Archive for the Interest Rates Category

Housing:  Another Bubble Blown By Criminally Low Interest Rates (August 24, 2020)

Posted in Covid / Coronavirus, Housing, Interest Rates on August 24, 2020 by e-commentary.org

. . .

K          “We are back in the 2005 – 2007 housing bubble.”

J          “We are careening toward the 2008 bubble burst.”

. . .

K          “The current nearly zero interest rates are a sign of a severely broken economy.  The time value of money should not be zero.”

J          “An irreparably broken economy.  They may drive them negative.  That should be inconceivable and anathema in a market economy.  Free money is not free.”

. . .

K          “Last year it was $49.99 and further reduced with the $10 off coupon for my birthday.  This year it was $59.99 and only reduced with the new $5 off coupon for my birthday.  $39.99 to $54.99 in one year.”

. . .

J          “$7.98 last month to $9.98 this week.  And because of limited supply, I had to drive across city to two stores to find what I needed.”

K          “The cost of the sticks to build a house has gone through the roof.  The cost of roofing materials has gone through the roof.”

. . .   

K          “So many folks are skipping their mortgage payments and using the money and the enhanced and very temporary government financial assistance to buy vehicles and other personal property on credit they may not be able to afford in the coming year.”

J          “Skip one month, look around and discover no immediate consequences.  Skip a second month, look around and discover no immediate consequences.  Skip a third month, look around and discover no immediate consequences.  Then it becomes habit.  Each month they get further and further and further in the hole.  And they forget that when you are in a hole, quit digging.”

. . .

K          “The state foreclosure moratoriums have largely expired yet the federal foreclosure moratoriums are still in place.  The surprise in the market is that the title companies are so busy refinancing loans they cannot get around to handling foreclosures.”

J          “Many present refinancings are future foreclosures in wait.  When you are in a hole, I say, quit digging.”

. . .

K          “Debt may not be repaid but it is always paid.”

J          “Anything that cannot go on forever will not go on forever.”

. . .

K          “Remember when the Queen of England asked some e-con-omists at the LSE why no one had predicted the credit crisis.  She asked the right question to the wrong gang.  What was coming was clear as gin in 2005 and then unfolded predictably over the next few years.”

J          “Do you have her number?”

. . .              

[See the e-commentary at “Housing Again (October 8, 2007)” that discusses the anatomy of a house, “America the Bankrupt: Economics 210 in the Land of the Freeway and the Home of the Wave (January 17, 2005)” discussing the looming “Hyperdive“ decline in the economy, “When the Bubbles Burst (December 4, 2006)” discussing the macroeconomic and microeconomic consequences of the housing market collapse, and “The Dow Jones (the Murdoch ?) Hits 14 K In A Hollow Economy (July 23, 2007)“ discussing the coming decline in the stock market that can only be delayed not avoided.]

Bumper stickers of the week:

“History does not repeat itself, but it rhymes.”  Mark Twain?

Housing Again (October 8, 2007)

A house is a bundle of 1) sticks, 2) dirt, and 3) money/interest obligation.  The Truth In Lending Act requires the lender to provide basic information about the terms of a loan.  A $100,000 house subject to a 30 year mortgage at 10 percent requires the borrower to pay a total of over $316,000 during the life of the loan.  Thus, more than 2/3rds of the money ($216,000) pays for the money; less than 1/3rd ($100,000) pays for the sticks and the dirt.

When interest rate drops to 5 percent, the borrower pays a total of over $192,000 during the life of the 30 year loan.  Thus, less than 1/2 of the money ($92,000) pays for the money; more than 1/2 ($100,000) pays for the sticks and the dirt.

Reducing the interest rate reduces the total purchase price of the sticks, dirt and money/interest obligation needed to acquire the house.  When Greenspan reduced the Federal Funds Rates in 2001 and mortgage interest rates dropped, the price of the money/interest obligation dropped correspondingly.  Those who had the sticks and the dirt at the time were in the money.  Others were able to acquire a house (sticks, dirt, and money/interest obligation), for at least a few years.  Those who obtained a house in the early days of the run-up with a fixed rate mortgage of 5 to 6 percent have a “bird’s nest on the ground” if they keep a cool head.

The interest rate in a typical adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) adjusts upward in the next months and years even if other interest rates do not rise.  When the interest rate rises to 15 percent, the borrower pays a total of over $455,198 during the life of the 30 year loan.  Thus, almost 4/5ths of the money ($355,198) pays for the money; little more than 1/5th ($100,000) pays for the sticks and the dirt.

Many of the ARMs are more difficult to refinance because they include “pre-payment penalties” if the notes are paid early.  A borrower could pay off all but the last month’s obligation and then pay off the last month according to the terms of the note.  Some judges might allow it; some would not.  The pre-payment penalty provisions should be stricken because they are 1) against public policy, 2) unconscionable, 3) fraudulently obtained, 4) buried in adhesion contracts, and/or 5) _________.  There will still be an economic impact because so many investors were fooled and/or fooled themselves into believing that they would receive the substantial returns from the ARMs and other bogus instruments.

The “wealth effect” now has been supplanted by the “poverty effect.”  The “multiplier effect” is being supplanted by the “divider effect.”  And there is not a whole lot that the Fed can do to improve our lot.

However, Al Greenspan recently announced unambiguously that the credit crunch is behind us.  In the near future, no one will even remember this latest pronouncement and hold him to it.

Bumper sticker of the week:

“Time is money, money is time, that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”    John Maynard Keats

Seeing 2020:  Federal Reserve Logic:  QE =/= QE.  Print, Lie, Print, Lie, Print, Lie.  The Great Financial Coup D’état Rages On. (January 6, 2020)

Posted in Banks and Banking System, Federal Reserve, Interest Rates, Kleptocracy, Repurchase Agreement on January 6, 2020 by e-commentary.org

. . .

K          “A year ago, Federal Reserve Chairman Powell repudiated a noble but doomed experiment.  After he raised interest rates in an effort to reach a normal, rational and traditional level, he and many others realized that interest rates can never ever ever ever ever be raised again and must be reduced to zero or less than zero to avoid financial collapse.”

J          “On January 30, as I recall, Powell relented because the Federal Reserve realized that the economic and financial system was again on the edge of collapse.  On September 17, as I recall, when the Federal Reserve again recognized that collapse was immanent, it opened up the coffers via the overnight repurchase market and shoveled free money to the banks and hedge funds.  And the free money is still flowing freely.”

. . .

K          “The entire financial and the political system is built on a deep and abiding faith in and reliance upon distrust.  Everyone in the banking and hedge fund world possesses enough self-awareness to know that she and he are corrupt and dishonest to the core.  And everyone in the banking and hedge fund world knows that the others in the banking and hedge fund world are corrupt and dishonest to the core.  Perfect knowledge in a world of otherwise imperfect knowledge.  Profound and well-founded distrust undergirds all decisions.”

J          “Actions and behavior are predictable, if one seeks to predict actions and behavior.  No banker or hedge funder wants to lend to another banker or hedge funder because each if given half an opportunity will not pay the money back.  Thus, they simply steal the money that is given freely by the Federal Reserve.  And the free money is still flowing freely.”       

. . .

K          “Now going on a dozen years, the Great Financial Coup D’état rages on and on and on.”

J          “And on and on and on and on and on without public input or congressional approval or MSM comment.  And the free money is still flowing freely.”

. . .

J          “Print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print. print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, print, and then rinse and repeat.”

K          “And then lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie and then rinse and repeat.”

. . .

[See the incisive and insightful commentary in “Wall Street On Parade” researched and written by Pam Martens and Russ Martens; David B. Collum, the other Dave who provides a review of the events of the departing year, delivers his written “2019 Year in Review” in two parts and a podcast titled “Pandemonium” in his own inimitable way available at Peak Prosperity.]

[See the e-commentary at “Quantitative Easing = Money Printing (January 19, 2015)” published five years ago discussing the ongoing Quantitative Easing currently in overdrive and part of the Second Great Bank Bailout taking place without public input, congressional approval or MSM comment; “Coups d’état, Bail Outs And Bail Ins:  Clio’s Diary/Chronology.  Oh, And Happy Constitution Day! (September 17, 2018)” published on the ten year anniversary of the Great Financial Coup D’état; and “Twenty Sixteen (January 4, 2016)” published four years ago at the dawn of the year on the prospects for economic collapse in the near future.]

Bumper stickers of the week:

Print, baby, print

Lie, baby, lie

Not all debt is repaid, but all debt is paid

And the free money is still flowing freely

To Be (In Debt), Or Not To Be (In Debt), what is the answer? (July 23, 2018)

Posted in Banks and Banking System, Debt/Deficits, Interest Rates, LIBOR, Wall Street on July 23, 2018 by e-commentary.org

. . .

K          “The argument and the aspiration is that there will be a debt jubilee relieving them of debt.  Acquire the debt now and be ready for the great debt reset.”

J          “Yet someone else expects to be paid on that debt and may not be jubilant if there is a jubilee.  Few will voluntarily release the debt of another.  That is the dreaded counterparty risk.” 

K          “I remind others that foreclosures continued unabated throughout the First Great Depression.”

. . .

J          “Another observation is that the government’s only solution to debilitating debt and deficits is to keep printing money and then in desperation to inflate the economy and prices.  The debtors who can maintain their cash flow may be able to ride the government’s coat tails and pay their debts with dollars worth substantially less.”

K          “The dollars may be worth less, but the homeowner/renters will be forced to pay more dollars.  I am confident that even someone who has a fixed rate mortgage will discover that the interest rate is nonetheless cranked upward unilaterally by the financial players.  The scandalous LIBOR interest rate scheme is disappearing which may vitiate some loan agreements.  And sure enough, the courts will not offer any hope or redress to the homeowner.”

J          “But the judges will make their tee times.”

. . .

J          “Student loan debt is expressly not dischargeable in bankruptcy and serves to enslave the kids who may be the ones to spearhead a jubilee.”

. . .

K          “If you are in debt, you are in servitude to someone else.”

J          “No question.  But not everyone is free to make the choice to be debt free.”

. . .

[See the e-commentary at “National Financial Literacy Month: Teaching Financial Literacy In The ‘Debt Age’ (April 25, 2016)”.]

[See “The Most Important Number in Finance Is Going Away.  Wall St. Isn’t Prepared” in “The New York Times” by Matt Phillips dated July 19, 2018.]

Bumper stickers of the week:

Debt is not so good

“Some debts are fun when you are acquiring them, but none are fun when you set about retiring them.”  Ogden Nash 

To Raise Or Not To Raise? (December 14, 2015)  

Posted in Bureaucracy, Federal Reserve, Interest Rates, Movie Reference, Sports, Wall Street on December 14, 2015 by e-commentary.org

. . .

1          “That is the answer.”

2          “They can’t raise it, they can’t maintain it, they can’t lower it.  They are not in a stalemate because they are in checkmate.”

1          “Game over?”

. . .

2          “A decision not to decide is a decision.  The Fed has been deciding not to decide and has decided to destroy the real economy since at least 2008.  If they decide to raise the rate a nominal .125 or .250 percent, they may be able to get away with it.  Anything more substantial will tip over this unreal and surreal economy of their contriving.  Interest rate derivative swaps will strain, fragile emerging markets will sag and the federal government will be forced to spend more of the budget on interest payments.”

1          “They are said to need to show that they are tough guys and gals who are trying to return to a real economy.  They are said to need to establish ‘Wall Street cred’.”

2          “They have no ‘Main Street cred’.  At least among the few dozen folks who give a cred.”

. . .

1          “So will they raise the interest rate?  Yes or no?  If they do, how much?  .125?  .250?”

2          “The question is not ‘will’ they but ‘should’ they raise the interest rate.”

. . .

1          “A betting pool.  There you go.  We might as well have fun.”

2          “No they should not.  .125 to appear to be doing something.  The effective rate now may hover near an average of .100, so they may be able to do something without doing anything.”

1          “Maybe.  .250 to feign cred.  And then be able to reverse gears.”

2          “See we shall.”

. . .

[See the e-commentary at Interest Rates ‘risin (March 30, 2015).]

Bumper stickers of the week:

“Do.  Or do not do.  There is no try.”  Yoda

What happens when you run out of altitude, airspeed and ideas all at the same time?

Otter:  “I think this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part.”

Bluto:  “We’re just the guys to do it.”

                                                    “Animal House” movie (1978)

Fed up yet?

“In life, unlike chess, the game continues after checkmate.”  Isaac Asimov