Rolfe Winkler

Where will we get the money? part 2

January 31, 2009

Yesterday I commented on Robert Shiller’s recent op-ed in the Journal.  He argued that our stimulus and bailout plans need to be larger to rescue our “animal spirits,” whatever that means.  And though given 1200 words of space, he didn’t bother addressing the crucial question–How do we pay for any of this?

Fannie saboteur foiled

January 30, 2009

Sabotage averted at the mortgage giant. AP:

The Justice Department says it foiled a plot by a fired Fannie Mae contract worker in Maryland to destroy all the data on the mortgage giant’s 4,000 computer servers nationwide.The U.S. Attorney’s Office says 35-year-old Rajendrasinh Makwana, of Glen Allen, Va., is scheduled for arraignment Friday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore on one count of computer intrusion.

Where will the U.S. get the money? Part 1

January 30, 2009

Economists in the U.S. are conveniently ignoring questions about how we’re actually going to pay for stimulus, bank bailouts, etc.  Non-Americans at Davos are not.

Option ARMs blowing up

January 30, 2009

The data below demonstrates how this blog got its name.  WSJ:

Nearly $750 billion of option adjustable-rate mortgages, or option ARMs, were issued from 2004 to 2007, according to Inside Mortgage Finance, an industry publication. Rising delinquencies are creating fresh challenges for companies such as Bank of America Corp., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co. that acquired troubled option-ARM lenders…

“It’s a stupid f***ing question”

January 29, 2009

Charlie Gasparino said the above about 30 seconds ago on CNBC during an argument about Wall Street bonuses.  He said big banks are all “insolvent” and bankers bonuses should have been zero.  That we’re even asking how much Wall Streeters should have gotten in bonuses is a “stupid f***ing question.”

TARP panel releases report on regulatory reform

January 29, 2009

The Congressional Oversight Panel established by the TARP legislation released its report today.  The recommendations for regulatory reform are fine, but a quick read of the thing suggests that, like the recent Group of 30 report, punches were pulled in order to achieve consensus among contributors.

Mayor Bloomberg declares war…on salt

January 29, 2009

Previously, Bloomberg has banned indoor smoking, trans fats in foods and required restaurant owners to post the calorie count of their menu items. Now he’s going after salt.  WCBS:

Wall Streeters doin’ just fine

January 29, 2009

The NYT has the skinny on Wall Street’s 2008 bonuses:

…Despite crippling losses, multibillion-dollar bailouts and the passing of some of the most prominent names in the business, employees at financial companies in New York, the now-diminished world capital of capital, collected an estimated $18.4 billion in bonuses for the year.

Post office may suspend a day of delivery

January 28, 2009

To reduce expenses, the USPS may cut back deliveries to five days per week.  AP:

Never underestimate…

January 28, 2009

… how much money the government can give to the banks.  Financials are flying high this morning on the news that the Obama administration will create a “bad bank” to buy toxic assets from the banks using taxpayer money.

BKUNA: 13 years of profits evaporate in one quarter

January 28, 2009

Buried at the bottom of an SEC filing made tonight, BankUnited of Florida dropped another bombshell.  To get you caught up, in their last interim filing they offered a preliminary estimate of their fourth quarter loss: $327 million.  Well turns out they were a tad low on that estimate…

Another Ponzi

January 27, 2009

The tide went out and LOTS of people were swimming naked. CNBC:

I feel bad for the guy in the video, and anyone who falls victim to a Ponzi.  But trusting a friend’s recommendation does not qualify as due diligence.


January 27, 2009

The Case-Shiller data for November:

The Composite 20 Index (a composite index for the 20 cities listed above) has fallen 25% since the peak back in 2006.  It was down 18.2% versus November ’07 and off 2.2% compared to October.  CR has some nifty charts slicing/dicing this data that are worth checking out.

Surprise, surprise

January 27, 2009

Fannie needs money:

Fannie Mae, the largest source of home-loan money in the U.S., said it will need to tap as much as $16 billion in emergency funds from the U.S. Treasury Department to stay afloat as deterioration in the housing market persists.

FDIC straps on a pair

January 27, 2009

If enacted, these proposals would be a decent first step in the battle against moral hazard.  Bloomberg: