“The Worst President in My Lifetime”, Howard Davidowitz on Obama

President Obama is having a rough go of things lately. As noted here last week, for the first time in his presidency, more Americans disapprove of Obama (48%) than approve of him (45%), according to the latest WSJ/NBC poll. And 62% say the country is headed in the wrong direction.“The American people are right,” says Howard Davidowitz of Davidowitz & Co. A critic of Obama’s, from the start, Davidowitz refers to him as the “worst” President of his lifetime, even worse than of Jimmy Carter, based on: * — The War in Afghanistan: Davidowitz doesn’t see the point. As far as he can tell, after 7 years, hundreds of billions spent, and thousands of U.S. lives lost, the Afghans still can’t defend against the Taliban. Plus, the Afghan government is stealing billions in aid from the U.S. The WSJ reports, $3 billion in U.S. aid has been loaded onto planes by corrupt officials and flown out of the Kabul airport since 2007. “If they can’t be trained, if they’re stealing all our money, all our soldiers are dying. I don’t understand how any of this is logical,” proclaims Davidowitz. * — Out of Control Spending: Davidowitz thinks Obama has wasted time and taxpayer money pushing ‘Obamacare’ into law at a time when the debt-to-GDP ratio is expected to hit 62% by year’s end. “We’re going broke because of Medicare, Medicaid and everything else. He added another benefit, health-care. Can you explain that to me?” * — BP Oil Spill: “It could destroy the country,” he says. Davidowitz fears the continued loss of hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil per day will drive gas prices higher, further choking and already struggling consumer. Meanwhile, he questions why the President waited 50 days to contact BP executives. Davidowitz recognizes Obama was handed a difficult hand upon entering office, and admits the political system is dysfunctional. Actually, in the many times Davidowitz has appeared on Tech Ticker he’s rarely had a nice thing to say about any politician, regardless of party. What he’d like to see is a return to fiscal responsibility, lacking these days. “Ross Perot did a huge service to this country when he ran because all he talked about was the budget and what was going on and it forced Clinton to deal with it,” Davidowitz says.

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Here Comes The Double Dip Recession

There’s been many letters and symbols used over the last year to describe the shape of the U.S. economic recovery. There’s the strong V-shaped recovery; the square root shaped recovery to connote a strong recovery followed by a period of flat to no growth; and the W-shaped recovery favored by those believing in a double dip recession.Tech Ticker guest Michael Pento has a new twist on the discussion. Pento, senior market strategist with Delta Global Advisors believes this is a tee-pee shaped recovery with the top of that tee-pee having already formed in the fourth quarter.Pento is negative on America’s near term economic prospects for three main reasons: too little bank lending, too few jobs and too much public and private debt. “I’ve never seen a v-shaped recovery occur when commercial bank lending was down 7% year over year. So, small business are not getting loans to create capital goods and to expand and hire individuals,” he observes.Exacerbating the problems at home, is what he describes, as a weak economy abroad. With China looking to clamp down on growth, the EuroZone struggling with its own debt problems, Pento asks, “Where is the growth going to come from in demand from overseas?When he says “demand” he’s referring not only to products and services but also to our growing debt burden. As the price of servicing our deficit grows, when the Federal Reserve tightens monetary policy, Pento is confident others will realize what he already does: the situation in the U.S. is “worse than Greece.”The way he sees it, there’s a strong potential for a bond and dollar crisis when China starts selling Treasuries. “Tell me which shape recovery that will yield for the United States?”

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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

Niall Ferguson says, U.S. Empire in Decline and on Collision Course with China

The U.S. is an empire in decline, according to Niall Ferguson, Harvard professor and author of The Ascent of Money.”People have predicted the end of America in the past and been wrong,” Ferguson concedes. “But let’s face it: If you’re trying to borrow $9 trillion to save your financial system…and already half your public debt held by foreigners, it’s not really the conduct of rising empires, is it?”Given its massive deficits and overseas military adventures, America today is similar to the Spanish Empire in the 17th century and Britain’s in the 20th, he says. “Excessive debt is usually a predictor of subsequent trouble.”Putting a finer point on it, Ferguson says America today is comparable to Britain circa 1900: a dominant empire underestimating the rise of a new power. In Britain’s case back then it was Germany; in America’s case today, it’s China.”When China’s economy is equal in size to that of the U.S., which could come as early as 2027…it means China becomes not only a major economic competitor – it’s that already, it then becomes a diplomatic competitor and a military competitor,” the history professor declares.The most obvious sign of this is China’s major naval construction program, featuring next generation submarines and up to three aircraft carriers, Ferguson says. “There’s no other way of interpreting this than as a challenge to the hegemony of the U.S. in the Asia-Pacific region.”As to analysts like Stratfor’s George Friedman, who downplay China’s naval ambitions, Ferguson notes British experts – including Winston Churchill – were similarly complacent about Germany at the dawn of the 20th century.”I’m not predicting World War III but we have to recognize…China is becoming more assertive, a rival not a partner,” he says, adding that China’s navy doesn’t have to be as large as America’s to pose a problem. “They don’t have to have an equally large navy, just big enough to pose a strategic threat [and] cause trouble” for the U.S. Navy.

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Commercial Real Estate Market – Next Shoe to Drop

Great Dpression Homless Man

Great Depression Homless Man

NYC Commercial Real Estate Wreckage

Here’s the scary thing about the commercial real estate situation:   It’s not even starting to get better, actually — Things are still getting worse faster says Moody’s.

The Moody’s Delinquency Tracker (DQT) measured a 41 basis point increase in the month of September. The DQT now stands at 3.64%. This represents a 310 basis points increase over the same time last year. The DQT is now nearly 350 basis points higher than the low of 0.22% reached in July 2007.

September had the largest monthly basis point change in the history of the tracker. The 41 basis point increase is slightly larger than the increases in May and June earlier this year. The tracker resumed its large monthly growth after a lower than average change in August.

The average rise in delinquency in the past six months is 34 basis points. This compares to a three basis point average increase for the same six month period in 2008 (April through September). In 2009 the delinquency rate has risen 269 basis points, nearly tripling since the beginning of the year.

The PBS NewsHour took a look at the bearish obsession du jour, the commercial real estate market.  Real estate analyst Bob White took them around to show some of the ugliest cases out there in New York City.

http://www.businessinsider.com/a-guided-tour-of-nyc-commercial-real-estate-wreckage-video-2009-10

Moody’s Delinquency Tracker - Commercial Real Estate

Moody’s Delinquency Tracker - Commercial Real Estate

Jim Rogers Says, Gold Will Hit $2,000 and USA Will Lose Status As The World’s Reserve Currency

Good Time To Buy Gold

Good Time To Buy Gold

Famed investor Jim Rogers is “quite sure gold will go over $2000 per ounce during this bull market.”Rogers’ confidence gold will continue to rally stems from a view the U.S. dollar is on its way to losing status as the world’s reserve currency.”Is it going to happen? Yes,” Rogers says. “I don’t like saying it [and] I’m extremely worried about it but we have to deal with the facts. America is not getting better [and] the dollar is going to be replaced just like pound sterling [was].”Rogers didn’t offer a timetable, and it’s likely gold would exceed $2000 per ounce if the dollar were to lose its reserve status.Still, “I wouldn’t buy gold today,” Rogers says. “I think I’ll make more money in other commodities, which are cheaper,” as discussed in more detail here.Among many others, Rogers is “worried about the fact the U.S. government is printing huge amounts, spending gigantic amounts of money it doesn’t have,” the investor and author says. “People are very worried [and] skeptical about paper money [and] looking for places to protect themselves. The best way is to buy real assets. [That] has always protected one during currency turmoil, and it will again.”

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Jim Rogers Says, Commodities Cycle Won’t Be Over for Years and Food Crisis Looms

Jim Rogers, famed investor and best-selling author, announced the start of a global commodities rally in 1999. It turned out to be a heck of call: Since then, commodities have dramatically outperformed stocks. Just this year, gold has hit record highs above $1000 per ounce, copper has nearly doubled and oil has rallied sharply off its March lows. So does Robers still believe in the commodity boom?You bet. “The story is not over, not for a while,” he tells Tech Ticker in this video clip. “I don’t see any reason it’s going to be over for a few years because no one is bringing new supply on stream.”The chairman of Rogers Holdings still owns gold though it’s not his favorite metal. “Gold is mystical to many people. I think I’ll make money in other commodities that are more useful.”Rogers is far more bullish on agricultural commodities. As he sees it, “most agricultural products are still depressed on a historic basis.”The lack of supply Rogers sees is especially concerning when it comes to agricultural products. “A catastrophe is looming,” he says. “The world is going to have a period when we cannot get food at any price in some parts of the world.”A potential food crisis transcends money, but Rogers warning may still prove to be another great investment lesson. As he told us in parting, “instead of getting an MBA, get yourself a farming degree. You’ll make a lot more money.”

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