It has been a long week and this writer is a bit tired. I will cover a few items for the evening and then off to the Friday night Halloween festival where tonight I have a contest in mind.
Cash for Clunkers - The Gift That Keeps on Giving
The high scorer as far as GDP is concerned, Cash for Clunkers (CFC) remains a hot item. The White House is having issues with how the auto site Edmunds described the results and cost of the program and Karl Denninger looks at some other key points as well:
This is ridiculous and anyone who believes it deserves to eat The White House Dog's used food:Now that the program is over and I feel like I can share some information with you without worry of too much noise. I can back Karl's claim up with one note: A friend of mine works at a large dealership (mechanic) and he said the floor guys were jacking prices because people wanted the CFC cash no matter what and were not paying much attention to details. Another awesome job done by the government, carried out by the ultra smart general populace.
The administration's blog post argued that Clunkers helped to lower auto prices on the rest of the vehicle market as well, a fact the administration said Edmunds ignored.
What a total load of crap.
First, I personally walked into dealerships during the "CFC" program time, and every single one of those dealers was literally screwing everyone who walked into the door.
Normally, you can buy an American car for $100 or so over invoice price. I have, in fact, not purchased one vehicle for more since I started buying cars! My last "new" American vehicle, a 2002 Suburban, was bought during the 0% "craze" following 9/11 and even with the 0% financing I bought it for $1,000 UNDER factory invoice. I saw no dealer willing to sell at anything approaching that number this time - they were all selling at full sticker, and two had their own "supplemental rip-off stickers" on the windows that they refused to negotiate on yet were full of junk (the usual "undercoating" and "fabric protection" for $250 garbage.) People literally got robbed to the tune of $2,000, $3,000 and sometimes more than the rebate was worth on these so-called "deals."
Add to this:
-You must pay sales tax (if your state has it, Massachusetts does) on the FULL PRICE, not the lower CFC price. This was quite the shocker here in MA when folks went to register the new car.
-You may or may not have to pay state income tax on the rebate. This issue is far fro clear and is state dependent. If you have questions, this site offers some advice here:
State Tax Consequences of Cash for Clunkers
Mish on Currencies and Gold
Mish Shedlock has a great write up about Eastern European Currencies and Gold that may well be interesting to check out.
On the More Positive Side
I have been called a perma-bear, a doomer, a gloomer, one that wishes the world to collapse, a paranoid nut, and a pessimist. That is quite a list. I don't care what they call me, as long as they call me!
In that spirit I wanted to try and find some good news or solid actions by the banks or government to balance out my anti-feel good agenda. I will give it my best!
Goldman Sachs May Well Be Pretty Good
It seems that Goldman Sachs was smart enough to sniff out both Bernie Madoff and the Galleon Investment rackets. GS did not place any client money with the two fraudsters, and this is a good thing:
AMAZING: Goldman Avoided Galleon, Just Like It Avoided Madoff
Now I could get snarky here, but I will leave it as a high five for GS! Those guys can really know a fraud when they see one!
Is the FED About do Something Right?
I admit to be as negative on the FED/Treasury/FDIC as is possible, but I think they deserve it. Well, even a stopped clock is right twice a day, and it appears we have the makings of a good policy move in the works! Check it out:
Is Fed Abandoning Bailout Of Commercial Real EstateThis could be big.
In what could have been the biggest piece of news today, yet making little headway into the media, the Fed announced that it is adopting a policy statement supporting "prudent commercial real estate loan workouts." And even though in traditional Fed fashion, the statement says a lot but is even more vague, some of the implications from a more nuanced read have very serious adverse implications for commercial real estate.....
....If the Fed is unwilling to recreate QE for CRE, in the same way that it continues to bail out residential exposure, then look for a major double dip in the economy. The only wild card is why the Fed is letting this happen, although if the political backlash against just QE 1 is any indication, then it likely would not have been able to pass additional liquidity measures regardless.
I do not buy the political argument against a CRE backstop/bailout, they do what they want anyways. Perhaps they are actually hitting a wall with how much money they can guarantee.
Now this is preliminary, and who knows what happens when workouts and mods either do not work, or work but require massive bank liquidity infusions to cope, but at least in the early going, the FED may be trying not to replicate their residential adventure. Hat tip out to them!
Add to this it seems CIT will not last the weekend unless private funding can be found, and that is two in a row for government non action! GMAC was smart to move quick and get the FDIC involved on their side. See, I can be reasonable!
Friday Night Halloween Entertainment
Halloween is tomorrow, but I have about 3 tons of leaves to clean up and it promises to be an all day thing. Time permitting I will do the Saturday NFL preview. I can guarantee the Patriots will not lose this weekend.
Seeing that the only way for me to get page hits is to post funny pictures, I guess I will lead off with some!
LOL Cats does Halloween!:
Every neighborhood has the home that gives out healthy or useful crap:
see more Lolcats and funny pictures
True story, one year (in my youth) a house in my area was giving out apples and they had jammed half dollars into them as a bonus. Of course they might have wanted to mention that, as a few of us had chipped teeth after biting into the apple! Wish I had checked the dates (pre 1965 silver coins!)
Those fun sized candy bars are pure evil because you think "they are small, so if I eat like 10 of them, no problem." Wrong, problem:
see more Lolcats and funny pictures
Halloween dancing failure (watch at 18 second on mark):
My face hurts after that one from laughing.
Is this fast food take out in the future if the banking system collapses?:
see more Epic Fails
No wonder the FED was in a panic after Lehman!
I have to put the Halloween Contest on another post (blogger limits) so check out the next post in a bit.
Come back for the contest!