News from around the web: 2009-09-05
The mortgage-delinquency rate among so-called subprime borrowers reached 25% in the first quarter but appears to be leveling off, rising only slightly in the second quarter. The pace of delinquencies for prime borrowers is accelerating. Since prime loans account for 80% of U.S. bank exposure to mortgages and credit cards, these losses could ultimately exceed those from weaker borrowers.
South Florida’s Soffer family, already roiled by the June bankruptcy of its $3 billion Fontainebleau casino-hotel project in Las Vegas, is grappling with troubles at another cornerstone of its $7 billion real-estate empire: The original Fontainebleau hotel in Miami Beach.
State and local governments stood out as safe havens for workers during the recession’s early stages. Now even they are laying off employees as officials rush to cut costs and balance budgets.
California drivers can’t line up to renew their licenses Friday. Wisconsin natives can’t order copies of their birth certificates. Georgia consumers will have to postpone registering complaints with state watchdogs. And stranded motorists in Maryland may have to wait a little longer for highway-department help. Across the country, cash-strapped state governments are shutting down business for a day at a time to save money.
If arch-bear Nouriel Roubini has really thrown in the towel on our Great Contraction – as often claimed – this was not obvious here on the shores of Lake Como in Italy.
Nouriel Roubini, a leading economist who predicted the scale of global financial troubles, said a U-shaped recovery is possible, with leading economies undeperforming perhaps for 3 years. He said there is also an increasing risk of a "double-dip" scenario, however.
Mohamed El-Erian, the chief executive of top bond fund PIMCO, said in an interview on Friday the risk of stalled economic growth in 2010 is increasing, given a still-weak labor market.
Female part-time work is much more popular and persistent in the Netherlands than in any other OECD country. A 2001 tax reform that raised the after-tax hourly wage increased female labour force participation but actually reduced hours worked. This column explains why Dutch women are happy to work part-time.
The U-6 figure is the highest since the Labor Department started this particular data series in 1994. But, similar to the headline unemployment rate, it likely isn’t as bad as it was in the 1980s. U-6 only goes back to 1994, but a discontinued measure has a longer history. That old U-6 measure peaked at 14.3% in 1982. Through some calculation, a comparable measure can be determined in the current report. Under the old U-6 methodology, the August rate would be 13.3%, the highest rate since 1983, but still below the peak.
After a slight "rebound" last month, we are now at a new all-time (since 1964) low.
A well-balanced but Keynesian view of the recent history of the economics profession.
John Maynard Keynes versus Milton Friedman: the economics clash to end them all. It is not merely that the pair were both phenomenally intelligent, frequently caustic debaters; nor is it that they hail from such different backgrounds, one an Eton-educated Englishman, the other the Brooklyn-born son of Hungarian Jewish immigrants.
Alistair Darling was right to say yesterday that it’s not the job of governments to decide which commercial activities are of value to society. But if that’s true, then neither is it the job of governments to decide how the people who are carrying out those activities are paid.
The Eu looks to be united on one side of this debate, with the U.S. on the outside looking in.
Japan’s incoming government may redeploy as much as 5 trillion yen ($54 billion) in stimulus spending currently planned for “wasteful” programs, Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker Hirohisa Fujii said.
The World Trade Organisation is understood to have ruled that subsidies provided by European countries for Airbus’s A380 superjumbo were illegal.
As of July 24, 2009, First State Bank had total assets of $105 million and total deposits of approximately $95 million. In addition to assuming all of the deposits of the failed bank, Sunwest Bank agreed to purchase essentially all of the assets.
The FDIC will mail customers checks for their insured funds on Tuesday, September 8. Platinum Community Bank, as of August 29, 2009, had total assets of $345.6 million and total deposits of $305.0 million. The FDIC entered into an agreement with MB Financial Bank, National Association, to accept the failed bank’s direct deposits from the federal government, such as Social Security and Veterans’ payments.
As of August 28, 2009, Vantus Bank had total assets of $458 million and total deposits of approximately $368 million. In addition to assuming all of the deposits of the failed bank, Great Southern Bank agreed to purchase approximately $387 million of the assets. The FDIC will retain the remaining assets for later disposition.
As of August 3, 2009, InBank had total assets of $212 million and total deposits of approximately $199 million. In addition to assuming the deposits of the failed bank, MB Financial Bank, N.A., agreed to purchase essentially all of the assets.
As of June 30, 2009, First Bank of Kansas City had total assets of $16 million and total deposits of approximately $15 million. In addition to assuming all of the deposits of the failed bank, Great American Bank agreed to purchase all of the assets.
While the week started with David Brooks and others highlighting President Obama’s rapidly falling approval rates, the Gallup Daily Tracking poll finds the president’s approval rates actually rose five points this week to 55%.
With the President, members of Congress, and key stakeholders seeking aggressive reforms to slow spending growth while improving value, a group of 10 health care policy experts today released a set of concrete, feasible steps that could achieve this goal. The plan, “Bending the Curve: Effective Steps to Address Long-Term Health Care Spending Growth,” focuses on reducing the growth of health care spending, while also improving quality.
Vaccinating women against the human papillomavirus (HPV) may prevent some forms of breast cancer and save tens of thousands of lives each year, new Australian research suggests.
The participants in the name-dropping experiment were 141 students from the University of Zurich. Each was misled to believe that they would later be participating with a partner—a complete stranger—as part of a study on sports behavior. For now, though, they were to simply exchange a few introductory pleasantries through email. (In actuality, of course, there was no other person on email, just the experimenter sending the participant a pre-scripted message). The students were randomly assigned to one of four “name-dropping conditions” in which the fictitious same-sex partner either: (1) didn’t mention Federer at all; (2) mentioned he (or she) was a fan of Federer; (3) claimed to be a personal friend of Federer, or; (4) claimed to be both Federer’s personal friend and workout buddy.
University of Michigan researchers have identified a gene that acts as a master switch to control obesity in mice. When the switch is turned off, even high-fat-diet mice remain thin.
On the morning he was arrested on corruption charges last December, Rod Blagojevich was the nation’s biggest greaseball. So obviously, the national press was willing to say anything to land an interview. And we’ve got their emails to prove it.
mail works most of the time. Maybe we should give Google (GOOG) a break and not freak out every time something does go wrong.
If you have a passion for cars you may have heard about James May. The guy is producer and co-presenter on one of Britain’s best TV Shows, Top Gear. Also known as Captain Slow, James is more than just a guy with a passion for engines. He also loves LEGO and to prove that he’s serious about it, after beer with the “mates” he decided to build — entirely from LEGO pieces — a real two-storey house, where he’ll live upon completion.
You knew Shevchenko would be in there.
Distraction of the Day: 400 lb. Pet Pig
In New York, I lived one floor down from a couple who had a pet pig. They would go for strolls in Manhattan with their pet the way one might do with the pet dog