Stimulus Update: Conference Report Now Up..

Update 2: Looks like they kept the home purchase tax break, now it appears to be for $8000.00…and the car credit is now only for sales tax…the Make Work Pay credit is down to 400.00….the AMT fix is still in…increased credits for landlords of low income housing….that is a quick review of Division B, the second half of the report, part a manyana!

Update: IT IS UP – HERE

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From Politico’s Thrush:

No bill yet,  but here’s the latest press summary of the conference report from the Appropriations Committee.

By Glenn Thrush 09:48 PM

Conference Report Summary .pdf

Keep checking the website  “Bill text will be available later today at http://www.rules.house.gov

February 12, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Economy, Finance, Obama Administration, Politics, TARP, Unemployment Statistics, Wall St. 1 comment.

Update on Geithner Housing Plan…HOLC fix would also address the ‘toxic assets’ dilemma…

Below is another perspective on how the Team Obama Housing Package is shaking out, from someone in the meetings today, I hope this one is the way they go instead of subsidizing payments on means testing as Reuters reported today and we covered in another post:

From PrimeBuzz:

The White House is considering a proposal to head off potentially millions more home foreclosures by using federal funds to buy up at-risk loans and then refinance them with more affordable terms.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and other Obama administration officials met Wednesday with a group of top bankers, community groups and financial industry representatives to discuss the plan.

So far, government efforts to prevent foreclosures have focused on pressing the lending industry to work with at-risk homeowners voluntarily and provide them with more affordable payment terms. But the new proposal signals a shift to a more direct government approach, according to John Taylor, president of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, who attended the meeting with Geithner, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and other Obama administration officials.

What they heard from all segments of the industry is nearly universal support for going in and purchasing these loans,” said Taylor.

-snip-

Under the proposal, the government would draw on $50 billion in funds already approved for the financial bailout to buy up millions of mortgages at a discount. A $300,000 mortgage on a house now worth $200,000, for example, might be bought at a 30 percent discount.

The homeowner then would be able to refinance the smaller mortgage with lower monthly payments. The government could then sell the loan back to investors, freeing money to buy more loans.

The new approach could eliminate one of the biggest roadblocks that has stymied the government efforts to buy up so-called “toxic assets” that are clogging the financial system. Trading in these securities — backed by thousands of loans — has all but shut down because banks, investors and potential buyers are unable to predict their future value. But individual loans are much easier to value, making government purchases more practical, according to the plan’s proponents.

More who support HOLC or is this the subsidy Reuters reported?? via Bloomberg:

The Obama administration’s housing plan will use government money to help reduce interest rates for struggling borrowers, while asking lawmakers to approve more ways to modify mortgages, according to a person briefed on the proposal.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner intends to make the plan public in coming days, possibly within a week, said the person, who declined to be identified before the announcement. Some elements can begin immediately, and others must be considered by Congress.

-snip-

The government will subsidize interest-rate reductions by working with the servicers that handle mortgages, the person said. That way, servicers can lower monthly payments for households without shortchanging investors.

The new plan, which isn’t final and could change, would be voluntary for lenders and investors, the person said. It is aimed at loan modifications that have a positive net present value, meaning that the cost of a foreclosure would be higher than that of adjusting the loan terms.

Here is a HUGE part of the housing issue that would not be addressed if they go with a subsidy model over a HOLC model, MiM supports HOLC:

As the housing market has collapsed, roughly one in five homeowners now owe more on their mortgage than their house is worth. That’s created one of the thorniest problems in the debate over foreclosure relief: Who should bear the loss when a mortgage is bigger than a home’s value? Various proposals have been floated, including having the government share some of the loss in return for a stake in the possible appreciation of the home after it’s refinanced.

Until recently, the hardest-hit were borrowers who were sold loans with low “teaser” interest rates that later reset to unaffordable levels. As the recession has deepened, the rapid pace of job losses has put millions more homeowners at risk.

Hey remember when John ‘I Feel Pretty’ Edwards and Obama teamed up against Hillary in that debate and castigated her for wanting to give RX companies and insurance companies a seat at the table when planning universal healthcare? I do, so who sat at the table with Team Obama planning foreclosure mitigation and mortgage modification?

Geithner and Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan courted banks and housing industry groups yesterday in an effort to gather support ahead of the housing policy announcement. The Cabinet officers used the hour-long meeting to discuss strategies for preventing foreclosures and modifying mortgages for struggling homeowners.

-snip-

Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Co. and Citigroup Inc. were represented at the meeting yesterday with Geithner and Donovan, along with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-backed mortgage companies, and a number of banking industry and consumer advocacy groups, the people said. The attendees weighed in on how to help homeowners survive the recession and its accompanying credit crunch.

Geithner said the administration has a plan “that is not by any means set in stone,” according to John Taylor of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition.

“The proposal wasn’t finished and they are open to ideas,” Taylor said.

Are these business interests impacting Obama campaign promises?

The new loan modification program will be combined with a push for more authority from Congress, the person said. The Obama administration wants to allow judges to change loan terms under some conditions, and it also wants to permit modifications on Federal Housing Administration and Veterans Administration loans, which currently can’t be changed.

Community groups want to give judges the power to lower mortgage rates for borrowers in bankruptcy, a provision that the banking industry opposes. Investors have said this provision could cripple the secondary mortgage market and raise interest rates for all borrowers.

President Barack Obama said on Feb. 10 that this proposal, commonly called “cramdown” authority, will not be part of the administration’s initial housing program. Obama said cramdowns are “one potential provision that has been discussed, that I’m supportive of, but is not in this package. It will be in a separate package.

February 12, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Cabinet, CITI, citigroup, FDIC, Finance, Foreclosures, Housing, Labor Department, Obama Administration, Politics, TARP, Unemployment Statistics, Wall St. 2 comments.

Breaking: Senator Judd Gregg Withdraws From Commerce Secretary…

Breaking CNBC, he says there are, “irresolvable conflicts for me”..

Good news for software engineers anyway, I am sure the Census Issue was key…

MiM previous post on Gregg at Commerce here

For Immediate Release:

(more…)

February 12, 2009. Tags: , , , . Cabinet, Economy, Obama Administration, Politics. Leave a comment.

Developing: US to Subsidize Mortgage Payments for those who pass Means/Needs test?….

At first blush this is not at all what we were hoping for, it sounds like  another entitlement rather than a principal write down and refinancing program…..between this and the story downthread on bringing in hundreds of thousand if not millions of immigrants to take the foreclosed homes and the debt we are running up it sounds like a plan to build a Third World Country to me….

Forbes:

Stocks changed their tune on reports the government is working on a program that would subsidize mortgage payments for homeowners that have the means to stay in their homes, but are struggling to keep up, in an effort to put a stop to the flood of foreclosures and slow the slide in home prices. The program would be a significant departure from most current programs, which do not seek to modify loans until homeowners fall behind, and could involve the support of government-controlled mortgage finance firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

CNBC breaking it, it brings the DOW back from down 200 to down 6…HOUSING is the problem and the markets know it, but will this help?

The Obama administration is hammering out a program to subsidize mortgage payments for troubled homeowners who have gone through a standardized re-appraisal and affordability test, sources familiar with the plan said on Thursday

Under the plan being contemplated, mortgage companies would use a uniform eligibility test even before a borrower becomes delinquent, sources said.

The administration hopes the mortgage industry will soon agree to a set of standards that will allow it to move quickly to modify many home loans.

Sources said government-controlled housing finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would play a supporting role in the government’s new plan, but said they are not expected to expand their securitization of loans.

This kinda sucks, it sounds like you should just walk away if youre underwater on the loan to value ratio and have a job I thought ALL AMERICANS could get a break, sounds like all poor Americans are getting lowered mortgages and the Middle Class is left out….again……

Under the plan being mulled, homeowners would have to make a case of hardship to qualify for new loan terms.

Housing policymakers weighed but have for now shelved one plan that would have seen the government stand behind low-cost mortgages of between 4 and 4.5 percent, sources said.

Lockhart said that policymakers are eager to prevent a large drop in home values from their current, deflated levels.

Right now I am thinking the woman who said Obama would pay her mortgage and car payments and she wouldn’t have to work was right….

February 12, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Economy, FDIC, Finance, Foreclosures, Housing, Politics. 1 comment.

Cramer agrees the Stimulus Package sucks and PS I Miss Bill…

budget-deficit

DOW down 200 now, the closer we get to passing the stimulus the lower we go…

Look at the Big Dawg years!!! A lovely steady upward trend up to the tidy surplus we built while all doing well across all the spectrums of income…

Look at the present trend, Carter on Steroids….

(Chart From Greg Mankiw)

February 12, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Economy, Obama Administration, Politics. Leave a comment.

Wheel of Time Roundup: JordanCon April 17th-19th…Countdown to Robert Jordan’s WoT: A Memory of Light release November 2009…

pic_robert_jordan_books

It’s coming!!! NOVEMBER 2009 !!!!!

Counting Down to A Memory of Light release date with TOR books:

Setup your own countdown clock from TOR Books here

FantasyFan:

A Memory of Light is one of the most anticipated fantasy books right now. Unfortunately there is no official date of the release for the last book of Wheel of Time series, however sources on DragonMount.com claim that “manuscript for A Memory of Light is expected to be completed by December, 2008. From there it will undergo further editing and preparation. It is currently expected to be published in the Fall of 2009.”

God Bless Robert Jordan, we at MiM were lucky enough to meet him in San Diego at a book signing many moons ago

"The Wheel of Time turns and ages come and pass. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow. Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time…”

"The Wheel of Time turns and ages come and pass. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow. Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time…”

NY Book Times:

Tor Books announced today that novelist Brandon Sanderson has been chosen to finish the final novel in Robert Jordan’s bestselling Wheel of Time fantasy series. Robert Jordan, one of the greatest storytellers of the 20th and early 21st centuries, died September 16th after a courageous battle with the rare blood disease amyloidosis.

The new novel, A MEMORY OF LIGHT, will be the twelfth and final book in the beloved fantasy series which has sold over 14 million copies in North America and over 30 million copies worldwide. The last four books in the series were all #1 New York Times bestsellers, and for over a decade fans have been eagerly awaiting the final novel that would bring the epic story to its conclusion…..

…It is the perfect match for Sanderson, who gratefully acknowledges the role Jordan played as an inspiration to him as a writer. In the tribute piece “Goodbye Mr. Jordan,” posted on his blog, Sanderson writes to Jordan: “Personally, I feel indebted to you. You showed me what it was to have vision and scope in a fantasy series–you showed me what could be done. I still believe that without your success, many younger authors like myself would never have had a chance at publishing their dreams. You go quietly, but leave us trembling.”

wintersheart-tor-books-robert-jordan

Jordan has also often been referred to as Tolkien’s heir and in an article about The Wheel of Time series, The New York Times lauded Jordan for his extraordinary story-telling ability: “The books’ battle scenes have the breathless urgency of firsthand experience, and the ambiguities in these novels—the evil laced into the forces of good, the dangers latent in any promised salvation, the sense of the unavoidable onslaught of unpredictable events—bear the marks of American national experience during the last three decades, just as the experience of the First World War and its aftermath gave its imprint to Tolkien’s work.” John Clute said of Jordan’s magnum opus, “when complete, the sequence will almost certainly constitute one of the major epic narratives of modern fantasy.”

callandorFilm rights to WoT update from Aint It Cool via Variety:

Universal Pictures has acquired film rights to the late Robert Jordan’s bestselling “The Wheel of Time” novel series in a seven-figure deal.Adaptations of the fantasy tomes will begin with the first book in the cycle, “The Eye of the World.”

Rick Selvage and Larry Mondragon will produce for Red Eagle Entertainment, which published graphic novel adaptations of Jordan’s books.

“The Wheel of Time” follows, among its dozens of characters, Rand al’Thor, the latest incarnation of a force for good called “The Dragon.” Rand is born to fight an evil character called Shai’tan.

200px-a_soundtrack_for_the_wheel_of_time

JordanCon Update from TOR Twitter feed:

Tom Doherty, the founder of Tor Books, the publisher of The Wheel of Time series, will be attending JordanCon. Doherty formed Tor Books in 1980, after a stint as publisher at the venerable Ace Books publishing house. Since 1988, Tor has been selected by Locus Magazine readers as “Best Science Fiction Publisher”. Tor authors include the late Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, George R.R. Martin, Terry Goodkind, Orson Scott Card, Mercedes Lackey and many other notables. Doherty will be appearing on panels regarding the upcoming publication of A Memory of Light, the final book in The Wheel of Time series and on the future of fantasy publishing in general.

JordanCon is the first convention dedicated to exploring the literary legacy of Robert Jordan and his ground breaking The Wheel of Time series. JordanCon takes place April 17-19, 2009 at the Alpharetta Embassy Suites in Alpharetta, GA, a suburb of Atlanta. Pre registration is currently $60. Other guests include Harriet McDougal, Wilson Grooms, The Lost Boys, Big City Burlesque, Jendaiyi Belly Dance of Atlanta and Brandon Sanderson. For more information, please see our website at http://www.ageoflegends.net

Complete Bibilography of the Wheel of Time Novels from TarValon.net here

the-wheel-of-time-icon3

WoT Happenings:

TarValon.net announced Wheel of Time Charity Drive on their website:

The Robert Jordan estate, Brandon Sanderson and the Wheel of Time community are pleased to announce a fandom wide fundraiser to assist Heifer International, a charity that provides farm animals and training to the worlds poorest populations.

(more…)

February 12, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Art, Entertainment, Fantasy, Film, Music, Popular Culture, Sci Fi. 2 comments.

Update: Alan Greenspan is still making messes…Thomas Friedman is an Idiot…

www.Americanworker.org

Greenspan who made this bubble is onto the same solution, just give AZ housing to immigrants, what a maroon:

There also are more unconventional approaches such as mortgage holidays, easing immigration rules to allow into the U.S. more skilled legal foreign workers who could up distressed and foreclosed homes in markets such as Phoenix and Las Vegas…..

Former Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Alan Greenspan floated the idea last year of easing U.S. immigration laws to allow more skilled foreign workers to enter the country. He contends those workers would buy up vacant, distressed and foreclosed homes in markets such as Phoenix while also taking hard-to-fill jobs.

Gareshe said such a plan could help increase housing demand, but she notes the political unlikelihood of the approach and wonders how much legal immigration would be needed to actually achieve those goals. There also is the question of whether U.S. companies, that long have lobbied for more skilled foreign workers, are in a position to hire them now.

Yes, an idiot. His proposal in the NYT is to OUTSOURCE THE FORECLOSURE CRISIS.  By bringing in tens of thousands more H1B visa workers to buy up the houses Americans have lost to foreclosure.

Way to spark  protectionism there Tommy Boy!!  The NYT hates Americans betcha they think more H1B visa holders would buy more of their rag newspaper so MoDo can keep feeling important…

Cause American workers aren’t pissed enough that Wall St and self proclaimed GENIUSES like Friedman tanked the markets and caused our equity to vanish along with our jobs

Let’s totally replace Americans in EVERY ASPECT of American life and move them right into our houses!!!

THOMAS FRIEDMAN YOU ARE A MORON, I CAN’T THINK OF ANYTHING THAT WOULD SPARK MORE OF A PROTECTIONIST BACKLASH THAN SUGGESTING WE MOVE FOREIGN WORKERS RIGHT INTO OUR JOBS AND OUR HOUSES, OUR AMERICAN DREAM OUTSOURCED ALL IN ONE SHOT

WAY TO SPARK PROTECTIONISM AND A TRADE WAR TOM!

HEY HERE’S AN IDEA HOW ABOUT WE OUTSOURCE MORONIC COLUMNISTS AND PUNDITS WHO ALSO ONCE THOUGHT THE IRAQ WAR WAS GREAT! YOU FRAKKIN IDIOT?!

Tom quotes INFOSYS an Indian company that replaces American workers here in the US with H1B visa holders who work for half as much…..way to inspire Americans to get an engineering degree Tom..but hey India sends their citizens here for their advanced degrees so I guess it is convenient huh?!

I  have suggested we give our VETERANS low rate loans for these houses, guess we can’t have Americans who sacrificed so much for all of us getting a home;

Cause after all, this comes from the popular punditry view of Americans as spoiled and lazy right Tom? We need H1 B visa workers to show us how to work hard and live the American dream, not Americans right? Not we schmucks whose immigrant grandparents worked their axxes off so we would be born here and live that dream right?…FRAK YOU FRIEDMAN

Here’s a frakkin idea, why not have our government work for US and have India’s government build good jobs and houses for the Indian people…..

I won’t link to it. On CNBC Lefrak says he and others have a similar plan to propose to Obama in a few weeks.Don’t do it Team Obama..the backlash will be incredible..

Yeah we are built by immigrants and dreams, the American dream, and H1B visa workers still come here every day, but we should not actively seek to replace American homeowners and workers with blanket policies that do not help Americans. India has their very own government to help them, how about ours helps us? Or do need to ask in French for Team Obama to find us couth enough to get attention?? Aidez-moi Obama!

These very same morons suggest we have less children too…they want us to go extinct I take it..frakkin idiots…Friedman and his ilk like to think their ideas are good for the world too, will the brain drain Friedman proposes be good for India, I think not. …

February 12, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Economy, Finance, Housing, Music, Obama Administration, Politics, Popular Culture, TARP, Unemployment Statistics, Wall St. Leave a comment.

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