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After nearly four months of frank, honest, and open dialogue about the failing economy, a weary U.S. populace announced this week that it is once again ready to be lied to about the current state of the financial system.Tired of hearing the grim truth about their economic future, Americans demanded that the bald-faced lies resume immediately, particularly whenever politicians feel the need to divulge another terrifying problem with Wall Street, the housing market, or any one of a hundred other ticking time bombs everyone was better off not knowing about.
In addition, citizens are requesting that the phrase, “It will only get worse before it gets better,” be permanently replaced with, “Things are going great. Enjoy yourselves.”
"Never short a dull market."
Jesse's Café Américain
The losses are there and someone has to bear them. There are two possibilities. Banks go under and the stakeholders are left with nothing, as is the case with Lehman Brothers, or governments pump money into the financial system so that the incompetent financial clowns in Bahnhofstrasse [Zurich's financial centre] and Wall Street can continue to eat in fancy restaurants.
- Right you are Professor -- We are reminded of James Carville speaking with Louis Uchitelle in the 6/12/1994 NYTimes Sunday Magazine:
"I used to think that if there was reincarnation, I wanted to come back as the President or the Pope or as a .400 basball hitter," he said. "But now I would like to come back as the bond market. You can intimidate everybody."
- No one can bail out the dollar except the printer.
- As Rick said in 'Casablanca,' "maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of your life."
- In a perfectly rational and certain world, there would be no disagreement about the future even between economists. However, in the real world that we find ourselves in, the opinions of economists are at best no better than those forthcoming from sorcerers. When those opinions are coloured with political biases and emanate from the closed mindset of flawed ideology, they are worst than useless and are in fact destructive.
Placing any credence in the utterances of economists is akin to paying attention to the ranting of the village idiot of yore.
— Mike Strike, Boston
[Dell earnings plunge 63% in first quarter]
SHHHHH. That was supposed to be a secret.
Can't interrupt Obama/Bernanke/Summers party line. Read from the script.
1. Reduce nominal interest rate to zero. Check. That didn’t work...
2. Increase the number of dollars in circulation, or credibly threaten to do so. Check. That didn’t work...
3. Expand the scale of asset purchases or, possibly, expand the menu of assets it buys. Check & check. That didn’t work...
4. Make low-interest-rate loans to banks. Check. That didn’t work...
5. Cooperate with fiscal authorities to inject more money. Check. That didn’t work...
... ... ...
“Wasn’t that Paul Krugman?” (A woman speaks to a man, having just passed a doomsayer whose sign reads, ‘The End is Still Coming!’)
Andrew Bissell: “Bernanke swinging from a lamppost”
May I have that episode on DVD, please? Thank you.
May 27, 2009 | Sudden Debt
"Continued gains in the Present Situation Index indicate that current conditions have moderately improved, and growth in the second quarter is likely to be less negative than in the first" (italics added)."
Now, what the heck kind of language is this? It certainly doesn't qualify as proper English, since "negative growth" is an outright oxymoron. What the establishment's perennial cheerleaders are attempting is to couch their statements in as anodyne a language as possible. It wouldn't be as obfuscatory and deceiving to simply say, for example: "The US economy is in decline but next quarter it may drop a bit less fast".
A process that long has other implications. First, the longer things play out, the greater the odds that customers get cold feet and sales fall below projected levels. That will require Uncle Sam to provide more in the way of financing, and will also damage GM suppliers, who are already on the ropes. If sales fall far enough, GM may no longer look viable and may go into Chapter 7, a liquidation. That would produce huge job losses.
The analogy here is Million Dollar Murray. As told by Malcolm Gladwell, Murray was a homeless alcoholic:Murray Barr was a bear of a man, an ex-marine, six feet tall and heavyset, and when he fell down—which he did nearly every day—it could take two or three grown men to pick him up....He was missing most of his teeth. He had a wonderful smile. People loved Murray....
"If he was on a runner, we could pick him up several times a day," Patrick O'Bryan, who is a bicycle cop in downtown Reno, said. "And he's gone on some amazing runners. He would get picked up, get detoxed, then get back out a couple of hours later and start up again. ...Murray was such a character and had such a great sense of humor that we somehow got past that....
"I've been a police officer for fifteen years," O'Bryan's partner, Steve Johns, said. "I picked up Murray my whole career. Literally."...
Johns and O'Bryan realized that if you totted up all his hospital bills for the ten years that he had been on the streets—as well as substance-abuse-treatment costs, doctors' fees, and other expenses—Murray Barr probably ran up a medical bill as large as anyone in the state of Nevada.
"It cost us one million dollars not to do something about Murray," O'Bryan said.
I've just found the perfect website for the permabulls in your life: Recession blocker.
Simply key in the URL for any news site, and the returned search blacks out any unwelcome words and phrases (e.g., "credit crunch," "recession," "banking crisis," "unemployment").
"Green shoots" forever!
We need to make sure these professionals are well-compensated so that they don't jump ship to another company. The talent pool is sooooooooooo small in the banking and finance world.
May 03, 2009 | Seeking Alpha
Therefore, sometime in 2010, the Federal Reserve will create and loan out hundreds of billions of fresh dollars to the usual well-connected suspects, instructing them to buy up stocks on the public's behalf. This scheme will have a fancy but meaningless name - something like the "Taxpayer Assurance Equities Facility". It will have no effect other than to serve as buyer of last resort for capitulating smart-money types who want to get out of stocks entirely.
km4 (profile) wrote on Sat, 5/23/2009 - 9:31 am
Hey it's worth a report because it's just so damn appropo for this bullshit happy talk US economy from pundits and MSM.
ATLAS SHRUGGED UPDATED FOR THE CURRENT FINANCIAL CRISIS.
BY JEREMIAH TUCKER
1. "Damn it, Dagny! I need the government to get out of the way and let me do my job!"
She sat across the desk from him. She appeared casual but confident, a slim body with rounded shoulders like an exquisitely engineered truss. How he hated his debased need for her, he who loathed self-sacrifice but would give up everything he valued to get in her pants ... Did she know?
"I heard the thugs in Washington were trying to take your Rearden metal at the point of a gun," she said. "Don't let them, Hank. With your advanced alloy and my high-tech railroad, we'll revitalize our country's failing infrastructure and make big, virtuous profits."
"Oh, no, I got out of that suckers' game. I now run my own hedge-fund firm, Rearden Capital Management."
He stood and adjusted his suit jacket so that his body didn't betray his shameful weakness. He walked toward her and sat informally on the edge of her desk. "Why make a product when you can make dollars? Right this second, I'm earning millions in interest off money I don't even have."
He gestured to his floor-to-ceiling windows, a symbol of his productive ability and goodness.
"There's a whole world out there of byzantine financial products just waiting to be invented, Dagny. Let the leeches run my factories into the ground! I hope they do! I've taken out more insurance on a single Rearden Steel bond than the entire company is even worth! When my old company finally tanks, I'll make a cool $877 million."
Their eyes locked with an intensity she was only beginning to understand. Yes, Hank ... claim me ... If we're to win the battle against the leeches, we must get it on ... right now ... Don't let them torture us for our happiness ... or our billions.
He tore his eyes away.
"I can't. Sex is base and vile!"
"No, it's an expression of our highest values and our admiration for each other's minds."
"Your mind gives me the biggest boner, Dagny Taggart."
He fell upon her like a savage, wielding his mouth like a machete, and in the pleasure she took from him her body became an extension of her quarterly earnings report—proof of her worthiness as a lover. His hard-on was sanction enough.
"Scream your secret passions, Hank Rearden!"
"Oh, yes! Yes!"
"Collateralized debt obligation."
"YES! YES! YES!"
...fantastically easy credit from a variety of fantastically stupid bankers, most of whom now seem to have gone fantastically bankrupt.
- I wonder if Greenspan had a similar epiphany when he was sitting in the hot tub with Barbara Walters? Turbo (profile) wrote on Fri, 5/22/2009 - 1:37 pm
- Greenspan was the useful idiot ... used to implement Trickle Down Reaganomics ... mmckinl (profile) wrote on Fri, 5/22/2009 - 1:41 pm
- Bernanke's helicopter only drops money on bankster banks ... mmckinl
- "Bernanke IS the systemic risk. Run him out of town."mmckinl
- Like weather forecasters, economic forecasters must deal with a system that is extraordinarily complex, that is subject to random shocks, and about which our data and understanding will always be imperfect.
Except the weather does not have a financial interest in outsmarting you. Not One Centand who replaces Summers? Kondratieff Winters. Yalt
- "I have become death, destroyer of the world"
"I have become debt, destroyer of the world"
“So, why the attraction of green shoots? One can only speculate that they must be in some ways intoxicating. Perhaps not the shoots exactly, or the stems or seeds, but the leaves of a certain plant. Those might be smoked or otherwise ingested to bring about a euphoric effect. From what I’ve read, the current crop is far more potent than the commodity available in years past. How else to explain the mind-bending notion that an economy that is declining less quickly is somehow improving?”
May 18, 2009 | Raymond James Investment Strategy by Jeffrey Saut
'Reminding us of the current equity market is an anecdote about the Sport of Kings that took place in London:An American race horse owner, while parading his entry in the paddock just before the event, fed the horse what appeared to be a white tablet. Noticed and challenged by an English track official, Lord Marlboro, the American was informed that his horse would have to be disqualified. Protesting vehemently that he only gave the horse a sugar cube, the owner popped one into his mouth and offered Lord Marlboro a cube as proof. The English official tasted and swallowed the cube. He agreed with the owner that it was a harmless sugar cube and waived the disqualification. Just before the race horse was to enter the gate, the American signaled his jockey, instructing him to keep his horse clear of trouble near the start and try for the lead early since his horse was sure to win. “In fact,” he told the jockey, “Only two have a chance to beat our horse.” “What two?” asked the jockey? The American owner replied . . . “Me and Lord Marlboro!”We recalled the “Me and Lord Marlboro” quip as we watched the running of the Preakness over the weekend. Evidently, someone fed Rachel Alexandra the proverbial “sugar cube” as she won the Preakness by beating “Mine That Bird” to become the first filly to win said event since 1924. Likewise, someone must have fed the D-J Industrial Average (DJIA/8268.64) a similar “sugar cube” 10 weeks ago, as the major averages have “galloped” from a generational oversold reading into the longest “buying stampede” of my lifetime...
- I marvel at the regularity of the pulse and respirations of the patient on the heart/lung machine... -- energyecon
- the money flows freely between the ponzi units -- Comrade Elmer Fudd
- Here comes Mr. Bond again to put a damper on the market. Where is Ben? -- Blackhalo
- We need a obstructition to induce LIBOR on this pregnant pause in the market. No, we need an obstetrician because we are about to give birth to the unrelated twins of inflation and depression. Ben Bernanke, midwife and suspected father of one of them.
- The emperor has no closure.
5/15/2009 | CalculatedRisk
- it just happens that utopian ideas that are adjusted to the reality of human behavior end in disaster.
- "And the beat goes on ... " DOOM DOOM DOOM... just kidding Bob Dobbs
- Arbitrage_Macht_Frei, Why not call our current era 1980-2009 "Triumph des Scharlatan"? Lucifer
- It's going to be so much harder for the sheeple to live like millionaires... Angry Saver
- "I find the obsession with firearms on the part of some here to be strange. You can't shoot your real problems." You've obviously never met my ex >; ) Deflationary Jane
- Does anyone offer a "Green Shoots" card? The NRA should. Eco friendly and extra points for purchasing gear. nova
- weapons of dental destruction - lol... ShadowInventory
- This is a green shoot. People who default on their credit cards have more disposable cash to buy stuff, and once the bad debt is written off, they can more, bigger credit cards. It is all good. [/sarcasm] Yancey Ward
- I don't really want to be left out. Everybody is walking away from their credit card debt and I don't have any! I am going to go buy something expensive to max out my cards just so that I can participate in the great American credit card shredding party. Anything less is unamerican. ponyless
- Federal officials have pressured Bank of America Corp. to revamp its board by bringing in directors with more banking experience
Who would think to appoint directors that have sound banking experience to the board? What a terrific idea!
Hey, maybe this principle can be applied to other boards.
“How quickly the spin and rhetoric reverse course to accommodate the direction of the market!”
Most of the time, the path to survival in financial bureaucracies is through company-party-line on-message bullishness. That's particularly true in the US, where pessimism about the future is not just bad business, but unpatriotic.
Not true today. More than sufficient electric shocks have been administered to the rats. Now, the corporate rodents know that PowerPoints projecting trees growing to the sky are going to get you fired, not promoted.
The Great Wish across America is to resume the life of comfort-and-convenience that seemed so nirvana-like just a few short years ago, when the very constellations of the heavens might have been renamed after heroic Atlanta realtors and Connecticut hedge fund warriors, and the boomer portfolios groaned with earnings, and millions of graying corporate salary mules dreamed of their approaching retirement to a satori of golf and Viagra, and the interior decorators grew so rich installing granite countertops that they could buy their own houses in the East Hampton...
The Mess That Greenspan Made
It's good to see that we've not completely forgotten former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, two items appearing today as reminders of just what a mess has been made. Dan O'Connor at the Mises Institute reckons the former Fed chief is a lot like Darth Vader (hat tip BY).The former chairman of the US Federal Reserve shares a lot in common with one of the most famous villain characters in the history of Hollywood, Darth Vader, who was first a member of the Jedi coalition when his name was Anakin Skywalker.Dan goes on to suggest that the former "Maetsro" might redeem himself in some way by exposing the Federal Reserve and all of its evils before its too late.
The policies of the Federal Reserve Bank had an enormous impact on our current crisis; and the American people have come to realize how destructive the force of the Fed can be. By expanding the supply of credit, inflating the currency, and keeping interest rates artificially low and fixed for an extensive period of time (a form of price fixing), the country — and globe — became plagued by malinvestment: people and banking institutions were encouraged by this dark and opaque monolith in Washington DC to buy and spend.
And via Greg Mankiw, check out Merle Hazard and Bretton Wood singing "Inflation or Deflation":
Stanford Professor John Taylor plays straight man for the act here.
The Big Picture
We are finally beginning to see the seeds of a bottoming [in the housing industry. The U.S. is] at the edge of a major liquidation [in the stock of unsold properties, which may help to stabilize prices].
—Alan Greenspan, May 12 2009
“I don’t know, but I think the worst of this may well be over.”
—Alan Greenspan, October 2006
The Big Picture
can have a jobless recovery, but you can’t have a profitless recovery.
May 11, 2009
In a small town on the South Coast of France, the holiday season is in full swing, but it is raining so there is not too much business taking place.
Everyone is heavily in debt.
Luckily, a rich Russian tourist arrives in the foyer of the small local hotel. He asks for a room and puts a Euro100 note on the reception counter, takes a key and goes to inspect the room located up the stairs on the third floor.
• The hotel owner takes the banknote in a hurry and rushes to his meat supplier to whom he owes E100.
• The butcher takes the money and races to his supplier to pay his debt.
• The wholesaler rushes to the farmer to pay E100 for pigs he purchased some time ago.
• The farmer triumphantly gives the E100 note to a local prostitute who gave him her services on credit.
• The prostitute quickly goes to the hotel, as she was owing the hotel for her hourly room used to entertain clients.
At that moment, the rich Russian comes down to reception and informs the hotel owner that the room is unsatisfactory and takes his E100 back and departs.
There was no profit or income. But everyone no longer has any debt and the small town’s people look optimistically towards their future.
Could this be the solution to the global financial crisis?
That translates to a 50% decrease in Lamborghini sales in Fraudfield County. The horror, the horror….
CalculatedRisk on 5/10/2009 11:48:00 AM
From Saturday Night Live sorry about the ad.
Arbitrage_Macht_Frei (profile) wrote on Sun, 5/10/2009 - 9:06 am
(For serious posts on banking scroll down)
Senate Provides Quatloos Regularly
Hail Caesar!nova (profile) wrote on Sun, 5/10/2009 - 9:04 am
Quit whining. You are not mentally equipped to deal with the challenges that face the United States of America. These men and women are experts in their fields and they understand the problems, and are supremely qualified to find the solutions. So stop the bleating!
reposted cause I spent so much time typing it to see a pig looking at me
This is the Rules! Please observe them.
1. Continue working while you can. If you become unemployed, it is up to you to retrain in a field that will continue or improve your purchasing power. This is America! Dream big and win big!
2. Do not curtail purchases. Real Americans believe in themselves and the future. Do not drag you, and your country down. by saving, bleating, or posting doom crap on blogs.
3. Sure there may be a period of belt tightening. Remain compassionate and support Goldman Sachs in the absence of a government safety net. Remember! Americans can sacrifice, and rest assured you are building character and a better future!
4. Should you find yourself in a cardboard box eating tuna from a can and trembling at the sound of approaching foot steps - remember this! You had your chance. You were obviously not loved by God or really stupid to allow yourself to get in this predicament. It is okay though. Your government still loves you.
Arbitrage_Macht_Frei (profile) wrote on Sun, 5/10/2009 - 9:13 am
The Eastern Front is a Potemkin Village of financial chicanery hidden in plain sight.
pavel.chichikov (homepage, profile) wrote on Sat, 5/9/2009 - 1:59 pm
Would you like a rocking chair?
You’d pleasure on the porch and stare
At growing grass and windy trees -
Would that be good, would that not please?
But never have you seen the day
When you can dream the world away,
For always in the back and forth
Of incident and quantum froth
There is a trouble to behold
Where grief is bought and grief is sold,
And ever is the market price
A face of lead, a heart of ice
Or even if the eye can weep
The hand will cheat, the foot will creep,
And those who will not make the trade
Are still on sale when price is made
And yet although your peace may fail
You may refuse to sell: No Sale
May 9, 2009
The Rude One said...
Mr. Friedman bought 37,300 more Goldman shares in December, which have since risen $1.7 million in valueIn his resignation letter, Mr. Friedman said his public service on the board was being characterized as “improper” despite his compliance with the rules. “The Federal Reserve System has important work to do and does not need this distraction,” he said.
“With respect to Steve’s purchases of Goldman shares in December of 2008 and January of 2009, which have been the object of some attention lately, it is my view that these purchases did not violate any Federal Reserve statute, rule or policy,” Thomas C. Baxter, the general counsel of the New York Fed, said in a statement. “I enjoyed working with Steve, and will miss his contributions in the boardroom.”
2009-05-06 | zerohedge
We like you. Well, not in that way, but we are taxpayers. If we didn't like you, why would we give you billions of our money to insure your survival? So we kind of have to like you, same way we like our deviant, foster kids.
Agreed? Let's move on. As a recipient of our generous TARP contribution and FDIC guarantees, we expect you to be active in the capital markets, lend into the economy (you know, that progressively angrier Main Street) and provide liquidity when needed.
Now at this point, from our perch, we don't see much improvement in lending from you, dear deviant child, but we do see non-stop attempts to avoid pay caps and so on. Don't you want to spin of PDT just for that reason? Great! Just making sure we are on the same page...
Let's get back to our favorite pet topic liquidity. You, sweet child of ours, recently advertised about 2x to 3x of SPY volume than the next lucky broker in the hierarchy. As our favorite captain of vertical take off/landing aircraft said yesterday, too big to fail is not a policy, it's a problem. We, the taxpayers, don't want our TARP funds making the problem worse. We want it to get better.
So what was that 10% of SPY volume all about? Was it natural volume? If so, please go ahead and advertise that. We would love to know how your agency business is doing. We want that. Was is PDT trading? In that case this is very troubling. Did you advertise internal prop trading volume? Now that, as you very well know, is kind of creepy.
You know, dear MS, with 10% ADV of SPY volume applied at strategically important time frames you can affect markets? And no, we the taxpayers here at Zero Hedge don't want to see that. We don't want our levered up TARP funds to be used in this way. How about you tell us how much of this 10% of ADV was your customers, how much was ETF desk and in-house props? That will help a lot and avoid any future confusion.
And please keep our $10 that we gave to you in the first place to lend to Main Street, not to bet against anonymous financial blogs... and lose.
Hat tip to Calculated Risk
A video of a backhoe knocking down homes in Victorville, Calif., was posted on YouTube by the founder of a Web site called Vision Victory.
A Texas bank is about done demolishing 16 new and partially built houses acquired in Southern California through foreclosure, figuring it was better to knock them down than to try selling them in the depressed housing market.
Guaranty Bank of Austin is wrecking the structures to provide a "safe environment" for neighbors of the abandoned housing tract in Victorville, a high-desert city about 85 miles northeast of Los Angeles, a bank spokesman said.
If the means justify the end, is it a Homeicide?Speed (profile) wrote on Tue, 5/5/2009 - 11:56 am
"Guaranty Bank of Austin is wrecking the structures to provide a "safe environment" for neighbors "
Doggonit, banks are so thoughtful and kind.
" Thought-terminating cliché” Includes false associations of someone’s ideas with a larger group/ideology. Probably can be considered a weaker but more general form of “Godwin’s Law” (or at least connected with). BTW “monetary anesthesia” is a great term!
Most hurtful quote: In response to Geithner's statement that "We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system," Ritholtz exploded: "No! Defending these idiots was your old gig. In the new job, you no longer work for the cretins responsible for bringing down the global economy. Please stop rationalizing their behavior, and preserving the status quo!"
Woohoo! So whats al the fuss about?
Published: Thursday, 30 Apr 2009 | 2:29 PM ETQ. I am 28 and have been maxing out my Roth IRA since 2003. I have invested all of this money in the Vanguard 2045 Fund. Is this a good long term strategy? -Diana, NY
By: Bill Losey
A. Diana, congrats on maxing out your Roth for the last six years! If you keep that up for the next 30 years you will have a very good chance of being a millionaire by the time you retire. The Vanguard 2045 is a target-date retirement fund with five underlying funds with a current allocation of 89 percent stocks and 11 percent bonds. As you get older that allocation will shift and you will have a smaller percentage in stcoks and a greater percentage in bonds.
Fresno Dan said: May. 02, 9:38 AM
President Kennedy: Let every nation know, whether they mean us harm or well, that we will bear any burden, pay any price, fight any foe...to defend liberty.
President Obama: Let every taxpayer know, that we will bailout every bank, secure every CDS, and back every bond...because we need low interest rates so we can get back to borrowing!!! Its what we do. And its the only thing we do!
The system works!!"
- Ed Liddy
"By the way, when I spoke of change, I meant it with a small 'c.'"
Angry Bear rdan
Bear vs. Bulls at Skeptical Capitalist. Good for a smile during the pain.
Walter Massey will replace Lewis as Chairman. Now maybe Bernanke can be stripped of the title Uberload of the Formerly Free Financial Markets and Emperor of the Amazingly Ubiquitous SPY Bid.
Is there any truth to the reports that Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich are proposing that we need to cut tax rates on dividends and capital gains to deal with the swine flu? Swine flu
Something smells fishy in the market. And the aroma seems to be coming from Goldman Sachs. GOLDMAN SACHS PLAYS IMPORTANT ROLE IN CURRENT MARKET RALLY - New York Post
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