Everyone Else Knows: Why Do We Continue To Ignore It?

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Editor’s Comment:

In a short article by Patrick Jenkins in the Financial Times (Doubts Over Lending Push), it seems that everyone in Europe understands the problem well, and that the the consequences are dire but are unsure about what to do about it. Here in the United States housing is the elephant in the living room that nobody really wants to talk about. European leaders don’t like talking about it either but they are doing it anyway. Maybe they actually care what happens next unlike American politicians who seem to enjoy creating catastrophes, then handing power over to the other party and blaming them for the results.

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are battling it out over economic policies and whether lower taxes and fiscal stimulus will benefit the economy. Mitt wants to cut what is left of federal and state spending thus deepening the depression or recession or whatever it is. Barack wants to stimulate economic growth with more money. How about this: they are both wrong. And the Europeans, for all their chaotic political intrigues, are zooming in on the cure a lot faster than we are because we won’t even talk about it.

Both candidates seem to think that cheaper money and more of it delivered to the banks and large corporations will stimulate borrowing and commerce. But Graeme Leach, chief economist at the Institute of Directors boiled it down to one simple sentence: “Companies alarmed by the euro crisis will not be eager to borrow, regardless of the cost.” It is obviously obvious to anyone with a brain that companies are not going to borrow unless they think they need the money.

And they are not going to think they need the money unless demand is going up. With unemployment topping out near Great Depression levels, why would anyone think that commerce can be revived? Add in the fact that real wages have declined over the last 30 years and you can easily see why companies won’t borrow unless they think they can make money increasing their debt burden. Who does the buying — fairies? It’s consumers, stupid, and they are broke, tapped out on credit, and have very little confidence in their prospects.

The Europeans actually understand that there is a difference between the real economy and the one reported in the newspapers. The real one is where a strong middle class has savings and resources and they buy things. The one in the newspapers is all about paper and trades with companies buying and selling each other and “bets” being made on who is right about bonds, stocks and other crazy financial “innovations.”

Virtually half of the GDP published by Washington is made up of paper trades where the typical citizen is left out of the equation altogether. So here is a repeat of my prediction regarding the stock market: either it will “crash” in a correction that is congruent with actual commerce levels or the financial institutions and rating agencies will continue to rate and recommend securities of companies whose substance is gone —- called zombies in the FI article.

BOA is one such Zombie institution. It’s broke. Everyone knows it’s broke and yet they persist on pretending that it is just fine. Then they want consumers to express confidence in the economy or government. Why should they?

Everyone understands that the problem is housing and the fraudulent printing of “money” by private banks dwarfing any real money supply that is supplied by world governments. $700 TRILLION is traded as cash equivalents while world governments, even with quantitative easing have issued less than $70 TRILLION in real currency. Why would anyone think that taxes or stimulus or quantitative easing (printing money) could even nick the side of this barn. We are being forced to sustain a false tree of money on which thousands of branches are hanging onto a trunk that is not there and never was. Fear is now the dominant word that describes the behavior of world leaders and the leaders of central banks.

Here is the solution and it is the application of justice at the same time: since the mortgage papers contained lies and did not disclose the identity of the lender nor the actual terms of repayment, there is no law in existence that would allow such a transaction to become  an encumbrance on the land.

Add to that the fact that the transaction recited never took place because the borrower was actually doing business with a stranger where money DID exchange hands but was never documented, and you have the answer: the mortgages are invalid, the notes are invalid and the the banks having been already paid several times over for a loss they never incurred but instead foisted upon pension funds and sovereign wealth funds from other nations, let’s call it a day.

I don’t care if people get an unfair advantage or perk for being a victim in this scheme. I don’t care if this interferes with the ideology of personal responsibility (which is being ignorantly applied to this situation). I care about the country, our society and what will happen if our economy can’t come up off the ground. I care that too many people are underemployed or unemployed. I care that average savings are zero and that most Americans have suffered a grievous loss of wealth.

I care that there are not enough people to buy things because they don’t have any money. Rescind the so-called mortgage transactions, let the branches of derivatives and credit default swaps and other bets and enhancements fall to the ground. It’s not as bad as you think. Most of the bets settle out to zero exchanges because with certain exceptions the bets are balanced.

The world will not end if we give homeowners their homes free and clear of any encumbrance. The governments could even prosper if they took an interest in those mortgages they already purchased (or think they purchased) and imposed a fair mortgage with fair terms based upon realistic current market conditions in housing and finance. Then people would be returned to their former status in far less time, the rate of commerce would improve, the real economy would recover and the fake economy and the people who go with it can take a hike or go to jail, if we dare to put them there.

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Eurozone Recession in Overdrive

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Editor’s Comment:

France, Italy, Spain All at record lows in GDP

Mish Shedlock nails it in the article below. We are reminded again that where the banks get control of political policy, every avenue will be explored before Governments do the right thing — or the country explodes into chaos and a new Government is born. For those who have studied French history, these reports sound earily like the conditions that preceded the French Revolution and the bloodbath that followed. Rioting is commonplace. And the rioters are not just expressing outrage; they have lost faith in the their government, their currency and their prospects. Japanese seminars abound on how to store money and move to other countries. Malasia looks good to them. 

And here in the United States, the steam keeps building under the lid while the banks, realtors and other groups try to convince us that the recession, and the mortgage crisis that brought it on, is over and will NOW recover. Despite years of such “prosperity is just around the corners’ spinning, and some people still believe it when they hear it, we know from history, including our own, that revolution of one sort or another, doesn’t take a majority of citizens to get involved. In fact, every major revolution in every major country occurred with a small band of “fringe” people leading the way until their sucesses attracted the mainstream people who thought they could ride the storm and survive the aftermath.

Over the next 60 days, long-term unemployment benefits are over in this country. GDP is in for another hit. That was money going into the hands of people who were spending it the moment they received it. The full multiplier effect has been keeping our economy floating and now THAT is going away. 

Home prices are now at their lowest level since 2002 and all responsible analysts tell us that housing prices are going down another 15% and I think they are right. The economies of the world are crashing because the people have no money to spend. Even the employed are underemployed and can’t make enouogh money to pay for housing and other major purchases except on a much lower scale. 

We are in a depression, not a recession and the fact that this Depression is not yet as bad as the Great Depression should not lull us into a false sense that this is just a cycle that will run its course. It isn’t. This is the end of modern commerce unless we do something about it. And the ONLY thing left to do is to provide a mechanism where the middle class is suddenly redeployed with cash in their hands to buy things and cause commerce to renew. Don’t look to China or India either which are experiencing sharp decines in GDP. 

There is only one piece of currency that will restore the middle class . Iceland proved it as have other countries. FORCE BANKS TO REDUCE HOUSEHOLD DEBT. Between the mortgage chicanery and credit cards, government borrowing on terms they didn’t understand, and most banks that were “in the game” without knowing the rules, the money is gone. It isn’t the bank that has been robbed, nor government spending that is ripping the economies of the world apart. It is the banks themselves that siphoned off all our currency and our liquidity, and won’t put it back. They have lost their franchise through greed. It is time to nationalize the banks and then let them operate privately as utilities regulated as though they provide the lifeblood of the world.   

The “anti-regulators” are mere apologists for the new aristoracy that has pulled off a coup d’etat and pulled the wool over the eyes of the media and the public.

Eurozone Retail Sales Crash: Record Declines in France and Italy, Overall Revenues Drop at Near Record Pace

by Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Retail sales in France, Italy, and the eurozone as a whole hit the skids according to Markit. Retail sales in Germany were positive, but barely.

Steepest Decline in French History

Further sharp fall in French retail sales during May

 Key points:

  • Month-on-month decline in sales matches April’s survey-record
  • Steepest year-on-year decline in series history
  • Purchase price inflation eases to near-stagnation

Sales fell on an annual basis at the steepest pace recorded since the inception of the survey in January 2004. Margins continued to be squeezed amid an intense competitive environment, despite purchase price inflation easing to near-stagnation.

The headline Retail PMI® registered 41.4 in May, matching April’s survey-record low. French retailers indicated that actual sales came in well below previously set targets during May. The degree of undershoot was the greatest since February 2010.

Record Declines in Italy

Record year-on-year decrease in Italian retail sales in May

 Key points:

  • High street spending down sharply, albeit at weaker monthly rate
  • Job shedding steepest in series history
  • Discounting and cost inflation reduce profitability

Summary:

The Italian retail sector remained in contraction during May, with sales again falling sharply in spite of widespread discounting. Cost pressures meanwhile grew from April’s recent low on the back of rising transport costs, thereby adding more pressure to margins. Consequently, firms shed staff at a marked and accelerated rate that was the steepest since data were first compiled in January 2004.

High street spending across Italy contracted sharply on the month during May, albeit at a slightly slower rate than that registered during April. This was signalled by the seasonally adjusted Italian Retail PMI® posting at 35.8, up from 32.8. Sales fell for the fifteenth month straight, and panellists continued to highlight low consumer confidence and falling disposable incomes as the main factors behind the decline.

German Sales Show Slight Growth

German retail sales return to growth in May

 Key points:

  • Retail PMI points to marginal month-on-month rise in sales
  • Like-for-like sales higher than one year earlier
  • Wholesale price inflation eases markedly

The seasonally adjusted Germany Retail PMI rose from 47.4 in April to 50.7 in May, to indicate a marginal increase in sales on a month-on-month basis. That said, the rate of expansion was lower than those seen throughout the first quarter of 2012. Companies that reported a rise in sales since April generally noted that more favourable weather conditions had resulted in higher customer footfall.

Survey respondents indicated that actual sales fell short of initial targets for the second month running in May.

Sharp Drop in Overall Sales, Revenues Decline at Near Record Pace

Eurozone retail sales continue to fall sharply in May

 Key points: 

  • Retail PMI improves to 43.3, but still signals steep monthly drop in sales
  • Near-record annual fall in sales
  • Wholesale price inflation slows sharply

Summary of May findings:

The Eurozone retail sector remained firmly in contraction in May, according to PMI® data from Markit. Sales fell sharply on a month-on-month basis, and revenues compared with a year ago were down at a near-record rate. There were signs of easing pressure on retailer’s purchasing costs, however, as the rate of purchase price inflation slowed sharply to a 19-month low.

This should bury the notion the eurozone recession will be short and shallow.


Tourre: The CDO’s I Create Are “Pure Intellectual Masturbation”

“a ‘thing’ which has no purpose, which is absolutely conceptual and highly theoretical and which nobody knows how to price.”

Editor’s Note: Think about it. The foundation of the supply of money that was pressure pumped into our economic housing system resulted in inflation of home appraisals.

  • It was so large that everyone thought the “market” was going up, when in fact it was going nowhere.

  • Everyone knew it except the homeowners who were tricked into relying upon “lenders” who had no stake in the transaction except to close it and collect their fee.

  • Under intense pressure from Wall Street consisting of the carrot of higher fees and the whip of unemployment if they didn’t comply, nearly everyone in the real industry on up to the securities industry was corrupted by this scheme.

  • And it was all based upon creating a scheme that was so complex, nobody could understand it or assess the value of what they were buying.
  • So front and center, the rating agencies and appraisers, both performing the same task, both violating the most basic standards of their “professions” gave credence to this intellectual exercise that far from pleasurable, brought the worst pain to the American soil since the Great Depression.
  • The supreme Irony is that they still have us under their spell. We have good people pointing the finger at other good people raising hell about how nobody should get a free house, while the fight itself is allowing just that — a free house to anyone who walks away with title or proceeds from a foreclosure sale of property “secured” by a securitized loan.
  • I have yet to see a single foreclosure sale where the party foreclosing had one dime at risk in the loan.

Fabulous Fab Tourre: The CDO’s I Create Are “Pure Intellectual Masturbation”

Gregory White | Apr. 25, 2010, 1:49 PM | 2,242 | comment 33

fabrice toureFabrice “Fabulous Fab” Tourre has bitten his tongue again, after it was revealed in an e-mail that he likened the debt instruments he created to, “pure intellectual masturbation,” according to the Times of London.

Other e-mails also revealed his distrust for the index many of his derivatives products were based on, the ABX, comparing it to “Frankenstein“, who famously turned on his inventor.

He also said that his creation was “a ‘thing’ which has no purpose, which is absolutely conceptual and highly theoretical and which nobody knows how to price.”

While the SEC’s release of a full e-mail between Fabrice Tourre and his girlfriend did much to make the man look more sincere, these latest revelations will heap pressure on the Goldman Sachs market-maker as his Senate hearing looms.

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