Monday, June 8, 2009

Required Reading: Monday, June 9th

Jobs and the Unemployment Rate – Calculated Risk

The Psychology of Short Sales by Tanta, April 2008 – Calculated Risk

Consumer Bankruptcy Filings up Sharply – Calculated Risk


Beer run on a lawn mower leads to OUI charge – Breitbart News

VASSALBORO, Maine (AP) - A Maine man has been charged with operating under the influence after he and a friend made a beer run on a riding lawn mower.

Police say 51-year-old Danforth Ross of Vassalboro was charged May 29.

Trooper Joe Chretien had been flagged down by several motorists warning of a wayward mower and made the arrest after Ross and his friend emerged from a variety store with two cases of beer.

The depression quietly deepens – Telegraph, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

The list of countries in deflation is growing every month: Ireland (-3.5), Thailand (-3.3), China (-1.5), Switzerland (-1), Spain (-0.8), the US (-0.7), Singapore (-0.7), Taiwan (-0.5), Belgium (-0.4), Japan (-0.1), Sweden (-0.1), Germany (0).

Yet markets seem to think otherwise, and this has its own awful consequences. Inflation fears have driven 10-year US Treasury yields to 3.86pc, a full point above levels in March when the Fed intervened to force rates down. US mortgage rates have jumped to 5.29pc. Gilts have reached 3.92pc, and French 10-year bonds are at 4.05pc.

This bond revolt is enough to bring any global recovery to a shuddering halt. The irony is that those fretting loudest about inflation may themselves tip us into outright deflation, with all the perils of a debt compound trap. It is Angela Merkel who plays with fire.

Real estate woes not solely residential – The Contra Costa Times

A vast auto dealership is empty in Oakland, visible from the freeway. In Pittsburg, a big housing development looms over a downtown street, unfinished and vacant. Hotels in Brentwood and Oakland are isolated behind cyclone fences. A mammoth residential development is idle next to the Caldecott Tunnel.

These troubled projects all are mute testimony to a financial malaise that first sickened the housing market and has now infected a broader part of the wheezing regional economy.

During a half-year period stretching from October through the end of March, mortgages totaling $784 million have slumped into default for dozens of commercial or development properties, including some huge residential subdivisions, in the East Bay.

"The commercial real estate shoe has dropped, and it is sitting on the ground crying," said Christopher Thornberg, partner and economist with Beacon Economics. "This is a huge problem."

Interactive: California budget balancer - The Los Angeles Times

CHART OF THE DAY: House Prices Are Getting Reasonable Again - Clusterstock


The Five Waves Of The Housing Collapse – Clusterstock

Oregonians vs. Californians – Willamettelive

I didn't know Oregonians hated Californians. I didn't know I would get a cold snarl from the worker at the poorly lit DMV on South Liberty when I handed in my California I.D. I didn't know the pastor of a prominent local church would poke fun at potential supporters moving north into his community in lieu of cheaper housing. And most of all, I didn't know Salem was such a great city.

So Many Square Feet, So Few People – 100K House

So, seeing this wide range, the question remains . . . how much space do we need? Has the increase in sfpp seen a correlating increase in the quality of life? Are we three times more comfortable than we were in 1950? Are we three times happier? Could we, perhaps, manage to live in slightly smaller spaces than those with which we have become accustomed, particularly if it proves to have a positive impact on our environment, traffic congestion and other quality of life issues?

Five Things: "Real" Economic Data and Market Separation – Minyanville, Kevin Depew

The End of Ponzi Prosperity – Minyanville, Satyajit Das

Consumption, rather than investment, drove growth, particularly in the developed world. Debt-fueled consumption became the norm. In the new economy, there were three kinds of people -- the haves, the have-nots, and the have-not-paid-for-what-they-haves.