Some people — the usual suspects — have claimed that foreclosures are primarily a sub-prime phenomenon.
That might have been mostly true much earlier in the cycle of credit and housing problems. Sub-prime was the canary in the coal mine, with the financially weakest people most at risk of mortgage delinquency, default and foreclosure.
Today, however, foreclosures are moving up the socio-economic ladder:
Foreclosures on Prime Mortgages
map courtesy of NYT
The Trouble in Housing Trickles Up
NELSON D. SCHWARTZ
NYT, June 1, 2008
On Wednesday, Dow Chemical Chief Executive Andrew Liveris made a high-profile announcement that Dow would
increase its prices by as much as 20%, starting June 1. Dow, the top
U.S. chemical company, said the plan was necessary to offset the impact
of rising costs for energy and related raw materials. Over the past
year, Dow has already increased its price by about 12%, but
those price changes have been phased in gradually rather than
implemented all at once.
In the interview, Liveris said he thinks the U.S. is underestimating
the level of inflation in the economy and he expects the rise in energy
costs is beginning to destroy demand. Liveris expects the price increases his company made will eventually be passed on to the consumer:
Andrew Liveris on CNBC
"I do think we’ve hit a raw nerve," Liveris said in an interview on
CNBC’s "Squawk Box." "I do think, out there in the world that we all
are living in, I think the consumer is screaming, and I think it’s the
topic du jour, and every company is in a different part of the value
"We’re in a part of the economy that is very elastic," he said. "So unlike electricity, or unlike transportation, which up until now has been relatively inelastic, we’re getting demand-destroyed."
Liveris estimates Dow uses about one percent of the U.S.’s electricity to make its products, which become components of other consumers goods, and the equivalent of about one million barrels of oil a day.
"We’ve done everything at Dow to be cost-efficient, energy-efficient," he continued. "We’ve diversified our mix. We’ve gone overseas for low-cost joint ventures. I think everyone has to bear some of this out-of-control energy policy."
Dow Chemical CEO Says US Underestimating Inflation
CNBC.com | 30 May 2008 | 08:14 AM ET
Martin Feldstein, an economics professor at Harvard University and president of the National Bureau of Economic Research, talks with about U.S. first-quarter gross domestic product, the outlook for Federal Reserve monetary policy and potential legislation to help homeowners avoid foreclosures.
click for video
Feldstein Says U.S. Economic Indicators `Pointing Down’
Bloomberg, May 29 2008
I was searching out some of my favorite Jazz artists on YouTube, when I randomly stumbled across this video of Chet Baker. For those of you unfamiliar with Baker, he was a terrific Trumpet player who was later "discovered" as a wistful blues singer, specializing in ballads and love songs.
Chet Baker’s vocal style is unmistakably unique — my favorite
description of his his voice is "at times, it seems like he’s
hanging onto the melody by his fingernails." He seems at times half a tone off where you might expect him to be.
There is a lovely
melancholy, a gentle beauty, to the way he wraps his voice around a
song. The soft, simple sentiment embodied in his lyrical approach to ballads
can turn any song into a brooding lament.
There’s quite a few other videos at ChetBaker.net . . .
Either of these two CDs are good places to start exploring Baker’s works:
"His vocals were absolutely distinctive, sung in a high-pitched, even
fragile voice seemingly drained of emotion and yet possessing an
inherent charm, a detachment that might be both the antithesis of style
and its definition, whether it’s heard as sensitivity or indifference.
The singing is a double of his trumpet playing here, spare and barely
present but achieving much through nuance and suggestion. Pianist Russ
Freeman is an almost constant partner, supplying deft chords and
harmonic daring, amplifying Baker’s ideas. Their empathy is especially
evident in the beautiful instrumental "Moon Love," but it’s just as
significant on signature Baker songs such as "My Funny Valentine,"
"Let’s Get Lost," and "Like Someone in Love." –Stuart Broomer
New videos after the jump