or is Bust! It's all over but tripping down to the courthouse. CA has lead nation in real estate losses, in unemployment, in stupidity about taxation, and now it is the first to declare itself a bank, insurance company, financial giant and auto maker rolled in one and to petition for its turn at the trough in Washington. The others are not far behind.
Headline Quiz: What's "The Problem With Debt"? (a) You have to pay it back, even if the asset you bought with the loan is now worthless. (b) Your children have to pay it back, if it was loaned to Wall Street. (c) Your grandchildren have to pay it back if it was loaned to the Treasury. (d) All of the above.
On Deck: Investor Jim Rogers claims the dollar’s rally is set to end in a “currency crisis”, probably this autumn or else in the autumn of 2010. Mark your calendar - in pencil.
Not a Cough in a Carload: How right those wanting to limit carbon emissions are can be judged by how much the emitters are spending so they can keep on spewing. The fossil fuel folks have upped their PR spending by 50%, shelling out $45 million in the first three months of 2009. Their message is that cleanliness is bad, killing the planet profitable.
Good One: Within 2 years, GM plans to begin exporting vehicles made in China to the US. Probably SUVs.
Here to Help: Foreclosure numbers continue to rise. The government's attempt to save 3 to 4 million (of the 15 million) who are underwater is slowly improving. The original plan modified a total of 50 mortgages. The Hope for Homeowners has modified 55,000 - but somehow, even with modification, nearly half did not get their payments reduced.
Be Prepared: When I was an Explorer our big adventure was a month-long canoe trip in Canada. Today they're playacting at patrolling the border and having fire-fights with drug lords. Lots of folks are going to mention Hitler Youth and Young Pioneers. Not me.
Discretly: Sales of home furnishings, home & garden and building materials, consumer electronics and department store sales experienced fell 9.3% y/y. Shoppers are showing the utmost discretion.
Oz As A Location: The greater portion of Americans live in a single place - Oz. Must. Three out of four think the housing collapse is over, nearly half think prices will stabilize in 6 months, and 30% are planning to sell 'as soon as the market rebounds'. If one-third of homeowners are ready to dump their houses on the market, prices are bound to go down, not up.
Not Quite News: "The IMF Is Hurting Poor Countries. The IMF's conditions on financial aid to poor countries are [too harsh]. It can afford to be more generous." I believe the author misunderstands the purpose of the IMF. I suggest he read Klein's Shock Doctrine.
Repetition: 637,000 filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week. Continuing claims are at an all-time high for 15th week in a row, and continued claims are over 6.5 million. At least somethings growing.
Secret Operator: One of the changes we can believe in is that there will be more assassinations, kidnapings, and other secret operations in Afghanistan now that McChrystal will be running things. For five years he has run the secret war in Iraq (and environs). But don't ask him about then or now, it's all classified way beyond your pay grade. And successful, don't forget successful.
Pick a Number: Currently you can buy all of GM for less than $700 million. By the end of the month it will be much less. Along with dropping dealers and sending perhaps 200,000 to the unemployment lines, the dealers going out of business sales will generate some fairly curious unintended consequences.
Homework Assignment: Define "rewards for excellence in performance" so as to explain why the largest financial failures in history were caused by the highest paid executives in history. Essays submitted on time, with less than 10% error rate in spelling, grammar and facts, will receive 10 bonus points.
Porn O'Graph: Home Sweet Foreclosure.