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08/30/2010 | zero hedge
Feel like it is time to spread the market annihilation love courtesy of "any minute now" HFT-induced flash crashes? Have no fear, Bank of America is here. "High-frequency trading in the US and Europe has grabbed most attention in the market, but similar activities are quietly taking off in Asia as well." Thusly begins a pamphlet by BofA/ML's Carrie Cheung which explains the tremendous "advantages" that HFTs offer to any local market. Not mentioned is that these advantages include drastic market destabilization, and that the "attention" is of the "get that thing the hell out of here" variety.
At least we get to learn some very useful facts about the proliferation of the little bloodsucking algos in the Pacific rim such as...
- "high-frequency trading firms today account for about 20-25% of the TSE turnover -
ZH translation: the TSE will crash only one third lower when the Flash Crash hits it"
- "the market microstructure changes introduced at the same time (i.e. new tick sizes) cut the average spread of Nikkei 225 stocks by 25%, making it much cheaper to trade -
ZH tranlsation: in HFT jargon, trade is a synonym for stuff cancelable quotes and/or churn",
- "The new platform allows for higher-frequency trading, where algorithms are used to make thousands of trades in milliseconds, thereby allowing firms to profit from tiny spreads and market imbalances." - ZH translation: we make frontrunning fast and easy, or your Other People's Money back;
- "Furthermore, the introduction of co-location services by Japanese exchanges, together with third-party proximity services, further enhances the platform for high-frequency trading firms in Japan." - ZH translation: Cisco stands to make at least one or two cents in incremental EPS by letting the biggest market manipulators frontrun and scalp at the speed of light; judging by its latest results, it needs it;
- "It is estimated that high-frequency trading activity will account for 30-40% of liquidity by the end of 2010." - ZH translation: the crash after the next, will be about half the amplitude of the May 6 crash;
- The Kospi Index Option is the world’s most heavily traded derivative. It is highly correlated with the US markets, has a low transaction cost and hence is heavily traded by retail investors. These elements make it an attractive market for a lot of foreign investors including the highfrequency trading group. - ZH translation: Japanese housewives will first all buy together, then will be all shaken out together, losing all their money at the same time, with just Made in New York Atari making a killing;
- China is a market most foreign investors want to access, but the entry barriers are high. However, the recent successful launch of CSI 300 futures will no doubt make it an important market to keep an eye on. The futures contract, while currently limited to just domestic traders, now has the second largest turnover in the world, following Kospi. - ZH translation: we are preparing to blow up the world.
In conclusion, use Bank of America cause their HFT expertise in setting landmines in Asian stock markets is second to none: "Asia’s markets are evolving gradually. In addition, the region’s growing economic power and upgrades in technology will definitely make this the next hot spot for high-frequency trading."
Full two page ad of BofA exporting WMDs to the Pacific rim:
April 18, 2010 | naked capitalism
And for word-pictures of the kind of world the bankers are creating, this from one of the greatest masters of the art of word-pictures:
Far and wide, lay a ruined country, yielding nothing but desolation. Every green leaf, every blade of grass and blade of grain, was as shrivelled and poor as the miserable people. Everything was bowed down, dejected, oppressed, and broken. Habitations, fences, domesticated animals, men, women, children, and the soil that bore them—–all worn out.
Monseigneur (often a most worthy individual gentleman) was a national blessing, gave a chivalrous tone to things, was a polite example of luxurious and shinging life, and a great deal more to equal purpose; nevertheless, Monseigneur as a class had, somehow or other, brought things to this.
–Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
If we were truly a secular rather than a christian roading, slave ethic loving nation we would be employing, every six months or so, a Roman style decimation of university presidents and economics departments until the majority felt that things had turned around
Double Dip: Paulson then Geitner
"Double Dip: Paulson then Geitner"
Or maybe "double drip."
"Double Dip: Paulson then Geitner"
Or maybe "double drip."
Or maybe double dipshits.
August 13, 2010 | Economist's View
Remember this? (I removed the warning that was on the original.) In addition to the reasons Krugman cites in his column, I sure hope that fear of the nickname "Helicopter Ben" isn't part of the Bernanke Fed's reluctance to pursue more aggressive policy.
jeffrey678:Every time I see a helicopter fly over I wonder if the cash will come out in bundles or loose. LOL I remember they threw out MRE's and US dollars from helicopters and planes in Afganistan. Why not in the US.d4winds:Petey:
BB's helicopter has hovered exclusively over Wall Street, Manhattan, NY.
"I remember they threw out MRE's and US dollars from helicopters and planes in Afganistan. Why not in the US."
Well, that sorta answers itself, doesn't it?
If you want to drop $200B/yr out of helicopters in Iraq and Afghanistan, then there aren't enough helicopters left in the US.
Sure, you don't get the same multiplier effect when you fly the helicopters overseas as you do when you fly them at home, but welcome to the new normal.
MRE's for Afghanistan. Cutting food stamps in the US...
Brad Hessel :Shouldn’t the helicopter be black?
Mattyoung:The Helicopters take off. The oil tankers stop in their track, waiting for the new price of oil to settle.
August 27, 2010
This is perfect for a Friday afternoon: An amusing romp thru Wall Street:
click for ginormous graphic
Via William Banzai7
If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. That has long been the mantra of the financial industry when bankers want to defend their out-sized pay.
Put another way, paying “peanut” spreads is no use if trading ends up in the hands of computerized monkeys.
No wonder: back then the derivatives market was exploding, and ISDA’s belief in the value of self-regulation was so widely shared that one senior banker quipped that ISDA did not need external lobbyists “since we have Alan Greenspan [former Federal Reserve chairman] doing that”.
The Fed chairman delivers a big, but boring, speech on the economy at Jackson Hole. Here's a translation
As a man, Ben Bernanke is prone to understatement, a tendency that was reinforced very early in his term as chairman of the Federal Reserve when a dinner-party comment he made to CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo sent financial markets into a tizzy the next day. Therefore, any speech he gives -- in particular, major speeches on the state of the economy at a time of high national anxiety -- must be read through a special filter. I call this filter the Bernanke-Hype-ometer, and I have applied it to the address he gave at Jackson Hole, Wyo., Friday morning. (Bernanke comments in bold, followed by Hype-ometer translations.)
The annual meeting at Jackson Hole always provides a valuable opportunity to reflect on the economic and financial developments of the preceding year, and recently we have had a great deal on which to reflect.
Hey, just this morning, the Bureau of Economic Analysis downgraded the second quarter GDP growth rate to a miserable 1.6 percent! So, even after juicing the economy every which way but loose the last two years, we're headed in completely the wrong direction. Congress won't do anything to help, so now everyone wants me to stop the bleeding.
However, although private final demand, output and employment have indeed been growing for more than a year, the pace of that growth recently appears somewhat less vigorous than we expected.
Remember how I was the wrongest person on the planet when I said the subprime mortgage bust was "contained" and wouldn't cause a worldwide financial crisis? Haha, man that was dumb. Well, guess what, I was wrong again earlier this year, when I decided the time was ripe for the Fed to stop bailing out the economy.
Incoming data on the labor market have remained disappointing.
The working class is unbelievably screwed. This is kind of bumming me out.
Overall, the incoming data suggest that the recovery of output and employment in the United States has slowed in recent months, to a pace somewhat weaker than most FOMC participants projected earlier this year.
Double-dip recession, here we come!
Despite the weaker data seen recently, the preconditions for a pickup in growth in 2011 appear to remain in place.
Come on -- do you know what would happen if I didn't say that things will get better, eventually? Wall Street would commit mass hari-kari.
At this juncture, the risk of either an undesirable rise in inflation or of significant further disinflation seems low.
OK, sure, unemployment is in the toilet, but don't expect us to do too much about it, because the only thing we really care about is inflation, and as far as we are concerned, everything's fine on that front.
The FOMC has also acted to improve market functioning and to push longer-term interest rates lower through its large-scale purchases of agency debt, agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS), and longer-term Treasury securities, of which the Federal Reserve currently holds more than $2 trillion. The channels through which the Fed's purchases affect longer-term interest rates and financial conditions more generally have been subject to debate.
OK, let me lay it out for you. The one thing the Fed is really prepared to do to help the economy is to keep purchasing debt, such as Treasury securities. By keeping our unbelievably monster huge portfolio of debt high, we theoretically lower the cost of borrowing throughout the economy. That should spur faster growth. We stopped doing this a while back, but so many people started refinancing their mortgages that our holdings of mortgage-backed securities began to disappear, which, ironically, meant that by not acting, we were actually contributing to a tightening of the money supply. That's a big no-no when economic growth is flat-lining. So when the economy started to go downhill again, we changed our strategy -- but not until after a big fight with members of the conservative faction of the Federal Reserve Bank's Board of Governors who believe that even such a cautious step was far too aggressive. These guys just don't care about unemployment. Some of them even think it's time to start raising interest rates! Hahahahaha.
By agreeing to keep constant the size of the Federal Reserve's securities portfolio, the Committee avoided an undesirable passive tightening of policy that might otherwise have occurred. The decision also underscored the Committee's intent to maintain accommodative financial conditions as needed to support the recovery. We will continue to monitor economic developments closely and to evaluate whether additional monetary easing would be beneficial. In particular, the Committee is prepared to provide additional monetary accommodation through unconventional measures if it proves necessary, especially if the outlook were to deteriorate significantly.
I am not going to be responsible for yet another market crash. So I stomped all over the reactionaries, because even a blind man can see investor sentiment is as fragile as a 2-year-old on a sugar crash. I really don't want to be remembered as the Federal Reserve chairman who presided over TWO recessions. So let me tell you plainly: If the shit really hits the fan, we're going to open the taps wide open, buy every Treasury bond in sight, drop money from helicopters, and keep the U.S. economy on life support.
This is why, incidentally, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is back over 10,000 points. Yay me!
A rather different type of policy option, which has been proposed by a number of economists, would have the Committee increase its medium-term inflation goals above levels consistent with price stability. I see no support for this option on the FOMC.
Paul Krugman, who is one hell of a pain in the ass, believes that the Fed is far too concerned with keeping inflation low. He keeps whining about unemployment, and thinks that if we just did so much as announce that we are prepared to accept higher inflation, and then pursued monetary policy along those lines, the economy would get a steroid boost that would finally shake it out of its doldrums. Sorry, but that is completely nuts and it is NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN. Ever! Please shut up, Paul.
Inflation expectations appear reasonably well-anchored, and both inflation expectations and actual inflation remain within a range consistent with price stability.
I know, I know, the Federal Reserve is entrusted by Congress with two mandates -- promoting full employment and keeping inflation low. But everyone knows that we only really care about price stability, so never mind what I said before about the shit hitting the fan. As long as inflation is fine, we're only going to take baby steps.
Despite this recent slowing, however, it is reasonable to expect some pickup in growth in 2011 and in subsequent years.
Somewhere, over the rainbow, skies are blue.
- Andrew Leonard is a staff writer
Boy, when you think you’ve seen the worst in utterly shameless, self serving tripe, someone manages to outdo it.
Admittedly, it’s awfully hard to beat Steve Schwarzmann’s recent one-two punch of utter canard wrapped in tasteless hyperbole, that of Obama proposals that private equity kingpins pay taxes on what is really the fruits of their labor like other working stiffs was a ” a “war… like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.”
...To your point yesterday on sacrificing virgins to the invisible gods, I think this to be the Achilles' heel of the policy elite - I am certain we will find a process fraught with corruption in their virgin determination-selection-confirmation scheme since it is a hallmark of this elite that they despise process...
"The little people have to suffer." "Exactly. Didn't you ever read Darwin? It's survival of the fittest. Why punish me with taxes - any taxes at all - because I'm smarter? I figured out early where the money was and I took the risks. You didn't. So I'm supposed to share? We all gamble. The difference is that I gamble for high stakes with little risk, since I have the full indemnification of the US tax payer and the Congress.
Meanwhile, the little people play the lottery, Vegas, and take out Payday loans, which I have stock in. I resent the government taking my wealth. It doesn't matter if it was given to me, I lucked out, or I got into a racket where I get paid 400% of what my employees get. If you are poor it's probably due to your own inadequacies and don't deserve to be rescued.
What I need is less government, less government interference. Life is a gamble. I'm not going to let you load the game against me. But if you try, don't worry, I'll still win, because I play by my own rules."
The Baseline Scenario
Here’s a quote from Craig: “We were proud of the way we used to make things up as we went along. . . . It’s like robbing a bank but legal. We could take somebody straight off the street, teach them a few simple tricks in a couple of hours and easily charge them out to our clients for more than £7000 per week.” According to Craig (according to Hari), all of management consulting boils down to recommending that the client lay off thirty percent of its staff, after one week of observation and analysis.
I am just a housecat and not a management insultant, but I understand that the secret to successful management insulting is to figure out what the client wants to hear and then tell them that, dressed up in lots of buzzwords and MBA-speak.
That way management can go to the board/shareholders and say: “Booz/Bain/McKinsey told us that we need to fire 30% of the workforce and then pay ourselves a bonus for attracting top talent like ourselves!”
If things go wrong, well that road leads back to #2.
Kevin de Bruxelles :i on the ball patriot
Seems like this post on high credit card costs to American peasants can be combined with the previous post on surplus nations and the obvious solution is for the Chinese, Japanese, and German rentier classes to one way or another move into the American credit card business and to start low-balling the American rentier class’ outrageous interest rates. Not only will they find a way to recycle their dollars, they will make sure their products find willing buyers.
Determinants of Slave Prices
The prices paid for slaves reflected two economic factors: the characteristics of the slave and the conditions of the market. Important individual features included age, sex, childbearing capacity (for females), physical condition, temperament, and skill level. In addition, the supply of slaves, demand for products produced by slaves, and seasonal factors helped determine market conditions and therefore prices.”http://eh.net/encyclopedia/article/wahl.slavery.us
The difference today is that there are too many slaves, and to the top wealthy ruling elite masters, the high resource consumption, in the aggregate globally, for maintenance of slaves is a problem
...Fed intellectual midgets scribble pre-paid papers describing how stable the economy of soon to be bankrupt countries is
And finally something quite odd about this year's meeting - as Bloomberg's Scott Lanman points out, the head of the FRBNY's trading desk, better known as the PPT, Brian Sack, is not invited to this meeting for the first time. We will keep a close eye on this very peculiar regime change.
Thats f'ing hysterical. Ben Bernanke would benefit from a "happy ending" or two. That guy is so repressed he can't even jack off. This is what happens when Ivy League nerds run the economy. They're incapable of having sex so they fuck us.
"as Bloomberg's Scott Lanman points out, the head of the FRBNY's trading desk, better known as the PPT, Brian Sack, is not invited to this meeting for the first time."
Me thinks this is because he will trading his ass off trying to hold up the bid less market when everyone figures out the Fed has lost control and confidence...even from fellow bankers?
Someone should fire a bunker buster into Jackson Hole. World peace should commence shortly there after.
Bankers love to meet in the high mountain area of Wyoming. They love the subtle innuendo of meeting and agreeing to be "in the HOLE".
Altogether an odious and detestable profession.
"The government could no longer issue sufficient notes – even with Havenstein’s lightening presses – to finance itself. Society started to break up. Farmers refused to sell their produce in return for what they called “Jew confetti” – an ominous portent for the future. Hungry townspeople went on raids into the countryside, slaughtering livestock, which they then carried off. More prosperous regions contemplated secession."
"Jew confetti" once again .Coincidence, surely Bernanke will know the term
There will be nothing substantial discussed at Jackson Hole.
What ever the plan of attack is, it has already been decided, and will be announced or implemented at the absolute worst time for the bears.
It will be the same old, same old schedule in Wyoming:
Shit, shower, and shave
Round of golf
Served by exotic, foreign beauties
Play cards, watch SportsCenter
Massage session provided by 17-year old Asian girls
Dinner, drinks, more card playing
Sex with your choice of escort, any race, color, stripe, or ethnic origin.
December 13, 2009 | WhyTheHeck
I hate to be one of those I-told-you-so guys (not!) but way back in April I predicted a second round of stimulus, in 2010. I pointed that that the housing bubble was like heroin, and the first stimulus was like Methadone to prevent the economy from going “cold turkey” after the housing bubble burst. (That first-time homebuyers credit is also pure Methadone specifically for housing.) And guess what? Methadone is addictive too, so that’s why we are getting a second round of stimulus and may need a third round in 2011.
We are in a “Methadone Economy,” as I pointed out and the Financial Times recently agreed. The following link is from April 13, 2009. This posting still holds true — it could easily have been written yesterday, except that I was too busy beating Mary at Scrabble, so it’s lucky I had already written it.
Last but not least, here is the soundbite of the year: "You have faith in the central bank." No further comment necessary.
Your rating: None Average: 5 (8 votes)
Ha ha, scum sucking parasite meltdown.
How dare the interviewer take something Mishkin wrote way back in March 2006 (for the blue collar wages of only $124,000) and ask him to explain his sources, reasoning and logic. I hope that impertinent bastard never works in this town again.
Mishkin I mean. One can hope, however hopeless that hope might be.
The altar of central banks are littered with the blacked bones of countless millions who came to suckle and got cindered.
Looks like a "Dick with ears" to me. How be backtracts and looks nervous.
Rat-fucking white collar gangsters with Ivy League degrees run the white G-7 right now. Nothing much to do besides try to make a little money front-running; and be ready to get out of the way when their virtual casino blows up. And it will.
Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis
It is amazing how much money one can make mismanaging money in conjunction with a remarkably successful advertising program.
...Ken Fisher's advice is designed to do one thing - make money for Ken Fisher.
Ken Fisher is what the Australians would call a spruiker.
A spruiker is a shill or a tout, kind of like the guy who stands outside the strip clubs trying to convince passersby to go in for a drink, or perhaps Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors.
The only 'bull' Ken Fisher knows anything about is bullshit.
"I know it may seem out of place for me to challenge a Wharton professor..."
That's okay... Siegel (from Wharton) is the one exception to the general rule that, normally, the award for "complete and total lack of common sense in an economics department" goes to PRINCETON.Moonrajah:
The Bond Bubble is the Mother of All Bubbles.
So what do we call those inflating it? Motherbubblers?
...The fecklessness of the economics ‘profession’ just beggars the imagination. They could at least entertain us by dressing up in clown suits. Popcorn! Dancing bears! This way to the egress! Bwa ha ha hahhh …
“The fecklessness of the economics ‘profession’ just beggars the imagination. They could at least entertain us by dressing up in clown suits.”
Best. Comment. Ever.
Eventually though, we have to realize that we, ourselves, are the problem. We do not take sufficient action to end the madness/clown-show. Until we the people demand honest, transparent reform, we’ll continue to be fed this drivel and led down primrose paths.
“Economic theory provides little guidance as to what should be the ‘correct’ level of asset prices — including housing prices,” the new paper published by the bank says.
...This seems akin to a mathematics professor publicly denying the existence of the multiplication table.
Aug 18 2010 | ft.com
The state of New Jersey appears to have blazed a new trail, but hopefully it’s one that other states won’t follow:
New Jersey is the first state ever charged by the SEC for violations of the federal securities laws.
This is from Thorvaldur Gylfason. He argues that bankers may have been playing a game similar to the game played in Mel Brooks' The Producers, and if that's true, "the perpetrators should be heading to jail":
Mel Brooks and the bankers, by Thorvaldur Gylfason, Vox EU: In Mel Brooks’ brilliant film and Broadway musical The Producers, an over-the-hill Broadway producer, Max Bialystock and his hapless accountant, Leo Bloom recognize two great truths. It is very hard to produce a hit and very easy to produce a flop – and they can make more money by producing a flop than by producing a hit. Max uses his expertise to ensure that the play flops. He selects the worst play ever written (Springtime for Hitler) – an ode to Hitler, a terrible director, and an awful male lead. Max understands critics’ key role in determining the success of Broadway plays, so he pretends to attempt to bribe the most prominent critic in order to enrage him and make sure that he will pan the play.
Max then (literally) seduces his investors, raising a million bucks from “little old ladies” by selling far more than 100% of the potential profits. If the play fails almost immediately, the investors will not expect to receive any money and Max and Leo can run away to Rio with the investors’ money.
The plot fails, however, because the show turns out to be a hit. It is so excruciatingly bad that the audience assumes it is a clever satire. Bialystock and Bloom land in jail when they are unable to pay over 1000% of profits to the investors. In prison, Max and Leo promptly set out to try the same scam. The story ends there because even Mr. Brooks could not imagine what happened next.
Fred C. Dobbs:
So, life imitates art. This is new?
Mel Brooks produces a wickedly satiric
movie about a Broadway play, turns the
movie into a fabulously successful
Broadway musical about the play, turns
the musical about the play into a movie,
and banksters from Wall St actually noticed?
Jesse's Café Américain
A little competition is just what the COMEX and LBMA need.
Wouldn't it be sweet if some master-of-the-universe trader caught rigging the markets and violating the rules were to find himself on the receiving end of an old-fashioned caning?
Most US equity investors still have a touching delusion that equities are cheap ...
The American public thinks they are rugged individualists, who come to conclusions based upon sound reason and a rational thought process. The truth is that the vast majority of Americans act like a herd of cattle or a horde of lemmings. Throughout history there have been many instances of mass delusion in US stock markets... It appears that the latest mass delusion "Stocks for a long run" has replaced baseball as the national past-time in America.
As you know I have been trying to 'figure out' Barack Obama and his mysterious background and equally mystifying rise to power, without having done anything notable, either in business, or civil service, or even military service. Granted, he talks one hell of a game but always seems to fall short. He seems to have less substance, far less accomplishments than his fellow actor in the White House, Ronald Reagan, who had been a governor before becoming President.
Perhaps the answer is as simple as this."It's hard to believe that a two-year senator from Chicago with a background in 'community organizing' presides over this elaborate and opaque system of imperial rule. He doesn't, of course. The real leaders remain hidden behind the cloak of democratic government and all of Washington's phony institutions. Obama is merely a public relations hologram, a friendly face that conceals the machinations of a global Mafia. Other people--whoever they may be--control the levers of power moving the pieces as needed to assure the best outcome for themselves and their constituents." Mike Whitney, Kill Hugo?Well, unlike his predecessor, at least he has not tortured anyone that we know about.
The dollar has been in the process of self-destruction since that clever Chinese agent Richard Nixon defaulted on the US gold obligations in 1971.
And of course that Sino-Soviet agent Ronald Reagan who convinced the nation that 'deficits don't matter' if it involved tax cuts for the wealthy.
The Big Picture
Did you know that the London School of Economics has a “Paul Woolley Centre for the Study of Capital Market Dysfunctionality?”
Aug 14, 2010 | Calculated Risk
ex-Duke of Con Dao wrote:
"I wonder what Obama or any president can/could really do to move that needle."
A few more hundred billion to the TBTF banks should do the trick.
30 days till the second anniversary of the Lehman Bros collapse.
I'm going with with modern era gift: China.
We all scream
For useless ice cream
Metaphors about American Dreams
Share of Gross Domestic Product of Federal Government, Defense and Nondefense Spending, 2000-2009 January 15, 2010
Percent of GDP of Defense Spending
2000 ( 3.7)
2001 ( 3.8) Bush
2002 ( 4.1)
2003 ( 4.5)
2004 ( 4.6)
2005 ( 4.7)
2006 ( 4.7)
2007 ( 4.7)
2008 ( 5.1)
2009 ( 5.5) Obama
A Tale Of Two Expenses
By Paul Krugman
Social Security outlays are projected to rise from 4.8 percent of GDP now to 6 percent of GDP in 2030. This is a huge crisis, requiring complete overhaul of the system.
Defense spending rose from 3.8 percent of GDP in 2001 to 5.5 percent last year; you should also add a couple of tenths of a percentage point for non-defense security spending. This was no big deal — certainly not a reason to reconsider the tax cuts sold back in 2001 as easily affordable given large projected budget surpluses.
Aug 12, 2010 | The Atlantic
As though the multi-million dollar bonuses aren't enough to make the rest of the world envy Goldman Sachs bankers, its new headquarters will include a shiny new 54,000 square foot gym. That sure beats our "gym" here at Atlantic Media, which might be 250 square feet. But oddly, Goldman's isn't free. And even stranger: the pay scale is proportional to your level at the firm. What's the logic here?
Social Workout reports on the story and provides a few pics. Its article questions the monthly fees which run:
$132 - Managing DirectorsSW remarks:
$75 - Vice Presidents
$51 - Everybody Else at GoldmanWhere to begin with this? First, this would seem to suggest that there are only three relevant levels of hierarchy within the Goldman empire. Yay FLAT bureauracy-free management structures! Or perhaps BOO extreme concentration of wealth at the top! But the really wonderful thing is the huge $57 break that Goldman Vice Presidents get on their gym fees vs. the "MDs." Look, an MD might make $20 million a year and have several hundred million in Goldman stock, and so he or she can afford that extra $684 a year. But a poor vice president is probably only making a few million a year, and those savings go directly to the outrageous cost of private schools on the upper east side. Hurray for progressive sliding scales!
Indeed. Goldman is so progressive, presumably it couldn't help but save the "little guys" a few bucks. Any given Associate is probably only making a paltry $350,000 per year or more, so $51 per month is clearly all they can afford. (For the record, when I moved to New York City after college and was barely halfway to making six-figures, I managed to afford a gym membership that cost $65 per month.) [Aug 14, 2010] Funny Nigerian email scam
ANTI-TERRORIST AND MONETARY CRIMES DIVISION
FBI HEADQUARTERS IN WASHINGTON, D.C.FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
J. EDGAR HOOVER BUILDING935 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE, NW WASHINGTON, D.C. 20535-0001
ATTENTION FUND BENEFICIARY,
THIS IS AN OFFICIAL ADVICE FROM THE FBI FOREIGN REMITTANCE/TELEGRAPHIC DEPT., IT HAS COME TO OUR NOTICE THAT THE C.B.N BANK NIGERIA DISTRICT HAS RELEASED 10,500,000.00 U.S DOLLARS INTO BANK OF AMERICA IN YOUR NAME AS THEBENEFICIARY, BY INHERITANCE MEANS.
THE C.B.N BANK NIGERIA KNOWING FULLY WELL THAT THEY DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH FACILITIES TO EFFECT THIS PAYMENT FROM THE UNITED KINGDOM TO YOUR ACCOUNT, USED WHAT WE KNOW AS A SECRET DIPLOMATIC TRANSIT PAYMENT S.T.D.P TO PAY THIS FUND THROUGH WIRE TRANSFER, THEY USED THIS MEANS TO COMPLETE THE PAYMENT.THEY ARE STILL, WAITING FOR CONFIRMATION FROM YOU ON THE ALREADY TRANSFERRED FUNDS, WHICH WAS MADE IN DIRECT TRANSFER SO THAT THEY CAN DO FINAL CREDITING TO YOUR ACCOUNT.
SECRET DIPLOMATIC PAYMENTS ARE NOT MADE UNLESS THE FUNDS ARE RELATED TO TERRORIST ACTIVITIES WHY MUST YOUR PAYMENT BE MADE INSECRET TRANSFER, IF YOUR TRANSACTION IS LEGITIMATE, IF YOU ARE NOT A TERRORIST, THEN WHY DID YOU NOT RECEIVE THE MONEY DIRECTLY INTO YOUR ACCOUNT, THIS IS A PURE CODED, MEANS OF PAYMENT?RECORDS WHICH WE HAVE HAD WITH THIS METHOD OF PAYMENT IN THE PAST HAS ALWAYS BEEN RELATED TO TERRORIST ACTS, WE DO NOT WANT YOU TO GET INTO TROUBLE AS SOON AS THESE FUNDS REFLECT IN YOUR ACCOUNT IN THE U.S.A, SO IT IS OUR DUTY AS A WORD WIDE COMMISSION TO CORRECT THIS LITTLE PROBLEM BEFORE THIS FUND WILL BE CREDITED INTO YOUR PERSONAL ACCOUNT.
Apr 19, 2009 | naked capitalism
Remember over the last decade how the mantra defending all this was "spreading risk." Funny you don't hear that anymore, because they were right. We all got the risk, whether we wanted it or not.
The Baseline Scenario
sales of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” are up sharply, although the book was first published more than 50 years ago (it is in and out of the Top 100 list on Amazon).
August 12, 2010 | naked capitalism
Another pack of lies from the whiners who can’t see the future. If not for us and our credit, there wouldn’t have been any growth or profits at all. Figure that one. We have 6%? So what. 6% of 100 still leaves 94 for everybody else. Without us, that would have been about 44 or 34 or even 24. If everybody split 24 that’s a lot less than splitting 94. So we made them at least 50 for our 6%, if not 76. For free. I can count, can you? That’s why we got bailed out. We want to make them another 50 or more, just like the first time. I need a statue of myself someplace, where I can be admired as a hero. Or maybe the wing of an art museum can bear my name. Or maybe the whole museum. Someplace I’m safe from scurrilous attacks on my integrity by leftwing radicals.
-Mr. Jolifceous “Jolly” B. Bucks, MBA, CFA, CPA, LLD, LLC, Ltd., PhD,
Canker, Banker and Wanker
August 11, 2010 | The Big Picture
I love this paragraph from Bloomberg’s Caroline Baum:The Curmudgeon :
“What we had was a government-prescribed course of amphetamines (to keep it up), antibiotics (to prevent infection) and antidepressants (to make it feel better). It endured regular steroid injections from both monetary and fiscal authorities. And it still has no real muscle.”
And all the steroids are making us irritable, and causing our …well, you know, to do what steroids make them do.
Ms. Baum is a favorite of mine
I'll try to keep a straight face. I'm sorry. Who is their CFO, Bernie Madoff? What they hell are they doing with a secondary offering less than a month after the IPO, and having given away most of their earnings in employee bonuses! Are they nuts? Do these jokers have a business plan, or do they just make it up as they go along?
August 9, 2010 | The Big Picture
The Treasury Dept today announced that they had begun compiling a list of the economically insane, and will be publishing this list on a regular basis, according to a Washington Post article.
The reason for this: Commentaries regarding mortgage refinancing and/or forgiveness — from both political and investment players — that the Treasury department said could only be described as “ridiculous.”
“Don’t get your hopes up. And that’s a good thing, since ushering in a refinancing boom would only be a short-term fix for the housing market and the economy that would have long-term consequences. A widespread refinancing of loans would mean reverting to looser lending standards, one of the things that got us into this mess. It could also boost mortgage rates for new borrowers and force U.S. taxpayers to shoulder more risk, since they technically own Fannie and Freddie . . .
“We have been reading an increasing amount of absurd commentary from people who should know better,” said fictional Treasury spokesperson Ivan Tobyrael. “Much of this has crossed the line from economically implausible to criminally insane. As much as it is a waste of time, we thought it was time to clarify facts for the reality challenged.“
An unnamed Treasury official said the department was thinking of creating an economic “Do Not Fly” list. “Some of these people are dangerous to themselves and others. We want to keep them away from sharp objects.”
Treasury noted a few specific examples of what they described as “frickin’ crazy”:
-A major Wire House (and TARP recipient) suggestion we abandon loan to value standards to allow more refinancings of homes likely to default as “Uncle Sam is on the hook anyway.”
-Reuters suggestion that the GSEs are about to embark on a massive loan forgiveness program.
Said another fictional spokes-avatar: “We don’t know what they are smoking over at Reuters, but it is obviously some powerful shit.”
Either that, or the heat is frying their brains . . .
I mean, dont' we all understand that we are obligated to give every dime we have to Jamie Dimon?
what's wrong with these people?
Prior to 1990, Ms. Dahlgren was responsible for budget and policy at the Substance Abuse Intervention Division at Riker’s Island, part of the New York Department of Corrections
To paraphrase, she did budgeting for a prison. A noble occupation, to be sure, but not exactly applicable to understanding the complex risks within a portfolio of synthetic CDOs, understanding interconnected risks, or developing a view on financial company regulatory capital requirements.
A prison-industrial parasite – I assume “noble occupation” is a term of irony.
The Crony Principle trumps the Peter Principle:
You rise to the level of your loyalty and service to powerful benefactors.
In that light, I think she was VERY competent – and was rewarded accordingly.
.... a couple of quotes from Greenspan's paper in 1966...
"Under a gold standard, the amount of credit that an economy can support is determined by the economy's tangible assets, since every credit instrument is ultimately a claim on some tangible asset. But government bonds are not backed by tangible wealth, only by the government's promise to pay out of future tax revenues, and cannot easily be absorbed by the financial markets. A large volume of new government bonds can be sold to the public only at progressively higher interest rates. Thus, government deficit spending under a gold standard is severely limited. The abandonment of the gold standard made it possible for the welfare statists to use the banking system as a means to an unlimited expansion of credit. They have created paper reserves in the form of government bonds which — through a complex series of steps — the banks accept in place of tangible assets and treat as if they were an actual deposit, i.e., as the equivalent of what was formerly a deposit of gold. The holder of a government bond or of a bank deposit created by paper reserves believes that he has a valid claim on a real asset. But the fact is that there are now more claims outstanding than real assets. The law of supply and demand is not to be conned. As the supply of money (of claims) increases relative to the supply of tangible assets in the economy, prices must eventually rise. Thus the earnings saved by the productive members of the society lose value in terms of goods. When the economy's books are finally balanced, one finds that this loss in value represents the goods purchased by the government for welfare or other purposes with the money proceeds of the government bonds financed by bank credit expansion."
"In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. There is no safe store of value. If there were, the government would have to make its holding illegal, as was done in the case of gold. If everyone decided, for example, to convert all his bank deposits to silver or copper or any other good, and thereafter declined to accept checks as payment for goods, bank deposits would lose their purchasing power and government-created bank credit would be worthless as a claim on goods. The financial policy of the welfare state requires that there be no way for the owners of wealth to protect themselves."
Unemployment? What unemployment? Nothing... could be further from the truth!
"It is sometimes argued that __________ is necessary to cushion the impact of the loss of jobs due to __________. Claims that __________ will reduce job opportunities are based on the false premise that society has only a fixed number of things to be done or a limited variety of products to be made and workers in excess of those required to meet these needs will be idle.
"Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth. People's __________ are unlimited; it is only our capacity to __________ that is limited by our ability to __________."
The cocaine of cheap money.
...conundrum: How to fix the economy, or mask the pending collapse without an uprising
It look likes the Cocaine is working. Futures are green. Must be that high grade shit. It could also be the circumference of the straw. The wider, The better
The proper way to approach this issue is by means of rigorous math and actuarial science. Let us proceed accordingly:
1. 2+2 = well, opinions differ, so we have to examine some of those opinions in a balanced, pro center right way.
2. Social Security is a European Socialist thing, hence an alien monster thing that is ready at any moment to burst asunder the torso of the Republic, spilling entrails everywhere as it rears its ugly head in the most menacing fashion imaginable .
3. We know for a fact that Socialist ideas inevitably lead to disaster -- in other words higher taxes on the high net worth population.
4. Therefore Social Security must be shown to be a disaster in the making.
5. Thank God Almighty for the fair and balanced reporting on this issue by our mainstream media.
6. This is THE civil rights issue of our time.
7. Sharron Angle is one smart and fearless leader.
8. What time is Glenn Beck on?
9. If we'd stuck to the Gold Standard, none of this would have happened.
10. I bet blacks get more out of SS than they ever paid in.
Brought to you by:
Concerned Multimillionaires For Social Security Refutiation
The League of Southern White Morons
The Bipartisan Commission on Octogenarian Personal Independence
Free Market Math, Inc.
Today's Sunday Funnies is a bit more sobering than I like.
I will have more thoughts about unemployment later this week.
In short: governments who hate vice suddenly hate it much less when cash flow is slow. And we are seeing that again today.
- Congress may overturn a four-year-old ban on Internet gambling in order to tax it. (One potential conflict: most states rely on proceeds from their own lotteries, which carry a comically huge vig of at least 30%.)
- In California (and elsewhere), marijuana is becoming increasingly available, and is being taxed accordingly.
- Hard-hit local governments are loosening alcohol restrictions in airports to raise tax revenue.
Perseus son of Zeus:
As long as were posting absurdities.
"By RYAN J. FOLEY (AP) – 9 hours ago
MADISON, Wis. — With the district in a financial crisis and hundreds of its members facing layoffs, the Milwaukee teachers union is taking a peculiar stand: fighting to get its taxpayer-funded Viagra back."
Peering into these deals was kind of like the zoomed-in penetration shot in a cheesy porn video: you could barely tell which end was up, which part was which, or, more importantly, who exactly was screwing whom. The quant aspect didn't really matter at the end, as one lacrosse-playing Penn graduate would agree on price via phone with another lacrosse-playing Cornell grad, and life would resume its speedy course to another deal.
The sad truth is: quants were the eunuchs at the orgy. The fluffers on the porn set of high finance. We were the ever-present British guy in every Hollywood WWII film: there to add a touch of class and exotic sophistication, but not really matter much to the plot (and maybe even conveniently take some bad guy's bullet).
Comparing banking with porn production is disgusting and totally inappropriate. Porn is a legitimate industry.
What a dysfunctional money grubbing company. Goldman should be destroyed.
Goldman was destroyed... Then the Bush administration decided to play Dr. Frankenstein.
OK, Um... I work in porn. And as much as the giggling girlies love to go on about "fluffers," I'm sorry to tell you that the job is an urban myth. I've worked in the industry for years and for many different companies. And nobody has ever even heard of it other than in movies and urban legends.
Fluffers I guess are like honest bankers. You just hear about them but they don't really exist.
Ex-Goldman Sachs Employee Compares Working At Bank To Being A 'Fluffer' On A 'Porn Set'
Perfect analogy. Because everybody got f*cked and nobody know who until later, when the DVD came out.
"One thing the stimulus did not do was to spur new lending."
No, the bank bailouts did that. Remember? "So they can start lending again." ;)
I thought the bailout money was supposed to be used to pay bankers' bonuses for their ineptitude, and to also help industry wide bank consolidation.
What more can we say here that we have not said for 12 times in a row already. Retail investors are dunzo. The latest update from ICI shows that the week ended July 28 saw a record 13th consecutive outflow from domestic mutual funds as stocks bloody surged. Good thing the HFT algos can now essentially communicate with each other in the actual unique flow patterns of cancelled stock bids, thereby announcing to all other participants the plans of one which promptly become those of all, in the most under the radar concerted effort to "club" the market's HFT participants as one big trading force. As for retail: it is all over. We won't even chart the latest move. Figure it out: nearly $50 billion in outflows YTD as the market is well green.
When the coordinated computerized front running game (of stupid carbon based lifeforms) in which one Atari machine sells to another, and repeats into infinity, while all book liquidity rebates, comes to an end and the theater is finally perceived to have been burning all along, watch out for the binary stampede.
August 4, 2010
The third critical element missing from the 30s is the existence of an alternative on the left — the trade union movement was decades old and quite active. That and the heady specter of Communism convinced the wealthy that Roosevelt wasn’t the worst opponent they faced.alex:
“the heady specter of Communism convinced the wealthy that Roosevelt wasn’t the worst opponent they faced”
I suspect you’re right but the irony is delicious: communism was the best friend that capitalism ever had.“The big difference is that there was a international Communist movement that scared the crap out of capitalists in the 1930’s and that appealed to working people.”
Which proves the capitalists right – competition is what makes ‘em do a good job. Ironically capitalism, without the competition of communism, has become degenerate rent seeking.
August 4, 2010 | The Mess That Greenspan MadeHere’s a pretty remarkable story that was spotted over at Patrick.net the other day. ... The details are in this report at Signs on San Diego.
Robber says he did it to go back to prison
Peter Barry Lawrence pointed a BB gun at a bank teller and was surprised at the amount of bravado that surged through him. He threatened to shoot anyone who followed him out.
“I felt like Clint Eastwood or Charles Bronson,” he said. “There was a sudden rush of adrenaline.”
Lawrence, 71, made his getaway in his wheelchair, with $2,000 in cash on his lap. He was headed back to his rented room at the nearby San Diego Downtown Lodge, but he took a meandering route down Seventh Avenue until the police caught up with him five minutes later.
And just like that, the rush was over. But that was all part of the plan.
The way Lawrence tells it, Monday’s robbery of a Chase Bank was just a desperate ploy to get back behind bars, where he believes he will receive better medical care than he has been able to obtain on his own.
August 1 | Financial Times
Financiers are rank amateurs at spewing drivel. The drivel-masters of the universe are management consultants. Brain-damaging, stomach-churning bovine excrement, which CEOs find mysteriously appealing. It's yet another occupation in which compensation seems to be inversely proportional to results.
Beltway rentmes can’t stand anyone who cares, since they themselves got where they are in life by cutting whatever of that capacity from the flesh of their soul with the sharpened edge of a credit card before they left college, however long ago that was
...I think Angelo Mozillo would be a fine choice to head the agency. He certainly has a background in appeasing consumer sentiment for the marginally displaced.
I would prefer Larry Summers for the job. It would be a step down for him but I’m sure he’s capable of self-sacrifice.
July 21, 2010 | The Huffington Post
Goldman Sachs is proud to announce a consumer-enriching expansion from the hallowed halls of Wall Street to the glittering neon of Las Vegas. In addition to continuing our world-class wealth-friendly Private Wealth Management and Personal Banking services; our internationally-recognized client-focused Global Investment Research services; our award-winning, growth-facilitating Debt Financing teams, we are excited to unveil plans for the globally diversified, entertainment-enhanced, Goldman Sachs Lounge & Casino, perfect for both the high roller, and the high-net-worth individual, financial institution, corporation and/or government.
Located just off Flamingo Ave. between Treasure Island and Circus Circus, GSL&C will continue our tradition of offering the finest in connectivity-based consumer value. From Texas Hold 'em Hedge Fund tables, to Equity Capital Craps games, to Subprime Mortgage Default Roulette wheels, to Junk Bond Bingo, Goldman Sachs plans to bring the visionary, innovative and family-friendly fun it made famous on Wall Street, and transplant it right into the heart of Las Vegas.
“…the public’s perception that Obama is in bed with Wall Street.”
Is he the one whose wife chased him with the golf club, or is that the other one?
I Gotcha Covered Goldman"
ATTILA THE WIMP:
- Price of Big Mac April 2001 (prior to attack of Osama bin Subcontractor) $2.54
- Price of Big Mac July 2010 $3.73 up 47%
- Price of a side of Freedom Fries not available.
In a December 23, 2007 Op-Ed piece penned for the NY Times, Harvard Professor Greg Mankiw wrote: “The truth is the current Fed governors, together with their crack staff of Ph.D. economists and market analysts, are as close to an economic dream team as we are ever likely to see.” Two years later, the number of those who still believe in the magical powers of policy making leadership has plummeted....
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