NYC Real Estate Prices to Fall Another 50%

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

From Zero Hedge, an analysis by Deutsche Bank:

The top 5 MSAs (Metropolitan Statistical Areas) where the pain will be most acute? (no real surprise there):

1. New York-White Plains-Wayne
2. West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Boynton Beach
3. Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall
4. Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach
5. Long Island Nassau-Suffolk

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Bush’s Legacy

Monday, March 30, 2009

Historians will produce reams about this abject failure of a man and his hastening the decline of the United States. Some thousand years from now scholars will look back in awe at the damage one presidency could inflict on a nation. Within the scope of the limitations of his office, he couldn’t have done more damage if he was trying.

For this, I will take off my shoe and beat the walls of his presidential library at SMU, if ever I get there.

In the meantime, I give you the quote that prompted this post:

“The United States is desperately trying to assert leadership, as if it were 10 years ago, when the U.S. set the agenda,” said Kenneth S. Rogoff, an economist at Harvard and another former chief economist of the fund.

It’s from an article in today’s New York Times about China and India challenging U.S. leadership of the IMF.


On Vacation

Friday, March 20, 2009

More, new, better posts to come beginning this spring!


U.S. Military Spending vs. the World

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

And oft told story, true…but no matter what, we’ve always got the military…

Courtesy of The Economist.


Dodd’s Downfall

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Jonathan Karl of ABC News reports:

Last month, the Senate unanimously approved an amendment to the stimulus bill aimed at restricting bonuses over $100,000 at any company receiving federal bailout funds. The measure, which was drafted by Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., applied these restrictions retroactively to bonuses received or promised in 2008 and onward.

But then…

The provision was stripped out during the closed-door conference negotiations involving House and Senate leaders and the White House. A measure by Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., to limit executive compensation replaced it. But Dodd’s measure explicitly exempted bonuses agreed to prior to the passage of the stimulus bill.

Here’s the exact language from Dodd’s measure in the stimulus: “The prohibition required under clause (i) shall not be construed to prohibit any bonus payment required to be paid pursuant to a written employment contract executed on or before February 11, 2009…”

How can he possibly explain this?

I have not been impressed with Dodd’s false populist outrage, nor with his disclosure of his role in the unfolding of this crisis. If New York (and London) is the epicenter of this financial earthquake, Connecticut with its hedge funds and insurance industry, represents a second locus of major instability. Dodd, like Schumer, along with the entire GOP, bears serious responsibility for the lack of oversight and regulation preceding these events.

I can’t wait to hear why this language was inserted into the bill.


The Contemporary Art Bubble

Friday, March 13, 2009

Nice article from Prospect Magazine (from December) on the massive bubble in contemporary art.

A choice morsel:

Economist and historian of financial crashes, Edward Chancellor, observed recently: “Most contemporary art is inherently worthless. It is not like Titian and other old masters of which there are few and whose value will not fall away. It’s like subprime CDOs.”

And another:

But the suspicion is that dealers and collectors with interests in particular artists may have been “bidding up” prices at auction and acquiring works. If so, they may be holding large inventories of overvalued work, financed by increasingly expensive debt. At the Damien Hirst auction at Sotheby’s, his London dealer, Jay Jopling, bid on an astonishing 44 per cent of the lots in the evening sale, and both he and Hirst’s US dealer, Larry Gagosian, bid on two lots after long pauses in the bidding.

I’ve said it before but its always worth saying again: Koons, Hirst, etc., etc., are hustlers. I feel no pity for those who will never recoup their “investment” in this worthless tripe.


Dragging Ass Across Winter’s Finish Line

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I don’t know how Canadians do it.

Booze? Medication?

We need a little springtime. Right this very minute.