VP Biden on China and Trade Policy….

Oh Noes!!! Biden was alone with a reporter and they talked about currency, trade and China, oh dear Gawd!!

Smoot-Hawley is already raising its protectionist head in the stimulus and now Joe is talking to our banker..good grief…

Read an EXCELLENT post on the Great Depression and Smoot-Hawley by Anthony Edwards at The Filter, their chart on the drop in global trade below:


Highlights from Reuters by way of interview with NBC reporter John Harwood:

The United States will insist China play by international trade rules, but will not move unilaterally to keep out China’s exports, Vice President Joe Biden said on Thursday.

“The policy of this administration is to say to China — which occasionally the last administration was reluctant to do — ‘you’re a major player on the world scene economically and you’ve got to play by the rules that everybody else plays by,'” Biden said in an interview on CNBC.


So we’re going to be, in that sense, blunter with the Chinese about ‘you’re in the deal, you play by the rules,'” Biden said.

Oh good! BIDEN is going to be MORE BLUNT with our largest trading partner and the buyer and holder of all our debtr, which incidentally we are printing like it’s going out of style to send out all these stimulus funds…I feel nauseous…

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner angered China last week when he told senators at his confirmation hearing that China was manipulating its currency.

So what’s happening back at the ranch while Biden is talking about China..

President Barack Obama is expected to contact his Chinese counterpart soon and assure Beijing that Washington is not seeking a “currency war” a lawmaker closely involved in U.S.-China issues said on Thursday.

Representative Mark Kirk, co-chair of the U.S.-China Working Group, said he and others in the bipartisan congressional group were told by administration officials that “the president will undercut the anti-currency message pretty directly.”

“My understanding is today or tomorrow there will be an Obama call to Hu Jintao in which the talking points are basically that the president will commit that we are likely not to have a currency war,” the Illinois Republican said.


BUT- ” The White House declined to comment.” Apparently they forgot to tell Joe…

Have they read the State Dept. Diplomatic History on this??

In the decade after the end of the First World War, the United States continued to embrace the high tariffs that had characterized its trade policy since the Civil War. These were enacted, in part, to appease domestic constituencies, but ultimately they served to hinder international economic cooperation and trade in the late 1920s and early 1930s.

Message to Joe, to quote T’Pau, (and really have been waiting to do so since the 80s, HA! ): ‘don’t push too far, your dreams are china in your hand’ and he is a bull in the shop dudes…


January 29, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Economy, Entertainment, Finance, Music, Obama Administration, Politics, Wall St. 4 comments.

Update: -3.8%…Market Mover Tomorrow:4Q GDP…8:30am EST…

UPDATE: Number came in better than expected, the economy shrank 3.8% in Q4, traders are taking it with a Morton’s shaker of salt since this is the preliminary advance number and subject to revision….but no g’news is good g’news as Gary Gnu knows….

….The Commerce Department on Friday said gross domestic product, which measures total goods and services output within U.S. borders, plummeted at a 3.8 percent annual rate, the lowest pace since the first quarter of 1982, when output contracted 6.4 percent. GDP fell 0.5 percent in the third quarter. These were the first consecutive declines in GDP since the fourth quarter of 1990 and the first three months of 1991.

Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast GDP contracting 5.4 percent in the fourth quarter. The U.S. economy slipped into recession in December 2007, driven by the collapse of the housing market and resulting global credit crisis….

From Briefing.com:

…Investors now turn their focus to the advance fourth quarter GDP report, which is due tomorrow morning (8:30 AM ET). Given the challenges facing the economy, the consensus forecast calls for a 5.5% annualized fourth quarter decline in GDP.


Anything more than a 5.5% drop and I think the market will sell-off again and after POTUS and Dodd comments on clawbacks of CEO compensation and the ‘shameful’ behavior of bonus -accepting Wall St. Executives, I think we are primed for financials to test the Nov 20 lows…

The markets (and the people) are waiting for the new Administration to step up to the plate on housing and TARP II recapitalization/rescue/split/nationalization of the banking system..

We need certainty of some sort..and the best we can get is a definitive plan from the Obama A Team of Economic Advisers..I suggest they stop waiting on this stimulus to pass and get their TARP/Bank plan out there NOW…

January 29, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . CITI, citigroup, Economy, FDIC, Finance, Foreclosures, Housing, Labor Department, Obama Administration, Politics, TARP, Unemployment Statistics, Wall St. Comments off.

Video Update: New Home Sales Figures Released….

Video Update: CNBC Diana Olick on Deeds in Lieu of Foreclosure increases (jingle mail) and David Faber earlier this month on pending ‘wave’ of foreclosures:

both clips courtesy of RealDealNews:

CNBC’s Diana Olick, Susan Wachter of Wharton Business School, Carl Horowitz of the National Legal and Policy Center and CNBC’s Tyler Mathisen last week discussed the fact that banks and homeowners are increasingly choosing not to go through the foreclosure process. Instead, homeowners are voluntarily giving their homes to the bank. Horowitz said that allowing homeowners to avoid the foreclosure process implies that there are no negative consequences to not paying a mortgage. Wachter said mortgage servicers receive incentives for allowing some mortgages to fall into foreclosure

On CNBC this week, housing analyst Ivy Zelman, CEO of Zelman and Associates, said there is a “tsunami of foreclosures and short sales still to come” over the next several years because of Alt-A and Option ARM loans. Zelman said that the housing market in 2009 will be worse than 2008 because of an oversupply of distressed inventory with home values dropping between 20 and 30 percent

And the beat beating in housing goes on….AWFUL NUMBERS!

CNBC Diana Olick reporting…read her excellent blog here on the housing beat…

New Home Sales PLUNGED 14.7% in December compared to a drop of 4.4% in November…a record low

Inventory-14.7 12.9 months supply, up from 12 months supply in November..

December Median New Home Sale Price $206,500 DOWN 9.3% FROM $227,000 A YEAR EARLIER!!!!! see the drop-off is escalating …WE NEED HOLC!!

Diana sums up PRICES GOING DOWN, INVENTORY GOING UP..why can’t they sell the homes, she asks..FORECLOSURES she says, WORD DIANA WORD!

PS new jobless claims came out and we are now averaging a loss of over a half million jobs a week..but don’t worry Congress is going to RAISE OUR UTILITY PRICES to help us, maroons!


January 29, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Hillary Clinton, Housing, Labor Department, Obama Administration, Politics, TARP, Unemployment Statistics, Wall St. 2 comments.

Update: Quinn sworn-in…Blago impeached…Rod ‘Byron’ Blagojevich Speaks at Impeachment….

Update: Senate impeaches 59-0. Quinn has been sworn-in. May he serve the people of Illinois well.

Update 4: 12:45 pm EST: Blago just choked up talking about a woman who takes the train to work and the hours she works and her hard life…ah okay he is linking it to his policies and AllCare and how the actions he is charged with helped her life and her family’s life…and how he went around legislative gridlock and he confessed maybe he was frustrated and he pushed too hard and maybe he fights too much but it aint about him..charge it to my heart a desire to help families like I came from…

he says this sets a dangerous precedent for America, and how no wrong doing has been proven and his right to bring in certain witnesses was denied and what future Governors will face if he is thrown out of office under these circumstances..


January 29, 2009. Tags: , , , , , . Obama Administration, Politics. 2 comments.

More on ‘Decoupling’ Utility Billing

The Amendment to remove this ‘decoupling’ from the Stimulus Bill passed the Energy Cmte but was ‘removed’ from consideration by the ROOLZ Cmte, (ugh ROOLZ CMTE, gives all of us a flashback to the horror of the May 31 RBC doesn’t it?) Anywho under Pelosi’s new ROOLZ, they have total control over what is offered so the Amendment never even got to the floor..result- Decoupling utility rates from usage IS in the bill as passed by the House…call your Senators!!

From The Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana:

Electric Utility Decoupling

Duke Energy has hijacked the stimulus bill by successfully lobbying for the inclusion of an amendment regarding the decoupling of electric rates. (See Wall Street Journal website: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123266431226307785.html)This amendment presents a veiled attempt at another corporate bailout. The concept of decoupling results in taking most of the savings ratepayers receive from energy efficiency in the form of reduced utility bills and handing the vast majority of those savings over to utility companies.

What Duke’s Amendment Does:
Duke Energy’s amendment ties energy efficiency block grants to states to the governor of a state telling the federal government that he/she will seek favorable rate treatment for utilities in the form of decoupling. In other words, if the governor is not willing to sell ratepayers out, the state will not receive money to assist homeowners and businesses in reducing their energy bills and saving money.

Why Duke’s Amendment Must be Removed:
There is nothing more important to the middle class now than the concept of affordability. It is obviously clear that issues once considered the realm of low-income families are becoming middle class issues. People can’t afford their health care insurance or bills, their mortgages, retiring, the kids’ educations etc, — and Democrats decide to hand windfall profits to rich utility companies??

It makes no sense whatsoever to convert ratepayer savings into utility profits under the current circumstances. It makes absolutely no sense to tie energy efficiency block grants to states under the stimulus package to utility malfeasance.

Please Take Action Today!

Please call your Congressperson ((202) 224-3121) and Henry Waxman ((202) 225-3976), chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

  • Urge them to use at least 50% of the transportation funding for public transit.
  • Urge them to remove the decoupling amendment so that residential and business ratepayers are not punished for saving energy.
  • Tell them that affordability of utility bills is paramount to people keeping their homes and maintaining slim profit margins for small businesses.
  • Tell them that decoupling is a slap in the face to people who have been suffering for years under financial duress.
  • Tell them that decoupling is not in keeping with the President’s message of positive change for the people but, instead, reinforces continued corporate high jacking of our economy and incomes on behalf of short term profit motive.

January 29, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , . Economy, Obama Administration, Politics. Comments off.

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