That's from an article today in The Wall Street Journal. The estate tax for the super-wealthy is going to be non-existent in 2010, and it's really framing peoples decisions about health.Of course, plenty of taxpayers themselves are eager to live to see the new year. One wealthy, terminally ill real-estate entrepreneur has told his doctors he is determined to live until the law changes.
"Whenever he wakes up," says his lawyer, "He says: 'What day is it? Is it Jan. 1 yet?'"
30 December 2009
27 December 2009
25 December 2009
07 July 2009
26 April 2009
07 April 2009
UPDATE - APRIL 7, 2009 - 7:00PM:
Via Calculated Risk.
The FDIC thinks there will be no losses on the loans it insures to investors participating in the PPIP. Seriously. This is no joke.
So my question is, if the FDIC is so confident that there will be zero losses on loans made to purchase assets of questionable value, then why do the loans need to be guaranteed? There's obviously no risk in purchasing these assets if the investors who choose to buy them are able to make the loan payments. So if they're so safe, how come nobody wants them?
Oh, and the FDIC has some stipulations on the loans it insures. It says it will carefully vet each loan and require borrower's to pay loan fees and post collateral. No risk loans, but they are to be collateralized and vetted carefully? Something smells fishy.
Aside from that, who the hell is going to post collateral that actually has value for a loan to make a gamble on some obscure and mysterious asset of unknown value? Some investors might be pretty risk tolerant, but this ain't the craps table on the strip--these are businessmen looking for a handout. They're not going to post good collateral. The point of PPIP is to encourage investors to buy these "toxic assets" (I hate that term) by minimizing the risk of loss, ie giving you 92.5% of the money, no strings attached, to purchase them, with no recourse and no collateral needed. The strings are going to discourage anybody from borrowing to buy the damn things, leaving us in the same situation that we are in now.
02 April 2009
01 April 2009
29 March 2009
19 March 2009
“You have the black hole of commercial real estate and that hasn’t happened yet,” said Mr Black in a wide-ranging interview on FT.com.
That's from a Financial Times article. It goes on to mention that the extra costs associated with this segment of the downturn could be as much as $2 trillion.Remember what I said?
17 March 2009
An internal memo from AIG was leaked (you can find it here) and in it they argue that they have to pay these retention bonuses because if they don't it's a cross-default on their part and they'll have to pony up billions more in payments to CDS counterparties. Are you effing serious! I've never even heard of a cross-default.
I think these assholes engineered it this way. How can we not pay these crooks to stay on and untangle the mess they've created to screw everybody over now? If these jerks are not paid they'll walk, and then you and I will be pumping in however many more billions to cover the cross-default payments! It's a lose-lose situation for the American taxpayer. You clever bastards!
13 March 2009
08 March 2009
But to my point. I bet those student loans she's repaying are government guaranteed, and I bet you that she probably couldn't have afforded college without government guaranteed student loans offering low interest rates. So where the hell does she get the gall to say that the government is rewarding underachievers and inefficiency? If she is such an achiever, as Rush tells her she is, she wouldn't need government guaranteed student loans to get through college. She could have toiled on her own and made her own success. But she chose to take the government handout, MY handout. You and I subsidized her education, and now she's going to criticize the assistance of others.
And on a side-note, buying a house right now is just stupid. Because when she get's laid off in the next year and can't afford her mortgage payment anymore it won't seem like such a smart decision to "refuse to participate" in this recession. And then she'll take the next government handout, a bail-out of her mortgage to prevent foreclosure and unemployment benefits.
Talk is cheap. Ideology is hogwash. What matters is incentives. I'm so sick of the "left" and the "right" and the "liberals" and "conservatives". They all talk a lot, but when it comes down to it their philosophies are hollow. Just an image. When it all comes down to the bottom line, people take what they can get. Costs and benefits are what matter. The rest is bull.
An excerpt from a NY Times article about President Obama:
Mr. Obama rode to the White House partly on his savvy use of new technology, and he has a staff-written blog on his presidential Web site. Even so, he said he did not find blogs to be reliable, citing the economy as one example.“Part of the reason we don’t spend a lot of time looking at blogs,” he said, “is because if you haven’t looked at it very carefully, then you may be under the impression that somehow there’s a clean answer one way or another — well, you just nationalize all the banks, or you just leave them alone and they’ll be fine.”
I think this is a bad policy. There are many bloggers offering analysis and opinion grounded on extensive knowledge of both economics and finance. I'm not saying that we should subscribe to any one econblogger's ideas, but in this situation more information is definitely better, and there is some high quality information available via the econblogs.
07 March 2009
28 February 2009
Marginal Revolution's "counter-cyclical asset" posts are generally quite good. I would suggest following them.
20 February 2009
Anyway, since the federal government is borrowing all this money, and me and my kids (if I have any) will pay through the nose for it, I'm wondering where my cut is. Since people under the age of, oh let's say 40, will be begin footing the bill about 15 or 20 years from now, I want a little something now to compensate for the future sacrifices I'll be making. Now I don't own a home, so all this bailout isn't doing a thing for me. But all those people who kept sucking the equity out of their homes to finance their spending are going to get a break on repaying their debt. And me? Oh, well I don't get anything. I borrowed money to finance a lifestyle that I couldn't afford too, I'm not saying I didn't. So why don't I get special consideration in the repayment of my debt, since so many others are? It's the least society could offer me for footing the bill for everybody else. Modify my debt. Send me a check right now for about $20,000 to lube me up before you screw me, okay USA?
15 February 2009
Many people that I speak with about the current economic crisis reject the idea that this contraction will get considerably worse due to a likely wave of defaults in commercial loans. I have a feeling that the default frenzy in home mortgages was just a glimpse of what is to transpire in commercial real estate markets.
I spoke with a colleague the other day about a property in Las Vegas that was appraised for over $6 million about two years ago. We just received a current appraisal and the value came in at under $2 million. A $4 million loss in just two years! And we're probably not even half-way through this contraction in terms of lost growth. So as businesses continue to fail and the number of new ventures to replace them declines, the demand for commercial real estate will fall through the floor in a market that is already arguably vastly over supplied.
Let the good times roll.
11 February 2009
First, a quick run-down of the day. It was a good day. My boss and co-workers brought me a large box of donuts this morning at the office, along with a flipping sweet Napoleon Dynamite card and 100 bones. Very fine people indeed. We also lunched at the Claim Jumper in Town Square (for approximately 1.5 hours, which makes the workday feel much shorter even though it's only 30 min more than usual). Pepperoni pizza for dinner and a quite night at home. Not very eventful, but a great birthday all in all. Friday night will be party night; some friends and alcohol and a great time will be had.
My 23rd birthday passed without much notice (or perhaps I'm more perceptive this year), so I found myself more appreciative of the "Happy Birthday"s from friends and family. Thank you all again if you read this.
The start of this 24th year has me thinking about making some changes in how I live this life. The attitudes, habits, and conceptions that I've had for the past 5 years are in need of recalibration. So with this new year of life starting, I intend to make some resolutions and change the way I experience the world. This sort of thing is usually reserved for New Years, but why should resolutions be made only on January 1st?
The few things I intend to start with to begin changing my life:
1. Change my philosophy. I think it was Tyler Cowen who gave me this idea, either in his book Discover Your Inner Economist or on Marginal Revolution. The idea is to keep in mind the following question: "What can I do today to improve my life?" I was struck deeply by this when I first came across it. I'd never thought of my life like that before. The idea of controlling the quality of my own life experiences, given the exact same conditions, is still a profound one to me, and in my mind evidence of continuation of my enlightenment.
2. Become happier by making progress in self-development. I need to grow as a person. I'd never really comprehended that statement before, I guess I was too young. I'm now starting to catch glimpses of what this actually means. The past 3 to 4 years of my life have been like that movie Groundhog Day. I've stalled out. I'm numb. Depressed. Indifferent. In a way, it could be said that I've been insane for the past few years. It's been said that insanity is when you keep repeating the same actions while expecting different results. It's time to move forward, grow, and become a happier human being.
3. Take better care of my physical self. Stop smoking completely and for good, exercise more, eat healthier (even if just a bit at first) and take a vested interest in the condition of my vessel. Physical health greatly impacts emotional health. It also expands the list of possibile life experiences.
I'm seeking a higher quality life, and am preparing myself to take action to make this a reality. A Happy Re-Birthday to me!