Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Today's Best Reads

1--China's Currency and the Trade Deficit, Dean Baker, CEPR

Excerpt: "If the value of the yuan rises relative to the dollar, then these imports would be more expensive in the United States, making people here more likely to buy domestically produced goods. This will help the U.S. trade balance" (China's cheating hurts US workers)

2--How Large a Debt Level Is "Worrisome?, Dean Baker, CEPR

Excerpt: "financial markets do not find the government debt the least bit worrisome. They are willing to buy long-term government debt at interest rates below 3.0 percent.

The debt also need pose no burden in future years. There is no reason why the Federal Reserve Board cannot simply buy and hold the bonds issued to finance the debt. In this situation, the debt accrued in these years will impose no additional future tax burden. The interest on the debt will be paid to the Fed, which will then rebate it to the Treasury." (Baker nails it again)

3--Would a real Dr. change the treatment?, Barry Ritholtz, The Big Picture

Quote: "My last cynical comment of the morning is this, the Fed is punishing creditors and savers thru the desire to inflate in order to bail out overleveraged borrowers." (Good, short rant bashing Bernanke)

4--Summers plans to leave, Yves Smith, naked capitalism

Excerpt: "As much as some will be pleased to see Larry gone (he was a leading advocate of bank-friendly policies), his replacement is certain not to represent a change in philosophy. In fact, one of the ideas being mooted is to install an “ambassador” the business community because it is allegedly up in arms with Obama." (Don't get yer hopes up)

5--Housing isn’t close to stabilizing, Marketwatch

Excerpt: "...Adding all of these together, we come up with a total of roughly 6.97 million residences that are almost certainly going to be thrown onto the resale market as distressed properties at some point in the not-too-distant future. This massive number of homes will put enormous downward pressure on sale prices. To believe that prices are firming now is to completely ignore this shadow inventory. Ignore it at your own risk." (Very bleak)

6--The Recession and the Housing Drag, Mort Zukerman, Wall Street Journal

Excerpt: "A staggering eight million home loans are in some state of delinquency, default or foreclosure, Alan Abelson reported in Barron's in July. He noted that another eight million homeowners are estimated to have mortgages representing 95% or more of the value of their homes, leaving them with 5% or less equity in their homes and thus vulnerable to further price declines." (More dire news on housing)

7--Fiscal policy is deadlocked, Robert Reich

Quote: "What’s the answer? Reorganizing the economy to make sure the vast middle class has a larger share of its benefits. Remaking the basic bargain linking pay to per-capita productivity."

8--Fannie Freddie Further, Paul Krugman, New York Times (Krugman proves that Fannie and Freddie did not create the bubble. It was not the result of liberal programs or government "run amok" as right wingers like to opine)

Quote: "During the peak of the housing bubble, Fannie and Freddie basically stopped providing net lending for home purchases, while private securitizers rushed in... The real question is, who was financing the bubble — and it wasn’t GSEs."

9--Twenty-First Century Energy Superpower, Michael Klare, znet

Excerpt: On July 20th, the chief economist of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Fatih Birol, told the Wall Street Journal that China had overtaken the United States to become the world’s number one energy consumer......China’s decisions on energy preferences will largely determine whether China and the United States can avoid becoming embroiled in a global struggle over imported oil and whether the world will escape catastrophic climate change....

It is not hard, then, to picture a future moment when the United States and China are locked in a global struggle over the world’s remaining supplies of oil. Indeed, many in official Washington believe that such a collision is nearly inevitable.

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