The world financial crisis II

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The Global Financial Crisis: The Great Depression of the 21st Century  Chossudovsky's Jan 14th lecture in Montreal (video)

- capitalism not operating by supply and demand anymore for many years - Today, speculation rules markets. GDP is meaningless.

- physical/real economies in trouble for over ten years

- there was a Canadian bailout to the banks. Harper mentioned a few billion leading up to the election, but two weeks after that, it was $75 billion to Canada's deregulated banks (pro rata cut&paste of US $700B bailout)

- US $700 billion dollar TARP/socialism for bankers and financial capitalists is actually several trillion dollars more than that

-US TARP/socialism for the rich actually more transparent than Harper's socialism for deregulated banksters here in Canada

*bottom line is that we can expect more neoliberal austerity - more privatizations of health care and public services and assets - more slashing of transfers to provinces to pay for this round of non-transparent programs of socialism for Canada's big time banksters  

He mentioned the name of one Quebec entity that is likely to be pawned off, but I couldnt understand what he was saying, sounded something like "EE-raw Quebec"

It's quite long and discusses neoliberal economic history back to the 80s and 90s. This is financial capitalists maneuvering to take over physical economy means of production and assets from recent physical economy owners- more concentration of wealth (and power) in the few hands of those who have it.


If you own property in Vancouver either sell it right away, or plan to hold onto it for 10 to 15 years, as Vancouver is going to experience an unprecented housing debacle, the likes of which have rarely been seen in our lifetimes.

Olympic Sized Depression Hitting Vancouver  

Western Canada had a lot going for it during the recent credit boom. Not only were debt spigots open wide like nearly everywhere else in the world, pushing up asset prices along with them. But the provinces of BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan all had their own commodity booms at the same time, further fueling the demand for housing. In BC the mining (and to lesser extend forestry) industries underpinned a robust economy. In Alberta, the rising price of oil made previously uneconomical tar sands projects profitable. And in Saskatchewan, skyrocketing fertilizer, grain and uranium prices created their own boom in major cities.

More so than anywhere else, the boom story in Western Canada felt legitimate. So even if the rest of the world were to undergo a contraction of sorts, this region would be supported by it's "strong fundamentals." This relative feeling of safety provided the boom mentality even more fuel than elsewhere. Unemployment got as low as 3-4% in some areas, redefining what most economists thought was "full employment."

But Vancouver had yet one more factor providing wind at it's back. They had "won" the right to co-host the 2010 Winter Olympics with Whistler (a nearby ski resort town). The resulting inflow of foreign investment was going to put the city "on the map" in terms of major cosmopolitan international cities. Tokyo, London, New York, Milan, Vancouver. Yes. It was ordained. The International Olympic Committee had declared it so. The provincial government even began an advertising campaign with the slogan "The Best Place On Earth." Old license plates bearing "Beautiful British Columbia" are now exchangeable for new ones with the olympic logo and the new slogan - for a fee of course. All of this is symbolic of a peak atmosphere of social mood. People were made to feel extremely lucky just to be part of such a place. As such, property values needed to reflect this newfound prestige. And of course, "there is only so much land."

Or so went the story.

Unfortunately, Vancouver residents have been shocked to learn over the last few months that gravity does indeed apply to them also. Sure as the sun rises, boom has turned to bust. And perhaps nowhere in the world has it manifested so spectacularly as in Vancouver. Where social mood was highest; it has furthest to fall. Here are the recent happenings:

BC Legislature to be Recalled for Special Session

The B.C. Legislature will be recalled for a special session to deal with Vancouver's request for permission to borrow more than $450-million to complete the troubled Olympic Village project.

Without legislative action, the city would have to hold a referendum to approve the borrowing - an option Mayor Gregor Robertson said would cause costly delays in dealing with the situation.

"They need a tool right now that they don't have without a legislative amendment," the Premier [Campbell] said.

"We will bring that in as soon as it's drafted. We'll bring it in. We'll take it to the House, and hopefully it will pass as quickly as possible."

Mr. Campbell said he hopes members will get beyond "traditional politics" in order to deal with the matter.

Vancouver's Credit Placed On Watch Due to Olympic Village Project

An independent credit rating agency has placed Vancouver on a credit watch and may even downgrade the city's AA+ rating as a result of potential debt coming from the beleaguered Olympic Athletes Village project.

Standard & Poor's on Tuesday issued a bulletin about the city's finances, saying the impact on the city's debt could be significant if it borrows money to fund the remaining construction of the village.

"We believe that there's going to be an event in the next three months that will have a negative impact on the city's credit profile," Stephen Ogilvie, an analyst with the agency, told CBC News.

Nortel Woes Could Hurt Olympic Sponsorship

Nortel Networks was already financially flailing when it signed on as sponsor of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy.

It was laying off workers in 2007 when it became a major sponsor for the 2010 Games in Vancouver and struggling to stay afloat when its deal with the 2012 Summer Olympics in London was announced last July.

Now that the company has filed for bankruptcy protection from its creditors, Nortel's sponsorships at the next two Olympics could be in jeopardy.

Only through incredible incompetence or incredible arrogance could a struggling company think it is a good idea to spend millions on sponsoring a circus every few years.

The olympics in Vancouver-Whistler are turning out to be an unmitigated disaster. All of the planning going into the preparations assumed that economic expansion was a given. There was no contingency for a worldwide business slowdown. Surely, the economists they had hired assured them that no such thing had any statistical probability of occurring, and therefore wasn't worth planning for. This arrogance was prevalent regardless of numerous olympic experiences gone awry over the decades (the Montreal 1976 summer games had debts only repaid 30 years later, in 2006).

I'm guessing the attendance figures the olympic committee have assumed will also turn out to be wildly optimistic and revenue for the games and small businesses alike will turn out to be far lower than expected.

I'll give my readers two guesses as to who will be paying for this financial disaster, but you'll likely only need one.

Elsewhere, the global credit unwind and commodity collapse have real estate prices reeling in Vancouver. Vancouver is the former home of the TSX-Venture Exchange. It is the largest collection of junior mining exploration and development companies. Most of those companies are still based in Vancouver. During the commodity boom, these companies absolutely exploded in value. Very few of them actually made any money. But the prospect of finding a huge resource deposit was enough to give many of those companies significant value. Now, with commodity prices 70% lower and credit markets basically closed, many of these companies are gravitating toward zero. Cash in the bank is disappearing fast and without financing, they are essentially holding companies for mining permits that have little hope of ever being used. The wealth lost in the collapse of these shares has been exceptional, especially when you consider much of it is contained to one city.

During the boom, company executives, investor relations representatives, even secretaries were paid modest salaries plus stock options. The tremendous wealth effect this had was a contributor to Vancouver's housing boom. Now it too has all but disappeared.

In only 8 months, home prices have fallen 19%. And the massive amount of speculative supply that was bought in anticipation of flipping it post-olympics is awaiting the market for the spring. This has all the ingredients for a spectacular crash of epic proportions. Already, wise property developers are trying to front-run the market.

On Sale: $350M of Real Estate in Lower Mainland

A Vancouver real estate developer is making an unprecedented move to offer a liquidation sale of $350 million worth of its condominiums throughout the Lower Mainland.

The marketing strategy by Onni Group of Companies is aimed at selling off hundreds of condos in its inventory.

About 375 unsold condominiums in cities such as Richmond and New Westminster will be offered at 20 to 40 per cent off, a real estate insider told CBC News.

Only time will tell whether those discounts will be sufficient to draw enough buyers. Judging by the absolute collapse in social mood, I don't know where the buyers are going to come from. Nearly everyone who could come close to affording a condo (and many who couldn't, to be sure) already bought one in the fright campaign of run-away prices. "If you don't buy now, you'll never be able to afford one," was common advice.

Prices of nearly everything got so out of control, that there is no telling where the bottom is on this market. The chart above traces out some very clean Elliott Wave patterns, which would suggest prices are heading all the way back to their "Wave 4" trough of '98. That would be a 50% decline from the peak - surely even more for condos in super-speculative areas (the Olympic Village, for example). How will the forthcoming property tax hikes affect prices? Will the inevitable post-games service cuts by the city make Vancouver an undesirable place to live in the future?

We are once again confronted by a region that thought, "It's different here." It wasn't. It never is. Speculative booms precede busts, just as inhaling precedes exhaling.



Fidel wrote:

The Global Financial Crisis: The Great Depression of the 21st Century  Chossudovsky's Jan 14th lecture in Montreal (video)

- capitalism not operating by supply and demand anymore for many years - Today, speculation rules markets. GDP is meaningless.

- physical/real economies in trouble for over ten years

- there was a Canadian bailout to the banks. Harper mentioned a few billion leading up to the election, but two weeks after that, it was $75 billion to Canada's deregulated banks (pro rata cut&paste of US $700B bailout)

- US $700 billion dollar TARP/socialism for bankers and financial capitalists is actually several trillion dollars more than that

-US TARP/socialism for the rich actually more transparent than Harper's socialism for deregulated banksters here in Canada

*bottom line is that we can expect more neoliberal austerity - more privatizations of health care and public services and assets - more slashing of transfers to provinces to pay for this round of non-transparent programs of socialism for Canada's big time banksters  

He mentioned the name of one Quebec entity that is likely to be pawned off, but I couldnt understand what he was saying, sounded something like "EE-raw Quebec"

It's quite long and discusses neoliberal economic history back to the 80s and 90s. This is financial capitalists maneuvering to take over physical economy means of production and assets from recent physical economy owners- more concentration of wealth (and power) in the few hands of those who have it.

Too bad the video doesn't work it sounds interesting.


NorthReport wrote:

The TSX is down close to 350 points this morning so far. Must be another buying opportunity or more realistically, it probably isn't.

How does Soros make his money? By shorting the financial system I believe. When a system thrieves on BS, shorting the market is probably the best thing to do, don't you think?

I think Soros didn't do so well last year...


The video was running a-okay last night, 500Apples. Perhaps it'll be working by Monday, and you can tell us which Quebec company or asset he thinks will be sold off in the next while. Not that it matters a whole lot to me though. I dont know what's wrong with the video link. This link is from September, but it covers a lot of the high points mentioned in the Montreal speech.


Is she related to Harper, a real estate broker, or a banker?

Beckett sparks row over new ‘house boom’ 

Her optimistic predictions come on the eve of a grim forecast from the heavyweight Ernst & Young Item Club, warning that 2009 will see the biggest peacetime downturn in the economy since 1931. It predicts a 16% fall in house prices this year and a further 6% drop in 2010. “ The housing market remains in dire straits, starved of mortgage finance,” said Professor Peter Spencer, Item's economic adviser. “Although bargain hunters are active, there seems little reason to buy until house prices stop falling. We do not see that happening until the end of 2010.”

The Treasury will tomorrow announce


The California government is about to run out of money for, well, everything - but in particular, to pay disability benefits.

California's fiscal future lurched yet another step toward oblivion on
Friday as state Controller John Chiang announced he could no longer
make payments for services to disabled and blind people who need the
money to pay for rent and food.

Chiang said payments would most likely have to be stopped by Feb. 1.


That's amazing how the blind and disabled in California rated so low on their list of vital program spending. They have social programs for everyone but the po' in America.


Is it because a majoriy of the po dont vote for Arnold?


There's money in California just not money for the less privileged. Why isn't the governor taking a cut in pay as things are so bad. Disgusting.


Maybe there are too many cars on the road as it is. Why do we need more?

Car sales drop ups urgency for budget fix to car leasing 



Shane Bohnen lets his wife deal with the lender. He was reluctant to speak for this story. He figures no one will have any sympathy for a family living in a $1 million house.

Well, it isn't a $1 million house anymore.

And he's right. I have trouble feeling sympathy for people who so obviously overextended themselves financially with no consideration that something might go wrong. In aggregate, however, it's a big problem. 

The wave of subprime delinquencies appears to have crested. But in October, for the first time, the number of prime mortgages in delinquency exceeded the subprime loans in danger of default, according to The Post's analysis.

This trend shows up most acutely in California and other high-growth regions, such as Arizona, Nevada, Florida and pockets of the Washington region, most notably in Prince William and Prince George's counties.


A second UK bank bailout, and if that doesn't work - and the market seems presently convinced that it won't, with bank shares tanking -  it seems that many of the major banks will end up nationalized.



Niall Ferguson has the answer that will save the world from financial meltdown and general situation in 1930's America loosed world wide. I think what he's suggesting is similar to what American Lyndon Larouche suggests for an FDR-like solution. And that is to just wipe out all the gambling debts and bad iou's floating around the world and enslaving whole nations. Put the whole thing through bankruptcy? Ferguson says it's God's will? Oh the banksters and neo Roman senators wont appreciate that very much at all.

The Age of Obligation

In the Old Testament Book of Leviticus, God commands the children of Israel to observe a jubilee every 50 years. Nowadays we tend to associate the word with celebrations of royal anniversaries such as Queen Elizabeth’s golden jubilee in 2002. But the biblical conception of a jubilee was more precise: that of a general cancellation of debts.

This point is spelt out in Deuteronomy: “Every creditor that lendeth ought unto his neighbour shall release it; he shall not exact it of his neighbour, or of his brother; because it is called the Lord’s release.”
Such injunctions may strike the modern reader as utopian. How could any sophisticated society function if all debts were cancelled twice a century – much less, as Deuteronomy seems to suggest, every seven years? Yet we know that such general cancellations of debt really did happen in the ancient world. In 1788 BC, for example, about 500 years before the time of Moses, King Rim-Sin of Ur issued a royal edict declaring all loans null and void, wiping out some of history’s earliest known moneylenders.

Ur was an ancient lost city and rediscovered in modern day Iraq, or whatever they call it now since the phony war on terror began.


Having watched the Chossudovsky posted by Fidel, which is now working again, , I can recommend it as being well worth watching.

The first two minutes are some mumbling in (spanish?) and then an introduction.

Some of his points:

- War in the middle east related to the financial crisis
- oil companies, wall street, military-industrial complex, the biotech conglomerates, the media conglomerates are the pillars he identifies as the alliance of interests behind the current mess.
He also disparages his own profession of economics.
- He says market manipulation is done largely through the derivative trade, and that the manipulation renders economic theories of spontaneous change (i.e. business cycle) impossible. He says swings are due to speculative games and not economic fundamentals.
- He says though the real economic has been in a crisis for a number of years, says real economy and financial economy are in a symbiotic relationship.
- He mocked the use of GDP as the emperor of economic statistics, quote: "The real economy is absolutely shattered".
- Says we're dealing with a massive transfer of wealth resulting from speculative trades. "The large financial institutions appropriate wealth through the use of these instruments".
- He says we're moving to a new phase where there will be cannibalizing of large corporations as well, building on the previous cannibalizations of small and medium businesses.
- Bailouts are a cause of the crisis, not a cure.
- He believes the depression started in the 1990s and perhaps even in the 1980s.

His talk goes slightly more esoteric after the 30 minute mark, a lot of interesting history and analysis.

He mocked the Canadian approach, he says we are in a copy and paste mentality (lol), when it comes to Canadian and American financial regulations.

He says he's estimated the Afghan drug trade is worth between 150 and 200 billion a year !!!


Gee, another pipeline for the mad bombers to attack.  This would put a lot of people to work though, and better than shipping by tanker - bring it on.    Canada offers financial backing for Mackenzie pipeline

martin dufresne

"...I was told by [my] chief economic advisors that the situation we were facing could be worse than the Great Depression"

(from Dubya's last press conference.)

Tom Engelhardt comments on the denial of this information throughout the last months of Bush's administration.


I love the sound of that...Dubya's LAST  press conference.


If you want to survive financially get out of any North American stocks for the rest of your lives. And make sure your pension plan investors hear that mesaage as well. Yes there will probably be a little rally when Obama's stimulus kicks in, and then stocks will sink like a stone.


If you want to survive financially get out of any North American stocks for the rest of your lives. And make sure your pension plan investors hear that message as well. Yes there will probably be a little rally when Obama's stimulus kicks in, and then North American stocks will probably sink like a stone, never to recover in our lifetimes. go East, young Lady, go East (East as in China, that is). 


I'm just overwhelmed by all these buying opportunities. Today (Tuesday) was another one. But it seems that every day there is one of these wonderful purchasing opportunities, it is followed by an even better one the following day. Laughing


S&P/TSX Composite | Quotes

  • 8,504.930
  • -336.550
  • -3.81%
  • Vol: 271,032,156
  • Last Trade: Jan 20, 2009 17:05:00 EST


I'm just shocked - what a surprise!


Outlook dims as rates fall to record low


Major banks match half-point rate cut


Citing the intensifying financial crisis that is “spilling over into real economic activity” around the world, the central bank drastically slashed its growth expectations for Canada this year, forecasting a contraction of 1.2 per cent, compared with an earlier forecast of a modest 0.6 per cent expansion.

The country's income is contracting, house prices are falling, wealth is crumbling and exports are on a sharp decline, the bank noted. It cut its target for the overnight lending rate by half a percentage point to 1 per cent – lower than in 1958, when the most-watched policy rate was 1.12 per cent.


You can say that again, North Report. It's quite a drop.

Obama Inauguration: Slide on Wall Street. Where have all the Creditors Gone?...   "When Will We Ever Learn?"


Across the land, an atmosphere of hope and optimism prevails. The Bush regime has gone. A new president is in the White House. 

While America had its eyes riveted on the live TV broadcast of  Barack Obama's presidential inauguration, financial markets were sliding.

A major "market correction" had occurred. Removed from the public eye, virtually unnoticed, a new stage of the financial crisis has unfolded.

Immediately following the inauguration, the Dow Jones plummeted, largely affecting the share prices of major financial institutions.

The quoted stock values of major Wall Street banks plummeted. Citigroup fell by 20 percent, Bank of America by 29 percent and JP Morgan Chase by 20 percent. The Royal Bank of Scotland fell by 69 percent in New York trading. . .


Those who drafted Obama's speech were fully aware of its possible financial repercussions. 

"High expectations for details on how the new administration would address the growing banking crisis and faltering economy were dampened after the inauguration speech."(Reuters, Jan 20, 2009)

Coincidentally, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Christopher Cox, appointed by Bush in 2005, resigned on the very same day of the presidential inauguration, leading to vacuum in the adoption of crucial financial regulatory decisions. His successor, Mary Shapiro, will only take office following lengthy Senate confirmation hearings. 

Does Obama really mean to get down to business with the banksters?


Senator Ringuette calls for investigation of credit, debit card systems


Senator Pierrette Ringuette recently tabled a motion in the Senate, that the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce be authorized to examine and report on the credit and debit card systems in Canada and their relative rates and fees, in particular for businesses and consumers.

"The proposed investigation would endeavor to expose the impact of rates and fees on businesses and consumers - focusing on rising interchange rates and interest rates," stated Ringuette. "Interchange rates are the percentage of the total purchase price that businesses pay in order to provide credit card services to their customers - and they have risen substantially in 2008." .   .

"In a difficult financial situation, some Canadians will depend more on credit. It will be a growing problem. Some Canadians are suffering and the big banks are contributing to this situation. While on the other hand, they are receiving a hand out, from the federal government with the injection of $75 billion towards a mortgage buyout plan in the hopes of encouraging banks to increase their lending capacity i.e. their liquidity. Accordingly, fair rates should be available for businesses and consumers to face the current financial situation be it from banks or credit card issuers," she stated.

The NDP has hammered away at the Harpers for fairness on credit card interest rates,  and excessive bankster service charges and usury in general since 2006.


According to this author a depression occurs by when we reach 25% unemployment.

In the USA now the unemployment rate is at 16-17% and rising. 

Another Great Depression


Last week the US government announced that the unemployment rate rose this past December to 7.2% from 6.8% the month before.  The US economy lost 2.6 million jobs in 2008, of which 1.9 million were lost in the past four months.  Of these, 524,000 were lost in December alone.

Importantly, there are clear indications that employment will drop further. Companies have been cutting back on hours worked, which reached a record low in December of 33.3 hours per week. This measure is a leading indicator because companies first cut back on hours worked before they cut jobs. Also, layoffs are growing. The Wall Street Journal reports: “The new year has brought no letup on layoffs, as employers have already announced more than 30,000 cuts.”

The monthly unemployment report is prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics <>. It reveals that the number of unemployed has climbed over the past year by 3.6 million to 11.1 million, but the real numbers are much worse when looking through the government sugar-coating in these reports. As The Wall Street Journal explains it: “While the official unemployment rate is 7.2%, a different figure that includes discouraged workers who have dropped out of the labor force and those working part-time because they can't find full-time work hit 13.5% in December. That was nearly a full percentage point higher than in the previous month and up from 8.7% at the end of 2007.” 

While a 13.5% unemployment rate is shocking, the truth is even worse because the WSJ is still relying upon government reports. To get the unadorned picture, we need to turn to private economists, and I reply upon the work of John Williams of Shadow Government Statistics <>, who presents in his latest report the true picture of the dire unemployment situation: “During the Clinton Administration, ‘discouraged workers’ those had given up looking for a job because there were no jobs to be had were redefined so as to be counted only if they had been ‘discouraged’ for less than a year. This time qualification defined away the bulk of the discouraged workers. Adding them back into the total unemployed, actual unemployment, as estimated by the SGS-Alternate Unemployment Measure, rose to 17.5% in December from 16.6% in November.”

Unemployment is the key measure that signals whether or not a depression has begun, and by the SGS measures we are rapidly approaching the 25% unemployment rate usually mentioned as the most important signpost marking the depths of the Great Depression. That high rate of unemployment cut a wide-swath of misery through the American population.

Given the current 17.5% rate of unemployment, it would appear that I am not far off the mark to suggest that we have entered another Great Depression, and I am not alone in my thinking. Others who are more attuned to the economic situation see it the same way as I do.

For example, the following quote is from an OpEd piece by Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman that was published in The New York Times on January 5th: “The fact is that recent economic numbers have been terrifying, not just in the United States but around the world. Manufacturing, in particular, is plunging everywhere. Banks aren’t lending; businesses and consumers aren’t spending. Let’s not mince words: This looks an awful lot like the beginning of a second Great Depression.”



Another buying opportunity. Laughing

Down over 250 basis points so far today and the day's not half over yet.

Housing Starts, Permits in U.S. Slump to Record Low

Housing starts fell 16 percent last month to an annual rate of 550,000 that was less than forecast and the lowest since the government started compiling statistics in 1959, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. Building permits, an indicator of future projects, were also at a record low.  


I cannot think of a more popular policy than shooting the bankers and nationalising the banks. It might even win Mr Brown an election. Come to think of it, it could also be the way to get us out of this mess.


Well, there you have it - from the Financial Times. Smile


Doug] <p><em><strong>I cannot think of a more popular policy than shooting the bankers and nationalising the banks</strong>. It might even win Mr Brown an election. Come to think of it, it could also be the way to get us out of this mess.</em></p> <p><a href="[/quote">[/quote</a>]</p> <p>Ha! Good one. Brown was a neoliberal ideologue under Blair, and now he's trying to distance himself from those policies. </p> <p>The Harpers slid our banks $75 billion in taxpayer handouts about two weeks after the election. I guess they needed that gift so as to loan out money at usurous rates to Canadians and businesses, and even loaning it back to the government! </p> <p><a href="">Canada's Central Bank Scam: </a><a href="">Prime Minister Paul Martin's Badly Kept Secret</a> (2004) <p>[quote wrote:

An intriguing secret overhangs the federal election. Our Prime Minister appeared to have everything in the bag, so utterly was his control of information. He knew exactly what had brought on the financial bust of the late 1980s, and how the banks had been bailed out by enabling them to quadruple their holdings of federal government bonds by being able to acquire them without putting up any of their own money. The statutory reserves - were some 8% to 10% of the deposits the banks received in their chequing accounts that had to be redeposited on an interest-free basis with the Bank of Canada. Such reserves had been abolished in a bill sneaked through parliament in 1991 without debate or press release.

When critics dug up the facts of that bailout, the banks cried indignantly:  "It was an unjust tax on the banks!" But it was no tax at all. From a "lender of the last resort", the government had simply moved into the position of "the donor of the first resort". Throughout the 1980s it had bailed out bankrupt banks.  And since the government of Canada is the sole shareholder of the Bank of Canada when it switched its borrowing from its own bank the Bank of Canada to the distressed banks, they lent back to the government some of the money it had bestowed on them as a gift. That was the secret of secrets, the dead rat beneath our floor boards that poisoned the very air politicians breathe.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

The 1,120,000 lost US retail jobs in 2008 are a signal that the [b]second stage of the real estate bust is about to hit the economy.[/b] This time it will be commercial real estate--shopping malls, strip malls, warehouses, and office buildings. As businesses close and rents decline, the ability to service the mortgages on the over-built commercial real estate disappears.

The over-building was helped along by the irresponsibly low interest rates, but the main impetus came from the slide of the US saving rate to zero and the rise in household indebtedness. The shrinkage of savings and the increase in debt raised consumer spending to 72% of GDP. The proliferation of malls and the warehouses that service them reflect the rise in consumer spending as a share of GDP.

Like the federal government, consumers spent more than they earned and borrowed to cover the difference. Obviously, this could not go on forever, and consumer debt has reached its limit.

Shopping malls are losing anchor stores, and large chains are closing stores and even going out of business altogether. Developers who borrowed to finance commercial ventures are in trouble as are the holders of the mortgages, derivatives and other financial junk associated with the loans.

The main source of the economic crisis is the infantile belief of US policymakers that an economy could be based on debt expansion. As offshoring moved jobs, incomes, and GDP out of the country, debt expanded to take the place of the missing income. When the offshored goods and services were brought back to be sold to Americans, the trade deficit rose, adding another level of financing for an economy that consumes more than it produces.

[b]The growth of debt has outpaced the growth of real output. Yet, the solution offered by Obama’s economic team is to expand debt further. This is not surprising as Obama’s economic team consists of the very people who brought on the debt crisis.[/b] Now they are going to make it worse.

[url=][color=mediumblue][u]Pa... Roberts[/u][/color][/url]


My hunch about what's coming, and what somebody alluded to today in the Vancouver Province newspaper.

There will be an upswing in the stock market based on Obama's stimulus package, which will be followed by a major crash. 


As well Harper is on a fast track towards destroying our Canadian economy, for many, many years to come. With interest rates sinking, cutting taxes is needed like another hole in our heads, and will only severely curtain our government's ability to engineer any kind of significant or meaningful change in the future. 


“US is engaged in an economic Pearl Harbor”, says Warren Buffet 

It Is So Difficult To Understand The Financial Crisis

Many have expressed to me that they are overwhelmed by the complexity of the global financial tsunami and are absolutely confused as to how to prepare and survive the crisis.

When I explained in simple terms, they refused to accept the explanations as to them “it was too simple. It must be more complicated as otherwise how can the crisis become a global fiasco?

Consider the following and my simple explanation:

1. financial engineering: new ways of gambling

2. Investors: gamblers

3. Stock & Futures Markets: casinos

4. Financial Analysts: casinos’ salesmen / women

5. Bonds: I.O.Us.

6. Banks: Dishonest Money-lenders (actual money-lenders licensed not as banks, but as money-lenders, cannot create “money out of thin air”. They have to use their own capital – 100% to lend)

7. Currencies / fiat money toilet papers

8. Derivative markets: ponzi scheme

It all makes sense to me now. Pfff!


Britain is going into depression...yep, that's the D-word:

Families must brace themselves for a slump of far greater severity and longevity than the recessions of the 1980s and 1990s, they warned. They said the current crisis will be of a scale to rival the biggest peace-time crisis in modern history — the Great Depression.

The warning was delivered by economists and politicians after the Office for National Statistics revealed that the economy shrank by 1.5 per cent in the final three months of 2008 alone.

The contraction follows a 0.6 per cent fall in gross domestic product (GDP) — the most comprehensive measure of Britain’s wealth generation — during the previous three months. This means Britain fulfils the criteria for a technical recession — two successive quarters of negative output.

The news sent the pound sliding to its lowest level since 1985. Sterling dropped more than three quarters of a cent to $1.3688 as investors speculated that the Bank of England may be forced to cut interest rates towards zero in response to the recession.

 Panic in the streets time or what?


The financial results that will be coming out this week are equally as devastating as the previous few months.

 We need a message of change in Canada as well.

 Slump Probably Deepened as Credit Froze: U.S. Economy Preview

 The worst credit crisis since the Great Depression sent the U.S. economy into a tailspin at the end of 2008 as consumers and businesses retrenched, reports this week may show.

Gross domestic product contracted at a 5.5 percent annual rate from October through December, the biggest drop since 1982, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey ahead of Commerce Department figures due Jan. 30.

President Barack Obama and Congress are working to pass an economic stimulus plan worth $825 billion by mid-February to stem what may be the worst recession in the postwar era. Federal Reserve policy makers, under Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, also meet this week amid growing expectations they’ll unveil more tools to unclog lending after having cut interest rates to as low as zero.

The recession “entered a more negative and pernicious phase in the fourth quarter,” said Brian Bethune, director of financial economics at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts. It’s “potentially the worst recession that we’ve seen in terms of the severity and the depth.”

The projected contraction last quarter would follow a drop of 0.5 percent at an annual pace in the prior three months.

The economic downturn helped Obama win the election in November as his message of change resonated with voters. The legislation being hammered out with Congress includes tax cuts and new federal spending for infrastructure projects that the administration hopes will create or save 4 million jobs.

Consumer Slump

After starting in housing, the recession has spread to households. Consumer spending, the largest part of the economy, is forecast to have dropped at a 3.5 percent pace last quarter after slumping at a 3.8 percent rate the previous three months. It would be the first time purchases declined more than 3 percent in consecutive quarters since records began in 1947.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Chief Executive Officer H. Lee Scott said Jan. 12 that the first half of 2009 will be “extraordinarily challenging.”

“Some people are giving up eating out; some people are giving up movies; some people are giving up other things like shopping,” Scott said. “Those are fundamental changes that will continue.”

The world’s biggest retailer said this month that fourth- quarter profit will miss its forecast and predicted revenue in January will be little changed.

Circuit City Stores Inc., once the biggest U.S. electronics retailer, said Jan. 16 it will shut down all of its 567 U.S. stores after failing to find a buyer that would keep the chain in operation.

First Half of 2009

Spending is projected to keep dropping in the first six months of 2009, according to a Bloomberg survey.

Consumers are losing confidence and retrenching as the labor market weakens. The U.S. lost 2.6 million jobs last year, the most since 1945. The unemployment rate climbed to 7.2 percent in December, the highest in almost 16 years.

A report from the Conference Board on Jan. 27 is projected to show consumer confidence this month held near a record low. A similar report from Reuters/University of Michigan three days later may show sentiment held near the lowest level in almost three decades.

Household wealth is evaporating as foreclosures push down home prices. Property values in 20 U.S. cities fell in November at the fastest pace on record, economists forecast figures from S&P/Case-Shiller on Jan. 27 will show.

Home sales keep falling as property values plummet and the credit freeze restricts lending. A report from the National Association of Realtors tomorrow may show purchases of previously owned homes fell 2 percent in December to a record low of 4.4 million at an annual pace, according to the survey median.

Home Sales

New-home sales, due from Commerce on Jan. 29, probably dropped 3 percent last month to a 395,000 pace, the lowest level since 1982, according to the survey.

The global slowdown in demand is hurting U.S. manufacturers. Commerce may report on Jan. 29 that orders for durable goods, those meant to last at least three years, fell in September for a third consecutive month, according to the survey.

Fed policy makers meet on Jan. 27 and 28 to discuss their outlook for economic growth and prices. Economists will comb through the announcement following the second day of the meeting for indications on whether the Fed will broaden the range of assets it’ll purchase to unclog credit markets, commit to buying long-term Treasuries or establish some sort of inflation target.

“The case for credit easing remains intact, and we expect the Fed to continue to pursue this policy aggressively in coming months,” said Dean Maki, co-head of U.S. economic research at Barclays Capital Inc. in New York.




Gordon Ramsay can now be the subject of his own show about failing restaurants:

The culinary world is abuzz with rumors that Ramsay's restaurants are asking for extended time to pay suppliers - in some cases, as long as six to eight months, though the chef's reps strongly deny this.

As Ramsay gears up for the season premiere of "Hell's Kitchen" Thursday on Fox, the unpleasant task of restructuring has been left in the hands of Chris Hutcheson, his father-in-law and the chief executive of Gordon Ramsay Holdings.

Establishing the precise impact of the credit crunch on Ramsay's business empire is no easy task. Figures for 2007 should have been filed months ago, but the company often sends in late returns, which has prompted legal warnings that prosecution is imminent.

Well-placed figures concede that the company is "finding life pretty tough at the moment," as evidenced by the fact that there is a newspaper promotion offering dinner at Gordon Ramsay restaurants for just $21 a head.


It's pretty bad when the most talented people are struggling. Pro hockey players may have to cede double the current percentage of their salaries held in escrow to the end of the year due to the slowdown.  It's busted, Jim.


In his many years of political punditry has Jeffery Simpson ever been right about anything? What an idiot!


The coalition that wasn't and the jobs budget that won't be


Nationalization Gets a New, Serious Look

WASHINGTON — Only five days into the Obama presidency, members of the new administration and Democratic leaders in Congress are already dancing around one of the most politically delicate questions about the financial bailout: Is the president prepared to nationalize a huge swath of the nation’s banking system? . . .

“I’m[Pelosi] not talking about total ownership,” she quickly cautioned — stopping herself by posing a question: “Would we have ever thought we would see the day when we’d be using that terminology? ‘Nationalization of the banks?’ ”

So far, President Obama’s top aides have steered clear of the word entirely, and they are still actively discussing other alternatives, including creating a “bad bank” that would nationalize the worst nonperforming loans by taking them off the hands of financial institutions without actually taking ownership of the banks. Others talk of de facto nationalization, in which the government owns a sizeable chunk of the banks but not a majority, with all that connotes.

That has already happened; taxpayers are now the biggest shareholders in Bank of America, with about 6 percent of the stock, and in Citigroup, with 7.8 percent. But the government’s influence is far larger than those numbers suggest, because it has guaranteed to absorb the losses of some of the two banks’ most toxic assets, a figure that could run into the hundreds of billions of dollars.

I think whatever they do in the US will set a precedent for other countries to follow.


I was listening to Garth Turner being interviewed yesterday. He stated that the stock market will rise a lot sooner than the real estate, and that it might take years for the housing market to go up again (by-the-way Turner previously forecast the housing bubble crash).

November Home Prices in 20 U.S. Cities Fall 18.2%

Jan. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Home prices in 20 U.S. cities declined 18.2 percent in November from a year earlier, the fastest drop on record, as foreclosures climbed and sales sank.

The decrease in the S&P/Case-Shiller index was in line with forecasts and followed an 18.1 percent drop in October. The gauge started falling in January 2007, and year-over-year records began in 2001.

Record foreclosures have contributed to more than $1 trillion in losses worldwide that have prompted banks to shut off access to credit. While plunging values have made homes more affordable, they have also hurt household wealth, contributing to a slump in spending that’s likely to continue for the first half of the year.

“The housing market has not yet reached its bottom,” Neal Soss, chief economist at Credit Suisse Holdings in New York, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. “People have to be in a position where they are not afraid of their most significant asset.”

Economists forecast the 20-city index would fall 18.4 percent from a year earlier, according to the median of 27 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. Projections ranged from declines of 17.4 percent to 20 percent.

Compared with a year earlier, all areas in the 20-city survey showed a decrease in prices in November, led by a 33 percent drop in Phoenix and a 32 percent decline in Las Vegas.

Broad-Based Drop

“The freefall in residential real estate continued through November,” David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P, said in a statement. “Overall, more than half of the metro areas had record annual declines.”

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

[url= news: we're back to 1931. Good news: it's not 1933 yet[/u][/color][/url]

Barack Obama inherits an economy already contracting at an annual rate of 6%, much like the mid-Depression year of 1931 (-6.4%)...

The US is losing 500,000 jobs a month. Brazil lost 650,000 in December. Beijing says 10m Chinese have lost their jobs since the crunch began. Japan's exports fell 35% last month, year-on-year. The central bank is printing money furiously, buying bonds to prevent a relapse into deflation.

So yes, it is like early 1931. Citigroup and Bank of America have more or less disintegrated. JP Morgan's health is failing fast. General Motors and Chrysler survive only on life-support from the US taxpayer.

But it is not yet like 1933.


M. Spector M. Spector's picture

[color=red][b]Ever wonder what happens to all that bailout money?[/b][/color]

American International Group Inc., the insurer saved from collapse by government money after losses on credit-default swaps, [b]offered about $450 million in retention pay to employees of the unit that sold the derivatives[/b], according to two people familiar with the situation.

[b]About 400 workers at the financial products unit may get the money[/b] in two installments, said the people, who declined to be named because details of the payments were confidential. The business was responsible for about $34 billion in writedowns since 2007 as the market value of swaps AIG sold to banks plunged amid the subprime mortgage market collapse.

[b]The payments bring to more than $1 billion the amount AIG has committed to keep its employees from leaving.[/b] The New York- based insurer in September took a federal bailout to avoid bankruptcy and is selling subsidiaries to repay the government. AIG said the program was disclosed before the government rescue, which is now valued at [b]$150 billion.[/b]

"I was extremely disappointed -- but not surprised -- to learn that [b]AIG will be awarding bonuses to the very division that drove the company into the ground,"[/b] said Representative Elijah Cummings, a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, in an e-mail. [b]AIG shouldn't be awarding "millions of unmerited dollars to employees while at the same time begging the U.S. government for financial life support."[/b]



That whole retention pay thing makes me laugh. Where are they going to go if they don't get it?


Good articles M Spector. I think the former CEO of Merrill Lynch is being investigated by New York State AG's office for the bonuses he paid out to executives two days before being taken over by, and during the government providing financial assistance to the Bank of America, the USA's largest bank. Linda McQuaig had it right: the wealthy have no shame.


WTF is the SEC?


John Thain,  former CEO of Merrill Lynch, better known as Mr Fixit, says his excuse is that he notified Bank of America about giving out the executive perks. As if Bank of America executives have good ethics and judgement. 

So what's a poor beleagured foremer CEO to do. Hire a PR firm of course. Thain does not have a moral compass. 

In China they execute people for such behaviour, don't they! Laughing

I'm not suggesting he should be killed but perhaps a good 99 years of hard labour, with no possibility of parole.


Jan. 27 (Bloomberg) -- John Thain, known as Wall Street’s “Mr. Fixit” before being ousted from Bank of America Corp., hired a New York public relations firm whose clients include Ben Affleck for a little fixing of his own.

Thain retained Sunshine, Sachs & Associates, which has represented actor Leonardo DiCaprio and singer John Mayer, said Jesse Derris, a Sunshine official. Founder Ken Sunshine, chief of staff to New York City Mayor David Dinkins in the early 1990s, also has worked with New York City’s transit workers union.

Thain, 53, was dismissed last week by Bank of America Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Lewis after Merrill Lynch & Co.’s $15.3 billion loss forced the company to seek further aid from the U.S. government and amid disclosures he accelerated year-end bonus payments to Merrill employees before the deal closed.

After speaking with Sunshine’s firm on Jan. 25, the former Merrill CEO apologized yesterday in a memo to top Merrill executives for paying $1.2 million last year to renovate his New York office and said he will repay the costs. Thain said the office work included two conference rooms and a reception area.

He also appeared on television, defending in an interview with CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo his decision to pay bonuses. “If you don’t pay your best people, you will destroy your franchise,” he said.


If you are planning to sell your home in the next 5-10 years, get out while you can.

Coming to some town near you, sooner, rather than later.

I had to laugh when recently reading Vancouver Real estate Promoter Bob Rennie's current advice was don't sell your home now if you don't have to. What he was actually saying is he can't sell his product at a profit now and he doesn't want homeowners competing with him for the measely sales, developer fire sales or not,  that are taking place across the Lower Mainland.


Why in the world would we think that what is happeneing in the USA will not happen to us here in Canada? Are Canadians nuts?


US houses sink at fastest rate on recordAmerica's economy is spiralling rapidly into deep recession, according to a respected survey of residential property values


Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

It's not that I'm keen on killing people. I haven't actually killed anyone myself yet. It's all to do with economics.

You see, I can't help but notice that the arms industry is doing extremely well. In fact in these times of economic disaster, it's the one industry that seems to be expanding.

My Future As An Arms Manufacturer
By Terry Jones




Stock markets dropping again. Cdn dolla 93.5 cents US,  Oil $67.83 US a barrel

Down, down, they go. Where they stop, nobody knows. Laughing



What I do not understand is why the US dollar goes up in times like this. Seems to me that you would want currentcy from strong exporting countries , since they have still something to offer.


Crude oil now US$ 67.17 a barrel



I thought it might get worse and it did.