Disability: A Problem We Refuse To Address


Posted on 3rd March 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Denninger is far too nice in his assessment of the SSDI program. The Free Shit Army has jumped into this program with abandon. Once their two years of unemployment payments ran out, they suddenly developed mysterious ailments that keep them from working.

It’s amazing that over 60% of the people receiving SSDI have conditions that can be easily faked and not verified. Depression about having to get a job is considered a mental disorder, allowing the deadbeat to receive about $50,000 of benefits for doing nothing. That mysterious muscle ache which can’t be diagnosed will also do the job. Just watch the shyster lawyer commercials during the Jerry Springer Show to see how you are ENTITLED to SSDI.

The fact is this program was created for workers who got injured on the job and was supposed to be temporary until they could recover and go back to work. The workplace is 100 times safer than it was 25 or 50 years ago. Service jobs pushing paper or using computers or cash registers is not conducive to disability. Eating until you are 300 pounds will make you unemployable, but is no excuse for going on disability. Only 1% of the FSA that goes on SSDI ever goes back to work.

Workplace injuries account for less than 5% of all SSDI recipients. The billions being doled out to lazy good for nothing parasites has bankrupted the SSDI program. But don’t worry. They’ll just rob the equally bankrupt SSI program to keep paying these lazy fucks. Obama and his minions think this program is great, as it solidifies the Democratic base of non-working voters. Plus, these people don’t count in the unemployment rate calculation.

Guest Post by Karl Denninger

Once again Congress is likely to do something stupid.  Really, really stupid.

Sometime next year Social Security’s $150 billion disability-insurance program will become insolvent. The program, which offers income supplements to those who cannot work full time due to physical or mental disabilities, has buckled as the number of beneficiaries has soared to more than 11 million in 2014, from 3.8 million in 1984. The bipartisan Social Security Advisory Board has urged reforms.




Posted on 1st March 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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In Part One of this three part article I laid out the groundwork of how the Federal Reserve is responsible for the excessive level of debt in our society and how it has warped the thinking of the American people, while creating a tremendous level of mal-investment. In Part Two I focused on the Federal Reserve/Federal Government scheme to artificially boost the economy through the issuance of subprime debt to create a false auto boom. In this final episode, I’ll address the disastrous student loan debacle and the dreadful global implications of $200 trillion of debt destroying the lives of citizens around the world.

Getting a PhD in Subprime Debt

“When easy money stopped, buyers couldn’t sell. They couldn’t refinance. First sales slowed, then prices started falling and then the housing bubble burst. Housing prices crashed. We know the rest of the story. We are still mired in the consequences. Can someone please explain to me how what is happening in higher education is any different?This bubble is going to burst.” Mark Cuban


Now we get to the subprimiest of subprime debt – student loans. Student loans are not officially classified as subprime debt, but let’s compare borrowers. A subprime borrower has a FICO score of 660 or below, has defaulted on previous obligations, and has limited ability to meet monthly living expenses. A student loan borrower doesn’t have a credit score because they have no credit, have no job with which to pay back the loan, and have no ability other than the loan proceeds to meet their monthly living expenses. And in today’s job environment, they are more likely to land a waiter job at TGI Fridays than a job in their major. These loans are nothing more than deep subprime loans made to young people who have little chance of every paying them off, with hundreds of billions in losses being borne by the ever shrinking number of working taxpaying Americans.

Student loan debt stood at $660 billion when Obama was sworn into office in 2009. The official reported default rate was 7.9%. Obama and his administration took complete control of the student loan market shortly after his inauguration. They have since handed out a staggering $500 billion of new loans (a 76% increase), and the official reported default rate has soared by 43% to 11.3%. Of course, the true default rate is much higher. The level of mal-investment and utter stupidity is astounding, even for the Federal government. Just some basic unequivocal facts can prove my case.

There were 1.67 million Class of 2014 students who took the SAT. Only 42.6% of those students met the minimum threshold of predicted success in college (a B minus average). That amounts to 711,000 high school seniors intellectually capable of succeeding in college. This level has been consistent for years. So over the last five years only 3.5 million high school seniors should have entered college based on their intellectual ability to succeed. Instead, undergraduate college enrollment stands at 19.5 million. Colleges in the U.S. are admitting approximately 4.5 million more students per year than are capable of earning a degree. This waste of time and money can be laid at the feet of the Federal government. Obama and his minions believe everyone deserves a college degree, even if they aren’t intellectually capable of earning it, because it’s only fair. No teenager left behind, without un-payable debt.




Posted on 28th February 2015 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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‘If you’re committed enough, you can make any story work. I once told a woman I was Kevin Costner, and it worked because I believed it’ Saul Goodman – Breaking Bad

“As calamitous as the sub-prime blowup seems, it is only the beginning. The credit bubble spawned abuses throughout the system. Sub-prime lending just happened to be the most egregious of the lot, and thus the first to have the cockroaches scurrying out in plain view. The housing market will collapse. New-home construction will collapse. Consumer pocketbooks will be pinched. The consumer spending binge will be over. The U.S. economy will enter a recession.”Eric Sprott – 2007

In Part One of this article I provided the background of how our current debt saturated economy got to this point of ludicrousness. The “crazy” bloggers, prophets of doom, and analysts who could do basic math were warning of an impending financial crisis in 2006 and 2007, which would be caused by the issuance of hundreds of billions in subprime slime by the Too Big To Trust Wall Street shysters. Subprime mortgages, auto loans, and credit card lines provided the kindling for the 2008 conflagration.

Under normal circumstances we wouldn’t have seen such irrational, reckless, greedy behavior from Wall Street for another generation. But, Wall Street didn’t have to accept the consequences of their actions. They were bailed out and further enriched by their puppets at the Federal Reserve, the lackey politicians they installed in Washington D.C., and on the backs of honest, hard-working, tax paying Americans. The lesson they learned was they could continue to take excessive, reckless, unregulated risks without concern for losses, downside, or consequences.

In reality, the Fed and government have worked in tandem with Wall Street to create the subprime economic recovery. The scheme has been to revive the bailed out auto industry by artificially boosting sales through dodgy, low interest, extended term debt. With the Feds taking over the entire student loan market, they have doled out hundreds of billions to kids who don’t have the educational skills to succeed in college, in order to keep them out of the unemployment calculation.

That’s why you have a 5.7% unemployment rate when 41% of the working age population (102 million people) is not working. The appearance of economic recovery has been much more important to the ruling class than an actual economic recovery for average Americans, because the .1% have made out like bandits anyway. Who has benefited from the $650 billion of student loan and auto debt disseminated by the oligarchs in the last four years, the borrowers or lenders?




Posted on 22nd July 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Look at that amazing housing recovery. The usual housing propaganda being spewed this morning by the NAR and the MSM. Existing homes sales are all the way back to October levels, even though this is prime home sales season. The MSM buries the FACT that existing home sales are 2.3% LOWER than last June. The monthly change is meaningless. Home sales always are higher in the summer because families move while kids are out of school.

Let’s get real. Existing home sales are currently at 1999 levels when the working age population in this country numbered 208 million. Today the working age population numbers 248 million. We’ve got 40 million, or 19% more adults int he country, and existing home sales are exactly the same. They are still 30% below 2005 levels and destined to languish and decline over the coming years. Inventory rose 6.5% over last year. So sales are falling and inventory is rising. I wonder what that will do to prices?


You get nothing but feel good optimistic drivel from the faux journalists in the MSM. Their job is to keep you in the dark. Some facts from the NAR report:

  • First time home buyers still near record lows of 28%. In a healthy non-manipulated housing market this number is 40%.
  • Investors purchased 32% of all the houses sold. This number is closer to 15% in a normal market.
  • Mortgage applications remain at fourteen year lows.
  • Wall Street banks continue to withhold foreclosures and not foreclose on homes that should be foreclosed upon to prop up prices.

The entire housing recovery storyline has been a scam and a fraud. Now sales are falling and prices will follow. Look out below.

Existing-home sales rise 2.6% in June

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Rising for a third month, sales of existing homes grew 2.6% in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million, reaching the highest level since October, the National Association of Realtors reported Tuesday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected the sales rate to increase to 5 million in June from an originally reported 4.89 million in May, driven by a strengthening labor market, more homes on the market, and cooling price growth. On Tuesday NAR revised May’s sales rate to 4.91 million. Market conditions are becoming more balanced, but anecdotes still point to a shortage of homes on the market, said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. The median sales price of used homes hit $223,300 in June, up 4.3% from the year-earlier period. June’s inventory was 2.3 million existing homes for sale, a 5.5-month supply at the current sales pace. The number of homes available for sale was up 6.5% from the year-earlier period. Including June’s increase, the pace of sales was down 2.3% from a year earlier.

“EARN” $73,000 PER YEAR – TAX FREE!!!!


Posted on 17th July 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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This is called Obama compassion. Use your tax dollars to expand the Free Shit Army, produce more ignorant entitlement serfs, and bolster the Democratic voting rolls. Do it for the children!!!!

Work harder and pay more taxes so Obama can create his diversity paradise. Now get to work!!!!

Via Doug Ross

L.A. NEWSPAPER AD: Take Illegal Immigrant Child Into Your Home, Earn Up to $73,000 a Year… Tax-Free!


Handed over the transom by Double-M and also spotted here.

An ad for foster parents for illegal immigrant children in California promises $6,054 per month for those who sign up and successfully complete the 45-day approval process. The migrant children ad appeared in a Penny Saver in Murrieta. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, hundreds of protesters stopped busloads of illegal aliens from being transported into the town for holding and ultimate release.

The foster immigrant children ad was placed by the Crittenton Services and Foster Family Agency – FFA. The Murrieta Penny Saver notice said the agency was looking for families to provide homes for both American foster children and “unaccompanied refugee minors.”

The Orange County foster family organization provides services for the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services.

Sounds like a good deal. Of course, President Obama will be long gone when the piper will be paid. That’s not what I say, that’s what the CBO says:

Earlier today, the Congressional Budget Office released its updated long-term budget projection, and there is not a lot of black ink in that report. CBO estimates that, despite receiving record revenue gobbled up from the private economy, the Treasury will continue to run enormous deficits over the next 25 years. By 2039, the public share of the debt is projected to rise from 74% of GDP to 106%…

…So what does all of this mean? Who cares about some banal numbers on a federal balance sheet?

Contrary to the perception of many policy-makers, the national debt is not some abstract problem that will only affect future generations once investors no longer trust the security of federal treasures. As CBO explains (page 10), this is an immediate and near-term problem…

…the relatively-low annual payments for interest on the debt, hovering around $230 billion a year, are only a temporary reprieve due to historically low interest rates. According to Investors’ Business Daily, “if Washington had to pay the average interest now that it paid in 2000 (6.4%), it would be paying $500 billion more each year to stay afloat.”

Sadly, Americans are used to navigating opportunities and challenges based upon instant gratification or imminent danger. Warning voters about the threat of our national debt to the future of their grandchildren is not enough. Conservatives need to make the case that the current level of debt is a mitigating factor to current economic growth and that it will continue to diminish their wages and job opportunities.

But, by all means, let’s continue importing hundreds of thousands of low-skilled, largely illiterate, and desperately poor folks from the Third World! That should help!

Hat tip: BadBlue News.



Posted on 29th June 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Posted on 9th June 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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When I came home earlier this week there was a flier on the kitchen counter that had been taped on our mailbox. It was from a company called SAS Claims Service. In big bold capital letters shaded in yellow at the top of the flier was:



The entire business plan for this company is based upon driving around neighborhoods looking for houses with missing roof tiles and then convincing them to scam their insurance companies. The flier then goes on to try and scare you about mold, home price devaluation, expensive roof repairs, and evil insurance companies denying claims.

But guess who can come to my rescue?

That’s right, Myron Mendelow will fight for my right to commit insurance fraud. He doesn’t get paid until I get paid. He wants to be my advocate. Here is his pitch, directly from the flier:

We make the calls, file the claim and take on all the aggravation of negotiating with your insurance company adjuster on your behalf, to get you the FREE MONEY that you deserve.

Myron is going to get me some free money for my non-existent damage. He even promises to find more associated damages I didn’t notice.

A couple roof tiles did fly off during a storm several years ago. I had someone replace them, and the tiles are not the exact color of the original tiles. Myron assumed the different colored tiles were actually missing tiles.

Fast forward to Saturday morning. My youngest son and I were finishing up spreading the six yards of mulch dumped in my driveway earlier in the day. I was drenched in sweat and filthy from head to toe. Up the street comes a silver Mercedes who parks in front of my house. A wheeler dealer type gets out and boisterously tells me he wishes he were me. I’m thinking to myself WTF are you talking about dude. He explains that he lives in a condo and can’t get his hands dirty anymore.

I was in the presence of Myron Mendelow. His shirt was unbuttoned to show a massive gold star of david necklace. His picture should be next to the term Shyster in the dictionary. He then proceeded to make his pitch about my damaged roof. Even though I explained my roof was not damaged, he insisted he could get an insurance payout if I put my trust in him. He seemed exasperated that I didn’t want some of that FREE MONEY. After I made it clear he wasn’t talking to someone with interest in committing insurance fraud, he handed me the parting gift of a refrigerator magnet. Now when I’m grabbing a brewsky from the fridge, I can be reminded there is FREE MONEY with my name on it just a phone call away.

This is the kind of country we’ve become. Everyone has an angle to get something for nothing. Everyone is doing it, so why shouldn’t I get in on the scam. The oligarchs set the tone. Politicians set the tone. Everyone is on the take. Greed and avarice are considered legitimate goals of all Americans. The country revolves around fraud, corruption, scams, and swindles. Wall Street bankers rig the system, politicians accept bribes to pass legislation benefiting whichever special interest pays the most, millions watch shyster law firm commercials and realize they are eligible for Social Security disability, or have been wronged by some corporation. What’s a little food stamp fraud or earned income tax credit fraud? I really need to get with the game. This honesty and taking responsibility for my own life concept is really antiquated. I must have been mentally scared by those twelve years of Catholic teaching. Maybe Myron can help me file a claim.




Posted on 22nd May 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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I love all those imminent American energy independence propaganda stories reported by the corporate media, paid for by the energy industry, and stated as fact by corrupt bought off politicians across the land. The shale oil miracle is the biggest scam in energy history. The boobs spouting about shale oil saving America either have IQs of 75 or are being paid off by Wall Street shysters or the energy industry.

The nitwits spouting this gibberish always ignore the terms RECOVERABLE and ENERGY RETURN ON ENERGY INVESTED. How convenient. The story below blows a gaping hole in the bullshit spouted by these hacks and scam artists. The Monterey Shale Oil deposits were touted as saving America and generating millions of new jobs in California because it contained 67% of the entire country’s oil reserves.

One itsy bitsy problem revealed today – 96% of it is not RECOVERABLE, even with the fracking technology being employed in the Bakkan and Ford shale fields. Instead of 13.7 billion barrels of oil, we’ll be lucky to get 600 million of extremely expensive shale oil, if any at all. OOPS – missed by that much.

The boobs in Congress and in the White House will ignore these facts, just like they ignore how much energy and capital investment is needed to extract shale oil and gas. We get closer and closer to a 1 to 1 EROI. Once we reach that ratio, the game is up folks. Demographics and the depletion of cheap easy to access energy sources are leading to the Long Emergency and slow collapse of our society.

Storylines and propaganda will not change reality. Oil is $103 per barrel. All the talk of energy independence hasn’t changed the fact that you were paying $1.43 per gallon at the start of the Iraq War in 2003 and today you are paying $3.65 per gallon. What do you think you will be paying per gallon in 2020?


U.S. officials cut estimate of recoverable Monterey Shale oil by 96%

By Louis Sahagun

May 21, 2014, 12:00 a.m.

Federal energy authorities have slashed by 96% the estimated amount of recoverable oil buried in California’s vast Monterey Shale deposits, deflating its potential as a national “black gold mine” of petroleum.

Just 600 million barrels of oil can be extracted with existing technology, far below the 13.7 billion barrels once thought recoverable from the jumbled layers of subterranean rock spread across much of Central California, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said.

The new estimate, expected to be released publicly next month, is a blow to the nation’s oil future and to projections that an oil boom would bring as many as 2.8 million new jobs to California and boost tax revenue by $24.6 billion annually.

The Monterey Shale formation contains about two-thirds of the nation’s shale oil reserves. It had been seen as an enormous bonanza, reducing the nation’s need for foreign oil imports through the use of the latest in extraction techniques, including acid treatments, horizontal drilling and fracking.

The energy agency said the earlier estimate of recoverable oil, issued in 2011 by an independent firm under contract with the government, broadly assumed that deposits in the Monterey Shale formation were as easily recoverable as those found in shale formations elsewhere.

The estimate touched off a speculation boom among oil companies. The new findings seem certain to dampen that enthusiasm.

Kern County in particular has seen a flurry of oil activity since 2011, with most of the test wells drilled by independent exploratory companies. Major oil companies have expressed doubts for years about recovering much of the oil.

The problem lies with the geology of the Monterey Shale, a 1,750-mile formation running down the center of California roughly from Sacramento to the Los Angeles basin and including some coastal regions.

Unlike heavily fracked shale deposits in North Dakota and Texas, which are relatively even and layered like a cake, Monterey Shale has been folded and shattered by seismic activity, with the oil found at deeper strata.

Geologists have long known that the rich deposits existed but they were not thought recoverable until the price of oil rose and the industry developed acidization, which eats away rocks, and fracking, the process of injecting millions of gallons of water laced with sand and chemicals deep underground to crack shale formations.

The new analysis from the Energy Information Administration was based, in part, on a review of the output from wells where the new techniques were used.

“From the information we’ve been able to gather, we’ve not seen evidence that oil extraction in this area is very productive using techniques like fracking,” said John Staub, a petroleum exploration and production analyst who led the energy agency’s research.

“Our oil production estimates combined with a dearth of knowledge about geological differences among the oil fields led to erroneous predictions and estimates,” Staub said.

Compared with oil production from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford Shale in Texas, “the Monterey formation is stagnant,” Staub said. He added that the potential for recovering the oil could rise if new technology is developed.

A spokesman for the oil industry expressed optimism that new techniques will eventually open up the Monterey formation.

“We have a lot of confidence in the intelligence and skill

of our engineers and geologists to find ways to adapt,” said Tupper Hull, spokesman for the Western States Petroleum Assn. “As the technologies change, the production rates could also change dramatically.”

Rock Zierman, chief executive of the trade group California Independent Petroleum Assn., which represents many independent exploration companies, also sounded hopeful.

“The smart money is still investing in California oil and gas,” Zierman said.

“The oil is there,” Zierman said. “But this is a tough business.”

Environmental organizations welcomed the news as a turning point in what had been a rush to frack for oil in the Monterey formation.

“The narrative of fracking in the Monterey Shale as necessary for energy independence just had a big hole blown in it,” said Seth B. Shonkoff, executive director of the nonprofit Physicians Scientists & Engineers for Healthy Energy.

J. David Hughes, a geoscientist and spokesman for the nonprofit Post Carbon Institute, said the Monterey formation “was always mythical mother lode puffed up by the oil industry — it never existed.”

Hughes wrote in a report last year that “California should consider its economic and energy future in the absence of an oil production boom from the Monterey Shale.”

The 2011 estimate was done by the Virginia engineering firm Intek Inc.

Christopher Dean, senior associate at Intek, said Tuesday that the firm’s work “was very broad, giving the federal government its first shot at an estimate of recoverable oil in the Monterey Shale. They got more data over time and refined the estimate.”

For California, the analysis throws cold water on economic projections built upon Intek’s projections.

In 2013, a USC analysis, funded in part by the Western States Petroleum Assn., predicted that the Monterey Shale formation could, by 2020, boost California’s gross domestic product by 14%, add $24.6 billion per year in tax revenue and generate 2.8 million new jobs.

[email protected]

Via the LA Times



Posted on 22nd April 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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The National Association of Liars (Realtors) reported existing home sales this morning and they continue to blather about weather and a glorious future. Meanwhile, existing home sales have plunged by 7.5% in the last year and are now at a 21 month low. Does this chart show the housing recovery you hear so much about on the MSM? Existing home sales are at the same level they were in 1998, before the Federal Reserve induced bubble years from 1999 through 2006. A critical thinking individual might wonder how home prices have soared by double digits over the last two years as existing home sales have made no headway.

Home prices have soared by 7.9% in the last year, as sales have plunged. That makes sense. Right?

First time home buyers accounted for 30% of the sales, near a record low, and the same level as one year ago. In a healthy growing housing market they would make up 40% to 50% of buyers.

The irrational surge in home prices can be seen in the data supplied by the NAR. Here is the recipe:

  • Too Big To Trust Wall Street banks withholding foreclosures from the market to create an artificial shortage of inventory.
  • The Federal Reserve handing hedge funds (Blackrock) billions of free money to buy foreclosures at artificially high prices from the Too Big To Trust Wall Street banks in a buy to rent scheme designed to improve the balance sheets of the insolvent banks.
  • These two suppositions are confirmed by foreclosures plunging to only 14% of sales from 21% one year ago, despite millions of homes still in the foreclosure process and the fact that 50% of all sales were to investors. In the years before the banking oligarchs took complete control of our financial system, cash sales would be 10% of transactions.
  • Now that cable TV has ten flip that house shows on again, like 2006, you know every get rich quick moron who fell for the Dot.com boom and the previous housing boom have entered the market just as the next bust is about to occur.
  • You have Fannie, Freddie, and the FHA giving out 3% down mortgage loans to the delusional poor who deserve to own a home.

The entire housing recovery has been a financially engineered fraud. Blackrock and the other hedgies have made a killing and their Ivy league MBA created models are telling them to exit stage left. The propaganda spewing media and the lying realtors like Larry Yun will continue to mislead the muppets as the big swinging Wall Street dicks move onto their next scam. Home sales will continue downward, with prices not far behind.



Posted on 14th April 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Jonathan Grey is a lying scumbag. He is attempting to deceive readers into believing the housing market is experiencing a healthy recovery and his slimy firm’s 80% REDUCTION in purchasing foreclosed homes from their co-conspirators at the Too Big To Trust Wall Street banks is not really sending a message that Blackstone sees the writing on the wall. Their scheme to drive up prices by limiting inventory and then pretending to be long-term landlords has enriched themselves and their Wall Street cronies. It hasn’t helped the average American or first time home buyer, as prices and higher mortgage rates have made it impossible for people to afford to buy. They get to rent from Blackstone, the Wall Street slumlord.

This douchebag is laying a smoke screen so that his firm can start selling before the muppets realize what is happening. Prices have peaked and are headed down again. The only thing propping up prices were these hedge funds buying. Mortgage applications are at two decade lows. Someone should tell Jonathan that his Wall Street cohort lemmings all did the same exact thing. And they have all stopped buying. They will all be heading for the exits at the same time. And there are very few muppets left to buy their decaying rental houses. The brilliant Ivy League MBA’s didn’t think too hard about their exit strategy. The next two years should be quite entertaining.

This lying prick actually has the balls to blather on about how the housing recovery is self sustaining and strong. Does this look like a strong housing recovery?

Wells Fargo, Citicorp and JP Morgan, along with Bank of American account for more than half the mortgages in the country. They are all reporting 75% lower mortgage originations than one year ago. This is what Jonathan considers an improving housing market? This guy is scared shitless. While he is lying to you, he is desperately trying to unload his portfolio of decaying rental homes on flippers and fools. Watch what he is doing, not what he is saying.


Blackstone to slow down home purchases even further this year

Blackstone Group will continue to slow down the pace of its property purchases this year as the supply of ultra-cheap real estate thins out, an official at the private-equity firm tells MarketWatch.

In July Blackstone’s Invitation Homes unit, which Bloomberg estimates is the country’s largest single-family rental business, hit its peak purchase pace of about $125 million worth of homes per week. Since then, the weekly pace has dropped to about $30 million to $40 million, and will fall further this year as it likely becomes tougher to find attractive deals.


Jonathan D. Gray

“It’s not going to get larger. There’s less and less distressed housing,” said Jonathan Gray, Blackstone’s global head of real estate. “We have slowed down [buying] significantly in a number of markets as a result of prices going up and less distressed” inventory.

But it’s worth noting that despite the expected slowdown, Blackstone

/quotes/zigman/459729/delayed/quotes/nls/bxBX is still making residential purchases. Invitation wouldn’t continue to buy homes, and spend an average of $25,000 per property on renovations, if the firm didn’t expect to enjoy real appreciation as demand builds but housing inventory remains relatively low.

“We still see a number of years of pretty good [home-price] growth. There’s definitely room for more appreciation. We think home prices will do better than most people’s expectations,” Gray said.

Blackstone’s buying is currently concentrated in Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Atlanta and Seattle.

According to the most recent monthly report from RealtyTrac, an online foreclosure marketplace, institutional investors made up 5.9% of all U.S. home sales in February, down from 7.2% a year earlier. There’s been concern that with investors scaling back home buying, there won’t be enough purchases by prospective first-time buyers to fill the gap, as young families struggle with a choppy jobs market and high barriers to obtain a mortgage. However, Gray said the housing market’s recovery has legs.

“We are an increasingly smaller and smaller part of the story now that the recovery has plenty of momentum on its own,” he said.

–Ruth Mantell



Posted on 3rd April 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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I was watching some new sitcom last night that takes place in a NYC bar. A bunch of NYFD dudes came into the bar and women swarmed around these heroes. One of the skeptical characters in the show walked up to them and pointed out the number of fires in this country were 85% lower than 50 years ago. He told them he had likely put out as many fires as they had in the last year. They got bent out of shape by him using facts to pop their hero balloon. Later in the show he told them rain could do their job.

The episode made me curious and lo and behold checkout this chart. Thirty five years ago we needed 225,000 career fire fighters to handle 2.4 million fires. Today, with much better equipment and technology, we somehow need 340,000 career fire fighters to handle 1.37 million fires. That’s 50% more firefighters for 40% less fires. I smell something and it’s not smoke. It’s the stench of another government union scam.

The government and the firefighters’ unions know these drones sit around the firehouse 99.8% of the time collecting high pay, gold plated benefits and retirement with full pay at 50 years old. They get more false alarms than actual fire calls. There was only one way to pretend they are useful and needed. Whenever an ambulance call comes in they send a fire truck just for shits and giggles. You’ve all seen fire trucks at the scenes of minor car accidents or other medical emergencies. Whenever you see six firefighters standing around at a fender bender accident scene remember that it costs you the taxpayer approximately $3,500 every time a fire engine leaves the station.

Who could possibly question the gold plated pension of a firefighter who has never fought an actual fire? This entire country is a scam.



Posted on 5th March 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Submitted by David Stockman via Contra Corner blog,

The Fed’s serial bubble machine has not only bestowed massive speculative windfalls on the 1%, but it has also fostered a noxious culture of plunder and entitlement in the gambling casinos of Wall Street. After each thundering sell-off during the bust phase, crony capitalist gamblers have been gifted with ill-gotten windfalls during the Fed’s subsequent maniacal money printing spree.

Worse still, this trash-to-riches syndrome has unfolded so consistently since the late 1980s that there now exists a marauding gang of permanent vulture-speculators who impudently claim entitlement to any and all action by the state that might be needed to quickly reflate their gleanings from the bottom. The passel of hedge funds led by Elliot Capital which blackmailed the Obama White House into paying billions for the worthless debt of Delphi during the GM bailout is only one especially odious example.

In this context comes Bruce Berkowitz “scolding” and firing “salvos” at Washington from the front page of the Wall Street Journal. As it has happened, the usually craven denizens of the beltway have so far managed to ignore his petulant demands for a multi-billion payday on the worthless Fannie and Freddie preferred stock that his fund scooped up after the housing bust. Recall, these were the securities issued in 2008 at $25 per share to shore up the tottering housing finance agencies just before Hank Paulson’s bazooka sputtered.

Not inappropriately, when the Republican White House nationalized Freddie and Fannie in September 2008 these preferred shares plunged to 25 cents—-their true value all along. The fact is, the so-called GSEs do not “earn” profits; they merely book bloated accounting margins that reflect nothing more profound than the fact that Freddie and Fannie drastically underpay for renting Uncle Sam’s balance sheet. As finally became official when the U.S. Treasury threw them a $180 billion lifeline, the GSEs are now—and have always been—a branch office of the U.S. Treasury Department.

The only reason Freddie and Fannie are not prosecuted for filing fraudulent accounting statements, therefore, is the beltway fiction that they are “off-budget”. This convenient scam was first invented by Lyndon Johnson to magically shrink his “guns and butter” fiscal deficits, but it has since metastasized into a giant business fairy tale—namely, that behind the imposing brick façade of Fannie Mae there is a real company generating value-added services that are the source of its reported profits and current multi-billion pink sheet valuation. In fact, there is nothing behind those walls except a stamping machine that embosses the signature of the American taxpayer on every billion dollar package of securitized mortgages it guarantees and on all the bonds it issues to fund a giant portfolio of mortgages and securities from which it strips the interest.

If we wanted to have honest socialist mortgage finance, a handful of GS-14s could run Freddie and Fannie out of the U.S. Treasury building. Civil servants could emboss the taxpayers’ guarantee on every family’s home mortgage just as proficiently as the make-believe business executives who populate the GSEs today; and in the process we could dispense with the sheer waste involved in applying GAAP accounting to the operations of a mere government bureau.

In an alternative political universe not corrupted by crony capitalist mythology about the elixir of homeownership, of course, there would be no need for a Treasury Bureau of Home Mortgage Finance. The decision to own own or rent would be made by 115 million American households based on their best lights, not the inducements and favors of the state. Markets would clear the interest price of mortgage debt and set credit terms and maturities consistent with the risks involved. Undoubtedly, rates would be a few hundred basis points higher and 30-year fixed rates mortgages quite rare. And like in the seemingly prosperous precincts of Germany, the home-ownership rate might be 55% or any other number not selected by pandering politicians of the type who pinned the 70% disaster on the wall during the Clinton-Bush era.

At the end of the day, having 40 million renter-households and 25 million mortgage-free owner-households provide (in their capacity as taxpayers) trillions of subsidized credit to upwards of 50 million mortgage-encumbered households is absurd. Yet it could be dismissed as just another expression of the capricious and random shuffling of income among American citizens that is the tradecraft of the Washington puzzle palace.

Unfortunately, the reality is not so anodyne. In order to hide this random redistribution mischief, the Treasury Bureau of Home Mortgage Finance has been gussied-up to form the simulacrum of a profit-making enterprise—otherwise known as a GSE. In that posture, the GSEs have been repeatedly plundered by insiders like Franklin Rains, the 90 million dollar man who drove Fannie off the cliff; and by fast money stock speculators who managed to drive the combined market cap of Freddie and Fannie to the lunatic level of $140 billion during their hay-day at the turn of the century; and by the Wall Street dealers and so-called fund managers who inventory trillions of GSE debt securities in order to scalp profits from the economically pointless spread between regular treasury bonds and the GSE variant of the same thing.

All of these hundreds of billions were pocketed by adept cronies and speculators in the various debt, equity and preferred securities of the GSEs during the decades culminating in the 2008 financial crisis. Given the trauma of those events, Secretary Paulson’s desperate and ill-disguised nationalization of Freddie and Fannie should have put an end to the plunder.

But it hasn’t because there is no end to the zero cost-of-goods carry trades by which speculators scoop-up and fund financial assets—busted and not—during the Fed’s money printing marathons. Likewise, there is no end to crony capitalist marauders like Berkowitz, who have the temerity to demand make-wholes from the state, and K-Street hirelings—lawyers, accountants and consultants— who are skilled at the manufacture of specious public policy rationalizations for outright thievery.

So now comes the patented crony capitalist rush. The worthless Freddie and Fannie preferreds have lately erupted from $0.25 per share to $12, meaning that some speculators have already garnered a paper return of 48X. And why did this revival miracle transpire? Quite simply because Berkowitz’s Fairholme Capital and his posse of punters—-John Paulson, Perry Capital and Pershing Square, among others—have taken turns bidding up the paper.

Meanwhile, their deplorable plan to do the American people a favor and swap these bogus securities for those of a new tax-payer underwritten, mortgage guarantee stamping machine, has but one objective—that is, to put a statutory floor under the current $12 per share price and enable them to dicker with Capitol Hill staffs for an ultimate take-out at par($25) under the guise of “privatization”. The larceny intended here is not modest: the payday for Berkowitz and his hedge fund posse would amount to $35 billion on toxic paper which was purchased for rounding errors.

To be sure, Berkowitz and his sharpies blather that Freddie and Fannie have now returned $200 billion to the US Treasury, thereby repaying the original $180 billion drawdown, with some change to spare. But what hay wagon do they think even the clueless officialdom of Washington rides upon? Roughly $50 billion of that was for writing-up a “tax asset” that had earlier been written-down, owing to the fact that absent nationalization the GSEs had no prospect of booking even accounting income in the future. And the remaining $150 billion represents dividends paid to the Treasury since 2009 based on using Uncle Sam’s credit card to issue the bonds and guarantees which fund the assets from which these so-called GSE dividends are scalped.

In other words, the Berkowitz Gang wants to be paid a king’s ransom for ownership shares in what amounts to a bureau of the US Treasury. And yet these con men pound the table demanding to “wake up the (GSE) boards” so that they will execute their “fiduciary responsibility”. Indeed, so shameless are Wall Street’s princes of plunder that Berkowitz told a skeptical CNBC questioner last fall “we’ve helped before with AIG”, and that he now merely seeks a “win-win” to “help with jobs, help with the economy, help with the dream of homeownership”!

That gibberish is the measure of the crony capitalist deformation that has infested the nation’s financial markets and system of political governance. The obvious thing for Washington to do is close the doors at Fannie and Freddie and allow their $5 trillion portfolio to run-off in the manner of any liquidation. And if it must subsidize home mortgage credit, just bring back the metal filing cabinets in the Treasury Building where the so-called “secondary mortgage market” was birthed in 1938. Yet what it dare not do is succumb to the bogus bombast of the punters and sharpies who troll the financial wreckage inexorably created by the Fed’s serial bubble machine.

If it does, the people will find their pitchforks and torches – one of these days.