Posts Tagged ‘Treasury officials’

Monday at the Treasury: an overlong exegesis

Monday at the Treasury: an overlong exegesis

Courtesy of Steve Randy Waldman at Interfluidity 

Last Monday, I had the privilege to meet up with a bunch of bloggers and Treasury officials for what might be described as a “rap session”. The meeting was less formal than a previous meeting. There were no presentations, and no obvious agenda. Refugees from the blogosphere included Tyler CowenPhil DavisJohn LounsburyMike KonczalYves SmithAlex Tabarrok, and myself. Our hosts at Treasury were Lewis Alexander, Michael Barr, Timothy Geithner, Matthew Kabaker, Mary John Miller, and Jake Siewart. You will find better write-ups of the affair elsewhere [Konczal, Lounsbury (also here), SmithTabarrok]. Treasury held another meeting, with a different set of bloggers, on Wednesday.

It is bizarro world for me to go to these things. First, let me confess right from the start, I had a great time. I pose as an outsider and a crank. But when summoned to the court, this jester puts on his bells. I am very, very angry at Treasury, and the administration it serves. But put me at a table with smart, articulate people who are willing to argue but who are otherwise pleasant towards me, and I will like them. One or two of the “senior Treasury officials” had the grace to be a bit creepy in their demeanor. But, cruelly, the rest were lively, thoughtful, and willing to engage as though we were equals. Occasionally, under attack, they expressed hints of frustration in their body language — the indignation of hardworking people unjustly accused. But they kept on in good spirits until their time was up. I like these people, and that renders me untrustworthy. Abstractly, I think some of them should be replaced and perhaps disgraced. But having chatted so cordially, I’m far less likely to take up pitchforks against them. Drawn to the Secretary’s conference room by curiosity, vanity, ambition, and conceit, I’ve been neutered a bit. There’s an irony to that, because some of the people I met with may have been neutered, in precisely the same way and to disastrous effect, by their own meetings and mentorings with the Robert Rubins and Jamie Dimons of the world.

Obviously the headline act was Timothy Geithner. Off the record (or “on deep background”), Geithner is entirely different from the sometimes stiff character who appears on television. He…
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I Retract My Apology and Call for More Regulation of Goldman Sachs

I Retract My Apology and Call for More Regulation of Goldman Sachs (pdf)

apologyCourtesy of Janet Tavakoli at TSF
(see also Apology)

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”)

Apocalypse AIG

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


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Sympathy for the Treasury

Wondering what happened at the bloggers-Treasury officials’ get-together?  Here’s Steve Randy Waldman’s account of the meeting. – Ilene

Sympathy for the Treasury

us treasury buildingCourtesy of Steve Randy Waldman of Interfluidity

On Monday, I was among a group of eight bloggers who attended a discussion with "senior Treasury officials" in Washington. Several nice accounts of that meeting have already been posted (see roundup below). Here’s mine.

First, I’d like to thank the "senior Treasury officials" for taking the time to meet with us, and for being very gracious hosts. Whatever disagreements one might have, in statistical if not moral terms it was an extreme privilege to sit across a conference table and have a chance to speak with these people. And despite the limitations of the event, I’d rather there be more of this kind of thing than less. So a sincere tip o’the hat to all of our hosts. Thank you for having us.

The second thing I’d like to discuss is corruption. Not, I hasten to add, the corruption of senior Treasury officials, but my own. As a slime mold with a cable modem, it was very flattering to be invited to a meeting at the US Treasury. A tour guide came through with two visitors before the meeting began, and chattily announced that the table I was sitting at had belonged to FDR. It very clearly was not the purpose of the meeting for policymakers to pick our brains. The e-mail invitation we received came from the Treasury’s department of Public Affairs. Treasury’s goal in meeting with us was to inform the public discussion of their past and continuing policies. (Note that I use the word "inform" in the sense outlined in a previous post. It is not about true or false, but about shaping behavior.)

Nevertheless, vanity outshines reason, and I could not help but hope that someone in the bowels of power had read my effluent and decided I should be part of the brain trust. The mere invitation made me more favorably disposed to policymakers. Further, sitting across a table transforms a television talking head into a human being, and cordial conversation with a human being creates a relationship. Most corrupt acts don’t take the form of clearly immoral choices. People fight those. Corruption thrives where there is a tension between institutional and interpersonal ethics. There is "the…
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Phil's Favorites

Influence, Temptation, And Persuasion

 

Influence, Temptation, And Persuasion

Courtesy of 

Robert Cialdini’s Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, has removed any lingering doubt I had that we are reasonable creatures. Cialdini shares so many examples of experiments that at times I literally stood up in disbelief. Here’s a good one:

More compelling evidence for the importance of similarity in determining whether we will imitate another’s behavior comes from scientific research. An especially apt illustration can be found in a study done several years ago by Columbia University psychologists. The researchers placed wallets on the ground in various locations around midtown Manha...



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Zero Hedge

Free Trade Versus "Free Trade"

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Peter Klein via The Mises Institute,

NPR featured an unintentionally funny piece this week on Donald Trump's views toward the EU and free trade. The guest, former US ambassador to the EU Anthony Gardner, rightfully criticized the president's view that "protection will lead to great prosperity and strength," and called for continued global engagement by US companies and consumers. But he revealed, perhaps inadvertently, what politi...



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ValueWalk

Undervalued RMR - Strong Competitive Moat And Loads Of Free Cash

By The Acquirer's Multiple. Originally published at ValueWalk.

One of the cheapest stocks in our All Investable – Deep Value Stock Screen is RMR Group Inc (NASDAQ:RMR).

RMR Group Inc (RMR) provides management services to four publicly traded real estate investment trusts, or REITs, and three real estate operating companies. As of September 30, 2016, RMR had $26.9 billion of assets under management in the companies it manages.

RMR is a wonderfully lean business with strong recurring revenues, high operating margins around 40%, and 30% ROE. The company has a competitive moat through its long term lock-in contracts, a strong balance sheet, and loads of free cash flow. In terms of its valuation, RMR is currently trading on a P/E of 16, 4.79 times opera...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Doc Copper; Time for it to out perform the S&P 500?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Some feel the price action of Copper is important to watch, because it could send important macro messages, about world wide growth or lack of.  Since 2011 Ole “Doc Copper” has been very weak, no question about it. During this weakness, the S&P 500 has continued to move higher. So is the price action of Doc Copper not useful or relevant anymore?

Below looks at ratio of Copper to the S&P 500-

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

Doc Copper has clearly been ...



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Market News

Breaking News And Best Of The Web

Courtesy of John Rubino.

US stocks up, gold and silver near multi-week high. President Trump begins with flurry of changes to Obamacare and NAFTA. Earnings season starting well for banks and miners. Global debt continues to soar, especially in China. Fake news debate rages. Trump and Merkel trade insults.  

Best Of The Web

These are the countries with the biggest debt slaves – Wolf Street

Everything is awesome! – Mish
...



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Chart School

RTT browsing latest..

Courtesy of Read the Ticker.

Please review a collection of WWW browsing results.



Date Found: Thursday, 30 June 2016, 11:51:18 PM

Click for popup. Clear your browser cache if image is not showing.
Comment: Bullion Banks Are Starting to Lose Control of Silver youtu.be/lxZBYK1eN00



Date Found: Friday, 01 July 2016, 03:30:33 PM

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Comment: Cashin - Market Beats Fed



Date Found: Friday, 01 July 2016, 11:06:14 PM

Click for popup. Clear your browser cac...



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Promotions

Phil's Stock World's Las Vegas Conference!

 

18 people have signed up, but it's not too late to join in!

Learn option strategies and how to be the house and not the gambler. That's especially apropos since we'll be in Vegas....

Join us for the Phil's Stock World's Conference in Las Vegas!

Date:  Sunday, Feb 12, 2017 and Monday Feb 13, 2017            

Beginning Time:  9:30 to 10:00 am Sunday morning

Location: Caesars Palace in Las Vegas

Notes

Caesars has tentatively offered us rooms for $189 on Saturday night and $129 for Sunday night. However, we have to sign the contract ASAP. We n...



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Digital Currencies

As China Slaps Fees On Bitcoin Trades, Japan Monthly Volumes Soar by 8,900%

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

There is one reason why bitcoin quickly became the darling of HFT and various high speed algo traders operating out of China and the rest of the world: domestic transactions were "frictionless", as there were no fees on buys or sells. Until last night, that is, because as China's three largest bitcoin exchanges, BTCC, Huobi and OkCoin, all said in separate statements on their websites late on Sunday, starting Tuesday they will charge traders a flat fee of 0.2% per transaction. This is only the latest fallout from the recent crackdown on Chinese bitcoin exchanges whose activities have drawn increased scrutiny from the centra...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of January 23rd, 2017

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Members' Corner

Secular Stagnation and Pension Crisis?

Courtesy of Nattering Naybob.

From Jeffrey Sniders The Denominator Prevails...

PSS57 - "There is absolutely no data supporting a premise of demographics. "

Bingo, the vile filth known as "Secular Stagnation" emanated from Larry Summers, and was given an unqualified Fed benediction.  Voila, no real data, no proof, an MSM narrative and repeated URBAN MYTH.  The Flatworld Society has a more promising premise than this intellectual claptrap.

Its another "boogey man" same as the "pension crisis", which will be utilized to take away all forms of private and public pension, and have everybody forced into fee laden 401K/IRA. They will also force Social Security into the same fee laden hole using...

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Mapping The Market

If we try it enough, it will work.

Via Jean-Luc

Brownback wants Trump to emulate what he did in Kansas because it worked so well:

Sam Brownback Calls on Donald Trump to Mimic His Kansas Tax Plan

By RICHARD RUBIN and  WILL CONNORS

Sam Brownback, the Kansas governor whose tax cuts brought him political turmoil, recurring budget holes and sparse evidence of economic success, has a message for President-elect Donald Trump: Do what I did.

In 2013, Mr. Brownback set out to create a lean, business-friendly government in his state that other Republicans could replicate. He now faces a $350 million deficit when the Kansas legislature convenes in January and projections of a larger one in 2018. The state’s economy is flat and his party is fractured...

...

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Biotech

The Medicines Company: Insider Buying

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

I'm seeing huge insider buying in the biotech company The Medicines Company (MDCO). The price has already moved up around 7%, but these buys are significant, in the millions of dollars range. ~ Ilene

 

 

 

Insider transaction table and buying vs. selling graphic above from insidercow.com.

Chart below from Yahoo.com

...

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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: Harlan is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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