I’m getting quite fed up with the Independent Community Bankers of America. First they self-defeatingly came out in opposition to the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, now they’re refusing to grant government-guaranteed loans to small businesses just because it’s not particularly lucrative and they can’t be bothered to do the underwriting.
Jonathan Weil has a good column today leading with the fact that Regions Financial is insolvent, if you mark its assets to market; it’s not the only one. But stock-market investors don’t seem to mind — they’re valuing the equity in the company at more than $6 billion. The true market measure of how risky the bank is can be found in its credit default swaps: five-year protection written on RF’s tier-2 debt is currently trading at a spread of 722bp over swaps.
Contra Ryan, I’m perfectly happy to take Paul Krugman’s purchase of a new apartment at face value. Does it mean that Krugman thinks home prices aren’t going to fall? No, of course not. Is it a bullish indicator? Similarly, no. A home is not an investment. It’s a place to live.
The AP has a cunning plan to create “news guide landing pages” which it would force news organizations to link to. The idea is that all that linking will boost the pages’ Google ranking, and thereby bring them lots of traffic from people searching for events in the news. It’s not a bad idea, until you get to this bit:
There’s something rather odd about Thomas Crocker’s opposition to cap-and-trade and his support of a carbon tax instead: all of his arguments why a carbon tax is preferable to cap-and-trade are exactly the same as my arguments why cap-and-trade is better than a carbon tax!
Oh yes: there’s now a documentary, featuring a lot of talking heads wearing bluetooth headsets, all about people who bought stock in Sirius XM because it was going up and then lost money because it went down. Of course, it wasn’t their fault. Blame instead the evil short sellers! And do be sure to give the filmmakers $15.99 for their DVD. If they sell enough of these things, they might be able to recoup their losses!