The ridiculous war between Obama and S&P, which escalated last night following disclosure by the NYT that S&P was being investigated for its muni ratings, has just taken another turn for ths surreal after S&P announced that it would most likely downgrade munis as soon as the final US budget is finalized. Granted that could very well mean never. To quote S&P: "In our opinion, the longer-term deficit reduction framework adopted as part of the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA) could undermine the already fragile economic recovery and complicate aspects of state and local government fiscal management. Either of these outcomes could potentially weaken our view of certain individual credit profiles of obligors across the sector." The sector being the US munis. And from Bloomberg: "The company, which said earlier this month that states and local governments could remain AAA even after the U.S. cut, said in a report today downgrades could come after reductions in federal funding or changed policy. Ratings changes would come based on “differing levels of reliance on federal funding, and varying management capabilities,” and, after the Budget Control Act of 2011, will be felt “unevenly across the sector,” S&P said. "Experience tells me I would expect there to be some downgrades,” said S&P credit analyst Gabriel Petek in a telephone interview. “These cuts are coming in addition to the losses of revenue that already came during the recession."" Bottom line: the longer this downgrade over up to 7000 issues is deferred, and it is very much overdue right now, the bigger it will be when it finally arrives, and the greater the gloating by Meredith Whitney will be when it finally arrives.
The first official demand for a change at the top as a result of the S&P downgrade has come in, courtesy of Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who has just demanded the head of the most incompetent and tax evading Treasury Secretary in US history, on a silver platter. "President Obama should fire U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner over the debt downgrade. If Obama won't remove him, then the US Senate should withdraw its consent of Geithner's appointment to U.S. Treasury because someone in the White House needs to be held responsible for this disaster." Zero Hedge fully endorses this perspective.
Economics Professor: "[We’ll Have] a Never-Ending Depression Unless We Repudiate the Debt, Which Never Should Have Been Extended In The First Place"Submitted by George Washington on 07/20/2011 12:01 -0400
There's regular debt honestly incurred - which people shouldn't be deadbeats on. We should be responsible and repay our debts! Tut then there's "odious" debt ... a different animal altogether
"General Motors Co. stocked Jim Ellis Chevrolet in Atlanta with plenty of Silverado full-size pickups in early 2011, part of a wager on a strong economic recovery. The strategy is backfiring. “We thought that this year would bring back the kind of economic activity that would translate into us selling more trucks,” Mark Frost, the dealership’s general manager, said in a phone interview. “It’s not happening.” Supply of Silverado has ballooned to 6 1/2 months worth at the dealership, a figure Frost, 52, calls “a little scary.” The Detroit-based automaker, 33 percent owned by the U.S. after its 2009 bankruptcy, has 280,000 Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups on dealers’ lots around the country. If sales continue at June’s rate, that would be enough to last until November." Thus begins a story just published by Business Week covering a topic that Zero Hedge has been pounding the table on since last December, and which just hit an all time record for fresh start Government Motors a few days ago - namely the firm's propensity to dump as much inventory as possible on dealer floors. Granted, many have been quick to mock, ridicule and ignore our glaringly obvious findings (especially since these come at a time when the light vehicle sales SAAR is back to a 10 month low, and likely to plunge once the long overdue inventory liquidation finally takes place), although now that the topic of General Motors' "strategy" of overfilling dealer inventory is front page news, it finally may get the overdue respect it deserves, especially since as Jefferies' Peter Nesvold cautions, this is nothing more than new GM reverting to the habits of the old one (the one that filed and needed taxpayer bailouts for a few hundred thousand union workers).
Wherever you put your money, it’s important to stick to your investment discipline.
"Given the current state of things, I'm sure there are a lot of people deliberately deciding to adopt a low profile, politically or socially. A lot of this has to do not so much with politics but what your neighbors or your coworkers will say about you, right? If you tell them something that is actually happening in the world, you will be labeled a conspiracy theorist; they’ll look at you as if you're crazy. But what about the activists? At a certain stage, the great mass of people will look around for leadership figures. When the economic crisis comes, they’re going to want someone to tell them how to get out of it. They’re not going to know the answers themselves. The question is, will there be activists, leadership figures, proposing the right solutions – and how soon will they come along?" Edwin Vieira
Will you own your own body? Or will that be privatized, too?
66% Of Las Vegas Mortgages Are Underwater, 27.7% Of Total US Housing Debt Has Negative And Near-Negative EquitySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/07/2011 09:33 -0400
Following yesterday's news out of Zillow of a 0.77% drop in April home values compared to March, today we get an update from CoreLogic which in turn looks at the latest trends on "underwater" (or negative equity) mortgages in the US. In summary: "10.9 million, or 22.7 percent, of all residential properties with a mortgage were in negative equity at the end of the first quarter of 2011, down slightly from 11.1 million, or 23.1 percent, in the fourth quarter. An additional 2.4 million borrowers had less than five percent equity, referred to as near-negative equity, in the first quarter. Together, negative equity and near-negative equity mortgages accounted for 27.7 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage nationwide. In the fourth quarter, these two categories stood at 27.9 percent." The most impacted state is Nevada, which has 62.6% of all mortgages underwater (with another 4.8% in near-negative), followed by Arizona, Florida and Michigan. California is fifth with 30.9% of all homes underwater. We doubt these millions of "homeowners" are benefiting much from the wealth effect.
Constitutional values cannot defend themselves. They require the people to stand firm, and to never yield. Americans today have yielded far too much already, and at some point very soon, we’re going to have to make the hard choice on what is more important; our general safety and personal comfort, or our freedoms and the freedoms of future generations. Like the American Colonials, we have a system that does not serve our best interests, but the interests of an elite few. We are quickly losing our ability to dictate the terms of our own society, and our own destinies. Sadly, we are not yet presenting the determination that the colonials held in the face of this danger. Today, we are a nation mourning its own demise before it has even occurred. We have turned to reluctant compliance and submission. We are, frankly, whiny and pathetic. This does not have to be.
By now it has been made very clear that Jim Grant is firmly in the (correct, at least according to us) camp that no matter what, the Fed will be forced to proceed with at least one more (and likely many) round of quantitative easing. In his latest must read interview, the author of Grant's Interest Rate Observer further explains, in simple terms, not only why the Fed is boxed in when it comes to monetary policy (an assessment comparable to that by Marc Faber back in March: "We may drop 10 to 15 percent. Then QE 2 will come, (then) QE 4, QE 5,
QE 6, QE 7—whatever you want. The money printer will continue to print,
that I'm sure. Actually I made a mistake. I meant to
say QE 18."), but also refutes the fallacy of counterfactual statements that the world would end if the Fed had not intervened to prevent a systemic collapse in 2008, why a gold standard in our lifetimes is coming, on whether he is buying gold currently, on inflation, on corporate valuation, and where (and more importantly when) investors should be putting money to work.
Constitution toilet paper Indiana Supreme Court dispenses with Magna Carta, ConstitutionOn June 10, 1215 AD, after prolonged rebellion and frustrating negotiation, a group of England’s most influential barons entered London to force the disastrous King John Softsword into accepting a revolutionary charter of individual freedoms. Five days later in the Runnymede meadow of Surrey County, John affixed his royal seal onto what became known as the Magna Carta. It still exists on the books today in England and Wales. This document was one of the more important antecedents to the US Constitution; its proclamations ended the absolutism of England’s monarchy and spelled out very clear rights and freedoms, including, among others, the right of a man to enjoy his private property without trespass from government officials. Over 550 years later, the framers of the Constitution codified this right in the 4th Amendment to be secure in one’s private property. Last week, the Indiana Supreme Court effectively rejected both documents in two separate cases.
Posted below are 21 statistics about college tuition, student loan debt and the quality of college education in the United States….
Maybe it’s all the rain lately but my funny bone is tingling. This week the FOMC conducts a two day meeting whereby Fed officials will clarify intentions regarding the perceived closure (or not) of QE2 and the policy body will also address growing concerns (or not) about inflation. To mark a new era in Fed communications, Chairman Bernanke will hold a press conference at the conclusion of the FOMC on Wednesday. This conference has all the makings of its predecessor, historically volatile semi-annual Humphrey Hawkins testimonies on monetary policy in front of Congress. It’s a good thing since in the past month alone sixteen different Fed policymakers (did you know there were that many?) have given more than forty formal addresses, in addition to television, newspaper and newswire interviews. And Congress isn’t in this week.
"Dear Dr. Paul...There are serious questions about the legality of Quantitative Easing. You are among the few who are well-qualified and well-placed to get to the bottom of it. Most people believe, and the media confirm them in that belief, that the Fed can legally create dollars ‘out of the thin air’ in any quantity, and can do with them as it pleases. This may well be the pipe dream of Dr. Bernanke who is quoted as saying that the U.S. government has given the Fed a tool, the printing press, to stop deflation — but it hardly corresponds to the truth. The Fed can create new dollars only if some stringent legal conditions are satisfied, and then, it can only dispose of them in certain ways prescribed by law." Antal Fekete