Your dime

Benron et al gorge themselves at the taxpayers trough

Fortunately, the Federal Reserve never took a dime of TARP money. So when Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, who’s been worried about the federal deficit, went to speak Oct. 19 at the San Francisco Fed conference on Asia and the global financial mess, he was obliged to travel to the spectacular Bacara Resort and Spa near Santa Barbara, where suites in high season can run up to $2,000 a night. (We’re told the resort discounted the rooms — it’s off-season — to a mere $300 a night, though it’s unclear whether that included the primo suites.)

Where better for conferees to worry about saving more than at the uber-swanky Bacara?

[ WaPo ]

Those Federated guys live in a fantasyland. So might as well mark everything to fantasy:

Fed Raises Value of Its AIG Assets, Reversing Potential Loss

Oct. 29 (Bloomberg) — The Federal Reserve increased its estimated value of investment portfolios acquired in the rescue of American International Group Inc., reversing potential losses to taxpayers.

The net holdings of three corporations set up by the Fed for the mortgages and securities it took on in bailing out AIG and Bear Stearns Cos. rose by $4.35 billion, or 7.1 percent, to $65.5 billion, the Fed said today in a quarterly revaluation of the assets. The Bear Stearns investments fell by $116 million to $26.3 billion, while the two AIG portfolios gained $4.46 billion to $39.2 billion, the central bank said.

Head, meet pike: The guilty

A Blast from the past

In 2005 the question is asked: should I buy a home?

The answer and subsequent commentary are for the most part a gallery of truth-tellers (excepting the trolls of course). Be emlightened.
[ Should I buy or wait? ]

Fact file-

Almost 50% of Option Arms +30 Days Late
[ acrossthecurve ] [ wsj ]

Almost 19 million homes sit empty
[ .gov ] [ cnbs ]

Do we henceforth refer to it as the collapse of the middle class, or the destruction of the middle class?

Are You Middle Class? Maybe Not For Long

“[Those in the] middle class suddenly discover that they are overqualified for the jobs they can find and have to settle for anything they can obtain, therefore unemployment sky rockets: too much to offer, too little demand. You see they prepare, study for a job they are not going to get. You kids, you are studying Architecture because you simply wish to do so. Only 3 or 4 percent of you will actually find a job related to architecture.

“When one considers how much work can be replaced now by accounting software, electronic sales presentations, flatter organizational structures, and ‘ news persons ‘ filing reports for free on the Internet via blogs, it is obvious that vast numbers of middle-class Americans teeter on the precipice of unemployability, not just unemployment.

“This time it really is different. The final stages of that blind denial included fiscal imprudence that bordered on insanity. The mirage economy can’t return until after the pendulum has swung its full travel to the other side of the arc. That path leads through the valley of a crushing economic depression, one that will radically and permanently alter the lives of middle-class Americans who are almost universally unaccustomed to hardship.

[ ]


Frontline: Close to Home

“ ‘ I’m a Columbia University graduate. I’m smart. I should be able to stand on my own two feet. ‘ Sitting in a hair salon, Emma looks at herself in the mirror. Her husband Andy sits behind her, nodding. They have a young child, and their personal training company, recently thriving, has fallen on hard times, with business dropped some 40 to 50%. Emma has gone back to school, she says, but in the meantime, her mother, Emma says, is ‘ still working because she’s helping us financially with our kids. Of course I feel guilty. She worked her whole life. ‘ Emma sighs, unable to phrase her thoughts exactly. ‘ Why am I even talking about my mother? I’m 40 years old. With this economy, I feel like a child. ‘ “

“Their strength is their weakness. The focus which permits some people to succeed also gives them a ‘tin-ear’ for the effects of their greed. In other words, they always go too far, and begin to blatantly start breaking the law, and acting in ways that are obvious wrong. And when there is a public revulsion to their deformity, they just do not get it.” -Jesse’s Café Américain


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