March 25, 2010
The new council that will cripple financial reform.
March 03, 2010
This bonus season, with encouragement from the White House, Wall Street firms have been paying their employees less in cash and more in stock. The idea is that vast cash bonuses encourage reckless, short-term decisions—while stock awards incentivize long-term planning that creates lasting value. The practice has set Goldman Sachs bankers howling. “Some employees say the shift could leave them short of cash," the Wall Street Journal reported, "since stock comes with restrictions on how quickly it can be sold.
February 24, 2010
Simon Johnson and Peter Boone: Obama's impotent assault on Wall Street.
February 05, 2010
Sunday, February 7, 3:28 p.m. Among the convention’s several last-minute saves—opening the conference to media, replacing one speaker who fell ill and another who dropped last minute—was bringing on Andrew Breitbart. Convention spokesman Mark Skoda knew the conservative media mogul through their mutual friend Mike Flynn, who manages the Breitbart site BigGovernment.com, and when Marsha Blackburn and Michele Bachmann backed out, Breitbart swooped in to help. At first, Breitbart himself was just supposed to introduce Sarah Palin. But to no one’s surprise, really, his portfolio grew.
Wall Street Comes Home
February 04, 2010
In 2007 and 2008, Wall Street pooh-bahs, like most Americans, were disgusted with the Republican Party and looking for a change. Many of them donated to Barack Obama's presidential campaign -- which, after all, was advised by the same sort of people who had presided over the 1990s boom. In 2008 to 2009, the embrace actually tightened. The collapse of the financial industry briefly brought its interests into alignment with those of the economy as a whole -- preventing wholesale collapse required bailing out Wall Street.
Dismember Goldman Sachs
January 22, 2010
The White House background briefing is that their proposals would freeze biggest bank size “as is”--this makes no sense at all. Twenty years of reckless expansion, a massive crisis, and the most generous bailout in human history are not a recipe for “right” sized banks. There is a lot of work the administration hasn’t done on the details--this is a classic policy scramble, in which ducks have not been lined up.
Pump Up the Volume, Angelides Commission!
January 14, 2010
On the first day of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, Phil Angelides demonstrated a gift for powerful and memorable metaphor: accusing Goldman Sachs of essentially selling defective cars and then taking out insurance on the buyers. Lloyd Blankfein and the other CEOs looked mildly uncomfortable, and this image reinforces the case for a tax on big banks--details to be provided by the president later today. But the question is: How to keep up the pressure and move the debate forward? If we stop with a few verbal slaps on the wrist and a relatively minor new levy, then we have achieved basi
How Should Goldman Sachs Cover its Ass This Bonus Season?
January 08, 2010
Sources say that Goldman Sachs’s bonuses will be announced on Monday, January 18, and actually paid sometime between February 4 and February 7. In previous years, the bonuses were paid in early January--but the financial year shifted when Goldman became a bank holding company. For critics of the company and its fellow travelers, the timing could not be better. Anxiety levels about the financial sector are on the increase, even on Capitol Hill. The tension between high profits in banking and stress in the rest of the economy becomes increasingly a topic of discussion across the nation. And you
Another Bank Moves on Exec Pay
December 29, 2009
I'm sure Morgan Stanley is reconsidering the way it compensates executives, as described in today's Wall Street Journal, mostly because of the general outcry over executive pay. But I'd guess the recent Goldman Sachs initiative on this front a few weeks ago also made the issue a bit more urgent. The Journal piece notes that the Morgan proposal doesn't go as far as Goldman's, which would pay 2009 bonuses to top executives entirely in the form of stock that can't be sold for five years (as opposed to cash) and can be clawed back if the executive turns out to have placed some lousy bets.
A Really Merry Christmas From Fannie And Freddie To Their C.E.O.s
December 24, 2009
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the couple which together has needed $111 billion to stay afloat and are very far from doing so, did their filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday afternoon, just before Christmas eve. I suppose this was to make sure the news contained in them would get the maximum possible attention. This was reported by the Associated Press. But see if it gets printed in your morning newspaper. The two gargantuan mortgage lenders are not yet done with government subventions.