Big business plays the kind of blame game that makes four year-olds crying “He made me do it!” seemingly mature. So, I’m not surprised that yesterday before the US Senate Committee on Banking, House & Urban Affairs, Bank of America’s Barbara Desoer blamed investors for the financial institution’s inability to modify more mortgages. It’s not her fault!—she claims. She makes a strange distinction between investors and shareholders, in the process casting blame as misdirection from a much larger problem: Banks and other lenders mishandling mortgage/foreclosure paperwork.
The Wall Street Journal‘s number of the week is startling. “107: How many months it would take to sell banks’ current and shadow inventory of foreclosed homes.” If Journal reporter Mark Whitehouse is right, banks will need 9 years to clear their foreclosure inventory. But I wonder. Could it be longer?
My answer is yes. Artificially created debt is cholesterol clogging the arteries of consumer spending. The economy that created the debt is gone. Only by surgically removing debt can Americans freely spend, thus pumping fresh blood to the heart of the U.S. economy. But, hey, I’m no economist, although in 2005 I rightly predicted the housing bubble’s collapse and much of the aftermath. Surely such insight is worth something.
University of California Professor Robert Reich isn’t glowing over March employment figures, and neither am I. Positive stories about the figures ignore fundamental information.
Their home, meanwhile, which was originally valued at $585,000, had depreciated severely in three scant years. It was now essentially worthless at $270,000. Attorney Wajahat Ali This is the dramatic and sad kind of situation […]
Morgan Stanley recently decided to stop making payments on five San Francisco office buildings. A Morgan Stanley fund purchased the buildings at the height of the boom, and their value has plunged. Nobody has said […]
One of my blogging goals is to shift the focus away from dry technology to people, whether they be innovators or consumers. Focus should be the people and the stories they tell. That’s what Oddly Together is really about. Today’s unexpected Microsoft layoffs—800 employees—is good opportunity to tell stories.
I sit outside the auto repair shop waiting for the brake light switch on my aging Toyota Corolla to be fixed. I type on the Nokia N97 smartphonne, on which I also have been reading news. I had blogged that the N97 would get a second chance. The iPhone 3GS is on ice, so to speak. But my N97 experience is topic for another post.
My interest here is the news I was reading in the New York Times about an analyst report suggesting that the economy is starting to recover. It’s not. But first, the Times asserts: “A measure of supplier deliveries, rising stock prices, an increase in consumer expectations, a jump in building permits and the ‘interest rate spread’ bolstered the index in August.”
U Cal Berkley prof Robert Reich astutely and concisely sums up the prospects for economic revival in commentary “When Will the Recovery Begin? Never.” I saw it today at Salon, but Robert posted to his blog on July 9.
Other economic observers who talk about a recovery underway go oddly together with reality. There is no recovery now, and there isn’t going to be one in the foreseeable future.
Ten-minute documentary “RE:Invention” captures some of the spirit I hope to convey at this website. I lost my job on April 30, 2009. While there is demand for the kind of analysis stories I […]
Is the American era over? I begin to wonder if the answer is yes. History is the reason. In 1914, the British Empire spanned the globe, and London was the financial capitol (eh, capital would work, too) of the world. Four years later, England’s fortunes had changed. The country had shifted much of its manufacturing production to the war and spent quite a bit of its capital supporting European allies. Meanwhile, the United States picked up manufacturing slack and monetary might. Could America’s fortunes change so quickly?
It’s not a great depression, neither is it a great recession we’re going through now. At the Brite conference this week, Umair Haque called it a great ‘compression,’ as an economy built on perceived value […]