Links 12/10/08

Smiling, glasses and hats taboo for driver’s license photos NWI

The Road to Zell Daniel Gross, Slate

Worst Spending Slump Since 1942 Extends ‘Scary’ U.S. Recession Bloomberg

House Prices Must Return to Trend Levels to Stabilize Market RISMedia. I somehow missed this when it came out, but worth reading. Key section:

….prices are still hugely out of line with trend levels in bubble markets and calls for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to restrict the buying of mortgages in these areas.

After Wall St. Tremors, Office Vacancy Rates Rise in Manhattan’s Shadow New York Times

The Stock Picker’s Defeat Wall Street Journal

Panel to Criticize Handling of Bailout Wall Street Journal. Oh, this will be so much fun! I hope I find the time to watch C-Span. Should be great theater. The problem, however, is that this will only be theater, since the TARP legislation puts the Treasury Secretary outside the reach of the law.

Is the Fed Taking the First Steps to Selective Default and Devaluation? Jesse’s Cafe Americain

Volkswagen: if the American carmakers can get bailout funds, so can we Ed Harrison

Asian trade in ‘free fall’ as exports to West dry up Ambrose Evans-Pritchard and US clothing slump hits shipments Financial Times. The magnitude of the fall is troubling.

Needed: Rapid and large liquidity funding for emerging markets Guillermo Calvo, Rudy Loo-Kung, VoxEU

Capitalist Fools Joseph Stiglitz, Vanity Fair

Antidote du jour:

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  1. Richard Kline

    Tuffy: “What I want to know is, why is there no food in this little box except my sister Muffy? Huh? Huh? Got an answer for _that_, Mr. Bill??”

  2. Joe

    Yves, you sucker for xmas kitties!

    Speaking of suckers, it looks like Google’s automated advertisement placement system isn’t overly sophisticated – it sees the word Naked in your blog name and places adds in your banner for Angelina Jolie Naked, Britney Spears Naked, Jessica Alba Naked, and Nicole Kidman Naked. And they make money doing that?

  3. Anonymous

    And they make money doing that?

    I doubt they care, but I’m sure it isn’t helping Yves.

    What kind of kittens are those, by the way? They almost look like unfolded folds. British?

  4. john bougearel

    Looks like Goldman has stumbled upon another wonderful anti-american way to make money. Sell short America’s state and local municipalities! Great idea, I get it, but do you think Mom will buy it?

    Dec. 10 (Bloomberg) — Goldman Sachs Group Inc., one of the top five U.S. municipal bond underwriters, is angering politicians and public-finance officials in New Jersey, Wisconsin, California and Florida by recommending that investors purchase credit-default swaps to bet against 11 states’ debt.

  5. lineup32

    Re-Dean Baker Housing:

    More gov’t involvement in the SFH real estate market is a bad idea. Soon we will have another cabinet level post overseering an empire that will be bigger then the AG dept which now has more employee’s then farmers in America.
    If anything we need to curtail gov’t actions in the mortgage market by reducing tax credits and getting out of the mortgage funding business.

  6. aw70

    It’s really depressing to see quotes like “A drop in spending has brought the auto industry to the brink of collapse” in the third linked article.

    The Big Three are on the brink of collapse because a) their outdated products suck, b) they have chosen to ignore the auto-making trends of the past 20 years, and c) because their management is almost (?) criminally incompetent (the three points are of course linked, with c) being the root cause). Even if no recession was taking place right now, these guys would be in a world of pain.

    But no, how convenient. Now we’ve got a recession, and we can blame our problems on that. Way to go, guys! Why, an attitude like that is virtually guaranteed to get you out of the slump you are in right now!


  7. Anonymous

    Thanks for the information, John B.

    Some how some ways these Dens of thieves and liars must be halted in their tracks.

    Think Spitzer & Fitzgerald going after these Dens of thieves.

    Fast track rules? Strip them of their assets, leave them with basic Soc. Sec. level, and toss them on a Devil's Island for some years.

    smart independent

  8. Anonymous

    I like this from Joey Stig’s article:
    “The bailout package was like a massive transfusion to a patient suffering from internal bleeding…”

    It brings out the wordnerd in me. Compared to “pushing on a string” (a popular characterization for now), Stig’s formulation powerfully conveys how the economy is being presided over by an incompetent or uncaring practitioner, as well as the extent of the trauma.

  9. Anonymous

    This is proof that we have at least 3 or more years before the bubble deflates:

    “…prices are still hugely out of line with trend levels in bubble markets “

    Since prices spent so much time above trend, surely prices have to be below trend for a while so that we don’t end up with a new trend?

  10. Richard Kline

    Regarding the Congressional Oversight Panel, that’s right: they overlook everything that matters.

    Joey Stig is the best Laureate to follow; smart enough to make things simple, concise, has a conscience, uses good historical examples. And notice, he’s too smart to take a Guvmint position. Now that’s _real_ brains for yah.

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