Weekday NEWS to Comfort the Disturbed and Disturb the Comfortable.
Kitty Werthmann Interview
Kitty Werthmann Part 2
Kitty Werthmann Part 3
America Truly is the Greatest Country in the World. Don’t Let Freedom Slip Away Fort Worth Christianity & Culture ExaminerRene Girard By: Kitty Werthmann What I am about to tell you is something you’ve probably never heard or will ever read in history books. I believe that I am an eyewitness to history. I cannot tell you that Hitler took Austria by tanks and guns; it would distort history. We elected him by a landslide - 98% of the vote.. I’ve never read that in any American publications. Everyone thinks that Hitler just rolled in with his tanks and took Austria by force. . .
Freedoms can disappear in a hurry if we aren't careful Kitty Werthmann For the Argus Leader published: 3/11/2003 Kitty Werthmann, 77, of Pierre, is president of the South Dakota Eagle Forum. She lobbies the state Legislature on family issues. She has lived in the United States since 1950 and has been a U.S. citizen since 1962. hose of us who sailed past the Statue of Liberty came to a country of unbelievable freedom and opportunity. I lived in Austria under Adolf Hitler's regime for seven years. Dictatorship did not happen overnight. It was a gradual process starting with national identification cards, which we had to carry with us at all times. We could not board a bus or train without our ID card. Gun registration followed, with a lot of talk about gun safety and hunting accidents. Since the government already knew who owned firearms, confiscation followed under threat of capital punishment.
Now, Can We Have Health-Care Reform? By HOLMAN W. JENKINS, JR. - WSJ.com ObamaCare doubles down on a failing system. A certain kind of person—we get emails from them all the time—understands exactly nothing about the health-care debate, but thinks they know who the villain is: the insurance industry. Barack Obama is not one of them. In the desperate hours he played to public ignorance. But from the beginning, the industry was his ally because he set out to solve its biggest problem—which is not the same as America's biggest problem. We'll let Angela Braly, CEO of insurer WellPoint, take the story from here. She was recently hauled before Congress to justify her company's proposed 39% rate hike in California. She explained the source was two-fold: rising medical costs and healthier customers dropping their coverage, forcing the sick to pick up the tab.
Obamacare: Ending the Elderly American Life League exposes the euthanasia agenda of the sponsors of HR 3200. Henry Waxman and co-sponsors John Dingell, George Miller, Peter Stark, and Frank Pallone all voted against a federal ban on use of drugs for physician assisted suicide. Not only that, Barack Obama equates physician-assisted suicide with "end of life issues" and the elderly.
ObamaCare Day One Companies are already warning about higher health-care costs. Democrats dragged themselves over the health-care finish line in part by repeating that voters would like the plan once it passed. Let's see what they think when they learn their insurance costs will jump right away. Even before President Obama signed the bill on Tuesday, Caterpillar said it would cost the company at least $100 million more in the first year alone. Medical device maker Medtronic warned that new taxes on its products could force it to lay off a thousand workers. Now Verizon joins the roll of businesses staring at adverse consequences.
The Federal Reserve as a Confidence Game: What They Were Saying in 2007 Mises Daily: by Mark Thornton . . . . I will describe central banking as a confidence game. The Federal Reserve plays a confidence game with us. A confidence game (also known as a bunko, con, flimflam, hustle, scam, scheme, or swindle) is defined as an attempt to defraud a person or group by gaining their confidence. The victim is known as the mark, the trickster is called a confidence man, con man, or con artist, and any accomplices are known as shills. Confidence men exploit human characteristics such as greed, vanity, honesty, compassion, credulity, and naïveté. The common factor is that the mark relies on the good faith of the con artist. Here I will concentrate on the Fed's basic confidence game of trying to gain and maintain our confidence in its system and getting us to not take proper precautions against the negative effects of its policies.
Health Care Bill -- bad medicine & unconstitutional
Truth Has Fallen and Taken Liberty With It By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS There was a time when the pen was mightier than the sword. That was a time when people believed in truth and regarded truth as an independent power and not as an auxiliary for government, class, race, ideological, personal, or financial interest. Today Americans are ruled by propaganda. Americans have little regard for truth, little access to it, and little ability to recognize it. Truth is an unwelcome entity. It is disturbing. It is off limits. Those who speak it run the risk of being branded “anti-American,” “anti-semite” or “conspiracy theorist.”
No Obamacare for Obama By THE WASHINGTON TIMES Democrats exempt themselves from socialist medicine President Obama declared that the new health care law "is going to be affecting every American family." Except his own, of course. The new health care law exempts the president from having to participate in it. Leadership and committee staffers in the House and Senate who wrote the bill are exempted as well. A weasel-worded definition of "staff" includes only the members' personal staff in the new system; the committee staff that drafted the legislation opted themselves out. Because they were more familiar with the contents of the law than anyone in the country, it says a lot that they carved out their own special loophole. Anyway, the law is intended to affect "ordinary Americans," according to Vice President Joe Biden (who - being a heartbeat away from the presidency - also is not covered), not Washington insiders.
Gross Says Health-Care Reform to Raise Liabilities By Susanne Walker March 24 (Bloomberg) -- Bill Gross, manager of the world’s biggest mutual fund at Pacific Investment Management Co., said health-care reform will add to, rather than subtract from, U.S. deficits and unfunded liabilities. “Long-term bondholders beware,” Gross wrote in a monthly investment outlook posted on Newport Beach, California-based Pimco’s Web site today. “No investment vigilante worth their salt or outrageous annual bonus would dare argue that current legislation is a deficit reducer. It will add $562 billion to the deficit over the next decade.”
Ronald Reagan speaks out on Socialized Medicine
Healthcare Intervention: The Bigger Picture Mises Daily: by Doug French The prospect and reality of Obamacare have woken up many people to the need to stop the socialization of medical care in America. It will produce here what it has produced everywhere: stagnation, overutilization, rationing, and the sacrifice of individual well-being in the name of collective justice. This is the result not only of every experiment in socialized medicine but of every experiment in socialism generally. The reasons were spelled out by Mises in 1922. He explained that, without property and market prices, economic rationality disappears. The result is unworkable, chaotic, and impoverishing.
Your Medical Records Aren't Secure By DEBORAH C. PEEL - WSJ.com The president says electronic systems will reduce costs and improve quality, but they could undermine good care if people are afraid to confide in their doctors. I learned about the lack of health privacy when I hung out my shingle as a psychiatrist. Patients asked if I could keep their records private if they paid for care themselves. They had lost jobs or reputations because what they said in the doctor's office didn't always stay in the doctor's office. That was 35 years ago, in the age of paper. In today's digital world the problem has only grown worse. A patient's sensitive information should not be shared without his consent. But this is not the case now, as the country moves toward a system of electronic medical records.
U.N. health organization praises U.S. health reforms Matthew Bigg (Reuters) - The head of the U.N. World Health Organization on Wednesday praised U.S. healthcare reforms signed by President Barack Obama this week as a breakthrough, stepping into a sharp domestic political debate. "The people in this country and their leaders are courageous. That (healthcare reform) is an unprecedented achievement," WHO Director General Margaret Chan said. She was speaking to reporters after a lecture in which she argued that unrestricted market forces were limited as a means of redressing imbalances in global health care. The reforms of the $2.5 trillion healthcare sector passed by Congress after months of heated debate will extend health insurance to 32 million Americans who currently have none.
Health bill sparks death threats to lawmakers By Edward Luce - FT More than 10 Democratic lawmakers have received threats, some of them to their lives, since they voted to enact the healthcare bill on Sunday, Steny Hoyer, Democratic leader in the House of Representatives, said on Wednesday. Pointing to the high level of Republican rhetoric against the healthcare reform, which has included references to fighting “a war for the survival of America” over a bill that Barack Obama, president, signed into law on Tuesday, Mr Hoyer implied such talk had fuelled the increase in threats.
Obama's constitutional malpractice Health care plan would make the Founders sick By THE WASHINGTON TIMES Americans have grown used to Congress claiming the right to regulate and control everything they do. But by what right can Congress force Americans to purchase health insurance? This question is at the root of lawsuits filed by 14 states challenging Obamacare's requirement that those without health insurance must obtain it or face fines of $2,085 per household or 2.5 percent of income - whichever is greater.
Dingell: It will take some time for ObamaCare to "control the people"
Obamacare and the Death of Detroit, the First U.S. City To Face Extinction By: Gary North - MarketOracle.co.uk To understand what is going to happen to America's health care delivery system, we must first understand what has happened to Detroit. Detroit is dying. Yes, I know that there are lots of books on "The Death of. . . ." That word sells books. But Detroit really is dying. It is the first metropolis in the United States to be facing extinction. We have never seen anything like this in American history. It is happening under our noses, but the media refuse to discuss it. To do so would be politically incorrect. Two factors tell us that Detroit is dying. The first is the departure of 900,000 people – over half the city's population – since 1950. It peaked at 1.8 million in 1950. It is down to about 900,000 today.
Healthy tax increases, not only on wealthy By David M. Dickson Half-trillion dollars over 10 years to pay for bill When it comes to the taxes associated with the new health care bill, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.'s assessment stands: It's a big — very big — deal. The historic overhaul of the nation's health care system that President Obama signed Tuesday, when combined with the fixes making their way through Congress, will raise taxes over the next 10 years by more than a half-trillion dollars.
U.S. Healthcare Reform Bill, Help! I’ve Been Taxed and I Can’t Get Up By: Jeff Clark - MarketOracle.co.uk Like many of you, the passage of the healthcare bill wasn’t met with the popping of champagne in my house. I found myself chanting “Uncle Sam, Uncle Sham” as the day wore on. Higher taxes and other major changes are headed our way. And yet, I think there’s something in the bill that’s even more dastardly. If you’re a supporter of the bill, you’d point to its benefits: Poor adults will get Medicaid. Low-income families will get federal subsidies to buy insurance. Small businesses may get tax credits. Kids will be able to stay on the parents’ policy until they turn 26. Seniors get additional prescription drug coverage. People with pre-existing medical conditions can’t be denied or dropped.
What Money Is: The Few Control The Many
Steny Hoyer: Members are at risk By JAKE SHERMAN - Politico.com House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is warning that some of his Democratic colleagues are being threatened with violence when they go back to their districts — and he wants Republicans to stand up and condemn the threats. The Maryland Democrat said more than 10 House Democrats have reported incidents of threats or other forms of harassment about their support of the highly divisive health insurance overhaul vote. Hoyer emphasized that he didn’t have a specific number of threats and that was just an estimate.
McConnell eyes majority, then repeal of bill By MIKE ALLEN - Politico.com Refusing to concede permanent defeat on health reform, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell wants to “repeal the whole bill” and replace it with insurance reforms and other measures that could get bipartisan agreement. “They got health care,” McConnell told POLITICO with a mischievous glint in his eye. “We’ll see whether that’s a gift worth receiving.” McConnell said that if Republicans were to win back the Senate majority in November, “at the top of our list would be to repeal and replace this health care bill.”
Key Part of Law To Be Clarified By LAURA MECKLER and JANET ADAMY - WSJ.com Officials to Instruct Insurers on Requirement to Cover Sick Kids; GOP Proposes Flurry of Changes to Health Package WASHINGTON—The Obama administration said Wednesday it would issue regulations to make clear that insurers must cover sick children, fixing what appears to be a glitch in the new health law. President Barack Obama has repeatedly touted the requirement as one of the law's most important benefits, and one that will take effect this year. But officials suggested Wednesday that the provision was not precisely written and that the Department of Health and Human Services would issue regulations to make its intent clear. "We will seek to ensure that ... nobody feels that there is any ambiguity," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Wednesday.
Health care bill would save billions on student loans By Jim Kuhnhenn, Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON — Banks and other private lenders are about to lose a $70 billion-a-year student loan business, part of a massive overhaul of college assistance programs that received an unexpected boost from President Barack Obama's health care success. The bill would see $61 billion in savings over 10 years from the switch from private loans to direct government lending. It would pay for Pell Grants and provide more than $4 billion to community colleges and historically black colleges. It also would direct about $19 billion to reducing the deficit and offsetting expenses in the health care legislation. In addition, beginning in 2014, college graduates would be allowed to devote no more than 10% of their monthly income to repay their student loans. The current cap is 15%.
Cyber-attack on U.S. firms, Google traced to Chinese Company networks may be compromised By Bill Gertz The cyber-attack on Google and other U.S. companies was part of a suspected Chinese government operation launched last year that used human intelligence techniques and high-technology to steal corporate secrets, according to U.S. government and private-sector cybersecurity specialists. More worrying, however, is the likelihood that the cyber-attacks that led Google this week to end its cooperation with Beijing-controlled censorship and move its search engine service to Hong Kong included planting undetectable software on American company networks that could allow further clandestine access or even total control of computers in the future.
U.S. Dollar Trend and China News Impact on Gold By: Przemyslaw Radomski - MarketOracle.co.uk In the March 12-th commentary we've discussed the influence that China might have on the precious metals market and since the feedback was very positive, we decided to provide you with a follow-up. April 15th is the date to watch. That’s when the U.S. Treasury Department is mandated by law to issue a report identifying nations that “manipulate the rate of exchange between their currency and the United States dollar for purposes of …gaining unfair competitive advantage in international trade.” Does China come to mind? Already the decibel level in Washington is rising and President Barack Obama is faced with growing congressional pressure to get tough with China over its currency practices, something he had promised to do during his presidential campaign. The impact of China’s currency manipulation on the U.S. economy cannot be overstated, said 130 lawmakers in a letter to U.S. Secretary Timothy Geithner.
Inflation Will Be Huge in the Years to Come By: Julie Crawshaw - MoneyNews.com Economist and fund manager John Hussman says inflation will be huge. "It should not escape investors that the rapid expansion of deficits during the 1970s and into the early 1980s was accompanied by a hostile inflation climate, while the fiscal discipline of the 1990s produced a very pleasant period of low inflation pressures," Hussman writes in a note to investors. Hussman’s near-term concern continues to be the risk of fresh credit strains, the likely outcome of which he feels will be a flight-to-safety toward default-free Treasury securities and a tendency toward dollar strength and commodity weakness.
Lawmakers urge action on China currency By David M. Dickson Retaliatory measures sought for 'manipulator' nation With U.S. unemployment stubbornly hovering near double-digit levels and November elections fast approaching, lawmakers from both parties are pressuring the Obama administration to label China a "currency manipulator" when the Treasury Department releases its next semiannual report on April 15. "China has a persistent economic strategy, a policy, key to which is the pegging of its currency to the dollar at an undervalued rate," said Rep. Sander M. Levin, the newly installed chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, at a hearing Wednesday to "consider possible solutions."
Faber: Dismal Stocks, Bonds Create New Gold Standard By: Forrest Jones -- Uncertainties surrounding asset classes such as stocks and bonds have created a new gold standard, says Marc Faber, editor of “The Gloom, Boom and Doom Report.” Between 2001 and 2008, gold outperformed stocks and bonds, but beginning in 2009, stocks soared. That, Faber says, sent some investors to gold for safety because normally, retail investors cannot move in and out of different assets like institutional investors.“I think we already have now a gold standard … created by the market place,” Faber tells CNBC. “We have the [exchange traded funds] that have proliferated and we have more and more physical buying of gold.”
Bond Market Collapse and Stock Market Crash This Year to Send Gold Price Soaring MarketOracle.co.uk . . . . The price of gold right now is nowhere near its high in this particular cycle. In other words, gold is still dirt cheap compared to where it will be by the end of this year, next year, and in the years to come. The Fed is caught between a rock and a hard place and will do what governments always do when they put themselves in these positions. They will try to inflate their way out of the mess they created. The problem thus far is that their inflationary tactics are not working the way they would like as deflationary pressures continue to exert their influence on markets. So expect even bigger and further massive injections of money into the system as the Fed tries to maneuver their way out. History clearly shows that governments caught in such a scenario will soon reach the inflection point where the fiat currency implodes and the credibility of the issuing government collapses. This is not just the case with the United States, but Japan, England, and Euro land as well.
Public vacancy By Derek Scissors - MarketWatch.com Misconceptions on China's role in financing the U.S. deficit BEIJING (Caixin Online) -- The most pressing issue in Sino-American relations right now is that the relationship is misunderstood by both sides. Moreover, the misunderstanding may be sharpening. On the Chinese side, there seems an increasing belief that China is now more important to the U.S. than the U.S. is to China. This is dangerously untrue. On the American side, there is increasing tendency to point fingers at China to avoid our own failures. This will only make matters worse. The misconceptions are many, but perhaps the most important involve the colossal U.S. budget deficit and China's role in financing it, the peg of the yuan to the dollar, and the simplistic notion of mutual Sino-American interdependence. The U.S. and China are interdependent, but China needs the U.S. far more.
Geithner: China letting Fed set yuan's path By Jennifer Liberto - CNNMoney.com WASHINGTON (CNNMoney.com) -- In what may be the bluntest assessment by a high-ranking White House official of China's exchange rate policy, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said Wednesday that China's undervalued currency makes the nation dependent on U.S. monetary policy. "I think China will be better; they're stronger as an independent country if they're not running an exchange rate policy that, essentially, has the Federal Reserve of the United States setting monetary policy in China," Geithner told CNN's John King in an interview taped for "John King, USA."
Congressman Paul Questions Geithner What part of Austrian economic theory don't you agree with?
Shades of ‘Wall Street’ in Insider Trading Arrests While the sequel to “Wall Street” will finally hit theaters in a few months, it appears other elements of the movie — like the catchy “Blue Horseshoe Loves Anacott Steel” phrase used to abet insider trading — haven’t gone away. Authorities on Wednesday arrested two men, one a UBS investment banker, in connection with an insider trading scheme that purportedly earned about $870,000 in profits. (Read the criminal and civil complaints after the jump.)
JP Morgan Paid $1.9 Billion For Washington Mutual And Now It Wants A $1.4 Billion Tax Refund John Carney - BusinessInsider.com -- JPMorgan Chase is negotiating with the FDIC for a tax refund related to its acquisition of Washington Mutual that could amount to $1.4 billion, The Wall Street Journal is reporting this morning. A little noticed change in tax law was incorporated into the extension of jobless benefits last year. Under the new rules companies can use losses to apply for tax refunds against earnings from the past 5 years--up from just 2 years before the change.
Tax-Break Battle Flares By SCOTT THURM And DAN FITZPATRICK J.P. Morgan in Talks for $1.4 Billion; Stimulus Gives $12 Billion to 250 Firms J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. is nearing a deal that would allow it to benefit from a tax refund of as much as $1.4 billion, becoming the latest company to tap a little-noticed plank in an economic stimulus bill. That law let companies apply losses from 2008 or 2009 against taxes paid in the previous five years, instead of the previous two years. Failed Seattle thrift Washington Mutual Inc. is eligible for about $2.6 billion in tax refunds, thanks to big losses in 2008. Now J.P. Morgan, which took over WaMu's banking operations in September 2008, is in discussions with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and bondholders about the refund.
Frantic EU Seeks Solution to Greek Debt Crisis The sliding euro and a downgrade of Portugal's debt put renewed pressure on European leaders Wednesday to come up with a bailout plan for Greece and stem the government debt crisis undermining their shared currency. But agreement remained elusive as a Thursday summit approached. Markets increasingly expect any bailout for Greece to involve the International Monetary Fund — and EU governments are discussing whether they would permit that and add financial help from eurozone nations.
Greece to Default ‘At Some Point,’ UBS’s Donovan Says By Ken Prewitt and JoAnne Norton March 24 (Bloomberg) -- Greece will default on its bonds “at some point” as the euro region fails to deal with its first major economic crisis, said Paul Donovan, deputy head of global economics at UBS Investment Bank. “I think it’s in an impossible situation,” said Donovan, who is based in London, in an interview with Bloomberg Radio today. “Europe has failed to clear its first serious hurdle. If Europe can’t solve a small problem like this, how on earth is it going to solve the larger problem, which is the euro doesn’t work. It’s a bad idea.”
Is the IMF to Greece what China is to the U.S.? by Axel Merk - FinancialSense.com If Greece eventually gets funding from the International Monetary Fund (“IMF”), it may not be so different from the U.S. getting its funding from China. There are two main fears in the eurzone against IMF involvement: a perception that Europe can’t solve its problems internally; and the potential influence of the IMF on European policies.
Beware What May Lie Off Balance Sheet at Bank of America by Reggie Middleton - ZeroHedge.com A recent ZeroHedge article (Bank Of America Can Not Deny It Used Repo 105, Response From PricewaterhouseCoopers Pending; The BofA QSPE's ) probes the possibility of BofA engaging in Repo 105-like activities in regards to their QSPEs (off balance sheet vehicles). ZH does seem to uncover a lot of dirt these days. After reading the article, I think it is worth blog fans time to delve deeper into the off balance sheet world of BofA. Here are some older blog posts that ask the hard questions and raises some additional ones.
Hoenig Says Big Banks Must Either Add $210 Billion In New Capital Or Reduce Total Assets By $3 Trillion; Bank Capital Raises Imminent by Tyler Durden - ZeroHedge.com -- In a speech before the US Chamber of Commerce, Kansas Fed's outspoken President Thomas Hoenig said that not only does he endorse the Volcker Rule and urges the U.S. to ban proprietary trading at banks, but, more critically, said that if larger bank holding companies were held under the same capital supervision requirements as smaller regional banks, the big banks would either have to raise a whopping $210 billion in new capital, or reduce their assets by a whopping $3 trillion! Read the last statement and tell us how this is even remotely inflationary. Note, this is not to increase capital prudence, but merely to ensure equal footing with everyone else in the industry. And one wonders why everyone knows that the entire US financial system, now essentially comprised of 5 infinitely big banks, is completely insolvent. The take home - the manipulated market action over the past month is purely to afford the big banks to raise more equity in the form of follow on offerings.
Congressman Paul Questions Bernanke on Monetary Policy
What if It Was All Just a Big Bubble? One of the things that many people go through their entire lives without ever realizing is that conditions haven’t always been the way they remember them to be. Due to the length of a typical lifetime and the number of those years that individuals are productive, it’s reasonable to think that someone in their mid-60s could retire today and look back at the last 40 years only to conclude that what they just experienced was normal. But, what if the last 40 years were anything but normal? What if, in the world of finance and economics, it was all just a big bubble?
Bull Market or Just Bull? by John Brown - FinancialSense.com Last week, the Dow closed at 10,741, up some 64 percent since its 2009 lows, [03/19/10, Yahoo! Finance] when most markets had priced in the likelihood of financial Armageddon. As the markets have rebounded from the brink of disaster, many Wall Street cheerleaders have proclaimed the dawning of a major new bull market. If we measure market cycles biannually, and if bull markets need not eclipse peaks achieved in previous cycles, then this forecast is spot on. Of course, most investors are not saving for next week, but for homes, college tuitions, and retirements. For these longer term investors, the euphoria of the current rally may soon turn to despair when the market faces the unsavory fundamentals of a second financial crisis.
State Regulator Takes Over Ambac's Troubled Contracts By APARAJITA SAHA-BUBNA - WSJ.com Ambac Assurance Corp., the bond-insurance unit of Ambac Financial Group Inc., is handing over to its state regulator control of troubled contracts on securities made up of souring mortgage loans, totaling about $35 billion that could potentially bleed the insurer dry and endanger its commitments to municipal bondholders. As a result, the company's regulator, the Wisconsin Office of the Insurance Commissioner, will suspend payments totaling about $120 million for March to holders of these contracts. These policy holders include banks, pension funds, hedge funds and other insurance companies. As long as the regulator is overseeing these contracts, monthly payments beyond March are also suspended.
Fannie and Freddie Resist Loans for Energy Efficiency By NICK TIMIRAOS - WSJ.com The government's mortgage-finance agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are resisting a White House-backed effort to make it easier for homeowners to get loans to make their houses more energy efficient. The problem: deciding who gets paid first if the borrower defaults. Under the program, homeowners would borrow money from their local government to pay for energy improvements—from high-efficiency furnaces that cost a few thousand dollars, to solar-panel systems that can cost more than $30,000. They would then repay the loan over 15 to 20 years through a special assessment added to their property-tax bills. Local governments would get the funding by selling municipal bonds to investors.
As Pressure Mounts, Bank of America Plans Principal Reductions for Underwater Homeowners Mandelman Maters -- This morning, Reuters has reported that Bank of America has announced a program that will offer what the bank is calling an “earned principal forgiveness” of up to 30 percent for homeowners owing more than 120 percent of the value of their homes. Bank of America says the plan will be available to homeowners nationwide beginning in May of this year. It is certainly the first program of its kind to be announced by such a large financial institution in the sense that it takes a “systematic approach to reducing mortgage principal in an effort to tackle the thorny issue of preventing foreclosures when home values drop well below the amount owed”.
Recovery for the Rich Getting Worse More Slowly By DON MONKERUD Feel upbeat about the economy? You should be. The economy is getting worse more slowly. That's the learned conclusion of two economic experts who debated paths to recovery at the 2010 Panetta Institute Lecture Series in Monterey in March 2010. Harvey Pitt, former Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman, and Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor, find troubling signs in the economy, including high unemployment, risky long-term debt, frozen credit markets, overvalued bank assets, and a failed regulatory system.
Even average Americans have harsh words for Obama By Jennifer Harper Certain robust public perceptions about President Obama have surfaced among average citizens rather than so-called "wingnuts" and "lunatic fringe." A Harris Poll released Wednesday found that 40 percent of Americans say Mr. Obama is a socialist, a third think he's a Muslim, a quarter think he was not even born in the U.S., is not eligible to be president and is a "domestic enemy that the U.S. Constitution speaks of."
California Unemployment Could Average 11.8% for 2010 By BETSY SCHIFFMAN - DailyFinance.com California can't seem to catch a break. Amid the beginnings of a broad national economic recovery, unemployment in the cash-strapped state may average 11.8% for the year, according to projections published by the UCLA Anderson Forecast. While 11.8% is an improvement over the current 12.5% unemployment rate in the state, it's hardly cause for celebration. Economists at the UCLA Anderson Forecast don't think California's unemployment rate will drop below the double digits until at least 2012. By contrast, they predict the national unemployment rate will come in around 9.6% at the end of 2010 and could drop to 9.1% by the end of 2011.
Joblessness casts uneven shadow over election By Robert Schroeder, MarketWatch Weak challengers, anger at incumbents may matter as much as unemployment WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- After suffering through the worst economy in a generation and watching millions of jobs disappear in the recession, a few more people are likely to join the ranks of the unemployed: congressional Democrats. If the economy improves, so will the fortunes of members of President Barack Obama's party. But with the country grappling with a jobless rate of nearly 10% and growth only slowly returning, Democrats are finding themselves in a potentially brutal spot as campaign season draws nearer.
Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program on Pace to Increase Real Estate Sales -- RISMEDIA, March 25, 2010—Joe Moshe, Broker/Owner, Charles Rutenberg Realty, says the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program will help stabilize the residential real estate market by allowing the short sale process to move forward more easily. This, in turn, will benefit real estate agents as they perform more short sale closings and homeowners who are attempting to stave off foreclosure. On April 5, 2010, HAFA, a part of the Home Affordability Modification Program (HAMP) which provides financial incentives to servicers and borrowers to lean toward short sales rather than foreclosures, will go into effect. The law will expire at the end of 2012.
Geithner: U.S. Should Keep Hand in Housing Finance MoneyNews.com Mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac need to retain some level of government support but the U.S. housing finance system should not be fully nationalized, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says. Geithner told lawmakers the central role the housing sector plays in the U.S. economy and its vulnerability to financial shocks justified a degree of government backing. His comments on Tuesday followed a call by Republican lawmakers to phase out the two Government Sponsored Enterprises and replace them with a housing finance market where private capital is the primary source of funding.
Bove: Housing Will Fall 15 Percent as Subsidies End By: Ellen Chang - MoneyNews.com The housing market will drop another 10 percent to 15 percent once the federal subsidies end, said Dick Bove, a Rochdale Securities analyst. During the past 12 months, the housing market has been boosted in part by the Federal Reserve purchasing mortgage-backed securities, which in turn has allowed mortgage rates low to remain low. The Fed has said it will stop purchasing the mortgage-backed securities at the end of March. Bove said the short term outlook is difficult to predict since it is unclear what mortgage rates would be without the government subsidies, Yahoo Finance Tech Ticker reported. He said the market currently is “unrealistic.”
Plunge in New Home Sales Shows Housing Market Headed for Double Dip MoneyNews.com -- Sales of new homes fell unexpectedly to their lowest point on record in February, in part because stormy winter weather kept buyers away. The results pointed to the housing industry's struggle to rebound from the worst slump in decades. Sales fell 2.2 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual sales pace of 308,000, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. The news follows a report Tuesday that sales of existing homes fell for a third straight month in February, to the lowest level since July.
Congress slams China and Microsoft, praises Google By David Goldman - CNNMoney.com NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Two days after Google stopped censoring search results in China, a congressional panel praised the company's actions while excoriating the Beijing government for its record on Internet censorship and human rights. At a hearing held by the Congressional-Executive Commission on China on Wednesday, lawmakers called on China to allow a free flow of ideas on the Internet and sharply criticized Microsoft for continuing to be complicit with China's censorship laws.
Go Daddy to stop registering Chinese Web sites Phoenix Business Journal - by Patrick O'Grady The Go Daddy Group will no longer accept registrations bearing Chinese domains because of new requirements from the country’s government. Christine Jones, the Scottsdale company’s executive vice president and general counsel, said in testimony before the U.S. Congressional Executive Commission on China that the company has stopped accepting new registrations for .CN domain names. The move came after the China Internet Network Information Centre, known as CNNIC, began requesting increased information on new registrants and on existing owners of domain names, Jones said during the testimony.
China tells EU: LEIGH PHILLIPS - EUObserver.com 'Put pressure on US over climate, not developing countries' EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - China's chief diplomat on climate action, Su Wei, has said that the European Union must "seize the time" and increase its climate ambition to a 30 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions. "The EU should raise its target to 30 percent. It's achievable," Mr Su told reporters in Brussels on Monday (22 March) after he and a delegation of Chinese climate officials led by Xie Zhenhua, the vice minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, met with EU climate action commissioner Connie Hedegaard.
US and Israel remain at odds after talks By Daniel Dombey in Washington and Tobias Buck in Jerusalem The US and Israel remained at odds on Wednesday after a meeting between Barack Obama, president, and Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister, failed to reconcile the two sides over future settlement policy and the prospects for peace. Officials from both countries said efforts to bridge the gap were continuing, with George Mitchell, Mr Obama’s special envoy, meeting Mr Netanyahu in Washington on Wednesday ahead of a trip to the Middle East in a few weeks. Diplomats added that Mr Netanyahu had so far not fully met Mr Obama’s demands.