Monday, November 16, 2009

It Is Official: Profits In 2004/2005 Were Just Funny Money; Builders to Benefit Most

Remember all those builders that were reporting record profits back in 2004?

Toll Brothers chart:

The New York Times reports that on Nov. 6, President Obama signed the Worker, Homeownership and Business Assistance Act of 2009 into law, extending unemployment benefits by 20 weeks and renewing the first-time homebuyer tax credit until next April.

"But tucked inside the law was another prize: a tax break that lets big companies offset losses incurred in 2008 and 2009 against profits booked as far back as 2004. The tax cuts will generate corporate refunds or relief worth about $33 billion, according to an administration estimate."

So it is official, all those profits that were made with funny money derived from non-existent real business/production back in 2004/2005, were just that, funny money.

"Among the biggest beneficiaries are home builders, analysts say. Once again, at the front of the government assistance line, stand some of the very companies that contributed mightily to the credit crisis by building and financing too many homes.
This is getting to be a habit: companies that participated on the upside and are now reaping rewards from the taxpayers on the downside. The banks that underwrote so many dubious loans, for example, received government aid to get them lending again. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the result".

"But dropping helicopter money on the home builders — the folks who massively overbuilt in community after community — seems decidedly less urgent (unless you are one of these companies, of course). Given that the supply of housing far outstrips demand, it is unlikely that these companies will use these tax breaks to hire workers (unless they go into a completely new line of business)".

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