Rolfe Winkler

Krugman and the pied pipers of debt

September 30, 2009

Investors are celebrating an incipient “recovery,” but the interventions responsible are sowing the seeds of a more violent contraction down the road. The problem, quite simply, is debt. We’ve accumulated record amounts, yet many economists tell us we need more.

BlogArt: The money you could be saving…

September 30, 2009

Click to enlarge in new window


Evening Links 9-29

September 29, 2009

House prices up in July (Bloomberg) The Case-Shiller 20-city index rose 1.2% in July. Though this suggests a bottom has been reached for home prices, how will they fair when (if?) government price supports are removed?

BlogArt: Bernie Madoff crushed by farting bull

September 29, 2009

Chinese artist Chen Wenling’s take on the global financial crisis.


Yeah, that’s supposed to be Bernie Madoff against the wall…at least according to the BBC. Other views of the sculpture here.

FDIC tries another gimmick

September 29, 2009

In the latest government gimmick to protect bank capital, the FDIC plans to replenish its Deposit Insurance Fund by front-loading regular premiums in lieu of another “special assessment.”

“Kicking the problem upstairs”

September 29, 2009

James Rickards of Omnis shares many deep thoughts in this interview on CNBC.

Among other things he argues that IMF Special Drawing Rights will replace the dollar as the world’s reserve currency in an attempt to solve Triffin’s dilemma.

Rosenberg in the morning

September 29, 2009

From Gluskin Sheff’s Chief Economist David Rosenberg this morning:

Now that Cash-for-Clunkers is over, auto sales are collapsing again. says the run-rate so far in September is down to 8.8 million units at an annual rate, but we see now that JD Power’s tracking is down to 590,000, which would be little better than a 7.0 million rate or half the pace of August and 24% below the already-depressed levels of a year ago. The November 30th expiry date for the first-time homebuyer subsidy, and this group has been responsible for one-third of housing activity, may also have something to do with the below-consensus sales figures for August that came out last week.

Lunchtime Links, Yom Kippur edition

September 28, 2009

Hi all, back tomorrow with more columns after the high holiday.

The mortgage machine backfires (NYT) A great column from Gretchen Morgenson on MERS today. You’ve never heard of it, I know. Fascinating topic in light of a recent Kansas court ruling…

Lunchtime Links 9-26

September 26, 2009

Chicago cabbies want $50 puke fee (Sun-Times) Can you blame ’em?

Schadenfreude alert: Ponzi-schemer Stanford gets in fight at Texas jail (Bloomberg)

Bank Failure Friday

September 25, 2009

Sheila got an early start this week, normally the first failures happen after 6PM EST.

Time for a Fed fire drill

September 25, 2009

Former Federal Reserve Chairman William McChesney Martin joked that it was his job to “take away the punch bowl just as the party gets going.” But Alan Greenspan never did, choosing instead to spike it every time the party slowed down. The results were more than a little unfortunate.

Lunchtime Links 9-25

September 25, 2009

Iran reveals existence of second uranium enrichment plant (WaPo) According to the article, we’ve known about this site for years but Obama/Brown/Sarkozy “decided to publicly disclose the existence of the facility after learning that Iran had become aware the site was no longer a secret.” Pardon me for not understanding the intricacies of diplomacy, but if we’ve known about this site for years, why wasn’t it made public? I’m sure there’s a reason…

Afternoon Links 9-24

September 24, 2009

(Reader note: yeah, R.I.P. in two successive headlines is problematic. My bad. Next time we’ll plan our headlines a bit better.)

Let’s say RIP to PPIP

September 24, 2009

Remember PPIP? The Public-Private Investment Program was to provide cheap government financing to encourage investors to overbid for banks’ toxic assets.

BlogArt: Corus, R.I.P.

September 24, 2009

On Tuesday, Lingling Wei and Anton Troianovski published an interesting article in the WSJ about the auction process surrounding Corus Bank’s busted condo loans. Readers who saw my recent post on commercial real estate prices are aware that not many transactions are taking place, making it difficult to get a good sense for CRE prices. These condo loan auctions will provide very important data points in that regard…