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The Opportunities of Recession

Tuesday, February 17, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The Wall Street Journal reports on Oracle’s buying spree this morning, and a second article covers Liberty Media’s cash infusion into Sirius.

First Trust Portfolio’s Brian Wesbury has been saying the obvious for months on the program –that recessions end, even though each one of them is marked by gloom and doom predictions of the worst downturn ever. Even with more bad news ahead for banks and the car companies, other market sectors are changing and growing, and though the deals that point to renewed growth don’t get nearly as much attention as the negative stories which fit the overarching theme of the news cycle.

Wesbury’s latest commentary, “The V-Shaped Recovery,” is here.

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Whither Abel?

Monday, February 16, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Arnold has collapsed, and is now doing everything he can to get any deal, no matter the cost. Some “Terminator.” The state’s economy –and its GOP–depends upon the vote of one state senator, Abel Maldonado. If Abel sells out, the massive tax hike takes effect and the state becomes a dead zone to business. It is political suicide for Maldonado, but the big government special interests are putting on the full-court press. The domain name,, is already registered, but he may not yet realize that he has been maneuvered into the position of fall guy.

Memo From “Banker Guy”

Monday, February 16, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

One of my regular correspondents is a senior and very successful advertising exec who stays hidden because of his politics. You know him as “Bear In The Woods.”

Now I’m pleased to introduce you to “Banker Guy,” who runs an honest-to-God successful bank, who has opinions on what’s going on in the financial crisis, but who also wishes to remain behind the veil. Here’s Banker Guy’s first offering:

When We Talk About “Banks” Just What Are We Talking About?

According to the FDIC there are nearly 8,300 banks in the United States. However, if you look at the Federal Reserve’s report on consumer credit, you will note that banks provided at little more than a third of the total loans. A quarter of all consumer credit was provided by securitized pools, so-called “asset-backed” securities. If you look at mortgages on 1-4 family residences, once again you will see that banks provide less than 30% of such mortgages and that securitized pools represent over two thirds of all mortgages outstanding.

We have only reviewed two categories of debt, but you get the picture. If you consider commercial loans, then the nearly $2 trillion commercial paper market and public debt markets come into play and are outside of most all commercial and savings banks.

So who are the lenders besides the 8,300 “banks?” They are insurance companies, money market funds, brokerage houses, hedge funds, off-shore banks, and governmental funds. In addition these lenders are GE, GMAC (remember those Ditech commercials), pension plans, and federal, state, and local governments.

The political aspect of all of this is that it is a lot easier to harangue ten or twelve bank CEOs and pressure regulators to harangue the rest of us bankers than it is to deal with the reality of the marketplace of lenders.

The Presidents

Monday, February 16, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

While California waits to see if GOP State Senatro Abel Maldonado becomes the guy who killed the Golden State’s economy and his own political career with a vote for a staggering tax hike, we’ll celebrate Presidents Day on the program with a rebroadcast of historian Richard Norton Smith’s march through the presidents beginning with Washington and ending with W. (IT was taped three years ago, so we can’t go back and add President Obama, though I will gladly have Richard back to discuss the new president often.)

Over the years this broadcast has been among the most popular as Smith is a gifted historian and speaker, and his good humor and love of the subject shines through in every segment. If you can’t listen, you can order the CD from the show store:

History of the Presidency

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Hugh talks with author Philip F. Anschutz about Out Where the West Begins
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