Tuesday, March 10, 2009

"Dr. Doom" Roubini says 'break every mortgage contract.'

According to economist Nouriel "Dr. Doom" Roubini, although the U.S. has narrowly averted a catastrophic economic meltdown, the current recession will last up to 3 years (ending in late 2010) and push the Dow down to 5,000. From an interview at CNBC:

The man who predicted the current financial crisis said the US recession could drag on for years without drastic action.

Among his solutions: fix the housing market by breaking "every mortgage contract."

"We are in the 15th month of a recession," said Nouriel Roubini, a professor at New York University's Stern School of Business, told CNBC in a live interview. "Growth is going to be close to zero and unemployment rate well above 10 percent into next year."

Echoing a speech he made earlier in the day, Roubini said he sees "no hope for the recession ending in 2009 and will more than likely last into 2010."

Roubini, who is also known as "Dr. Doom," told CNBC that the risk of a total meltdown has been reversed for now but that the economy is going through "a death by a thousand cuts." He also said that "most of the U.S. financial institutions are entirely insolvent."

"The market friendly view for the banks is nationalization," said Roubini. "Temporarily take over the banks, clean them up and get them working again...

He said that while U.S. GDP next year could be zero, global GDP could dip into negative territory.

"We could end up ... with a 36-month recession, that could be "L-shaped stagnation, or near depression," Roubini said. He puts the chance of a severe U-shaped recession at 66.7 percent, and a more severe L-shaped recession at 33.3 percent...

So what can the government do? The easy part is lowering interest rates and buying toxic assets. The hard part, he says, will be tackling housing. Roubini says that the housing market, like a company restructuring in bankruptcy, needs to have "face value reduction of the debt." Rather than go through mortgages one by one, he says reduction has to be "across the board...break every mortgage contract."

1 comment:

oc bear said...

Every mortgage contract contains a remedy -- it's called foreclosure. If you break every contract, how do you value the asset? Do we declare a year of Jubilee?