All of a sudden, lots of bad news. Except that some of us have been talking about what’s coming for some time now. The signs were all there.
How much of the seeming prosperity of recent years was based on borrowed money? People were refinancing their houses as prices rose, and using the money to buy SUVs, etc. But now we have the opposite situation – these people now owe that money yet prices are falling. And with prices falling few new people will be refinancing. Meanwhile the government has borrowed massive amounts of money and pumped it into the economy – something usually done only to get us out of downturns – so if there is a downturn they won’t be able to borrow money to pump into the economy. Bush has used up that trick during the good times when we should have been paying off debt. (Clinton paid off debt, which is what allowed Bush to borrow so much…)
Here are a few of today’s stories: How a Housing Slowdown Will Cause a Recession
The news has been universally bad: inventories are rising to 10-year high levels, buyers are already saddled with massive amounts of debt, homebuilders are cutting profit projections and overall investment is negative. And here is more from Nouriel Roubini: housing is already in free fall and will cause a recession by the summer of 2007.
I have said that the way to understand what Bush and the conservative movement leaders are saying is to listen to what their followers are hearing. And you don’t have to go far at all to get the message – the conservatives want war with all of Islam, especially American Muslims.
Over at Townhall – which is a Republican commentary hub, this: Home grown terrorists,
“We are not at war with the Muslim faith.” So say various members of the media and government, either because they actually believe it, or because their blind adherence to political correctness dictates as much.
… Make no mistake, these were your fellow citizens cheering a terrorist organization that has already proudly killed hundreds of Americans. If they would cheer such a despicable group, what else might they do for them or Al Qaida? A logical question that political correctness forbids us to ask.
It’s too early to say whether the slowdown will turn into a crash presaging a recession, as happened in the late 1970s and ’80s, although the economy’s other fundamentals remain healthier now than then. But it’s worth bearing in mind which homeowners are most likely to be affected by a possible downturn and which ones can lay off the antacids.
… A separate point of anxiety is the prospect of higher interest rates for buyers with adjustable-rate mortgages. The Federal Reserve recently took a break from its prolonged increasing of short-term rates, but lingering risks of inflation could push borrowing costs, and therefore adjustable mortgages, back up. Owners who can’t afford the higher payments might be forced to sell their homes at a loss.
You don’t need to worry about getting sued by the Recording Industry Association of America or arrested by the FBI if you download legal music. Many independent and unsigned musicians offer downloads of their music in hopes of attracting more fans.
No one has been injured, but the plane made an unscheduled landing in El Paso and all passengers were been removed. A part of the airport near the plane has been evacuated, according to television station KTSM in El Paso.
Security concerns disrupted six U-S flights today.
A college student’s checked luggage contained traces of dynamite. It was found on flight from Argentina to New Jersey. Authorities are checking why the student got off at the stop in Houston, where the traces were detected.
In other incidents:
— An American Airlines flight from England to Chicago was forced to land in Bangor, Maine. No word on why.
— A U-S Airways jet was diverted to Oklahoma City after a federal air marshal subdued a passenger who had pushed a flight attendant.
— A Continental Airlines flight from Texas to California was held in El Paso, one of its scheduled stops, after the crew discovered a missing panel in the lavatory.
— A utility knife was found on a vacant passenger seat of a U-S Airways flight from Philadelphia to Connecticut.
— And an Aer Lingus flight from New York to Dublin was evacuated this morning during a scheduled stop in western Ireland. A bomb threat turned out to be unfounded.
The pharmaceutical industry quietly footed the bill for at least part of a recent multimillion-dollar ad campaign praising lawmakers who support the new Medicare prescription drug benefit, according to political officials.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce claims credit for the ads, although a spokesman refused repeatedly to say whether it had received any funds from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.
At The Stakeholder, read a DCCC press release that details how pharmaceutical companes are funding the Republicans.
How do you know how to price your house? Fletcher says, “Look at what other similar houses in the neighborhood are selling for and then set your price at 10 percent under the market.
If you want the house to sell, price it lower than the last one that sold. This is necessary – if you want to or have to sell – but feeds the drop.
Washington Post: New-Home Numbers Add to Housing Woes
New-home sales fell more steeply in July than economists forecast, and the number of unsold houses climbed to a record, deepening a slump in an industry that fueled economic growth for five years.
A backlog of unsold new homes continues to pile up. Last month there were 568,000 new homes on the market — enough that it would take 6.5 months to sell them all at the current sales rate. That is the most in more than a decade.
The Republicans are pushing for war with Iran. They say Iran is an enemy, a threat, “evil,” behind terrorism, etc.
This may be so. But if this is so, maybe the Republicans should give us some reason to think they believe this themselves before they ask us to believe them.
For example, Iran’s income comes mostly from selling oil. As the price of oil rises, Iran has more income to use against us. So if the Republicans are serious when they say that Iran is a threat to the United States, shouldn’t they be pursuing policies that result in lowering the price of oil, thereby reducing Iran’s oil revenues?
What about raising the fuel economy requirements for cars? What about pushing energy conservation? What about funding serious alternative energy research? What about putting solar panels on all government buildings?
I could go on, but the point is that the Republicans are opposing all of these things. And this is just one more reason – along with the lack of a draft or taxes to pay for the war – to make me think they are not serious when they try to scare us about Iran and terrorism. In the propaganda age you have to learn to look only at what they do rather than what they say, and as far as I can see the terrorism/Iran/”Islamofascism” stuff is all talk, with little action on their part to back it up.
Javed Iqbal, a.k.a. “John Iqbal,” 42, of Staten Island, N.Y., has been arrested and charged with conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), RAW STORY has learned.
A complaint announced today by the FBI alleges that through a company called HDTV Ltd. located in Brooklyn, Iqbal and others provided customers in the New York area with satellite broadcasts of al Manar, which is a television station owned and/or operated by Hezbollah.
Home prices in Massachusetts fell 3.5 percent in July, the largest decline in 13 years, as the slowdown in the real estate market finally led sellers to cut their prices.
… Sales of single-family homes began dropping last fall, but prices were slow to respond to the weakening demand.
… Massachusetts is not alone, though the sales slowdown began here before spreading to the rest of the country.
What does this mean? Yesterday I talked about how news of dropping prices will change everything.
Here’s the thing. Sales slowing and rising inventories necessarily mean that prices will start to drop soon. And just wait until THAT starts hitting the news. That’s the tipping point. That’s when people’s expectations change. Once people stop seeing house prices rising, everything will change. And when they realize that prices are dropping, everything will really change.
So as of now people understand that this is a market to get out or stay out of or you will lose money. From the article,
But Newton agent Rona Fischman said many are “still in denial.” The steep drop in July sales “tells me we’re in the first year of the price declines,” said Fischman, who is with Buyer Brokerage Realty. “Sellers who really have to sell are waking up and smelling the coffee. There’s more coffee coming.”
… “It’s possible we’re standing at the edge of a cliff, and if we wait the bottom will drop out” of the market, Wagner said about predictions prices will fall further. [emphasis added]