U.S. economy--"it's twice as bad as we thought"
A closer look at the figures led to a revision of that assessment, however, but the fact remains that in many cases Realtors somehow double-counted home sales.
Two significant pieces of information were released that show not only is the economy significantly worse than anyone realized but it is poised to get even worse, in spite of so-called 'hopeful signs' rolled out by the Obama Administration in recent weeks.
First, the National Association of Realtors reported today that sales of existing homes have been 'double-counted' since 2007. From CNBC:
Data on sales of previously owned U.S. homes from 2007 through October this year will be revised down next week because of double counting, indicating a much weaker housing market than previously thought.
The National Association of Realtors said a benchmarking exercise had revealed that some properties were listed more than once, and in some instances, new home sales were also captured."All the sales and inventory data that have been reported since January 2007 are being downwardly revised. Sales were weaker than people thought," NAR spokesman Walter Malony told Reuters.
The massive economic meltdown of 2008 was precipitated by the collapse of the housing market in 2007, which caused a ripple effect impacting major mortgage lenders.
The housing sector has already been described by economists across the board as the worst in U.S. history, surpassing that of the Great Depression of the 1930s. And with today's disclosure, that designation is only intensified, pointing to catastrophic, systemic problems in the housing industry.
This writer has contended all along that the 'great recession' of 2008 was actually a depression, and that depression never abated. The U.S. is still firmly in the grip of this depression, and the housing data only proves it. Existing home sales continue to be historically depressed.
Second, a disturbing report on 401(K) retirement plans was issued by Ann Barnhardt, owner of the former Barnhardt Capital Management which was closed last month due to the owner's contention that she could not in good conscience recommend investments to any of her clients in the current economy.
Barnhardt stated the following about 401(K)s:
In short, unless you are self-employed and serve as your plan's administrator, you cannot liquidate, or get your money, out of your 401(K) retirement plan you have with your employer.Possession is nine-tenths of the law.Judging from my email inbox, many of you are realizing EXACTLY what that old adage means right about now. Many of you have requested to liquidate your 401k accounts, and your employers won’t let you do it. I had no problem doing it because I am self-employed and thus I was my own “plan administrator”.
So, this nasty business brings us around to a very nasty, but inevitable question. Was that money ever yours, or has the entire 401k fiasco been nothing more than an underhanded, stealth confiscatory tax for the vast majority of folks who have participated in it over the years? I’d have to say, “affirmative” to the latter. If you are denied access to “your money”, then honey, it ain’t “your money” and never was. Many of you have been conned into working for a salary that was x percent less than what you were told, with “x” being the percent “contributed” to “your” 401k account. That "x percent" should be added to your marginal tax rate, because it is probably going to end up in the coffers of the United States Treasury by way of J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, or HSBC, or one of the other big crypto-fascist banks, by way of London, just like the MF Global money.
Rumors have been circulating ever since the Obama plan to address the current, ongoing economic crisis was rolled out that the Administration plans to take retirement accounts as a means of paying for the runaway spending of the federal government, which has run up a debt of 15 trillion dollars.
Thus, when Barnhardt announces news such as the statement referenced above, it gives one pause to consider the possibility that such rumors are more than just idle gossip.
The U.S. is in very deep economic trouble, much worse than anyone has been told. And when the dominoes begin to fall, such as the fact that Europe stands on the brink of collapse, all bets are off concerning investments, and that includes retirement funds.