Beware the False Idol

‘The housing market is improving…the housing market is improving’

Sadly, this is the banshee wail of the undereducated. Sadly, we have heard this non-fact based mantra going back to early 2009. Though accurately, on a broad-based view of the housing market, it remains mostly false. (this is not to say that there are some, but few pockets and areas of localized markets that are active with legitimate owner-occupied buying)

In what appears to be signs of improvement are in reality, just propped up indexes and figures. The Fed has financed nearly 3 trillion in bad loans and they continue to absorb the cost of defaults in nearly all of the FHA approved mortgages made today. (Read: Tax Payer money) Also, residential delinquencies are on the rise again, up 10.2% in Q4.

Approximately 80% of current delinquent residential loans were originated before 2008. In fact,
pre 2008 loans account for about 53% of all mortgage loans.

Then, there is the GSE’s one of the greatest scams are federal government had enacted- (guaranteeing private loans with public money) continues to dig a deeper and massive hole of debt- read: tax payer money to the tune of 190 Billion and counting.

A bit of historical data reveals that starts of multifamily housing stands at 15% below mean trends. Construction of single family residences is approximately 45%  below the long-term trend and demand for new homes is at 46% below the norm.

Additionally, there are approximately 14 million mortgages underwater. Mortgage net-equity has decreased in 4 1/2 years by a staggering 3.7 Trillion dollars.

There is a  massive amount of non-performing inventory sitting on the balance sheets of banks (in which the government and the Fed have ‘requested’ the banks not to release…) AKA, Mortgage-Stuffing, which has been ramping up in the past two years. There may be upwards of 5 to 7 million distressed assets not being disclosed by the banks. (part of the fraud-closure debacle)

Not too mention, the one trillion dollars of student debt, 16.7 trillion in national debt, 22% total under/unemployment, while the mean duration of unemployment is at 35.3 Weeks. (down slightly from a peak of 40.2, but up from last years average of 33 weeks)

The U.S. now has 48 million households on SNAP (UP by 17 million since 2008) all while housing subsidies have increased by a whopping 48%. Then there are salary and wages- (when adjusted for Real Inflation, are actually negative compared to the core rate) PCE, is flat and personal income is down -3.4%, the most in 20 years.

BUT! The big but…somehow, the average tax paying American has suddenly come up with new found disposal income to buy houses across the nation…amazing! Sadly, it is simply untrue. While there has been some activity in buying, it is mostly in the form of the governments ‘Central-Planning’ Reo-to-Rent programs, a flood of foreign buyers and phantom new start contracts.

And those “SA” Seasonally Adjusted prices you see? Fabricated. When all is said and done and you parse out the ‘noise’ prices are not truly appreciating and in fact in many states are declining once again.

“But the nar said so” Sadly, the nar (one of the largest lobbying groups in Washington) are nothing more than enablers of burden and debt to the tax payers. The nar are simply a fraud.

Question:
What is the primary job of a real estate person? If you think, buy and sell houses, sadly, you would be mistaken. The main function of any real estate firm and agent, is to act as a buffer between a buyer/seller and factual, relevant information. The industry itself is nothing more than a marketing-ministry of propaganda.

The agent acts completely in his or her own self-interest, despite the rhetoric they continually churn out. Upton Sinclair had a great quote- which explains the conflict that a real estate person inherently creates.  “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

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The (In) Complete Postal Package

By DataAnalytics
Updated 4/26

“The Senate offered a lifeline to the nearly bankrupt U.S. Postal Service
on Wednesday, voting to give the struggling agency an $11 billion cash
infusion while delaying controversial decisions on closing post offices
and ending Saturday delivery.”

Now, you can add another dead-beat, inefficient entity to the ledger of
irresponsible, incompetent organizations surviving on the government’s
(READ: Tax Payer) dole. In fact, ELEVEN BILLION DOLLARS WORTH…
Latest figures show the post office is 12 BILLION dollars in debt with a now
projected debt of 21 BILLION– not 18 Billion by 2016.

__________________________________________________________

Neither snow, sleet or rain can usually stop postal carriers from
delivering the U.S. mail, but critical financial difficulties certainly could.

Now staring straight down the barrel of a projected 18.2 BILLION
dollar loss, the United States Postal Service is seeking approval
to increase the price of a first-class stamp to $0.50 cents, up from
the current $0.45, to try and stave off the inevitable bail out.

Suffering from internal inorganization and fairly inefficient operational
methods with some very antiquated and restrictive governmental
regulations, first-class mail volume has fallen 20% since its peak in
2006 along with a 22% decline in overall mail handling volume since 2007.

usps financial chart

usps financial chart

A key measure shown in the chart above, is the total expense column.
As revenues fell expenses significantly increased, which only serves
to highlight the ongoing inefficiencies within the postal service.
Particularly alarming are the large jumps in the expenses to revenues
from 2009 to 2011.

E-R Spread

E-R Spread

Revenue to Expense mean loss 2006-2011:

  • -$4.28 billion

Aggregate revenue loss 2006-2011:

  • -$5.1 billion

Year-over-Year mean debt 2006-2011:

  • -$2.42 billion

Increase of debt 2006-2011:

  • 83%

While these deficiencies certainly contribute to the continual losses,
it is also partly due from not adapting very well to the more recent
electronic and techno media revolution. The resulting drop off in usage
from 2009-2008 had netted a minus $7 billion dollar drop in revenue.

bill-payment graph

bill-payment graph

Couple these inefficiencies with over paid management, often
problematic unions and so forth and one can see why the post office
is one of the more mismanaged quasi-governmental agencies in the U.S.
It is public knowledge that the postal service has been running huge
deficits for many years now and its viability is in serious question.

In addition to the stamp rate hike, the USPS will be taking further steps
to reduce the massive short-fall of income. This would include cutting
approximately 150k jobs, ending Saturday service and closing up
to 3,500 facilities.

The suggestion of a fully privatized postal system has been brought up
more than ever over the past few years and now in more recent months
and rightly so. But question remains, will the price hikes and cuts be
effective enough to ensure the longevity and sustainability of the postal
service as it exists, without tax-payer intervention…

Well, when I originally published this back in February, I was thinking
that perhaps the debacle that the USPS is, would be able to hold off on
bleeding the tax payer for money.

But two months later, the said  Tax-Payer intervention comes to fruition.
My question is; when will the next bail-out occur and how much more tax payer
money will the postal service steal from the tax paying public?

15 BILLION? 20 BILLION? Does it even matter anymore?

After all, B-B-B- Benny and the Fed will just “Print” up some more of our
Fiat currency to sustain any and all that the government deems necessary.
Never mind that your grandchildren will be on the hook for the insurmountable
debt obligations, for generations to come…

Foreclosures, Delinquencies and the Illusion of a Housing Recovery

DataAnalytics

While mortgage delinquency rates are showing signs of easing, residential foreclosures
are once again, on the rise. A  data-point worth noting, is that delinquencies did inch upward
from 7.2% in January to 7.3% in February. That key metric is certainly something to keep an eye on.

According to LPS and RealtyTrac, approximately 2.7+ million residential properties are
in some form of loan delinquency and as of February, approximately 800+ thousand
homes have been repossessed.  RealtyTrac CEO Brandon Moore said the “numbers point
to a gradually rising foreclosure tide as some of the barriers that have been holding back foreclosures are removed.”

So while defaults do seem to be declining, 1-4 family forfeitures are now increasing and
according to leading broker-dealer Amherst Securities, “some 9.5 million homes are
still at risk of default.” much to the chagrin of the real estate industry.

 

 

  • 2.7 Million mortgage delinquencies (30/60/90-day)
  • 1.41 Million distressed assets (approx. 34% of all inventory)
  • 1.6 Million Shadow assets (possibly 3+m in total)
  • 26% +/- of mortgage holders currently ‘underwater’ (negative equity)
  • 5.4+ Million total housing assets (includes claimed shadow assets)
  • 13 -/+ Month Supply of total Housing Inventory

Overall “printed” housing inventory stands at approximately 4+/- million units in the U.S.
(as the industry and its contingent of boosters do not account for or care to acknowledge the
millions in shadow inventory) with 2.43m existing homes, 1.41m distressed assets, approximately 151k new homes and at least 1.6 million of shadow inventory, that is publicly disclosed.

(estimates for total inventory are as high 7+ million units, due to the very real possibility
that
many banks – at the urging of the FHA and the Fed are not disclosing all of their distressed/shadow inventory)

Another data-point in decline, is sales of foreclosed homes, which has fallen approximately 24.3%
in the first two months of 2012 from December 2011 according to LPS. This drop off is more rough news for the already over-supplied inventory of the U.S. housing market.

So while there is a glimmer of positive data with regards to mortgage loan defaults, the pace of  forfeitures are accruing and sales of all homes, existing, new and distressed has been slowing. Unfortunately, this trend will place even further downward pressure on already overall weakened home prices.

Which in turn, has the affect of creating additional negative equity for a portion of existing mortgage holders who are not yet ‘underwater’ but are barley maintaining current mortgage payments.

Thus, increasing the likelihood of additional loan defaults as well as strategic-defaults.
Negating any exaggerated  and so-called “housing recovery.”

Analysis from all of these key metrics and data points, reveal a sobering picture for the residential real estate market. Housing, may in fact not recover for another 5 to possibly 10 years.

Distorted Perceptions (of Fact)

By DataAnalytics

Data and Information in the last decade has become so
prevalent and available to almost anyone with an internet
connection, that it might lead one to believe we have become
a fact-based culture. Indeed, just the opposite has been occurring.

Which is not to say there are not good, reliable sources of  data
and information available. But the ability to parse out the noise,
irrelevancy and falsities are becoming more and more difficult as
the content of electronic text and information rapidly expands.

Consequently, Data and Information does not necessarily correlate
into Fact and Knowledge. This trend has become widely evident
over the last 4 plus years of the financial and economic crisis.

Daily, weekly, monthly and yearly reports published by financiers,
banks and government agencies; such as the BLS (labor data),
Census (CP Surveys) and FHA/GSE entities (housing/mortgage data)
have been proven to be doctored and overall manipulated data-sets
that have been and currently are being passed off as so-called fact
and subsequently, knowledge.

Data Information Knowledge

What is knowledge? Knowledge is the direct relationship of thorough
investigation, in-depth study and thoughtful analysis. In essence,
it is the ‘science’ of information- indeed, it is not an idea or perception,
but rather Fact, which is the foundation of all knowledge.

What knowledge is not though, is a perception of facts. Sadly
though, that (perception) is what most of the main stream financial
and economic news, findings and figures have become. A perception,
or rather a Distorted Perception.

Among the many benefits of knowledge, is knowledge that leads
to improved and more efficient decision making. Applicable content
and data which can be filtered down to being relevant and practical
information,is one of the keys to obtaining fact-based knowledge.

But in recent years more-so than ever, authority, to a certain
extent, has taken information and data and turned into a ‘concept’
of a perceived fact rather than absolute fact, to suit their
particular needs; economically, politically and financially.

Which of course, then places ‘Fact’ under scrutiny. In addition to
these entities of authority, are ‘Social’ media and business platforms,
where there are significant gaps in credible data. As well as in the
delivery of credible content and data, which is typically unstructured,
unverified, and often results in unreliable content and information.

The verification of data and then, how data gets expressed is mission
critical to the competence of any informative data-set and ultimately
the Foundation of Fact-Based Knowledge.

nucleus
So while the flow of data, information and knowledge cannot, nor
should not be limited, there needs to be more of an emphasis placed
upon the reliability and verification of data, information with relation
to the knowledge attained from absolute Fact. Credibility and reliability
are indeed the core pillars to achieving a true fact-based culture.

Collusion between Government and Corporate Banks

By DataAnalytics - (Video via Bill Moyers Show)

“There’s no clearer example of the collusion between government
and finance than the deal that created Citigroup in the first place.”


Bill Moyers talks with former Citigroup Chairman John Reed to explore
how the mid-90’s merger of Citicorp and Travelers Group – and a friendly
Presidential pen (one Bill Clinton), brought down the Glass-Steagall Act.

While there were many people of power and influence involved, there
were three main players who were key in enabling the death of Glass-Steagall
were Fed Chairman, Alan Greenspan, Republican Senator, Phil Gramm
and Democratic Secretary of the Treasury, Robert Rubin.
(who was also former co-chair of Goldman Sachs)

All were heavily ‘pressed’ (and probably compensated) by Sandy Weill, head of
the investment bank and insurance company Travelers Group.
(Travelers merged with Citibank to form Citigroup)

In the prior weeks leading up to the repeal of Glass-Steagall, Rubin resigned his
government post to join Citigroup’s board, the very financial giant made possible
by the subsequent Glass-Steagall Act’s elimination.

While the darling of the media and the left-wing, former president Bill Clinton,
willingly and knowingly signed the bill eliminating Glass-Steagall. On the
April 1998 night before the signing, Weill stated:
“The President (Clinton) was in fact told last evening about what was going to happen.”

So, those who think or refuse to believe that Clinton was unaware or had no part
in the what was to be the creation of “Too Big to Fail” are dead wrong or just plain ignorant.

Among the legislation’s many detractors, was Senator, Byron Dorgan.
“We are with this piece of legislation moving towards greater risk.
We are almost certainly moving towards substantial new concentration
and mergers in the financial services industry, that is almost certainly not
in the interest of consumers.”

Senator Dorgan stated that in ten years we will look back and regret what was
enacted and sure enough in 2008, exactly ten years later, he was dead-on right.

What is without a doubt most apparent, is the full cooperation and collusion between
major players in BOTH political parties. As we have been stating for years, the majority of Republicans and Democrats are corrupt, deceitful and only looking to advance their
careers and fatten their wallets on the backs of the American tax paying public.
It’s time to start voting for alternative parties, period.

Read the full transcript here

Consumer Inflation (Food & Fuel)

By DataAnalytics

A brief report on the latest purported inflation figures.

As if under some giant slumber, the ‘public’ was given the standard
rhetorical tripe on monthly inflation figures today from the BLS.

Amazingly, CPI-U barley rose a half a percent, in fact it ‘printed’ at
0.4%! Now considering more than half the population are most likely
‘asleep at the wheel’ this report deserves a double-take, even from the
most inept, reality-TV, stupor-induced American.

If you buy groceries and drive a vehicle, you must realize
(at least we hope so) that it is costing you much, much more to
feed you and your family and fill up the old gas tank.

How much more? Well for gasoline, the national average per gallon
is now at $3.83, up from $3.54 a year ago. That’s an 8.1% Rise.
How about from last month? Prices from February are up a hefty 12%.
But yet, the BLS proclaims that the ‘official’ measure of inflation has
only risen 0.4%. How can that be? Simple, one word. Deception.

gas price chart

How about food prices? Well let’s take a closer look at the cost of food
commodities from January 2012 back to January 2011. Meat, Poultry,
Fish and eggs are up on a weighted basis of 7.21% from a year ago.
Dairy and related dairy (cheeses, yogurts, etc) have increased 9% since
last year, while Cereal and Bakery products are up 5.25% from January ’11.

cereal meat eggs

Can’t live without that morning cup of home brewed Coffee? (me neither)
Well, roasted coffee prices have soared a whopping 16.85% from January 2011.
The only ‘good’ news, is that Fruits and Vegetables have actually
dropped about a half a percent, 06% to be exact.

coffee & veg

So while the government and B-B-B- Benny and Fed tout virtually no
to little inflation, there are some of us, who understand that this simply
is NOT true. The government is playing a game, a dangerous game at that.
Manipulating, doctoring and fabricating numbers and figures in order to
‘show’ that Central Bank intervention is working. (which we know is a failure)

The BLS has truly become a Ministry of Propaganda for the government.
No longer an agency of credibility and non-partisan reporting. Engaged
in a campaign of utter and sheer deceit on jobs data and inflation.
Making a mockery of the Statistical arm of academics and public trust.

Crony Capitalism or Corporatism by any other name…

Via Bill Moyers


Moyers & Company
explores the tight connection between Wall Street
and the White House with David Stockman, former budget director
for President Reagan.

Stockman speaks candidly with Moyers about how money dominates
politics, distorting free markets and endangering democracy.
“As a result,” Stockman says, “we have neither capitalism nor democracy.
We have crony capitalism.” Or Corporatism.