– If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed. –Mark Twain
RCM Comment: The story below illustrates what happens all too often when government oversteps its mandate and attempts to manipulate the private sector. For those of you who approve of big government read this story very closely. Please understand that I respect your ideals and I’m willing to believe as left wing, big government believers you are only trying to promote equality (those who use big government for their own gain e.g. ACORN, I will not waste time addressing). However, reality must trump blind altruism.
Yes, we need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, but let’s do it in a way that promotes private sector innovation not government handouts. If, for example, significant tax breaks were directed at the renewable energy issue the wheels of innovation would already be moving. Private sector innovation has always been the key weapon in the economic arsenal of the USA.
I’m sorry did I just write something? I must have been dreaming. Tax breaks would help everyone equally and this would never do for those controlling Washington. Government handouts, in the form of “stimulus”, can be directed at special interest groups and those who donate to political campaigns. Did you really believe Obama’s campaign promise to rid Washington of lobbyists and special interests? If, so then you must go directly to jail without passing go or collecting $200. Your punishment for naivete: stay in jail until the Community Chest gets around to authorizing a “get out of jail free” card. This authorization should take about as long as it takes for the stimulus package to actually stimulate. My advice: bring a good book. Something written by Thomas Sowell perhaps such as “The Housing Boom and Bust”.
Stalled stimulus programs deter investments in renewable energy – WSJ
WSJ reports the U.S. government stimulus package passed in February promised to reinvigorate the renewable-energy industry with new capital and programs, but the prospect of large flows of government money to the industry is holding up private-sector investment. New incentive programs haven’t yet been defined, and uncertainty about program rules has deterred investors from backing companies that also may get government money. At the same time, companies are holding off from accepting private capital because of the possibility of getting it more cheaply from the government. “It artificially slowed the recovery,” Matt Cheney, chief executive of Renewable Ventures, the U.S. subsidiary of Fotowatio SL, a Spanish developer of renewable-energy projects, said of the stimulus plan.
Reality vs. “Green Shoot” Redux…Combine this story with the commercial real estate story from the 7/8 post and you get a good idea of the real headwinds facing economic recovery.
Subprime resurfaces as housing-market woe – WSJ
WSJ reports the U.S. housing market is facing new downward pressure as holders of subprime-mortgage bonds flood the market with foreclosed homes at prices that are much lower than where many banks are willing to sell. While nationwide figures are scarce, a review of thousands of foreclosures in the Atlanta area shows that trusts managing pools of securitized mortgages sold six times as many properties as banks during the six months ended March 31. And homes dumped by subprime bondholders sold for thousands of dollars less on average than bank-owned properties, the data show.
Experts say this is a bad omen for residential real-estate prices and homeowners trying to sell or refinance, because the fire sales, many to cover soured subprime loans, put downward pressure on the value of nearby homes. All of this undermines federal efforts to stabilize the housing market and revive the broader economy. “While the banks are trying frantically to get loans off their books, they face the problem of large shadow inventories of housing being dumped on the market, which would depress prices further,” said Anthony Sanders, real-estate finance professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.
RCM Comment: I continue to run these stories about the US$ because you must appreciate that change is coming and protect your assets accordingly. Should you need help devising a plan may I suggest you visit our website. I will also entertain any and all questions as promptly as possible whether they are received via blog comments, email or phone.
China attacks dollar’s dominance – Financial Times
Financial Times reports China has launched its highest-profile criticism of the dominant role of the US dollar as a global reserve currency at a meeting of the world’s biggest economies. Dai Bingguo, Chinese state counselor, raised the issue on Thursday when he joined the leaders of four other emerging economies for talks with the leaders of the Group of Eight industrialized nations — including US President Barack Obama — in L’Aquila. The remarks, in front of Mr Obama, caused concern among western leaders, some of whom fear that even discussion of long-term currency issues could unsettle markets and undercut economic recovery.
Gordon Brown, Britain’s prime minister, said he did not remember Mr Dai making the remarks. But he said the focus should be on moving the world out of recession. “We don’t want to give the impression that big change is around the corner and the present arrangements will be destabilized,” said Mr Brown. (In other words, Gordon would rather lie about the situation than give an honest impression.)
“We should have a better system for reserve currency issuance and regulation, so that we can maintain relative stability of major reserve currencies exchange rates and promote a diversified and rational international reserve currency system,” said Mr Dai, according to the Chinese foreign ministry. While he did not name the dollar, Mr Dai was unequivocal in calling for the world to diversify the reserve currency system and aim at relatively stable exchange rates among leading currencies.