Housing prices down

From what I can see, the financial markets and policymakers appear to be in denial of the severe problems that a decline in housing prices can pose.

Michael Connolly at the Wall Street Journal writes in an e-mail bulletin:

The U.S. Federal Reserve historically has had two major economic functions: maintaining financial stability is one; controlling inflation while preventing recession is the other. To Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Fed from 1987 to 2006, market confidence was so intertwined with economic prospects that the two were often inseparable.

When Ben Bernanke was nominated to head the U.S. Federal Reserve in 2005, he promised to “maintain continuity with the policies and policy strategies established during the Greenspan years.” But, as Greg Ip reports, in handling his first financial crisis, Mr. Bernanke shows signs of a clear break with Mr. Greenspan. Mr. Bernanke distinguishes between the two functions.

That shift is important to understanding why Mr. Bernanke hasn’t cut the Fed’s main interest rate, and it could alter investor perceptions of the way theBernanke Fed will function. But if Mr. Bernanke eventually cuts the federal-funds rate, as markets anticipate, the contrast with Mr. Greenspan will fade and some may criticize Mr. Bernanke for moving slowly. Mr. Bernanke will elaborate on the outlook Friday at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

But inflation, to what little extent it exists in the present economy, can be attributed not to financing rates or even economists’ favorite scapegoat, labor costs, but energy costs, which affect transportation costs for everything else, including labor. Nearly a year ago, when an “impending US-led economic slowdown” was feared, oil prices also dropped. Gasoline prices “recovered” from that drop, as they apparently are again, but are now, in most places around the United States, lower than they were a year ago.

Katherine Conrad at the San Jose Mercury-News writes:

The stock market rallied today, with the Dow Jones industrial average gaining almost 250 points, as investors searched for bargains after Tuesday’s tumble.

Emboldened by the expectation that the Fed will cut interest rates on or before Sept. 18, buyers were also heartened by strong signs from oil and tech companies. The Associated Press calculated that the Dow rose 247.44, or 1.90 percent, to 13,293.44, near its highs of the session.

The Dow fell 280 points Tuesday.

Still, the housing sector remains weak. AP reported that mortgage-application volume, refinance volume and purchase volume all fell about 4 percent during the week ended Aug. 24 compared with the prior week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s weekly application survey.

It is, I guess, old news, now, that weakness in the housing sector undermines the ability of many consumers to finance the spending that has reportedly kept the US economy afloat through two major recessions. If we thus imagine the economy like the old television cartoon, George of the Jungle, swinging from vine to vine–much like many people struggling to get by–with the adage to “Watch out for that tree!” we see the question not so much as a tree obstructing George’s progress, but the absence of a next vine to grasp.

Bush’s Brain deserts the ship

Karl Rove will resign at the end of August, according to the Associated Press.

A criminal investigation put Rove under scrutiny for months during the investigation into the leak of a CIA operative’s name but he was never charged with any crime. In a more recent controversy, Rove, citing executive privilege, has refused to testify before Congress about the firing of U.S. attorneys.

Rove’s departure reinforces Bush’s lame-duck stature and declining influence, particularly with Democrats in control on Capitol Hill.

A report in the Ottawa Citizen highlighted his success in getting Bush elected:

But by 2006, Rove had lost some of his magic.

With Bush’s popularity spiralling downward along with support for the war in Iraq, the Democrats regained control of both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Two domestic agenda items closely tied to Rove also bit the dust — reforming the social security system and revamping the country’s immigration laws.

The Chicago Tribune observed that this was a reversal of fortune from the 2004 election:

That moment, seen at the time by Rove and many other Republicans as the signal of a fundamental realignment in politics, might now be viewed as the peak of the recent conservative era. And a sign that Rove’s increasing role in crafting West Wing policy, not merely politics, helped steer the Bush presidency to its currently troubled state.

An earlier AP story, however, cast Rove’s resignation as “a major loss for Bush as he heads into the twilight of his presidency, battered in the polls, facing a hostile Democratic Congress and waging an unpopular war.”

Dow plunges on subprime fears

Whatever the merits of differing views on the economic fundamentals which underlie the subprime mortgage fiasco, panic can also bring markets down. According to a Boston Globe bulletin, the Dow Jones was down 382.47 points. The newspaper reports that both the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Federal Reserve injected cash into the lending system.

Although the bank’s loan of more than $130 billion in overnight funds to banks at a low rate of 4 percent was intended to calm investors, Wall Street saw it as confirmation of the credit markets’ problems. It was the ECB’s biggest injection ever.

The Federal Reserve added a larger-than-normal $24 billion in temporary reserves to the U.S. banking system.

In case you’ve been oblivious…

Paul Craig Roberts has pointed out that “it is China’s decision whether it calls in the US ambassador, and delivers the message that there will be no attack on Iran or further war unless the US is prepared to buy back $900 billion in US Treasury bonds and other dollar assets.” Roberts argues that only foreigners can finance United States debt; should they cease to do so, or decide to sell off the securities they already hold, the value of the U.S. dollar would drop dramatically, making it impossible for the United States to continue its imperialist (and other) adventures. This would, Roberts argues, also be ruinous for the U.S. economy, as inflation would skyrocket.

At this writing, U.S. national debt stands at nearly $9 trillion. China holds approximately 10% of this debt. Since the United States operates at a deficit, thanks to Republicans who have controlled the US Government since they inherited a surplus from Bill Clinton, the country continuously needs to sell more debt. Should China choose to sell off its holdings, driving down the value of existing debt, the U.S. would have to drastically increase the return, otherwise known as interest, it offers on the new debt it continuously incurs in order to lure buyers; hence Roberts’ claim that “US interest rates depend on China, not on the Federal Reserve.”

China, however, is somewhat trapped. It would lose a considerable amount of money if it suddenly dumped U.S. debt. But, “should the US proceed with sanctions intended to cause the Chinese currency to appreciate, ‘the Chinese central bank will be forced to sell dollars, which might lead to a mass depreciation of the dollar,'” according to “two senior spokesmen for the Chinese government [who] observed that China’s considerable holdings of US dollars and Treasury bonds ‘contributes a great deal to maintaining the position of the dollar as a reserve currency.'”

If the Yuan appreciates significantly, China may lose money on its dollar-denominated assets anyway.

Japan, which also holds a considerable amount of U.S. debt, rejected an Iranian request that it should pay for oil using non-U.S. currencies. While the Financial Times attributes this decision to U.S. pressure, a drop in the value of the U.S. Dollar would also reduce the value of Japan’s own holdings. But Iran isn’t the only one. According to Bloomberg.com, “The dollar, down 9.5 percent against the euro this year, may face more pressure in 2007 because Venezuela and oil producers from the United Arab Emirates to Indonesia plan to funnel more money into the single European currency.”

If the sinking dollar has already become a hot potato, it retains value, according to Roberts, only because:

The precarious position of the US dollar as reserve currency has been thoroughly ignored and denied. The delusion that the US is “the world’s sole superpower,” whose currency is desirable regardless of its excess supply, reflects American hubris, not reality. This hubris is so extreme that only 6 weeks ago McKinsey Global Institute published a study that concluded that even a doubling of the US current account deficit to $1.6 trillion would pose no problem.

Someone once pointed out to me that it is never too early to sell off a losing investment; the only question here is whether Japan and China perceive that it is too late.

Pakistan National Assembly debates US alliance

It is easy to forget now, that in the wake of 9/11, there was some question as to whether Pakistan would support the United States in Bush’s “war on terror.” Despite considerable domestic support for the Taliban and al Qaeda, President General Musharraf ultimately agreed to the alliance, a major coup supporting Bush’s false dichotomy that “you are with us, or you are against us.” Ties are deteriorating.

President Gen Pervez Musharraf on Tuesday expressed disappointment at the recently adopted US legislation making aid to Pakistan conditional, and told the visiting American Senator Richard J. Durbin that it constituted an irritant in the bilateral relations just as the statements from Washington advocating unilateral strike in the country’s tribal region were.

Recent reports circulated within Pakistan explained that government leaders agreed to the alliance for fear that the U.S. would do to Pakistan what it contemplated doing in Afghanistan. There have also been reports that then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair agreed to cooperate with the U.S. for fear that the U.S. would otherwise attack Afghanistan with nuclear weapons.

The war in Afghanistan has not gone well, and there are numerous reports that the Taliban use a broad region including the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan as a refuge. It is also claimed that Osama bin Laden is in hiding in that region. So the U.S. is now threatening to attack Taliban targets within Pakistan, bringing on the very specter that Pakistan’s government sought to avoid in agreeing to the alliance with the U.S. in the first place. Warming U.S. ties with nuclear rival India exacerbate this situation

So it should be little surprise that “several government and opposition members severely criticised the US policy in the National Assembly on Tuesday and called for a complete review and overhaul of Pakistan’s foreign policy, with the parliamentary secretary for defence going one step further, stressing the need for announcing ‘jihad’ against India and the US.”

In their imperial hubris, the Bush administration and some presidential candidates now jeopardize an alliance they desperately need in their war in Afghanistan. Far from Bush’s false dichotomy, Pakistan has numerous options, beginning with a weakening of support for the U.S. that does not require a formal break in the alliance. To successfully prosecute this war, the Bush administration could be compelled to broaden their military effort to include securing the broad NWFP and FATA, further stretching military resources, and thus allowing Pakistan’s leadership an easy way out of the alliance. This move would also bring U.S. forces very near Chinese territory. At this point, Pakistan might find a use for all these jihadis in training at radical madrassahs. The war would then become, as if it weren’t already, unmanageable through conventional means.

This has become a very dangerous situation. With a crescent of countries (not all presently allied) stretching from Syria (allied with Iran) through Iraq (with Shi’ite factions in alliance with Iran) to Iran (not yet allied against the U.S. but certainly the object of U.S. saber-rattling) to Pakistan and Afghanistan now at war with the empire, the U.S. will likely either need to climb down or launch a massive nuclear attack.

Let me give you a clue. Going nuclear will not make the world a safer place. The present strategy, largely relying on a militant refusal to address grievances against the U.S. and Israel, has already made it more dangerous. And a conventional war cannot succeed.

I don’t know if Bush will still be in power as all this comes to pass. But the force with which he addresses this situation will correspond to the humiliation of his defeat and the magnitude of the crimes against humanity for which he and the entire political leadership of the United States must be brought to justice.

The rich get richer (or at least more powerful) anyway?

I saw an item in a Wall Street Journal email news bulletin–you need to subscribe in order to see the full article, and I don’t–that observed:

A credit bust once seen as isolated to a few subprime-mortgage lenders is beginning to propagate across markets and borders in unpredicted ways and degrees. A system designed to distribute and absorb risk might, instead, have bred it, by making it so easy for investors to buy complex securities they didn’t fully understand. And the interconnectedness of markets could mean that a sudden change in sentiment by investors in all sorts of markets could destabilize the financial system and hurt economic growth.

“Hurt economic growth?” The article on Alternet I saw the other day, which forecast a full-blown depression, is still on my mind. This looks like confirmation, to me.

Today, the San Jose Mercury News begins:

Ripples from the subprime mortgage meltdown are spreading, affecting even borrowers with stellar credit and making popular home equity loans tougher to find.

The latest example: A major national lender stopped approving new home equity loans Monday.

More and more lenders are yanking away loan programs and changing borrowing guidelines as they struggle to please bond market investors, who indirectly provide financing for the nation’s mortgages.

Ohio-based National City Mortgage, one of the nation’s top 10 home equity lenders and one that makes loans through many California mortgage brokers, announced Monday it had “suspended approval” of new home equity loans and lines of credit. The move has no effect on current home equity loan customers, a National City spokesman wrote in an e-mail.

But it may derail home buying plans of borrowers who had been relying on a second mortgage from National City to finance their purchase.

“Lenders are just going out left and right, and that’s causing a lot of havoc,” said San Jose loan broker Doug Jones of Mortgage Magic, referring not just to National City’s announcement, but to the dozens of lenders that have shut their doors for good over the past year and a half. The pace has accelerated again recently.

An e-mail news alert from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution leads to this:

HomeBanc Corp., the Atlanta-based lender that has been hit hard by the housing downturn, said Tuesday it is closing its mortgage loan business and selling some of the assets to Countrywide Financial Corp. . . .

Homebanc becomes another domino in a cascade of failures and cutbacks in the teetering mortgage industry. The impact has roiled the economy, upset stock markets and made buying or selling a house a lot harder. . . .

The announcement comes a day after American Home Mortgage, once one of the nation’s biggest lenders, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Also on Monday, two other large mortgage firms in Houston and Cleveland said they were suspending new loan applications.

This, really, is back to the original scenario, that I commented on earlier. Because at the same time Scott Thill worried on Alternet about a widening crisis in financial markets, which he foresaw leading to a great depression, today’s news renews the specter of homeowners being unable to finance consumerism that has helped keep the economy “booming” amid financial uncertainty.

I am not an economist. I took my last economics class, an introductory macroeconomics class, in Fall 1977 at Sacramento City College.

But I don’t think you have to be an economist to see a double-whammy hitting the economy on both the financial and consumer levels. How bad can it be? It looks like even economists are uncertain. That Wall Street Journal bulletin posting I referred to earlier began:

When the Federal Reserve cut interest rates to the lowest level in a generation to stoke the U.S. housing market and avoid a severe downturn in the wake of the tech-stock decline and the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, then-Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan anticipated that making short-term credit so cheap would have unintended consequences. “I don’t know what it is, but we’re doing some damage because this is not the way credit markets should operate,” he and a colleague recall him saying.

Now, as Greg Ip and Jon E. Hilsenrath report, the consequences of moves the Fed and others made are becoming clearer. Low interest rates engineered by central banks and reinforced by a tidal wave of overseas savings boosted home prices and fueled leveraged buyouts. Pension funds and endowments, unhappy with skimpy returns, shoved cash at hedge funds and private-equity firms, which borrowed heavily to make big bets. The instrument of choice: opaque financial instruments that shifted default risk from lenders to global investors.

“Opaque financial instruments?” Scott Thill, again:

“We’ve divorced the system from paper,” explained Overstock.com CEO and hedge fund activist Patrick Byrne to me by phone, “and since then it’s become easier to divorce it from reality. But the problem is that so much has been drained out of the system using these tools that the money is not there. If this gets exposed, the money is not there. It’s been turned into Ferraris and mansions in the Hamptons. It can’t be paid back. The system is going to vapor lock.” . . .

Open up any newspaper to the business section and look for any headlines involving plummeting home sales or declining property values, and you’ll taste the bitter pills, because Bear Stearns is by no means alone. Swiss wealth management powerhouse UBS shuttered its Dillon Read Capital Management hedge fund after losing over $120 million invested in the subprime Kool-Aid. Then there was Amaranth Advisors, which pulled off the biggest hedge fund collapse in history when it blew almost $6 billion of its $9 billion in assets in a mere week after a highly leveraged bet, although it threw its chips down on the price of natural gas

That’s not the housing market, you say? Good point. In fact, the point altogether. . . . Hedge funds spread their bets across the entire economic table, and they are armed with that most virtual of investment strategies.

Martin T. Sosnoff, in a commentary in Forbes, writes:

Shed no tears for the heartburn that’s discomforting banks, brokers, insurance underwriters–anyone connected with buying or selling speculative fixed-income paper. Those who played the yield curve the past few years show burnt fingers now as spreads widened rapidly from below-historic norms of three percentage points to between four and five points even for BB corporate debentures.

Wall Street is in a cement mixer, repricing risk for mortgages, hundreds of billions in bridge loans and collateralized debt. Unfortunately, the stock market is vulnerable. Nobody’s mouthing the “r” word as yet, but some deceleration of gross domestic product momentum is in the cards. The Fed has its eye on mortgage delinquency stats. It wouldn’t surprise me to see them lower Fed funds rates soon to save the housing market from imploding and the economy from recession.

Our present misery dates back to Alan Greenspan’s easy money policy of a few years ago. When the risk-free rate was pegged at 1%, financial market players, starved for higher yields, moved out on the quality spectrum for long maturity goods. Insurance underwriters, brokers, banks and some hedge funds that play the carry trade game have taken hits to their net asset value, but not enough to cripple them permanently.

But Sosnoff, too, compares the situation to the Savings and Loan fiasco of the 1980s:

In the buyout boom of the 1980s, as much as 20% of the market’s appreciation was attributable to deals. Now, there’s a pause in deal mania, until the banks and brokers figure out how to get the bridge loans they had to swallow off their books, repackaging them at higher interest rates. The market is reacting to this turmoil, but it will pass.

There’s always an acceptable clearing price for inventory that’s attractive to richly capitalized new players, individuals and corporations. Mike Milken, where are you?

Milken in the 1980s was working on ways to collateralize debt obligations on everything, to the point where banks’ commercial lending would disappear. Today’s global wealth at an attractive level of return will clear this credit mess.

So I understand this to mean Sosnoff wants to put nearly every borrower on predatory financing at high (some will say usurious) interest rates. This would, at best, delay the day of reckoning. Sosnoff assumes that borrowers at the middle classes and below can afford these rates in the long term. This assumption appears not much different from the assumption behind subprime lending, only on a grander scale, that borrowers would somehow survive to continue to make their payments.

An important difference from the assumption behind subprime lending is that subprime lending made it possible for buyers who otherwise would not be able to obtain financing to buy homes; with a couple years of easy payments under their belts, they expected to refinance on more normal schemes. But Sosnoff apparently would make predatory the norm. If borrowers agree to this, and they may have little choice, the rich will end up owning even more than they already do; it might not be worth much economically, but it would enhance their political power immeasurably.

But Sosnoff may be overoptimistic. He fails to acknowledge that hedge funds are collapsing, not merely losing value, and fails to reckon for the ripple effect that even the Wall Street Journal noted. Sosnoff agrees this is going to hurt, but he thinks the wealthy can afford the losses. And he sounds a note of sympathy for less well-off when he threatens that his “Westchester-Fairfield Dressage Association riders will trash Greenwich, Conn., and all hedge fund plutocrats will be horse-whipped. I advise these money managers to hide in their wine cellars. Their 1982 first growth Bordeaux inventory will be confiscated, earmarked as collateral for families earning under $50,000 with an adjustable-rate mortgage resetting this year.” He’s being facetious of course; he couldn’t make these assumptions unless he were a member of the plutocracy himself.

Iraq doomed

Call it a forecast, not by me, but by Chris Hedges, who seems like he ought to know what he’s talking about, that:

Iraq no longer exists as a unified country. The experiment that was Iraq, the cobbling together of disparate and antagonistic patches of the Ottoman Empire by the victorious powers in the wake of World War I, belongs to the history books. It will never come back. The Kurds have set up a de facto state in the north, the Shiites control most of the south and the center of the country is a battleground. . . .

Saddam Hussein, like the more benign dictator Josip Broz Tito in the former Yugoslavia, understood that the glue that held the country together was the secret police.

Iraq, however, is different from Yugoslavia. Iraq has oil—lots of it. It also has water in a part of the world that is running out of water. And the dismemberment of Iraq will unleash a mad scramble for dwindling resources that will include the involvement of neighboring states. The Kurds, like the Shiites and the Sunnis, know that if they do not get their hands on water resources and oil they cannot survive. But Turkey, Syria and Iran have no intention of allowing the Kurds to create a viable enclave. A functioning Kurdistan in northern Iraq means rebellion by the repressed Kurdish minorities in these countries. The Kurds, orphans of the 20th century who have been repeatedly sold out by every ally they ever had, including the United States, will be crushed. The possibility that Iraq will become a Shiite state, run by clerics allied with Iran, terrifies the Arab world. Turkey, as well as Saudi Arabia, the United States and Israel, would most likely keep the conflict going by arming Sunni militias. This anarchy could end with foreign forces, including Iran and Turkey, carving up the battered carcass of Iraq. No matter what happens, many, many Iraqis are going to die. And it is our fault.

Subprime lending leads to next Great Depression?

The Los Angeles Times carries an article about the “credit crunch,” caused by defaults on subprime mortgages. These are loans that are infeasible to pay off; they were made on an assurance that the “homeowner” would be able to refinance later with more reasonable terms.

But we’ve definitely entered the scary zone of the unknown: How many of your neighbors won’t be able to make their mortgage payments in the next year? How many more hedge funds worldwide will fail because of losses on dicey debt? As those numbers rise, how great is the potential for a domino effect — in other words, “My mortgage borrowers can’t pay me, so I can’t pay you.”

Alternet carried an article that suggests a financial collapse on the order of the Great Depression may be in the offing. It compares the collapse of the subprime lending markets to the junk bond scandals of the 1980s:

While Milken’s house of cards was built on leveraged buyouts (LBOs), where an acquirer issued a bond to pay for an acquisition that he would pay back with funds yet to be earned, the engine that made subprime’s train roll off the tracks are collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), which are intricately structured and packaged strategies pooled together to decrease the risk generated by the fact that they are usually home equity, car and credit loans so poorly rated that they promise only collapse for those who get them and seized assets for those who offer them.

The Alternet article projects consequences beyond the housing sector across the financial system.

The Los Angeles Times writes in reaction to recent drops in the stock market:

[The Federal Reserve] might hint that the markets are overreacting. There are technical reasons to support such a view.

Case in point: Many of the hedge funds and other big investors that bought sub-prime mortgage bonds did so with borrowed money, to juice their returns. Now that the bonds have collapsed in value, the brokerages and banks that lent investors the money are calling in their loans.

That, in turn, is forcing some investors to sell their bonds even though they may believe the prices of the securities are ridiculously low because of the panicked environment.

If these investors could hold on to their bonds, they might be OK. But their lenders aren’t interested in waiting this out with them.

As bonds are dumped at fire-sale prices, the effect is to depress the value of similar securities across the board. More investors find their lenders calling in their credit lines. It’s the most vicious of circles.

The same thing is happening in the stock market. Investors have borrowed record sums against their brokerage accounts over the last year. That “margin debt” at New York Stock Exchange member brokerages hit an all-time high of $378.2 billion in June, up 67% in 12 months, NYSE data show.

As stock prices slide, brokerages demand that margin borrowers put up more collateral to back the loans. The easy way out is to sell securities and pay down the debt. That selling is accounting for some unknown, but no doubt significant, share of what has happened in the stock market the last two weeks.

Excuse me, but exactly what technical reasons are we seeing here for thinking the markets are over-reacting? While I can’t assess the scale, this sounds a lot like the scenario described in my history classes as leading to the Great Depression. It sounds a lot like, as the article puts it, “the most vicious of circles.”

Teaching Public Speaking again this Fall

I have accepted an offer to teach Public Speaking again this Fall. This first experience, this Summer, has been a learning experience for me, particularly in what has troubled many professors I’ve spoken with.

It is said, that at CSU East Bay, students at the freshman level do not engage their professors, that class interaction is virtually nil. It is said they do not attend class. My favorite professor warned that I would be surprised by how many students will be satisfied with a C. In my experience so far, all of these things are true.

I have also observed that there are many students taking course loads I would never contemplate; university has become something to be gotten through as quickly as possible, incurring as little student loan debt as possible, and the general education classes are simply a distraction from the “important” classes in their majors. These are not students who give every class their best effort because they are taking too many classes.

These students have, I believe, apprehended that there is a growing gap between rich and poor, and that there is no hope that they can be on the winning side of that divide without a college degree. They hope the degree will entitle them to a rank above the working class in the corporate hierarchy.

I’m reading Seducing the Demon, a memoir by Erica Jong. In her introduction, she writes:

What use is a writer if she doesn’t rile people up? What use is a teacher if he isn’t made to drink hemlock in the end? In the olden days, they threw writers into oubliettes and eventually condemned them to death. Witches–any woman who questioned the status quo–were burned at the stake.

As I watch my students coming in late, or sometimes not coming in at all, and evading their speeches, I know that this is a class I have not persuaded. It is a class that still devalues a liberal education, an education intended to prepare them for civic engagement. The status quo is, for them, something in which they hope to find a place. It is not something to challenge. At most, there are one or two witches in this class, waiting to burn at the stake. But it is the witch in each of my students I hope to awake, and the witch that deserves an A. And it will be my task to see that they earn those A’s.

I will be teaching section 06, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, from 10:40-11:50. As before, the text will be A Pocket Guide to Public Speaking, by Dan O’Hair, Hannah Rubenstein, and Rob Stewart, the second edition, published in 2007, in Boston, by Bedford/St. Martin’s. I also recommend Concise Rules of APA Style, published in 2005, in Washington, D.C., by the American Psychological Association.