Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Links 05/19/2009

Meltdown 101: Industrial production offers clues – The Associated Press

There's one easy way to measure how much the economy is suffering during the recession: America's factories are making far less stuff then they used to.

Predicting the California Housing Bottom and Examining Market Trends from 1992 to 2009: Foreclosures, Inflation Adjusted Prices, and Income. Data Points to a 2011 Bottom for California Housing. – Dr. Housing Bubble

The Master of Money – Michael Lewis, The New Republic

There is now a long shelf of books about Warren Buffett, but this is the first time he has gone to any trouble to add to it. Reportedly Buffett now regrets his decision--he has apparently put some fresh distance between himself and his official biographer. If so, it's not hard to see why…

Wait, Why Are We Bailing Out GM And Letting Them Ship Jobs Overseas? (GM) – Clusterstock


Fed: Delinquency Rates Surged in Q1 2009 – Calculated Risk


Department Of Labor Spends $40 Billion To Create One Amazing New Job – The Onion

American Express says it will eliminate 4,000 jobs – The Associated Press

Deflation Still Clear and Present Danger – Minyanville

Superficial signs of renewed inflation are everywhere: Oil prices appear to be stabilizing, and concern is growing about future supply shortages (which, by extension, could lead to higher prices at the pump). The stock market has staged an impressive rally, with expectant bulls and former bears finding for "green shoots" of economic growth everywhere. Home prices, if you look purely at the data and ignore fundamentals, are starting to slow their fantastic decline.

Even the consumer price index, or CPI, is looking tame. Well, except for last month's drop, the largest in more than 50 years.

And herein lies the problem.

Bangladesh police cross-dress to nab thieves – Breitbart

900 Small to Mid-Sized Banks Face Losses of $200 Billion – Mish

Five Things for Tuesday, May 19 – Minyanville

Credit Card Industry Aims to Profit From Sterling Payers – The New York Times

Now Congress is moving to limit the penalties on riskier borrowers, who have become a prime source of billions of dollars in fee revenue for the industry. And to make up for lost income, the card companies are going after those people with sterling credit.

Banks are expected to look at reviving annual fees, curtailing cash-back and other rewards programs and charging interest immediately on a purchase instead of allowing a grace period of weeks, according to bank officials and trade groups.

Hamptons Homes Decline Most Since Realtors Kept Records in 1982 – Bloomberg

Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan, Goldman Apply to Repay TARP – Bloomberg

Running for Lean Times: It's no accident that jogging took off in the 1970s. – The Wall Street Journal

While gym memberships are down and personal trainers are getting the boot, running is making a major comeback according to race directors and shoe retailers.

It's easy to see why. Running is an inexpensive activity that requires little in the way of equipment -- a decent pair of shoes, shorts, socks and a T-shirt and you're ready. The playing field is any free land, sidewalk, park or road. (It's not surprising that America's first running craze was born of the economic malaise of the 1970s.) And most cities and towns have at least one running club, an informal group that meets for distance runs and interval workouts. In short, running is one of the cheapest forms of exercise a body can do.

The Destructive Implications of the Bailout - Understanding Equilibrium – John Hussman

As Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz recently noted, the bureaucrats that designed this bailout are “either in the pocket of the banks or they're incompetent. It's a real redistribution and a tax on all American savers. This is a strategy trying to recreate the bubble. That's not likely to provide a long-run solution. It's a solution that says let's kick the can down the road a little bit. They haven't thought enough about the determinants of the flow of credit and lending.”

Not that anyone is listening, unfortunately.