All Posts Tagged With: "Mortgages"

The Latest Treasury Bailout and the Law of Unintended Consequences

I have to admit, my thoughts regarding the latest financial debacles waver from one extreme to the other.  My initial instinct is that the markets need to be stabilized, and anything that provides a floor for a stock market in apparent free fall is a good thing.

My next thought is that $700 billion is a huge chunk of change, and ultimately, the taxpayer, that is, you and me, is on the hook.  The current US budget is running a significant deficit, Congress and the current Administration have not proven themselves worthy of handling such a large sum of money.  On the other hand, the Treasury is acquiring these assets at a fire sale price, so as a taxpayer, we may be able to recoup …


The Latest Tale of Greed and Hubris

As more than a casual observer of the recent economic and business events of the last two weekends, it occurs to me that the age-old adage “Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered” applies here.  It is truly regrettable that such venerable institutions as Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, and Lehman Brothers are no more.  Thousands of jobs have been lost.  Careers have been shattered.  People have asked me, “What’s the next shoe to fall?”.  My response is “Who knows?  I never thought that it would come to this”.

Oh, how the once mighty have fallen!  Three years ago, the afore-mentioned three were making money hand over fist.  Trading in mortgage-backed securities, collateralized debt obligations, and structured investment vehicles were at an alltime high.  Huge bonuses were …


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Is The Crisis Abated?

On Sunday I shared some initial thoughts about the Fed take-over of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. If you read it, you know I’m not exactly happy about the outcome.  My friend Bithead shared some great thoughts Monday, and I don’t disagree that something needed to be done.   He and I both agree dumping the CEOs was necessary.

And on Monday the Stock Market reacted very favorably to the news, with a huge rise in the Dow (500 points, settling up 289), with a strong positive impact to the banking industry.

But I’m still convinced that the solution divides the interests of those in the government now set to manage the affairs of these companies.  Everyone who looks at this right now is breathing …


Government Mortages: The New Balancing Act

Today US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson announced plans for the new Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to take Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae into conservatorship.   The power to do this was provided in HR 3221 which was passed in July.

The move includes replacement of the CEO of both organizations, and an infusion of about $200 billion.  In return, the Treasury gets $1 billion in preferred stock from each company without providing the cash for it up front (I’m assuming this will work like a stock option).

From the Wall Street Journal:

It is unclear how much the government’s intervention will ultimately cost taxpayers. In exchange for agreeing to provide as much capital as needed to the companies as they cope with heavy losses on


What A Week: Housing

By now you probably know that both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have had very poor quarterly reports.  Worse than expected.  And now we’re in for worse trouble.

Money is now expected to be tighter as we roll into the fall and home buying will continue to be slow due to the fact rates will be higher and people will be disinclined to borrow and therefore buy.

Don’t mind the fact that having the media and the industry simply telling the public that it’s bad probably causes a lot more people to sit on their hands.

With home prices as low as they are now, it’s the best time to buy.  The cost of money is already low and continues to be offset by the …


The Housing Bill Is Law

As expected, President Bush signed HR 3221 into law this morning, making billions of federal dollars available to home owners, shoring up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and providing closer oversight of the financial aspects of home ownership to the Administration and Congress.

What a shame.

After speaking with a good friend of mine that is a CPA, the tax incentives, particularly the $7,500 tax credit (a topic which is burning up the search engines at this time), are going to make life harder for tax preparers, tax payers, and probably increase the cost of running the IRS.  As I’ve said before, There are going to be a lot of problems keeping track of this. 

Plus, this is just an unfair competition with banks.  …


Follow-up On The Housing Bill

In reference to my post on Saturday regarding HR 3221, the “Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008″, I discovered a site where there is a copy of the Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate for HR 3221. Over the next ten years, according to the estimate, this bill will create a nearly $25 Billion deficit.

Another blogger, John D. Thornton, has some interesting insights regarding the OFHEO.

I’ve been getting some hits on Saturday’s post that are searches like this “explain the $7500 tax credit on the new housing bill that was just passed“.   I’m glad to see there are people wanting to understand it better.  This could be achille’s heel of the bill.

There is additional information available (this is …


Swamp Stomper Alert: Housing Bill Heads to White House

Well, it took almost 3 months, but Congress finally passed the bill today, on older version of which was  passed by the House in May, after some considerable back and forth between the Senate and the House.  The bill is HR 3221 (pdf), titled: “Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008”.

The entire bill is over 600 pages long.  The table of contents is 7 pages.  And technically, this is a bill that began its life over a year ago.  Sponsored by none other than Nancy Pelosi.  And apparently Bush is planning to sign.

He should not.

Touted by most of the media is the section that provides up to a $7,500 tax credit is 1,800 words.  And the  media manage to mention it …


Senator Schumer and the Law of Unintended Consequences

I’m always amazed at the hubris of politicians, although, one would think at this point in my life that I really shouldn’t be amazed at all.

On Friday of last week, Federal Regulators seized IndyMac Bancorp, a $40 billion thrift.  It appears that letters sent by Sen. Schumer to federal agencies in June and made public by the Senator’s office may have contributed to IndyMac’s untimely demise by inadvertantly setting off a run on the bank’s deposits.

Senator Schumer vehemently denies that his grandstanding caused the bank’s failure, suggesting instead that the Office of Thrift Supervision blew it by allowing banks to make risky loans.  But Senator Schumer is a member of the Senate Banking Committee, which has oversight responsibility (a key word somewhat foreign …


Another Good Reason To Be A Democrat

It’s so easy to get away with things.  Right in front of everyone.  No one seriously does anything about it.  We’ve seen it with Obama, Clinton, Clinton, and today, with Chris Dodd.

I don’t know why I keep thinking that people like Dodd are respectable and of high integrity.  When Countrywide gave him a great, no a ridiculously incredible deal on his mortgage (his wasn’t a sub-prime, was it?), he had to know right then an there that he was get preferential treatment of an order that was inappropriate for a US Senator.  Add to that the fact he received significant political contributions from the company and then he co-sponsors the Dodd-Shelby housing-bailout bill (that essentially bails out the likes of Countrywide).

And now, National …


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