Tuesday, July 07, 2009

California's Bust

(With apologies to Dre and Tupac)

California...knows how to party
California....don’t got no money
In the citaaaaay of LA
In the citaaaaay of good ol’ Watts
In the citaaaaay, the city of Compton
They keep defaultin’, they keep defaultin’!

Now let me welcome everybody to the wild, wild west
Our bonds are untouchable like Elliot Ness
If you ain’t been foreclosed than you had some success
Pack some books fo’ yo’ cell if you gotta confess
We in that sunshine state with a bomb-site new street
The state where you always find a new build empty
And PIMPCO on a mission for them greens
Lean mean money-makin’-machine cheatin’ fiends
I been in the game sixteen years watchin’ crises
Banks gone down just like Vanilla Ice, geez
Now it’s ’09 and my creditors watch me
My credit rating’s dead just like Liberace
It’s no good, from Diego to the Bay
Your city is the bomb if your city makin’ pay
Throw up a finger if you feel the same way
For the crooks that bankrupted

California...knows how to party
California.... don’t got no money
In the citaaaaay of LA
In the citaaaaay of good ol’ Watts
In the citaaaaay, the city of Compton
They keep defaultin’, they keep defaultin’!

Make it make a payment
Make it make a payment
Make it make it Arnie
Make it Cali
Make it make a payment
Make a make a payment
Make it make it Arnie
Make it Cali

Out on bail, fresh out of jail California dreamin’
Soon as I stepped on the scene, I’m hearin’ lenders screamin’
They want my money and alcohol
My life as a west side playa flippin’ houses don’t work at all
Only in Cali where we riot not rally to live and die
In LA we payin’ Fargo not BAC (that’s right)
Dressed in Locs and khaki suits and ride is what we do
To find a mortgage with a rate less than nine point two
Famous because we don’t pay worldwide
Let ‘em recognize from Long Beach to Norway
The statement came and we said no way, it’s west side
So you know the row won’t pay out to no man
Say what you say
Just look at this bomb site today
Let me sell you half the streets in LA
From Oakland to Sac-town
The Bay Area and back down
Cali’s where house prices got a smack-down
Now we bust!

California...knows how to party
California.... don’t got no money
In the citaaaaay of LA
In the citaaaaay of Santa Barbara
In the citaaaaay, the city of Carmel
They keep defaultin’, they keep defaultin’!

Now make a payment...

Make it make a payment
Make it make a payment
Make it make it Arnie
Make it Cali
Make it make a payment
Make a make a payment
Make it make it Arnie
Make it Cali

Uh, Long Beach out tha house, uh yeah
Oaktown, Oaktown definitely lost they house, hahaha
Frisco, Frisco
Hey, you know LA down in this
Pasadena, price gone splat
Inglewood, Inglewood always up to no good
Even Hollywood tryin’ to lose a piece baby
Sacramento, Sacramento, where you at? Yeah

Throw it up y’all, throw it up, throw it up
Let’s show these fools how we do it on that west side
Remember when it was the best side

Yeah, that’s right
West coast, west coast
Uh, California’s bust....
California’s bust.....

If only Macro Man knew how to overdub lyrics on music videos.....


Anonymous said...

If I was black I would be offended..........

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

That's awesome Macro Man.


Anonymous said...


Minty said...

I am pretty young and new to the city. In my head I used to imagine you as a pretty cool cat.

Now you remind me a little bit of my dad...

Macro Man said...

I have to say, the realization that "California Love" is fourteen years old was a little sobering....

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Is it just me or doesnt anyone fuccn care that the Chinese governments bond auction failed????? If this were the US the currency and equity markets would be down 5% and VIX would have doubled.

Macro Man said...

C'mon. Clearly the reason it failed is that the authorities forgot to tap the banks on the shoulder because they're too busy dealing with the crap in Xianjiang. And it's hardly like anyone's gonna buy government paper yielding 1% as any sort of profit-maximizing exercise, are they?

Anonymous said...

"If only Macro Man knew how to overdub lyrics on music videos....."


A powerful (free) program for all kinds of video processing (including separating and recombining audio and video).

6p01157048723f970c said...

You're best post ever.

RCJ said...

very scary (and I worked in Compton)

Tord Steiro said...

California is the largest economy in the US, right? Would you say that the current situation California is better, or worse, than the current situation in the EUs largest economy, Germany?

Or what about the worst of the EU's larger economies, Spain?

Not that it matters too much though, but I'm just curious about your general assessment.

Anonymous said...

MM, Would you like an Arnie IOU?
I am sure an OTC transaction can be worked out on Craigslist Exchange!

Anonymous said...

Going on Craigslist to find a woman to fuck you is differant that the State of CA fucking you on payments.

CA is the 10th largest economy in the world if it were its own country. It has had a huge jump in taxs though because of the housing bubble.

Every person I know from CA who dropped out of highschool is in real estate. They have all make loads of cash from 2003 to 2007.

In 2007 there was one property sold for every person who gained their real estate license that year!

CA is fucc'd on tax revenues. It will be 10 years until taxs go to the same levels again.

Macro Man said...

Ah, Anon, as Minty alluded, I am stuck in the mid -90's. Never even seen Craigslist in my life.

Tord, I don;t think we get enough granular data on California to afford an intelligent comparison. Certianly the situation in cali is bad- 11.2% unemployment, and I've heard something like 900,000 homes in foreclosure. Germany doesn't have that proprty problem (though Spain does), but if anything German banks might be in worse shape than California's.

Anonymous said...

Off the topic, note the June loan figures in China, another 1.53trn. Ahead of market expectations and released ahead of schedule by the PBOC. When will the authorities' start to reign it in? A-shares were down 2% in the morning, but recovered in the afternoon. Fly me to the moon?

Anonymous said...

You're right, that was 14 years ago. Oh the useless days of highschool. Thanks for making me feel old.

Second the best post ever comment.

Whitey McFundManager said...


"I have to say, the realization that "California Love" is fourteen years old was a little sobering...."


Anonymous said...

Great post MM!

You can always download and sing along to "Tied to the 90's" by Travis


Greg said...

In the last ten years, California's economy grew by about 55% (roughly 4.5% per year on average)

Over the same period, California's government payroll TRIPLED in terms of total amount paid, while headcount almost doubled.

Tax policy is irrelevant. There is no way to tax an economy growing 4.5% per year enough to pay for a cost structure that grows almost three times as fast

It doesn't matter if you tax the rich or the poor or whatever distribution -- the totals still have to line up.

California will be forced to drastically cut government spending -- or else it will rival West Virginia in economic importance within 10 years. One simply cannot spend 5-6x what you earn, not even if you are a state.

California isn't too big to fail, its too big to bail out. Its way bigger (economically) than Iceland

Anonymous said...


Ian said...

California resident (and Tupac fan!) here, Macro Man. Instant classic.

Artem Dmytrenko said...

the funniest hedge fund writer that i ever saw ))

wcw said...

MM, I would have gone with "Going Back to Cali" myself, but then I was always a sucker for repetition.

Greg, CA's FY10 spending is less than 6% of Gross State Product. WV's is over 9% of GSP. Could you please post your trades in comments from now on so I can take the other side of them?

Greg said...


I would never accept worthless IOUs from California, but if I get any I would be happy to sell them to you. your size (since it is not legal tender anyway, I can print as much as you like)

I also have many bridges and swamplands you might be interested in.

I never made any claim as to CA's spending as a percent of state GDP -- I only said that their spending was rising several times faster than their ability to pay for it

Given that lots of business and jobs are leaving the state, but the state keeps spending -- it won't be long before they are spending 9% like WV, probably more

haraldb said...

"I have to say, the realization that "California Love" is fourteen years old was a little sobering"

Deja vu, tell you what i'm gonna do
When they reminisce over you, my god.

California's word is bond.

Best financial blog post ever.

Nemo Incognito said...

Cannot believe I am having to trade this sh!t from Indo. What a load of bollocks. Covering, Nemo out. Surfing calls and the month is good enough as is.

Anonymous said...


I am the Director for Cash Management with the California State Treasurer's Office. The purpose of this contact is to let you know that without some security measures in place, the state will not be able to cash such warrants from a third party for we do not have any mechanism to verify the authenticity of the signature of the person that sold the warrant.

Unless you are planning on depositing such warrants with your bank, and to ensure that the state would honor such transactions, we will require any individual who buys such warrants to also obtain a Bill of Sale from the seller and to have the signature of the original payee notarized by a licensed notary public. Without the Bill of Sale and the notarized signature of the original payee, the state will not redeem such warrants from a third party other than financial institutions, credit unions, investment banking firms etc.. Thank you very much for your cooperation.

Mark Hariri
Cash Management Division
California State Treasurer’s Office
(916) 657-2456

Anonymous said...

Hilarious! Macroman you're creativity is world class.

Also, I'm black, live in Los Angeles and I'm NOT offended.

Lighten up Anon@9:30am.

Anonymous said...

From: Bettinelli, Antonio Antonio_Bettinelli@standardandpoors.com

I have an IOU for $1577. How much will you give me?

From: Jim.Christie@thomsonreuters.com

I'm a reporter with Reuters covering the California budget crisis and am interested in speaking with you regarding your offer to buy the state's IOUs. How may I reach you?

James Christie
Reuters News

From: whaynes whaynes@bizjournals.com

Good morning:
Saw your ad on Craigslist. You’ve likely been inundated with reporters seeking information on the market you’re making.

Would you be willing to spare 10 or 15 minutes to discuss why you’re willing to purchase the IOUs? At what kind of discount? What kind of yield are you projecting? Do you have a limit to the amount of the IOU or will you take them at any amount? Will you hold them to maturity? What kind of outfit are you?

You can either respond via email reply or dial my direct number below. Happy to talk off the record and discuss what information you’re comfortable with having in the article before going to print if that would make it easier to call.

Look forward to hearing from you.
William-Arthur Haynes

Warren said...

I have just received a real, honest bid for California IOUs -- you do not have to deposit them at a bank, and you don't need to pay California for a bill of sale to transfer them.

Just take them to your local paper recycling center where they are paying $0.10 per pound

Anonymous said...

Hi, work in ops and overheard two front office guys discussing best way to obtain exposure to the front end of the UK yield curve. One wanted to buy short gilts and the other favoured buying red/green short sterling. Excuse my ignorance, what are the pros/cons of each approach?

Anonymous said...

I am convinced that equities are being manipulated to add just the right amount of risk aversion when the Treasury garage sales are organized - don't fight the man.

At this point the man wants lower crude (i.e. more purchasing power for consumers with higher savings, hence the new inquisition of speculators), lower rates + higher refinancings (ditto),stronger dollar (see above), and lastly an most importantly, JUST ENOUGH OF A SELLOFF IN EQUITIES TO ENGINEER THE ABOVE, and no further.

What man wants man gets.

Anonymous said...

you're like the next Weird AL

Fire said...

Anonymous 17:46
When I read the first line I was for sure this was going to be a parody of a Nigerian scam letter.

Anonymous said...

Is California a metaphor for America after Obamanation?

wcw said...

Off-topic to Greg (the rest of you can skip on, unless you want to buy one of Greg's swaps):

it won't be long before they are spending 9% like WV, probably more is a testable and quantifiable. Let's make an OTC swap. What say CA FY15 with the same notional as one SPX E-mini. Cash-settled, of course. Paperwork and collateral handled by a legitimatre third party.

How many such swaps can I count on you to sell?

Greg said...

wcw -- try to pay attention here ... I never offered to sell swaps. The offer was for me to sell you IOUs from California.

And no 3rd party is going to administer this deal since it is illegal for anyone other than the Fed to issue currency... not even California -- although maybe they can if Nancy Pelosi hits Obama hard enough with her broomstick

BTW -- most of the large banks in California seem to share my skepticism that these IOUs have any value

Greg said...

Oh!! wcw stands for "W"est "C"oast "W"hiner... now I get it. You don't like hearing that your state's finances are on par with those of the old Wiemar Republic ... understandable

Californians have had many many chances to get their spending under control, but they always refuse.

Not to say Enron didn't contribute to your energy shortage a few years back -- but if you were honest some of the problem was you guys building fully air conditioned McMansions and brightly lighting the entire landscaping each night.

You built your McMansions in state, but your "environmental conscious" didn't want the power plants to be in state -- so you relied on power imported from Canada or Washington (state) to make your "environmentally" sound lifestyle possible. Power plants out of sight, out of mind

Your absurd lifestyle also relies on getting infinite amounts of money from outside as well to make your "government" possible -- just another example of Californians living in la-la land

California's economy isn't really the 10th biggest in the world -- its just a parasitic state. The world envies California's lifestyle, especially after seeing Baywatch... but your economy is about as real as Pam Anderson's boobs

Professional Gringo said...

Oooooo blogfight!

Avast Ye all, California is an example of American Liberalism (Leftism for you Euro Metrosexuals)at a crossroads. Either way they go they're screwed and it's a lot of fun to watch. Unfortunately they'll probably take the state down with them.

But the voters take the ultimate responsibility. There are more than 5000 state employees making six figure retirement sums and the number is growing.


wcw said...

Greg, what markets do you trade?

PG, democracy is that fine institution in which we voters get the government we deserve. I was too young to vote against Prop 13, mind you, but I'm sure I was culpable somehow.

Macro Man said...

Now, now gentlemen....let's not turn this into a Yahoo message board-style slanging match (albeit with the use of actual multisyllabic words) or, if you will, a resuscitation of the old East Coast/West Coast rap rivalry....

Anonymous said...

US sells CA to China - the "California Purchase" - a convenient macro solution to several global imbalances.