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Tuesday, July 29, 2014 2:21 PM


Whopping 35% Have Debt in Collection! Delinquent Debt in America: By Region and Metro Area, Where Is?


The Urban Institute has an interesting 14-page synopsis on Delinquent Debt in America.

By percentage, the number of people in collections is largely concentrated in the South, while amount owed shows no geographic pattern. The Urban Institute uses 2013 credit bureau data from TransUnion to measure how many Americans are reported as at least 30 days late, not including late payment of mortgages. The institute also examines how many Americans have debt in collections and the amount of this debt.

In order to have credit card debt, one first must have credit. However, some without traditional credit show up as delinquent on account of late utility, medical, or other bills.

The key general finding is: Of those with credit files, an astonishing 35% have debt in collections.

Study Synopsis

  • 5.3% (Roughly 1 out of 20) of people with a credit file are at least 30 days late on a credit card or other non-mortgage account (e.g., automobile loan, student loan). In other words, they have debt that has been reported as past due to the credit bureau.
  • The share of people with debt past due ranges from 4.6% in the West, North Central, and Middle Atlantic divisions to 7.5% in the West South Central division.
  • Three states have less than 4% of the population with debt past due: Utah, Washington, and New Jersey. 
  • Three states have more than 7% of the population with debt past due: Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi.
  • Nearly 40% of the high-concentration census tracts in the country are in Louisiana or Texas.
  • Areas with lower household incomes have more people with debt past due, but the correlation is only -0.3. So, while income matters, the concentration of delinquent debt is not simply an income story.
  • Of those with credit files, an alarming 35% have debt in collections.
  • Debt in collection ranges less than $25 to more than $125,000. The average amount owed in collections is $5,178.
  • Nevada, which was hard hit by the housing crisis, tops the list of past-due states: 47% of people with a credit file in Nevada have reported debt in collections. The District of Columbia and an additional 12 states (11 in the South) are over the 40 percent mark: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and West Virginia.
  • At the low end are three Midwestern states - Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota, with 20%  of the people with a credit history now reported debt in collections.
  • Among the largest 100 MSAs, only six have fewer than a quarter of people with debt in collections reported i n their credit file. None are in the South: Minneapolis - St. Paul, Minnesota (20.1%), Honolulu, Hawaii (21.0%), Boston, Massachusetts (22.4%), Madison, Wisconsin (22.6%), San Jose, California (23.0%), and Bridgeport, Connecticut (24.5%).
  • At the other extreme, five MSAs have at least 45 percent of people with collections debt reported in their credit files : McAllen, Texas (51.7%), Las Vegas, Nevada (49.2%), Lakeland, Florida (47.3%), Columbia, South Carolina (45.2%), and Jacksonville, Florida (45.0%). 
  • An astonishing 70% of census tracts have at least 25% of people with reported debt in collections. In comparison, less than 1% of census tracts (40) have at least 25% of people with debt past.

Debt Past Due



Debt in Collections



Average Debt in Collections




click on any chart for sharper image

The report concludes ...
Financial distress is a daily challenge for millions of American consumers. Nearly 1 2 million adults — 5.3 percent of Americans with a credit file — have non-mortgage debt reported past due, and they need to pay $2,258 on average to become current on that debt.

Further, an alarming 77 million Americans — 35 percent of adults with credit files — have debt in collections reported in their credit files, with an average debt amount of nearly $5,178. Debt reported past due, and in particular reported debt in collections, is more concentrated in the South.

In addition to creating difficulties today, delinquent debt can lower credit scores and result in serious future consequences. Credit scores are used to determine eligibility for jobs, access to rental housing and mortgages, insurance premiums, and access to (and the price of) credit in general (Federal Trade Commission 2013; Traub 2013).

High levels of delinquent debt and its associated consequences, such as limited access to traditional credit, can harm both families and the communities in which they live. This brief contributes to our understanding of financial distress in America by exploring the spatial patterns of delinquent debt in the United States. Future work will explore the drivers of financial distress and those factors influencing its spatial patterns.
Interestingly, the concentration of delinquent debt to income has a negative 0.3 correlation. In a footnote the study reports "The correlation between average household income and average amount of debt past due (amount required to become current on that debt) is even lower at -0.1."

I called the Urban Institute and asked for an explanation as to how the percentage in collection can be so much bigger than the percentage past due. The answer has to do with a definition of terms and also with charge-offs.

Appendix Figure A.1 Explains



Note: Federal regulations require creditors to charge-off revolving credit accounts (e.g., credit card accounts) after 180 days of payment delinquency. Uniform Retail Credit Classification and Account Management Policy, 65 FR36903-01 (June 12, 2000).

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com

3:42 AM


Ukrainians Ordered to War, Women Burn the Military Writs


The war in Ukraine is going so well that soldiers are unpaid and men are ordered to serve whether they want to or not.

Hats off to a group of women who confront a Ukrainian soldier and burn military writs right in front of the soldier's face.



Writ Burning Video



Video link: Ukrainians Burn Writs

Transcript

  • Woman to Ukrainian soldier: Who are you?
  • Soldier: I am the head of the local recruiting center.
  • Woman: Why are you bringing military writs?
  • Soldier: It's an order from above. I can't explain all the details but you can read about it on the internet
  • Soldier: When did you get the writs?
  • Very disgruntled woman: Yesterday evening.
  • Another Woman: This one we got recently.
  • Soldier: Yes, we're sending those to put the potential recruits under control.
  • Yet another woman: We don't need it. We don't need any war.
  • Multiple women chime in with the same thing at once about not wanting war.
  • Very disgruntled woman: We've been told that the police will handle those who refuse to sign the writs for mobilization. What does that mean?
  • Soldier: It's an official order for total mobilization.
  • Another woman: We've been told those fairy tales many times. They told us those who refuse to go to war will go to jail for 5 years.
  • Soldier: I ask you, did we take anyone to war so far?
  • Woman: When you take someone it will be too late to worry.
  • Another woman: We've never been on Maidan. We didn't touch anyone. We don't need it.
  • Very angry man gesturing: Take your recruit list and make sure no one will be taken to war.
  • Soldier - finally admitting the truth: They will take your sons anyway.
  • Same angry Man: Who will take them?
  • Soldier: The state
  • Same angry man: We don't give a damn about your country and your war!
  • Large group gathers writs and sets them on fire.
  • Background conversation: mostly untranslated but also containing We are sickened of the authorities.
  • More background conversation: The authorities flee like rats from a sinking ship, but they come here and take our sons and send them to death. They all made the mess and now they need us to clean it up.
  • Fire takes hold
  • Another woman: Those who wanted all this, let them go to war! We never needed this nor Maidan.
  • Cars stop, many more people including more men watch on the periphery.
  • Writs go up in ashes. Many still confront the soldier

Congratulations!

Congratulations to all those who told the soldier to go to hell. No better way than burning draft papers and refusing to serve.

Musical Tribute



Video Link: Country Joe at Woodstock

Quotes

Voltaire: “It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.”

Tom Robbins: “There are many things worth living for, a few things worth dying for, and nothing worth killing for.”

Thought of the day: The Vietnam war would have ended years before it did if everyone would have refused to serve. A big F U was called for. Too few did it. My number never came up, but I am proud of the fact I resolved not to go.  And I assure you I wouldn't have. History has proven that point of view was the correct one.

By the way, I disagree with the second quote. Killing in self defense or defense of your family makes perfect sense.  

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com

Monday, July 28, 2014 5:56 PM


Calling All Munitions and Fighter Plane Experts: Is German Pilot Claim "Air-to-Air Attack" Brought Down MH17 Credible?


Peter Haisenko, a German aviation expert made a claim yesterday that air-to-air fire brought down MH17.

The above link is to a translated page.

As a lay person, it's easy to be persuaded by such arguments. Moreover, even if Haisenko is an aviation expert, one has to wonder about his munitions expertise.

I have some questions later, but first let's take a look at some images and a translation of Haisenko's thesis.

Haisenko provides this High-Res Image of MH17 Cockpit.



Click on chart for sharper image, or click on the preceding link for an even bigger image.

Haisenko Notes

  • Cockpit shows traces of shelling, clean round hole, about 30 mm caliber.
  • Some holes are bent inward, some outward
  • Rivets bent outward
  • Moreover, small cuts can be seen, all bent outward, which hint at the fact that fragments have penetrated the outer hull from the inside of the cockpit.

Bullet Holes in Shell




Now the Controversy

The rest of what Haisenko has to say is quite controversial. Here is my modified translation (corrections welcome).
So what can be happening? Russia has published radar recordings, that show at least one Ukrainian SU-25 in close proximity of MH17. This corresponds with the statement of the lost Spanish controller who claims to have seen two Ukrainian fighter aircraft in the immediate vicinity of MH17.

Consider the armament of the SU-25: It is equipped with a double-barreled 30-mm gun, type GSh-302 / AO-17A, capable of firing 250 rounds anti-tank fire or splinter-explosive projectiles, in a defined order. The cockpit of the MH17 has been fired from two sides: the entry and exit holes on the same page. [Mish Note: Reader John points out that a SU-27 has a service ceiling of 62,523 feet and that the Ukrainian army has that aircraft.]

Now just imagine what happens when a series of armored fire and splinter-explosive projectiles, designed so that they can destroy a tank, hit the cockpit. The shells partially escape across the cockpit from the other side, slightly deformed again.

The splinter-explosive projectiles will explode inside the cockpit, as designed.

Because the interior of a commercial aircraft is a hermetically sealed chamber, the pressure inside the aircraft in a split second will rise to extreme levels by these explosions. But the aircraft is not equipped. It will burst like a balloon.

Coherent Picture

The largely intact fragments of the rear sections are broken at the points that are based on the construction breakup most likely under extreme pressure. The image of the widely scattered debris field and the brutally damaged cockpit segment fit to do so. Furthermore, a wing segment shows traces of a grazing shot, which directly leads to extension to the cockpit.

Interestingly, I found that both the high-resolution photo of the cockpit as the segment are also now been removed from the grazing shot on the wing from Google Images. One can find virtually no other pictures of the wreckage, except smoking ruins.
Accident?

Even if Haisenko is correct, the image presented does not rule out an accident.

For example, it is conceivable Ukrainian military aircraft thought they were firing on a Russian plane. Notice I did not say likely, I said conceivable.

Regardless, if plane damage rules out a Buk, then the air-to-air thesis that remains, however unlikely initially, must lead to the truth.

By the way, one of my contacts (Not Dreizin) assures me that an SU-25 can get high enough, not for prolonged periods of time, but long enough to make such an attack. I do not know if that claim is credible, but a SU-27 certainly can hit that altitude.

Six Questions

  1. Is the MH17 damage consistent with either a buk or an air-to-air attack?
  2. Does the damage assessment favor one type of attack vs. the other?
  3. Could a Buk reasonably have only hit the cockpit?
  4. Could multiple Buks be in play to cause both input and exit holes as show?
  5. If so, could multiple Buks have only hit the cockpit?
  6. Could the flechettes (dart-like or ball bearing-like projectiles) launched when the buk exploded simply have traveled completely through the cockpit leaving both entry and exit holes?

Three Scenarios

  1. If the damage is only (or primarily) consistent with an air-to-air attack, we have a new ballgame.
  2. If the damage is consistent with either a Buk or an air-to-air attack, with roughly equal probability, we have not learned much.
  3. If the answer to number 6 is yes, and the rest of the damage is also consistent with a Buk, and the damage is inconsistent with an air-to-air attack , then it is safe to rule out the latter.

For now, I would like some military fighter-plane and munitions experts to assess the damaged parts and make a yes-no-maybe type of assessment on Haisenko's analysis, not on who did it or why, but rather on an assessment of the images shown (and what type of weapon did the damage).

Meet Elena from Sloviansk

Finally, even if it was a Buk, please consider this Video of Militia Soldier - Elena, from Sloviansk with English subtitles.

Posted on June 18, 2014



Partial Transcript

Good day. My name is Elena. I am in the city of Sloviansk. I am native to this town. I have joined the military ranks. I cannot bear this anymore. We are being bombed every day by Ukrainian army, on orders from Junta, Artillery, Air Force. And they drop bombs not on check-points. They drop bombs on people's houses. People live in cellars with their children. How long are we to bear this? How is it that government sends mercenaries on their own people? The people are fighting from here, in defense of their own city. They want to live, not merely exist. Terrible things are happening. For example: An incident that happened recently. A passenger plane was flying by, and Ukrainian attack aircraft hid behind it. Then he lowered his altitude a bit and dropped bombs on the residential sector of Seminovka. They wanted to provoke the militia to shoot at the passenger plane. There would have been a global catastrophe. Civilians would have died. Then they would say the terrorists did it. There are no terrorists here. There are regular people here, that came out in defense of their own city. ... Don't you have any humanity left?

Believable?

Easily. Please note that video came out one month prior to the MH17 crash. It was not a made up story afterwards to fit what happened. And it fits numerous other reports none of which appears staged. 

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com

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