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The residential and now commercial mortgage problem is still the biggest
issue facing the U.S. Economy. A year ago, I presented this Powerpoint
Slide show, "The Mortgage Mess" (see the attachment). It is very
interesting to see what has happened in the past almost 12 months.
* The situation has become worse, not better, in spite of throwing
hundreds of billions of dollars at the problem. The TARP funds were not
used as intended, and are being redirected for other purposes.
* The problem hasn't gone away. There will be as many foreclosures in the
next couple of years as have already occurred. One out of every seven
houses in the country is underwater: the home values are less than the
mortgages on the homes.
* Although the GDP shows some slight improvement, that is mostly due to
artificial stimulus, which cannot last.
* We are still losing 200,000 jobs every month; better than the 700,000
per month we were losing in the Spring, but still increasing nonetheless.
* Mark Zandi of Moody Economics has said within the last two days that
unemployment can be expected to peak at 10.6%; when counting in those who
have stopped looking and those who are underemployed (the engineer flipping
burgers), it is closer to 18% - 20%. Such unemployment rates cannot sustain
any solid economic recovery.
* The credit card bust is well underway. Whereas there were 400 million credit cards issued a year, now there are only 300 million in circulation,
and interest rates have increased significantly.