6 juillet 2010

Les hippies du G20: epic fail Canada Économie Gauchistan Revue de presse

National Post

Poll finds G20 protesters blew it big time
National Post

Those demonstrations during the G20 summit sure did a lot of good for the activist community.

Here they had a chance to make a political point on some crucial issues at a moment when attention across the world was temporarily focused on Toronto.

So what did they achieve? According to Angus Reid they disgusted the vast majority of the people they were trying to woo:

Respondents were asked about their feelings about the demonstrations that took place in Toronto during the G20 summit. Two-thirds of Canadians (69%) are disgusted, 59% are ashamed, 57% are angry, and 54% are sad. In Toronto, the proportion of respondents who reported negative feelings was higher (Disgust 81%, Anger 74%, Sadness 65%, Shame 61%).

Good job activists! Way to seize an opportunity and make it yours!

20 septembre 2008

L’héritage de Bill Clinton Économie Élection 2008 États-Unis Hétu Watch Récession

Obama Clinton Subprime

"Big Government: Barack Obama and Democrats blame the historic financial turmoil on the market. But if it's dysfunctional, Democrats during the Clinton years are a prime reason for it."

Investor's Business Daily
The Real Culprits In This Meltdown

Obama in a statement yesterday blamed the shocking new round of subprime-related bankruptcies on the free-market system, and specifically the "trickle-down" economics of the Bush administration, which he tried to gig opponent John McCain for wanting to extend.

But it was the Clinton administration, obsessed with multiculturalism, that dictated where mortgage lenders could lend, and originally helped create the market for the high-risk subprime loans now infecting like a retrovirus the balance sheets of many of Wall Street's most revered institutions.

Tough new regulations forced lenders into high-risk areas where they had no choice but to lower lending standards to make the loans that sound business practices had previously guarded against making. It was either that or face stiff government penalties.

The untold story in this whole national crisis is that President Clinton put on steroids the Community Redevelopment Act, a well-intended Carter-era law designed to encourage minority homeownership. And in so doing, he helped create the market for the risky subprime loans that he and Democrats now decry as not only greedy but "predatory."

Yes, the market was fueled by greed and overleveraging in the secondary market for subprimes, vis-a-vis mortgaged-backed securities traded on Wall Street. But the seed was planted in the '90s by Clinton and his social engineers. They were the political catalyst behind this slow-motion financial train wreck.

And it was the Clinton administration that mismanaged the quasi-governmental agencies that over the decades have come to manage the real estate market in America.

As soon as Clinton crony Franklin Delano Raines took the helm in 1999 at Fannie Mae, for example, he used it as his personal piggy bank, looting it for a total of almost $100 million in compensation by the time he left in early 2005 under an ethical cloud.

Other Clinton cronies, including Janet Reno aide Jamie Gorelick, padded their pockets to the tune of another $75 million.

Raines was accused of overstating earnings and shifting losses so he and other senior executives could earn big bonuses.

In the end, Fannie had to pay a record $400 million civil fine for SEC and other violations, while also agreeing as part of a settlement to make changes in its accounting procedures and ways of managing risk.

But it was too little, too late. Raines had reportedly steered Fannie Mae business to subprime giant Countrywide Financial, which was saved from bankruptcy by Bank of America.

At the same time, the Clinton administration was pushing Fannie and her brother Freddie Mac to buy more mortgages from low-income households.

The Clinton-era corruption, combined with unprecedented catering to affordable-housing lobbyists, resulted in today's nationalization of both Fannie and Freddie, a move that is expected to cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars.

And the worst is far from over. By the time it is, we'll all be paying for Clinton's social experiment, one that Obama hopes to trump with a whole new round of meddling in the housing and jobs markets. In fact, the social experiment Obama has planned could dwarf both the Great Society and New Deal in size and scope.

There's a political root cause to this mess that we ignore at our peril. If we blame the wrong culprits, we'll learn the wrong lessons. And taxpayers will be on the hook for even larger bailouts down the road.

But the government-can-do-no-wrong crowd just doesn't get it. They won't acknowledge the law of unintended consequences from well-meaning, if misguided, acts.

Obama and Democrats on the Hill think even more regulation and more interference in the market will solve the problem their policies helped cause. For now, unarmed by the historic record, conventional wisdom is buying into their blame-business-first rhetoric and bigger-government solutions.

While government arguably has a role in helping low-income folks buy a home, Clinton went overboard by strong-arming lenders with tougher and tougher regulations, which only led to lenders taking on hundreds of billions in subprime bilge.

Market failure? Hardly. Once again, this crisis has government's fingerprints all over it.

30 octobre 2007

Top 5 USA États-Unis Top Actualité

Le Top 5 de l'actualité américaine (7-12 octobre) selon le Pew Research Center:

Actualités États-Unis

"California Burning" is the Second-biggest Story of 2007

By week’s end, the California wildfires took a heavy toll. Estimates include seven dead, more than 2,700 structures destroyed, up to 500,000 acres burned, and hundreds of thousands forced to evacuate.

There were also many elements of a media mega-story. Heroic, exhausted firefighters. Human interest stories of loss and survival. Spectacular, frightening video of the advancing flames. The weather as a key player in determining the course and ferocity of the fires. Reports that arson was responsible for some of the blazes. The mystery as the fires advanced of how far they would go.

But undergirding all that was another angle that drove a good deal of the coverage—the K-word. Was the California disaster an example of government preparedness and skill in facing a major crisis? Or was it another Hurricane Katrina, a costly failure to effectively protect American lives and property? That theme permeated the coverage and helped make the California wildfires that were actually smaller in scale and mortality than those in 2003 a huge story.

A CBS News report on Oct. 23 from San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium, which was housing about 15,000 fire evacuees, made the inevitable comparisons between that facility and the New Orleans Superdome during Katrina. But the temporary shelter at Qualcomm seemed infinitely more hospitable than life inside the Superdome.

“During Katrina, New Orleans’ attempt to shelter people in a sports stadium went terribly wrong,” anchor Katie Couric reported. Qualcomm she added “is getting high marks.” Still, that didn’t keep the media from hammering away at the Katrina analogy.

All those angles and the scope of the disaster made “California burning” the second- biggest story of 2007, according to PEJ’s weekly News Coverage Index from Oct. 21-26. Last week, coverage of the wildfires filled 38% of the newshole, as measured in our Index. (Only the April 16 Virginia Tech massacre that left 33 dead accounted for more coverage, 51%, in a single week).

What’s more, the fires were the top story in every media sector—newspapers (19%), online (33%), and radio (35%). But coverage was especially heavy, at more than 50% of the airtime, on network TV (53%) and cable TV (51%).

No others subject in last week’s top-10 list came close, or even reached double digits. The presidential campaign registered as the second-biggest story at 9%, followed by events inside Iraq (7%), tensions with Iran (3%) and the Iraq war policy debate at 3%.

The coverage devoted to the California fires also far exceeded any previous 2007 coverage of natural disasters and deadly weather. According to the Index, no similar event ever accounted for more than 8% of the newshole in a given week. Two other disasters involving made-made technology, gained more attention, but still nothing like the wildfires. The Utah mine cave-in in August accounted for 13% of the coverage in one week and the Aug. 1 collapse of the I-35W Bridge in Minneapolis was a top story at 25%.

"California Burning" is the Second-biggest Story of 2007

28 avril 2011

Arguing with Idiots: Benoît Dutrizac Arguing with Idiots Canada Économie Election 2011

ÉtatismeSi les idées de la gauche passent si bien dans les médias, c’est parce que la gauche a un avantage indéniable sur la droite: son discours s’adresse aux émotions des gens plutôt qu’à leur raison.  Pour un journaliste paresseux, il sera toujours plus facile d’utiliser le plus petit dénominateur commun des sentiments plutôt que de susciter une véritable réflexion.

Un excellent exemple de cette situation: hier, Benoît Dutrizac a louangé la politique du NPD visant à limiter les taux d’intérêt sur les cartes de crédit.  Tasha Kheiriddin, du National Post, a bien tenté de raisonner l’animateur, mais son discours plutôt mou est tombé à plat quand Dutrizac a accusé les banquiers d’être des crosseurs professionnels faisant des profits de 19 milliards sur le dos du pauvre monde.

Voici donc pourquoi la mesure du NPD à propos des cartes de crédit est stupide.  Attention, je vais faire appel à votre intelligence.

La mise en situation

Avec la mesure de Jack Layton, les taux sur une carte de crédit seraient fixés environ de 8% (+5% du taux de la Banque du Canada qui est actuellement de 3%). C’est un taux similaire à celui offert dans les institutions financières pour un prêt personnel.  Par contre, quand on fait un prêt personnel en institution financière, il y a une enquête de crédit et plus souvent qu’autrement on doit offrir une garantie.  Somme toute, si le coût du crédit dans une banque est plus faible que celui sur une carte de crédit, c’est parce que la banque prend moins de risque puisque ce prêt est conditionnel.

Donc, avec la mesure du NPD, les gens auraient accès à un crédit bon marché même si la banque doit prendre plus de risque puisque le prêt est fait par l’intermédiaire d’une carte de crédit.

Les conséquences ?

Puisque le crédit serait moins cher, cette mesure faciliterait l’accès au crédit et, par conséquent, on inciterait les gens à s’endetter.  Quand on sait que le taux sur une carte de crédit sera de 8% au lieu du 20% habituel, on est plus disposé à utiliser ce mode de paiement i.e. moins une chose est cher, plus on a tendance à la sur-utiliser.  C’est d’ailleurs l’objectif avoué de cette mesure néo-démocrate, on veut que l’utilisation de la carte de crédit soit moins douloureuse: « With the rising price of everyday essentials like groceries, home heating, filling up the tank, far too many families have had to turn to their credit cards to make ends mee ».

Qui veut faire l’ange fait la bête

Puisque cette mesure va encourager l’utilisation de la carte de crédit, il y aura invariablement une augmentation du nombre de défauts de paiement puisque contrairement aux prêts personnels, cette forme de crédit comporte plus de risque pour les institutions financières.

Comment les banques pourraient-elles réagir ?

Le comportement responsable consisterait à réduire de manière significative les marges sur les cartes de crédit ou encore donner des cartes de crédit uniquement aux gens qui représentent un risque minimum.  Mais cette solution irait à l’encontre de la mesure du NPD qui veut faciliter l’accès au crédit, on peut donc imaginer une loi qui obligerait les banques à émettre des cartes de crédit. De plus, les banques font de l’argent en prêtant de l’argent, donc en limitant l’émission des cartes de crédit, on limiterait du même coup les profits.

De manière réaliste, la réaction des banques seraient probablement la suivante: « we are too big to fail » !  Donc, il ne serait pas étonnant que les banques décident de prendre d’énormes risques avec leurs cartes de crédit dans l’espoir d’encaisser des profits puisqu’en cas de défauts de paiement massifs, celles-ci pourraient compter sur l’aide de l’État pour les sauver de la faillite.

L’histoire se répète…

Mes lecteurs les plus allumés ont probablement déjà compris que la mesure préconisée le NPD équivaut à la mise en place d’un système de « sub-prime » similaire à celui qui a causé une crise économique aux États-Unis ! N’oublions pas que cette crise a été provoquée par le système de réglementation qui a obligé les banques de faire du crédit risqué aux gens qui voulaient s’acheter une maison, on a vu le résultat (le dossier complet ici).  Aux États-Unis la crise est venue du marché immobilier; avec le NPD elle viendrait plutôt du marché des cartes de crédit.

Mais quand on est un animateur de radio comme Benoît Dutrizac, il est plus facile de faire de la démagogie et du populisme i.e. s’adresser aux émotions des gens, plutôt que d’essayer d’avoir une conservation s’adressant à leur raison.

4 janvier 2011

Le massacre Économie États-Unis Récession Revue de presse

The Washington Post

2010 worst year for bank failures since 1992
The Washington Post

More banks failed in the United States this year than in any year since 1992, during the savings-and-loan crisis, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Amid high unemployment, a struggling economy and a still-devastated real estate market, the nation is closing out the year with 157 bank failures, up from 140 in 2009. As recently as 2006, before the bubble burst, there were none.

Now, there are more on the horizon.

The FDIC’s list of « problem » banks – those whose weaknesses « threaten their continued financial viability »- stood at 860 as of Sept. 30, the highest since 1993. Historically, about a fifth of banks on the watch list end up failing.

About half of the the 2010 failures involved banks headquartered in four states: California, Florida, Georgia and Illinois.

The list of failed institutions at the FDIC is filled with community banks that would not be considered « too big to fail. » The loans that brought them down were predominantly commercial loans, which sets them apart from the banking giants whose problems were rooted in home mortgages.

19 octobre 2009

Trop petit pour être sauvé Économie États-Unis Récession Revue de presse

New York Times

Failures of Small Banks Grow, Straining F.D.I.C.
The New York Times

A year after Washington rescued the banks considered too big to fail, the ones deemed too small to save are approaching a grim milestone: the 100th bank failure of 2009.

In what has become a ritual, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has swooped down on a handful of troubled lenders almost every Friday, seizing 98 since January alone and putting their assets into the hands of another bank.

Burdened by worsening commercial real estate loans, many small banks’ troubles are just beginning. Many analysts say that the now-toxic loans could sink hundreds of small lenders over the next few years and place a significant drag on the economy.

Already, the bank failures are placing enormous strain on the F.D.I.C. and its fund, which keeps depositors whole. Flush with more than $50 billion only two years ago, the fund recently fell into the red.

While the parade of failures still represents a mere fraction of America’s small banks, it underscores a growing divide between them and large institutions like Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and U.S. Bancorp, which are slowly growing stronger as the economy improves.

9 octobre 2009

La prochaine crise sera pire Économie États-Unis Récession Revue de presse

Washington Examiner

Volcker criticizes Obama banking plan
Washington Examiner

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker criticized the Obama administration’s plan to subject “systemically important” financial firms to more stringent regulation by the Fed.

Volcker told lawmakers today that such a designation would imply government readiness to support the firms in a crisis, encouraging even more risky behavior in a phenomenon known as “moral hazard.”

“Whether they say it or not, that carries the connotation in the market that they’re too big to fail,” Volcker, who is chairman of the White House Economic Recovery Advisory Board, said in testimony to the House Financial Services Committee.

“The danger is the spread of moral hazard could make the next crisis much bigger,” said Volcker, who serves as an outside economic adviser to Obama. Volcker has criticized key elements of the Obama administration regulatory plan in recent public statements, and his remarks today largely reprised those criticisms.

8 octobre 2009

Fiasco financier Économie En Vidéos États-Unis Récession

Johan Norberg était de passage dans les bureaux du Reason Magazine, pour discuter de son plus récent livre: Financial Fiasco: How America’s Infatuation with Home Ownership and Easy Money Created the Economic Crisis.

A loose monetary policy that created lots of cheap money, government interventions into the housing market, and the hubris of Wall Street firms deemed « too big to fail » combined to send the world economy into a tailspin, argues Swedish author Johan Norberg.

Reason senior editor Michael C. Moynihan sat down with author Norberg to discuss his latest book Financial Fiasco: How America’s Infatuation with Homeownership and Easy Money Created the Economic Crisis, an overview of what caused the current financial crisis (and what did not) and how politicians of all parties and all ideologies helped make the problem much worse.

28 août 2009

Quand on encourage l’irresponsabilité Coup de gueule Économie États-Unis Récession

BailoutRené Vézina, un "savant" chroniqueur économique sévissant sur les ondes du 98.5 est surpris de constater que les banques ont recommencé à prendre des risques inconsidérés dans l'attribution de prêts hypothécaires.

Pourtant, le comportement des banques n'a rien de surprenant: quand on récompense l'irresponsabilité, on encourage l'irresponsabilité.  Pourquoi les institutions qui ont pris des risques stupides changeraient-elles leur modus operandi quand ces dernières savent que le gouvernement sera toujours là pour nationaliser leurs déficits. Voilà où mène la politique du "too big to fail": en éliminant les pertes, les "bailouts" ont du même coup éliminé la discipline.

En quoi le comportement des banques est-il surprenant ? Se surprend-on de voir le soleil se lever à l'est tous les matins ?   Mais comme Martin Masse l'a si bien expliqué, la nomenklatura économique est remplie d'illettrés.