Nov 07

The number of borrowers collapsing under the weight of their debts has soared to an all-time high.

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Insolvent: ex-England football star John Barnes and pop singer Kerry Katona

A record 35,242 personal insolvencies were registered in the third quarter of the year — about 3,000 in London — the most since records began in 1960.

The total, up 28 per cent in a year, has been fuelled by a sharp rise in middle class families unable to cope with their finances, according to debt advisers.

Related articles:
Personal insolvencies rise 28% to 49-year high (Times Online)
Insolvencies jump to record high (Reuters)
Largest number of insolvencies in at least half a century (Telegraph)

Famous figures who have filed for bankruptcy in the recession include former England football star John Barnes and former Atomic Kittens singer Kerry Katona.

The tally for 2009 is now certain to pass last year’s figure of 106,544 and could hit 130,000, with some experts predicting a further rise next year and in 2011.

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Aug 08

LONDON — Company liquidations and individual insolvencies in England and Wales soared to record levels in the second quarter as the economy was throttled by recession and the global credit crisis, data from the government’s Insolvency Service showed Friday.

There were 33,073 individual insolvencies in the second quarter on a nonseasonally adjusted basis, the highest level since records began in 1960. That compared with 30,253 in the first quarter of this year and marked a 27.4% increase from the second quarter of last year.

Company liquidations totaled 5,055 on a seasonally adjusted basis, the highest level since that series began in 1998. That was 2.9% above the total seen in the first three months of this year and represented an increase of 39.1% from the second quarter of last year.

Andrew MacCallum, managing director at restructuring and turnaround firm Alvarez and Marsal, said companies had survived the past year by significantly cutting costs, but many were now exhausted financially just as some positive signs (Where? All those positive signs are brought to you by ‘intentional misinterpretation’ of statistical data.) on the economy were emerging.

“More than five thousand companies may have gone into administration in the last quarter, but we can expect to see that figure exceeded in every quarter until at least the end of 2010,” he said in a note. “Credit is still tight and many businesses are loaded with debt that they can’t service.”

The breakdown of the figures showed there were 1,457 compulsory company liquidations, 6.8% less than in the first quarter but 8.7% more than in the second quarter of last year.

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Jul 10

(Reuters) – Mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are “insolvent” and may need a U.S. government bailout, former St. Louis Federal Reserve President William Poole was quoted as saying in an interview with Bloomberg.

“Congress ought to recognize that these firms are insolvent, that it is allowing these firms to continue to exist as bastions of privilege, financed by the taxpayer,” Poole was quoted as saying in an interview held on Wednesday.

Chances are increasing that the government may need to bail out the two mortgage companies, Poole was quoted as saying.

Shares of the two companies have taken a beating recently on worries about whether they can withstand more losses and support housing as well as concerns that they may need to raise massive amounts of new capital.

Freddie Mac shares tumbled 23.8 percent to $10.26 on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday, while Fannie Mae shares sank 13.1 percent to $15.31.

Related article: US: Total Crash of the Entire Financial System Expected, Say Experts

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Apr 17

Nothing for Families and Retirees

If the move to a Unitary Executive of unfettered presidential power frightens you, America’s radical right turn to Unitary Finance should compound your fears–and your debts as well. The financial events of the last two weeks of March 2008 demonstrate that the “economic royalists” and “money changers” whom Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) drove from the temple of finance have returned to mismanage our economy into dire straights of unprecedented risk–debt creation, euphemized as “leveraging” and “wealth creation.”

The few checks and balances that remain in the way of the financial sector’s increasingly centralized planning, especially at the state level, are being swept aside under the guise of “saving the system.” Few Wall Street beneficiaries who use this phrase explain just what the system is. For starters, its political managers are industry lobbies appointed to high managerial and planning positions in the public agencies that are supposed to regulate these industries. Their idea of financial planning is to put a trillion dollars in government agency funds and credit guarantees at risk. This agency funding was supposed to be used to help average American families obtain housing and health care, and to protect their savings and provide for their retirement. Instead, it is being mobilized to support the economy’s bankers and financial managers. Indeed, the past few weeks have seen seemingly trillions of dollars committed for war making and bank support.

The banking system’s free creation of credit, doubling each five years or so for the economy at large, threatens to culminate in debt peonage for many American families and also for industry and for state and local governments. The economic surplus is being quickly absorbed by a combination of debt service and government bailouts for creditors whose Ponzi schemes are collapsing right and left, from residential to commercial real estate and corporate takeover loans to foreign bubble-economy credit.

This is the context in which to view the past few weeks’ financial turmoil surrounding Bear Stearns, JPMorgan/Chase and the rapidly changing debt landscape. “The system” that the Treasury, Federal Reserve and the New Deal agencies captured by the Bush Administration is trying to save is an economy-wide Ponzi scheme. By that I mean that the business plan is for creditors to lend debtors enough money for them to pay the interest costs so as to keep current on their loans.

Super Imperialism – New Edition: The Origin and Fundamentals of U.S. World Dominance Continue reading »

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Mar 18

The military adventurers of the George W. Bush administration have much in common with the corporate leaders of the defunct energy company Enron. Both groups of men thought that they were the “smartest guys in the room”, the title of Alex Gibney’s prize-winning film on what went wrong at Enron. The neo-conservatives in the White House and the Pentagon outsmarted themselves. They failed even to address the problem of how to finance their schemes of imperialist wars and global domination. Continue reading »

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Mar 14

Global confidence in the US economy has reached zero, as was proved by last month’s stock market meltdown. But there is an enormous anomaly in the US economy above and beyond the subprime mortgage crisis, the housing bubble and the prospect of recession: 60 years of misallocation of resources, and borrowings, to the establishment and maintenance of a military-industrial complex as the basis of the nation’s economic life Continue reading »

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