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Carlos Lam

 
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  • The Politics of the Debt Ceiling [View article]
    If the Dem caucus holds firm and votes no (and I don't think that such firmness will hold, given the Administration's insistence on raising the debt ceiling), there is no way the House leadership can pass the bill. The House GOP caucus has 242 members. The leadership needs to whip 218 members into voting for raising the debt ceiling IF no Dems vote for the raise; this means the House leadership can only sustain 24 defections from the GOP ranks. There are more than 24 members who simply won't vote for the bill.

    At the end of the day, I -- sadly -- expect the debt ceiling to be raised, though the House leadership will probably extract some $50 - $75 billion in cuts (way too little, IMHO) from the Administration. I do not expect that the House leadership will be able to pass the bill with only GOP votes, though; it will be a bi-partisan vote.
    Jan 13 11:08 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Sticky Wages and Long-Term Unemployment [View article]
    "They are bad news, and we should not pretend that they aren't. "

    They are bad news for the individuals, but employment costs in America HAVE to decline (note that "employment costs" include not only wages but also regulations, FUTA, FICA, healthcare, etc.). We cannot place burdens on producers with respect to hiring workers and yet expect them to create jobs. Simply put, we Americans have to consume less (and that includes consuming fewer government services) and save more.
    Jan 13 10:56 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Ibanez Case and Housing-Market Catastrophe Risk [View article]
    True. Additionally, county recorders (or their equivalents in other states) are suing MERS to recoup recording fees that weren't paid.
    Jan 13 10:40 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Initial Jobless Claims: +35K to 445K vs. 407K consensus. Continuing claims -248K to 3,879,000.  [View news story]
    bbro, you are correct. The YoY change for the same week last year was about a 142K drop. As they say, the "second derivative" is getting uglier.

    Drilling down deeper into the 1/1/11 data, Michigan claims jumped by 10K in ALL industries surveyed.
    Jan 13 10:36 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is the U.S. Economy in a 'Creeping Depression'? [View article]
    AEP usually asks the right questions; he's a top-notch writer. He's correct that "[t]he fiscal card is played out." More borrowing and spending by the feds will do absolutely nothing.

    AEP's last sentence, though, is chilling: "Would Franklin Roosevelt have tolerated such a lamentable state of affairs?" The answer is , "No" inasmuch as FDR took us into a war where 16 million men were placed under arms. Whatever one's view on WWII, it cannot be denied that it provided an external bogeyman for the Roosevelt administration, which had been dealing with 14.6% unemployment in 1940. My extremely jaded view of politics gives me a real fear that another major war may be exactly what politicians may look to in order to distract the populace from our "creeping depression."
    Jan 11 06:43 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Ibanez Case and Housing-Market Catastrophe Risk [View article]
    "It really just means things slow down while lawyers read the folder and get signatures for the record, if they don't already have them. "

    Again, IF they can find the persons who originated and/or assigned the mortgages. In most cases they will probably be able to do so, but in many cases they will not be able to do so. The result is that the would-be plaintiff has unsecured debt (if the note was properly assigned) and has to get in line behind the homeowners' other creditors.
    Jan 10 06:29 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Ibanez Case and Housing-Market Catastrophe Risk [View article]
    I do. Lehman Brothers Bank, FSB was a federally-chartered entity overseen by the OTS. Moreover, it was insured by the FDIC. That's oversight and moral hazard...er...deposit insurance courtesy of Uncle Sam.
    Jan 9 10:17 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Ibanez Case and Housing-Market Catastrophe Risk [View article]
    "That adds up to a 'title company full employment act,' a slowdown in foreclosures, but does not extinguish mortgage debt."

    Croc, in theory true but in practice maybe not. Note that the Court stated that "there must be proof that the assignment was made by a party that itself held the mortgage." Good luck trying to find a manager from ABC Mortgage to sign an affidavit of assignment. That dude is probably miles away from the mortgage industry by now.
    Jan 9 10:14 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Ibanez Case and Housing-Market Catastrophe Risk [View article]
    Tack, you are correct. The feds and the Fed are going to support the financials no matter what. Any dip is an opportunity to buy...until the music stops and the sugar daddies can no longer support the financials, whether because the money's gone or because of political expediency.
    Jan 9 10:07 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Ibanez Case and Housing-Market Catastrophe Risk [View article]
    20dollar, in theory you're right. The difference, however, is that the banks that are foreclosing have unclean hands: they didn't take their lumps in 2007-08, admit insolvency, and go bankrupt. Instead, they used the power of the state to bludgeon the taxpayer into recapitalizing them via TARP. I now won't blame individuals who want to put the screws to the banks. Had the banks "manned up," admitted their mistakes, and entered Chapters 7 or 11, then I'd have more sympathy for them.
    Jan 9 10:05 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Ibanez Case and Housing-Market Catastrophe Risk [View article]
    Well, if the note's been paid off, the homeowner should get a letter stating as much. Alternatively, he could file a declaratory action in court, show the judge that he's made 15/20/30 years worth of payments, and have the judge enter an order determining that the note's paid off.
    Jan 9 10:01 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Ibanez Case and Housing-Market Catastrophe Risk [View article]
    Better hope those title insurance companies are well-capitalized. They're about to become the very definition of "counterparty risk."
    Jan 9 09:59 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Ibanez Case and Housing-Market Catastrophe Risk [View article]
    "I would expect that the bona fide purchaser for value without notice of the problems can rely on the title registered at the land titles office at the time of purchase."

    No, that's incorrect. Real estate transfers aren't like UCC sales where a BFP can be held harmless. If a home was sold at sheriff's sale erroneously because the mortgage holder foreclosed when he didn't have the RIGHT to foreclose, then the remedy is typically equitable: the injured party gets his house back.

    That being said, the dude who bought the foreclosed house can then go to his title insurer and ask him to pay up for his loss and troubles. The risk, however, is that title insurers get hit with so many claims that they cannot pay...
    Jan 9 09:56 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Gold Could Reach $1,800 This Year; Silver $50 [View article]
    "No matter how much worthless dollar becomes - you still can't go grocery shopping with gold and silver"

    Actually, some of the vendors at farmers' markets that I've been to lately have been giving deep discounts on their foodstuffs if one pays in pre-1964 coins.
    Jan 7 06:28 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Happy New Year From ADP: Record Employment Gain in December 2010 [View article]
    Given that 23 states raised income, sales, or property tax raites, I'd be surprised states were not collecting more taxes.
    Jan 6 04:00 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
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