Many commentators have correctly observed that the reelection of Governor Scott Walker is a grave blow to unions, especially public sector unions. They went all in to defeat Walker and, despite the great outpouring of protest last year against his collective bargaining bill, he won by a greater margin this time than he did in 2010. But something else was exemplified by the Wisconsin results. It’s not that unions can’t win a defensive fight.
New York Times columnist David Brooks, defending Mitt Romney against a new Romney-bashing ad from President Obama’s re-election campaign, describes private equity as a “reform movement”: "Forty years ago, corporate America was bloated, sluggish and losing ground to competitors in Japan and beyond. But then something astonishing happened. Financiers, private equity firms and bare-knuckled corporate executives initiated a series of reforms and transformations. The process was brutal and involved streamlining and layoffs.
Joe Nocera takes apart the Republican narrative of the financial crisis: The F.C.I.C. commissioner who has complained loudest about Fannie and Freddie is Peter Wallison, a former Reagan-era Treasury official who for the last two decades or so has been a fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. Long before it was popular to criticize Fannie and Freddie, they were Mr. Wallison’s bugaboo.
I think Joe Nocera is being uncharitable here: In other words, much of Wall Street has already moved to better align pay with longer-term performance. Firms have decreased the cash component, and increased stock awards, with strings attached that force them to hold the stock for long periods of time. But that isn’t exactly keeping pay down, which — and let’s be honest here — is what most of the country really wants to see, given how the nation’s bankers helped put us at the brink of financial ruin. The executives affected by Mr. Feinberg’s ruling aren’t exactly going broke either.
It is easy to dismiss the G20 communique and all the associated spin as empty waffle. Ask people in a month what was accomplished in Pittsburgh and you’ll get the same blank stare that follows when you now ask: What was achieved at the G8 summit in Italy this year? Perhaps just having emerging markets at the table will bring the world closer to stability and more inclined towards inclusive growth, but that seems unlikely. Should we just move on--back to our respective domestic policy struggles? That’s tempting, but consider for a moment the key way in which the G20 summit has worsened our pre
Financial markets have stabilized--people believe that the U.S. and West European governments will not allow big financial institutions to fail. We have effectively nationalized any banking system losses, but we’ll let bank executives enjoy the full benefits of the upside. How much shareholders participate remains to be seen; there will be no effective reining in of insider compensation (my version; Joe Nocera’s view). Small and medium-sized banks, however, will continue to fail as problems in commercial real estate continue to mount.
Joe Nocera, in a column that's pretty high on the Geithner plan, makes a great point: The key part of the plan may not be selling the "toxic" mortgage-backed securities, but selling all the bad mortgages the banks are still carrying. (The first are pools of loans that have been sliced up and repackaged; the second are actual loans.) He writes: There are plenty of investors who would be happy to take bundles of, say, commercial real estate loans off the hands of the banks and work them out — but only if they can get them for a price that makes sense.
New York Times columnist Joe Nocera, who knows a thing or two about business, decided to interview some bankruptcy experts, in order to learn whether letting General Motor file for Chapter 11 was a good idea. Apparently the answer is "not really": ...bankruptcy is anything but a snap. It is a long, difficult, drawn-out process with no guarantee that a bankruptcy judge will go along with everything G.M. wants to do.
The most literate (and funny) financial columnist, Joe Nocera of The New York Times, begins Saturday's column with a quote from Isaac Newton: "I can calculate the motions of heavenly bodies but not the madness of peoples." Newton uttered these words apropos the South Sea Bubble, a financial disaster in the early eighteenth century that was a complex of war, diplomacy, finance, fantasy, deception, self-deception and slavery. Newton himself lost his life's savings in the insanity, says Nocera.