by ilene - September 22nd, 2010 3:51 pm
Brief review of why it’s about time Summers says goodbye. – Ilene
Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist
It’s no secret that the economic recovery in the United States has been meager at best (and that’s assuming you believe this is not just one ongoing recession). While there is plenty of blame to go around for our current plight the buck ultimately stops with the most influential people in this
I’ve been highly critical of Obama’s economic team over the years because many of them were key players in helping cause the financial crisis. Tim Geithner was the head of the NY Fed when the banks were busy turning themselves into casinos. Ben Bernanke (who Obama should have never reconfirmed) failed to even acknowledge the potential existence of problems in the U.S. economy leading up to the financial crisis and then implemented his great monetarist gaffe which has now been proven to be what I called it from the very beginning – a bailout of Wall Street and a slap in the face for Main Street. He receives endless praise for helping to avoid a supposed second Great Depression. This is like the man who sees a fire in his front yard, ignores it, then when it’s finally becoming a widespread danger decides to save his own house from burning (the banks), lets all of the surroundings houses burn to the ground (Main Street) and then receives endless praise for his courage under fire.
But there have been few people in power over the last 25 years that have been more misguided and downright destructive than Larry Summers. This is a man who believes that women are intellectually inferior (I’ll tell you one thing – this economy wouldn’t be such a mess if it wasn’t run primarily by arrogant, narcissistic males) and has done more to help
by ilene - May 27th, 2010 1:38 pm
The M3 money supply in the United States is contracting at an accelerating rate that now matches the average decline seen from 1929 to 1933, despite near zero interest rates and the biggest fiscal blitz in history.
The M3 figures – which include broad range of bank accounts and are tracked by British and European monetarists for warning signals about the direction of the US economy a year or so in advance – began shrinking last summer. The pace has since quickened.
The stock of money fell from $14.2 trillion to $13.9 trillion in the three months to April, amounting to an annual rate of contraction of 9.6pc. The assets of insitutional money market funds fell at a 37pc rate, the sharpest drop ever.
"It’s frightening," said Professor Tim Congdon from International Monetary Research. "The plunge in M3 has no precedent since the Great Depression. The dominant reason for this is that regulators across the world are pressing banks to raise capital asset ratios and to shrink their risk assets. This is why the US is not recovering properly," he said.
The US authorities have an entirely different explanation for the failure of stimulus measures to gain full traction. They are opting instead for yet further doses of Keynesian spending, despite warnings from the IMF that the gross public debt of the US will reach 97pc of GDP next year and 110pc by 2015.
Larry Summers, President Barack Obama’s top economic adviser, has asked Congress to "grit its teeth" and approve a fresh fiscal boost of $200bn to keep growth on track. "We are nearly 8m jobs short of normal employment. For millions of Americans the economic emergency grinds on," he said.
Jr. Deputy Accountant notes:
nope, you’re not getting a check this time either…
Remember standing by the mailbox waiting for Bushy Jr’s stimulus? So let’s keep that in perspective when discussing an additional stimulus measure – proposed by cheeseburger addict and serial maniac Larry Summers. Don’t credit Obama with making this statement, he was busy here in my home base of San Francisco this week trying to whore himself out for the sake of Barbara Boxer’s reelection campaign. Sexy.
by ilene - May 18th, 2010 7:50 pm
Droppen Sie Dead? I think that means drop dead.
Courtesy of JESSE’S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN
There is much surprise that the German government has declared a ban on naked short selling, including CDS, as of midnight tonight, with no prior notice or the niceties demanded by the banks when government chooses to act. This action seems to have perturbed some and confused many.
The reason for this may be quite simple.
After tonight, when hedge funds and the NY and London Banks call upon German financial firms and European governments to make payments on Credit Default Swaps or other financial instruments that are subject to the ban, the Germans will have a great big hammer in hand to help them to negotiate the terms.
Since the CDS will be deemed to be no longer legal, the option to default on them with the backing of the government may be an option. This seems quite similar to the stance that the Chinese government took on behalf of some Chinese firms that were caught on the wrong side of energy derivatives.
I have heard that there was a general disappointment in Europe and in parts of Asia at the lack of progress being made in the US Congress towards creating meaningful reforms in their financial system. In fact, there is a widespread belief that Washington is being dictated to by the Banks, and that their lobbyists are directing the conversation, and in many cases writing the actual legislation. The final straw was when the Obama Administration itself sought to water down and block key provisions of the legislation to limit the power and size of the Banks.
"To some degree this is a battle between the politicians and the markets," she said in a speech in Berlin. "But I am firmly resolved — and I think all of my colleagues are too — to win this battle….The fact that hedge funds are not regulated is a scandal," she said, adding that Britain had blocked previous efforts to do this. "However, this will certainly have taken place in Europe in three weeks," she said, without giving more details." Reuters, 6 May 2010
"German Chancellor Angela Merkel accused the financial industry of playing dirty. ‘First the banks failed, forcing states to
by ilene - April 23rd, 2010 11:34 pm
Courtesy of JESSE’S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN
Mr. Obama’s speech at the Cooper Union today was remarkably unsatisfying. It seemed to be given from weakness, and almost obsequious as the American President politely asked his largest campaign contributors to please stop flouting the law, defrauding the people and their customers, and spending millions per day lobbying the Congress to buy changes in the reform legislation to provide them with the ‘right regulators’ of their choice and convenient loopholes to render it ineffective.
The reform making its way through the Congress is unlikely to be effective given the process in place, despite the political kabuki dancebeing conducted by the Congress and the Banks.
The solution is to put simple and effective regulations in the hand of stronger, independent, ad highly capable regulators to bear on the financial services industry, and to understand that the regulations must evolve with a dynamicly evolving business. The idea that you can erect some impregnable and unchanging Maginot line against bank fraud is laughable, a farce.
As William K. Black disclosed in his testimony the other day, the regulators always had the power to shut down the frauds, and to resolve the financial crisis without having to give away billions. They lacked the will, and the motivation.
You want to wipe that smirk off Lloyd Blankfein’s face? Nominate Eliot Spitzer or Elizabeth Warren to be the head of the SEC, or the CFTC, and provide them with a adequate budget and a staff of financial experts and a few experienced prosectors.
Even with strong regulations, unless you have capable and motivated regulators, there are always ways to evade the rules, especially if they are complex and provide exceptions. The simpler they are, the stronger the regulations will be, provided they are flexible enough to be amended and expanded efficiently to match the changing and dynamic nature of the industry that they are overseeing.
This is not that difficult, and these jokers are not that smart, although part of their con is to paint themselves as the smartest, the best, and practically unstoppable.
The root of the US financial crisis is always and everywhere regulatory capture, political cronyism, and fraud. It really is that simple.
by ilene - March 12th, 2010 3:24 pm
Courtesy of Eric at FALKENBLOG
A bunch of legendary comedians got together to make a sketch, where the punchline is: "establish a Consumer Financial Protection Agency". It’s kinda a funny, but mostly because of the Darrell Hammond’s imitation of Clinton making sexual innuendos, and Fred Armisen’s impersonation of Barack Obama. It seems director Ron Howard was trying to find something to ‘do good’, so he chatted with the earnest and overeducated Elizabeth Warren, and decided consumer financial regulation was the kind of smart idea that would obviously work. After all, who’s against consumer protection?
I am! This is the same government that goaded banks to lower standard to lend more to historically damaged communities, and then when those borrowers defaulted, blamed such lending on the banks. Avoiding the poor is redlining, targeting the poor is predatory, which means, whatever goes wrong can be blamed on the banks. Government always wants to have its cake and eat it too: low taxes & high spending, high growth and union-type work rules, banks lending more today and raising their capital.
The CFPA tries to do what most regulators try to do: improve efficiency, eliminate waste, consolidate regulations,simplify regulations, protect consumers, and protect jobs! It seems banks are greedy and basically uregulated, leading directly to the 2008 housing crisis. There are seven government bodies already regulating banks, highlighting how incredibly naive this proposal is. If there’s a magic bullet for improving efficiency, etc., share it with existing regulators…unless you think that all the regulators have been captured by some interest group, which if true just means we are bringing in one more interest group to advocate why they should get a better deal.
More importantly, if your concern is about the irrational poor people easily duped by huckster bankers, lower prices and penalties on the poor doesn’t help them, it enables them. Life has carrots and sticks, and one definition of a vice is that which generates bad outcomes in the long run. If you are constantly overdrafting your account, don’t have enough money to make a 20% down payment on a property, you need better financial discipline. Helping the poor from being trapped by debt should try to minimize they amount of debt they have, say by increasing rather than lowering prices on credit cards.…
by ilene - December 6th, 2009 2:50 pm
Bo Cutter has presented the best possible defense of Treasury Secretary Geithner.
It is a remarkable defense because it is premised on a scathing indictment of Wall Street, theoclassical economics, modern finance, and the sycophants that the financial community installed as anti-regulators. Indeed, Bo’s account is sometimes particularly credible because it is a confession. Bo was a managing partner of Warburg Pincus, a major global private equity firm and led President Obama’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) transition team. His defense of Geithner provides so rich a vein of ore that I will mine it in three installments: (1) Bo’s indictment of the finance industry, Greenspan, Geithner, Paulson and Bernanke, (2) the martyrdom of Geithner, and (3) Geithner as Bo’s Last Action Hero.
Bo’s explanation of Geithner’s unique virtues begins the indictment.
It comes down to this: the combination of brains, guts, calmness, and a willingness to act are virtually non-existent in Washington in any era, but particularly in this one. When you find the combination in a significant cabinet level job, you should value it.
[T]his crisis was long in coming and it was a totally integrated failure of intellectual traditions, global macro-economic imbalances, government policy making, regulatory supervision, financial sector greed, incomprehensible boards of directors, absences without leave, and breath-taking management short-sightedness. No one and no institution put together an understanding of the set of factors that triggered this particular debacle. Tim [Geithner] is included in this “no one”, but so is everyone else.
I think the last two years have revealed the single largest failure of senior management in the financial sector, and of the board system in American history. I think I am correct in saying that there was not a single independent director in America who stood up on this issue. I do not understand why every board of every institution that failed was not asked to resign immediately.
Bo’s indictment is compelling, but his logic proves a deeper failure. There is no reason to restrict his indictment to “the last two years.” The senior managers’ and directors’ failure did not begin with the recession.…