While skimming through Paul Ferrell’s post “Wall Street Psycho: 15 signs of moral and ethical pathology, soul-sickness” related to how the investment world works, I was particularly struck by the observation that “Moral Issues are PR glitches” since a lot of what crosses my desk is PR-related.
Take, for example, the Federal Reserve’s press release Thursday about “neighborhood stabilization”…
“The Federal Reserve System will sponsor a national summit on September 1 and 2 to discuss methods and resources for encouraging neighborhood stabilization in the aftermath of the U.S. home mortgage foreclosure crisis. The forum will showcase findings from Federal Reserve research and policy efforts, including the release of the publication REO and Vacant Properties: Strategies for Neighborhood Stabilization.
People living in communities with vacant properties face declining property values, loss of public services due to reduced tax revenue, and increased levels of crime. The summit will examine practical and tested strategies that nonprofit organizations, local and regional governments, federal officials, and lenders can use to mitigate the impact of vacant and real estate owned (REO) property–property held on the books of banks, typically after failure to sell at foreclosure auction.
“A foreclosure not only hurts the person who loses their home, it hurts their neighbors and their communities,” said Federal Reserve Governor Elizabeth A. Duke. “As delinquencies and foreclosures continue to increase, we must think creatively and focus our research, outreach, and community development efforts on ways to help these communities recover.”
I found – while reaching for my extra-large ViceGrips with which to pinch myself – thinking “So rather than fix the problems, they’re now passing out strategies on how to live with this new, lower, standard of living on an on-going basis?”
Not that the Second Depression is coming on too quickly; it’s just taking its own sweet time about destroying the world. Japan was up almost one percent overnight, Europe hasn’t been falling (for a change), and speaking of ‘Ben”, the Fed Boss hisself is in speechifying today.
So while we wait on that, the new GDP figures are out:
“Real gross domestic product -- the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States — increased at an annual rate of 1.6 percent in the second quarter of 2010, (that is, from the first quarter to the second quarter), according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter, real GDP increased 3.7 percent.
The GDP estimates released today are based on more complete source data than were available for the “advance” estimate issued last month. In the advance estimate, the increase in real GDP was 2.4 percent (see “Revisions” on page 3).
The increase in real GDP in the second quarter primarily reflected positive contributions from nonresidential fixed investment, personal consumption expenditures, exports, federal government spending, private inventory investment, and residential fixed investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.
The deceleration in real GDP in the second quarter primarily reflected a sharp acceleration in imports and a sharp deceleration in private inventory investment that were partly offset by an upturn in residential fixed investment, an acceleration in nonresidential fixed investment, an upturn in state and local government spending, and an acceleration in federal government spending. “
What really matters is constant dollars and relative performance, so here’s the deal in chained 2005 dollars: YoY we’re up 2.978% compared with W2 2009, but tracking still 0.47% where constant dollar GDP was back in 2007.
So did we all just work three years for nothing?
Did I exit prematurely from my paper short position, you’re wondering, since the bounce at the open was quickly followed on the downside Thursday? Only if we take out the intraday low of Wednesday (Dow 9,925.34). Otherwise I’m out with a reason which might become apparent today or Monday/Tuesday. This is not investment advice, however.
Still: Stocks are headed for a slightly higher open today and I’m still optimistic about going short come the middle of next week. Still, being up 21.9% for the YTD in paper is not nearly as cool as seeing gold creep back toward $1,250 and silver’s quietly moved above $19…
Super Quake Watch
A couple of readers have asked if I’ve noticed anything odd out of some of the seismographs up around Yellowstone. You mean like this one? Not a big deal…hopefully, and nothing big enough to show up as a worry-point on the USGS monitor map for the area…
On the other hand, the continuous (more or less) quaking, like the 3.1 this morning down in the currently below sea level area of the Imperial Valley in California? Different problem….
Gone With the Wind
At the National Hurricane Information Center, where tracking Hurricane Danielle – now up to category 4 has been ongoing – people aren’t getting too excited, since it seems to be destined to turn around to the northeast and blow itself out well out to sea. Unless you’re in Bermuda…
NOT Gone With the Wind
Interesting Apple iPhone/iPad software in the works. Seems Apple wants to be able to shut down a user’s iWhatever if they access product not sanctioned by Apple. This kind of applehack is called “jailbreaking” and Apple wants to bust (in two senses of the word) people doing it. Worse: The courts say it’s OK…
Seems to me that in this kind of case, the folks at Apple oughta be more clear: People who ‘buy’ iWhatevers more and more are just long-term renting them, since if you own something, what you do with it is no one else’s business, eh? I’m sure that’s explained in their EULA, but I gave up reading EULA’s in about 1988… No offense to the townspeople over in Eula, Texas, BTW.
Former President Jimmy Carter’s trip to North Korea has paid off with release of an American detained for illegal entry. North Korea watchers are now off on a new tangent, trying to figure out if Kim Jong Il is planning a China trip, but I’ve spiked that one as a “Who cares?”
Say, you happen to notice the story yesterday about now the Navy had an unmanned drone aircraft lost not too far from the nation’s capitol for more than a half-hour before getting it back under control? All of which gets me to wondering if DHS is tracking memberships in model airplane clubs now…
Watching the MSM
USA Today is reported planning to axe about 130-jobs and reorganize their newsroom with more of a focus on mobile users.
Stories We Missed
Damn! Missed covering (or would this be uncovering?) National Topless Day out in Venice Beach, California.
We also seem to have missed the case of a real-life Judge Judy type up in Seattle, who Time Magazine reported recently was handed a five-day suspension for courtroom insults laid on defendants.
Worst of all, we haven’t mentioned the recently concluded Tiger Woods / Elin Nordegren divorce case.
All of which would seem to make UrbanSurvival hopelessly out of touch. Even being marginally aware of the October 1 release of “The Social Network” which is a kind of chronicle of Facebook’s development, won’t move us over into the “too hip” column.
We’ll just have to live with that, I guess. The real news may be Zeus the Cat’s plans to launch a pet food-tracking ETF…