Commentaries

from Rolfe Winkler:

Lunchtime Links 2-2

February 2, 2010

Homeownership rate falls to 2000 level (CR) At 67.2% it's still way overstated. Home "ownership" is a misnomer in cases when the owner has withdrawn mortgage equity or when the price of the home has fallen below the principal value of the mortgage. A better measure of homeownership, I think, is just to look at total owner's equity as a % of household real estate. The most recent Fed Flow of Funds report (page 104, line 50) puts the figure at just 37.6%...

from Rolfe Winkler:

Obama’s blowout budget

February 1, 2010

Now that the worst of the financial crisis is behind us, one would think the budget deficit might start to come down. Actually, no. Obama's proposed budget sets a new deficit record -- $1.6 trillion this year compared to $1.4 trillion last year.

from Rolfe Winkler:

Afternoon Links 1-20

January 20, 2010

Must Read -- Short sale fraud + follow-up (Olick, CNBC) Great sleuthing from Diana Olick. Sounds like outright fraud being committed by big banks. One follow up question: In many cases, the second-lien holder is also the first lien holder. How is that impacting short-sales?

from Rolfe Winkler:

BlogArt: Dubai’s Tower of Babel

December 21, 2009

(ht Reddit)

dubai

Plus it was built with slave laborers...

Update: Here's a view from a helicopter...

Burj Dubai

from Rolfe Winkler:

Could England be headed for a “sudden stop?”

November 21, 2009

From Landon Thomas at NYT: In Britain, visions of Japan's decade of stagnation

Britain may finally be emerging from recession, but many analysts warn that it is a false dawn. In fact, they argue, the economy here is so ravaged by growing debts and ruined banks that it could well be following in the steps of Japan’s lost decade of the 1990s.

from Rolfe Winkler:

Krugman on the invisible bond vigilantes

November 20, 2009

Paul Krugman is complaining of deficit hysteria over on his blog again. Where are the bond vigilantes? he wonders. Since we're still able to sell debt so cheaply, why is anyone worried about more deficit spending?

Commercial paper market still smaller than 2003

October 8, 2009

Earlier today the Fed’s commercial paper data caught my eye – the nearly $70 billion surge in short-term borrowing in the latest week was hard to miss. At $1.3 trillion, the CP market is still a shadow of its former self. It peaked at $2.2 trillion in the summer of 2007 right before the bottom fell out of credit markets.

from Rolfe Winkler:

Big Mac Index meets National Debt Clock

September 16, 2009

A cool press release from The Economist just hit my inbox. They've launched a global public debt clock:

Deleveraging in action, Bank of England edition

September 1, 2009

Ever since branches started forming outside Northern Rock branches two years ago, British consumers have been told they have way too much debt. They finally appear to be paying attention. Bank of England data released today shows net lending to individuals fell by £600m between June and July. Nothing surprising there, you might say. Surely it’s only normal that people are paying back their debts. Except that this is the first drop since the Bank started recording monthly data back in 1993. Or, as the Bank’s statisticians put it:

Take the L out of LBO

August 31, 2009

In a perfect world, we would simply ban leveraged buyouts. The vast majority of these debt-laden corporate takeovers are no less predatory and value-destroying to a company than a loan shark who charges usurious rates of interest.