Wednesday, April 4, 2012

SAR #12095

“Fear is the foundation of most governments.” John Adams.

Guaranteed Prophets: Not wanting a good debacle to go to waste, “investors” (for which read hedgies and such) are gobbling up foreclosed houses with the intent of renting them out for 3 to five years with an annual 8% - 10% return, then selling them for a handsome profit. Did the banks advertise, or did these Bigger Fools just walk in? What could go wrong? (Ask me, I've been a landlord.)

Inquiring Minds: Could banks legally turn a profit if they stopped taking advantage of the poor, preying on the unsophisticated and forging documents?

The Jackpot: Fresh from fleecing the public via the Giganormous Lottery, politicians in several states think the way to raise taxes is to open casinos and provide low-cost bus connections from poor neighborhoods to the front doors, so they can continue to relieve the credulous of even more of their meager income through 'games' that are but thinly disguised tax programs. That the casinos would be run by politician-buying groups is seen as a bonus.

Parade: Wells Fargo has jumped on the “House prices have bottomed or soon will” bandwagon. Moody's didn't get the memo.

In the Land of Unintended Consequences: The main difference between a health care insurance mandate and the everyday garden variety tax incentive is that the mandate had a tax penalty instead of a tax break. Why would a negative tax incentive be any more or any less unconstitutional than a positive tax incentive? Will striking down the mandate endanger other tax breaks? Why not?

What Beauregard Said: “... economics is basically bulls**t. Necessary bulls**t, sometimes even useful bulls**t.”

Comes The Dawn: After several years of chasing higher returns through 'alternative and non-traditional investments', public sector pension funds have discovered that while they have not done well, their advisers have done quite well collecting fees for managing these funds to mediocre returns. Welcome to the club.

Self-Abuse: Autism in US children has increased 78% in the last decade. Some of the increase may be definitional, but some is most certainly due to something we're doing to ourselves.

Buying Payments: In the real world, home buying hinges on two things: Do you have 20% to put down? (And don't count the equity you used to have in that underwater house you're in now.) And will anyone loan you the rest? (How much credit card debt and student debt do you have? How much after-tax income do you have, once the car payment and gasoline and healthcare insurance are paid? And food, don't forget the food...)

Inertia: House prices drop, houses get foreclosed on, houses sit around empty, the empty houses deteriorate, the value of the empty, foreclosed houses drop and then the price of the surrounding houses drop... It's not rocket science, folks. If I lived in Tennessee I wouldn't be fat.

Show & Tell: During a powerpoint presentation on holy communion, a priest in Northern Ireland accidentally showed a group of parents (and one child) 16 gay porn pictures.

It Pays to Be #1: The top 1%got 45% of Clinton-era economic growth, 65% during the Bush era, and they pocketed 93% of 2010's income gains – and the rest went to the top 10%. The bottom 90%, known affectionately as “the rest of us”, got nothing. Bupkis. Zip. Nada. In fact, our average, inflation-adjusted, gross income has gone down $4,800 since 2000.

Dress Code: Tampa, in order to ensure a safe and orderly Republican convention this summer, is banning water pistols, masks and rope. Handguns are acceptable as long as you keep them concealed when not in use.

Spoilsport: T. Boone Pickens says the Saudis will not be able to save the world from $148 a barrel oil by summer's end. Mr. Pickens didn't say if the price would rise due to supply problems or because Bernanke and his fellow central bankers have started up the printing presses once again (although Ben keeps saying he won't). Or both.

Porn O'Graph: Working for the man.

1 comment:

Blissex said...

«Could banks legally turn a profit if they stopped taking advantage of the poor, preying on the unsophisticated and forging documents?»

But banks don't make profit: over the full cycle they make net losses, that is the profits they book during the "good" years are smaller than the losses they take during the "bad" years.

And I wrote "book" above about "profits" because those are just paper profits, as they depend on deliberately underestimating costs (of multi-year investment risks), which then happen during the "bad" years.

That is, in order to create some profitable years, bankers use clever accounting to shift costs from the "good" years to pile them up in the "bad" years; without this no year would be profitable, at least not at the colossal levels of compensation bankers give themselves.