$12.8 Trillion Committed to Bailout

Shortly after I told you that is reporting a running total of the money the U.S. government has pledged and spent for bailouts and economic stimulus, reporters Mark Pittman and Bob Ivry updated the totals: So far, $12.8 trillion has been pledged – an additional $1.2 trillion over the earlier report.  read more »

Betting against the USA -- told ya' so!

More than once in this space, I’ve said that derivative financial products set up a perverse incentive where investors have more to gain from the failure of companies and homeowners than their success. If you haven’t seen it yet, take a look at the longer version of my description of the causes and consequences of the current crisis to understand how failed financial innovations, like credit default swaps, contributed to the meltdown of 2008.  read more »

Who's Watching AIG?

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing Wednesday – “AIG: Where is the Taxpayer Money Going?” Questions are being raised about whether the bailout better serves the interests of AIG’s customers and trading partners or the interests of U.S. taxpayers.  read more »

Buffett’s Partner Agrees with Us

Billionaire investor, Warren Buffett, is hosting the Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting “Capitalist Woodstock” in Omaha this weekend. Every news truck this side of Kansas City has been moved into town to cover the event.  read more »

How Soon We Forget: Wall Street Wages

It also wasn’t that long ago that Congress held hearings on the bonuses paid to AIG employees after the bailout. Now, according to New York Times reporter Louise Story Wall Street compensation is rising back to where it was in 2007 – the last year that these firms made oodles of money with investment strategies that turned toxic the next year.  read more »

TARP Criminal Charges Possible

Of the three monitors established by the legislation that created the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), only one has the authority to prosecute criminals.  read more »

Catching on to Buffett

More of the so-called “mainstream press,” like the Sacramento Bee, are catching up to what we wrote here about Warren Buffett back on March 16. He supported the bailout because his investments benefited from the handouts.  read more »

Geithner's Toxic Recycling Plan Nixed by Big Fund

The success of Treasury Secretary Geithner’s Public-Private Investment Partnership Program depends on getting private investors interested in buying junk bonds off the banks’ balance sheets. Now it seems that at least one hedge fund is giving the plan “two thumbs-down.”  read more »

Junk By Any Other Name Would Smell

The Treasury this week disclosed details of their plan to pump $1 trillion into the financial system by removing “Legacy Assets” from the balance sheets of banks. Wading through the multitude of documents and documents, I’m reminded of a remark by Michael Milken in a conversation with Charlie Rose on October 27, 2008 “Complexity is not innovation.”  read more »