Thursday, 3 February 2011

Lots of good stuff

Just click...

"I helped cause the financial crisis, and I'm sorry."

"The perception among the general public is that mortgage salespeople were sleazy, greedy and immoral. This was partly true. I worked with some people who would have sold their own mother to make a buck. I literally knew of drug dealers who had gone into mortgages because it was less risky and more profitable than selling cocaine."

New York Times discovers that corporations pay little or no taxes

I am shocked by this revelation -

"Of the 500 big companies in the well-known Standard & Poor’s stock index, 115 paid a total corporate tax rate — both federal and otherwise — of less than 20 percent over the last five years, according to an analysis of company reports done for The New York Times by Capital IQ, a research firm. Thirty-nine of those companies paid a rate less than 10 percent."

The Davos Horror show

Personally, I am still recovering from the shock of Davos. The Peterson institute has a nice piece that has the measure of the event.

"In terms of public policy, the big players in the financial sector have prevailed—no responsible European, for example, can imagine a major bank being allowed to fail (in the sense of defaulting on any debt). And this government support for banks has translated into easier credit conditions for the major global corporations represented at Davos."

"The public policy issue of the day, from the point of view of such CEOs, is simple. There needs to be sufficient fiscal austerity to strengthen public balance sheets—so that states can more effectively stand behind their banks in the future, and to keep currencies from moving too much."

Where is the rage?

First Iceland. Then Greece. Now Ireland, which headed for bankruptcy with its own mysterious logic.

In 2000, suddenly among the richest people in Europe,the Irish decided to buy their country–from one another. After which their banks and government really screwed them.

So where’s the rage?

There is no rage because everyone was implicated. There are many victims, but there were far too many perpetrators. Thank you to Dearieme for the link.

Iceland right, Ireland wrong

On his second day as head of Iceland’s third-largest bank, Arni Tomasson faced a crisis: The firm he had been asked by regulators to run was out of cash.

Michael Lewis on the Politicians That Sank Ireland

“In an era when capitalists went out of their way to destroy capitalism, the Irish bankers set some kind of record for destruction.”

The Next Global Banking Crisis Is 3 Years Away

Its commodities, stoooopid.....

Let's start in 2011. The world is in a three-speed recovery, with Europe at the bottom, the U.S. in the middle, and Asia growing between 6 and 10 percent. If you're an investment bank looking for high returns, where do you look? The fastest gains are in the hottest markets, and the hottest markets are in the developing world. In particular, commodities investments (gold, silver, platinum, rare earth metals, oil) have soaked up lots of excess global money supply and central banks have dropped their interest rates. Commodities-rich economies like Russia, Brazil and the rest of Latin America have been key beneficiaries.

The victory of the bulb

“The best way for government to boost energy efficiency isn’t to micromanage by picking winners and losers, a job better suited to free-market innovation. It is to set a reasonable standard — miles per gallon or light per watt, for example — and let the market sort it out,” spins the editorial in support of picking winners and losers.“ That’s what Congress did in 2007” in banning the bulb.

War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength. Banning is choice. Regulation is freedom.

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