This is not a rehearsal.
Yo-Yo Mas! The Dow slipped below 10,000 yesterday and stayed there until the home stretch, when TPTB came in and ran it up at the bell. This happens so regularly it's expected. The current 'excuse' is that Washington has decided that banks can keep mucking about with derivatives until the next crash.
Rooms to Let: Defaults on apartment mortgages are leading the rest of the commercial real estate sector downward. Now at 4.6%, they are twice what they were a year ago. Commercial-mortgage defaults also rose in the first quarter for loans against office, retail, hotel and industrial properties. CRE seems to be a slow-motion wreck in progress.
Progress: The US hasn't so much drawn down its troop presence in Iraq as shuttled them to Afghanistan. Same troops, same
Down to Cases: The Case-Shiller house price report was another downer, with another quarter of declines. T heir index is now at its lowest level since Q4, 2002. The rebound turned out to be a dribble. Even huge tax credits and historically low mortgage rates have failed to lift home prices.
Best Defense: Obama is dispatching 1,200 National Guard troops to the US-Mexico border in order to repel attacks by the GOP. He's also asking for $500 million to be spread around to various law enforcement agencies to give the impression of doing something.
$104,350. That's each US household's share of the economic loss brought to us by Wall Street's unregulated greed. $7.4 trillion in lost stock wealth, $3.4 trillion in evaporated real estate wealth. At least 5.5 million extra lost jobs & lost incomes.
Revival Revised: If housing is recovering, why is the government still propping up the market? FHA loans exceed even Fannie and Freddie in
encouraging a new bubble supporting the housing market. Non-government backed or insured mortgages are essentially non-existent – but if business is so good, why aren't the banks and Wall Street out there scooping up the profits? “This is a market purely on life support, sustained by the federal government. Having FHA do this much volume is a sign of a very sick system.” Federal Housing Commissioner David Stevens.
Drug Paraphernalia: Washington State drug police have seized a large stash of petitions urging the legalization of marijuana. Describing the petitions as a dangerous first step in the downward spiral leading to an addiction to democracy, the police said that the constitutional right to assemble and petition the government was being misused by the pot-heads.