As Desperation Sinks In, Non-Solutions Proliferate
The number of proposed "solutions" to the current economic malaise grows every week. Come and gone is the Super SIV Fraudulent Attempt at Concealment, Project Lifeline: A Lifeline For Banks, "Wedding" Invitations Worth Refusing, and the Bush Paulson plan to give select groups $300 to $1,200 to revive the economy
The Atlas Shopping Center Challenge
The latest economic proposal, dubbed The Atlas Solution, is one New York shopping center's plan to jump start the nation's economy.
Our Challenge to Shopping Centers Nationwide
If we can do it, so can other shopping centers. In fact, we're issuing a challenge to every shopping center across the country. The Shops at Atlas Park is approximately 400,000 square feet, and the owner, Damon Hemmerdinger, is giving away $20,000 from his savings; this sum is equal to 5 cents per square foot. The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) estimates that shopping centers in the US account for 6,856 billion square feet of space. So, if every shopping center across the country joined us and gave away just 5 cents per square foot, an astounding $342.8 billion dollars would be placed into consumers' hands across the country, along with an encouragement to believe in our future!
To put that in perspective, that's more than twice the total economic stimulus package that the US government just decided to issue.
Wear Your "I Support The Economy Sticker" Proudly
5 Ways To Support The Economy
1) Wear an "I Support the Economy Sticker." If you live in New York, free stickers are available at The Shops at Atlas Park. If you want free stickers mailed to you, for yourself or to give out at your workplace or organization, please send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to "The Atlas Solution," Suite 8306, 71-19 80th Street, Glendale, NY 11385.
2) Spend some money! Every dollar counts! Go ahead, buy your mom or boyfriend a present, or even treat yourself! Feel better knowing that you are demonstrating your confidence in the future of our economy, and that your spending is part of The Atlas Solution.
3) Better yet, invest some money! Most people sadly buy high and sell low out of fear. Now is the perfect time to buy low and hold, which is the best way to invest. A basic guide to investing can be found at MyMoney.Gov.
4) Start your own business! When you work, not only do you earn money, but you help bring value to the economy through whatever goods or services you are helping provide.
5) Tell your local shopping center about The Atlas Solution, and this site! Urge them to join The Atlas Solution.
Excuse me but what ails the economy is cash strapped consumers who have recklessly spent over the years, businesses that have over expanded, and government that keeps spending more money every year than it collects.
And if ever there was a worse time to start a business than now, you would be hard pressed to find it. Supporting evidence that this is a horrid time to start a business can be found in Does The Shopping Center Economic Model Work? and Businesses Advised To Walk Away.
Giving away $20,000 will not solve a thing. Nor would giving away $342.8 billion dollars, if every shopping center in the country was silly enough to do the same thing.
The most important thing we can do to help the economy is to walk away from Iraq. This idea was discussed in Obama: The Next President Of The United States.
Sadly, Damon Hemmerdinger, owner of The Shops at Atlas Park, is stuck on a shopping center economic model that is now dead in the water. There are too many stores, not enough consumers, and no reason to buy more garbage that few people need.
Damon is about to waste $20,000. Oh well, at least it's his own money he is wasting. In contrast, the $150 billion the government is about to waste on socialistic redistribution of wealth rebate schemes comes from taxpayers
MBIA and Ambac Non-Solutions
Talk of non-solutions would be incomplete without some discussion of the monolines. I discussed the various ripple effects of splitting up the monolines, including a discussion on Fraudulent Conveyance in Financial Services Bloodbath.
Today Bloomberg is writing Bond Insurer Split May Trigger Lawsuits.
Regulators' plans to break up bond insurers into "good" businesses covering municipal debt and "bad" businesses liable to subprime-related losses may trigger "years of litigation," Bank of America Corp. analysts said.
"It is the equivalent of going to a casino and trying to keep only the winning bets," said Tim Mercer, chief investment officer at Hong Kong-based hedge fund Musashi Capital Ltd. "This would be a straightforward case of fraudulent conveyance and everyone involved would be liable for damages from deprived creditors."
"Despite the regulatory interest in separating the exposures, the essential fact remains that all policy holders, whether municipal or structured finance, entered into contracts backed by the entire entity," analysts led by Jeffrey Rosenberg in New York wrote in a note to investors dated Feb. 15. A breakup is "likely to lead to significant legal challenges holding up the resolution of the monoline issues for years."
Investors in credit-default swaps based on the bond insurers may also seek damages to compensate for losses, according to the research note.
The cost of credit-default swaps on Armonk, New York-based MBIA Inc., the world's largest bond insurer, has soared to $1.7 million upfront and $500,000 a year to protect $10 million of bonds from default for five years, according to CMA Datavision. Ambac credit-default swaps were at the same level as MBIA at the close of trading in New York on Feb. 15. The contracts, which cost $25,000 a year ago, trade upfront when investors see a risk of imminent default.
Any breakup of the companies may cause "significant widening" in the credit-default swaps as the structured finance company is likely to be "deeply distressed," the Bank of America report said.
"The authorities' encouragement of such a solution reveals their fundamental misunderstanding of basic commercial law and principles and also their sense of desperation," said Musashi Capital's Mercer.
Everyone is foolishly trying to rescue the economy with a series of misguided proposals each more ridiculous than the previous. Worse yet, some of the proposals are outright fraudulent. What this economy really needs is a good economic flush. Attempts to prevent that are just making matters worse.