During the height of New York City’s financial crisis in the 1970’s, President Gerald Ford had the good sense to turn down Mayor Abe Beame’s request for a federal bailout. The refusal prompted the famous New York Post headline, “Ford to City: Drop Dead.” More than 30 years later, as California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger makes a similar plea to Washington, I hope President Obama will show similar restraint. Unfortunately, given Obama’s recent string of unwise economic decisions, it’s hard to imagine that his judgment will suddenly improve. [more]
While economists and real estate investors "celebrate" the slight deceleration in the pace of home price declines in the recent data, a quick look at home price trajectories over the past 100 and 50 years reveals little to cheer about and much to be feared.
More significant than small month-to-month changes is the flow of home price patterns over decades. In his book Irrational Exuberance, Robert Shiller determined that in the 100 years between 1900 and 2000, home prices in the U.S. increased by an average of about 3.4% per year. These figures have not been adjusted for inflation. If they had, home prices would have outpaced inflation by only the slimmest of margins. [more]
When, during the invasion of Iraq, the United States Government issued its famous deck of playing cards with the 52 arch villains of the Iraqi police state, Saddam Hussein’s face adorned the Ace of Spades. If the Obama Administration wanted to engage in a similar public relations campaign for the real estate crisis, the top card should be reserved for Alan Greenspan. [more]
Renowned investor Jim Rogers says that the rally in stocks and the dollar will soon end, thanks to the Federal Reserve’s massive easing policy. [more]
Strike up the band, boys, happy days are here again! Recently released short-term economic data, including unemployment claims, non-farm payrolls, home sales, and business spending, which had been so unambiguously horrific in February and March, are now just garden-variety awful. With the Wicked Witch of Depression now apparently crushed under the house of Obamanomics, the Munchkins of Wall Street have sounded the all clear, pushing the Dow Jones up 25% from its lows. But the premature conclusion of their Lollipop Guild economists, that the crash of 2008/2009 is now a fading memory, is just as delusional as their failure to see it coming in the first place. [more]
Granted, Canada isn't perfect. It's annoying to live in an igloo year-round, outrunning wolves, polar bears and snow snakes while constantly competing for food with avid hunters like Indians (native Americans) and Eskimos, but we seem to be having some economic advantages. [more]
This week, the Obama Administration failed to push through a reorganization plan for Chrysler that would have, among other things, used government bailout money to give the United Auto Workers a majority stake in the company.
Reacting to the setback, President Obama took aim at the few Chrysler bondholders (including hedge funds and private investors) who had scuttled the plan. He described these “holdouts” as unwilling to make the sacrifices that the company, the workers, the pensioners, and the taxpayers had been prepared to make for the good of the country. Ironically, the “greedy” group that Obama holds responsible for killing the auto industry is the only force capable of saving it. [more]