Some Very Practical Advice for Young Men
2 hours ago
#6 Californians pay the second-highest sales tax in the nation; the state's gas tax is the third-highest in the nation; and California's top earners have the second-highest state income tax rate in the country***.If you can't make your government work with the some of the highest tax rates in the country, then it's time that someone else implement a new government there. It will hopefully be one that is far less interested in lavish, taxpayer-funded universities and tax credits and punishing productive behavior than the current one.
Households pushed their savings rate to the highest level in more than 15 years in May as a big boost in incomes from the government's stimulus program was devoted more to bolstering nest eggs than increased spending.It won't do any good. The game has changed. The heady days of 2007 are gone forever, and a frugal new world has arrived that everyone but government innately understands.
The higher savings rate is healthy in the long term, economists said. But without vigorous consumer spending, the government may have to do more to revive the economy, possibly through further tax breaks and spending...
"It's going to be harder for the economy to gain traction without consumers becoming more aggressive in their spending," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Economy.com...We need consumers to kick it into a higher gear before we feel confident that the economy is going to kick into a higher gear," he says....the truth remains that such a course is impossible, and always was. Over the last decade or more, Americans have spent much more than they earned - no one in history ever accumulated debt like we have. That's the heady spending that Zandi and Obama and others wish to get us back to.
(Reuters) - Two U.S. Democratic lawmakers want Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to relax recently tightened standards for mortgages on new condominiums, saying they could threaten the viability of some developments and slow the housing-market recovery, the Wall Street Journal said...This is what lawmakers call the "free market." It means that politicians declare that prices are right where they ought to attract potential buyers, but those buyers are too stupid to realize it and private lenders are too stupid to finance it. Therefore it's necessary to change the rules recently put in place to make sure foolish loans are not made again into rules that guarantee that foolish loans are made again.
In an interview with the paper, [Rep. Anthony] Weiner said the rules have "had a real chill on the ability to get these condos sold," at a time when prices of condos have fallen enough to attract potential buyers.
Even among proponents of a congressional apology, reaction to yesterday's vote was mixed. Carol M. Swain, a professor of political science and law at Vanderbilt University who had pushed for the Bush administration to issue an apology, called the Democratic-controlled Senate's resolution "meaningless" since the party and federal government are led by a black president and black voters are closely aligned with the Democratic party.Now the reason it's funny is that the Republican party for the first, oh, three decades of its existence was called "the Nigger Party" or "the Black Republican Party" by Democrats because their more radical members worked to end slavery and for full political equality for blacks:
"The Republican Party needed to do it," Swain said. "It would have shed that racist scab on the party."
The Republican, Abolition, Radical, Nigger Party never was for a moment since its first organization, is not now, and never will be in a majority in the United States.And it was not only southern-slanted histories that made the jibe. A quick Google Books search will suffice to illustrate that if the Republicans' perceived lack of racism was not the main issue in Democratic politics - in both north and south - during and following the war, it was certainly one of the most persistent and offensive.
-- Condensed History of the War
Italian prosecutors were trying to establish yesterday whether US bonds with a face value of $134 billion seized from two alleged smugglers were real or counterfeit.There are all kinds of conspiracy ideas out there, the funniest being that since TARP was announced as having 134 billion left as of March 1, this operation is obviously Paulsen and his buddies completing their looting in a spectacularly tacky manner. Another is that Japan or China are really, really trying to get out of their dollar holdings. There's a couple reasons not to buy it and to suspect rather that the bonds are fake. But in the meantime, one cannot be encouraged by the response of the Treasury Department:
The bonds were found when the two men — said to be Japanese but as yet not identified — were arrested while attempting to cross into Switzerland from Italy by train at the frontier town of Chiasso this month. Prosecutors in Como said that the two men had hidden the bonds in the false bottom of a suitcase...
Stephen Meyerhardt, a spokesman for Treasury's Bureau of Public Debt, said Thursday the paper is phony.Based on pictures we saw on the internet? Is this guy kidding? Obama must be serious about cutting budgets if the Treasury can't afford to have someone knowledgeable look at the actual bonds.
"Based on the photos we've seen on the Web, they're not even close to looking like a Treasury security," he said.
I'm convinced that by setting out clear rules of the road and ensuring transparency and fair dealings, we will actually promote a more vibrant market. This principle is at the heart of the changes we are proposing...To implement this vision of transparency, he's putting overwhelming and unprecedented coercive power into an independent corporation* which still will not reveal to whom it has made emergency loans on the order of a trillion dollars of our money, encourages companies to break the very laws it is charged with enforcing, and does not even publish meeting "minutes" for 6 weeks after those meetings.
[The Recession of 2001] was a prewar-style recession, a morning after brought on by irrational exuberance. To fight this recession the Fed needs* more than a snapback; it needs soaring household spending to offset moribund business investment. And to do that, as Paul McCulley of Pimco put it, Alan Greenspan needs to create a housing bubble to replace the Nasdaq bubble.And pull it off he did, proving that even in the rare case that government economists accomplish what they set out to do - in this case, purposely create a housing bubble and soaring household spending - the results are worse than if they had done nothing at all.
Judging by Mr. Greenspan's remarkably cheerful recent testimony, he still thinks he can pull that off...
WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden said Sunday that "everyone guessed wrong" on the impact of the economic stimulus, but he defended the administration's spending designed to combat rising joblessness.Biden's mythmaking is a beautiful example of the fallacy of the broken window: look at how busy the glazier is, not at the out of work tailor who will not make a suit because we have spent the money he would have earned fixing windows.
Biden said inaccuracies in unemployment predictions shouldn't undercut the White House's support of the $787 billion economic revival plan that has not met the expectations of President Obama's team. Instead, the vice president urged skeptics* to look at teachers who kept their classroom assignments and police officers who kept their beats because of financial assistance from Washington.
Stocks slid further Wednesday after the 10-year Treasury auction, which had a much higher yield than expected.Bzzzzt. I'm sorry, "auction awful" is not correct.
The Treasury sold $19 billion of 10-year notes at a yield of 3.99 percent, the high end of expectations, and much higher than the 3.19 percent the Fed paid at the early May auction.
Andrew Brenner, senior vice president of MF Global, summed it up in two words: "Auction awful," he told Reuters.
Michael J. Copps, the acting head of the Federal Communications Commission, said that the people most likely to lose reception [due to the nationwide switch to digital] are society’s most vulnerable — lower-income families, the elderly, the handicapped and homes where little or no English is spoken. The transition will also hit inner-city and rural areas hardest, he said.Through one of those coincidences that makes me believe there truly is justice in the universe, the people slated to lose TV coverage (i.e. those who do not have cable or satellite TV) are the very people whose only choice of news has been CBS and its twisted sisters. Society's most vulnerable(tm) will either have no television at all - certainly less of a tragedy than it's made out to be - or will have to head down to Rent-a-Center like all their neighbors. Whatever route they choose, the result ain't looking good for the networks.
A brutal drop in long-dated Treasury prices has caught even the best money managers off guard...It's hardly unimaginable that a government creating trillions of dollars from nothing to buy its own debt certificates might have the effect of making its other debt certificates worth less. If the government simply printing up money did not have the unavoidable effect of destroying it, then there would be no need for bonds (and therefore a bond market) in the first place.
The Vanguard Group, Fidelity Investments, T. Rowe Price and Hoisington Investment Management have seen their government funds down anywhere between 10 percent and 30 percent...
What's stunning about the portfolio declines is the swift plunge in Treasury prices within a short period of time despite the Federal Reserve's buyback purchases intended to hold down interest rates.
Painter: You're a dog.It's a good thing the Bureau of Labor Statistics has managed to add 694,000 jobs to the economy since February via their statistically-laughable Birth/Death model. If it weren't for all the hard work of government statisticians to create those mythical jobs, we'd really have an unemployment problem.
Apemantus: Thy mother's of my generation: what's she, if I be a dog?
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday filed securities fraud charges against former Countrywide Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo and two other former executives...There was evidence that they were lying? Well, raise my rent. It's hard for me to wrap my mind around the idea that if you offer people as much money as they wish to borrow on the house of their dreams and tell them you're not going to freaking follow up on their answers, a percentage of them might fudge the numbers a bit. What is the world coming to*?
In particular, the SEC pointed to Countrywide's increased origination of pay-option mortgages, which allow borrowers to choose their monthly payments even if they don't cover the entire interest amount. While the lender maintained they were being prudently underwritten, the SEC says, Mozilo wrote in an email that there was evidence that borrowers were lying on their applications and many would be unable to handle the eventual higher payments.
The recent surge in interest and mortgage rates is not down to the Federal Reserve’s purchases of Treasury and mortgage assets, sources familiar with the thinking of Fed officials told CNBC.When 3 months ago, the story was this:
The $1.2 trillion in mortgage assets and $200 billion in Treasurys bought by the Fed in an attempt to backstop the troubled credit market were not designed to impact rates, the sources said...
WASHINGTON (AP) — With the country sinking deeper into recession, the Federal Reserve launched a bold $1.2 trillion effort Wednesday to lower rates on mortgages and other consumer debt, spur spending and revive the economy...For those who don't like hints and dark maunderings, I'll spell it out: three months ago the Fed unveiled a bold new plan to spend a million million dollars to keep long-term interest rates down. Since then, long-term interest rates have gone up, up, up, and everybody* is starting to ask unpleasant questions. The Fed had a brilliant, foolproof plan to "put Humpty Dumpty back together again," but it's not working. In fact, it's accomplishing exactly the opposite of what it was designed to do**. And they are very scared about it. Very scared. This is supposed to be simple math, and 2+2 just came up hassenpfeffer.
Such action is designed to boost Treasury prices and drive down their rates, as it did Wednesday. Rates on other kinds of debt are likely to fall as well.
"This is going to help everybody," said Sung Won Sohn, economist at the Martin Smith School of Business at California State University. "This might help the Fed put Humpty Dumpty back together again."
WASHINGTON — It is not every 31-year-old who, in a first government job, finds himself dismantling General Motors and rewriting the rules of American capitalism.What do you want to bet that he's not only never set foot in an auto plant, he's never actually had a job**? I'm tempted to say that there's no way someone with no business or life experience could do a worse job with GM and Chrysler than the generation that just rant it into the ground, but I think I'll just save that until we find out.
But that, in short, is the job description for Brian Deese, a not-quite graduate of Yale Law School who had never set foot in an automotive assembly plant until he took on his nearly unseen role in remaking the American automotive industry.
"The necessity of the times, more than ever, calls for our utmost circumspection, deliberation, fortitude and perseverance."
-- Samuel Adams