financial “reform” Our president gave a speech on Thursday in the Great Hall at Cooper Union, the site of Abraham Lincoln’s rather conservative 1860 speech on slavery. Obama’s speech was on a much less elevated topic—financial regulation. He made a lot of appealing sounds, and the financial execs in the front row mostly sat on their hands, but while he was talking, Congress was busy working out compromises—with Wall Street’s army of lobbyists at their sides. So I’m going to reserve commentary until we see what’s actually in the thing. Will there… Read More
GDP of Haiti: $8.5 billion. Goldman Sachs bonus pool: $20 billion.
Under a very wussy, New York Times-y headline, “New York Fed Chairman’s Ties to Goldman Raise Questions,” the Wall Street Journal reports that the chair of the New York Fed, Stephen Friedman, added to his already large stock position in Goldman Sachs, a firm he once headed. (Thanks, Paul Whalen, for the pointer.) Friedman’s purchase of the shares came after Goldman turned itself into a bank holding company, a transition that brought it under the direct supervision of the New York Fed. Earlier, of course, Goldman had gotten a $10 billion capital injection… Read More
Green shoots…shot? Some trouble lately for the “green shoots of recovery” thesis. Early in the week, we learned that retail sales fell by an unexpectedly large 1.1% in March, or 0.9% if you leave out autos. Sales had been up modestly in recent months, after plunging sharply late last year—in fact, while Wall Street loves to look at monthly changes, the year-to-year declines were about the steepest on record. So this big decline punched a hole in hopes that the economy might be bottoming out. But since it’s virtually certain that the American economy… Read More
How about that for bipartisanship? All that seduction from our new president, sweetened with tax cuts and lubricated with cocktails at the White House, and still the stimulus package didn’t get a single Republican vote in the House. They won’t play bipartisan. They’re stubborn as hell and stick to their cretinous principles. You’ve got to respect them for that. It may be because they have some principles, as nutty as they can be. Meanwhile, the infrastructure component of the stimulus bill has shrunk, and is really not up to the task. According… Read More