hurt for people caught in the trap. The only way to alleviate their suffering is to restore fictitious values which are what put us in this mess in the first place.

Any attempt to mitigate loss will only end up creating more loss. I hate to sound like a conservative here, but real estate is a pure market (unlike health care for example). Houses will find their true value. We need to let that happen. All we’re doing by bailing out the homeowners is creating false valuations once more, and as important bailing out the lenders. No moral hazard, regulatory inertia and we’re just priming for a repeat performance.

If you’re looking for a home and find one that was bought at $400k which is now worth $100k you’ll buy, so will others and the demand will push the prices back up to an equilibrium once more, supporting surrounding homeowners. Neighborhoods will be restored. It’s called simple economics. Pain is part of life. It has to be allowed to happen, except where there is no justice in it. For many who made bad investment decisions, suffering is just. And for those who pushed the bad loans, the suffering is necessary punishment.

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Written by coolrebel

February 21, 2009 at 8:24 am

Stimulus Package. The Politics Of Panic.

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panic first. solve problems later.

here's a plan. panic first. solve problems never.

Who came up with the cockamamie idea of the ‘economic stimulus’? The Bushies. During the post Bear-Stearns policy meltdown, when Paulson and his merry band of idiots put together policy on the fly, all we heard was how we needed to stimulate the economy. Well, we did an awful lot of stimulating but we’re in deeper trouble now than we were then.

And yet, Obama, continuing his annoying tendency to shape policy through a Republican prism, is continuing with this absurd “got to rush through the package now before its too late” rubbish. Many of the changes in the package are going to take months or years to be seen but that doesn’t stop him from giving the poor, downtrodden American people hope (remember that word) that this is a quick fix. It isn’t, and by branding it as one, Obama is only setting up problems for himself. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by coolrebel

February 20, 2009 at 9:46 pm

Robert Reich and Howard Dean. Where are They?

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Robert Reich - Not Treasury Secretary

Robert Reich - Not Treasury Secretary

Howard Dean - Not HHS Secretary

Howard Dean - Not HHS Secretary

Many left-leaning Democrats are asking the same question. Reich would have been a superb choice at Treasury and Dean an obvious choice at HHS. Both are tough, forward-thinking progressive politicians with total command of the briefs in question.  Many people inside and outside the Beltway are surprised that neither man was even in the running. Joe Trippi, a top Democratic consultant who ran Howard Dean’s 2004 Presidential bid, “I think Robert Reich would have been a better appointment than Geithner”.

And there are many others who agree.

So why aren’t they the nominees?

There are many, many reasons.

First, both Robert Reich and Howard Dean are liberals, and that means they don’t mesh with Obama’s all inclusive ‘new politics’ (or centrism as it’s otherwise known). They are mistakenly seen by the White House as skilled ideologues in a post-partisan world. Read the rest of this entry »

Federal and State Deficits – Out of Sync

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this 17 carat gold railroad spike was pounded into the ground by Leland Stanford at Promontory Point, Utah on May 10, 1869, to commemorate the joining of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads to complete the first Transcontinental Railroad.

This 17 carat gold railroad spike was pounded into the ground by Leland Stanford at Promontory Point, Utah on May 10, 1869, to commemorate the joining of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads to complete the first Transcontinental Railroad.

America was built on Infrastructure. Take the Railroad Era, for example. Infrastructure represents a short term economic boost and long term economic investment. Just ask your average railroad baron. So If you agree that infrastructure spending is a keystone of economic recovery in the United States, then you’re likely to agree that, a) both the Federal and State Governments are critical to infrastructure spending, and b) that concerns about the deficits have to take a back seat to economic recovery.

That is clearly already true about the Federal Deficit. We’re going to hit a trillion a year pretty soon, and we’re going to be spending way more. The economy is so bad, and deflation such a risk, that printing money seems like a very attractive option. Sheets of the stuff will be churned out. The Mint will be working overtime.

But what about the states? Many States are constitutionally mandated to balance their budgets, including California. And none of them print their own money. States have to raise money from taxes, borrow it, or sell bonds to finance themselves. The first of these is a nasty option politically, especially during an economic squeeze, the second is tough sledding, and the third is deeply unattractive for investors. Which leaves the States in a terrific crisis. Among the many things that suffer are – guess what, infrastructure projects, the very lifeblood of the Keynesian (boy, is he back with a vengeance) recovery.

Problem? Uhh, yeah. Read the rest of this entry »

Why Did Obama Bypass Robert Reich?

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what am i, chopped liver?

what am i, chopped liver?

Of all the cabinet choices that Obama didn’t make, there are a few that really stick out. Not choosing Bill Richardson at State after he had switched loyalties from the Clinton camp early in the game and delivered a big jolt of legitimacy to the Obama team is one, but at least he got a job – if not the one he wanted. The big and potentially most worrying missing name from Obama’s line-up is Robert Reich. Now, it’s very possible that Reich said he wasn’t interested, that he preferred being an academic and a commentator, but it’s also possible he was left out in the cold.

If the latter is indeed true, it would be a very worrying sign for the economic path Obama is likely to take. Reich is the most reasonable, sensible, honest, straightforward and intelligent guy who wasn’t chosen to steer the economy. He knows the mistakes that were made, he saw them coming a mile off, and unlike Tim Geithner, he has no role whatsoever in the disaster that has befallen us. His only ‘crime’ maybe that he is seen as too ‘progressive’, and might ‘scare Wall Street’ (not that Wall Street’s opinion is worth a bucket of spit). Read the rest of this entry »

Gordon Brown Is Back!

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gordonbrown_narrowweb__300x4250

scotland the brave

It was British Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson who coined the term “A week is a long time in politics”, and while Gordon Brown’s astonishing turnaround as British Prime Minister has taken a little longer than that, it has been truly remarkable.

When the British public turn on their leaders, they do it with a viciousness that’s positively medieval. A year ago, Gordon Brown was political poison. In the great tradition of British politics, his Labour Party was openly plotting his demise in the tea rooms and bars of Westminster. His demise was expected in a matter of weeks, and his stoic Scottish demanour combined with an almost uncanny lack of political savvy conspired to hasten it.

But then something happened. Gordon found his mojo. Starting with an unexpectedly stirring keynote speech at the Labour Party Conference in September, Brown began to take on his critics in the best way a leader can, by being exactly that – a leader. The speech was a dignified mea culpa of his mistakes and failings, combined with a cogent vision for the future, and it stopped the bleeding.

The speech was followed by another masterstroke. Amid the flailing response by Hank Paulson, the Bush Administration and Congress to the galloping credit crisis and precipitous market collapse, it was Gordon Brown’s plan to buy stakes in the UK banks that, overnight, calmed the waters. First, the Euro-zone and then, unwillingly, the US, followed the Brown plan, and the immediate panic dissipated, virtually overnight. Brown’s status as British political whipping boy was replaced by a standard grudging acceptance by the grudging Brits that he did, well, okay. Read the rest of this entry »

“We Simply Cannot Ask The American Taxpayer To Subsidize Failure”

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Study the words in the title, and take a think. Haven’t we already subsidized failure to the tune of hundred of billions in the last three months?

mcconnell-thumb

i speak with forked tongue

Before Mitch McConnell uttered the phrase above, he made sure to try to separate the bailout of the auto industry from the bailout of the financial industry. The financial bailout he said, was to shore up the entire economy. The auto bailout would support a single industry.

But McConnell’s cries of selectivism should fall on deaf ears. The US Auto Industry is no ordinary industry. It represents a big chunk of our albeit shrinking manufacturing output. It’s not as if the aluminum siding, or the garden furniture industries were looking for federal handouts. We’re talking about cars here. You can’t walk five yards in this country without seeing fifty. If the US car industry were to fail it would impact millions of Americans, would crush a thousand companies that rely on the Big Three, would severely impact the world auto industry, and would dig us deeper into recession.The truth is that sometimes principles have to suffer. But it’s not as if McConnell and his fellow Republicans can make any claim on ideological purity when it comes to subsidies. Read the rest of this entry »