Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Stimulus, Bailouts, Backbones and Hysteria

Inspiration can come in many forms. Sometimes it is disgust with leaders that moves a person not just to shake their head but also their fist. Sometimes it is a discovery of someone courageous enough to create a random website. Sometiems it's taking caffeine pills. Sometimes it is listening to "Con Te Partiro" over and over again.

On this blog, I have repeatedly described myself as a libertarian hawk. I love my country and believe it was founded by folks trying to carve out a place of their own where they were free to worship and maybe, just maybe have a better chance at life than peasant chess pieces to land barons and Kings in the Old World. After spending time outside of my country, I came to learn that while I have problems with certain aspects of America, I know I am blessed to live here. Much of what I believe we should be doing now in the face of the tough economic situation is in a belief that these zombie banks, home occupiers with no equity, and crony capitalists in power should be allowed to go down in flames so new players can emerge.

The US needs to find a way to honestly break down what big banks are financially stable, what banks are zombies and what banks need help but are wobbly. Once we find out what big banks are zombies, we sell off their good assets to smaller players in chunks, and the bad assets go down the rabbit hole of a resolution trust the sequel (our S&L crisis solution). Some banks have to disappear. I'm looking at you Citi. There are some healthy banks out there that never touched CDS, RMBS, MBS, and the alphabet soup of crap assets. Right now, there are plenty of big investors who have money earning 0-3%, who would buy some troubled assets for pennies on the dollar if they yield over double digits and can be triaged and rehabbed. This is like credit card companies selling off bad debt to those debt collection companies, except this involves oil producing Arabs buying bad debt with their hoards of US T-bills. After this si all said and done, we must have an anti-trust bloodhound who will never let a bank get too big to fail. Show some backbone and say f-you to the bankers, citizens of Washington. It's your chance to show some change in behavior.

Speaking of Washington, the stimulus bill, when St. Barry first discussed it last November, was an infrastructure bill which would put people to work fixing America. It is now just a 800 billion bar tab for Democrats to shovel money to their voters.
First, $100 billion as tax credits to people who don't pay taxes. Uhhhhh, what the heck? This is just taking wealth from future Americans and giving it to people who don't make money now (the economically challenged). Anyone can get a job right now; it's just not the job you want, and it pays shit. That's a recession.
$20 bil in food stamps. More welfare. This stimulates nothing but the local 7-11.
2.8 bil in expanding broadband in rural areas (another 2.8 bil in more broadband expansion). Come on, this is a joke, expand dental care in rural areas 1st, broadband 2nd.
Dept of Health and Human Services gets 20 bil. probably for condom demonstrations and planned parenthood baby killing, sorry, it's not a baby until the moment in a TV show when a successful white woman decides to keep it by saying "No, I'm keeping my baby".
$70 bil in education spending. People, let's get one thing straight, we can spend all of the money we wnt on education, but it is not going to make people smarter. We spend far more than those pesky Indians and Chinese yet we fret wehn test scores are not even with their scores. Maybe it's the way we teach, maybe it's our kids, maybe it's how we do not demand kids to learn like we used to. Let me add that the diploma mills across the nation are just a racket perpetuated by industries in regions that require a bachelor's degree for a job. Did you know investment bankers used to be from either the Ivy League or the mailroom? Yeah, something changed in the 80s.
$11 bil to housing assistance programs. This is a joke right? This is after all of our other housing assitance programs proved to be a bad enabler of the housing bubble.
$5.1 bil to community development grants for states and cities. Good to see ACORN get paid off.
$79 bil for state budget and education needs. Wait, more education spending??????? If states have a hard time with meeting budgets, they need to either cut spending or increase taxes. One or the other.
$90 bil on federal medical assistance and $20 bil in incentives for medicaid/medicare providers to use technology to save money. So the cost of paper files makes my MD visits and procedures so expensive? It's not that they save my life or improve my health? Hmmm, I guess I should not be surprised that my grandfathers are 85 and 86 (far older than their dads lived to) since now we have technology for their health care, not say innovation in surgery and drugs.

I don't see much in the way of infrastructure money (there is some) that will put people recently laid off back to work doing something like what FDR tried and failed to do in the 30s. I do add up 400 bil in dumb ass non-stimulating bits of pork. Way to go St. Barry!

Obama's bailout of degenerate 0% down homeowner/gamblers gets a good quick response by an articulate guy here. My objections are few but pointed....

1. What about the 1/3 of America that rents and has been priced out of homes because they didn't get up to their eyeballs in debt or lie? When do we get help with rent?
2. What about the 27% of America that has homes paid in full? Real homeowners.
3. What about homeowners current on their mortgages?
4. Why are we going to make Americans slaves to "their" homes? This ties people more to homes that the banks own, leaving our economy inflexible as workrs are not as economic mobile as they would be renting. This is just a way to stabilize the banks revenue streams.
5. Why is every single homeowner with an ARM portrayed as somoene who had no clue their payment would increase after 2-3-5 years? Not all are like that. In fact many use ARMs to keep payments down as they hope their home appreciates and they can refinance or they sell before the rate jumps.
6. Last I knew, ARMs were resetting to low low rates because LIBOR and Treasury rates were very very low. ARMS have not been the problem they were expected to be because of the tie to LIBOR or T-bill rates. It's negative amortization ARMS that are the problem.
7. What about cleaning out the bad homeowners so thatthe hoems can sell at a cheaper price to people who can afford them? This keeps homes occupied.
8. Since when did losing your home make you homeless? You just become a renter......

so let me repeat, why are we bailing out people who went the neg am route because they wanted to pay as little as possible for a big house they couldnt really afford in the hopes that the home would appreciate a lot and they could sell for a profit?

Do you remember when we were running out of OIL, WATER, RICE, CORN, WHEAT, URANIUM, and evey other commodity? Wasn't that just 12 months ago? Like the media calling for the exhaustion of all resources, I am skeptical of them calling this the great depression 2.0. That would be a slap in the face to all of the elderly who survived the Great Depression. Especially if those elderly people enjoyed world class health care and lived long enough to still be looking for work at 81. Life is a bitch.

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