The Stash

It's hard not to be somewhat encouraged by the announcement that Bank of America has reached a deal with Treasury to repay the $45 billion in "exceptional assistance" it received last fall and winter. BofA was one of two problem megabanks (the other being Citigroup) to receive such a mega-bailout, and at times looked like it would be years before it returned the cash. For both substantive and political reasons, the administration has good reason to breathe a little easier. (And, to its credit, it negotiated a pretty tough deal with the bank.

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Justin Wolfers: It's better to raise rates too late than too early. Blaming some, but not all, evangelicals for fueling the crisis. Evidence of massive insider trading before Dubai debt announcement. Hourly tips fell 5% from last year. Personal bankruptcy filings also fall. Has the recent stock market rally gone too far?

I wrote a piece last week about how, as recently as six weeks ago, Wall Street was punching big holes through Congress's efforts to regulate derivatives, the financial instruments at the center of last fall's crisis. But, over the last month or so, a variety of progressive groups, working with Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler, the country's chief derivatives regulator, have fought to seal those holes.

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It looks like there might be something to my initial hunch that GM CEO Fritz Henderson was ousted because the company is now stable enough to make a change it's board has wanted to make for a while. Today's Times story explores that angle a bit, in any case: According to a person with direct knowledge of the board’s deliberations, there was no final straw that led to Mr. Henderson’s forced resignation. Rather, G.M.’s directors began discussing weeks ago that the company needed to seek an outsider to lead the company. “Fritz was just not enough of a change agent,” that person said.

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Interesting nugget in yesterday's Playbook that I meant to highlight at the time: SPOTTED: Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Arianna Huffington (who has been très critical) enjoying red wine and an off-the-record dinner last night at Central Michel Richard. That would of course be the same Arianna Huffington who, back in March, dashed off a column entitled "Take the Steering Wheel Out of Geithner's Hands," which included such rhetorical air kisses as: But the issue isn't Geithner's delivery, it's what he's delivering: an approach to the crisis that is as toxic as the assets that have hamstru

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It looks like Fritz Henderson, who only took over as GM's CEO back in March, has been forced out by the company's board. From the Times: General Motors said Tuesday that its chief executive, Fritz Henderson, was resigning and would be succeeded on an interim basis by the automaker’s new chairman, Edward E. Whitacre Jr. ... Mr. Henderson became chief of G.M. after the previous chief executive, Rick Wagoner, was asked to resign in March by President Obama’s auto task force. But in a sign that the company’s board is dissatisfied with G.M.’s progress, Mr.

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Earlier today I opined that additional aid to states was a "virtual non-starter on the Hill" even though it's one of the most efficient tools we have for preserving and creating jobs. But I stand corrected (sorta). In a telephone interview this afternoon, North Dakota Sen. Kent Conrad, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee and a key figure in discussions about more stimulus, told me that additional state aid is definitely on the table.

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Why consumer debt won't weigh down the economy for years. How successful was all that quantitative easing, really?  Which countries are at risk of being the next Dubai? Harvard's law school suspends tuition waivers for public service. Is the recession really over? Loneliness, like obesity, may be socially transmittable.

When pulling together the stimulus bill earlier this year, the administration and congressional Democrats tried to focus spending on "shovel-ready" projects wherever possible--partly to defuse the flack from the right, and partly because the point of a stimulus bill is to start spending quickly. This decision has certainly yielded near-term benefits.

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Citigroup hires harsh critic Willem Buiter as chief economist. Buiter's last(?) blog: Sovereign guarantees are a delusion. Bob McTeer on why money creation hasn't caused inflation. The economy is so bad, even non-immigrants are doing day labor. A star economist's reputation declines with research output.

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