Monday, February 23, 2009

What Will Save Our Economy?

Mortgage Foreclosure Solutions House in chains

How Do We Get Ourselves Out Of This Crisis?

I have been accused by some readers of being a "Monday morning quartback", of critisizing and not offering solutions and of getting the facts wrong about why we are in the mess we are in. The fact of the matter is that the only one in that list that I am actually guilty of is not being able to offer a credible solution to a problem that is slowly sucking the country and the world down.

Now I am a pretty smart guy, but not smart enough to have the answer to a problem that the "best" minds on Wall Street created (of course with the help of the politicians of both party's), and that the "best" minds on Wall Street, Washington, academia and elsewhere can't seem to solve.

If only they had used their power for good instead of evil.

In any event, as I have mentioned before when it comes to macro-economic issues as well as the inner workings of markets, I find Jim Cramer to be an extremely knowledgable source. Not the greatest stock picker in the world, but that's alright.

These are his thoughts on how we can get out of this problem, which is much more definitive than the ever changing drivel that keeps coming out of Washington.

Jim Cramer

Love him or hate him, the man has actionable and definitive ideas based on an extremely extensive and successful background on Wall Street and as an observer of the markets and economy.

"According to Cramer, neither nationalization, which does too much, or euthanasia, which does too little, will work to save the financial system. He said what will fix it, however, would be offering 40-year, 4% fixed rate mortgages to everyone, especially to those whose mortgages are based on current appraisals. He again advocated forbearance for the banks, with no "mark-to-market" rules enforced.

Cramer said we simply cannot let the chips fall where they may, and the alternative of nationalizing will wipe out the preferred
stock and so much more."

This is a short synopsis of his idea, but to me it sounds as if it makes more sense than any of the start and stop plans that we have gotten out of Washington so far. I know the same critics will say that Obama has now ony been in office for _____ days, but Tim Geithner has been on the scene for a lot longer than that (the guy the administration just had to have despite his tax problems), as have the members of congress, and all of them still can't seem to be able to grab their own a___s with both hands.

Maybe they should bring in some new outside advisors.


  1. noah ,,,your answer is jim cramer?..the dr. phil of the stock game? get with it mike...your words are sinking.....was the tax comment on our treasury guy necessary....that's a dig...mellow out man....start building the arc...and start gathering animals..we're all infor 40 days and nights of rain....

  2. My answer is not Jim Cramer but a concrete idea which is currently what we are missing from our people in Washington. Tim Geithner was given a pass on his tax "problem" because he was so critical to the problem at hand yet he is continuing the worthless (or even worse, i.e. Lehamn failure) performance he had at the New York Fed. With Geithner in charge of formulating this policy, with what seems to be no concrete ideas, it will hopefully only rain 40 days and not turn society into Waterworld.

  3. o.k. mike speak up...if geithner isn't the man...who is???rush limbaugh

  4. Do you ever say anything else other than what about Rush Limbaugh.

    My job is not to know who the absolutely right guy for the job is. That would be our new president. He had a long time prior to taking office to fuiguring it out. No more of the crap that he has only been in office 30 days.

    He didn't start the day of the inauguration. He started well before that. And he went for a Bush retread/failure as our financial savior, and then promised a great plan and then paraded him out to give the speech to no where.

    Screw Rush, how about our great new leader getting it right and appointing the right guy. Know what I mean?

    Maybe as a compromise we couod put you in there.

  5. no one could provide a soulution to this in a month...the ball is rolling

  6. why are you so fuc---g angry mike it's realized you hate our current administration ...please take a xanax

  7. I am really not angry. I just hate to see our great society falling into the toilet. I also hate to see people over promise and under deliver. You know what I mean!

    I actually think you may be angrier than I am.

    I don't believe in drugs. I believe in peace and love.

  8. There is that month thing again. Did Obama just wake up on inauguration day and realize,"hey, I am going to be preident today. What do you think I should do?" I don't think so.

    There is that over promising and under delivering thing again.

    And the ball that is rolling is hopefully round and not one of those square ones from the Flinstones.

  9. The housing crisis is just a SYMPTOM of our economic problems not a root cause - Jim Cramer would never go near mentioning the real root causes of our problem because it would quickly put an end to his Gordon Gekko get rich quick world.

    As for the housing crisis, the government should be giving the bailout money directly to mortgage holders to pay their loans off with. Let the money "trickle UP" for a change.

    Saving our economy will require a number of dramatic measures that likely will never be taken:

    1) Requiring that all our international trading partners play by the same labor, environmental, and safety rules we do and be multiparty democracies with freedom of speech and assembly.

    As long as countries like China can exploit their citizens as slave laborers then there will never be a middle class in this country because who can compete against slave labor?

    If this were done, middle class manufacturing jobs could return to this country.

    2) Passing the Employee Free Choice Act and getting more and stronger unions in this country. As long as businesses can pool capital, workers should be allowed to pool labor. When employees can collectively bargain they get a fairer deal and we see less of the nonsense where Jack Welch is buying 6000 dollar shower curtains while outsourcing American jobs.

    3) Actively enforcing labor, safety and environmental laws to protect American workers and consumers from the get rich quick scammers of the world.

    4) Requiring GOVERNMENT and not private accounting firms to audit Wall Street and the banking industry. These accounting firms have all been co-opted and the system has been gamed year after year to allow these CEO's to get their quarterly bonuses year after year while there really hasn't been real productivity growth in this country for a while now.

    These people have been cooking the books so long they no longer trust each other when it comes to loaning money - is it any wonder they don't want to trust ordinary Americans for a car or house loan?

    5) Put an end to the obscenely high credit card rates and cap them at prime + 5%. Put an end to all the nickle and diming fees and make it easier for people to declare bankruptcy.

    6) We need to restore the INHERITANCE tax and put an end to the Bush tax cut for the wealthy. It has bankrupted our government and doubled our national debt and has benefitted NO ONE but the rich.

    The money has NOT "trickled down" nor does it EVER trickle down because DEMAND drives the economy NOT supply.

    7) Require all home, car, education and credit card loans to provide for 3 months every 5 years where a person could go without making a payment without any penalties or interest or credit implications (this is in addition to any special promotional offers.)

    People need to have some room to maneuver in a bad economy - if they lose a job or become ill or whatever there should be some tolerance to allow them time to get out of the jam without making matters worse.

    If not used, this payment "vacation" should be allowed to build throughout the life of the loan so if someone has already paid 20 years on their loan they could go a whole year if they had to without making another payment.

    8) Providing free government health care to everyone. America spends one out of every seven dollars on health care - far more than the rest of the civilized world and gets less for it because it is a for profit system. It is killing individuals and businesses alike with burdensome premiums. We need a Canadian or UK like system.

    9) Providing life long free or affordable education to whoever wants it. People need to get new training all the time to stay competitive in this job market and a college education has become more unaffordable for most Americans than it has been at any time since World War II. The only thing that holds any hope of a middle class existence these days for most Americans is having a college degree.

    10) We need massive investment in alternative energy infrastructure and R&D.

    We need to stop sending 700 billion dollars a year overseas to pay for foreign oil.

    We need to end our dependence on foreign oil because it is really much more expensive than 700 billion dollars a year because we have to maintain the world's largest military at 600 billion a year and fight war after war to preserve our access to oil.

    We need electric cars, we need more nuclear power and we need solar and wind power on an industrial scale.

    11) We need to stop sinking 90 billion a year into Iraq and start spending that money on our own economy.

    This has been a giant black hole into which we've thrown money for going on 6 years now and it was an optional war based on a lie - it needs to end NOW - not a year from now.

    12) Massive investment in technological research and development and in infrastructure renewal and expansion. These are the only ways to really improve productivity in our country and to solve many of our economic and societal problems at a structural level.

    We need fiber optic broadband to every home in America.

    We need broadband wireless to every person in America.

    People need to be able to telecommute to work and be able to take a new job without having to relocate across the country.

    This would reduce energy consumption as well.

    We need state of the art schools where kids can learn how to use modern computers that they will be using in a work environment later in life.

    Of course Jim Cramer would never dare to tell the truth on this stuff because it clashes with his get rich quick screw everybody else mindset.

  10. Douglas many of your points are broad macro environmental solutions that both you and I know will not be taking place now or most probably ever.

    While Jim Cramer is many things, I use him as an example merely because he offers some actionable ideas as opposed to philosophical ideas that are not implementable.

    We as a country need to control what is in our control, and this idea is one of those.

  11. Hi all,

    Here's an interesting one for you.

    An analysis of the current economic crisis we are all unfortunately facing but looked at from a slightly different perspective.

    This analysis looks at past banking crises and how they have effected various aspects of the economy.

    It is titled The Banking Crisis - Where are we now? (follow the link should you be interested) and has particularly interesting points about how the previous banking crises has effected assets including property prices.

    Hope you enjoy.