Paul Krugman says, The Government’s Job Is to Create Jobs

Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman also backs the idea. In his latest New York Time column, Krugman says “the federal government could provide jobs by … providing jobs,” in much the same way the New Deal put Americans to work during the Great Depression.The President is also taking aim at the lingering housing problems by putting added pressure on lenders to finish modifying more home loans to troubled borrowers.Almost 651,000 loan revisions have been started through the administration’s $75 billion Home Affordable Modification Program, but too few are being converted to permanent repayment plans says the White House.But do the modifications really help? Aaron and Henry point out, data already shows that the modification just postpone defaults and foreclosures. A better solution would be for banks to take a hit on the mortgages, by modifying the principle owed on the mortgage.It’s not what banks want to do but it may be a necessary evil.

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Wave of Debt Payments Facing U.S. Government

NY Times

WASHINGTON — The United States government is financing its more than trillion-dollar-a-year borrowing with i.o.u.’s on terms that seem too good to be true.

But that happy situation, aided by ultralow interest rates, may not last much longer.

Treasury officials now face a trifecta of headaches: a mountain of new debt, a balloon of short-term borrowings that come due in the months ahead, and interest rates that are sure to climb back to normal as soon as the Federal Reserve decides that the emergency has passed.

Even as Treasury officials are racing to lock in today’s low rates by exchanging short-term borrowings for long-term bonds, the government faces a payment shock similar to those that sent legions of overstretched homeowners into default on their mortgages. Continue reading

Peter Schiff, James Bullard and Alan Blinder Argue Over Ben Bernanke

Putting Peter Schiff on a panel with St. Louis Fed President James Bullard and former Fed Vice Chair Alan Blinder is asking for trouble or, at the very least, a heated debate.That’s just what occurred last Sunday night in New York at an event sponsored by Princeton’s Business Today.Predictably, Euro Pacific Capital’s Schiff disagreed with Bullard and Blinder on just about everything, including the government’s role in causing the crisis, and the outlook for the economy and the dollar.But the most contentious moment came toward the end of the evening when a student asked the panel to comment on Ben Bernanke’s 2005 “global savings glut” theory, and what role China’s high saving rate played in the credit bubble.Schiff’s response, “Ben Bernanke has never gotten anything right,” generated some guffaws from the crowd and a sharp retort from Blinder and Bullard, who rose to Bernanke’s defense.

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Obama Doing Sex To China – SNL

“Do I look like Mrs. Obama?”

“Will You Kiss Me”

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Dick Bove Says, Banks Don’t Want Your Business – May Cancel Your Account and Give Customers the Boot

Not happy with your bank? The feeling is likely mutual.Don’t be surprised if your bank soon decides they don’t want your business anymore, says Rochdale Securities bank analyst Dick Bove.Why?Bank regulators and Congress are looking at ways at making the system more safe and sound in order to avoid another meltdown. What on the surface seems like a wise and prudent decision, however may have unintended consequences, most notably higher fees for bounced checks, credit card balances and the like.”The way a bank discourages a customer from doing business with it is to make the cost of doing business so high the customer gets upset and leaves,” Bove says. “I think that’s the methodology,” although some unprofitable accounts will be closed by the banks, as American Express has been doing. (AmEx canceled 3.3 million cards globally in the second and third quarters, TheStreet.com reports.)Update: In another example, HSBC “has decided retail customers aren’t profitable enough and is demanding those clients remove their gold to make room for more lucrative institutional customers,” The WSJ reports.Bove says as much as 30% of U.S. households could find themselves being forced out of their banks since they’re not deemed profitable.The shift will create investment opportunities as depositors look to other companies to provide banking services. In this scenario, Bove thinks consumer finance firms, payment system companies, pay-day loan companies and pawn shops will pick up the slack.As the government moves to make the cost of banking higher for the banks, they’re going to have to pass on those costs to the consumer,” Bove says. “If the consumer doesn’t like it, the consumer is going to have to rely on these less-established methodologies of getting finance and moving money.” ———————–The FDIC fund that insures bank deposits is $8.2 billion in the hole.The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. released its latest set of grim banking data moments ago. The FDIC had to set aside $21.7 billion for expected losses on future bank failures as the total number of “problem” banks rose to 552 from 416.There were glimmers of hope. While bad loans continue to beat up bank balance sheets, revenues are returning to the banking sector. Overall, the banking sector was profitable after a $4.3 billion loss in the second quarter and saw just $879 million in earnings last year.

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Barry Ritholtz says, A Bad Economy Could Spell Good News on Wall Street for Years to Come

The economic recovery isn’t as strong as first thought. Revised GDP figures released this morning show the economy grew at a 2.8% annualized pace in the third quarter, less than the 3.5% initially reported. The revision was in-line with expectations but shows the economy didn’t have as much momentum heading into the fourth quarter as previously believed.Unlike Wall Street traders, consumers seem to know the recovery is “anemic,” as Barry Ritholtz, CEO of Fusion IQ, describes it. The Conference Board’s latest confident survey shows Americans feel worse about the current economic situation than they did in March, when the stock market was making new lows. (Thanks to Dan Greenhaus of Miller Tabak for pointing this out this last fact.)Yet, stocks are still near their highs of the year. Going into the final hours of trading Tuesday, stocks were in the red but well off the lows of the day. What’s driving the disconnect between Wall Street and Main Street?Ritholtz says it’s a classic example of bad news being good news on Wall Street. “We’re in a cycle that’s not based on profitability, not based on expanding economy but based on all sorts of government supports,” he says. “Bad news is going to be good news for the next couple of quarters probably.”That’s because low interest rates and liquidity provided by the Federal Reserve, coupled with government stimulus are enticing traders to buy into the market. “Cash is trash,” says Rithotlz, who remains bullish on stocks.Ritholtz is confident that eventually fundamentals will prevail and thinks the market will take a hit once the economy shows signs of improvement, meaning the “extraordinary” stimuli can be removed. But predicting the timing is anyone’s guess. “You could have this disconnect that goes on for not days, weeks or months but years and years,” he says. So, in the meantime, Ritholtz – who correctly predicted the 2008 crash and told Tech Ticker’s audience “the mother of all bear market rallies,” was upon us in March – is still long stocks and likes commodities (thanks to a weak dollar) and emerging markets.

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Peter Boockvar Says, We have an “Illusion of Prosperity” – U.S. Economy to Lag Rest of the World

“It’s dangerous to be short this market,” says Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak.Despite a penchant for bearishness, Boockvar says the rally can continue as long as the Fed keeps rates at zero.”When you cut rates to nothing you’re encouraging people to take risk,” Boockvar says. “As long as asset inflation is [the Fed’s] goal, the market could go higher but there are obvious consequences,” including inflation, as discussed here.The Fed is trying to create “the illusion of prosperity” by fueling asset price appreciation, Boockvar says, staying true to his reputation as a deficit hawk. Even if the U.S. stock market keeps rallying, “non-dollar assets” like commodities and emerging markets will continue to outperform, he says.Unlike the U.S., emerging markets are “not weighed down by enormous debt levels” and local consumers are “much better off” than their American counterparts, the strategist says, expressing a strong preference for China.”If you want exposure to global growth, it’s going to be outside of the U.S.,” he says, recommending the following: * Follow the Money: Buy China-specific and Asian ETFs or mutual funds. * Go for Gold: A longtime gold bull, Boockvar says a correction could be coming because “the trade has gotten crowded” and Ben Bernnake’s recent comments about the dollar could spur a reversal. But “buy on any sharp pullback,” he recommends, suggesting gold is very likely to revisit its inflation-adjust high of $2300 “in the next few years.” * Reject Domesticity: Avoid U.S. retailers, REITs and consumer-focused financials, Boockvar says, suggesting the U.S. economy and consumers will be under pressure for the foreseeable future. “If you want to invest in US, invest in companies with big exposures overseas,” he says. “The growth is not going to be there in the U.S. “

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