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By: TFF Tue, 17 Apr 2012 13:29:07 +0000 Agreed, Fifth, that was PART of the subprime problem. Only the tip of the iceberg, though.

That Paul Mason report cites legitimate suffering, but consider the cause? Unemployment, divorce, unemployment. You can add medical bills to that list if you like. This story, at least, didn’t blame any of it on foreclosure. Rather, it is part and parcel of the greater recession/depression.

Europe definitely embraces a greater degree of socialism than the US — that is both your strength and your weakness.

By: FifthDecade Tue, 17 Apr 2012 01:41:19 +0000 Part of the sub-prime problem was that the poor WERE in fact sold houses, financial ‘experts’ walked into their homes and told them they COULD afford to buy that dream house, even though some of them were on benefits and had no deposits. Just look at Cleveland. Innocent people were sold loans that should never have been given to them, but the lenders didn’t care as they passed the loans on up through the repackaging ladder.

Here’s a link to the web version of the News Report Paul Mason did for BBC’s Newsnight program: a-14296682

This link illustrates my point of how the US thinks less of the individual than does Europe, although the US system does allow companies to push totally unsuitable products by those who think of themselves more highly than they think of their victims. This might only be a small number of the total cases, but the fact remains it is allowed, it happened, and in Europe there are regulations and safety nets that respect the individual, and control companies more tightly.

By: TFF Tue, 17 Apr 2012 00:39:12 +0000 @FifthDecade, like I said, I haven’t seen this supposed epidemic reported. Can you offer a link? I’m puzzled why foreclosure would leave them in such dire straits. Perhaps the people you are describing also lost their jobs?

For the most part, foreclosure is a middle class disease. The poor were never able to buy in the first place.

By: FifthDecade Tue, 17 Apr 2012 00:01:53 +0000 There are three sources of new capital for banks – profits and government money have been mentioned already (although if the second is a loan it isn’t really a capital injection). UBS, the biggest of the Swiss banks diluted shareholder holdings by taking in new capital from new shareholders.

Fox, I’m not sure your constant chatter about “the Northern Rock Solution” conveys much understanding of what this actually is… perhaps you could explain what you think it means? In any case, Northern Rock was not a big bank, that would be LloydsTSB and RBS.

@TFF I don’t call people living in gymnasiums and halls in dormitory style conditions as being ‘homed’. I could also add that those people in the UK who lost their houses do not suffer any difference in medical care compared to their previous position, neither timewise nor qualitywise.

By: TFF Mon, 16 Apr 2012 20:44:42 +0000 Thanks for the answers, MrRFox. I wouldn’t have objected to that solution back in 2008 — just seems a little late at this point. The price tag would have been HUGE, but not necessarily any worse than a decade of deficit spending.

But I disagree that the present solution represents a gift from taxpayers to the banks. Most of the funding for the losses is coming from the banks’ earnings, and most of what you see as a gift will be clawed back when interest rates rise in a few years.

QE isn’t strictly fair (as you have pointed out). It is hard on those who hold monetary assets, good for those with monetary liabilities. The banks are in both games, so I would guess it does more to shift profits than create them? Overall, QE is good for borrowers (and with an $11T federal debt we are all borrowers) and bad for lenders (such as China).

In conclusion, I think I’m with you on the solution — nationalize banks and boot the bums — but not on the timing. We’ve already committed to the present course of action, and barring another 20%+ drop in real estate prices there is simply no excuse for nationalizing most of the banks at this point.

By: MrRFox Mon, 16 Apr 2012 13:55:50 +0000 “You still haven’t told me whether or not you approve of the (taxpayer funded) Fannie/Freddie takeover,” (TFF)

It had to be done, but should only have been done in conjunction with applying the Northern Rock Solution to all other insolvent banks. That would have been the least unfair way to have handled it.

“or the (taxpayer funded) AIG takeover…”

Paying AIG’s counterparties 100% was criminal – an AIG default on CDSs in conjunction with the general MBS crisis meant substantially all of them were insolvent. They all should have been Northern Rocked.

” you are proposing that the taxpayers fund a similar recapitalization of the ENTIRE financial system. Seems expensive to me, not to mention presently unnecessary…”

Taxpayers are doing that right now – gifting money to banks to repair their balance sheets – IMO that’s improper. The money very likely must come from taxpayers or the Fed; that being the case, the taxpayers should own the institutions when the taxpayers recap them – that’s what Northern Rock accomplishes. The money works out the same either way, but your way – the wait-it-out method – amounts to taxpayers making gifts to private institutions. I don’t like that – you seem to. Cool – that’s also why they make chocolate and vanilla both. GFYS