There’s little drama about what the Federal Reserve will say on Wednesday: It’s going to keep buying bonds in its effort to stimulate the economy. But what will the central bank be saying by what it doesn’t say? Read more »
Are you frustrated with Bank of America? Do you have one simple request, but have found it impossible to get through to anyone? Do you feel like no one’s listening? Maybe you’re an employee who wants to have a frank talk about bonuses, and if you can expect to get one this year. Maybe you’re a homeowner who doesn’t want to get wrongfully foreclosed on and have your beloved parrot stolen, again. Maybe you’re a shareholder who’s been begging for a dividend increase. Maybe you’re an ex-CEO named Ken who just wants a tiny little bit of office space out of which to run the party promoting business you recently started with your friend Ang Moz. Whatever your desire, consider taking a page from Ken Williams’ playabook. He tried going through the normal channels to get what he wanted and then cut the shit and got serious, by appealing to BofA’s serious love of snappy tunes. Read more »
Sometimes it’s useful to be reminded that not all financial structuring is designed to get around capital requirements or defraud customers. Some is designed to get around taxes and defraud the treasury! One group of people who like to think about that kind of thing is the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, who took some time out from shouting about payroll taxes yesterday to have a geeky hearing about the state of financial instrument taxation. Short version is, they’re not all that happy about it.
The JCT staff generally say pretty smart stuff about tax policy, and they get that shit is fucked up and bullshit. Or as they put it more diplomatically:
The timing, character, and source rules apply differently to (and are sometimes uncertain for) equity, debt, options, forward contracts, and notional principal contracts. These five basic instruments can be combined in various ways to replicate the economic returns of any underlying asset. … The flexibility of financial instruments also creates great difficulties in the taxation of financial instruments. This report provides examples of taxpayers’ uses of financial instruments to achieve desired timing, character, and source outcomes and describes how the tax laws have or have not addressed this tax planning.
There are two useful takeaways here. One is kind of weird: there are a bunch of fairly basic things (exchange-traded notes, CDS) where nobody – not the IRS, not the JCT, nobody – knows how they’re supposed to be taxed. That … seems like a bad thing. And, I’m going to guess, not so much the fault of evil financial innovators.
So, the performance you’re about to see is most certainly fake. But is there some truth there? Does Debbie, the graduate of Villanova business school and extreme cat enthusiast looking for love strike you as someone who’d fit in on campus, or would the character more likely be found at Wharton or HBS? Read more »
The latest issue of New York contains a lengthy profile of Paul Kruman entitled “What’s Left of the Left: Paul Krugman’s Lonely crusade.” Writer Benjamin Wallace-Wells examines the Nobel Prize-winning economist’s position as “the leading exponent of a kind of liberal purism” (played out in his column for the Times and his blog, The Conscience of a Liberal); few peers or policymakers wholly agree with Krugman’s stance, making him a very “lonely” man (save for his commenters). And it’s not just in his professional life that Krugs lacks pals, Wallace-Wells tells us, but, heartbreakingly, in his personal life as well. Read more »
Early in the morning of Oct. 16, 2009, agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation knocked on Ms. Chiesi’s door, confronting her with the evidence they had gathered. She walked into the hallway of her Manhattan apartment, worried about letting the agents in because they might find a marijuana joint in the apartment from a party the night before, according to a person familiar with the matter. When the agents asked her if she had a weapon, she told them she had a fish and a cat, the person says. [WSJ via Daily Intel]
Day 30: A Bunch Of Idiot Traders Drop By The Office And Steve Hisses At Them And Pisses In Their General DirectionBy Bess Levin
Early last week, we were alerted to a message board containing a comment by a woman who accosted Bill Ackman at a recent General Growth Properties hearing. In it, she recounted their meeting and although perhaps mentally unstable, had a genius idea on her hands. Here is the relevant text:
“I waited Till Mr. Ackman was not talking to anyone, and shook his hand and told him he was one of my heros. He asked me who I was and I said I was a proud tenant and Artist at the South Street Seaport, and prould shareholder. He said I looked like a Artist, I told him thats what people said last time I was in GGP’s hearing. I told him the next German Shepard dog I get I will name him Bill Ackman, and the last German Shepard I had was named Warren Buffet [ all true ] I told him that I used to get cards from my Vet that said Warren Buffett needed his rabies and distemper shots.I told him I would send him the cards about Bill Ackman dog for his shots. He laughed and I feel I amused him, slightly charmed him and was slightly foolish. LOL!!!
Obviously, we were inspired and immediately dispatched someone to purchase a fluffy white cat for the Dealbreaker office. We named it after our favorite hedge fund manager and moving forward, will be providing you with daily updates of our time together. Here’s how life with Stevie has been going so far. Read more »