Short sale bans. Is there anything they can’t do?
Maybe. But does it matter? If your position is just that “speculation” on stocks is the moral equivalent of puppy-murder and should never be profitable, then you just say things like “let’s ban short sales” and don’t worry about the details. You take shorting of bank shares as a personal affront, and your goal is not to have functioning markets but just to prove that you’re tough. And your name might be Jean-Pierre Jouyet:
Jean-Pierre Jouyet, head of the AMF, the French securities regulator, said on Thursday night: “They [investors] wanted to test French resistance. This is our response, as always very determined, and it will be so for all those who want to put us to the test.”
But, as we’re seeing with new short sale bans from France, Italy, Spain and Belgium, this approach sometimes has problems, because most short selling takes place in an actual world where other things happen too. Like:
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There’s a new sheriff in town. Read more »
There will be no Mrs. Nice IMF Chief. Read more »
The French economy minister said it was futile to continue castigating bankers for their role in the financial crisis, arguing that attention should shift to making sure the banks returned to their core role of financing growth. “It’s time for accountability from everybody, not for bashing,” Lagarde said at a banking conference in Paris on Tuesday. [Dealbook]
As previously mentioned, the most Fantabulous banker at Goldman Sachs, Fabrice Tourre, took a completely and totally voluntary leave of absence yesterday from his gig at the bank’s London office. He reportedly took off for France soon after the news of his involvement in the scandal du jour broke, perhaps to weep into a pillow in his childhood bed while being comforted by mother. That, and to escape the British politicians giving him shit for potentially receiving a bonus well-deserved.
A Goldman Sachs banker facing fraud charges is in line for a massive bonus, it emerged yesterday. The bank said the 31-year-old Frenchborn broker has done ‘nothing wrong’ and there was no need to suspend him during the American investigation. It means Mr Tourre, who moved from the U.S. to London in 2008, can claim a sizeable slice of the £3.2billion bonus bonanza expected to be announced by the Wall Street giant today.
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In the growing battle over stolen information, who can muster the most misplaced outrage? The French, for whom the ends (prosecuting tax evaders) justify the means (using a list stolen from HSBC)? Or the Swiss, defenders of the Eighth Commandment and erstwhile protectors of tax cheats from around the world?
Or bets are on the French.
“France is committing no fraud, the tax evaders are,” said Eric Woerth, budget minister, in an interview on Canal Plus. “What counts is that we obtained [the information] legally.”
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The AP reports that due an upswing in suicides in France, Labor Minister Xavier Darcos has ordered all companies with over 1,000 employees to develop “anti-stress plans” to deal with pressure in the workplace. Those who fail to to so? Will have their names placed on “a list of shame to be published on the Internet.”
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Some stories, you just have no idea how to improve on. The irony and satire is so implicit in the fact pattern that any commentary seems somewhat strained by comparison. One struggles to unify the themes, only to find them so intricately locked in a matrix that to move them is to detract from the whole. For instance:
Invented at Disney World
Requiring medium and larger firms
To offer paid vacation
To make the economy more efficient
Rep. Alan Grayson was standing in the middle of Disney World when it hit him: What Americans really need is a week of paid vacation.
So on Thursday, the Florida Democrat will introduce the Paid Vacation Act — legislation that would be the first to make paid vacation time a requirement under federal law.
The bill would require companies with more than 100 employees to offer a week of paid vacation for both full-time and part-time employees after they’ve put in a year on the job. Three years after the effective date of the law, those same companies would be required to provide two weeks of paid vacation, and companies with 50 or more employees would have to provide one week.
The idea: More vacation will stimulate the economy through fewer sick days, better productivity and happier employees.
This is, of course, why French industry dominates the European continent.
Alan Grayson to introduce Paid Vacation Act [Politico]
They have no sense of humor when you try to mess with the much weakened 35 hour work week, or when you hint that they might not even get paid for that. But even against this backdrop, nothing is more acute than the French hatred of authority. True, they haven’t revived beheading, yet, but I still wouldn’t want to be an executive on French soil today:
Almost half of French people believe it is acceptable for workers facing layoffs to lock up their bosses, according to an opinion poll published on Tuesday.
Staff at French plants run by Sony, 3M and Caterpillar have held managers inside the factories overnight, in three separate incidents, to demand better layoff terms — a new form of labor action dubbed “bossnapping” by the media.
A poll by the CSA institute for Le Parisien newspaper found 50 percent of French people surveyed disapproved of such acts, but 45 percent thought they were acceptable.
So, we wonder, Dealbreaker, as a purely theoretical exercise because, of course, we absolutely abhor violence, when Congress passes the “No Executive Left Outside” law, who would be the most likely candidates in North America for a bit of bossnapping? (Aside from Ken Lewis, that is). Would you hold Count Vikula in the zen garden?
Almost half of French approve of locking up bosses [Reuters]
I don’t mean to get you down but this is an issue of global importance that must be addressed immediately: The Daily Mail reports that due to the declining economy, those who would otherwise go topless on French beaches like St. Tropez are adding fabric instead of subtracting. According to Dr. Guy Fournier (obviously a quack), “Public morality follows people’s confidence and optimism in their wealth and lifestyle. During an economic downturn, women are less inclined to let it all hang out and more likely to cover up.” Seriously, France? Seriously? Loose morals and having threesomes and being naked are supposed to be the one thing you can do right, the one thing, and you can’t even do that? God!
Beach Goers In France Going Topless Less [UPI]