Czar Crossed
November 21, 2009

The Editors: Don't complain about CEO pay. Just break up the banks.

Worth Reading
November 18, 2009

The growth of dark pools is making stock market volume data less reliable. Regional Fed presidents fearful of losing power and autonomy under Dodd plan. Despite getting paid less, women have the same job satisfaction as men. Goldman disagrees with Roubini's 'carry bubble' theory. Ezra Klein: Why would any company want to provide healthcare for employees?

Why Didn't AIG Bargain With Goldman?
November 17, 2009

Today's big financial story is the TARP inspector general report criticizing the New York Fed for not negotiating a better deal with all the banks--like Goldman and Merrill Lynch--whose mortgage-backed securities AIG had effectively insured, and to whom it owed big money once the market melted down.

A Semi-Defense of Bush's Buckraking
October 21, 2009

TPM and others are having a lot of fun over the fact that George W. Bush is heading out on the motivational speaking circuit.

Hank Paulson: Getting Tougher To Defend
October 20, 2009

I've weighed in on Paulson's behalf a couple times these last few months, but, like Felix Salmon, I really have no idea what he was thinking here. It's from Andrew Ross Sorkin's just-released book on the financial crisis: When Paulson learned that Goldman’s board would be in Moscow at the same time as him, he had [Treasury chief of staff] Jim Wilkinson organize a meeting with them. Nothing formal, purely social — for old times’ sake. For fuck’s sake! Wilkinson thought.

How Goldman Can Rehabilitate Itself: Go Private
October 16, 2009

I have to say, I'm underwhelmed by the ideas the company is tossing around so far. Per this morning's Times piece: Goldman said Thursday that it would donate $200 million to its charitable foundation (that figure represents 6 percent of its third-quarter profit, or about six days of earnings). Rumors are swirling on Wall Street that Goldman might donate even more money to charity, perhaps as much as $1 billion, in an effort to defuse public resentment directed at the bank. Mr. Blankfein has even urged his free-spending bankers to be mindful of conspicuous consumption.

The Wall St.-Main St. Divide ... on Wall St.
October 16, 2009

One thing you can't help noticing when you read about third-quarter bank earnings is the huge divide between banks whose revenue depends heavily on trading and investment banking (underwriting, M&A, etc.) and banks whose revenue depends heavily on consumer lending. To put it simply: The banks in the former category--Goldman, JP Morgan*--are doing very well. The banks in the latter category--Citigroup, Bank of America--are performing abysmally. I don't have a ton to say about this, other than that it highlights the limits to what can be accomplished with a "top down" bank bailout.

Relitigating Summers and Bank Nationalization
October 05, 2009

There's been some teeth-gnashing in the liberal blogosphere over Ryan Lizza's New Yorker profile of Larry Summers, the general thrust of which is that he supposedly went too easy on Summers, particularly on the issue of bank nationalization. Here's Dean Baker over at his American Prospect blog: In terms of the bank bailout, some of us were worried that we were effectively taxing the whole country to support the rich bastards that put the economy in the toilet. Bank profits now stand at a record share of GDP and the bonuses at Goldman are as big as ever.

Not A Defense Of Hank Paulson
August 10, 2009

I've stood up for Hank Paulson a few times these last several weeks, but this Times piece from yesterday strikes me as a real problem. As Tom Coburn would say, Paulson has some 'splainin' to do at the very least. Mr. Paulson’s schedules from 2007 and 2008 show that he spoke with Mr. Blankfein, who was his successor as Goldman’s chief, 26 times before receiving a waiver. On the morning of Sept. 16, 2008, the day the A.I.G. rescue was announced, Mr. Paulson’s calendars show that he took a call from Mr. Blankfein at 9:40 a.m. Mr.

Worth Reading
August 05, 2009

The government is looking into pay at Goldman. Deutsche Bank thinks one-in-two mortgages could be underwater by 2011. Goldman and Amex aside, TARP returns are unlikely to be positive overall. One agency that's sure to be a loser in the financial regulation fight. 10% of the population is on antidepressants. (That seems way too low...) How the potato made modern civilization possible.    --Zubin Jelveh