What are We? – Stupid?

I was disappointed with the Christmas Eve ditties from Treasury and
FHFA re: the Agencies. To be honest, I was appalled. The two releases
contained significant information. The timing was obviously an attempt
to slip in some bad news while everyone is drinking eggnog.

Of course that backfired. The blogs, and yes, the MSM disintegrated
those that sent the emails out on Christmas Eve. The smell that these
announcements have created is not likely to go away anytime soon.

If you are reading this you know the story. Treasury ponied up for
another $200b for Fannie and Freddie and the management of these
entities are getting serious paychecks.

The former clearly establishes that Fannie and Freddie have been
nationalized. I don’t care what they say any longer. The numbers speak
for themselves. The $400 billion the taxpayers have signed up for far
exceeds any theoretical value for these two important institutions.
Sadly, ‘the people’ own these things at this point.

The notion that the Agencies are private sector companies with
influential shareholders is over. These entities are no longer big shot
players on Wall Street. There is no earnings prospect for these
behemoths. There is no upside. There is no justification for
multimillion dollar salary packages.

The Agencies fund themselves with lines of credit from Fed and
Treasury. The Fed is buying 1.45 Trillion of their dodgy paper. Why in
the world do we need to pay someone $6mm per year to run that mess?

A question for Mr. Geithner; What are the salaries and bonuses being
paid to the people who run FHA? These are government salaries. FHA is a
part of HUD. Compensation for Fannie and Freddie Exec’s should conform
to those guidelines. Not the other way around. We need to end the myth
that F/F are private sector entities. They are not.

We are not stupid Mr. Geithner. We watch what you are doing very
closely. There are a significant number of us who flat out do not trust
you. You have given us good reason in the past and you have proven
again that you are not trustworthy. You tried to ‘Sneaky Pete’ some
important information past us. In my view you owe us an apology and
explanation, or better still, a letter of resignation. This
Administration has promised a much higher standard than you have


The New Unemployment: No More Permanent Employment

One of the ways we kid ourselves is calling our unemployment rate 10 percent. In government-speak that’s the “U-3” number, which counts just current job seekers. What it doesn’t count are “discouraged” workers, who have given up looking, and the “involuntarily part-time” or underemployed workers, who also can’t find full-time work.
That’s the “U-6” number, a more recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics metric. Today it’s more than 17 percent, which means real unemployment is approaching one in five Americans. And, yes, that’s a (post-Depression) record.
Growing evidence suggests that something far more fundamental than just another economic cycle may be going on. The modern office/factory-model job as we know it actually could be headed for extinction. Goodbye, permanent employment. Hello, contingent work, contractual employment and “composite” careers.
Many of us know people like my relative (by marriage) who’s a part-time associate pastor who also delivers newspapers, does home remodeling and sells Melaleuca. It’s a living — in fact, he’s been doing it for years by choice. We’re also seeing more and more six-month and one-year contract jobs with employers who don’t want to commit to workers beyond that. This may well be the shape of things to come.
William Bridges, the visionary executive development consultant and author who named this phenomenon “dejobbing,” foresaw this years ago: “What is disappearing is not just a certain number of jobs — or jobs in certain industries or jobs in some part of the country or even jobs in America as a whole. What is disappearing is the very thing itself, the job.”
Try this experiment: If you’ve worked long enough to have had multiple jobs, tally up that total number. Then subtract however many of those positions no longer exist. Unless you’re in health care, education or some other recession-resistant field, the number you have left may surprise you by its tininess.
In my own case, I’ve had (not counting freelance writing stints) six full-time jobs. Of those, only two still exist. And of the four that went bye-bye, three of those employers no longer exist (two newspapers and a public relations firm).


Michigan Forces Business Owners Into Public Sector Unions; Detroit's Aura of Hopelessness

Not satisfied with wrecking the auto sector and most of the state itself, unions and the state of Michigan conspired to force small business owners into unions the businesses want no part of and did not even vote for.

Disgusted minds are reading how Michigan Forces Business Owners Into Public Sector Unions.

Michelle Berry runs a private day-care service from her home on the outskirts of this city, the birthplace of General Motors. “The Berry Patch,” as she calls the service, features overstuffed purple gorillas, giant cartoon murals, and a playroom covered in Astroturf. Her clients are mostly low-income parents who need child care to keep their jobs in a city that now has a 26% unemployment rate.

Ms. Berry owns her own business—yet the Michigan Department of Human Services claims she is a government employee and union member. The agency thus withholds union dues from the child-care subsidies it sends to her on behalf of her low-income clients. Those dues are funneled to a public-employee union that claims to represent her. The situation is crazy—and it’s happening elsewhere in the country.

A year ago in December, Ms. Berry and more than 40,000 other home-based day care providers statewide were suddenly informed they were members of Child Care Providers Together Michigan—a union created in 2006 by the United Auto Workers and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. The union had won a certification election conducted by mail under the auspices of the Michigan Employment Relations Commission. In that election only 6,000 day-care providers voted. The pro-labor vote turned out.

Many of the state’s other 34,000 day-care providers never even realized what was going on. Ms. Berry tells us she was “shocked” to find out she was suddenly in a union. The real dirty work, however, had been done when the state created an “employer” for the union to “organize” against.

Of course, Michigan’s independent day-care providers don’t work for anybody except the parents who were their customers. Nevertheless, because some of these parents qualified for public subsidies, the Child Care Providers “union” claimed the providers were “public employees.”

Michigan’s Department of Human Services then teamed with Flint-based Mott Community College to sign an “interlocal agreement” in 2006 establishing a separate government agency called the Michigan Home Based Child Care Council. This council was directed to recommend good child-care practices—and not coincidentally, to serve as a “public employer.” Although the council had almost no staff, no control over the state subsidies and no supervision of the providers’ daily activities, it became the shell corporation against which the union could organize.

Thus the state created an ersatz employer and an ersatz “bargaining unit” against which what was essentially an ersatz union could organize.

Today the Department of Human Services siphons about $3.7 million in annual dues to the union—from the child-care subsidies. The money should be going to home-based day-care providers—themselves not on the high end of the income scale. Ms. Berry now sees money once paid to her go to a union that does little for her. She says she is “self employed and wants nothing to do with the union.”

Shielded from market pressures, public employee unions have driven up taxpayer costs for decades. Now labor leaders are shanghaiing entrepreneurs such as Ms. Berry and Ms. Loar into government unions because their clients receive government aid. Who will be next? Grocers? Landlords? Doctors?

Detroit’s Model City

Detrioit set out to create a “Model City”. Instead it created a nightmare as the following video shows.

Detroit did not create a model city, but did succeed in creating an entirely state dependent city.

UAW rules and job banks destroyed the auto sector. Of course management incompetence helped. Until the bitter end, concessions are seldom if ever part of union vocabulary, and the unions had the most luxurious health care coverage on the entire planet. Eventually the scheme went bankrupt as it was guaranteed to do.

Education Facts

  • Detroit students receive on average $11,100 per student. The national average is $9600. Yet Detroit students have a graduation rate of 25%.
  • Detroit students have a greater chance of ending up in prison than graduating high school.
  • Teachers fight merit pay as they do nearly everywhere else. It is difficult to get rid of a teacher with tenure no matter what the teacher does.

Snips From The Video

Steven Crowder Asks ….

Why would unions make concessions if the government continually bails them out?
And why wouldn’t the government keep bailing them out when it is the unions who elect them?

You might be wondering why I’ve shown you this. Why is it necessary for you to see a once great city brought to its knees by government bureaucracies and powerful unions?

And to you I would ask. Look at the current administration’s promises to the American people and compare them to the promises corrupt Detroit politicians over the last 50 years. They are nearly identical.

Detroit is the perfect laboratory for leftist policies at work for nearly half a century. When you continue to remove free market principles that have made this country great and you continue to create a state dependent society this is very well what America could look like in a very short amount of time.

Michigan’s Cycle of Decay

  • UAW runs auto companies into the ground
  • Teachers run education system into the ground
  • Good people leave
  • Poverty rise and so does crime

Instead of discarding what is guaranteed proven not to work, the state of Michigan is hellbent on destroying what little good remains.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
Click Here To Scroll Thru My Recent Post List


All Hail The Grand Poobah; Blank Checks For Fannie and Freddie

Losses continue to mount at Fannie and Freddie where Obama has virtually declared no loss is too big for taxpayers to pay.

Please consider U.S. Move to Cover Fannie, Freddie Losses Stirs Controversy.

The Obama administration’s decision to cover an unlimited amount of losses at the mortgage-finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over the next three years stirred controversy over the holiday.

The Treasury announced Thursday it was removing the caps that limited the amount of available capital to the companies to $200 billion each.

Unlimited access to bailout funds through 2012 was “necessary for preserving the continued strength and stability of the mortgage market,” the Treasury said. Fannie and Freddie purchase or guarantee most U.S. home mortgages and have run up huge losses stemming from the worst wave of defaults since the 1930s.

“The timing of this executive order giving Fannie and Freddie a blank check is no coincidence,” said Rep. Spencer Bachus of Alabama, the ranking Republican on the House Financial Services Committee. He said the Christmas Eve announcement was designed “to prevent the general public from taking note.”

In exchange for the funding, the Treasury has received preferred stock in the companies paying 10% dividends. The Treasury also has warrants to acquire nearly 80% of the common shares in each firm.

The companies on Thursday disclosed new packages that will pay Fannie Chief Executive Officer Michael Williams and Freddie CEO Charles Haldeman Jr. as much as $6 million a year, including bonuses. The packages were approved by the Treasury and the Federal Housing Finance Agency, or FHFA, which regulates the companies.

At Freddie, annual compensation will total as much as $4.5 million for Bruce Witherell, chief operating officer; $3.5 million for Ross Kari, chief financial officer; $2.8 million for Robert Bostrom, general counsel; and $2.7 million for Paul George, head of human resources.

Excuse me for asking the obvious question but how in the hell can the head of human resources for a company that is losing hundreds of billions of dollars a year be worth anything, let alone $2.7 million.

This is precisely the problem with regulation. Fannie and Freddie should not exist at all, it was an act of regulation that created them, it is an act of regulation that keeps them in business, and it is regulation that defends its policies that lose taxpayer money to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars, and it is regulators that are approving ridiculous salaries for a company that should not even be in business.

The only thing that makes any sense is to shut down Fannie and Freddie totally, yet regulation and regulators have not taken step one in that direction. Yet, people scream for more and more regulation.

The latest proposal is to create a regulator of regulators, some sort of systemic risk all knowing wizard who supposedly would have prevented this crisis.

Never mind that thousands of people knew Fannie and Freddie would blow sky high, including some Fed governors. Ironically, we cannot even get rid of the GSEs after they have blown sky high and losses continue to mount.

Never mind that regulators continually get into bed with those they are supposed to regulate.

All Hail The Grand Poobah

Instead we can look forward to the creation of the post Grand Poobah of regulators.

Grand Poobah is a term derived from the name of the haughty character Pooh-Bah in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado (1885). In this comic opera, Pooh-Bah holds numerous exalted offices, including “First Lord of the Treasury, Lord Chief Justice, Commander-in-Chief, Lord High Admiral… Archbishop of Titipu, and Lord Mayor” and Lord High Everything Else. The name has come to be used as a mocking title for someone self-important or high-ranking and who either exhibits an inflated self-regard or who has limited authority while taking impressive titles.

The term “Grand Poobah” was used on the television show The Flintstones as the name of a high ranking elected position in a men’s club. Fred Flintstone and his friend Barney Rubble were members of the Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes Lodge No. 26. The lodge is a spoof of men’s clubs like the Freemasons, the Shriners, the Elks Club and the Moose Lodge.

The only regulation we need is a sound currency, no fractional reserve lending, and a balanced budget amendment. Instead we can look forward to the the creation of some sort of regulatory Grand Poobah, an idiotic waste of time and money.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
Click Here To Scroll Thru My Recent Post List


Another Team Obama Present to Corporate America: Health “Reform” Bill Favors Big Pharma Over Generics

Ah, another Christmas Eve story that (not surprisingly) has gotten little attention. Most of the ire directed against the phony health care reform bill focuses on how it further enriches a fat and undeserving health insurance industry. The media has given less attention to another group that has thrown plenty of lobbying dollars at getting […]