How To Buy Friends And Alienate People

The banking industry is exceeding all expectations.  The biggest players are raking in profits and planning much higher compensation so far this year, on the back of increased market share (wouldn’t you like two of your major competitors to go out of business?).  And banks in general are managing to project widely a completely negative attitude towards all attempts to protect consumers.

This is a dangerous combination for the industry, yet it is not being handled well.  Just look at the current strategy of the American Bankers’ Association.

Edward L. Yingling is justifiably proud of his organization’s postion as one of the country’s most powerful lobbies

His testimony to Congress on the potential new Consumer Financial Protection Agency plainly shows where his group stands.  The most revealing quote, highlighted in the ABA’s own press release, reads:

“It is now widely understood that the current economic situation originated primarily in the largely unregulated non-bank sector,” he said. “Banks watched as mortgage brokers and others made loans to consumers that a good banker just would not make and they now face the prospect of another burdensome layer of regulation aimed primarily at their less-regulated or unregulated competitors. It is simply unfair to inflict another burden on these banks that had nothing to do with the problems that were created.”

The premise here is false.  If major banks had really not been involved in the mortgage fiasco, we would not have had to roughly double our national debt-to-GDP in order to save the US and world economy.

Within the banking community, and presumably within the ABA’s membership, there is serious tension.  The small banks feel – overall with some justification – that the essence of the recent problem was not about them.  But they can’t bring themselves to suggest publicly that the economic and political power of the largest banks should be curtailed.

Small banks have always had clout in the American political system, particularly when they work through the Senate.  But we have not always had our current kind of crisis.  The executives of these banks lived comfortably in the 1950s and 1960s; their kind of banking was boring, stable, and nicely remunerated.

It is the changing nature and power of the largest financial institutions – banks of various kinds – that has damaged our system since the 1980s; the rise in financial services compensation is part symptom and part pathogen.  Big banks present the major risk going forward – to both the economy in general and to smaller banks in particular.

Most banks are “small enough to fail” (seven closed yesterday).  It is absolutely not in their interest to have some banks that are perceived to be “too big to fail” and to ever re-run any version of the last two years.

The ABA should be discussing and addressing this issue.  Instead, it is making all banks unpopular by opposing sensible legislation aimed at protecting consumers – look at the public relations context provided, for example, by Citi’s recent move on credit cards

The ABA’s leadership needs to quickly rethink its approach.

By Simon Johnson

56 thoughts on “How To Buy Friends And Alienate People

  1. “The ABA’s leadership needs to quickly rethink its approach.” No it doesn’t, if their goal is the New Feudalism as the social model. The more little banks that fail the more business and resulting wealth for the aristocracy of the financial industry. I think the “too big to fail” ABA believes in some sort of Iranian system with the Too Bigs as the Ayatollahs and some form of limited voters choice among candidates approved by the Ayatollahs (let’s say who graduated from the Robert Rubin School of Governance).

  2. What year is it? 1930 in America? Or maybe 1788 in France? How about Russia circa 1916?

    I’m not really sure anymore, but I can say that the ABA is sowing the seeds for greatest backlash against wealth and privilege that this country has seen in many decades.

    So I say, keep loading up the kindling boys. It’ll be cold this fall.

  3. It is absolutely appalling that on the day the June jobs report was released, showing that nearly a half a million people were shed from productive employment that month, the WSJ reported that the banking industry is having a stellar year and is on track to pay out record bonuses.

    Paulson’s hard work last fall worked. His friends at Goldman are well rewarded for their connection to the former Treasury Secretary.

    The rest of the country? Not doing well at all.

    So as we celebrate the founding of this nation tomorrow, let’s remember that millions of people are out of work today – and amidst all of that unfortunate misery, the Goldman guys celebrate a banner year and the promise of a record bonus for their efforts.

    The sucking sound of capital vanishing into the black hole of Wall Street continues unabated.

  4. The Buraq Hussein-Geithner plan is working to a Tee, right on schedule. Pump up the big campaign contributing banks and in return wipe out their smaller competitors . I scratch your back, you scratch mine. Hey, it’s the Chicago Thug way. Don’t knock it; its kept the Chicago Crooks in office forever. Crony Capitalism at it’s finest.

  5. How do you explain that it was Goldman Sachs guy Henry Paulson – Bush’s Treasury Secretary – who developed the rather lucrative bailout that Goldman profits from today?

  6. @pete muldoon and others, Rob Johnson makes a compelling argument about the destruction of trust in the system the government is trying to save, pegged to Taibbi’s article. It’s a good read. Trust is a kind of capital, after all, but no one seems preoccupied with injecting that back into the system….

  7. I don’t think the remaining banks have much to worry about. They just got away with trashing the economy and paying multi-million dollar bonuses to those who did it. They are too big to fail, according to the government. Which means that they are more or less free to do whatever they want with impunity.

    There are only two political parties in USA. And both of them appear to be on the side of the big banks. Which doesn’t leave the voters much of a choice, whether the voters are upset about what’s going on or not.

  8. Why does this “Friends of Dave” thing appear after all the posts on baseline recently? Did this guy hijack the site?

  9. I couldn’t agree with you more Anne. A lot of good people with no jobs. A lot of good people also having their houses foreclosed on by the banks. A lot of people with low-paying jobs trying to make sure the kids can eat hot dogs tomorrow. A lot of Marines and Army soldiers risking their lives (now) in Afghanistan, to protect our freedoms. But don’t worry people, Mr. Congressman made sure Mr. Banker enjoys every moment of
    July 4th holiday 2009. And with the joke of “finance reform” plan they have now, maybe the future 4th of July holidays can be just so cheery.

  10. “The banking industry is exceeding all expectations. The biggest players are raking in profits and planning much higher compensation so far this year, on the back of increased market share (wouldn’t you like two of your major competitors to go out of business?).”

    We need to remember that this was part of the original TARP plan:

    “October 21, 2008
    U.S. Is Said to Be Urging New Mergers in Banking

    WASHINGTON — In a step that could accelerate a shakeout of the nation’s banks, the Treasury Department hopes to spur a new round of mergers by steering some of the money in its $250 billion rescue package to banks that are willing to buy weaker rivals, according to government officials.

    As the Treasury embarks on its unprecedented recapitalization, it is becoming clear that the government wants not only to stabilize the industry, but also to reshape it. Two senior officials said the selection criteria would include banks that need more capital to finance acquisitions.

    “Treasury doesn’t want to prop up weak banks,” said an official who spoke on condition of anonymity, because of the sensitivity of the matter. “One purpose of this plan is to drive consolidation.” ( NB DON )

    With bankers traumatized by the credit crisis and the loss of investor confidence, officials said, there are plenty of banks open to selling themselves. The hurdle is a lack of well-capitalized buyers.

    Stable national players like Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo are already digesting acquisitions. A second group of so-called super-regional banks are well positioned to take over their competitors, officials said, but have been reluctant to undertake or unable to complete deals.

    By offering capital at a favorable rate, the government may encourage them to expand. In this category, industry analysts point to regional leaders, like KeyCorp of Cleveland; Fifth Third Bancorp of Cincinnati; BB&T of Winston-Salem, N.C.; and SunTrust Banks of Atlanta.

    With $125 billion left over after investing in the nine largest banks, the Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., said there was enough capital to invest in every qualified bank.”

    This is the system that has just failed, from my point of view. However, since we’re all still here, some can argue that the system has been robust enough to digest this crisis. I think that’s what’s happening. Short-term memory loss to be followed by long-term memory loss.

    I’m not saying that what’s actually being put forward isn’t positive. It is. But it is still within the old paradigm. Of course, I’m suggesting an older paradigm: Narrow Banking. But if you look at the list of people that have proposed this: Fisher, Simons, Knight, Friedman, Minsky, Buiter, and Kay, you will notice that the list is filled with people who have spent a huge amount of time considering the question of how best to structure a capitalist economy. That’s what we need: Thinkers who can get at the root of the problem. Until I see this alternative at least considered, I can’t take the current debate seriously, although I will support any improvements put forward.

  11. This is interesting, coming as it does from Goldman, Sach’s own disclosure to its creditors. Follow the link right below to a page whimsically titled “Conservative Liability Structure.”

    One wonders how the management there can plan to release $20 billion in comp given what they are telling their creditors. One also wonders how, in a rational world, the federal government, which, GS readily admits, is the primary life-support of the company, would allow such a thing.

    GS has demonstrated a true genius in the hallowed pump-and-dump strategy of stuffing its customers with toxic assets (see, e.g., the Rolling Stone article describing the many pump-and-dump episodes the firm engineered, and, for the historically minded, Chapter III of J.K. Galbraith’s “The Great Crash 1929,” which is titled “In Goldman, Sachs We Trust”).

    Now, they’ve shown how they can pump the taxpayers so they can dump an average of $700k on “the best and brightest” on Wall Street, the very people who put them in the position of being wards of the federal government? How will this be allowed to stand?

    About two-thirds of the way down, they aver:

    “Since the latter half of 2008, we have been unable to raise significant amounts of long-term unsecured debt in the public markets, other than as a result of the issuance of securities guaranteed by the FDIC under the TLGP. It is unclear when we will regain access to the public long-term unsecured debt markets on customary terms or whether any similar program will be available after the TLGP’s scheduled October 2009 expiration. However, we continue to have access to short-term funding and to a number of sources of secured funding, both in the private markets and through various government and central bank sponsored initiatives.”

    Right below that, they acknowledge:

    “Over the past year, a number of U.S. regulatory agencies have taken steps to enhance the liquidity support available to financial services companies such as Group Inc., GS&Co., GSI and GS Bank USA. Some of these steps include:

    • The Federal Reserve Bank of New York established the Primary Dealer Credit Facility in March 2008 to provide overnight funding to primary dealers in exchange for a specified range of collateral. In September 2008, the eligible collateral was expanded to include all collateral eligible in tri-party repurchase arrangements with the major clearing banks, and the facility was made available to GSI. This facility is scheduled to expire on October 30, 2009.

    • The Federal Reserve Board introduced a new Term Securities Lending Facility (TSLF) in March 2008, which extended the term for which the Federal Reserve Board will lend Treasury securities to primary dealers from overnight to 28 days and, in September 2008, expanded the types of assets that can be used as collateral under the TSLF to include all investment-grade debt securities (rather than just Treasury, agency and certain AAA-rated asset-backed securities). This facility is scheduled to expire on October 30, 2009.

    • In October 2008, the Federal Reserve Board established the Commercial Paper Funding Facility (CPFF) to serve as a funding backstop to facilitate the issuance of term commercial paper by eligible issuers. Through the CPFF, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York will finance the purchase of unsecured and asset-backed highly rated, U.S. dollar-denominated, three-month commercial paper from eligible issuers through its primary dealers. The facility is scheduled to expire on October 30, 2009. Our available funding under the CPFF is approximately $11 billion.

    • The FDIC’s TLGP, which was established in October 2008, provides a guarantee of certain newly issued senior unsecured debt issued by eligible entities, including Group Inc. and GS Bank USA, as well as funds over $250,000 in non-interest-bearing transaction deposit accounts held by FDIC-insured banks (such as GS Bank USA). The debt guarantee is available, subject to limitations, for debt issued through October 31, 2009 and the deposit coverage lasts through December 31, 2009. We are able to have outstanding approximately $35 billion of debt under the TLGP that is issued prior to October 31, 2009. As of March 2009 and May 1, 2009, we had outstanding $29.84 billion of senior unsecured debt (comprised of $9.10 billion of short-term and $20.74 billion of long-term) and $27.96 billion of senior unsecured debt (comprised of $7.27 billion of short-term and $20.69 billion of long-term), respectively, under the TLGP.”

    Looks like a huge slug of the firm’s capital structure is directly tied to federal programs expiring in October of this year. Interesting. No?

    What does GS know that they can tell their people, and have it picked up on the global tom-tom network, that this year will be the year to beat all years in terms of comp? That, as wards of the federal government, and direct beneficiaries of the AIG money spigot — actually fire hose — that they are adding that much value to the world at large that they deserve to see the best comp year ever? That regardless of what they do they can’t fail? Nor will they be allowed to fail?

    Astounding. It leaves one speechless. To see such a brazen display of profligacy is a world-historical event. It is an amazing time to be alive.

  12. Wny? Why should the banks change their tune? The song they’re singing seems to be music pleasant to the ears of Congress & the Obama administration.

    There seems no signs to me that anything approaching a majority in Congress is going to do much of anything to regulate the banking industry or to regulate the CDOs etc. the bankers so love to play with.

    I’d like to think that more and more members of the “public” in the US are outraged & will make their voices heard but I suspect that the MSM will make sure their voices aren’t heard. At least, not via TV or any mainstream news website. How much coverage has there been of the different workforces that have successfully defied shutdowns of their factories (by banks like Wells Fargo), etc., through occupation or threatened occupation of their workplaces?

    Notice Congress doing anything real about truly getting out of Iraq (including vacating all those permanent bases)? Anything to stop the privatization of so many functions of the military & so decrease the incredible amounts of waste, inadequate or hazardous facilities & services provided by no bid contracts that currently plague the military? Notice the MSM covering it until Congress & the Pentagon feel compelled to do something at least marginally useful in that area?

    The TBTF banks are doing fine (backstopped by the taxpayer as they are), the Pentagon continues to see its budget bulge so its contractors are doing just great too.

    Why would they even pretend to want to change? Or acknowledge any responsibility for this mess? Our administrations & Congresses have made sure it’s not a problem for them (or not their CEOs & upper management).

  13. Anyone who knew anything about the the kind of pig that usually seeks political office would have realized that Barak Obama, despite his musical oink, would be no different if elected than the trash that preceeded him. To focus on the banksters alone – whom we’ve always known to be thieves – misses the point. These vermin make plans of this kind in full knowledge of the fact that there will be no meaningful consequence for them in so doing owing to the self-centered interests of the political scum they fund so generously. It is no less the type of relationship enjoyed in Chicago by the owners of after hours joints during Prohibition with the police. The word, “schlemeil”, is virtually defined today as someone who trusted Obama at his word during last year’s campaign. We are as a national majority a body of schlemeils. One gets from government what one tolerates, and if we persist in the belief that these abuses ever will be remedied using parliamentary means, each time we vote we will be consenting to our own mistreatment.

  14. What do you mean, anne? Haven’t Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley increased the value of the U.S. economy by at least $50+ billion this year?

    They just want their fair share. Leave the poor bankers alone!

  15. Don’t think that your vote counts for much. Your representatives and senators are bought and sold in the beltway.

    Big banks and big business own Washington. Financial institutions have too much influence over legislative activities and any regulation. Ditto for health insurers and drug companies, dominating any movement towards universal health care.

    The revolving door between regulators, big business, and lobbyists is an appalling nightmare for US taxpayers.

    When will the people put a stop to this nonsense?

  16. Xorox,

    Don’t forget foreign policy, specifically Middle East policy. How do you think its possible to produce AIPAC authored, anti-Iranian resolutions in the House with only five or so votes against? Could fear and money have something to do with it do you think?

    The “the people” will “put a stop to this nonsense” when they are willing to stop voting and participate in mass demonstrations and the general strike and not until. Parliamentary means of changing these realities are the stuff of pipedreams. The criminality involved in most of these abuses is so egregious that it has spelled an end to American democracy. Americans should behave in accordance with what’s real, not what they imagine to be real.

  17. Well stop talking and go do something if you’re so concerned about it.

    Or, if you’re too lazy, please provide a bulleted to-do list for others.

    And get Stalin’s daughter off your knee.

  18. I know, Uncle Billy, there’s some part of “mass demonstrations and the general strike” that you didn’t understand.

    And, ah, yes, the picture. You’ve seen it.

  19. Simon, I find this less than fascinating, that the ABA, a shill of the oligarchs, would choose to speak and act in such a way. What we need is an equivalent opposing force to offset their rhetoric and power. And, I don’t see one blooming on the horizon, although, inspite of what one blogger said about 30 to 40% unemployment, the actual rate has climbed to 20 with another 5 in the offing, once California is forced to do business exclusively by IOU’s, and the many other states in similar straits go up in smoke. This is just another stage in the upcoming oligarch meltdown. The propup of the economy is falling short and the piper is awaiting payment. Sometime in the next six months, the next crest of the economic tsunami will hit, and then the firebrands will take to the streets. If the single payer folks are vociferous (and unheard), just wait for the next wave, after the remaining taxpayers see what the Congress is NOT doing to get us back on track.

    I feel for Obama. He picked the right people for the job, but failed to understand that Larry and Tim are not “get tough” guys. They are brilliant, but way to close to the forest to hold the trees at bay.

    I am betting that many of those whose rates have just been raised by CITI are going to either (a) default by not being able to keep up, or (b) default intentionally, as a rebellion.

    By the way, you need to look next at the state bond markets, now that most states are running major deficits, and their bond issues can’t get ratings. They will default, and that chain reaction will be spectacular (they can’t find guarantors with their ratings dropping). And this is also true of municipal bond issuers.

  20. How well I remember those touching moments with Josef Vissarionovich and Svetlana. Relaxation was at a premium in those days, what with the purges and the executions. So many wreckers and spys, so little time.

  21. All holders of Citi cards–throw a rock at a Citi branch near you. Try to do it tomorrow (July 4), as part of your patriotic duty.

    No broken glass = no protest.

  22. Pete,
    Mr. Taibbi’s Rolling Stone article was quite illuminating and was first posted online to download free, suffice to say rolling Stone then invoked its copyright and the article was removed.
    How strange, I wonder if Goldman’s legal team made a quick telephone call to Rolling Stone owners about this matter.
    Evidently the fewer people who see this article the better.
    However, the fact remains that Paulson let Lehman’s go down the pan, when it came to Morgan Stanley – under huge pressure in October last year, this was too much for Paulason to stomach and thus we had the engineered bailout that benefited the last three broker-dealers standing.
    Given Johnson’s observations and those of many others, for the benefit of the US economy it may have been better to let all three fail, particularly because this is what the markets were saying.
    We must live in quite a sick society when its deemed important to go against free marker principles and bail this lot out at a cost of US$13 trillion and counting.
    I’m with Ron Paul on this, the buggers should have been slaughtered by market forces, the very forces they themselves created.
    Still, how dare the market turn against the ‘masters of the universe’, still its one rule for them – huge profits – and one rule for us – hello pink slip!!!!!!!

  23. Here, here! I suggest giving each and every one of the 3 million active and reserve-duty members of our military a $15,000 bonus and billing GS and MS for the funds. These “banks” can pay our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines first using what they plan to dispense as “bonus” comp at the end of this year — then they can pay out what’s left to themselves.

    As taxpayers propping up their balance sheets — and, from all visible evidence, the only source of term funding for these “banks” — our elected representatives must exercise our collective power as guarantors of these entities, which cannot exist save for taxpayer guarantees — and use the $$ they plan to lavish on themselves for something that recognizes true value added to our society and the world, and not the predacious ability to extort money.

  24. I’m Canadian. I don’t do business at Citi. I listen to the BBC Reith lectures.

    Michael Sandel inspired a character on the Simpson’s named Charles Montgomery Burns. (Now that’s called fame.)

  25. More seriously, so the Zombie Banks via their trade association are now blaming the mortgage sellers.

    I’ve heard Goldman Sachs securitized billions in toxic assets and then sold them. Not on their books. So how come GS needed a few billion in TARP. Anyone know what happened?

  26. Maybe the folks at the Simpson’s will take on the Zombie bankers.


  27. Bush was a moderate wimp, Anne. It’s kinda hard to actually figure out what Bush really thought of the economy. He pushed tax cuts in 2003, and those cuts did pull the economy out of a deep hole, but did little after that. He did try to reform Fannie and Freddie, but never took the case to the people or expended any political capital in the effort. Bush rarely even tried to explain any of his policies to the American public.

    Bush’s administration was filled with moderates and lefties. Paulsen is a Democrat. Bernacke is an independent. Not one of Bush’s Treasury Secretaries supported tax cuts. All were from
    the investment banker world. Bush has family ties to Wall Street: his grandfather and moderate Republican US Senator from Connecticut, Prescott Bush was a investment banker on Wall Street in the 30’s and 40’s. The Bush family defined the eastern anti-entrepreneurial Rockefeller-Blue Blood Country Club Republican set that has enabled Wall Street corruption for years. W actually was the free thinker of the lot; he actually supported tax cuts. Remember it was his dad that coined the term “Voodoo” economics, and tried his best to undo much of what Reagan did.

  28. Chris Rogers said, “We must live in quite a sick society when its deemed important to go against free marker principles and bail this lot out at a cost of US$13 trillion and counting.
    I’m with Ron Paul on this, the buggers should have been slaughtered by market forces, the very forces they themselves created.”

    Maybe, just maybe, those market forces will slaughter them. This recession is not over! Indeed, when we look back at these summer months from, say, the perspective of late 2012, we may see that the downturn turned very ugly late 2009/early 2010.

    In his usual inimitable style, Karl Denninger sums it up nicely at

  29. Something just clicked… We need a grass roots movement who’s goals are to get the money and remove from power the arrogant free wheeling, corporate jet flying, 100K a week (can’t use the word earning here) stealing CEO’s and all their counterparts that have caused so much distress to our nation…. Are there problems with this idea? Yes. I’m not sure how you even make it look not crazy! I do believe that there must be millions of Americans that feel the same way and also feel let down by current leadership. We also surely know by now nothing will change without 1) 3rd party leadership (unlikely). 2) Total campaign finance reform and legislation that prohibits lobbyist in Washington DC. 3) Well let’s just call it the last resort for now. I’m also open to any 4,5 or 6’s anyone may have up their sleeves also.
    This idea came up because I’m involved in the grassroots movement to stop an insurance industry bailout with the healthcare “reform” bill and realized how fortunate I am to have a group to at least demonstrate with because if nothing else it’s a positive release of this frustration.
    At least on the healthcare problem they allowed some public discussion but won’t even allow the only viable option to be tabled with industry owned congressmen at the helm along with a corporate democrat in the oval office they have effectively silenced the option that is the peoples choice.
    With the banking fiasco we weren’t even involved and the Goldman Sachs revolving door to treasury just dictated the way it’s going to be. No public anything and poof, there goes our children’s future, misery for millions of Americans and now they are so arrogant that they announce their back on the million dollar bonus schedule with all their new profits due to the fact they were allowed to gobble up their competition, forced to in some cases (go figure) and the rest are dropping like fly’s every week. All this while all the toxic assets still reside on their books causing even more suffering that is guaranteed to continue for at least as long as those assets are there.
    Come on people we need to do some ass kicking!

  30. Simon Johnson is becoming an international star. He’s cited twice in this article from Le Monde, France’s most famous newspaper:

    The article is about the role and response of the Harvard Business School to the current financial crisis. SJ is cited as a critic of the school.

    1st citation:
    “Que reproche-t-on à Merton, ses pairs et leurs émules ? D’avoir fourni l’arsenal théorique – ” un vernis de légitimité académique “, dit Simon Johnson, professeur à l’Ecole de management du Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – et aussi bénéficié d’une évolution qui a vu la finance passer en trente ans de 16 % à 41 % des profits réalisés aux Etats-Unis. Merton n’est qu’un exemple : les passerelles entre postes d’enseignant et de consultant dans des institutions financières se sont multipliées.”

    2nd citation:
    “Franck Darmon : ” Les gens arrivent ici très différents et sortent tous un peu avec les mêmes idées dans la tête. ” Simon Johnson, enseignant au MIT de Boston, résume les choses ainsi : ” Plus que d’autres, Harvard a développé une vision unifiée du monde. Et elle donnait un accès accéléré aux élites. ” Parce que sa ” vision ” corroborait au plus près celles de ces élites ?”

  31. Well Charles Montgomery Burns is Michael Sandel’s EVIL TWIN. Maybe the folks at the Simpson’s will take a cue and write a character based on Simon Johnson who leads the charge as Springfield gets fed up and nationalizes its Zombie banks.

  32. not buying that they were leftest in the Bush admin, they were free market ideologues who kept to their plan when it became obvious it was failing. and only when it threatened to collapse the economy completely did they move to do any thing at all. not sure that small banks have a lot to hold them selves up over the TBTF. they are the ones failing now. mainly because they invested in CRE and had those brokered deposits. and i still don’t know why we allow them to beat on consumers

  33. hmmmm

    The good folks storm the Springfield branch of Zombie Bank with James and Homer bringing up the rear.

    “Regulation not Revolution!”More red tape!” chanted the picket waving crowd.

  34. This splendid article arrived in the midst of my frustrated emails with Chase Bank about a service fee for electronic transfers of funds which require no human labor whatsoever. It prompted my latest reply: Dear Mr. K___: In case you missed the point of my message, it was not to seek explanation of the fee. It was to complain about it. I recommend that you read the perceptive article on the banking industry at Have your manager read it. And his manager.

    Yours truly,
    Bill Woody

  35. The citizens of Springfield do enjoy taking up their torches and pitchforks, don’t they? Pity that isn’t true of Americans in general.

  36. DW- Do you really think that TARP and the Bailouts were a free market solution? Hardly. If we actually had used free market solutions like let the corrupt banks go bankrupt, we might have been much better off by now.

    BTW, Paulsen was always a big time influential partisan Democrat.
    I no longer consider the left wing of the Democrat party to be liberal. Liberals support Democracy and human rights. It seems the Democrats don’t anymore. Liberals don’t try to install dictators in Honduras, or release Terrorists to try to get negotiations going with a butchering, head cracking, thug regime that massacres people in the streets like Iran.

  37. At the very end of this Wikipedia link is a good summary of one the many pump-and-dump schemes of GS.

    “In 2006, Goldmans Sachs’ mortgage-bonds division, Alternative Mortgage Products (known as GSAMP for short), issued 83 home-loan-backed bonds, valued at $44.5 billion. In the subprime sector, it grew its business by 59% from 2005, offloading some $12.9 billion on to fund managers.

    According to Inside Mortgage Finance, that made GSAMP the 15th biggest issuer of subprime-backed bonds in 2006. According to the website (Asset-backed Alert), Goldman Sachs was one of the top 10 sellers of Collateralized Mortgage Obligations (CMO’s) and may have sold about $100 billion in CMO’s over the last two and a half years.

    But, by the start of the third quarter this year, those securities were being downgraded by the credit ratings agencies faster than any other subprime lender. According to a Reuters report, Citigroup’s research (June 22, 2007), stated “portions of Goldman’s GSAMP-issued bonds, which include subprime loans from a variety of lenders, have been downgraded a combined 69 times by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Service in the year through June 15. Sixty of the GSAMP downgrades refer to classes from 2006 bonds,” Citigroup added, and Allan Sloane in The Washington Post stated that one of Goldman’s 2006 crop – the GSAMP Trust 2006- S3 – may actually be “the worst deal…floated by a top-tier firm.” One in every six of the 8,274 mortgages bundled together in GSAMP Trust 2006-S3 was already in default 18 months later. Whoever bought the S3 bonds will have either taken a 100% loss, or are waiting to sell it off at a heavy discount.”

    In 2007, you’ll recall, they made $4 billion shorting “securities” like this.

    There is an amusing exchange recounted between Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi, who characterized GS as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money” in his recent piece, and as GS spokesman, who said, “”We reject the assertion that we are inflators of bubbles and profiteers in busts, and we are painfully conscious of the importance in being a force for good.”

    That is truly laughable stuff. You can’t make this up. At this year’s partner meeting, after the $20 billion of comp’s been showered on everyone at GS, they’ll be laughing and high-fiving all around at how adriot they all were in surviving as a government ward and still managing to have their biggest payout ever. Next year they might very well be gone, a footnote in this whole process; but this year they’ll sup at the federal trough like never before. And they’ll be bloated beyond recognition.

  38. Humans! We never learn. Push enough people to the brink of desperation, ruthlessly pilfer, abuse, and voilate a large swath of the population, – and things go pearshaped. Real horrorshow reactions ensue. America is walking a gossamer thin line. The predatorclass “brazen display of profligacy is a world-historical event” indeed, and the people are victims of “vampires” drinking the blood of our children.

    The government is owned and controlled by the predatorclass and will not help us.

    There is no such thing as justice, no fair legal system. The predatorclass is immune from accountability, and the people are subjected to deepstate oppression and onesided legal system that woefully and intentionally disatvantages the poor and middle class. Corporate Amerika is bent on paper profits alone and delirious with greed, and would enslave every worker, and capture and sell our daughters to the highest bidder if possible.

    No one, and no thing is going to help us. The people are mercilessly alone. Our future will be determined by our capacity to colasce as a mass and force – FORCE real change.

    We either go silently like moths to the flame, or sheep to the slaughter, or prisoners to the Homeland Security detention centers or the ovens – or not.

    If we are sheep or prisoners, we will be sheered and butchered, and served as meat on the oppulent tables of the predatorclass. If not, – the people will strike back, FORCE real change, and there will be a reckoning and a balancing.

    Our only hope for real change is asymmetrical action and predatorclass blood.

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