Earlier today we mentioned that House Minority Leader John Boehner had some advice for any bankers headed to Washington hoping to fight financial reform. His advice was simply this: “Don’t let those little punk staffers take advantage of you and stand up for yourselves.” The reaction from a certain Director of the White House’s National Economic Council? OH NO YOU DI’INT. Read more »
Archive for March 2010
Wonder no longer. Read more »
Alan Greenspan has written a book report that he will present at the Brookings Institution tomorrow. Some are calling it his “most detailed examination of the causes of the financial crisis.” Does he lay out his patented 3-Step Guide For Being Fed Chair (1. Talk like you know your shit, even when you don’t. 2. Cut rates like a Thai hooker with the clap 3. When in doubt, print it out), which may have helped get us into the financial shit-storm du-jour? Not explicitly, no. (Does Coke just up and give out its secret recipe for free? That’s what I thought.) Seven Piña coladas into happy hour in the Maldives, however, he did decide to say this:
We never had a sufficiently strong conviction about the risks that could lie ahead. As I noted earlier, we had been lulled into a state of complacency by the only modestly negative economic aftermaths of the stock market crash of 1987 and the dot-com boom. Given history, we believed that any declines in home prices would be gradual. Destabilizing debt problems were not perceived to arise under those conditions.
Threw this in there too:
For years the Federal Reserve had been concerned about the ever larger size of our financial institutions. Federal Reserve research had been unable to find economies of scale in banking beyond a modest-sized institution. A decade ago, citing such evidence, I noted that “megabanks being formed by growth and consolidation are increasingly complex entities that create the potential for unusually large systemic risks in the national and international economy should they fail.” Regrettably, we did little to address the problem.
The believers of Fed “easy money” policy as the root of the housing bubble correctly note that a low fed fund rate (at only 1% between mid-2003 and mid-2004) lowered interest rates for adjustable rate mortgages (ARM). That in turn, they claim, increased demand for homes financed by ARMs and hence were an important contributor to the emergence of the bubble.
Having said all that? Lest any of you pipsqueaks (Benji) even think about daring to pin one iota of blame for all this shit on him? THINK AGAIN. There was nothing that could’ve been do done. Read more »
A lot of people on Wall Street have expressed issues with the Chris Dodd’s little proposed bank-reform bill. That’s fine, and House Minority Leader John Boehner doesn’t begrudge them their concerns. He doesn’t much like the thing either, and everyone should fight it tooth and nail. But if he may, Boehner would like to offer some advice for any bankers trying to get their way. Stop being such pussies. Don’t take shit, prisoners or no for an answer.
“Don’t let those little punk staffers take advantage of you and stand up for yourselves,” Boehner said. “All of us are hearing from our friends and constituents on lack of credit, you can’t get a loan, the more your government takes and taxes, the more regulations you have to comply with the more cost you have there and less amount you are going to have available to loan to customers.”
Once again, I’m not asking for myself, I’m asking for Ebullio Capital Management, and its founder, Lars Steffensen. For those of you who haven’t been keeping up on your ass-bleeding news, Lars’ commodities fund lost 86 percent in February, after declining 70 percent in January, and YTD, is down 96 percent. He mentioned this to investors the other day, while also noting that the losses? While seemingly sack-rippingly bad? They are but a blip. Lars has seen worse, way worse, and he’s always “bounced back.” He also made a case for why you should stick with him, despite the fact that “Sac ripping,” “Ass bleeding,” “Clown facing,” and “Donkey punching” would all be accurate descriptions for what’s happened to Team E during this extraordinary quarter. Read more »
The following post is by our anonymous hedge fund manager friend, who shall remain nameless. He runs the Emerging Markets desk at his firm.
Greece CDS has traded wider this morning on comments from the Prime Minister that his government might seek aid from the IMF. This has been taken to suggest that the rest of the EU has still not yet come to internal agreement about how to handle Greece’s debt woes. That several EU countries view an IMF-led package for an EMU member as, if not a mortal embarrassment, then at least something resolutely not to be wished has raised fears that these countries, via their influence at the IMF board level, might close off even this avenue of assistance to the Greeks. Iceland might be able to tell Greece a thing or two about trying to keep an IMF program on track while suffering the wrath of several EU members. Read more »
Have you ever sat around wondering what it would be like to see Warren Buffett dressed up in a wig, bandanna, leather jacket and red plaid kilt? Have you then dared to dream what it would be like to see the Oracle of in that exact get up, belting out a power ballad about how you can count on him and he’ll always be there for you? The correct (and honest) answers are “yes” and “all the damn time.” Well wonder no longer. Read more »
Remember back in December, when it was reported that Bernie Madoff got the shit beat out him, sustaining “facial fractures, broken ribs and a collapsed lung”? At the time, prison officials wouldn’t say the injuries were a result of a brawl in the yard and Berns is no snitch, so he wouldn’t say anything either. Today sources on the inside have confirmed that yes, Ponzi boy’s face was rearranged by a fellow inmate who believed that Madoff owed him money. Here’s what else we know about the attacker. He was a big fella and possibly a bit of a mama’s boy.
Top Irish ex-banker arrested over alleged fraud (AP)
Sean Fitzpatrick, the former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank Corp., was arrested Thursday on suspicion of committing fraud after he hid more than euro70 million ($100 million) in personal loans from shareholders. An arrest of FitzPatrick — one of Ireland’s most high-profile businessmen during the lost Celtic Tiger boom — had been expected ever since police raided the Anglo Irish headquarters in April 2009 shortly after the bank’s emergency nationalization to prevent its collapse.
SEC Tried To Ease Curbs (WSJ)
In a ruling Monday, U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III in New York rejected a proposed change to the legal settlement put in place to end abuses on Wall Street. The proposal would have allowed employees in investment-banking and research departments at Wall Street firms to “communicate with each other…outside of the presence” of lawyers or compliance-department officials responsible for policing employee conduct—an activity strictly prohibited by the settlement.
Mexico Tourism Drops as Drug Gangs, Economy Rain on Spring Breakers’ Party (Bloomberg)
Mexico’s international tourism fell for the first time in a decade last year amid a weak economy and a swine-flu scare, bringing in $11.3 billion compared with $13.3 billion in 2008. In Acapulco, where Viacom Inc.’s MTV channel is hosting an event this week, 32 people were killed during the three days ended March 15.
Shelby: GOP Leaving ‘Door Open’ On Financial Reform (CNBC)
“I do leave the door open because conceptually Sen. Dodd and lot of Republicans agree on a lot of issues,” said Shelby, who added that the were still fundamental differences on key details. Read more »
$$$ Brian Moynihan: “We missed the mark. Our b.” [Charlotte Observer]
$$$ Elizabeth Warren’s War [Fortune]
$$$ Jim Cramer’s TheStreet Is Being Investigated By The SEC [ZH]
$$$ Why So Few Women on the Forbes Richest People List? [Slate]