Economy: Are we there yet? Yes, we are. The Jim Cramer $25,000 Challenge

Update:  Thursday saw a big DOW drop of about 300 where Friday was up a bit so I continue to think we are near the bottom unless we see some strong indications that the stimulus will fail.    I think traders are basically waiting for new details on the stimulus and economic plans and trading quickly as that information filters in.   I suppose the coming challenges with consumer debt may not be fully factored in yet but one would think they probably are and the new news will be along the lines of whether the stimulus is stimulating or not.     I understand consumer debt sits at 4.5 trillion as people lose their jobs and home values and thus ability to repay.   I am concerned that the stimulus is directed at bureaucracy rather than powerfully targeting lower and middle classes with massive jobs and debt relief and the upper class with innovation incentives, but I ain’t no economist.    Of course the economists don’t have much of a track record…either!

With the DOW up about 150 points today [Wed] at the close, and optimism flowing about how China’s Government will pump up their economy soon, it is very tempting to think the worst is now behind us. Tempting because it’s probably true, at least for the next several years. My view (as usual with the caveat that you are as likely to gain trading insights from me as from the worthless punditry on CNBC (Yes, I’m talking to YOU Jim Cramer and I’m happy to bet you $25,000 you can’t outperform me in stock picking over any future period you choose). Don’t get me wrong Jim – you are very *entertaining* and I’m sure a fun guy and I enjoy your ….BOOYA! Silly TV show.

I’m just saying that you just have no more insight into picking stocks than a deranged chimpanzee picking stocks by urinating on a copy of the Wall Street Journal. * * *

Pessimists and doomsayers are pointing to the great depression where the initial 1929 market dive was followed a few years later with the DOW all time low = 41, some 80% lower than the *day after the 1929 crash*. This model of market behavior suggests we are in for a lot more trouble, but I think conditions now are so different that we cannot use that history as much indication of what lies ahead. The most important difference in my view is that the Government now is much more prominent and economically powerful than it was in 1930s, and even more importantly our Government is about to inject more money into the system than at any time in human history – more money than anybody can reasonably imagine.

Despite the inane and irrelevant rantings of the Four buffoons of the Republican Apocalypse – Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity, and Joe the Plumber – the stimulus is very likely to at least have something of a positive short term effect on the economy, and the new role of Government as more of an economic babysitter than before is hardly sending us down some slippery socialistic slope from which we’ll never recover. In fact look for China to recover *first* from the recession for the very reason that when the going gets tough, China’s CapitalCommunist style economic system allows much faster and simpler implementation of the kinds of intervention that the Obama administration is struggling with now.

Thoughtful conservatives are suggesting there are likely better ways to stimulate the economy than pour hundreds of billions into state and federal government infrastructure projects and that’s certainly true, but we’re hearing very little about constructive alternatives to the contruction projects that will form the backbone of this initial stimulus.  Rather, Republicans are now so busy trying to tear down the stimulus and (absolutely moronically) blame Obama for the crisis as if his 40 days in power somehow trumps the past 8 years of fiscal mismanagement and massive government spending which itself was only a part of the current problems.    As I’ve noted before there is far too little attention on the single biggest group of culprits in the whole fiasco – everybody with a mortgage on their house who borrowed money, responsibly or not.   It was this flush of paper wealth and the lure of more that provided the fuel for the derivatives and banking excesses.     Many of us did not act irresponsibly or irrationally when we took advantage of the massive consumer lending boom with cheap and easy loans, but we also can’t claim that we have nothing to do with the problem just because we are not defaulting on the mortgages.    Sure I’m for punishing irresponsible people and businesses – that’s a major part of what keeps our system better than others –  but I also understand that I’m going to have to foot some of the bill for this mess even though I didn’t do anything wrong.

So, have we hit the bottom on the indexes?   I say *yes*.   We hit it yesterday and we now have more reasonable values for our fine American companies.    Will things soon bounce back to their former glory?    No way.  The recovery will be slow and I think slower than the optimistic numbers we heard from Obama’s team yesterday.    I’d guess it will take a decade or more before we see a DOW at 14000 again, with the caveat that we may see some spectacular, game changing innovation  (e.g. conscious computing, near-zero cost energy) that would change everything very fast, leaving our entire global economic infrastructure in the dust.   However I doubt we’ll see anything like that for many years.

*** Yes this is a real offer of a $25,000 wager subject to any legal restrictions that would restrict it. Money would be held by an escrow service of Jim Cramer’s choosing. Period would be picked by Jim Cramer. “Better performance” would be defined as a greater total return on the portfolio over the period without regard to fees or expenses.

51 thoughts on “Economy: Are we there yet? Yes, we are. The Jim Cramer $25,000 Challenge

  1. Joe I appreciate your optimism…but your dreaming. Wait until the jobs report on Friday.

    Look at what Geithner said today:

    U.S. oil and natural gas producing companies should not receive federal subsidies in the form of tax breaks because their businesses contribute to global warming, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told Congress on Wednesday.

    It was one of the sharpest attacks yet on the oil and gas industry by a top Obama administration official, reinforcing the White House stance that new U.S. energy policy will focus on promoting renewable energy sources like wind and solar power and rely less on traditional fossil fuels like oil as America tackles climate change.

    The markets hate it when the government attacks the profit and earnings of any major company. All of this eco-terrorism flowing from the Obama administration is going to cause even more panic in the markets.

    The odds that the market will have a positive day after 5 consecutive days is pretty high…did you notice the fast erosion in the closing minutes of the market?

    We will be lucky to be above 6500 after Friday.

  2. Joe-We’ll be back between 4500 to 5000 before it’s over. That’s where we were in 1995 before the dotcom boom and bust. Greenspan should have acted then in 97 to prick the bubble.

  3. Asian markets were down…so much for the wild optimism that you and JCH had about the Chinese stimulus…lol.

    Hysterical moment: JCH actually thought that would affects the markets…

    Hang on the ride is about to get really wild.

  4. Cramer’s response to the White House Hit Squad driven remarks:

    So nice our President is attacking private citizens…Seriously do Obama, Emanuel, Gibbs think they stand a chance trying to demonize these guys while all they have to do is point to the declining stock market, imminent failure of GM and the dismal economy. These guys do this specific job 24 hours a day…working to talk to the people and the White House has a press conference now and then and they go on Sunday talk shows. They don’t stand a chance against these guys on the air every single day. Just another point that proves they really don’t know they are doing in this Administration and we are paying for it.

    Wait until we have a foreign policy crisis and then we will see what kind of games the Obama admin is willing to play.

    I thought all this transparency was supposed to bring a new level of ethics and honesty to our government…silly me…those are just buzz and code words for the Democrats to keep them in office…like most of their empty promises.

  5. Speaking of the continued broken promise of a new level of transparency in our government…

    Fed Refuses to Release Bank Lending Data, Insists on Secrecy

    The Federal Reserve Board of Governors receives daily reports on loans to banks and securities firms, the institution said in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by Bloomberg News.

    The Fed refused yesterday to disclose the names of the borrowers and the loans, alleging that it would cast “a stigma” on recipients of more than $1.9 trillion of emergency credit from U.S. taxpayers and the assets the central bank is accepting as collateral.

    The bank provides “select members and staff of the Board of Governors with daily and weekly reports” on Primary Dealer Credit Facility borrowing, said Susan E. McLaughlin, a senior vice president in the markets group of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in a deposition for the Fed. The documents “include the names of the primary dealers that have borrowed from the PDCF, individual loan amounts, composition of securities pledged and rates for specific loans.”

    The Board of Governors contends that it’s separate from its member banks, including the Federal Reserve Bank of New York which runs the lending programs. Most documents relevant to the Bloomberg suit are at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which the Fed contends isn’t subject to FOIA law. The Board of Governors has 231 pages of documents, which it is denying access to under an exemption under trade secrets.

    “I would assume that information would be shared by the Fed and the New York Fed,” said U.S. Representative Scott Garrett, a New Jersey Republican. “At some point, the demand for transparency is paramount to any demand that they have for secrecy.”

    Bloomberg sued Nov. 7 under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act requesting details about the terms of 11 Fed lending programs.

  6. ……the inane and irrelevant rantings of the Four buffoons of the Republican Apocalypse – Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity, and Joe the Plumber ….

    Maybe there will be an Apocalypse bubble: the Asteroid rally! An exploding death-‘roid however might not be so good for bidness–‘cept perhaps the religion business. Asteroids–time of trials and tribulations, y’all.

    Serio, I think puts/bearish positions might pay off, given that essential commodities are still at very high prices, such as crude oil and gold. Haven’t looked at charts recently, but Demo admins are generally not great for commodities or even S n P type stocks. I predict the Big MS ( Microsoft) will go down as well. Vista’s not moving much.

  7. (7) Now we start to fully understand the tax impact to this country. The latest you can no longer deduct your taxes from your income…so now you will PAY taxes on your taxes.

    The small biz assoc estimates between 14-20% of small businesses will close due to the tax law changes alone…that is on top of the businesses that will close for economic reasons.

    There are about 27 million small biz’s in US.

    97% of ALL NEW jobs are created by small biz.

    Not one penny in the stimulus goes to small biz. IT ALL GOES TO TOP 1% businesses.

    This all means one thing: Screw private business, Obama only wants large UNIONIZED businesses to succeed.

    70% of the economy is driven by small biz. Over 500,000 small biz’s closed in 2007 because of economic reasons. So we can assume that number or greater will close this year. Add to that another 20% (or almost 5 million businesses) will close because of the tax code.

    Tell them that doesn’t spell disaster in our current climate.

    This administration is trying to stuff socialism and the elimination of private enterprise down our throats.

    Obama wants the stock market to totally fail to drive home this outrageous leftist agenda against the will of the majority of the country.

    Only about 10% of America would fully support this agenda…we are in for some dark days once 90% of America wakes up.

  8. (7) MSOFT…Windows 7 will move briskly I think even in this economy is a a tremendous improvement and most of the XP crowd will finally switch over and I think we will see the first widespread adoption of a 64 bit platform for an desktop OS.

    Of course Wal-Mart is going to continue to do well. Lee Scott and friends over there understand consumers and how to make things work for everyone.

  9. MSOFT…Windows 7 will move briskly I think even in this economy is a a tremendous improvement and most of the XP crowd will finally switch over and I think we will see the first widespread adoption of a 64 bit platform for an desktop OS.

    Yes, very good point. Early tests suggest this is a great OS, and as you say people will make the switch from XP to this, partly due to the lack of MS support for XP and the lack of quality in Vista.

    Horatiox MS may eventually die but it won’t be anytime soon. They still have a LOT of big money out there for Windows, and Suites and most importantly gaming and mobile – far more revenue than Google for many years to come even if they continue to have trouble.

  10. (10) Firsthand with Windows 7…it is a completely different animal than any OS that I have used before from Microsoft. Before Windows 7 I had to use Windows Server 2008 as a workstation to get this kind of stability.

    Even the beta drivers are working well.

    Windows 7 has this interesting compatibility helper to help you create a loading profile to make a program run correctly. Literally everything I have thrown at it has run well. I finally got it to break when I tried to get a very old anti-virus program to run on it.

    When you combine Windows 7 with RocketDock on multiple monitors it really is a great experience.

    Even gadgets are useful because they are no longer confined to a sidebar on the desktop.

  11. The total bill so far for ALL the commitments from the Obama administration just after 40 days or so in office.

    Are you ready for this…sit down…think about this number:

    $20 trillion dollars…

    $20,000,000,000,000 (yep 12 zeros!)

    That is 20,000 billion, 20 million millions, etc…

    That link shows you what $1 trillion looks like…so take what they show and multiply that by 20.

  12. President Barack Obama offered his domestic-policy proposals as a “break from a troubled past.” But the economic outlook now is more troubled than it was even in January, despite Obama’s bold rhetoric and commitment of more trillions of dollars.

    And while his personal popularity remains high, some economists and lawmakers are beginning to question whether Obama’s agenda of increased government activism is helping, or hurting, by sowing uncertainty among businesses, investors and consumers that could prolong the recession.

    Although the administration likes to say it “inherited” the recession and trillion-dollar deficits, the economic wreckage has worsened on Obama’s still-young watch.

    Every day, the economy is becoming more and more an Obama economy.

    More than 4 million jobs have been lost since the recession began in December 2007 — roughly half in the past three months.

    Stocks have tumbled to levels not seen since 1997. They are down more than 50 percent from their 2007 highs and 20 percent since Obama’s inauguration.

    The president’s suggestion that it was a good time for investors with “a long-term perspective” to buy stocks may have been intended to help lift battered markets. But a big sell-off followed.

    Presidents usually don’t talk about the stock market. But the dynamics are different now.

    A higher percentage of people have more direct exposure to stocks — including through 401(k) and other retirement plans — than ever.

    So a tumbling stock market is adding to the national angst as households see the value of their investments and homes plunge as job losses keep rising.

    Some once mighty companies such as General Motors and Citigroup are little more than penny stocks.

    Many health care stocks are down because of fears of new government restrictions and mandates as part a health care overhaul. Private student loan providers were pounded because of the increased government lending role proposed by Obama. Industries that use oil and other carbon-based fuels are being shunned, apparently in part because of Obama’s proposal for fees on greenhouse-gas polluters.

    Makers of heavy road-building and other construction equipment have taken a hit, partly because of expectations of fewer public works jobs here and globally than first anticipated.

    “We’ve got a lot of scared investors and business people. I think the uncertainty is a real killer here,” said Chris Edwards, director of fiscal policy for the libertarian Cato Institute.

    Some Democrats, worried over where Obama is headed, are suggesting he has yet to match his call for “bold action and big ideas” with deeds.

    In particular, they point to bumpy efforts to fix the financial system under Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

    Obama may have contributed to the national anxiety by first warning of “catastrophe” if his stimulus plan was not passed and in setting high expectations for Geithner. Instead, Geithner’s public performance has been halting and he’s been challenged by lawmakers of both parties.

    Republicans and even some top Democrats, including Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, have questioned the wisdom of Obama’s proposal to limit tax deductions for higher-income people on mortgage interest and charitable contributions.

    Charities have strongly protested, saying times already are tough enough for them. The administration suggests it might back off that one.

    Even White House claims that its policies will “create” or “save” 3.5 million jobs have been questioned by Democratic supporters.

    “You created a situation where you cannot be wrong,” the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Montana Democrat Max Baucus, told Geithner last week.

    “If the economy loses 2 million jobs over the next few years, you can say yes, but it would’ve lost 5.5 million jobs. If we create a million jobs, you can say, well, it would have lost 2.5 million jobs,” Baucus said. “You’ve given yourself complete leverage where you cannot be wrong, because you can take any scenario and make yourself look correct.”

    Republicans assert that Obama’s proposals, including the “cap and trade” fees on polluters to combat global warming, would raise taxes during a recession that could touch everyone. “Herbert Hoover tried it, and we all know where that led,” says House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio.

    The administration argues its tax increases for the households earning over $250,000 a year and fees on carbon polluters contained in its budget won’t kick in until 2011-2012, when it forecasts the economy will have fully recovered.

    But even those assumptions are challenged as too rosy by many private forecasters and some Democratic lawmakers.

    Many deficit hawks also worry that the trillions of federal dollars being doled out by the administration, Congress and the Federal Reserve could sow the seeds of inflation down the road, whether the measures succeed in taming the recession or not. The money includes Obama’s $3.6 trillion budget and the $837 billion stimulus package he signed last month.

    Polls show that Obama’s personal approval ratings, generally holding in the high 60s, remain greater than support for his specific policies.

    “He still has a fair amount of political capital, so the public is willing to cut him some slack and go along with him for a while,” said pollster Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center. “But the public will have to get some sense that the kinds of things he’s proposing are going to work, or are showing some signs that they are working.”

    Allan Sinai, chief global economist for Decision Economics, a Boston-area consulting firm, said the complexity and enormity of the crisis make it hard to solve.

    “There’s no way to get it all right, regardless of which president is making policy,” Sinai said. “The problem is the sickness got too far. The actions taken, medicine applied, were mainly the wrong actions. So it’s just worse, and it gets harder to deal with. At this stage, there is no easy answer, no easy way out. It’s a question of how we fumble through.”

    EDITOR’S NOTE _ Tom Raum has covered Washington for The Associated Press since 1973, frequently reporting on the economy.

  13. So when I first heard about this last week…I actually thought it was satire and not the truth and now as the story unfolds it is an embarrassment to our country of enormous proportion.

    Just how incompetent, arrogant is our President Obama. The Prime Minister of GB brings very thoughtful, very valuable gifts as is the tradition celebrating the incredible relationship we have together.

    Obama then proceeds to give the PM a box of DVD’s, not even properly region coded – i.e. the PM CANNOT even watch them.

    He further insults the PM by returning the bust of Winston Churchill that GB gave to our country to show our solidarity together after 9/11.

    Then our state department issues a statement that GB is no different nor more important than any other U.N. nation. All at a time where less than 30% of America thinks the U.N. is a worthwhile organization.

    This is simply outrageous. Every day as our markets collapse and Obama claims if you want to get anything done in this country you have to stop listening to Rush but hey we will sit down with the Taliban!!! Obama is the Manchurian candidate – he is trying to destroy our country and everything it is based on.

    If you are still supporting Obama then you are as anti-American as he is and you need to get the facts.

    Don’t you find it disturbing that the MSM is not reporting any of this? Can you imagine if Bush did something like this?

    Let’s not even bring up the button fiasco Hillary pulled with Russia.

    As the Pelosi/Reid/Obama disaster continues to unfold we will begin to feel more and more pain, both in our wallets and in our freedoms…

    WTH were you voters thinking about putting this group of clowns in charge of our country?

  14. No wonder Obama is acting like he is…unbelievable the amount of guilt, etc these liberal carry around with them and how it manifests today.

    Gore with his pollutant father and now Obama and his grandfather that was tortured by GB – a grandfather he never met. But he give 35 pages of importance to in the Dreams From My Father that was actually written by Bill Ayers (which you can no link in wiki in regard to a relationship with Obama – since the full communist censorship in place).

    we may pause to wonder: has the torture of his grandfather affected Obama’s feelings towards the British? Might it subtly impact American foreign policy and the primacy of the so-called “special relationship” between the US and Britain?

    Interestingly, some foreign policy briefing papers currently circulating on Capitol Hill raise this very question. Wess Mitchell, co-founder of the independent think-tank the Center for European Policy Analysis in Washington, says there has been speculation as to whether Obama’s putative “submerged psychological grievance” might affect a special relationship that goes back decades – to Ronald Reagan’s powerful chemistry with Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair’s “third way” consanguinity with Bill Clinton.

    This was on the eve of his inauguration little did we know how right they would be…geesh…

    See what happens when you elect people with “issues”.

  15. And now a regular guy who had a small blog who was protesting Geithner’s appointment finds himself curiously at the end of an IRS audit just one month after he started stating his political feelings.

    This person has never been audited before but now must face the full brunt of the Government being used against him.

    Naw…this isn’t Chicago style politics at all…lol

  16. BOSTON – More than one out of every five dollars of the $126 million Massachusetts is receiving in earmarks from a $410 billion federal spending package is going to help preserve the legacy of the Kennedys.

    The bill includes $5.8 million for the planning and design of a building to house a new Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the Senate. The funding may also help support an endowment for the institute.

    The bill also includes $22 million to expand facilities at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum and $5 million more for a new gateway to the Boston Harbor Islands on the Rose Kennedy Greenway, a park system in downtown Boston named after Kennedy’s mother and built on land opened up by the Big Dig highway project.

  17. Putting Obama into the White House was one of the biggest blunders America has ever made. We are less than 2 months into his Presidency and he is already a failure.

    Pelosi/Reid are running out of control and we are paying for it.

    So much for change that was promised – just proves Obama has ability to be an effective leader.

    If he can’t control Pelosi/Reid what do you think the hard lined leaders in N. Korea, China, Iran and Russia going to do with him.

    The Obama Presidency is a mounting and growing disaster that will take decades to recover from.

    The backlash is coming and hopefully conservatives won’t be fooled ever again in trying to tolerate and accommodate the liberal’s POV.

    Housing foreclosures and unemployment is now beginning to spiral out of control and TARP, Stimulus, etc are doing nothing to help our country and Obama is too busy promoting his leftist anti-American agenda than to worry about the financial system (his words not mine).

    Thanks to all the people that voted for Obama you have set our country on a collision course of total destruction.

    Even in the places where Obama has been protected by the corrupt media they are now turning on him as well…in only two short month…I wonder what the next 46 months will bring.

  18. Federal agents this morning are searching the Judiciary Square office of Washington, D.C.’s Chief Technology Officer.

    The search is part of “an ongoing investigation,” said a spokeswoman for the FBI’s D.C. Field Office, Lindsay Gotwin, said. She declined to comment further.

    The outgoing Chief Technology Officer, Vivek Kundra, was appointed last week Chief Information Officer by the Obama administration. His last day at the city government office was February 4, a spokeswoman for D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, Leslie Kershaw, said.

  19. The hypocrisy of the left…

    Flashback: Carville Wanted Bush to Fail

    On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, just minutes before learning of the terrorist attacks on America, Democratic strategist James Carville was hoping for President Bush to fail, telling a group of Washington reporters: “I certainly hope he doesn’t succeed.”

    Carville was joined by Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg, who seemed encouraged by a survey he had just completed that revealed public misgivings about the newly minted president.

    “We rush into these focus groups with these doubts that people have about him, and I’m wanting them to turn against him,” Greenberg admitted.

    The pollster added with a chuckle of disbelief: “They don’t want him to fail. I mean, they think it matters if the president of the United States fails.”

    Minutes later, as news of the terrorist attacks reached the hotel conference room where the Democrats were having breakfast with the reporters, Carville announced: “Disregard everything we just said! This changes everything!”

    The press followed Carville’s orders, never reporting his or Greenberg’s desire for Bush to fail. The omission was understandable at first, as reporters were consumed with chronicling the new war on terror. But months and even years later, the mainstream media chose to never resurrect those controversial sentiments, voiced by the Democratic Party’s top strategists, that Bush should fail.

    That omission stands in stark contrast to the feeding frenzy that ensued when radio host Rush Limbaugh recently said he wanted President Obama to fail.

  20. What he is alleged to have said is he did not want bush to succeed. As soon as there was a national crisis, he changed his mind; therefore, he wanted the president to succeed in dealing with a national crisis.

    We’re in a national crisis. Only a slime bag would want the President to fail in a national crisis. Not even Carville was willing to stoop that anti-American low.

  21. (21) No actually JCH most Americans definitely want a socialist agenda to fail. Obama has already failed. Pelosi/Reid are running this country.

    We have a President that refuses to deal with our financial system, refuses to curb his spending agenda all because IDEOLOGY trumps all.

    Look at immigration the reason we have a problem with the Mexico border is because of the insane immigration policies of the far left…what is Obama’s response…LET’S DEPLOY OUR TROOPS ALONG THE MEXICAN BORDER…WTF…we might as well declare war on Mexico. This guy is a complete disaster.

  22. (21) Look at the corruption guised in environmental protection. The CAP & Trade scheme is a perfect example. Do the analysis…the top 10 states financially impacted by the scheme are traditionally conservative or conservative leaning…the least 10 states impacted by CAP & Trade are far left.

    All because they put exclusions, etc in the scheme to punish conservatism in this country.

    For some reason you think this is actually going to work…lol

    Let’s give the U.N. control of our waterways, etc…these people are idiots and are trying to destroy our great nation.

  23. Punishing conservatism – your first great idea.

    All you do is toss crap against the wall. Weasel sideways; toss crap. Weasel sideways; toss crap.

    During the Reagan administration the President and congress tried to force employers to ask identity questions. The Chamber of Commerce, hardly liberal, went ballistic. They wanted their cheap labor. They got their way. “Give us our cheap Mexican labor! It’s not our job to police illegal immigration.”

  24. (23)…lol…you guys love to revise history.

    Gee look what happened today to the market they are finally talking about something that will make a difference. Dump mark-to-market… those that understand the issue have been discussing it since the idiots Sarbanes/Oxley passed it.

    Of course they could only test fly the concept first to see what the market would do.

    Unbelievable they would rather spend trillions on failed ideas but then one simple rule change that could have been done years ago would have helped lessen the impact of the current financial crisis finally see the light of day. Yeah but let’s keep our faith in the government to solve all the problems…they are so efficient.

    Speaking of Reagan…he was right about one thing: The government is the problem.

  25. No, he was the problem. He was a feeble old idiot.

    Mark to market is just fine when there is a viable market. I’ve been blogging for months that mark to market is impossible in a market that is in panic. It has no scheme to deal with it.

    You, unable to figure anything out, would just do away with it. 99 years out of 100, mark to market yields the best presentation of balance and income statements.

    Thank to GW and the pack of fool morons who liked him, this is that 1 year out of 100.

  26. Mark to market was a disaster but not as much of as a disaster that is unfolding:

    A potential conflict was brewing last night in the South China Sea after President Obama dispatched heavily armed American destroyers to the scene of a naval standoff between the US and China at the weekend.

    Mr Obama’s decision to send an armed escort for US surveillance ships in the area follows the aggressive and co-ordinated manoeuvres of five Chinese boats on Sunday. They harassed and nearly collided with an unarmed American vessel.

    Washington accused the Chinese ships of moving directly in front of the US Navy surveillance ship Impeccable, forcing its crew to take emergency action, and to deploy a high-pressure water hose to deter the Chinese ships. Formal protests were lodged with Beijing after the incident.

    Seriously this is insane to challenge the Chinese like this. This is exactly what happens when you elect a horribly weak person into the White House and he has to respond over the top to prove himself. THIS IS A VERY DANGEROUS GAME WITH THE CHINESE.

  27. Mark to market is how stocks are valued. The ticker is mark to market. With mark to market you value, mark, the asset value at the price a willing buyer is willing to pay in an arms-length transaction. In a free market it is one of the bedrocks of asset valuation. Not the only means, but clearly one of the most utilized.

    When credit froze, because your boy W created 4 million EXTRA foreclosures, essentially nobody would/could bid on CDOs, so the banks had to, by accounting rule, create huge loss provisions. Loss provisions had to be created; they were taking huge losses. But mark to market could not provide them with any clue as to what was a prudent loss provision in a market panic.

    So off you skate to more lunacy – a horribly weak person. You know this how? The fact is you have no clue. Zero.

  28. Seriously JCH you just don’t understand the problem with mark to market accounting within public corporations.

    What you FAIL to understand is that mark to market accounting requires businesses to value their ASSETS at market price. Which for stock share assets is pretty straight-forward, i.e. x shares of stock at y price is based on an active trading market.

    But here is the problem fool. The majority of ASSETS within a company are NOT TRADED IN ACTIVE MARKETS. So the accounting cost JUST TO PRICE assets that are not actively traded is astronomical and the penalties with Sarbanes/Oxley are so punitive that if you get it wrong you totally screwed – so what do you have to do…ultimately undervalue assets so you are not going to be the target of government witch hunt.

    Take the case where banks hold massive mortgage assets…now add mark to market over their heads and basically since they can’t determine the bottom of the market for houses (which is where they would have to value their assets) they basically have to zero them out. It’s absurd and the idea was basically the stupidest thing ever done.

    All mark to market did was guaranty that non-market assets would be devalued so extreme that it would create under-valued portfolios and further reduce the value and ability of a company to get credit, keep hiring, etc.

    Why in the world would you want to take non-trading assets and put an artificial barometer on them to ensure that during a volatile crisis you basically would artificially tank a company let alone increase the accounting expense just to support it?

    For the record level 1 assets I have no problem with mark to market…but level 2 and level 3 are a disaster and this is a prime example of a government bureaucracy over-simplifying a major problem in response to corrupt practices surrounding ENRON (both private and government corruption). The majority of assets held in corporations are level 2 and level 3.

  29. (28) Gee isn’t it ironic that yesterday the word on the street was they were indeed going to suspend the mark-to-market BS and look how the market responded.

    Many people screamed and yelled this time last year and before that we need to do that. In fact if we had changed the mark to market rules a year ago banks would have been able to self-recover most of the problems we are seeing now.

    Yeah government is the answer…yeah if you want to destroy more than half the wealth in this country! Oh yeah…that is needed if you want to push a socialist agenda through.

  30. Geithner “bragged” yesterday that he has never worked on wall street or a financial institute. I have been a publice servant my entire professional life. – Great Timmy, just the change we are looking for.

    Gee I wonder why he has done such a crappy job!

  31. Obama’s Poll Numbers Are Falling to Earth


    It is simply wrong for commentators to continue to focus on President Barack Obama’s high levels of popularity, and to conclude that these are indicative of high levels of public confidence in the work of his administration. Indeed, a detailed look at recent survey data shows that the opposite is most likely true. The American people are coming to express increasingly significant doubts about his initiatives, and most likely support a different agenda and different policies from those that the Obama administration has advanced.

    Polling data show that Mr. Obama’s approval rating is dropping and is below where George W. Bush was in an analogous period in 2001. Rasmussen Reports data shows that Mr. Obama’s net presidential approval rating — which is calculated by subtracting the number who strongly disapprove from the number who strongly approve — is just six, his lowest rating to date.

    BTW…Bush didn’t hit these levels until 6 years into his Presidency.

  32. The way a socialist views and works the market. Watching this video say it all..Jim Cramer…

    Unbelievable…what a scumbag!!!

  33. WASHINGTON — Top federal regulators say they were taken aback when they learned that a California congresswoman who helped set up a meeting with bankers last year had family financial ties to a bank whose chief executive asked them for up to $50 million in special bailout funds.

    Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat of California, requested the September meeting on behalf of executives at OneUnited, one of the nation’s largest black-owned banks. Ms. Waters’s husband, Sidney Williams, had served on the bank’s board until early last year and has owned at least $250,000 of its stock.

    Another example of a scumbag corrupted politician…didn’t she also claim there was nothing wrong with Fannie and Freddie!!!

  34. John Stewart has become the media’s best ombudsman, tearing into CNBC and Jim Cramer for their failures:

    Cramer hardly defends himself which is odd since he’s guilty of ego and the ignorance *we all share about financials* more than the illegal manipulations that Stewart seems to think are pervasive in the industry. If financial manipulations were as simple and pervasive as many have suggested we’d see a *lot* more folks profiting from this fiasco than we have. Do people seriously think that Warren Buffet and Bill Gates could be left in the cold without the keys to the magic manipulation vaults? Of course not. There were a relatively small number of CEOs and scammers who made money from the meltdown, but most of the key folks have sunk with their own ships.

    (more in a full post later)

  35. Glenn that video is so wrong and naive it makes Michael Moore look reasonable. Things like Bilderberg are not conspiracies although both right and left think they are because they don’t spend any time researching these topics. Agenda news does not give you any answers – try going to real sources and you’ll see Bilderberg is a media-shy gathering of respected leaders. I’m very happy to see Obama meets with those groups as well as the thousands of others he meets with. In terms of gathering views from all sources Obama is superb.

    The funny thing is that “Obama as Manchurian Candidate” is an area where extremists on right and left agree 100% – they just have completely different ideas of why Obama represents a threat to their ideals and totally incompatible pieces of “evidence” to support their bogus claims. Leftists insist he’s a closet fascist pawn of the right, right suggests he’s a communist dupe of the left.

    Both ideas are transparently false. If you spend any time with reasoned sources you’ll see that Obama is bright, sincere, and respected by virtually every high level political and military leader around the globe. Last night the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs was explaining why he respects Obama. Glenn how can you *possibly* believe he and the tens of thousands of other high level military think Obama is a closet communist dupe?

    Compare the show you are citing above to the perspectives of *the* key military players in the Obama (and Bush) administrations, seasoned professionals and masters of the global US projection of power. These guys trust Obama and you are being incredibly stubborn (as in I cannot believe how much information you ignore!) to trust some kooky video nobody when there are tens of thousands of hours of “real” information about the President:

  36. (37) Joe the video is not wrong. There is a ton a relevant information in it. It slams both Bush and Obama equally. It statements about the impact of the World Bank and The Fed are right on.

    You don’t have to buy into their conspiracy theories to get the information that is there.

    Here is what is interesting…if you take what you know about politicians, banks, wall-street, etc…and the level of corruption that exists there no think about this.

    A group of the same people running an organization so powerful that has ABSOLUTELY NO OVERSIGHT, IS COMPLETELY ABOVE THE LAW and REPORTS TO NO ONE and you think they are working with integrity and honesty?

    Take the recent events…we just gave the Fed trillions to bail out and they let us borrow back the billions for the current spending bill that Obama just signed. And people in this country thinks that’s reasonable…??? Wake up…it is a scam and we are getting screwed.

    That is what I get from the video…not the conspiracy crap.

    What we don’t learn about is all the strings attached to our borrowing from The Fed. I can only imagine what those terms are.

    The bottom line: The Fed needs to be 100% audited and audited on a regular basis and it needs to be taken out of the hands of private bankers…some of the very same people that helped driving our economic system RIGHT into the ground.

  37. (37) And you know what…we ought to hold this administration’s feet to the fire and demand he keep his campaign promises…

    Geez…on Iraq, Afghanistan, Torture, etc he is EXACTLY the same as Bush…he even signed an extension for the practice of rendition…where is the liberal outrage? Bunch of hypocrites!!!

  38. Glenn both left and right are thinking tribally as usual and only calling out the other side for hypocrisy.

    But you should be pleased that Obama has not dramatically changed policy in Iraq or Afghanistan. In fact he’s doing very much what he said he’d do during the election, which is as far as I can tell the best course of action.

  39. (39) Joe which flies right in the fact of the raging left loon’s hypocrisy of their view on Iraq and Afghanistan. But clearly Obama is not keeping his campaign pledges regarding Iraq – he clearly stated he was going to end the war in X months.

    Of course any seasoned person with military campaign experience clearly understood you can never reveal any finite part of your military plans. Bush’s statement was actually the best – we will stay there as long as it takes to get the job done.

    Unfortunately Obama will probably fail in Afghanistan and for the record I don’t think we fought either war correctly. We still want to fight a kind battle, etc…it’s insanity. War sucks, war is horrible but you go in do what you have to do with extreme efficiency and get out. The sheeple have short memories and the military should act under military protocol and not a political protocol directed by civilians that just don’t have a clue.

    I still think the speeches by Obama, Pelosi, Reid, etc about the war during the conflict was seriously undermining our efforts. I am not against free speech but elected officials should bite their tongue and not expose our brave men and women to any additional harm. Whether you agree or not some of those speeches emboldened our enemy and gave them a cause to rally around. What person of good conscience can do that? They ALL have never apologized to our servicemen for their statements that were inaccurate and harmful.

    And where are the speeches now? How come they are silent? The situation in Afghanistan is a serious mess and the only way it will ever get resolved over there is by invading Pakistan and what then? Global nuclear war?

  40. I see one of the many advantages of the Obama Presidency as bringing a much better balance of power and diplomacy than Bush was able to muster. I think Bush’s intentions were always good but he tried to simplify the global tensions to a level that did not bring much international support for the effort to crack down on terror.

    Moderates in the Islamic world have a huge respect for Obama, and his rise to power defied a lot of the talking points of both the extreme right and left. Clearly Obama is not an extremist – he is a very smart pragmatist and that’s what we need right now.

  41. (41) Exactly what moderate Islamic people do you think we need to cut a deal with? I don’t currently see a problem with any moderates?

    Obama is definitely an extremist from his voting record. Of course he has had a lot of his IL state voting record censored…I wonder why anyone would do that?

  42. Glenn I’m not talking about cutting deals, just the fact that most of the Islamic world wants stability and sees a lot of potential for the US to be a stabilizing influence. Although Bush’s intention was to be that, the international perception was that we were the bad guys with no interest in Arab lives. Bush unfortunately failed to get the point across that the US is fighting terrorists, not moderates. Perceptions matter in terms of pulling popular support and even you’d probably agree with me that Obama is a master at manipulating perceptions.

  43. (43) Joe I don’t think whomever is in office is going to make that much difference with moderates and quite frankly moderates are going to do nothing one way or another to hinder extremists.

    I would agree that Obama is a master at reading speeches that are designed to manipulate people. But he is a puppet – if he were a true orator he wouldn’t need the teleprompters…geesh he even needs them at informal town hall meetings…seriously…lol

    Interesting gallup study…

    7 out of the top 10 happiest districts in the country are represented by Republicans.

    9 out of the top 10 unhappiest districts in the country are represented by Democrats.

    Shocker…sooner or later when you rely on the government to help you choose your toilet paper and what school to send your children to you will be disappointed.

  44. HR 1388, will hit the House floor on Tuesday.It is called the Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act (The Give Act.) The House is scheduled to Rule this week. Sponsored by Democrat Representative Carolyn McCarthy (NY), Education and Labor Committee. The objective is to reauthorize and reform the national service laws.

    Democrat Rep. McCarthy is sponsoring the bill with 25 co-sponsors, ALL Democrats, including Charlie Rangel.

    The brown shirts return…fascism at its best.

    Why does the government need to make a law about volunteering? If you are required to do this how can you be a volunteer?

    This is completely absurd to force people to do something like this. This is completely anti-American and is designed to further indoctrinate people into the raging liberal left.

    It is amazing that people think this is going to fly without serious civil unrest and disobedience.

  45. (46) Seriously people have to wear uniforms when they do this…the original wording in the bill said the people would have to attend camps…now they changed it to say campus.

    This is just sick.

  46. (43) Joe the reality is that Obama will be a friend to the terrorists that want to destroy our way of life…of course if Obama succeeds in the endevaor first then the terrorist threat might be diminished.

    Tony West was “American Taliban” terrorist John Walker Lindh’s defense lawyer

    On March 9, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on one of Barack Obama’s latest nominees. This time it was to assess the suitability of Tony West, Obama’s nominee for the assistant attorney general in charge of the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Division. Things went “smoothly” according to the San Jose Mercury News, also publishing a nice bio of West.

  47. Glenn the “Give Act” is a pretty minor legislative act to amend existing volunteerism – nothing to worry about at all:

    There are huge issues on the table now wrt Economics, taxes, deficit, and global instability. I’ll worry about those.

    Obama is no friend to facism or communism. He’s a smart moderate. Still in my view by far the best guy for the complicated tasks ahead.

  48. Joe are these the moderates that you think are so important to an Obama Presidency?

    A 75-year-old Saudi Arabian widow has been sentenced to 40 lashes and four months in jail for “mingling” with two young men who were not close relatives. One was her late husband’s nephew and the other was his business partner. Ah, the beauty of Islamic Sharia law.

    One can’t help but notice the media’s striking lack of concern for women outside the United States. It’s rare to hear more than a whisper of protest from any print or broadcast media.

    And the big name women’s organizations? Silent as Marcelle Marceau despite the fact that they’re always the first to say, “It’s one world. We’re one family of people. We’re all brothers and sisters.” Yet when confronted with horrible abuse in Muslim nations, the typical response is, “We must understand. We must not be so quick to criticize, because its their culture.”

    Or how about Iran and how they hang someone just for being gay.

    Come on where is the outrage from the raging left…the hypocrisy of the raging left loons is simply astounding.

    Or maybe this video is a better example of a moderate…

  49. Now Obama says…The fundamentals of our economy our sound…ROFL.

    Let’s rewind back when McCain said this when the DOW was at 11,000. Obama’s response…What economy is he talking about?

    I guess we can ask Obama what planet he is on…

    This guy is so far out of his league and we are doomed to live by his ridiculous and naive decisions.

    BTW…can anyone tell me why killing the DC voucher program for schools is a good idea? Costs the government 50% of the public school cost with vouchers and the students score 90% better in reading and 95% better on math than compared to the public schools.

    Why not close all the public schools and put everyone on vouchers? Save 50% of the tax expenditure and actually give these kids a chance!

    Maybe we shouldn’t even mention the new legislation in Chicago requiring a property owner to submit their fingerprints if they want to sell their homes?…of course we can’t fingerprint people coming into this country…WTH?

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