Wall Street firms have swept in buying up foreclosed homes all over the country with the idea of becoming “super landlords.” If a firm can buy up a a hundred rental units at a reasonable amount with virtually free money (which is likely to remain free for a good while) and then turn around and rent the units to the people who have been foreclosed on, then hey, why not?
This is yet another example of how all the Fed’s printing is benefiting the firms which originally were saved by TARP even though they should have died.
Goldman Sachs, which was over leveraged (to be kind) and which should have perished in 2008 was saved by the US taxpayer. In some cases that taxpayer has now been foreclosed on. Goldman managed its books far worse than most foreclosure victims, but now because the average person doesn’t have direct access to the Fed window, Goldman gets to be the master of the people who paid to save Goldman. This is just sick.
On top of this, in places like Las Vegas housing prices are again lurching skyward as Federal Reserve funny money finds its way into the housing market. So former homeowners, now with terrible credit, are likely to remain former homeowners as Wall Street, enabled by the Fed, bids up prices.
Tell me how the FOMC politburo helps the average person. Tell me why the average person should not want an end to the Federal Reserve.
Local real-estate broker Fafie Moore says private-equity firms and hedge funds have largely “crowded out” local buyers like Marchillo. That’s because the investment firms have broadened beyond their initial focus —buying homes at foreclosure auctions. Now, they are also bidding for homes listed by private owners and banks.
In a sign of how freely the money is flowing, Moore notes around 60 percent of all sales are in cash these days.
Fellow broker Trish Nash said she has seen cases where a home gets listed and quickly draws a dozen bids, many in cash. Realtors are talking about a mini-bubble forming here.
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Why the technical chartists will be wrong again on gold and silver
Posted on 25 April 2013
While we like to consult the technical charts when making forward predictions on asset prices these charts do only tell you the past story and have limited use in trying to discern the future.
We recall at the end of last year when the charts showed an imminent price collapse for silver that actually turned out to be a price rebound. So often these graphs prove misleading, and ArabianMoney reckons that is again the case now for gold and silver.
Technical analyst Clive Maund is particularly gloomy at the moment and can see gold falling back below $1,000 and silver goodness knows where. But which chartist spotted the price plunge coming this month? None of them.
How could they when the central banks of the US and Japan did it deliberately as an adjustment to allow the Bank of Japan to launch its $1.4 trillion-a-year money printing program?
Then again can chartists account for the reaction of the general public to this totally artificial price reduction in gold and silver? What we have now is a battle royale over price setting between the Comex futures market and the man-and-woman-in-the-gold-shop.
We looked amazed last night at buyers in a shop in Kowloon in Hong Kong where canny local dealers have increased their premiums for physical gold by 2.5 times in a week. Is the retail buyer just late to the bull market for gold or still getting in on the ground floor at a bargain price?
That’s a dilemma for serious investors counting their profits after a 12-year bull market and wondering if they might sustain further losses. Perhaps they ought to reflect on why all these retail buyers are snapping up bullion.
People fear inflation is coming and they also know that there has been far more inflation of general prices than anybody is admitting. They not unreasonably fear this is going to get worse before it gets better, and that the same central banks that gave them bargain gold this week are going to make it happen.
Bank of Japan
Back to Japanese money printing, that was the biggest thing to hit financial markets this year. Sure the central banks acted appropriately to dampen gold and silver prices temporarily to fool us on inflation. But how long can this last? The money printing is only accelerating.
The retail gold shops of the world are about to get a great deal busier and only when we see queues down the road and gold at $5,000 an ounce in a huge price spike will all this be over. We are not there yet.
Besides the chartists ought to know that such investment bubbles end in a huge price spike and then a plunge, not an artificially manipulated price slump after a sideways movement.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Thu Apr 25, 2013 1:01 pm
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Gold Trader: “Once This Bottom Is Formed, We May Never See Gold At These Levels Ever Again.”
April 4, 2013 | By Tekoa Da Silva
I had the chance yesterday to speak with technical gold trader Gary Savage, publisher of the “Smart Money Tracker”, daily gold market commentary and trading service, which has outperformed most of the world’s hedge funds in 2011 and 2012.
It was a powerful conversation as Gary commented on the panic selling we’ve seen over the last few days, sharing his view that “once this bottom is formed, we may never see gold at these levels ever again.”
Despite continued and relentless selling, Gary commented that, “Gold isn’t in a bear market, it’s [just] been in a consolidation since the top of September 2011. If you pull up a 13-year chart, it shows that gold is not in a bear market, not even close. The miners however, are in bear market, and they have been for 19 months now, and they’ve lost 50%. That’s about an average cyclical bear market…[So] I think the miners are [primed] to bottom along with gold at this yearly cycle low, which I don’t think occurred today, but I think we’re within a day or two of that final bottom.“
When asked about valuations on mining stocks at these levels, Gary said that, “The valuations in the miners are absurd. The gold XAU ratio is higher than it’s ever been before in history. This is coming at a time where the miners have gotten the hint…management is cleaning up their act…[and] the sector is doing what it needs to do to turn itself around. [But] since the trend is down, people just invent reasons for why the miners should continue to go down. Eventually rationality is going to return, people will recognize that mining stocks are not going bankrupt, and they’re just too insanely cheap.”
In terms of the big picture following this grueling correction, Gary said, “We definitely started a [panic selling climax] today in my opinion. The volume on GDX and NUGT was just through the roof, [but] we’re close [to a bottom]…If you have the emotional ability to buy at those bear market bottoms, that’s where the really big money is made…[and] once this [bottom] is formed…we will probably never ever see gold back below this level again.”
As a final call, Gary concluded by saying, “The gold bull cannot end until the fundamentals change, and they have not changed, they’ve only gotten better…[So] I think we’re about to leave these levels behind forever.”
This was another outstanding interview with one of the world’s most successful gold traders, and is required listening for investors looking to profitably trade this gold bull market.
To listen to the interview, click the following link and/or save to to your desktop:
>>Interview with Trader Gary Savage (MP3)
Statistics: Posted by DIGGER DAN — Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:42 pm
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Cyprus on the brink of bankruptcy as not a single MP votes for bank rescue deal, is this 2007 all over again?
Posted on 20 March 2013
Cypriot lawmakers unanimously rejected their government’s rescue deal for the country’s banking system that would have included a levy of up to 10 per cent on depositors, leaving the banks closed and the island on the brink of bankrtupcy. The UK send one million pounds in cash for its solidiers based in Cyprus as ATMs are empty.
The finance minister is in Moscow in the hope of concluding a deal with the Russians though they have previously refused to help the heavily indebted nation. Lawmakers were told the alternative to the bailout from the European Union was bankruptcy with depositors losing everything.
Banks will stay shut while the impasse is resolved, if it can be without a bankruptcy. The financial implosion of Cyprus would naturally have a contagion impact on the rest of the EU where banks have formerly been held up as too big to fail.
However, if Cypriot lawmakers are allowed to set a precedent and win a better deal for their people then other nations will do the same. Three years of austerity have been accepted elsewhere by MPs in Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland. They will now want the same and wonder why Cyprus should be different.
German resolve is going to be tested by Cyprus this week. The MPs have raised the stakes to the whole future of the EU banking system and the current reform program. It is far from clear what the outcome will be and what they are doing is as foolish as it is brave.
Offshore banks shut
Whatever happens Cyprus is now finished as an offshore banking centre. When and if its banks ever open again money will flood out in a bank run of historic and hysterical proportions. It’s back to 2007 with bank runs and the start of the global financial crisis.
Do you want to be long in global equities in this environment? Should you not be snapping up bonds and gold as protection against another financial meltdown? How the people of Cyprus must wish they had a few gold coins hidden away? How high will the gold price go in this crisis?
Remember how many saw the warning signs back in 2007 and ignored what was later the obvious indications of a systemic tragedy in the making. Why risk getting caught out again, this time by the money launderers of Cyprus who the Germans are reluctant to save from their lax lending habits.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Tue Mar 19, 2013 10:24 pm
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This comes to us from the office of Senator Pat Toomey, of Pennsylvania.
The move would benefit companies that turn sugar beets and sugar cane into granulated sweetener, a business plied by American Crystal Sugar Co., Amalgamated Sugar Co. and U.S. Sugar Corp. The USDA wouldn’t say how many companies have received loans, or identify them. U.S. Sugar said it doesn’t have any USDA loans outstanding. American Crystal and Amalgamated didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Higher prices would hit food companies including candy giants Mars Inc., Hershey Co. andNestlé SA, and could ultimately boost retail food prices, at a time when many consumers are financially stretched.
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Dangers of Barack Obama’s agenda, Amnesty, Guns, Obamacare
Grandpa, Tell Me Again About Freedom
- Doug Patton Thursday, March 7, 2013
“Grandpa, did you have more freedom when you were my age?” It was December 11, 2017, my grandson’s twelfth birthday. For as long as he could remember, he had heard us talking about the dangers of Barack Obama’s agenda. Now Obama’s two full terms as president had inflicted their full damage on the nation, and my perceptive grandson somehow knew that things had gotten worse during his lifetime.
“Well,” I said, “for one thing, when I was your age, my parents didn’t have to ask the government for permission to go to the doctor. Now your parents have no choice in the matter. Also, the government didn’t violate our right to religious expression. Under Obamacare, we have no choice but to fund abortion, sex change operations and all sorts of other things we don’t believe in.”
“What else was different back then?”
“Well, gas was about a quarter a gallon, instead of the $9.75 a gallon Obama’s policies have driven it up to. Now we’re all driving around in electric clown cars and paying twelve dollars for a loaf of bread.”
“What about the immigrants? Grandma says Obama gave them something called am…am… ammesty.”
“That’s amnesty, and yes, there’s no question that all our freedoms have been diminished because of it. You see, son, you just can’t reward people for breaking the law without others doing it, too. It’s just human nature.”
“My dad says Obama didn’t defend the country. What did he actually do?”
“Well, he left our borders wide open and slashed our defense budget. He took the greatest military force in the world and turned it into a social experiment by allowing open homosexuals in Army barracks and women in combat. He coddled and supported Islamist governments all over the world. And then people actually wonder why Israel had to attack Iran to keep them from getting a nuclear weapon.”
“Did President Obama really hate our country? I’ve heard my dad say that.”
“President Obama grew up listening to people who hated our country, and, yes, I believe he embraced a lot of that same kind of anti-American thinking.”
“But why would anyone hate their country?”
“You have to understand that you have been raised to be a patriot. Obama was not. Quite the opposite. He grew up thinking our country was evil and that the people who achieved success must have cheated to get ahead. That’s why he and those who believe as he does have always wanted to punish those who have more than other people.”
“What about guns, Grandpa? Did you have a gun when you were my age?”
“As a matter of fact, when I turned twelve in 1960, my dad gave me my first rifle. It was a single shot .22 good for shooting rabbits, squirrels and tin cans.”
“Did your dad take you hunting?”
“Sure. Most dads took their boys hunting and fishing in those days. It wasn’t like today, when so many people are afraid of guns. I knew where my dad kept our rifles — mine and his — and I knew where he kept all the ammo, too. There was no need to lock it up. It never occurred to me or to anyone else I knew to take our guns and shoot somebody.”
“My teacher says that President Obama had to take away people’s guns so that they don’t kill each other, but I keep hearing about murders on the news, and it doesn’t seem like it’s working too well.”
“Of course it’s not working. It’s like I’ve always told you, murder is in the hearts of men, not in a bullet in the barrel of a gun. A gun is just a tool, like a hammer, an ax or a baseball bat. It can be used for good or bad. That’s up to the person holding it.”
“How could the president take away people’s guns? Aren’t there laws about that? And how can people defend themselves without guns?”
“I know your dad has taught you about the Constitution. Our rights come from God, and the Constitution spells out those rights on paper. But always remember, that none of the other parts of that document mean anything without the ability to defend those rights. That ability is spelled out in the Second Amendment.
“Did everyone give up their guns, Grandpa?”
“Not all of us, buddy. Not even close.”
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:15 am
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You the tax payer, you do not matter.
That these companies failed because of terrible management, poor products, and unions which refused to enter the 21st century does not matter. Your money was taken, basically to bail out the UAW. That Chrysler has been bailed out twice in the past 30 years does not matter. That the government is selling back the GM stock it has at a steep loss, back to the UAW controlled auto giant does not matter. That Chrysler, now based in Italy still owes us a billion dollars does not matter. Because you don’t matter to the powers that be, unless you don’t pay your taxes, then you matter a whole lot.
Now Poitico reports a new army of auto company lobbyists is spanning out across downtown Washington DC. The game must be played. Deals must be made. The tax payer was completely abused and now it is time to find new ways to abuse.
Go buy a GM. Go buy a Chrysler. Hell, you’ve already paid for part of any of the cars on the lot. You might as well own the whole thing. And finance it using Ally Financial (formerly GMAC) which is still owned 73% by the US taxpayer. That way you can keep the whole deal in-house. You can get jacked at all levels. Why not? Better a kiss with a fist than no kiss at all right?
It might seem like a brazen move for the auto giants, since taxpayers took a $1.3 billion loss when the government sold off the last of its Chrysler stock last year. And the government is supposed to do even worse when it dumps the last of its GM stock in the coming months.
But it’s become standard operating procedure in the post-bailout era: big banks, insurance companies and now automakers laid low on K Street for a time, but got right back into the influence game as soon as they felt they had the political cover to do it.
GM spent a combined $17.9 million on lobbying in 2011 and 2012, while Chrysler more than doubled its spending last year to $5.6 million. Even Ford, which did not take federal dollars, increased its spending on lobbying to $6.8 million last year.
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Now Greece Bans Cash – Again
Greek Finance Ministry plans to put an end to cash payments. Purchases worth more than 500 euro will be not possible with cash money anymore. Finance minister Yiannis Stournaras told the Parliament on Thursday that he examines that "the expansion of electronic transactions with credit cards and other electronic payment methods for a wide range of transactions for amounts much smaller than those required by current legislation," which is currently at 3,000 euro. All transactions worth more than 500 euro will have to be made only through money transfer through banks, or credit/debit cards and checks. – Keep Talking Greece
Dominant Social Theme: Irresponsible people – not paying their fair share – are forcing us to do this.
Free-Market Analysis: Greece is going to ban most cash transactions. As of last year, cash transactions over 1500 euros were banned. This moves the ban down by 1,000 euros.
But from what we’ve read, the average Greek’s transactions are already recorded in numerous ways so it is possible this move – reported speculatively in several publications to be sure (including apparently the Greek Ekathimerini News) – is aimed at impressing officials at the European Union and International Monetary Fund. Greece is shortly due for a good deal more bailout money.
In fact, the Greek Parliament is voting today on a new tax bill that broadens the tax base to raise another 2.5 billion euros, and also introduces new annual income thresholds for salaried taxpayers. It does away with tax breaks for the self-employed.
Entrepreneurs have emerged as the latest "bandits" in Greece’s ongoing efforts to bleed the wretched Greek carcass of its last available drop of revenue. Government benefits have been slashed, taxes raised and Greeks are being pursued with maniacal determination for taxes, paid or not.
It’s all about satisfying the Eurocrats and the IMF. Greece is essentially being treated like a developing country now, with the IMF applying the same formula that has made its ministrations hated around the world.
The EU is about to hand over 49.1 billion euros ($63.9 billion) to Greece pending more efficient "austerity." The IMF is deciding on the release of an additional 3.4 billion euros …
And so the Greeks – government officials – are determined to please. The idea apparently is to show that the boot has been placed on the collective neck of the Greek people. This will put a collective smile on the face of Greece’s technocratic masters.
Learn how to protect your wealth. See our Daily Bell Special Report: The Best Free-Market Economics and Pro-Liberty Educational Resource on the ‘Net and Why I Use It Religiously.
It is also cleverly calibrated, as those who have deposited large amounts in Swiss bank accounts are not about to be swept up in such a ban. Greek elites are not to suffer from these expanding embargoes.
They have been exposed, however. Not long ago it emerged that the IMF had in its possession a list of top Greek pols and other officials who had illegal Swiss bank accounts.
The IMF handed over the list to the Greek government, which promptly sat on it. In fact, the person who was pursued was the one who reported on the existence of the list in his magazine Hot Doc. Kostas Vaxevan, editor and owner, soon faced up to three years in jail for violating privacy laws.
He was arrested in October but found not guilty in November of last year. Observers commented on the time and the speed of the trial. It was a courageous judge indeed that declared Vaxevan innocent.
The Greeks are being made into an example. The era of easy money is over. The era of global consolidation is upon us. Now that the technology is here, everyone is to pay in digital currency and all transactions will therefore be available for tax. That’s the idea, anyway.
Greece was already implementing a ban on cash transactions over 1500 euros so this is merely an adjustment rather than a new policy. But one waits for the day when the EU itself will announce such a policy. Spain has banned larger cash amounts and Italy, too. Here’s something from last February’s Economic Policy Journal on the Italian ban:
It’s Really, Really Getting Crazy: [Bloomberg has reported that] Italians Banned from Cash Transactions of More than 1,000 Euros … "Prime Minister Mario Monti, in office just over a month, wants landlords, plumbers, electricians and small businesses to stop conducting large transactions in cash, which critics say helps them evade taxes. The government on Dec. 4 reduced the maximum allowed cash payment to 1,000 euros from 2,500 euros" … The noose is tightening, everywhere. The elitists and banksters are clearly going for the big play. They want to monitor every transaction you make and they want to monitor you.
Conclusion: Mexico has a ban as well. And none of it is crazy. We will see whether this 500 euro ban will materialize. Surely all will soon be coming to a bank near you.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Sat Jan 12, 2013 1:20 pm
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The Senate has passed a bill raising income and investment taxes on the rich, keeping in place the new Obamacare tax on high-income families, extending tax credits for favored companies, extending unemployment benefits, and delaying the sequester again. In other words, as I wrote four days ago and also in August 2011:
That’s why fiscal conservatives should look very skeptically at the “fiscal cliff” and “grand bargain” proposals, most of which promise to cut spending some day—not this year, not next year, but swear to God some time in the next 10 years. As the White Queen said to Alice, ”Jam to-morrow and jam yesterday—but never jam to-day.” Cuts tomorrow and cuts in the out-years—but never cuts today.
Once again, Congress and the president have demonstrated that they just aren’t fazed by a $16 trillion national debt, trillion-dollar deficits forever, and a federal budget that has doubled in a decade. Our Greek future still looms.
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It doesn’t happen on the same cycle as our annual holiday traditions, but the arrival of another REAL ID compliance deadline means that it’s time for some comfortable and time-worn rituals.
Federal bureaucrats caroling? Security hawks lighting the menorah? Alas, nothing so charming.
The January 15 “deadline” for state compliance with our national ID law, the REAL ID Act, will bring out state and local officials worrying about whether people will be able to board planes in late January. You see, REAL ID says that federal officials like the TSA can’t accept IDs from non-compliant states. Greg Roberts from the Lafayette (LA) Regional Airport thinks the TSA might turn away travelers bearing IDs from his state next month.
Federal officials will then send worried missives to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. “What will become of us if you don’t extend the deadline?” they’ll plead, hoping for their constituents to hear. Senators Jeff Bingaman (D) and Tom Udall (D) of New Mexico did that this week.
Next comes the secretary of homeland security.
Sometimes, our top homeland security official is very, very scary toward the states, like Michael Chertoff was. “There comes a point in time where all the discussion and analysis has to stop,” he said in a press conference nearly five years ago. “The time has come to bite the bullet.”
Sometimes, the DHS secretary is very, very quiet, like Janet Napolitano. Having blocked REAL ID legislation as Arizona’s governor, she’s been all over the map since becoming a federal official. She knows REAL ID is going nowhere, but she doesn’t want to attract the slings of Republican security hawks who would try to blame her and President Obama for it.
And that’s the most amusing part of this tradition. REAL ID is going nowhere fast. But people in the press don’t know that. And state and local officials don’t follow the issue carefully, so they think they have to fall in line with the national ID program. Yet they never have, and they never will.
Perhaps a chronology will help illustrate how meaningless REAL ID’s deadlines have been:
- On May 11, 2005, Congress passed the REAL ID Act. “Beginning 3 years after the date of the enactment of this division,” it said, “a federal agency may not accept, for any official purpose, a driver’s license or identification card issued by a State … unless the State is meeting the requirements of this section.” That meant that in 2008, states were going to have to issue REAL ID-compliant, national-ID drivers licenses.
- On March 1st, 2007, DHS Secretary Chertoff announced that states may seek “justifiable extensions” through December 31, 2009. Fourteen months ahead of REAL ID’s original deadline, things were going slowly. DHS finally came out with a proposed rule a week later.
- On January 29, 2008, four months ahead of the statutory deadline, the DHS issued its final REAL ID rule. Nobody was going to be ready, so it asked states to request extensions by March 31, 2008. It made May 11, 2011 a new deadline, available on demonstration by October 11, 2009 of “achieving certain milestones” captured in a “Material Compliance Checklist.”
- Starting in 2007, though, states across the country had started passing legislation barring themselves from complying with REAL ID and denouncing the law. By 2009, half the states in the country would say “NO” to REAL ID.
- When the March 31, 2008 deadline for extension requests came, several states didn’t even ask for one. Montana notified the DHS that it was not going to comply with the REAL ID Act, ever. DHS saw the writing on the wall and treated the notification as a request for an extension—and granted it.
The Missoulian reported ”Montana Wins REAL ID Standoff.” New Hampshire won, too. And so did South Carolina.
By September 2009, several states were declining to ask for a second extension (with a showing of material compliance), so the DHS moved the deadline for extension requests to December 2009. And in December 2009, with states still refusing compliance with REAL ID, the DHS stayed the compliance deadline “until further notice.”
- In March of 2011, the DHS quietly extended the deadline again, this time to the current date of January 2013.
So you can see just how unserious the forthcoming REAL ID deadline is. Before the deadline arrives, the DHS will extend it once again. Federal bureaucrats and national ID advocates continue to claim progress on corralling states into the national ID system, but states they claim to be “in compliance” are actual meeting a vastly pared-down “material compliance checklist.” There’s no REAL ID implementation anywhere.
Congress should stop funding the moribund national ID, and it should do away with the national ID law entirely. Until it does, we’ll continue to have these rites of passage for REAL ID deadlines, with state officials worrying, federal officials worrying, and Americans wondering why they can’t just cancel the whole thing.
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