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The Depression Thread
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Kuros



Joined: 27 Apr 2004

PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bucheon bum wrote:
What depresses me even more is I knew this was coming. In the eyes of joe 6 pack, Obama has no legitimacy on economic matters- and for good reason. He said the stimulus would turn things around, said things were turning around, and voila, double dip recession here we come!


Hey, BB, thanks for retrieving this thread. I was looking for it (no help from the search function) so I could post this:

The myth of the jobless recovery

Derek Thompson wrote:
It's hard to overstate how much [this week's] GDP report blew up our understanding of the recovery.

[Last week] analysts thought the economy was expanding by 2.5% a year. [This week], they learned GDP grew by only 1.6% in the last four quarters. This is a remarkable discovery. It's the difference between thinking we're expanding at a decent, if disappointing, pace, and knowing we're growing around half our historical norm.

. . .

And what about productivity?

Michael Mandel wrote:

Uh, oh. The latest revision of the national income accounts, released this morning, makes the whole productivity acceleration vanish. Nonfarm business productivity growth in the 2007-09 period has now been cut almost in half, down to only 1.4% per year.


Go to the link for the graphs. It is really depressing.
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Fox



Joined: 04 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Iceland’s On-Going Revolution

Quote:
An Italian radio program’s story about Iceland’s on-going revolution is a stunning example of how little our media tells us about the rest of the world. Americans may remember that at the start of the 2008 financial crisis, Iceland literally went bankrupt. The reasons were mentioned only in passing, and since then, this little-known member of the European Union fell back into oblivion.

As one European country after another fails or risks failing, imperiling the Euro, with repercussions for the entire world, the last thing the powers that be want is for Iceland to become an example. Here’s why:

Five years of a pure neo-liberal regime had made Iceland, (population 320 thousand, no army), one of the richest countries in the world. In 2003 all the country’s banks were privatized, and in an effort to attract foreign investors, they offered on-line banking whose minimal costs allowed them to offer relatively high rates of return. The accounts, called IceSave, attracted many English and Dutch small investors. But as investments grew, so did the banks’ foreign debt. In 2003 Iceland’s debt was equal to 200 times its GNP, but in 2007, it was 900 percent. The 2008 world financial crisis was the coup de grace. The three main Icelandic banks, Landbanki, Kapthing and Glitnir, went belly up and were nationalized, while the Kroner lost 85% of its value with respect to the Euro. At the end of the year Iceland declared bankruptcy.

Contrary to what could be expected, the crisis resulted in Icelanders recovering their sovereign rights, through a process of direct participatory democracy that eventually led to a new Constitution. But only after much pain.

Geir Haarde, the Prime Minister of a Social Democratic coalition government, negotiated a two million one hundred thousand dollar loan, to which the Nordic countries added another two and a half million. But the foreign financial community pressured Iceland to impose drastic measures. The FMI and the European Union wanted to take over its debt, claiming this was the only way for the country to pay back Holland and Great Britain, who had promised to reimburse their citizens.

Protests and riots continued, eventually forcing the government to resign. Elections were brought forward to April 2009, resulting in a left-wing coalition which condemned the neoliberal economic system, but immediately gave in to its demands that Iceland pay off a total of three and a half million Euros. This required each Icelandic citizen to pay 100 Euros a month (or about $130) for fifteen years, at 5.5% interest, to pay off a debt incurred by private parties vis a vis other private parties. It was the straw that broke the reindeer’s back.

What happened next was extraordinary. The belief that citizens had to pay for the mistakes of a financial monopoly, that an entire nation must be taxed to pay off private debts was shattered, transforming the relationship between citizens and their political institutions and eventually driving Iceland’s leaders to the side of their constituents. The Head of State, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, refused to ratify the law that would have made Iceland’s citizens responsible for its bankers’ debts, and accepted calls for a referendum.

Of course the international community only increased the pressure on Iceland. Great Britain and Holland threatened dire reprisals that would isolate the country. As Icelanders went to vote, foreign bankers threatened to block any aid from the IMF. The British government threatened to freeze Icelander savings and checking accounts. As Grimsson said: “We were told that if we refused the international community’s conditions, we would become the Cuba of the North. But if we had accepted, we would have become the Haiti of the North.” (How many times have I written that when Cubans see the dire state of their neighbor, Haiti, they count themselves lucky.)

In the March 2010 referendum, 93% voted against repayment of the debt. The IMF immediately froze its loan. But the revolution (though not televised in the United States), would not be intimidated. With the support of a furious citizenry, the government launched civil and penal investigations into those responsible for the financial crisis. Interpol put out an international arrest warrant for the ex-president of Kaupthing, Sigurdur Einarsson, as the other bankers implicated in the crash fled the country.

But Icelanders didn’t stop there: they decided to draft a new constitution that would free the country from the exaggerated power of international finance and virtual money. (The one in use had been written when Iceland gained its independence from Denmark, in 1918, the only difference with the Danish constitution being that the word ‘president’ replaced the word ‘king’.)

To write the new constitution, the people of Iceland elected twenty-five citizens from among 522 adults not belonging to any political party but recommended by at least thirty citizens. This document was not the work of a handful of politicians, but was written on the internet. The constituent’s meetings are streamed on-line, and citizens can send their comments and suggestions, witnessing the document as it takes shape. The constitution that eventually emerges from this participatory democratic process will be submitted to parliament for approval after the next elections.

Some readers will remember that Iceland’s ninth century agrarian collapse was featured in Jared Diamond’s book by the same name. Today, that country is recovering from its financial collapse in ways just the opposite of those generally considered unavoidable, as confirmed yesterday by the new head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde to Fareed Zakaria. The people of Greece have been told that the privatization of their public sector is the only solution. And those of Italy, Spain and Portugal are facing the same threat.

They should look to Iceland. Refusing to bow to foreign interests, that small country stated loud and clear that the people are sovereign.

That’s why it is not in the news anymore.
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Kuros



Joined: 27 Apr 2004

PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2011 6:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Obama Administration Pressures Attorney General of N.Y. on Bank Foreclosure Deal

Quote:
Eric T. Schneiderman, the attorney general of New York, has come under increasing pressure from the Obama administration to drop his opposition to a wide-ranging state settlement with banks over dubious foreclosure practices, according to people briefed on discussions about the deal.

. . .

Mr. Schneiderman and top prosecutors in some other states have objected to the proposed settlement with major banks, saying it would restrict their ability to investigate and prosecute wrongdoing in a variety of areas, including the bundling of loans in mortgage securities.
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Nowhere Man



Joined: 08 Feb 2004

PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2011 7:10 am    Post subject: ... Reply with quote

Umm Hmm...

Now that it's back, let's try an alternative history:

Ron Paul gets elected in 2008. Ignoring his lack of a congress to magically back him up, Herr ex-Pat Buchanan dude aggressively crashes the economy.

Then what?
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bucheon bum



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Location: DC area

PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Generation Limbo: Waiting It Out

A depressing article.

Quote:
The numbers are not encouraging. About 14 percent of those who graduated from college between 2006 and 2010 are looking for full-time jobs, either because they are unemployed or have only part-time jobs, according to a survey of 571 recent college graduates released in May by the Heldrich Center at Rutgers.

And then there is the slice of graduates effectively underemployed, using a college degree for positions that don’t require one or barely scraping by, working in call centers, bars or art-supply stores.


And here is this lovely bit:

Quote:
Some of Ms. Morales’s classmates have found themselves on welfare. “You don’t expect someone who just spent four years in Ivy League schools to be on food stamps,” said Ms. Morales, who estimates that a half-dozen of her friends are on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. A few are even helping younger graduates figure out how to apply. “We are passing on these traditions on how to work in the adult world as working poor,” Ms. Morales said.


Saying the recession ended truly is a joke.
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bucheon bum



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Location: DC area

PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On a related note:

Student Loan Defaults Rise

Quote:
According to Department of Education data released Monday, 8.8 percent of borrowers over all defaulted in the fiscal year that ended last Sept. 30, the latest figures available, up from 7 percent the previous year.

At public institutions, the rate was 7.2 percent, up from 6 percent, and at not-for-profit private institutions, it was 4.6 percent, up from 4 percent.

“Borrowers are struggling in this economy,” said James Kvaal, deputy under secretary of education. “We see a strong relationship between student default rates and unemployment rates.”


Good news? Maybe? It isn't as bad as it was back in the day...

Quote:
Although the new overall rates are the highest since the 1997, when they were also 8.8 percent, default rates peaked in 1990 at more than 20 percent.
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bucheon bum



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Location: DC area

PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mises brought up the FHA a couple times back in the day.

Auditor Says FHA Might Need Bailout

yay.

Quote:
WASHINGTON — Chances are nearly 50 percent that the Federal Housing Administration will need a bailout next year if the housing market deteriorates further, the agency’s independent auditor said in a report released Tuesday.


Quote:
The audit contends that “significant declines of home prices” in fiscal year 2012 “would create a situation in which the current portfolio would require additional support” from the Treasury Department. In the worst case provided in the report, housing prices would continue to decline through 2014 and the agency would require a total of $43.2 billion from the Treasury. (Congress would not need to approve these funds.)


Quote:
“Whether or not they are adequately capitalized depends on their projections,” says Ann B. Schnare, an independent housing consultant, who has studied F.H.A. solvency. “But they have been over-optimistic about their future book for three or four years. Every year, it’s like, ‘We’re losing on this end, but we’re going to make it up going forward!’ ”

Ms. Schnare added: “They are doing very high loan-to-value loans in a market that is extremely fragile. People are entering the program without a lot of equity. They’re skating on thin ice.”
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blade



Joined: 30 Jun 2007

PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rolling Eyes
Quote:
What price the new democracy? Goldman Sachs conquers Europe


The ascension of Mario Monti to the Italian prime ministership is remarkable for more reasons than it is possible to count. By replacing the scandal-surfing Silvio Berlusconi, Italy has dislodged the undislodgeable. By imposing rule by unelected technocrats, it has suspended the normal rules of democracy, and maybe democracy itself. And by putting a senior adviser at Goldman Sachs in charge of a Western nation, it has taken to new heights the political power of an investment bank that you might have thought was prohibitively politically toxic.
[img]http://www.independent.co.uk/incoming/article6264098.ece/ALTERNATES/w620/Pg-12-eurozone-graphic.jpg
[/img]

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/what-price-the-new-democracy-goldman-sachs-conquers-europe-6264091.html
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Privateer



Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Location: Easy Street.

PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 12:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Supercommittee Deadlock: Heads they Win, Tails we Lose

Quote:
The burgeoning debt has been blamed on reckless government and consumer spending; but the debt crisis was created, not by a social safety net bought and paid for by the taxpayers, but by a banking system taken over by Wall Street gamblers. The banking debacle of 2008 caused credit to collapse, businesses to go bankrupt, and unemployment to soar, drastically reducing the federal tax base. If anyone should be held to account, it is Wall Street; but the bankers were bailed rather than jailed, and the taxpayers got billed for the crime.

We have been deluded into thinking that “fiscal responsibility” is something for our benefit, something we actually need in order to save the country from bankruptcy. In fact, it has simply been an excuse to impose radical austerity measures on the people, measures that benefit the 1% while locking the 99% in a dungeon of debt peonage.


Interesting idea in the article about nullifying interest on U.S. government debt by having the Fed buy it all: you don't need to charge interest to yourself. But, of course, the 1%, or in fact the fraction of 1% who own most of this debt, will squeal loudly if they no longer own it and can therefore no longer rake in profits from public austerity.

National debt functions as a way of upwardly redistributing wealth, which is why Republican administrations from Reagan onwards have been borrowing like bandits.
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Privateer



Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Location: Easy Street.

PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bill Moyers on plutonomy vs democracy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSoglDcRbAg
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blade



Joined: 30 Jun 2007

PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zee Germans can't even sell their bunds now!
Quote:
Earlier today Germany tried to sell €6 billion of 10 Year bunds. It "sold" €3.644 at a 1.98% yield. Which meant the German debt agency had to retain, i.e., not sell, the 39% balance, or €2.356 billion. Said otherwise the offering was a complete disaster and as Reuters points out, one of Germany's worst bond sales since the launch of the euro, and that much higher Bund yields are coming very soon to a neighborhood near you. The sale "prompted concerns the debt crisis was even beginning to threaten Berlin on Wednesday, with the Bundesbank forced to buy large amounts of the bonds to ensure the auction did not fail. The low yields offered on the 10-year paper deterred investors from the auction, especially because of growing concerns over the cost to Germany of the escalating crisis." So what was otherwise formerly sacrosanct has just become reviled: welcome to fiat's greatest hits. The resulting 10 Year yield chart should surprise nobody. As for next steps: first the UK, then Japan, and finally the US...

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/contagion-shakes-euro-core-10-year-german-bund-auction-complete-and-utter-disaster
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blade



Joined: 30 Jun 2007

PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

S&P downgrades 5 of 6 biggest US banks
By Jill Schlesinger
Standard & Poor's ratings service has cut the ratings of five of the six largest U.S. bank holding companies. Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup were downgraded from A to A- and Wells Fargo was cut from AA- to A+. Of the big six, only JPMorgan Chase escaped unscathed.

The downgrades were part of more than 37 ratings of large global banks reviewed by the agency. Such moves often raise the cost of borrowing for companies, as investors demand a higher interest rate to compensate them for additional risk.

The downgrade could be especially painful for Bank of America, which has dropped over 60 percent this year and remains mired under a cloud of legal issues associated with its ill-fated purchase of Countrywide. In a regulatory filing, the bank said that a downgrade of one level would necessitate the posting of $5.1 billion of additional funds.

Banks are learning the hard way that the easy money has already been made -- no more playing with the Fed's money and booking the profits. Now they need to figure out how to right-size their business models to match a slow growth economy. Masters of the universe are mere mortals after all.

Here's how each company's stock closed before the downgrade:

-- Bank of America (BAC): $5.07 (new 52-week low)

-- Citigroup (C): $25.24

-- Goldman Sachs (GS): $88.81

-- Morgan Stanley (MS): $13.31

-- Wells Fargo (WFC): $24.08

© 2011 CBS Interactive Inc.. All Rights Reserved.



http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505123_162-57333279/s-p-downgrades-5-of-6-biggest-us-banks/
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blade



Joined: 30 Jun 2007

PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 4:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sigh Crying or Very sad


Quote:
Financial Executives Likely Won't Face Criminal Charges For Role In Financial Crisis: Former Investigator

Though often blamed with making the calls that led the country to the brink of collapse, financial executives likely won't face criminal charges for their practices during the financial crisis, according to a former top U.S. investigator.

The Justice Department has decided that prosecution of financial executives is "better left to regulators" to take civil-enforcement actions, David Cardona, who was a deputy assistant director at the Federal Bureau of Investigation until last month, told the Wall Street Journal.

"There's been a realization and a more deliberate targeting by the Department of Justice before we launch criminally on some of these cases," Cardona told the WSJ.

Cardona's comments come nearly eight months after Senator Carl Levin released a report on Goldman Sachs' role in the financial crisis, which found the investment bank profited off purposefully deceiving its own clients at the height of the financial crisis. Levin then said he would recommend some of the investment bank's executives for possible criminal prosecution.

Government officials haven't successfully prosecuted a single Wall Street executive or financial firm since the meltdown, despite many Americans and experts blaming them for the decisions that led to the housing crisis and subsequent financial panic, according to CBS News.

In fact, Wall Street executives have offered a litany of others to blame for the crisis: consumers who took out mortgages they couldn't afford, investors who demanded the opportunity to buy risky securities, policymakers who didn't anticipate the housing crash -- even regulators, according to The New York Times.

One of the ways Wall Street firms have escaped criminal punishment is through a Justice Department directive issued in the summer of 2008. The new process, known as deferred prosecution, allows for some leniency if firms investigate and admit their own wrongdoing, the NYT reports. But many have derided the guidelines, saying that they're allowing perpetrators to get off too easily. continued on link..http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/06/criminal-prosecution-financial-crimes_n_1131639.html?ref=business
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blade



Joined: 30 Jun 2007

PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Full-Blown Civil War Erupts On Wall Street – Financial Elite Start Turning On Each Other

By David DeGraw - ampedstatus.org

Finally, after trillions in fraudulent activity, trillions in bailouts, trillions in printed money, billions in political bribing and billions in bonuses, the criminal cartel members on Wall Street are beginning to get what they deserve. As the Eurozone is coming apart at the seams and as the US economy grinds to a halt, the financial elite are starting to turn on each other. The lawsuits are piling up fast. Here’s an extensive roundup:

Time to put your Big Bank shorts on! Get ready for a run… The chickens are coming home to roost… The Global Banking Cartel’s crimes are being exposed left & right… Prepare for Shock & Awe…

Well, well… here’s your Shock & Awe:

continued on link: http://wakeup-world.com/2011/09/06/full-blown-civil-war-erupts-on-wall-street-financial-elite-start-turning-on-each-other/
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caniff



Joined: 03 Feb 2004
Location: All over the map

PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice breakdown by Cenk there.

It hurts to clench your teeth in frustration for 3-4 (plus?) years.
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