Excerpt from this morning’s Imus show featuring Matt Taibi discussing his latest article in Rolling Stone “Wall Street’s Bailout Hustle” which can be read here (it’s the cached version — RS’s site seems to be experiencing problems as of the time of this posting).
Good idea framing the banks’ schemes in terms of familiar con games.
Extended interview from the DVD edition of Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story with Harvard law professor and chair of the TARP Oversight Panel, Elizabeth Warren.
Not a perfect analogy, but I particularly liked this one Warren makes about the lack of financial regulation:
Financial products — and they are products, just like toasters — are sold today with the most dangerous features embedded in them, because that’s what drives profitability. What’s astonishing is that we let this happen. You know, you can’t buy a toaster in America that has a one in five chance of exploding. But you can buy a mortgage that has a one in five chance of exploding… and they don’t even have to tell you about it. We don’t hand people a wiring diagram with a toaster and say, “You figure it out.”
Warren’s work on the Oversight Panel can be viewed on its website here. It makes for some very very interesting reading and viewing.
It shouldn’t really come as a surprise that “Jamie” Dimon has such a flippant attitude towards the financial meltdown. After having received its $25 billion TARP bailout in late 2008, JPMorgan Chase paid hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses to more than 1,826 of its employees. This included the bank giving $1 million bonuses to each of more than 1,626 employees, and $3 million bonuses to each of more than 200 employees.
Aside from his remarks being incredibly tone deaf, it certainly doesn’t say much for the so-called free market system when the CEO and chairman of JPMorgan Chase & Co and Class A director of the New York Federal Reserve shrugs off financial crises as predictably routine events that occur every five or ten years.
What a wonderful euphemism. Economist Dr. Michael Hudson provides a grim assessment of the Obama administration’s plan to purchase toxic assets.
By the way, the Wall Street Journal has reported that according to an analysis of Treasury Department data, the biggest recipients of taxpayer aid actually made or refinanced 23% less in new loans in February (the last available numbers) than back in October when Treasury kicked off the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Hard to argue with the assertion that the latest bailout may be little more than another case of fraud, but only time will tell, I guess.
I’ve been watching a lot of lectures by Stiglitz in recent weeks (he’s a prolific author so there’s many lengthy discussions online in connection with his various books and papers) and, while I can’t profess to understand all that much of his underlying theories, he’s one of the most articulate and engaging speakers on economic matters — a subject that, quite frankly, used to bore me to tears more often than not, but for obvious reasons, has taken on a grim, if not positively morbid fascination these days.
I usually refrain from invoking the word “truth” for reasons that are too incredibly obvious and yet painfully laborious to explain, but when it becomes quite plainly evident and most especially when its impertinent verity is rudely spoken to power… well, there’s no other word that’s more perfectly appropriate.
Applying for a slice of the US government’s TARP is easy, apparently. Really, really, mindblowingly easy. How ironic.
Providing transparency and consistency… well, not as much so. UC Berkley business professor Laura Tyson discusses the conflicting interests associated with the public being a preferred equity investor in banks and other lenders over which it has no ability to set requirements, and the self-defeating results stemming from the Bush administration’s apparent incoherency and incompetence in managing the bailout of the financial sector.