Posts Tagged ‘Larry Summers’

The Larry Summers hall of shame

The Larry Summers hall of shame


By MAXWELL STRACHAN, Salon 

This week’s announcement that Larry Summers will be stepping down as director of President Obama’s National Economic Council may have been most notable for the passionate reaction it prompted from his critics. "Good riddance," wrote the Progressive’s Matthew Rothschild, adding that "Summers has a resume of disaster."

The outpouring shouldn’t have been surprising. If nothing else, Summers, in his stints at Harvard, the World Bank and in two presidential administrations, has emerged as an accomplished lightning rod for controversy. As he prepares to decamp Washington for Harvard Yard — he’s going to be a professor — we remember the 10 most shameful moments that Larry has brought us.

10. Asking Chris Dodd to remove post-recession caps on executive pay: Summers ran into a bit of trouble after it leaked last year that he had received free rides on Citigroup’s corporate jet while working for the Obama White House — a major no-no. More appalling, however, was his subsequent decision to exempt Citigroup, a stimulus recipient,  from caps on executive pay.

9. Gambling away $1 billion of Harvard’s money:  Sure, it was unlucky that Summers’ stint as president of Harvard from 2001 to 2006 overlapped with the derivative craze of the mid-2000s, but he pushed to invest $3.5 billion in the complicated financial instruments — even though he knew the risks better than most. Only after Summers was fired did the market crash, taking $1 billion of Harvard’s money with it.

Read the rest here. > 

Photo courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant 


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More Thoughts on Larry Summers’ Goodbye

Barry Ritholtz discusses Larry Summers’ departure on Fast Money.


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WHAT DID WE EXPECT WITH LEADERS LIKE THIS?

Brief review of why it’s about time Summers says goodbye. – Ilene 

WHAT DID WE EXPECT WITH LEADERS LIKE THIS?

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 economy – the leaders that help frame the regulations and policies that help to keep the U.S. economy running smoothly. I don’t think these men and women (mostly men) have been held accountable over the years. I personally believe many of these men have flawed models (Alan Greenspan has admitted as much and Ben Bernanke has essentially rehashed his flawed model) and continue to help promote and implement economic policy in the U.S. that is counterproductive, ineffective and at times downright destructive.

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


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Former Bank Regulator William Black: U.S. Using “Rally Stupid Strategy” to Hide Bank Losses – Will Produce Japanese Style Lost Decade

Former Bank Regulator William Black: U.S. Using "Rally Stupid Strategy" to Hide Bank Losses – Will Produce Japanese Style Lost Decade

William K. BlackCourtesy of Mish 

Aaron Task has a nice interview with former bank regulator William Black on our "Really Stupid Strategy" to Hide Bank Losses"

109 U.S. banks have failed so far this year, 23 in this quarter alone. These failures may not cost depositors, but they do come at a steep cost to the FDIC. As discussed here with ValuEngine’s Richard Suttmeier, the FDIC Deposit Insurance has already spent $18.93 billion this year, “well above the $15.33 billion prepaid assessments for all of 2010.”

The situation is likely even worse than the FDIC portrays, says William Black Associate Professor of Economics and Law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

“The FDIC is sitting there knowing that it has both the residential disaster and the commercial real estate disaster [and] knowing it doesn’t have remotely enough funds to pay for it,” he says.

William Black with Aaron Task Video

Partial Transcript

Aaron Task: Should we be surprise there are not more bank failures?

William Black: Not Surprised,we should be upset there are not more bank failures. The industry has used its political muscle to get Congress to extort the financial accounting standards board to gimmick the accounting rules so that banks do not have to recognize their losses.

Aaron Task: In practical terms, what does the gutting of that rule mean for the banks?

William Black: Capital is defined as assets minus liabilities. If I get to keep my assets at inflated bubble values that have nothing to do with their real value, then my reported capital will be greatly inflated. When I am insolvent I still report that I have lots of capital.

Aaron Task: You are saying the FDIC is intentionally keeping foreclosures down because it knows it does not have enough money to pay off depositors who are insured by the FDIC?

William Black: That is correct and that is going to make ultimate losses grow. It also means we are following a Japanese type strategy of hiding the losses and we know what that produces – a lost decade, which is now two lost decades. Your listeners and viewers if they are stock types, look at the Nikkei. It lost 75% in nominal terms and has stayed that way for 20 years. I…
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US money supply plunges at 1930s pace as Obama eyes fresh stimulus

US money supply plunges at 1930s pace as Obama eyes fresh stimulus

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.

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph 

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.

Read more here.>>

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Jr. Deputy Accountant notes:

That’s THIRD Stimulus, Not Second

 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.

The FT is reporting that
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Consumer Confidence Expectations Soar, Current Confidence in Gutter; Larry Summers Yaps about Second Stimulus

Consumer Confidence Expectations Soar, Current Confidence in Gutter; Larry Summers Yaps about Second Stimulus

Courtesy of Mish

A saleswoman at a clothing shop attracts customers in a shopping district in Tokyo

Although the consumer confidence current conditions index remains in the gutter, the expectations index shows increasing optimism. Please consider Consumers Gain Confidence as Employment Improves.

The Conference Board’s confidence index rose to 63.3, exceeding all estimates of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News and the highest level in two years, according to a report from the New York-based private research group. Other figures showed home prices rose less than projected in the year through March.

“I’m relatively optimistic that we’ll get through the European debt crisis without dire economic consequences, but the jury is still out on that one,” said Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Pierpont Securities LLC in Stamford, Connecticut. Home prices “are going to drag along the bottom for a while until we get a better handle on the overhang” of inventories.

The Conference Board’s measure of present conditions increased to 30.2 this month, the highest level since December 2008. The gauge of expectations for the next six months surged to 85.3, the highest point since August 2007, four months before the recession began.

The percent of respondents expecting more jobs will become available increased to the highest point since December 2003.

Confidence, “although still weak by historical levels, appears to be gaining traction,” Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center, said in a statement. Expectations have been “fueled primarily by growing optimism about business and labor market conditions,” she said.

Expectations Not the Same as Jobs

Present conditions are telling one story while expectations are another. However, expectations are not the same as jobs. People are starting to believe nonsense about the strengthening economy even as the treasury market and credit markets are singing a different tune.

I happen to believe the credit markets.

5-year treasury yields and rising junk bond yields paint a far different picture than consumer expectations. (Please see Corporate Bonds Smacked, Junk Yields Rise, Deals Pulled; Treasuries Rally; Yield Curve Flattens; Global Slowdown Coming for details).

No matter what one thinks of the US economy in isolation, it should be crystal clear that Europe is slowing and China is gasping for air with an export model not prepared for a slowdown anywhere, let alone a global slowdown.

Moreover, various stimulus packages in the US have run their…
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Taleb Says Focus on Specific Trades in Selloff Misguided

Just a minute or two on the silly theory, then Nassim Taleb discusses the economy more generally. – Ilene 

Taleb Says Focus on Specific Trades in Selloff Misguided

Bloomberg

May 13 (Bloomberg) — Nassim Taleb, a professor at New York University and author of "The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable," talks with Bloomberg’s Erik Schatzker about the May 6 stock market selloff and his investment strategy. Taleb also discusses the drivers for the financial crisis, the U.S. economy and the performance of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke. 

Nassim Taleb: 

"When a bridge collapses, you don’t look at the last truck that was on it.  You look at the engineer.  You go look for structural…flaws."  (In regards to Universa’s trade that’s been connected to the market collapse.)

"The crisis of 2008 wasn’t a black swan event."

"A black swan is something that depends on the observer… For the turkey, Thanksgiving is a black swan, but not for the butcher."

 


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Cut the Partisan Crap … BOTH the Private Sector AND the Government are to Blame for the Financial Crisis

Cut the Partisan Crap … BOTH the Private Sector AND the Government are to Blame for the Financial Crisis

Courtesy of Washington’s Blog

Partisan GOP hacks say the financial crisis was caused by too much regulation, and government interference in the markets.

But Glass-Steagall was repealed, derivatives were left unregulated, and the regulators were watching porn instead of preventing fraud. Giant banks, hedge funds and other fat cat private players knowingly gamed the market and committed fraud in more ways than can be listed in a single post.

And remember, even the "father of economics" – Adam Smith – didn’t believe in completely unfettered free markets.

On the other hand, partisan Democratic party hacks say that bad corporations caused the crisis, and that if more power is given to Summers, Bernanke, Geithner and the other governmental honchos, they’ll fix everything.

But Summers, Bernanke, Geithner and the other meatheads largely caused the crisis through their actions. And as Simon Johnson points out, the government created the mega-giants, and they are not the product of free market competition.

As I pointed out in February 2009, government fraud is pervasive:

In case you believe that there are only "a couple of bad apples" in the United States, here is an off-the-top-of-my-head list of corruption by leading pillars of American society:

  • Senior military officials stole approximately $125 billion dollars out of Iraq reconstruction funds, dwarfing Madoff’s $50 billion Ponzi scheme (in turn, the looting which is now occurring under the bailout/stimulus programs will far surpass $150 billion)
  • The government-endorsed ratings agencies which were supposed to accurately rate the credit-worthiness of companies and nations committed massive fraud

There are hundreds of similar stories of corruption which have come out recently.

But surely government employees would have done something to stop such corruption if had known about it, right?

Well, actually:


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The Economic Elite Vs. The People of the United States of America (I – III)

Full Report: The Economic Elite Vs. The People of the United States of America (Parts I-III)

Courtesy of David DeGraw, AmpedStatus Report

This report was originally released as a six-part series. The first part was published on February 15, 2010. The last part was published on February 27, 2010.  

 

“The American oligarchy spares no pains in promoting the belief that it does not exist,
but the success of its disappearing act depends on equally strenuous efforts
on the part of an American public anxious to believe in egalitarian fictions
and unwilling to see what is hidden in plain sight.”
– Michael Lind, To Have and to Have Not

 

The Economic Elite Vs. The People of the United States of America

 

It’s time for 99% of Americans to mobilize and aggressively move on common sense political reforms.

Yes, of course, we all have very strong differences of opinion on many issues. However, like our Founding Fathers before us, we must put aside our differences and unite to fight a common enemy.

It has now become evident to a…
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Larry Summers Opens Mouth, Proves All His Critics Are Correct

Larry Summers Opens Mouth, Proves All His Critics Are Correct

Courtesy of Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge 

Larry Summers, whose days in the Obama administration are thankfully numbered, presents the most incoherent rambling defense of our monopoly banking system, yet to appear in the public domain. When asked if US mega banks should be broken up, reports the HuffPo, "Summers said no. He added that it’s not significant. But that’s not the important issue," Summers said during the interview, adding to his answer as to why the U.S. shouldn’t break up megabanks. "[Observers] believe that it would actually make us less stable, because the individual banks would be less diversified and, therefore, at greater risk of failing, because they would haven’t profits in one area to turn to when a different area got in trouble. And most observers believe that dealing with the simultaneous failure of many — many small institutions would actually generate more need for bailouts and reliance on taxpayers than the current economic environment."

bankersWe dare you to reread the above from Larry the Hutt and not have your frontal lobe disintegrate into antimatter. Sure, 4 out of 5 Goldman CDO traders totally agree that Goldman’s monopoly in the capital markets is terrific, and, in fact, if someone could "organize" a liquidity event at RBC, Barclays, UBS and CS, they would really apprciate it, doubly so if, like JPM, they could then acquire the firms for a dollar over their Fed guaranteed debt. As for everybody else, well, if you have any doubt that Larry Summers is having his future personal assistant organizing his corner office at 200 West, we hope this should resolve it.

Yet there may still be hope that not all of America is run by corrupt demagogues. HuffPo writes:

A bill championed by Democratic Senators Ted Kaufman of Delaware, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Robert P. Casey of Pennsylvania and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island proposes to break up financial behemoths. Observers say the proposal is gaining steam.

A test vote in the Senate Budget Committee on Thursday, which essentially would have expressed support for breaking up megabanks, failed by just a 12-10 vote. The small margin was surprising, one Senate aide said.

HuffPost posed the following questions, which were based on Summers’s remarks, to the White House:

- Does Mr. Summers and/or the administration wish to


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Zero Hedge

Cord Cutting Apocalypse: More Households Now Subscribe To Streaming TV Than Cable

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

American consumers are plagued with First World problems. There appear to be too many online streaming platforms for consumption. The average consumer now subscribes to three streaming video services, and for the first time, more households are subscribing to streaming TV than to traditional cable, according to a new report from Deloitte.

...



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Phil's Favorites

Federal Regulator: Wall Street Stock Trading Plunged 88.6 Percent in Q4

Courtesy of Pam Martens

By Pam Martens

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Federal regulator of national banks, which includes the largest banks on Wall Street, quietly issued its quarterly report on trading in cash instruments and derivatives on Friday. The report contained a shocker: stock (equity) trading had plunged 88.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018 versus the fourth quarter of 2017 on a consolidated basis at the bank h...



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ValueWalk

Micron this week was the poster child for this "bull-trap" lunacy

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

From Crescat Capital

Thursday had the feel of a blow-off top for the bear market rally. We are near historic valuations for US stocks across at least eight fundamental measures and at a record late stage in the business cycle. Equity markets appear more stretched relative to underlying deteriorating fundamentals than ever.

Micron this week was the poster child for this “bull-trap” lunacy. Investors bid Micron’s stock up 10% on Thursday after the company released earnings. The move sent the semiconductor index to a record high on Thursday. The truth was that Micron gave terrible forward guidance on the conference call forcing analysts to slash estimates for revenues, earnings, and free cash flow for 2019 and 2020.

Friday the market start...



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Chart School

Palladium Action Review

Courtesy of Read the Ticker.

Palladium is near its peak, or at least a consolidation. Russia and South Africa are the producers of palladium, and it looks like Putin has been able to play US Futures market for a lot of Russia gain! Which metal is next?


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Fundamentals are important, and so is market timing, here at readtheticker.com we believe a combination of ...

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Kimble Charting Solutions

NYSE Index Suggesting The Top Is In, Says Joe Friday

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Is a very broad stock index suggesting that a top is in play? What this index does to close this week should go a long way to answering that question!

This chart looks at the NYSE Index on a weekly basis over the past 4-years. Over the past 15-months, it has created a series of lower highs and lower lows inside of the shaded falling channel. It hit strong support around Christmas at (1) and a counter-trend rally started. The rally now has it testing the top of the falling channel at (2).

Joe Friday Just The Facts Ma’am- The NYSE index could be cre...



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Insider Scoop

10 Biggest Price Target Changes For Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga.

  • Buckingham cut the price target for Trinity Industries Inc (NYSE: TRN) from $32 to $26. Trinity Industries shares closed at $22.96 on Thursday.
  • Canaccord Genuity lowered the price target for Biogen Inc (NASDAQ: BIIB) from $396 to $275. Biogen shares closed at $226.88 on Thursday.
  • H.C. Wainwright cut the price target on Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: CNAT) from $8 to $1.50. Conatus Pharmaceuticals shares closed at $2.91 on Thursday.
  • Wedb...


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Biotech

Marijuana is a lot more than just THC - a pharmacologist looks at the untapped healing compounds

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

 

Marijuana is a lot more than just THC - a pharmacologist looks at the untapped healing compounds

Assorted cannabis bud strains. Roxana Gonzalez/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of James David Adams, University of Southern California

Medical marijuana is legal in 33 states as of November 2018. Yet the federal government still insists marijuana has no legal u...



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Digital Currencies

Facebook's cryptocurrency: a financial expert breaks it down

 

Facebook's cryptocurrency: a financial expert breaks it down

Grejak/Shutterstock

Courtesy of Alistair Milne, Loughborough University

Facebook is reportedly preparing to launch its own version of Bitcoin, for use in its messaging applications, WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram. Could this “Facecoin” be the long-awaited breakthrough by a global technology giant into the lucrative market for retail financial services? Or will...



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Members' Corner

Despacito - How to Make Money the Old-Fashioned Way - SLOWLY!

Are you ready to retire?  

For most people, the purpose of investing is to build up enough wealth to allow you to retire.  In general, that's usually enough money to reliably generate a year's worth of your average income, each year into your retirement so that that, plus you Social Security, should be enough to pay your bills without having to draw down on your principle.

Unfortunately, as the last decade has shown us, we can't count on bonds to pay us more than 3% and the average return from the stock market over the past 20 years has been erratic - to say the least - with 4 negative years (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2008) and 14 positives, though mostly in the 10% range on the positives.  A string of losses like we had from 2000-02 could easily wipe out a decades worth of gains.

Still, the stock market has been better over the last 10 (7%) an...



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Mapping The Market

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism

A good start from :

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism

Excerpt:

The threat to America is this: we have abandoned our core philosophy. Our first principle of this nation as a meritocracy, a free-market economy, where competition drives economic decision-making. In its place, we have allowed a malignancy to fester, a virulent pus-filled bastardized form of economics so corrosive in nature, so dangerously pestilent, that it presents an extinction-level threat to America – both the actual nation and the “idea” of America.

This all-encompassing mutant corruption saps men’s souls, crushes opportunities, and destroys economic mobility. Its a Smash & Grab system of ill-gotten re...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 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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About Phil:

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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