The Republican field for 2016 is a hot mess—so much so that Rand Paul is being taken somewhat seriously as a candidate. But what matters is the big elite coastal money, that poured so deliciously from Wall Street into the coffers of that sad stupid thing called Mitt Romney. With Chris Christie face-down for the count, it just doesn't know where to go: Scott Walker? Paul Ryan? They're both petty hoodlums, and, like Ted Cruz, they're too socially conservative for bankers who just care about cutting taxes, not regulating Wall Street and a cessation to the "Wall Street v. Main Street" dialogue. Oh they also would like to [...]
Five years ago, the economy nearly collapsed — and no one felt the impact more than Hank Paulson | http://t.co/l8ykzoDnOJ
— Businessweek (@BW) September 12, 2013
Bloomberg Businessweek goes huge today, observing, give or take, a peg for the five-year anniversary of the "financial crisis." Oh mercy. What a tweet that is. Here is when we make a hero of Hank Paulson, the man who ping-ponged from the Pentagon to the Nixon White House to Goldman Sachs to the oversee the actual death of business as we knew it, with a in his own words biography. Which is fascinating, to be sure! It avoids the trouble [...]
"The firearms business is coming under mounting market pressure as calls for new restrictions on gun ownership following last week’s school slaughter drove down shares of two major players and led some retailers to begin pulling specific products from shelves." —Capitalism may need some couples therapy to help repair its relationship with the murder-weapon industry.
Photo by Pop Culture Geek.
Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit suddenly resigned this morning, which is a very big shock to the people who follow this kind of thing. But how does this affect you, the Citi consumer account holder? You still have to pay your credit card bills, sorry.
So Mike Bloomberg's eviction of Occupy Wall Street has actually resulted in a large protest this morning that is actually occupying Wall Street. You just know there's a team of mayoral advisors, familiar with the First Amendment, who are sitting in an office right now with their arms crossed, being all "la la la, told you so." More good pics here. Arrests are already taking place.
Photo by CBC superfox David Common.
That pill-popping, boy-crazy nincompoop Ayn Rand has got a lot to answer for. Indeed, it's not too much of a stretch to say that we owe at least part of the recent economic crisis to her and her philosophy of Objectivism, since former Fed chief Alan Greenspan was a lifelong disciple of both.
The two first met in the '50s. Back then, a gang of acolytes, calling themselves the Collective, used to gather at Rand's apartment on East 36th Street every Saturday night so they could tell each other how smart they all were. Along came Greenspan one evening, shy and somber.
It took a while for Greenspan [...]
I really don't know yet what to think about Inside Job, the forthcoming documentary about Wall Street and the financial crisis. (The most recent one, I mean!) The trailer sort of reads like a cross between Michael Moore and one of those 9/11 Truther movies. But a trailer is designed to get people to a movie and, that being said, Singapore and Iceland are well-represented in the film, which speaks of good things. Also the movie's press kit has a timeline of deregulation in the U.S., so at least it promises to be somewhat fact-based!
At first glance, Friday night's meetup at the Bitcoin Center's downtown offices could have passed for any other start-up party. The crowd skewed young, many in hoodies and looking barely grown out of their Chuck Taylors, but mixed in were members of the blazer-and-blue-jeans set and even a select few people above the age of 35. Most, clustered in groups beneath the Center's green-lit high ceilings, stayed largely indifferent to the DJ spinning dance tracks.
But there were some things that were odd. First, there was no booze, due to the small but vocal contingent of grade school kids in attendance. Second, there were the dogs. Also, the people dressed [...]
"The benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average rose to an all-time record Tuesday on news that China was pledging to plow more money into its economy, returning the markets to highs not seen since before the financial crisis. By 10 a.m. Tuesday, the Dow was up nearly 90 points, or 0.74 percent, to 14,216.70, blowing past a record that was set Oct. 11, 2007, during a time when the economy was just peaking and headed toward disaster. [...] The Dow’s record high confirmed that the ongoing political paralysis in Washington has failed to spook the markets much in the last year." —The very rich don't seem to be bothered by [...]
"Calling the shooting a 'watershed event' in the national debate on gun control, Cerberus Capital, a New York-based firm that manages over $20 billion, said in a statement Tuesday it planned to sell off its investment in the Freedom Group. Freedom Group bills itself as a 'family' of more than a dozen firearm companies including Bushmaster Firearms." —Looks like a certain New York bunch of urban elitists are getting their man cards revoked.
"The three directors who oversee risk at JPMorgan Chase & Co. include a museum head who sat on American International Group Inc.’s governance committee in 2008, the grandson of a billionaire and the chief executive officer of a company that makes flight controls and work boots. What the risk committee of the biggest U.S. lender lacks, and what the five next largest competitors have, are directors who worked at a bank or as financial risk managers." —Good stuff!
Zuccotti Park is a well-manicured, block-long park in the heart of New York City’s financial district that, for the past two days, has been home to a few hundred squatters, anarchists, activists, students, a few drug addicts, several undercover cops and one lone man in a suit. Alternately calling themselves Occupy Wall Street or Take Wall Street or the 99%, they have set up camp, spending the night on rolls of cardboard, yoga mats and bare concrete, as a protest against the abuses carried out by various financial institutions and banks against the people of this country.
I can summarize the well-informed tripartite New York magazine cover story on Wall Street, while eliding all the details: pretty much no one learned anything, rich people really enjoying spending money, it's not unlikely there'll be a round two mortgage debacle, Wall Street is more consolidated than ever and poses a "greater systemic risk," we're off to enjoy/exploit the BRICs (and CIVETs and EAGLEs, et al), even though Goldman Sachs, among others, took a bath on them over the last few years, slightly fewer Harvard MBA graduates are going straight into Big Finance (they're all becoming consultants, which, same diff!), and lots of people on Wall [...]
Excellent! Wall Street firms claim they're going to stop giving money to political candidates, as retribution over minor regulation. That's not going to be true at all, but it'd be a great start.
Today, one Countrywide exec was named as actively perpetrating fraud, and current owner Bank of America was mildly fined. It begins! Or… maybe it ends.
In case you missed this last night on "All In With Chris Hayes," and you possibly did… Alexis Goldstein totally WENT OFF on JP Morgan and Wall Street and it was delightful. (Also it was set up with the best Alex Pareene clip, which is wonderful.) The poor banker dude tried to get in that like "Oh if we prosecute bankers then the banks won't loan!" Which is hilarious, since… the banks really did give up on a lot of loaning—not just in [...]
"Is it any wonder that virtually all Wall Street 'professionals' are habituated sociopaths who lie for a living just to skim a few pennies (metaphorically speaking: make that millions of "other people's" dollars in the real world). And is it any wonder that all banks demand their inner workings never see the light of day so they can operate in absolute secrecy, and exchanges like the above, and 22 more, are never read by the public." —Would you like to be a fixed income trader? Well, that era is ending, but it was a good grift. (via)
"Trillions of dollars worth of stock certificates and other paper securities that were stored in a vault in lower Manhattan may have suffered water damage from Superstorm Sandy. The Depository Trust & Clearing Corp., an industry-run clearing house for Wall Street, said the contents of its vault 'are likely damaged.'" —And here you are worried about people having food and water and electricity.
Oh dear, here we go again: “Wall Street is a meritocracy, for the most part,” an irate but of course unnamed onetime Citigroup executive confides to junior father confessor Gabriel Sherman in this week’s hallucinatory New York magazine cover story, “The Emasculation of Wall Street.” “If someone has a bonus, it’s because they’ve created value for their institution.”
In the jumpy, suggestible universe of Gabe Sherman, Wall Street sleuth, things really are that simple: The beleaguered financial overclass creates value, in a rationally ordered system of maximally awarded talent. And the clueless public sector, intoxicated on post-meltdown regulatory prerogative, meddles with the primal forces of nature, skews executive [...]
It's worth taking a long, slow read of this morning's Times story on lack of prosecution in general and particularly the lack of Justice Department civil or criminal cases regarding the "financial crisis." For one thing, there are at least two instances of someone directly lying to the reporters in the story (although it is unknown to us which of the parties giving conflicting accounts is lying). Elsewhere, people put the blame on regulatory inaction: "In 1995, bank regulators referred 1,837 cases to the Justice Department. In 2006, that number had fallen to 75. In the four subsequent years, a period encompassing the worst of the crisis, an [...]
Lil Wayne was released from Rikers Island this morning. He'll now head to Las Vegas, where he'll apparently join his protege Drake on stage Saturday night, and then to Miami, for the traditional welcome home party at a strip club Sunday night. According to Mack Maine, another rapper on Wayne's Young Money label, the crew plans to "just treat him like a king, like the royalty that he is and make him feel like we really missed him and welcome him back to the family, basically."