SIGTARP Calls Out Tim Geithner On Various Violations Including Data Manipulation, Lack Of Transparency, “Cruel” Cynicism, And Gross Incompetence
by ilene - October 26th, 2010 1:53 am
SIGTARP Calls Out Tim Geithner On Various Violations Including Data Manipulation, Lack Of Transparency, "Cruel" Cynicism, And Gross Incompetence
Courtesy of Tyler Durden
SigTarp Neil Barofsky has just released the most scathing critique of all the idiots in the administration, with a particular soft spot for Tim Geithner.
On the failure of TARP to increase lending:
As these quarterly reports to congress have well chronicled and as Treasury itself recently conceded in its acknowledgement that "banks continue to report falling loan balances," TARP has failed to "increase lending" with small businesses in particular unable to secured badly needed credit. Indeed, even now, overall lending continues to contract, despite the hundreds of billions of TARP dollars provided to banks with the express purpose to increase lending.
On TARP’s sole success of boosting Wall Street bonuses:
While large bonuses are returning to Wall Street, the nation’s poverty rate increased from 13.2% in 2008 to 14.3% in 2009, and for far too many, the recession has ended in name only.
On TARP’s failure in general:
Finally, the most specific of TARP’s Main Street goals, "preserving homeownership" has so far fallen woefully short, with TARP’s portion of the Administration’s mortgage modification program yielding only approximately 207,000 ongoing permanent modifications since TARP’s inception, a number that stands in stark contrast to the 5.5 million homes receiving foreclosure filings and more than 1.7 million homes that have been lost to foreclosure since January 2009.
On the Treasury’s scam in minimizing publicized AIG losses, and on Geithner as a Wall Street puppet whose actions are increasingly destroying public faith in the government:
While SIGTARP offers no opinion on the appropriateness or accuracy of the valuation contained in the Retrospective, we believe that the Retrospective fails to meet basic transparency standards by failing to disclose: (1) that the new lower estimate followed a change in the methodology that Treasury previously used to calculate expected losses on its AIG investment; and (2) that Treasury would be required by its auditors to use the older, and presumably less favorable, methodology in the official audited financials statements. To avoid potential confusion, Treasury should have disclosed that it had changed its valuation methodology and should have published a side-by-side comparison of its new numbers with what the projected losses would be under the auditor-approved methodology that Treasury had used previously and will
by ilene - October 5th, 2010 3:52 pm
Courtesy of Zero Hedge
Some rather scary predictions out of Paul Farrell today: "It’s inevitable: Wall Street banks control the Federal Reserve system, it’s their personal piggy bank. They’ve already done so much damage, yet have more control than ever.Warning: That’s a set-up. They will eventually destroy capitalism, democracy, and the dollar’s global reserve-currency status. They will self-destruct before 2035 … maybe as early as 2012 … most likely by 2020. Last week we cheered the Tea Party for starting the countdown to the Second American Revolution. Our timeline is crucial to understanding the historic implications of Taleb’s prediction that the Fed is dying, that it’s only a matter of time before a revolution triggers class warfare forcing America to dump capitalism, eliminate our corrupt system of lobbying, come up with a new workable form of government, and create a new economy without a banking system ruled by Wall Street." And just like in the Hangover, where the guy is funny because he’s fat, Farrell is scary cause he is spot on correct.
Handily, Farrell provides a projected timeline of events:
Stage 1: The Democrats just put the nail in their coffin confirming they’re wimps when they refused to force the GOP to filibuster Bush tax cuts for billionaires.
Stage 2: In the elections the GOP takes over the House, expanding its strategic war to destroy Obama with its policy of “complete gridlock” and “shutting down government.”
Stage 3: Post-election Obama goes lame-duck, buried in subpoenas and vetoes.
Stage 4: In 2012, the GOP wins back the White House and Senate. Health care returns to insurers. Free-market financial deregulation returns. Lobbyists intensify their anarchy.
Stage 5: Before the end of the second term of the new GOP president, Washington is totally corrupted by unlimited, anonymous donations from billionaires and lobbyists. Wall Street’s Happy Conspiracy triggers the third catastrophic meltdown of the 21st century that Robert Shiller of “Irrational Exuberance” fame predicts, resulting in defaults of dollar-denominated debt and the dollar’s demise as the world’s reserve currency.
Stage 6: The Second American Revolution explodes into a brutal full-scale class war with the middle class leading a widespread rebellion against the out-of-touch, out-of-control Happy Conspiracy sabotaging America from within.
Stage 7: The domestic class warfare is exaggerated as the Pentagon’s global warnings play out: That by 2020
by Chart School - April 15th, 2010 3:53 pm
Courtesy of Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker
In essence, White was saying: "it’s the debt, stupid." When aggregate debt levels build up across business cycles, economists focused on managingwithin business cycles miss the key ingredient that leads to systemic crisis. It should be expected that politicians or private sector participants worried about the day-to-day exhibit short-termism. But White says it is particularly troubling that economists and their models exhibit the same tendency because it means there is no long-term oriented systemic counterweight guiding the economy.
This short-termism that White refers to is what I call the asset-based economic model. And, quite frankly, it works – especially when interest rates are declining as they have over the past quarter century. The problem, however, is that you reach a critical state when the accumulation of debt and the misallocation of resources is so large that the same old policies just don’t work anymore. And that’s when the next crisis occurs.
It seems that Mr. [Edward] Harrison has it figured out. He goes on to spend a lot of digital ink on the periphery of the bottom line, which is that we continue to think of debt in terms of service costs (indeed, you’ll hear Bernanke talk about it, but never about the actual gross financial system debt outstanding.)
When you boil all this down, however, you get to the following chart (trendline added by moi):
You can see what’s going on here – each "crisis" leads to lower lows and lower highs.
This presents two problems:
Lower lows have run into the zero boundary. That wasn’t sufficient this time, which of course is why we got "Quantitative Easing" and other similar abortions intended to distort market rates – like guarantees on bank debt, for example. Ultimately this devolves into The Fed or The Government (as if there’s a real difference) guaranteeing everything to prevent spreads from blowing out.
Far more sinister, however, is what happens to the top line. The top line – that is, the maximum rate between crises, declines because it becomes impossible to normalize rates - nobody can afford to pay "normal" rates with the amount of leverage they have.
by ilene - February 15th, 2010 11:10 am
Here’s the full article by Simon Johnson that Joe at Business Insider referred to in the last post. One of the most outrageous aspects of the financial crisis fall-out is that we let this behavior go on and on after it became apparent, even to outsiders, that conflicts of interest, unethical activity, and perhaps out-and-out fraud, were the rules in government-financial sector marriages, no matter what the official explanations. - Ilene
Courtesy of Simon Johnson at Baseline Scenario
At 9:30 pm on Sunday, September 21, 2008, Goldman Sachs was saved from imminent collapse by the announcement that the Federal Reserve would allow it to become a bank holding company – implying unfettered access to borrowing from the Fed and other forms of implicit government support, all of which subsequently proved most beneficial. Officials allowed Goldman to make such an unprecedented conversion in the name of global financial stability. (The blow-by-blow account is in Andrew Ross Sorkin’s Too Big To Fail; this is confirmed in all substantial detail by Hank Paulson’s memoir.)
We now learn – from Der Spiegel last week and today’s NYT – that Goldman Sachs has not only helped or encouraged some European governments to hide a large part of their debts, but it also endeavored to do so for Greece as recently as last November. These actions are fundamentally destabilizing to the global financial system, as they undermine: the eurozone area; all attempts to bring greater transparency to government accounting; and the most basic principles that underlie well-functioning markets. When the data are all lies, the outcomes are all bad – see the subprime mortgage crisis for further detail.
A single rogue trader can bring down a bank – remember the case of Barings. But a single rogue bank can bring down the world’s financial system.
Goldman will dismiss this as “business as usual” and, to be sure, a few phone calls around Washington will help ensure that Goldman’s primary supervisor – now the Fed – looks the other way.
But the affair is now out of Ben Bernanke’s hands, and quite far from people who are easily swayed by the White House. It goes immediately to the European Commission, which has jurisdiction over eurozone budget issues. Faced with enormous pressure from those eurozone countries now on the hook for saving Greece, the Commission will surely launch a…
by ilene - January 3rd, 2010 3:52 am
Courtesy of Mike Whitney writing at Global Research
Is the Fed manipulating the stock market? TrimTabs CEO Charles Biderman seems to think so, and he makes a strong case for his theory in an article at zerohedge.com.
Biderman focuses his attention on the mystery surrounding the stock market’s 9-month rally and asks, "Where is the money coming from?" After all, the market cap has increased by more than $6 trillion since March 9. That amount of money should be fairly easy to trace; right?
Biderman: "The most positive economic development in 2009 was the stock market rally. (But) We cannot identify the source of the new money that pushed stock prices up so far so fast. For the most part, the money did not from the traditional players that provided money in the past."
Huh? So, this vast infusion of liquidity--which helped the banks to avoid painful deleveraging--did not come from the usual suspects?
That’s right. According to Biderman, the money did not come from (a) companies ("which were a huge net seller") (b) retail investor funds, (c) retail investors, (d) foreign investors, or (e) pension funds.
What about the hedge funds?
Biderman: "We have no way to track in real time what hedge funds do, and they may well have shifted some assets into U.S. equities. But we doubt their buying power was enormous because they posted an outflow of $12 billion from April through November."
Okay; so we’re back to Square One. Where did the money come from?
Biderman again: "As far as we know, it is not illegal for the Federal Reserve or the U.S. Treasury to buy S&P 500 futures. Moreover, several officials have suggested the government should support stock prices. For example, former Fed board member Robert Heller opined in the Wall Street Journal in 1989, “Instead of flooding the entire economy with liquidity, and thereby increasing the danger of inflation, the Fed could support the stock market directly by buying market averages in the futures market, thereby stabilizing the market as a whole.” In a Financial Times article in 2002, an unidentified Fed official was quoted as acknowledging that policymakers had considered buying U.S. equities directly, not just futures. The official mentioned that the Fed could “theoretically buy anything to pump money into the system.”
by ilene - December 8th, 2009 12:30 pm
Courtesy of Jesse’s Café Américain
"Mr Kashkari admitted that he plucked “a number out of the air” when deciding with Mr Paulson how much funding to request from Congress for the Tarp."
A telling memoir of the financial crisis by neo-mountain man Neel Kashkari, soon to be maven of what he hath wrought at bond insiders firm Pimco.
They not only did not know then, as should have been painfully obvious to anyone who looked at the ten page request for $700 billion or else, but they also do not know now. When you do not have the facts to support your case, employ fear, uncertainty and doubt (aka FUD factor).
There is an all too human tendency to give credit to planning and forethought to experts, particularly those in key positions, in both government and corporate life.
One of the most surprising things I learned as a young man working his way from the hinterlands of a multi-national behemoth into the lofty towers of headquarters is that quite simply, they do not know. They are too often just frightened people making it up as they go along. Decision making too often comes down to verbal acuity, cults of personality, tides of emotion, and totemistic tribalism.
And the scary part of course is that the same can be said of the Bernanke’s Gamble today. They just do not know, but can only hope for the best, and make corrections as they go along. Ben is just doing what worked last time, with a modification for what has been perceived as the ‘one big error’ the Fed made in the Great Depression.
It is, after all, the best that can be done with what is hardly a science, more akin to medieval medicine than geometry. But these modern day monetary witchdoctors are wielding enormous power over the people and the nations of the world, and they are most likely making it up as they go along, with all the avenues of corruption and self-interest that this implies.
Then as now, the world is giving ‘the experts’ far too much credit for knowledge and forethought, and most sadly, wisdom.
In February 2008, Mr Kashkari was charged with drafting an emergency plan in case the credit crunch became a full-blown financial crisis. By October
by ilene - November 22nd, 2009 1:55 pm
According to SIGTARP1, both the Federal Reserve and Treasury agreed that an AIG failure posed unacceptable risk to the global financial system and the U.S. economy. On March 24, 2009, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke testified before the House Financial Services Committee [P.9]:
[C]onceivably, its failure could have resulted in a 1930’s-style global financial and economic meltdown, with catastrophic implication[s].
From July 2007, AIG’s financial situation deteriorated while so-called “AAA” collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) dropped in value. AIG sold credit default swaps (CDSs) on these CDOs and had to post more collateral, as the prices plummeted.
Goldman Sachs was AIGFP’s (UK-based AIG Financial Products) largest CDS counterparty with around $22.1 billion, or about one-third of the problematic trades. Goldman underwrote some of the CDOs underlying its own CDSs, and also underwrote a large portion of the CDOs against which French banks SocGen, Calyon, Bank of Montreal, and Wachovia bought CDS protection. Goldman provided pricing on these CDOs to SocGen and Calyon. Goldman was a key contributor to AIG’s liquidity strain and the resulting systemic risk. (See “Goldman’s Undisclosed Role in AIG’s Distress”)
By mid September 2008, AIG’s long-term credit rating was downgraded, its stock price plummeted, and AIG couldn’t meet its borrowing needs in the short-term credit markets. According to SIGTARP, “without outside intervention, the company faced bankruptcy, as it simply did not have the cash that was required to provide to AIGFP’s counterparties as collateral.” [P.9] The Federal Reserve Board with Treasury’s encouragement authorized a bailout. 2
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) extended an $85 billion revolving credit facility, so AIG could make its collateral payments to Goldman and some of its CDO buyers. AIG also met other obligations, such as payments under its securities lending programs owed to Goldman and some of its CDO buyers. (See also: “AIG Discloses Counterparties to CDS, GIA, and Securities Lending Transactions.”)
Goldman “Would Have Realized a Loss”
Fed Chairman Bernanke said AIG’s crisis put the world at risk for a global financial meltdown. Goldman purchased little credit default protection3 against an AIG collapse. Even if Goldman escaped a collateral clawback of the billions it held from AIG4, the
by ilene - October 8th, 2009 12:48 pm
Courtesy of Edward Harrison at Credit Writedowns
Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke told us when the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) was launched that they were not concerned about the health of our banking system. In fact, this was not the case. They were concerned about specific institutions and the overall health of the system. The U.S. financial system was much weaker than we were led to believe as I indicated at the time.
Now the TARP Special Inspector Neil Barofsky is telling the American people what many of us knew all along. Listen to what he says in the video below with MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan. His contention that these false premises undermined the credibility of TARP and subsequent government economic policy rings true. Even today, we don’t know what the banks are doing with their TARP funds. If they are loaning it out, why is the unemployment rate 9.8%?
By the way, I love D-Rat. This is a guy who likes to talk – god bless him. Sometimes he goes on way too much, but I like his approach.
by ilene - October 6th, 2009 6:53 pm
Courtesy of Damien Hoffman of Wall St. Cheat Sheet
If you or anyone you know still believes the government (or the media) tell us only the truth, please pass them this direct admission that lying is a primary strategic device for so-called “authority figures”:
Translation: when our elected representatives and their appointed officials believe we need to be manipulated, they rationalize their lies based on whether they think we need them at the time.
I am not naive. I firmly believe we have a problem with ignorance and sheeple in our country. However, the only way to fix the problem is to distribute more accurate information — not the opposite. Further, for those of us who work hard to stay educated, we expect to be treated like adults!
In this specific case, the Treasury Department’s lies (via Hank Paulson) encouraged people to hold their investments. Therefore, if you listened to Paulson et al, you literally lost your hard earned money and life savings. Last time I checked, citizens should not expect to get fiscally hosed by their Treasury Secretary.
To be fair, this is not only a Wall Street and Washington problem. Seemingly, most public discourse these days centers around complete lies, myths, and other rhetorical strategies aiming to put insular interests ahead of what’s best for the nation. It’s time to demand at least our public stewards accurately explain the true state of affairs so we can make informed decisions.
by ilene - September 4th, 2009 1:10 pm
True, 2009′s not over but Trader Mark is pretty confident his top pick won’t be outdone.
Courtesy of Trader Mark at Fund My Mutual Fund
Every year we try to find a quote of the year – frankly with the way the world has been going picking one each year is impossible. And it is hard to pick between people saying incredulous things because they actually believe it or quotes based in fact but completely amazing in their utterance.
In 2007, there were a few great candidates in retrospect – Hank Paulson saying
I don’t see (subprime mortgage market troubles) imposing a serious problem. I think it’s going to be largely contained.
probably is the most infamous.
I don’t have a great memory for these type of things like those who can pull out movie quotes from a movie seen 5 years ago, but in the past few weeks we were reminded of Ben Bernanke’s famous utterance at Jackson Hole Wyoming in late summer 2007
it is not the responsibility of the Federal Reserve - nor would it be appropriate – to protect lenders and investors from the consequences of their financial decisions
I know! Knee slapping humor! Can you believe people take this guy at his word? haha
I personally loved this one because the pure arrogance of the Anglo Saxon model is exposed – because only if you let bankers run wild, will they bring you innovations that create “prosperity for all. (translated: prosperity for them) If you somehow limit their compensation or actions, they will move to a country that will not! And then your economy will suffer the consequences of their moving. Just imagine how thankful Americans would be (and less debt our grandchildren would have) if the the small sliver of financial innovators had fled the country in 2004 due to “unfair” wage schemes they were not allowed to have according to the “free market” (free market defined as London and New York) My gosh they might have had to destroy Dubai instead of us.
Emerging markets are being favored in part because “financial innovations are less common in developing countries,” said Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, German economics