by ilene - February 24th, 2011 11:29 pm
Courtesy of The Daily Bail
Video – Max Keiser & Stacy Herbert
At issue is Tim Geithner’s criminal behavior in orchestrating the AIG bailout to favor Goldman Sachs through counterparty payouts at par, and then the massive cover-up.
- How Goldman Sachs Created ‘Shitty’ CDOs, Sold Them To AIG, Forced AIG Into Bankruptcy, Got A $20 Billion Bailout, Paid Themselves Billions In Bonuses, And Watched As Tim Geithner Covered It All Up
- Who Is Dan Jester And Why Did Tim Geithner Call Him 103 Times During The Financial Meltdown Of 2008?
- How Paulson Appointees & Former GS Employees Dan Jester & Ed Liddy Colluded To Destroy AIG And Secure A Secret Bailout For Goldman Sachs
by ilene - October 17th, 2010 5:48 pm
Courtesy of Yves Smith
A couple of articles in the Wall Street Journal, reporting on a conference at the Boston Fed, indicates that some people at the Fed may recognize that the central bank has boxed itself in more than a tad.
The first is on the question of whether the Fed is in a liquidity trap. A lot of people, based on the experience of Japan, argued that resolving and restructuring bad loans was a necessary to avoid a protracted economic malaise after a severe financial crisis. But the Fed has consistently clung to the myth that the financial meltdown of 2007-2008 was a liquidity, not a solvency crisis. So rather than throw its weight behind real financial reform and cleaning up bank balance sheets (which would require admitting the obvious, that its policies prior to the crisis were badly flawed), it instead has treated liquidity as the solution to any and every problem.
Some commentators were concerned when the Fed lowered policy rates below 2%, but there we so many other experiments implemented during the acute phases that this particular shift has been pretty much overlooked. But overly low rates leaves the Fed nowhere to go if demand continues to be slack, as it is now.
Note that the remarks by Chicago Fed president John Evans still hew to conventional forms: the Fed needs to create inflation expectations, and needs to be prepared to overshoot.
This seems to ignore some pretty basic considerations. First, the US is suffering from a great deal of unemployment and excess productive capacity. The idea that inflation fears are going to lead to a resumption of spending (ie anticipatory spending because the value of money will fall in the future) isn’t terribly convincing. Labor didn’t have much bargaining power before the crisis, and it has much less now. Some might content the Fed is already doing a more than adequate job of feeding commodities inflation (although record wheat prices are driven by largely by fundamentals).
From the Wall Street Journal, “Fed’s Evans: U.S. in ‘Bona Fide Liquidity Trap’”:
The Federal Reserve may have to let inflation overshoot levels consistent with price stability as part of a broader attempt to help stimulate the economy, a U.S. central bank official said Saturday.
“The U.S. economy is best described as being in a bona
by ilene - September 9th, 2010 10:47 am
Courtesy of smartknowledgeu
I’m not in the habit of promoting films, but if the above documentary, an investigation of the root causes of the 2008 global financial meltdown, is anything like the director’s documentary on the Iraqi war, "No End in Sight", not only are we in for a relentless presentation of propaganda busting facts and an endless calling out of financial shills from Wall Street firms, but we will also be presented with a very sober reminder that our current administration, like the Dubya, Clinton, and Bush Sr. administrations that preceded it, has failed to address or fix in any substantive manner any of the root problems that created our first financial meltdown. Thus, get ready your popcorn ready for a front row seat to financial meltdown, part deuce, coming to your in-home theater in 2011.
by ilene - April 19th, 2010 12:00 pm
Call to break up the big banks – more to follow. – Ilene
Courtesy of Simon Johnson, co-author of 13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown, at Baseline Scenario
On a short-term tactical basis, Goldman Sachs clearly has little to fear. It has relatively deep pockets and will fight the securities “Fab” allegations tooth and nail; resolving that case, through all the appeals stages, will take many years. Friday’s announcement had a significant negative impact on the market perception of Goldman’s franchise value – partly because what they are accused of doing to unsuspecting customers is so disgusting. But, as a Bank of America analyst (Guy Mozkowski) points out this morning, the dollar amount of this specific allegation is small relative to Goldman’s overall business and – frankly – Goldman’s market position is so strong that most customers feel a lack of plausible alternatives.
The main action, obviously, is in the potential widening of the investigation (good articles in the WSJ today, but behind their paywall). This is likely to include more Goldman deals as well as other major banks, most of which are generally presumed to have engaged in at least roughly parallel activities – although the precise degree of nondisclosure for adverse material information presumably varied. Two congressmen have reasonably already drawn the link to the AIG bailout (how much of that was made necessary by fundamentally fraudulent transactions?), Gordon Brown is piling on (a regulatory sheep trying to squeeze into wolf’s clothing for election day on May 6), and the German government would dearly love to blame the governance problems in its own banks (e.g., IKB) on someone else.
But as the White House surveys the battlefield this morning and considers how best to press home the advantage, one major fact dominates. Any pursuit of Goldman and others through our legal system increases uncertainty and could even cause a political…
by ilene - October 29th, 2009 10:36 am
So we get the prize for extreme income inequality. The failure of our government – many people, over many years - to prevent the disaster is bad enough. Now the non-effort to correct the factors leading up to the financial meltdown supports the view that there are few people in government who have any desire to do so. Because, it’s simple, people do what they want to do. – Ilene
Evidence that the US is a failed state is piling up faster than I can record it.
One conclusive hallmark of a failed state is that the crooks are inside the government, using government to protect and to advance their private interests.
Another conclusive hallmark is rising income inequality as the insiders manipulate economic policy for their enrichment at the expense of everyone else.
Income inequality in the US is now the most extreme of all countries. The 2008 OECD report, “Income Distribution and Poverty in OECD Countries,” concludes that the US is the country with the highest inequality and poverty rate across the OECD and that since 2000 nowhere has there been such a stark rise in income inequality as in the US. The OECD finds that in the US the distribution of wealth is even more unequal than the distribution of income.
On October 21, 2009, Business Week highlighted a new report from the United Nations Development Program concluded that the US ranked third among states with the worst income inequality. As number one and number two, Hong Kong and Singapore, are both essentially city states, not countries, the US actually has the shame of being the country with the most inequality in the distribution of income.
The stark increase in US income inequality in the 21st century coincides with the offshoring of US jobs, which enriched executives with “performance bonuses” while impoverishing the middle class, and with the rapid rise of unregulated OTC derivatives, which enriched Wall Street and the financial sector at the expense of everyone else.
Millions of Americans have lost their homes and half of their retirement savings while being loaded up with government debt to bail out the banksters who created the derivative crisis.
by ilene - September 11th, 2009 8:21 pm
Courtesy of Charles Hugh Smith, Of Two Minds
The conventional wisdom is that the current financial meltdown resulted from the failure of "capitalism" (As if crony/State capitalism was ever anything but a simulacrum of free market enterprise.)
But perhaps the current slow-moving collapse is merely the final failure of the Grand Experiment: that central banks can manipulate the economy to some steady-state "growth" without end.
It is an irony, to be sure, that the emergence of central banks in the early years of the 20th century was in reaction to short-lived but scary financial seizures like the 1907 Panic. The irony is that such panics were sharp but also short-lived. Now that the central banks have spent decades manipulating the economies of the world with mad "behind the scenes" pulling of monetary and fiscal levers, downturns are not getting shorter but longer, and not getting shallower but deeper.
I think the following charts make a good case that the Grand Experiment was ontologically doomed to fail. I would argue that policy is not a feedback loop like the market; you cannot eliminate feedback from the real world and substitute manipulation in its stead. This is akin to enforcing the "policy" that relieving the patients’ symptoms is equivalent to restoring their health.
Relieving symptoms is not equivalent to being healthy, as these charts suggest.
Courtesy of my astute colleague Karl Denninger at Market Ticker:
It is not coincidence that the deep recessions of 1974-75 and 1981-83 were followed by a rise in debt. Look at the first chart and then the second one. Note the ramp-up of debt after the Federal Reserve realized that its usual levers of monetary "loosening" were ineffectual.
Their "solution" was to create credit--lots of it. the credit machine started gaining speed and finally achieved lift-off when Greenspan countered the modest 2001 recession with a full-blown explosion of low-interest-rate credit expansion.
Predictably, this explosion of debt triggered an asset bubble in a variety of asset classes, most notably real estate. The results are visible here: