Archive for July, 2009

“Sixty-Four and Still Counting!”

On July 5th the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, FDIC, had to take over operations of 7 banks and I wrote about it—Fifty-Two and Counting.” Six of them were in Illinois. During the next two weeks the FDIC only took over one (1) and four (4) banks respectively.

So things seemed to be getting better!

Well, yesterday all hell broke loose and the FDIC was once again extremely busy. They had to close 7 more banks. Georgia again leaped ahead as the state with the most banks to default this year. Now we have 64 failed banks that the FDIC has had to assume and coordinate sales to other, more stable banks.

By comparison—on July 25th, 2008, the FDIC took over 2 banks which raised the total failed banks to 7 .

In the first banking article, “Forty-Five and Counting,” Georgia had lost 11 banks since December 5th of 2008 and, in the subsequent banking article, Illinois suddenly jumped to 12 failed banks in 2009.

This past week was devastating for Georgia when the FDIC stepped in and took over 6 more Georgian banking facilities. And they lost First Piedmont Bank last week. The state of Georgia has now lost 18 banks since December and the little town of Alpharetta, Population 25,000, has closed 5 banks since last September.

Would the last banker in Alpharetta please close the vault when they leave. Oh, they won’t need to… there’s no money left in them. Is this now reaching the serious stage? Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in FDIC Foreclosures | Comments Off

Paper or Plastic! A Call to Action

Paper or Plastic? A common cry heard everyday at supermarkets, part of an effort at greening America.

In this economic morass in which we find ourselves the cry, Paper or Plastic, takes on a new meaning. It again refers to the greening of America, but it is equally, if not more important, for our survival.

The abuse of plastic—credit and credit cards—has placed the U.S. and its citizens in potential grave financial straits.

Over-leveraged and over-wrought, many people find themselves in untenable, unrecoverable debt. Upside down in their homes, over burdened with credit card loans, and years of car payments, many Americans are feeling stressed over huge debts. But, when will they get relief?

Relief will not come from the banks. Despite being responsible for the financial meltdown that we are experiencing, the banks continue to point the finger at irresponsible consumers while hoarding the dollars that they do have. In many cases the consumers are responsible. But the banks share a greater responsibility for the current economic problems.

Stop using Plastic!

Plastic issued by the banks is killing this country in more ways than one. The use of credit cards has our economy on a precipice and the continued use of plastic threatens to pull us over the edge. Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in Call to Action, Economy | Comments Off

“Golden Fleeced!”

Goldman Sachs reported better than expected earnings on Tuesday morning, indicating that they had a stellar quarter; earning nearly 3.5 billion dollars.

It is the best quarter they have recorded in their 140 year history.

Sounds great on one level, but on another level, the American people have been fleeced by Goldman with the help of the government.

Analysts predicted just a day before that Goldman would report lofty profits around $2 billion. So how did Goldman report a profit 70% higher than analysts predicted just one day earlier?

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Banking, Call to Action, Economy, Too Big to Bail | 1 Comment »

“Stop Driving! A Call to Action”

A month and a half ago I introduced my first Call to Action at It’s Worth an Opinion. At the time I explained that if we, the American people, would reduce our driving by only 5% the price of oil and, subsequently, gas would decline.

Oil is back down to under $60 a barrel as a result of the continuing decline in global demand and we are at a point where our action could drive the speculators out of the market again causing prices to drop to $35 per barrel or lower.

That would bring the price of gas down significantly, a result of real supply and demand.

Refiners like Valero and Chevron have already sent warnings to their investors as the demand for refined products declines. The conscious effort by a large number of concerned citizens would help drive down the price of oil and gas to a more fair level, taking money out of the BIG oil companies and putting it into your pocket for your own survival.

We’ve been ripped off by big oil companies, market speculators, and the Middle East for far too long. It’s time to take charge of our own fate. Read the original May 12th Call to Action at It’s Worth and Opinion: Stop Driving!

We have an opportunity here. Don’t just sit there. Do something about it.

Tags: , ,
Posted in Call to Action, Economy | Comments Off

“Camaro, the Return of U.S. Muscle”

To the Editor:

I have been waiting for the release of the new Camaro since buying the ’02 Z-28 knowing it was the last year of production. It is good to see the muscle car return to the GM lineup, (“A Muscle Car to the Rescue,” Business, 7/9/09).

GM with its new Camaro, as well as Ford with the Mustang, and Chrysler with the Charger and Challenger is helping put Detroit and the U.S. auto manufacturers back on the map. A powerful image of ingenuity and design.

Let’s not forget the crap that the Japenese manufacturers use to dump on our shores for years despite the billions in subsidies the Japanese government was providing. We called them rice beaters, and rightly so; tin-cans with wheels and crappy engines.

But the Camaro and others will begin to show that lazy, overpaid, inefficient U.S. autoworkers can again make great cars. Now, if GM would have only been smart enough to build the Camaro in a U.S. plant instead of in Ontario, Canada.

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Economy, Letters | Comments Off

“Is That All You’ve Got?”

jim They’re falling like flies and there seems to be nothing the party can do about it.

Im talking about potential Republican presidential candidates. Each week the list of 2012 hopefuls is reduced by at least one.

Last week it was Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin. The week prior it was the love struck Governor from South Carolina, Mark Sanford, saying adios to his presidential aspirations. And the week before that another promising presidential candidate, the junior Senator from Nevada, John Ensign,  just couldn’t keep his libido under control.

And how old is John Ensign? I read that his parents gave the family a mere $96,000 hush money to keep their baby boy out of trouble. What happened to “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas?”

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Is That All You've Got?, Politics, Republican Hopefuls | 2 Comments »

“The Dow at 6,000” (reposted)

Last September, when the Dow was at 9,200 I told several people that we’d be lucky if the Dow managed to stay above 7,000. Now, I predict we’re faced with a Dow at 6,000 or less, maybe even this month. Submitted as an Op-Ed to the Wall Street Journal, April 2, 2009.

**************************************

Originally posted – April 2, 2009

It’s been one bumpy ride for Wall Street since the beginning of 2008. It’s been volatile and unpredictable; a bit like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, the chaotic and exciting children’s ride at Disneyland. I would have used the E Ticket analogy, but many of the traders would not have understood the classic reference to the level of volatility.

Traders, brokerages, pundits, and analysts vacillate from grave concern to irrational exuberance in the same day, and sometimes in the span of a single hour. It becomes increasingly difficult to predict the direction of the market when the market itself is so capricious.

Some say the volatility is caused by a lack of clear direction from the government. They decry the intervention of the government in private enterprise, protesting that it is leading to socialization. But in the words of the now infamous former Senator, Phil Gramm, they’re a bunch of “Whiners.” Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Economy, Markets, Op-Eds on the Economy, Predictions, Wall Street | Comments Off

“Fifty-Two and Counting”

One week ago I wrote about an alarming number of failures; five banks taken over by the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) on June 26th, bringing the total failed banks to 45 for the first half of 2009.

Well, in today’s global and interconnected world things change rapidly.

Not only did Sarah Palin bail unexpectedly on Friday, but seven more banks succumbed and were taken over by the FDIC. Just one day before Independence Day the number of failed banks climbed to 52.

And, just as I stated in last week’s Blog, it was handled in almost complete obscurity. There has been very little coverage of the FDIC’s activities.

Seven banks placed in receivership by the government in one week should be of deep concern to someone, especially after the FDIC closed five banks just last week. Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , ,
Posted in FDIC Foreclosures | Comments Off

“Not This 4th of July!”

Independence Day was yesterday. It is a day of barbecues and fireworks, of friends and celebration. It is truly a day to be thankful for what we have in this great country; for our freedoms. It is a day to show patriotism.

But, this year, I found no reason to celebrate, no stirring for the red, white and blue, no compelling reason to party.

My patriotism is at an all-time low and it may be some time before it returns, if ever.

This country was founded on principles of freedom. It’s greatness has survived for over two hundred years because of a spirit imbued in the words of our founders; a spirit of birth, of hope, of compassion and promise. This country was great because of its sacrifice, its caring and humility.

But, as I contemplated the state of this country yesterday, I saw no reason to celebrate. That original spirit has been lost. Replaced by something less desirable. Less worthy.

My patriotism has not waned regarding our troops and their families. As a disabled veteran I understand what they’re being put through, their pain, their sacrifice. And those sacrifices have been great. Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , ,
Posted in Opinion, Politics | Comments Off

Forty-Five and Counting

Last Friday five more banks were placed in receivership by the FDIC which, in normal times, would be an alarming story.

But these are abnormal times, and the media didn’t even whisper the takeover of the 41st through the 45th banks this year.

Near the end of 2008 there was grave concern as the number of embattled banks reached the low twenties. But little has been publicized regarding forty-five banks failing in the first six months of this year.

Why is that? Is it because of fear? The fear of panic?

Panic is the greatest fear of the banking community, and always has been. Many banks right now are exceedingly over-leveraged and are at the lowest levels of reserves in many years; levels that defy even a capitalist’s sense of desirable or even reasonable protections. Even a small run on a bank could bring it crashing down. Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , ,
Posted in FDIC Foreclosures | Comments Off