Friday, September 26, 2008


I guess you could say I...



My original post from August 9, 2007:

So while trying to find articles to explain to a friend of mine exactly what's about to happen in our economy and how a ton of people are going to end up without jobs in wallstreet and then eventually all over america resulting in a crazy recession and an impending economic turmoil, i found this article that I literally thought was from The Onion:

Johnson & Johnson Sues Red Cross Over Symbol

And, in case you were wondering what's going on with the economy, you can read the following bleak article:

Mortgage Defaults Growing

"More than 2 million hybrid adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) come up for reset this fall - peaking in October with more than $50 billion due.

Borrowers who took out hybrid ARMs in 2004 and 2005 to secure low "teaser" rates for the first two or three years of the loan may see their monthly mortgage payments climb by 35 percent or more.

Foreclosures could explode, which would hurt everyone on the food chain: Borrowers lose their homes; lenders lose their payments; local governments lose tax base; and neighborhoods lose resiliency.

The already poor performance of many mortgage loans will worsen substantially through the rest of the year, according to an analysis in late July by Moody's"\

And the comments a bunch of readers left me as a result:
Which post apocolyptic setting would you prefer Waterwold and Mad Max?
strapp | Edit comment Delete comment | Email | Homepage | 08.09.07 - 5:49 pm | #

Gravatar Sarah - you're overstating things just a bit. Or actually a lot. The debt markets (and specifically the sub-primes) are fucked, but it's not gonna lead to massive Wall Street layoffs and panic in the street style economic collapse.

But yeah, fuck Johnson & Johnson.
john b. | Edit comment Delete comment | 08.09.07 - 6:46 pm | #

Gravatar like you know about microfinance.
othello | Edit comment Delete comment | 08.10.07 - 1:02 am | #

Gravatar John B: Are you not following any of this? It's not about "the subprime market". It's about all the funds that bought securitized subprime loans underestimating the credit risks involved. For instance, Bear Stearns had to liquidate a couple of funds because of this, and they got pennies on the dollar for those loans. Losses were in the gazillions. The German government bailed out some funds a couple of weeks ago. Then, this morning, BNP Paribas stopped withdrawal from some funds because they weren't sure how to value them given the underestimated credit risks (you use risk to discount the value of loans; the higher the risk, the higher the discount). This sent the markets all over the world tanking. As I write this, Asian markets are freaking out. Sure, the Dow hit record highs a coule of weeks ago. But now it's tanking as reality set in.

Okay, so how does this cause layoffs on Wall Street? Simple: Fund PnLs aren't what they were because, after you've revalued all the crap on your books, your profits aren't what they seemed. So, they'll fire people to keep profits relatively stable. The first to go will be kids fresh out of school making $200k (Yeah, that's right. First year analysts -- the ones who aren't even 23 yet -- are making six figure base salaries plus six figure bonuses). But then come funds getting closed down. Plus, you have private equity funds starting to buckle, what with a potential change of tax status and lackluster results as of late (Shwarzman, bless his heart, that guy cashed out on top).

Meanwhile, who has money in all these funds? Pension funds from teachers, factory workers, cops, etc. The regular folks. Everyone's gonna get doubly screwed: They'll lose their house and their pension funds will take a hit. Othello, this is macrofinance now, not microfinance (don't even get me started on THAT commnt).

Just as an example, watch this video of the guy I called "boss" for several years. I have to warn you, it gets pretty loud:

He used to do that all the time in meetings but it's kinda neat that everyone else gets to see it in action now. More importantly, how adorable is Erin Burnett in all of this?
Lawrence | Edit comment Delete comment | 08.10.07 - 2:23 am | #

Gravatar Sarah, your absolutely right. Plus that's just the tip of the pencil. Were going to be the worlds newest communist county soon enough. Canada looking real good right now
Ray Burnz | Edit comment Delete comment | Email | 08.10.07 - 2:49 am | #

Gravatar i know that i'm the last person that's probably qualified to talk about this stuff, but with a brother like mine, family in real estate, and inklings of how the trickle down is effecting even me, i'm educating myself and taking notice and begging my out of work friends to take whatever job comes their way.
sarah | Edit comment Delete comment | Email | Homepage | 08.10.07 - 3:33 am | #

Gravatar Okay, now John B's comment officially infuriates me. It's something straight out of the idiotic Treasury Department's mouth, which still hasn't figured out what's going. The Fed just threw $19 billion into the economy this morning (the ECB threw in $200 billion into Europe) but it's not going to work. General markets are still going down and financial stocks are taking a hit. John, I gotta ask: What on earth are basing your comment on? And if you seriously believe this, why aren't you in the markets right now buying up financial stocks? C'mon, are you kidding or were you just shooting off without knowing what you're talking about?
Lawrence | Edit comment Delete comment | 08.10.07 - 9:22 am | #

Gravatar ...reads_to_hi.php
Anonymous | Edit comment Delete comment | 08.10.07 - 10:07 am | #

Gravatar Lawrence,

First, as a sometimes reader of this blog, I'm honored to finally be on the receiving end of one of your pompous, know it all rants. I'm glad I "officially" infuriate you.

I am aware of what's going on, and am probably following almost as closely as you. I certainly didn't think a quick one-off comment simply noting that I thought Sarah's "the sky is falling" take on things was a bit off the mark. Obviously the markets are taking a hit, and obviously the funds investing in sub-primes are in trouble. Will this lead to some layoffs? Probably. Will it lead to the collapse of the economy and "[result] in a crazy recession and an impending economic turmoil?" No, I don't think it will.

I'll remember next time I make a quick comment on a blog that the Comment Police and Sgt. Lawrence are waiting to attack misinformation at every turn. But seriously, good for you for being so smart, and getting officially infuriated over a comment on your sister's blog. Really. You're an impressive dude.
John B. | Edit comment Delete comment | 08.10.07 - 10:16 am | #

Gravatar What infuriated me was that it was as if it were written by Paulson himself. Seriously, how could I NOT be pissed? What's worse is that you still can't see this problem: it's not far-off to see this kick the economy in the shins given that a large part of what's been pushing it has been this asset inflation (read: over-priced real estate) and easy credit. Those are collapsing. Combine that with inflated commodity prices and you got a real stinker on your hands.

Mind you, she said recession and not depression. This can definitely cause a recession, especially if we pretend it's not a big deal.

Also, I said your comments infuriated me, not you yourself. And, yes, I'm a pompous know-it-all because, well, I know everything. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to figure out how we'll get out of this mess.
Lawrence | Edit comment Delete comment | 08.10.07 - 10:37 am | #

Gravatar I know so many people who got screwed on unfixed mortage rates or having their property values jumping in the last two quarters. I can't wait for $5 subway rides. When that happens I'm changing my name to Manuel and becoming a Thahitian Towel Boy. Lawrence, yeah those bonuses are unbelieveable but I have couple friends working for JP so I know they're real.
strapp | Edit comment Delete comment | Email | Homepage | 08.10.07 - 11:39 am | #

Gravatar Dear Lawrence,

I can see the problem. But thank you for your insights into the wonderful world of finance. Please let me know when we'll be out of this mess. Until then, I'll be running around midtown and downtown on alternating days, tearing out my hear and screaming about how the US economy is on the brink of collapse.
John B. | Edit comment Delete comment | 08.10.07 - 12:17 pm | #

Gravatar wait, so does mean your trust fund is going to get damaged??

bout time to hope some new scrolls show up.

mime is money.
o hai! | Edit comment Delete comment | 08.10.07 - 1:30 pm | #

Gravatar lawrence,
it's their own fault. they knew the mess they were getting into with these mortgages...they were letting people get these mortgages with no proof of income. wall st had this coming and everyone knew it.
so was cramer an ahole or a good guy..cant believe how big he has become
jim | Edit comment Delete comment | 08.10.07 - 3:48 pm | #

Gravatar index.htm
neil | Edit comment Delete comment | 08.10.07 - 3:53 pm | #

Gravatar I agree that this is the product of two-fold stupidity: first from the predatory practices of the lenders (who loaned on the buyer's ability to pay teaser rates instead of what it actually was long-term) and second from the morons pricing the mortgage-backed securities with ridiculously low default assumptions because, well, they assumed that if people can pay teaser rates, they can pay the long-term rates, too. I'm not sure anything done today by the Fed is going to solve any problems and I don't think Treasury has a clue, either. It's just gonna mean we're all going to have to suffer this one, MAYBE learn our lessons, and after a couple of quarters of shake-out, come out of this thanks to another bubble

As for Cramer, I actually got along with him nicely. I think the mistake some people would make with him is that they were so afraid of his reactions that they never told him the truth. Naturally, he'd flip out when he'd catch it and fly off the handle. I personally thought he was a great guy and fun to be around; we flew up to Boston one time and the guy cracked me up the entire time. I don't always agree with him but he's really smart.

O hai: you're wrong. I stole all her trust fund money.
Lawrence | Edit comment Delete comment | 08.10.07 - 6:00 pm | #

Gravatar God, i wish that i had the trust fund everyone accuses me of having. not sure how many trustfunders have refugee families that lost everything, or had their house forclosed on...
sarah | Edit comment Delete comment | Email | Homepage | 08.10.07 - 7:14 pm | #

Gravatar we're all missing the big picture here...

mcr got a new siq vid comin out.
shane Human | Edit comment Delete comment | Email | 08.10.07 - 9:53 pm | #

Gravatar Here's a NYC-centric bubble blog.
mitchell porter | Edit comment Delete comment | Email | 08.11.07 - 12:27 am | #

Gravatar oh how i love living in Canada.
yes we are probably a close second behind the states in our debt. But i doubt this will happen, you don't see as many petty fights going to court.

although...fucking conrad black.
Lindsey | Edit comment Delete comment | Email | 08.11.07 - 3:58 am | #

And now for the obligatory cute baby animal photos to make you feel better about yourself:

I'm so smartypants/psychic.


Anonymous said...

Do you want a medal or a biscuit?

Ultragrrrl said...

I can haz cookie?

Bokolis said...

Sorry I didn't get here sooner; I'd have broke it all down. Geeky finance guys must not frequent your gigs.

As some corny old guy used to say, there are three types of people:
those who make things happen,
those who watch things happen,
those who wonder WTF just happened.

For those in the third category, don't ask...just give the government your money.

For those content to be in the second category, don't worry, they'll fix it. Put that in your locker, right next to your deed to the Brooklyn Bridge.

For those at the top of the food chain, don't look back, they're gaining on you.

Maggie said...

to tell you the truth, the second to last baby animal picture is really freaky-looking.

Anonymous said...

how is this situation something to be bragging about discussing a year ago? our country's financial situation is in utter turmoil, people have lost their JOBS and you're patting yourself on the back for writing about it a year ago and getting into some arguments in the comments? you know who else wrote about it a year ago? EVERY LEGITIMATE NEWS ORGANIZATION IN THE WESTERN WORLD.

ChellStar said...

I remember that post and since i'm aquarius like you (we are foward thinkers by nature) I knew u would be right. Just like I was right 4 years ago. :)

Anonymous said...

I guess Lawrence was not able to figure out a solution to the problem. Dammit Lawrence!!!

Lawrence said...

I wrote what you could've done here:

Had you done that, you would've doubled your money from May until now.

Unknown said...

Bravo sarah! 20/20 foresight! I clearly remember I started feeling ominously depressed in August of '07 when this whole mortgage meltdown thing started, but I was surrounded by all this pollyannish optimism (see your reader comments from that August '07 post), so I just kept it to myself. I knew that, combined with the whole commodities/energy bull market, we were in for it like never before!

grey suit said...

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