Thursday, April 8, 2010

Looting Main Street:How the nation's biggest banks are ripping off American cities with the same predatory deals that brought down Greece

If you want to know what life in the Third World is like, just ask Lisa Pack, an administrative assistant who works in the roads and transportation department in Jefferson County, Alabama. Pack got rudely introduced to life in post-crisis America last August, when word came down that she and 1,000 of her fellow public employees would have to take a little unpaid vacation for a while. The county, it turned out, was more than $5 billion in debt — meaning that courthouses, jails and sheriff's precincts had to be closed so that Wall Street banks could be paid.

As public services in and around Birmingham were stripped to the bone, Pack struggled to support her family on a weekly unemployment check of $260. Nearly a fourth of that went to pay for her health insurance, which the county no longer covered. She also fielded calls from laid-off co-workers who had it even tougher. "I'd be on the phone sometimes until two in the morning," she says. "I had to talk more than one person out of suicide. For some of the men supporting families, it was so hard — foreclosure, bankruptcy. I'd go to bed at night, and I'd be in tears." (more)

McAlvany Weekly Commentary, April 7, 2010

Tipping Point for the Bond Market: Nuclear Nonproliferation.

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11 startling facts that Obama and Bernanke do NOT want you to think about

FACT #1: The official national debt now stands at $12.68 trillion — an amount equal to about 88.5% of all the goods and services our economy produces in an entire year.

FACT #2: Contingent obligations for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, veterans, and pensions now stand at an additional $108 trillion over and above the “official” national debt.

FACT #3: State, county and local governments are nearly $3 trillion in debt. Many can’t pay and will ultimately demand that Washington assume responsibility for that debt as well. (more)

U.S. Apartment Rents Decline as Vacancies at Record, Reis Says

U.S. apartment rents dropped in the first quarter and the vacancy rate remained at a record as unemployment near a 26-year high limited tenant demand.

Actual rents paid by tenants, known as effective rents, declined 1.5 percent from a year earlier, Reis Inc. said in a report today. Asking rents fell 1.6 percent, according to the New York-based property research firm. Vacancies were unchanged at 8 percent, the highest level since 1980, when Reis began tracking the number, said Victor Calanog, director of research.

U.S. rental demand has slumped as employers cut 8.4 million jobs since the start of the recession in December 2007. The bigger drop in asking rents than effective rents in the first quarter signals that landlords are pricing their properties lower at the outset and minimizing concessions, Calanog said. (more)

Gold Juniors: World's Best Charts!

  • I have some phenomenal charts for you to look at today. The GDXJ (NYSE) and the ZJG (Toronto) Gold Juniors ETF investments continue to outperform the Dow. I expect that out-performance to accelerate, and perhaps exponentially so, over the coming year.

  • While every analyst has the right to state their case, the deflationists have been mauled by the scoreboard. Most of the world's financial analysts, sadly, seem to make taking on GOLD an actual "mission". Ever see the show "Mission Impossible"? Try Mission Insanity. I see their mission as utter insanity. (more)
  • Jay Taylor: Turning Hard Times Into Good Times

    click here for audio

    Daily Gold Chart

    SILVER to $436/oz and Beyond.

    Senior SEC Employee Warns of Potential Municipal Bond Market Collapse

    Rick Bookstaber, who is a a Senior Policy Advisor to the Director of the SEC, Mary Schapiro, continues to maintain his own private non_SEC affiliated blog.

    Prior to joinning the SEC, Bookstaber served as the managing director in charge of firm-wide risk management at Salomon Brothers, director of risk management at Moore Capital Management, and Morgan Stanley's first market risk manager. He is the author of three books and a number of articles on finance topics ranging from option theory to risk management, and has received various awards for his research. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (more)

    Bob Chapman: The US dollar is vulnerable because of a staggering public debt

    Almost every day in almost any currency your purchasing power in terms of gold is less and less. Thus, these currencies in which you save the fruits of your labor are cheating you out of your savings.

    The US dollar is particularly vulnerable because of its staggering debt even though it is the world reserve currency. In fact the debt is so onerous that we believe the quality rating of the dollar could be lowered by the end of the year. Many other currencies face the same dilemma and in the final analysis only gold will be worth what it is today or in the future. (more)

    Chart of the Day