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Dec 31, 2010 | Bloomberg
One can only imagine what sort of pledges people like President Barack Obama and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke make for the 2011.
Heck, why imagine? Let’s write their New Year’s resolutions for them.
- President Obama promises his base he will attend a weekly meeting of Tax Cutters Anonymous. He promises the business community to find another scapegoat when he wants to rally support for pet legislation. He promises labor unions it won’t be them.
- The Securities and Exchange Commission pledges to find someone, somewhere who is responsible for some kind of wrongdoing and actually do something about it.
Lloyd Blankfein, chairman and chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., resolves to perfect his Wallace Shawn imitation so that the next time he’s called to testify before Congress, the audience will take him seriously.
Ben Bernanke promises to cut up his U.S.A. credit card, explain why the Q is irrelevant in quantitative easing and recognize that only death and taxes are 100 percent certain. Bernanke resolves to try again to convince the public that lax regulation, not low interest rates, bear primary responsibility for the housing bubble. Good luck.
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner resolves to leave public service for Goldman Sachs so that reality can finally catch up with public perception.
Julian Assange, self-described Internet activist and founder of WikiLeaks, pledges to continue his crusade of releasing classified government information. All he asks in return is that the media respect his privacy.
Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska and Republican phenom, pledges to sign on as an unofficial adviser to Fed chief Bernanke as soon as she finishes digesting the 800-odd pages (paperback edition) of Milton Friedman and Anna Schwartz’s, “A Monetary History of the United States.”
Larry Summers, Obama’s top economic adviser who is leaving Washington (again) to return to Harvard (again), pledges to patent his unique brand of intelligence. He further promises to introduce a new seminar at Harvard’s Kennedy School to train tomorrow’s leaders in today’s survival arts. According to the Spring 2011 course catalogue, students “will learn the skills needed to become a bipartisan leader, defined as one who is demonized by both the Left and the Right.” Registration is limited to 10 students.
Bill Dudley, president of the New York Fed, resolves to explain how it is the Fed can target inflation to the nearest 0.5 percentage point when it missed the mother of all housing and credit bubbles and failed to foresee the repercussions, even as the bubble was deflating, for the U.S. and global economy.
- Wall Street bankers promise to underwrite monthly seminars for employees and spouses/significant others on “Business Ethics for the 21st Century.” The three-day, New Year’s weekend seminar at the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, is oversubscribed, but there are still openings for February’s retreat to Honolulu’s Halekulani Hotel on Waikiki Beach.
As for yours truly, I pledge not to pick on Alan Greenspan (OK, so another New Year’s resolution doesn’t make it past Jan. 1), to bring you clear, insightful commentary, to shrug off the hate mail and name-calling as your problem, not mine (at least I’ll try), and to keep telling it like it is to the best of my ability.
(Caroline Baum, author of “Just What I Said,” is a Bloomberg News columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.)
December 27, 2010 | nakedcapitalism.com
I hereby predict:
1. DOW 20,000. Bullish!
2. More Wall Street bonuses. Very bullish!
3. More tax cuts. Highly bullish!
4. More bailouts. Extremely bullish!
Once upon a Professor: the Christmas Debate Story, by William Easterly: Once upon a time, four Professors met to agree upon a Christmas Gift Policy. ‘Twas fortunate for the world that they met thus, for they were the world’s foremost Gift Experts.
Professor A said he already knew what everybody wanted, and wanted to massively increase financing for the International Fund for Christmas and Development, which will come up with a comprehensive plan for all the complementary technical inputs to deliver the correct gifts to all individuals.
Professor B was worried about the lack of child security inside homes, and wanted a G8 rapid response force to intervene and take custody of the children, after which their needs for Christmas gifts will be identified and met.
Professor C called for a randomized trial of the leading 3 types of Christmas gifts, relative to a control group who received no gifts. The results will not be available in time for December 25, so Christmas should be postponed until the results are published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Professor D said that Christmas gifts never gave people what they really wanted, money spent on Christmas gifts was always one hundred percent wasted, and each person should just buy their own Christmas gift for themselves.
The Professors’ fierce debate went on and on, deep into the wintry night, whilst the fire burned low.
Meanwhile, unaware of the debate, individuals around the world went ahead and bought gifts for their loved ones based on nothing other than emotions and guesswork.
And everyone was happy, except perhaps the four Professors.
December 16, 2010 | BREAKFAST WITH DAVE
Ben Bernanke back on October 31, 2007 (when the housing and subprime crisis were going to be "contained" — remember that one?):
"It is not the responsibility of the Federal Reserve - nor would it be appropriate — to protect lenders and investors from the consequences of their financial decisions."
Well, well, well. This is about as consistent as the current Republican Party being the protector of the public purse.
December 22, 2010 | The Big Picture
NEW YORK (Big Picture Exclusive) – Gargantuan money manager Blackrock reported on Friday that assets in U.S.-listed exchange-traded funds and exchange-traded products have surpassed the $1 trillion milestone for the first time. Combined assets in U.S.-listed ETFs and ETPs reached $1.027 trillion late Thursday, BlackRock said. That includes 894 ETFs with assets of $887.2 billion from 28 providers on two exchanges and 185 ETPs with assets of $115.5 billion from 20 providers on one exchange, it said.
There is growing speculation surrounding what is believed to be the next breakthrough product in the ETF marketplace: Single stock tracking ETFs. Unlike their index-based cousins, these new single stock trackers would, as the name implies, track only a single stock, trade at exactly the same price as the stock to which they’re linked and consequently eliminate the need for single stock ownership. A top executive with a money management firm who is familiar with his company’s plans to launch such a product and was granted anonymity so he could speak freely, put it this way: “Think about the prospect of, say, a GE tracking ETF — an investor could capture over 99% of the movement of GE while simultaneously forfeiting any claim to a dividend and paying us up to 35 basis points to manage the ETF. What’s not to like? We think this product paves the way for the ETF marketplace to collect its next trillion in assets.”
Oscar Wilde said that experience is the name we give to our mistakes.Experience, it turns out, is not just the name we give to our mistakes. As the financial crisis has shown, it is also the process that enables us to increase our understanding and ultimately to envisage a new world.
Unfortunately, however, this process has not gone far enough, enabling many banks, governments, and international institutions to return to “business as usual.”
Indeed, today the global economy’s arsonists have become prosecutors, and accuse the fire fighters of having provoked flooding.
... ... ...
Dec 21, 2010 | zero hedge
people who see the rise in treasury yields as a sign the Fed's purchases were not having the desired effect should look at other measures...
WTF, translated: we blatantly fucked up so don't look
Ben Bernanke is a highly educated PhD from Princeton who has never worked a day in the real world since he graduated from college in 1975. His entire life has been spent in the ivory tower of academia surrounded by models and theories that work perfectly in the comfort of his office. After building his reputation as an “expert” on the Great Depression by studying it and reaching the wrong conclusions,
... ... ...
"the teleprompter in chief is expected to announce cuts in Social Security"
Webster Tarpley called Obama "the ventriloquist dummy", Mattias Chang named him "the mouthpiece", some other name I read was "the hologram", but I think the "teleprompter in chief" is the best nick name so far!
Ole George was ahead of his time....n-joy!
That job sucks, he is ready to go, write a couple books, cash out and run a foundation funded by all those he made boatloads for. In and out done!
there is no president. just competing crime gangs.
Barry is just pulling a Liebermann...
What failed Bankster scams? Try looking through the eyes of a banker for a change. I see nothing but exquisite success. Victory.
Good thing they groomed Barry for his Great Rendezvous with Destiny. Bush and Cheney could never have pulled this off.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is so busted.
Comedy Central host Jon Stewart added his voice to others who caught the central banker contradicting himself over whether or not the Fed is "printing money" through its actions to bolster the economy.
On 60 Minutes this week, when asked by reporter Scott Pelley about the Fed's $600 billion purchase of Treasury bonds that is meant to lower interest rates further, the Fed chair said:
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c The Big Bank Theory www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor The Daily Show on FacebookTwenty-one months earlier on the same program and to the same reporter, Bernanke said something quite different:
BERNANKE: Well, this fear of inflation, I think is way overstated. We've looked at it very, very carefully. We've analyzed it every which way. One myth that's out there is that what we're doing is printing money. We're not printing money. The amount of currency in circulation is not changing. The money supply is not changing in any significant way
Asked if it's tax money the Fed is spending, Bernanke said, "It's not tax money. The banks have accounts with the Fed, much the same way that you have an account in a commercial bank. So, to lend to a bank, we simply use the computer to mark up the size of the account that they have with the Fed. It's much more akin to printing money than it is to borrowing."
"You've been printing money?" Pelley asked.
"Well, effectively," Bernanke said. "And we need to do that, because our economy is very weak and inflation is very low. When the economy begins to recover, that will be the time that we need to unwind those programs, raise interest rates, reduce the money supply, and make sure that we have a recovery that does not involve inflation."
It appears Bernanke won't have to look far to figure out how this myth got legs
One of the sad side-effects of taking away investment risk, as Ben Bernanke has done with his "global put" doctrine, is that the old maxim of the market staying irrational far longer than anyone can possible imagine, can now be exponented to some irrational infinite number (to throw some wacky number theory into the equation). Whether Bernanke can also succeed in defying nature and mathematics in broad terms remains to be seen: we have yet to see a system that can diverge from equilibrium in perpetuity without some very unfortunate unanticipated side-effects somewhere.
“As long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance,. . .We’re still dancing.” - Chucky Prince
There seems to be a contradiction here. How can money continually be pulled out of funds by retail investors (read dumb money) yet the current environment indicates so-called dumb money shows highest confidence level in last fiver years.
I need more cowbellsomething fishy:
Excellent comment, made me think. I think J6P is out and on the sidelines pretty much for good, so the dumb money has to be the remaining few, who are traders anyway and not buy and hold mutual fund owners.
How does this mesh with the continuing retail outflows from equities? Also, it looks like the 'smart money' was way too bullish throughout 2008, more so than retail. It seems like 'smart money' isn't that smart after all. My take for what it's worth.
- Oh my, Justice! And the Goldman billionaires stay free to steal another day...
- Micro crime - Programmer at Goldman Sachs. Macro crime - Goldman Sachs with Tax payers.
- Justice has been served. Jail the thief who steals from Wall Street crooks.
- I feel safer at night and my little girl will grow up in country where Goldman's source code is protected. Next up, knock-off merchants in Chinatown to face prosecution for intellectual property violations
- Capitalism this ain't. Corporatism looks more and more like a kind of rigged State Capitalism... which, shock horror is Communism.
Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis
On Mr. Bernanke: “There is something fishy about the head of the world’s most powerful government bureaucracy, one that is involved in a full-time counterfeiting operation to sustain monopolistic financial cartels, and the world’s most powerful central planner, who sets the price of money worldwide, proclaiming the glories of capitalism.”
In today’s NYT comes this sign of speculative excess in China: Day Trading Still Alive, Outsourced to China:
By some industry estimates, as many as 10,000 people in China are doing speculative day trading of American stocks — mostly aggressive young men working the wee hours here, from 9:30 p.m. to 4 a.m., often trading tens of thousands of shares a day.
Hire a bunch of Chinese college kids, fund them and to teach them to day trade American stocks? Sounds like a terrific business plan!
I suspect that in the short term, this will give TA much higher accuracy, as the fraction of the traders (and some of the algorithms) believing in them as Laws of Nature swings to a distinct majority.
Like an increasingly large number of soldiers marching over a bridge in lock-step, the resonant trading actions will eventually collapse the markets.
As Mark Twain would have said, “It’s a difference of opinion that makes for markets”.
100 days in the top 100
Decision Points by George W. Bush
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It’s been said that the U.S. Senate is where good men go to die. That certainly seems to be the case with Barack Obama, the junior senator from Illinois, whose Progressive credentials are DOA.
On Kudlow/CNBC this afternoon I actually heard a guest say, "Trickle down works."
“I’m confident,” Mr. Obama said, “that as we make tough choices about bringing our deficit down, as I engage in a conversation with the American people about the hard choices we’re going to have to make to secure our future and our children’s future and our grandchildren’s future, it will become apparent that we cannot afford to extend those tax cuts any longer.”
The package would cost about $900 billion over the next two years, to be financed entirely by adding to the national debt, at a time when both parties are professing a desire to begin addressing the nation’s long-term fiscal imbalances.
This is a cheap shot, but has Obama bothered to change his party affiliation yet?
Why? There is only The Party. .
I prefer to cut out the middle man by shouting into a paper bag and then crumpling it up. :-)
Hmm.. makes me wonder if a good investment would be in gated communities, with armed security.
Obama has so alienated his base that even a mediocre candidate stands a chance of beating him.
believe me, my faith is wavering tonight
I'm not trying to piss you off, but I advise against relying on faith.
By now, everyone has heard accusations that Cash4Gold is nothing but a predatory site, seeking to "steal" the gold of people in distress for a painfully low price. Often times these stories involve Glenn Beck in some capacity. Of course, there is always "the other side" to every story. Below we provide just one such "other" side. It just so happens that the side is about as funny as it gets.
Cash4Gold: "Your request for an 'Ungreased, backdoor, hammertime lovemaking session with our telemarketers Carol and Tracy' is both feral and preposterous"
"Painted gold rocks from spiritual journey in Tibet with a quadraplegic hooker picked up in Singapore."
That is just hysterical! Thanks mucho.
Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis
- This ought to be fun: US Rep Ron Paul (R-Texas), long-time opponent of the Federal Reserve, will enjoy an anti-Fed platform as chair of the House Financial Services Committee.
- Try not to laugh: Obama tells Republicans he should have worked more with them.
Ironic quote of the day, from Kazakhstan, via Wikileaks:
The Ambassador asked if the corruption and infighting are worse now than before in Kazakhstan. Idenov paused, thought, and then replied,
“No, not really. It’s business as usual. They’re confused by the corrupt excesses of capitalism. “If Goldman Sachs executives can make $50 million a year and then run America’s economy in Washington, what’s so different about what we do?’ they ask.”
Everyone on Wall Street is a lying, stealing worthless piece of scum on the bottom feeders of the world. They all should be shot, hung, drawn and quatered.
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