FDL Book Salon Welcomes David Stuckler and Sanjay Basu, The Body Economic: Why Austerity Kills: Recessions, Budget Battles, and the Politics of Life and Death

By: Saturday June 29, 2013 1:59 pm

David Stuckler and Sanjay Basu’s new book The Body Economic: Why Austerity Kills is a thorough examination of the toll that recessions take on people’s health. They show, convincingly, that there are many, many channels through which health outcomes can deteriorate when the economy goes into a deep recession. They also show that the manner in which the government reacts to an economic downturn is a critical factor in determining health outcomes. Deterioration in health in a recession, though common, is far from inevitable.

 

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Anat Admati and Martin Hellwig, The Bankers’ New Clothes: What’s Wrong With Banking and What to Do About It

By: Saturday April 20, 2013 1:59 pm

In their groundbreaking new book, The Bankers’ New Clothes, Anat Admati and Martin Hellwig, two of the world’s most prominent and respected academics in finance and economics, expose the lies propagated by those who fight so dramatically to preserve the broken status quo. Argument by argument, scare tactic by scare tactic, they take on the bankers’ arguments and shred them, one by one, exposing them as nothing more than self-serving justifications for preserving a system that serves only the banks, not the general public. And most importantly, they do so in plain English with real world examples that are familiar to anyone who has ever had a bank account, a credit card, or a mortgage. They make the complex simple, and in so doing, reveal that as taxpayers we have been on the wrong side of a decades-long con that has enriched a handful of bankers while the rest of us suffer for their excesses.

Senator Elizabeth Warren: Asking Sensible Questions

By: Sunday April 14, 2013 5:20 pm

While I’m still in shock that we have at least two senators that actually ‘get it’, it’s still depressing that we have more than seventy (I’m simply being kind) who don’t. Throw in several generations of industry insiders taking over regulatory roles, embedded corporatists throughout our judicial system, news agencies and government, and it’s a wonder that government hearings on accountability even happen.

Help isn’t going to come from the Right, nor the center.

What the Housing Market Actually Looks Like

By: Friday December 21, 2012 5:49 am

This week brought more good statistical news for the housing market. Existing home sales rose at a decent clip in November, nearing post-bubble highs not seen since the artificial spike from the homebuyer’s tax credit (I’ve noted that the end of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act could be giving the same spike). Inventory fell again, which presages higher prices. And while housing starts fell in November, the more stable indicator of homebuilding permits rose above expectations. There’s a huge hole to dig out from – even with its 25% rise, housing starts in 2012 would be the 4th-lowest in history – but the digging is occurring.

The Mortgage Scam Against Widows, and Why No Mortgage Lender Should Ever Get Legal Immunity

By: Thursday December 20, 2012 5:54 am

Dealbook had an item about the qualified mortgage rule and the bid by mortgage lenders to acquire a “safe harbor,” essentially a shield against consumer lawsuits, in the process. I’ve already gone over this topic and continue to oppose giving banks a safe harbor of any kind on the merits. But just to shift gears away from the precise details for a moment, consider why you would want to give any entity that does something like this protection from legal exposure:

Investors Pushing to Buy Housing Other Than Foreclosed Properties

By: Tuesday December 18, 2012 2:30 pm

Tom Lawler pulls out an interesting piece of data from the latest housing statistics. Foreclosures have been dropping in 2012, mainly because of the rise of short sales as a foreclosure alternative. This appears to be changing – the repossession rate in November was 11% above that of October and even up 5% year-over-year – but Lawler is looking back at data, not forward at the recent trend.

Yes, We’re Still in the Middle of a Foreclosure Crisis

By: Friday December 14, 2012 5:55 am

The Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight released some interesting data on the first-lien and second-lien portfolios of the five services sanctioned in the foreclosure fraud settlement. Calculated Risk reproduces the data here. Despite the heavy investment in a narrative of the foreclosure crisis being over and the housing recovery underway, these loan portfolios show substantial weakness at the big banks, particularly Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase. Even at Wells Fargo, the bank with the best data here, nearly 1 in 11 first-lien mortgages in their portfolio are in some stage of delinquency.

That number widens with BofA, which only has 84.4% of its loans current, and 4.81% in foreclosure, well above traditional averages. JPMorgan Chase’s foreclosure rate is 5.06%.

These just aren’t good numbers, and they suggest continuing softness in the sector. Worse, home seizures have begun to rise for the first time in two years.

Meet the Robo-Witnesses: Foreclosure Defense Lawyer Tom Cox on New Practices in Foreclosure Fraud

By: Thursday December 13, 2012 8:14 am

Last week, Thomas Cox, the Maine lawyer who performed the deposition that basically exposed robo-signing, won the $100,000 Purpose Prize for his work on behalf of homeowners at risk of foreclosure. I spoke with Cox this week to get a ground-level picture of what is happening in the courts in the post-settlement landscape. Have banks cleaned up their foreclosure practices? Are homeowners still getting the shaft?

NYT Reports on Investor Purchases of Foreclosed Homes for Rental Conversion

By: Tuesday December 11, 2012 1:50 pm

The same people who were present at the creation of the original bubble are driving the boat in this second incarnation.

FHFA’s Christmastime Moral Relativism and the New New Housing Market

By: Wednesday December 5, 2012 9:45 am

FHFA has situational ethics here. They rail against states with long foreclosure timelines, even increasing their guarantee fees. But when faced with headlines about foreclosures during Christmas, they become beneficent, and act to increase foreclosure timelines.

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