Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Mortgage Crisis

Boomers Aren’t Booming

Baby Boomers Haven

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Despite their huge numbers and cultural and financial impact on the economy, the Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) have largely been unwilling to face fiscal reality. Robert Samuelson, a frequent writer for Newsweek, noted back in 2007 that “We [he is a Boomer] are trying to pillage our children and grandchildren, putting the country’s future at risk in the process. On one of the great issues of our time, the costs of our retirement, we have adopted a policy of selfish silence.”

Numbering 76 million, controlling over 80 percent of personal financial assets and more than 50 percent of discretionary spending, they are turning age 65 at the rate of 10,000 every day. And reality is setting in.

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The Fed’s Bernanke: Hubris and Dissimulation

President Barack Obama confers with Federal Re...

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Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s recent 60 Minutes interview raised more questions than it answered. Some even questioned the questions. Gary North explained that the Fed chair was being pushed to defend his decision to purchase more government securities in order to stimulate the economy. Interviewer Scott Pelley was at an admitted disadvantage, and failed to ask Bernanke exactly why he thought additional stimulating would work when past stimulations haven’t.

As North suggested, Pelley should have asked Bernanke “Why?”

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Restoring the American Dream

1957... After the Prom - by Norman Rockwell

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The incessant and never-ending drumbeat of bad news about the economy was deftly summarized here, which concluded that 16 new records had been set over the past 12 months, “and they are all bad.”

These records included:

  • more than 100,000 homes were repossessed in September;
  • 41 million Americans are on food stamps;
  • 43 million are living in poverty;
  • Sales of new homes in July declined to the lowest level ever recorded;
  • Banks are holding an inventory of more than 1 million foreclosed homes; and

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Roubini v. Rockwell on the Gold Standard

Nouriel Roubini, Turkish economist, professor ...

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New York University economics professor Nouriel Roubini made a name for himself back in 2005 by predicting the Great Recession long before others did. Fortune magazine wrote “In 2005 Roubini said home prices were riding a speculative wave that would soon sink the economy.” The New York Times said he predicted “homeowners defaulting on mortgages, trillions of dollars of mortgage-backed securities unraveling worldwide and the global financial system shuddering to a halt.” In September, 2006 Roubini warned that “the United States was likely to face a once-in-a-lifetime housing bust, an oil shock, sharply declining consumer confidence, and, ultimately, a deep recession.”

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Deficit Commission Report: Deficit Reduction Lite

The Deficit Reduction Whopper

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The co-chairs of President Obama’s Deficit Commission, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, announced many of the possible recommendations that could appear in the report of the Commission due December 1. They included just enough to arouse the ire of partisans on both sides, without making any serious inroads into real deficit reduction. Calling it a “politically provocative and economically ambitious package,” the New York Times said the initial proposals are “igniting a debate that is likely to grip the country for years.”

The co-chairs aren’t expecting much to happen but they claimed they wanted to “start the conversation” now.

Some of the proposals on the reduced spending side include:

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Greenspan’s Fear and Trembling

CHICAGO - APRIL 08:  Former Chairman of the Fe...

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Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, is worried about many things. In March he worried about the future of the economy. “The important lesson,” he wrote, “is that bank regulators cannot fully or accurately forecast whether, for example, subprime mortgages will turn toxic…A large fraction of such difficult forecasts will invariably be proved wrong…Anticipating the onset of crisis…appears out of our forecasting reach.”

In June he worried about a revival of inflation:

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Who is Mike Pence?

Mike Pence, member of the United States House ...

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In an early straw poll, Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) was the choice for presidential nominee in 2012 over such conservative luminaries as Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, and Mitt Romney. Capturing 24 percent of those voting at the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit this past weekend in Washington, DC, Pence relegated even Senator Jim DeMint to a barely visible 5 percent.

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How Relevant Is Ayn Rand Today?

Atlas sculpture, New York City, by sculptor Le...

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It was news to many when Scott Powell announced that an obscure novel published in 1957, Atlas Shrugged, “may be second to the Bible as the most influential book read in America.” His statement that BB&T, the 12th largest bank in America, which resisted taking TARP bailout funds, requires reading of that same book as part of its management training program astonished many more.

American Conservative Magazine noted that “a week before the President’s inauguration, more people were buying it than Obama’s Audacity of Hope.

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Mortgage Summit: No New Ideas

Dogbert

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When Kevin Hall, writing for McClatchy Newspapers, said “the Obama administration got what it was looking for at its summit on the future of housing finance,” he was very close to the truth: No matter who spoke at the summit or what “new” ideas might be proposed, nothing would change—the government would remain fully in charge of mortgage financing for the country.

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Fed’s Bernanke Running Out of Options

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 02:  U.S. Federal Reser...

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When Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks on Friday at the Fed’s annual meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Fed-watchers from around the world will be hanging on his every word, phrase, and nuance for clues. They’ll be listening to hear that the chairman knows what’s happening in the economy, and that if things get worse, he has a plan.

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Fiscal Challenges: A Way Out

"The Course of Empire: The Savage State,&...

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(This article is a follow-up to Conjuring Magic To Cover States’ Debts.)

Economist Niall Ferguson of Harvard wrote an article entitled “Complexity and Collapse” for the March/April issue of Foreign Affairs, a publication of the Council on Foreign Relations. Ferguson uses the visual image of a series of paintings by Thomas ColeThe Course of Empire, which currently hangs at the New York Historical Society, to illustrate his point that every society goes through five stages. He says that Cole “beautifully captured a theory of imperial rise and fall to which most people remain in thrall to this day.”

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Conjuring Magic To Cover States’ Debts

SACRAMENTO, CA - JULY 21:   A sign stands in f...

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The first warning about the possible bankruptcy of the town of Vallejo, California, was reported by the Associated Press on February 28, 2008, when Councilwoman Stephanie Gomes said, “Our financial situation is getting worse every single day. No city or private person wants to declare bankruptcy, but if you’re facing insolvency, you have no choice but to seek protection.”

Marci Fritz, vice president of the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility, blamed the action on promises made earlier by the council to the city’s employees concerning salaries and retirement benefits that the city no longer can afford. According to Fritz, these were promises made during economically flush times, and were due to the city council’s unrealistic expectations that those times would continue indefinitely.

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The Fed is Caught in its Own Trap

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston building vi...

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The much-anticipated, long-awaited pronouncement from the Fed yesterday confirmed what nearly everyone else expected: Things are not going swimmingly, but they’re ready to help further if the patient continues to drown.

The Federal Open Market Committee said that “the pace of economic recovery is likely to be more modest in the near term than had been anticipated … [but] to help support the economic recovery in the context of price stability, the Committee will keep constant the Federal Reserve’s holdings of securities at their current level.”

Translation: Nothing we have done yet has worked, so we’re developing some more plans just in case they are needed.

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Behind Friday’s Jobs Report: The Real Numbers

Confusing numbers

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Buried in Friday’s employment report from the Department of Labor Statistics were two key numbers that reflected the slowdown in the economy so long denied by the administration: “private sector employment edged up over the month (+71,000). Thus far this year, [such] employment has increased by 630,000, with about two-thirds of the gain occurring in March and April.” (Emphasis added.) The other appeared in the final paragraph of that report: “The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for May was revised from +433,000 to +432,000, and the change for June was revised [downward] from -125,000 to -221,000.” (Emphasis added.)

Taken together, these two numbers reflect the slowing of the economy that has occurred ever since Vice President Joe Biden predicted back in April that “some time in the next couple of months we’re going to be creating between 250,000 and 500,000 jobs a month.”

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TARP Criticism Misses the Point

PaulsonHenry

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When TARP Inspector General Neil Barofsky criticized the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) as being ineffective, he blamed the Treasury Department for not setting clearer goals for that part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

Only 390,000 homeowners “have seen their mortgage terms permanently modified since the $50 billion program was announced in March 2009. That is a small fraction of the three to four million borrowers who were supposed to receive assistance under the program.”

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Fixing State Budgets will be Painful

Carly Fiorina (MBA 1980), former CEO of Hewlet...

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Pew Research recently polled Americans about ways to bring state budgets into balance and found that respondents did not like any of the options. In its Congressional Connection poll released June 28, Pew Research asked if a federal bailout of financially troubled states should be considered. Barely one in four said yes. Nearly 60 percent said no, that the states should take care of their problems on their own.

Other options offered by Pew included cutting transportation funding, raising taxes, cutting health services, reducing spending for police and fire departments, and slashing the public school budget. Each of those options was also strongly opposed, often by majorities approaching 70 percent.

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Fannie and Freddie De-​​listed From NYSE: Now What?

Fannie Mae headquarters

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When ABC News announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would be de-listed by the New York Stock Exchange on July 8, writer Rich Blake said that “these once mighty enterprises will trade alongside stocks on the Over-The-Counter Bulletin Board, a place where many companies go to die.”

As a eulogy Blake expressed the usual statist paean: “It’s difficult to contemplate how the U.S. mortgage market could function without the nearly $6 trillion in funding they provide to this market and the institutions that comprise it…The housing sector would be in even worse shape if not for those twin…enterprises.”

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The Invisible Recovery

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On Friday Reuters reported that non-government payrolls rose only slightly in June and overall employment fell “for the first time this year…indicating the economic recovery is failing to pick up steam.” This report followed several others last week indicating weakness in consumer spending, housing, and manufacturing which “have heightened fears [that] the economy could slip back into a recession.”

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Mortgage Defaults Increasing

Luigi Zingales

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According to the New York Times, “A growing number of the people whose homes are in foreclosure are refusing to slink away in shame.” They are just refusing to make their mortgage payments but continue to live in their home until the bank evicts them. LPS Applied Analytics says the average borrower in foreclosure “has been delinquent for 438 days before actually being evicted.” This means that the homeowner essentially lives rent-free for nearly 15 months, and can use his mortgage payment to make other payments such as car loans and credit cards.

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Economic Forecast: Summer of Discontent

Frowny

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After six straight months of gains in consumer spending the April numbers showed no change from March, according to the Commerce Department. This was a surprise to some who have been tracking such things as the University of Michigan’s index of consumer confidence (higher), consumers’ expectations on the economy over the next 12 months (higher), moderate real job creation (higher), savings rate (higher) and manufacturing activity (higher).

Others remained sanguine, holding that “We do not expect household spending to flatline in the coming months,” according to Michelle Girard, senior economist at RBS in Stamford, Connecticut.

Consumers themselves, however, are not a happy lot. According to Rasmussen Reports, only 35 percent of Americans are planning to take a summer vacation this year, and those who are, aren’t planning on spending as much as they have in the past.

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.
Copyright © 2018 Bob Adelmann