Ron Paul Advocates Demolition of Social Security – Let’s get this straight; Ron Paul is nothing more than a kinder/gentler face for the Chicago School neoliberalization program supported by the neocons on one side and the Clitonista/Obama New Dems on the other. He is yet another flavor of the oligarchical corporatist tools, who fully expected his son to be handed a seat in the senate, by birthright, and therefore a government paycheck for the rest of his life. Now Ron is helping to bolster the neoliberal calls for the pending doom of Social Security while he himself knows full well just how nice his government pension entitlement check is going to be for him and his corporatist kid.
More than 25% of Kids and Teens in the U.S. Take Prescriptions on a Regular Basis – Gage Martindale, who is 8 years old, has been taking a blood-pressure drug since he was a toddler. "I want to be healthy, and I don’t want things in my heart to go wrong," he says. And, of course, his mom is always there to check Gage’s blood pressure regularly with a home monitor, and to make sure the second-grader doesn’t skip a dose of his once-a-day enalapril. These days, the medicine cabinet is truly a family affair. More than a quarter of U.S. kids and teens are taking a medication on a chronic basis, according to Medco Health Solutions Inc., the biggest U.S. pharmacy-benefit manager with around 65 million members. Nearly 7% are on two or more such drugs, based on the company’s database figures for 2009.
Case Shiller Misses Consensus As Home Price Decline Continues For 4th Month – If Bernanke is hoping to eventually have restore HELOCs as a piggybank for the greater US population, he better come up with something quick. The Case Shiller for October, as always nearly three months delayed, shows that the double dip in home prices which started in June, is persisting. And since both new and mortgage refi apps have plunged in recent weeks following the spike in the 30 Year cash mortgage rate, do not expect to see any rise in Top 20 Composite MSA home prices. From the October print: the October SA Composite 20 came at 143.52%, a decline of 0.99% from September, and just down from a year earlier. There was a sequential decline in 18 of the 20 MSAs, with just Denver and DC posting an increase. The biggest drops were in Atlanta (-2.13%), Chicago (-1.80%), and Minneapolis (-1.76%). The decline was even worse on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, where the sequential decline in the Composite 20 was -1.32%. As the attached chart demonstrates, the double dip is accelerating, as the sequential drops are increasing in magnitude.
Roubini: "It’s Pretty Clear The Housing Market Has Already Double Dipped" – Hopefully today’s 4th consecutive decline in home prices, as per the earlier noted Case Shiller October data (and with both mortgage rates and foreclosure inventory surging, we are willing to bet that following the reported November and December CS data, the decline will be for half a year straight), makes it sufficiently clear that housing has double dipped, and that the primary goal of Bernanke, which is not to pad banker bonuses, but to reflate home prices and recreate that mythical HELOC "fake wealth effect" piggybank, has been a complete failure (he sure is succeeding in getting WTI about to soon hit $100/barrel). Just in case there are any doubters left, Nouriel Roubini sat down with CNBC’s netnet to confirm what virtually everyone else already knows: "It’s pretty clear the housing market has already double dipped," per Nouriel, who recently took advantage of the NYC housing downturn and bought a $5.5MM pad. "And the rate of decline is stronger than in previous months" – precisely what we pointed out a few hours back. In other words, the double dip is accelerating. Today’s jump in 10 and 30 Y rates will not help.
Next European Leg Down? First Failed ECB Monetization Sterilization, As Central Bank Has E13 Billion Shortfall In Bond Bids – The ECB managed to obtain just E60.8 billion in tender interest for its most recent 7 Day SMP "peripheral bond monetization" operation, whereby it needed at least E73.5 billion to be able to offload all of its cumulative acquired sovereign bonds to other financial institutions: a de facto sterilization, which is why the ECB has so far been claiming it is not monetizing debt (as it constantly rolls the held balance on other bank balance sheets). That is no more: following today, the ECB is left with just under E13 billion in sovereign holdings and thus are not sterilized. This development follows Monday’s announcement, which was reported first on Zero Hedge, that the ECB acquired 100% more in peripheral bonds in the prior week compared to two weeks ago. Another notable development: the number of bidding banks participating in the tender operation dropped to just 41- the lowest since the inception of the program in May when Greece went tits up and all of Europe was supposed to bail each other out in perpetuity. And what is most disturbing is that this complete lack of interest (or telegraphed lack of bank liquidity) happened even as the marginal rate jumped by over 50%, from 0.6% to 1%- the same as the maximum rate allowed on an auction. Should banks not come back with tender takedown interest next week, this could very well be the catalyst for the next leg down in the European crisis.
How Allstate Used Sampling To Confirm BofA/Countrywide Lied About Virtually Everything When Selling Mortgages – A few days ago, news broke that MBIA was allowed to use statistical sampling in its ongoing Bank of America fraud lawsuit. This happened despite the Countrywide acquiror’s loud protests. And now, courtesy of today’s brand new lawsuit against BofA (and Agent Orange himself) filed by Allstate, in which the insurer "seeks unspecified damages, alleges fraud, negligent misrepresentation and violation of U.S. securities laws" we know just why Bank of America was so very against allowing sampling to be used by plaintiffs. According to the full report (pdf attached below), Allstate has determined that Bank of America misrepresented virtually everything in its prospectuses: from the percentage of owner-occupied properties reped in prospectuses (about a 10% differential), to the LTV thresholds on represented loans (both at the 90% and 100% threshold), while inbetween finding willful and malicious intent to defraud and deceive.