Friday, April 30, 2010

“The bond vigilantes are walking out on Greece, Spain, Portugal, the U.K. and Iceland,” Nouriel Roubini

Roubini Says Rising Sovereign Debt Leads to Defaults (Correct)

By Vivien Lou Chen and Gabrielle Coppola

(Corrects name of website that published Feldstein article in 10th paragraph of article originally published on April 29)

April 29 (Bloomberg) -- Nouriel Roubini, the New York University professor who forecast the U.S. recession more than a year before it began, said sovereign debt from the U.S. to Japan and Greece will lead to higher inflation or government defaults.

Almost $1 trillion of worldwide equity value was erased April 27 on concern that debt will spur defaults, derailing the global economy, data compiled by Bloomberg show. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the International Monetary Fund pledged to step up efforts to overcome the Greek fiscal crisis, after bonds and stocks fell across Europe in the past week.

“The bond vigilantes are walking out on Greece, Spain, Portugal, the U.K. and Iceland,” Roubini, 52, said yesterday during a panel discussion on financial markets at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California. “Unfortunately in the U.S., the bond-market vigilantes are not walking out.”

Credit-rating cuts on Greece, Portugal and Spain this week are spurring investors’ concern that the European deficit crisis is spreading and intensifying pressure on policy makers to widen a bailout package. Roubini’s remarks underscore statements by officials such as Dominique Strauss-Kahn, managing director of the IMF, that the global economy still faces risks.

Sovereign Debt

“The thing I worry about is the buildup of sovereign debt,” said Roubini, a former adviser to the U.S. Treasury and IMF consultant, who in August 2006 predicted a “painful” U.S. recession that came to fruition in December 2007. If the problem isn’t addressed, he said, nations will either fail to meet obligations or see faster inflation as officials “monetize” their debts, or print money to tackle the shortfalls.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Goldmangate: Goldman Sachs employees have given 69 % of their political contributions to Democrats, slightly down from 2008, when they gave 75 % to Democrats

Obama claims opponents of his so-called financial reform bill are on the side of the big banks. But in fact the big banks are on his side. The Center for Responsive Politics (CRL) reports Wall Street has given 63 percent of its political contributions this cycle to Democrats, up from 57 percent in 2008.

Goldman Sachs employees have given 69 % of their political contributions this cycle to Democrats, only slightly down from 2008, when they gave 75 % to Democrats -- including nearly a million dollars to Barack Obama and $112,400 to Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd. Dodd is now retiring instead of facing voters because of his own involvement in a housing-related scandal, a sweetheart loan Countrywide gave him.
Blankfein supports financial reform legislation

By Vicki Needham - 04/27/10 06:45 PM ET

A financial regulatory reform bill has at least one supporter outside of Congressional Democrats, Lloyd Blankfein, the head of investment bank Goldman Sachs.

"I'm generally supportive," Blankfein told the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

Wall Street will benefit from the bill because it will make the market safer, Blankfein said.

"The biggest beneficiary of reform is Wall Street itself," he said. "The biggest risk is risk financial institutions have with each other."

American consumers also would benefit from better regulations, he said.

Blankfein said he didn't know all the bill's details and couldn't speak to provisions that affect community and consumer banks and mortgage originators because they are "remote" to our experience.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Financial Reform ?

Is this some kind of a joke the same person who single handily profited from the global financial crisis is the author of the current financial reform bill? Chris Dodd has no business being in government let along regulating the industry which he profited from all of its wrong doings .

What I also find peculiar is that the industry being regulated is so accepting of this this regulation ? Remember these are the same people who watched porn instead of Bernie Maddoff. Is it simply because Wall Street has heaped millions of dollars in support of Obama and his drive to merge corporate and government interests? Or because Obama has taped so many Goldman Sacks alumni to mastermind his big government takeover of your life.

This whole financial reform bill stinks to high heaven and with all the usual suspects lining up in support of this legislation its no wonder most folks are eyeing the November congressional elections instead of focusing on the day to day operation of the US Government.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Wonder why they missed the financial crisis? Or Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme? A government report obtained by ABC News reveals that SEC employees were focused on something else: porn.

Glodal financial crisis goes on while SEC watched Porn

SEC watching porn instead of financial industry

By Husna Haq, /Correspondent / April 23, 2010

Just when it was beginning to repair its reputation with its high-profile case against Goldman Sachs, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) suffers another major blow: Senior staffers there were surfing Internet pornography – as much as eight hours per day, in one case – when they were supposed to be policing the financial industry.

Perhaps this helps explain why the SEC didn't see the financial collapse coming. Or did nothing to stop Lehman Bros.’ questionable accounting tactics. Or Bernie Madoff’s dubious “investing” strategy."

They were busy with other things.

The information comes by way of a disturbing SEC memo to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R), who requested that the agency’s internal watchdog conduct an investigation. ABC News broke the story on its Thursday evening newscast.

The investigation found 31 serious offenders over the past two-and-a-half years, 17 of whom were senior SEC officers with salaries ranging from $100,000 to $222,000 per year.

The AP reports these highlights –

• A senior attorney at the SEC's Washington headquarters spent up to eight hours a day looking at and downloading pornography. When he ran out of hard drive space, he burned the files to CDs or DVDs, which he kept in boxes around his office. He agreed to resign, an earlier watchdog report said.

• An accountant was blocked more than 16,000 times in a month from visiting websites classified as "Sex" or "Pornography." Yet, he still managed to amass a collection of "very graphic" material on his hard drive by using Google images to bypass the SEC's internal filter, according to an earlier report from the inspector general. The accountant refused to testify in his defense and received a 14-day suspension.

• Seventeen of the employees were "at a senior level," earning salaries of up to $222,418.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R) of California, called the scandal “nothing short of disturbing that high-ranking officials within the SEC were spending more time looking at pornography than taking action to help stave off the events that brought our nation’s economy to the brink of collapse.”

But, as the Washington Post reports, it’s not the first time government workers have been caught accessing pornography on the job. Employees at the National Science Foundation, the National Park Service, and even a chief judge of the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals have been caught looking at pornography or posting sexually explicit content on personal websites.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Goldman's White House connections raise eyebrows

WASHINGTON — While Goldman Sachs' lawyers negotiated with the Securities and Exchange Commission over potentially explosive civil fraud charges, Goldman's chief executive visited the White House at least four times.

Read more:

White House logs show that Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein traveled to Washington for at least two events with President Barack Obama, whose 2008 presidential campaign received $994,795 in donations from Goldman's employees and their relatives. He also met twice with Obama's top economic adviser, Larry Summers.

No evidence has surfaced to suggest that Blankfein or any other Goldman executive raised the SEC case with the president or his aides. SEC Chairwoman Mary Schapiro said in a statement Wednesday that the SEC doesn't coordinate enforcement actions with the White House or other political bodies.

Meanwhile, however, Goldman is retaining former Obama White House counsel Gregory Craig as a member of its legal team. In addition, when he worked as an investment banker in Chicago a decade ago, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel advised one client who also retained Goldman as an adviser on the same $8.2 billion deal.

Goldman's connections to the White House and the Obama administration are raising eyebrows at a time when Washington and Wall Street are dueling over how to overhaul regulation of the financial world.

Read more:

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


GOP seeks SEC records on Goldman

Read more:

Rep. Darrell Issa, the top Republican on the House Oversight committee, is demanding a slew of documents from the Securities and Exchange Commission, asserting that the timing of civil charges against Goldman Sachs raises “serious questions about the commission’s independence and impartiality.”

Issa’s letter, addressed to SEC Chairwoman Mary Schapiro and signed by eight other House Republicans, asks whether the commission had any contact about the case, prior to its public release, with White House aides, Democratic Party committee officials, or members of Congress or their staff.

“[W]e are concerned that politics have unduly influenced the decision and timing of the commission’s controversial enforcement action against Goldman,” Issa writes.

Issa implied that the timing was a bit too convenient, saying President Barack Obama’s push on Wall Street reform “neatly coincided with the commission’s announcement of the suit.”

Read more:

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Paul Volcker : The United States should consider raising taxes to help bring deficits under control and may need to consider a European-style value-added tax,

Volcker: Taxes likely to rise eventually to tame deficit


Tue Apr 6, 2010 7:57pm EDT NEW YORK (Reuters) - The United States should consider raising taxes to help bring deficits under control and may need to consider a European-style value-added tax, White House adviser Paul Volcker said on Tuesday.

Volcker, answering a question from the audience at a New York Historical Society event, said the value-added tax "was not as toxic an idea" as it has been in the past and also said a carbon or other energy-related tax may become necessary.

Though he acknowledged that both were still unpopular ideas, he said getting entitlement costs and the U.S. budget deficit under control may require such moves. "If at the end of the day we need to raise taxes, we should raise taxes," he said.

(Reporting by Steven C. Johnson and Leah Schnurr; editing by Carol Bishopric)

Monday, April 05, 2010


Obama's 17-minute, 2,500-word response to woman's claim of being 'over-taxed'
by Anne E. Kornblut

CHARLOTTE - Even by President Obama's loquacious standards, an answer he gave here on health care Friday was a doozy.

Toward the end of a question-and-answer session with workers at an advanced battery technology manufacturer, a woman named Doris stood to ask the president whether it was a "wise decision to add more taxes to us with the health care" package.

"We are over-taxed as it is," Doris said bluntly.

Obama started out feisty. "Well, let's talk about that, because this is an area where there's been just a whole lot of misinformation, and I'm going to have to work hard over the next several months to clean up a lot of the misapprehensions that people have," the president said.

He then spent the next 17 minutes and 12 seconds lulling the crowd into a daze. His discursive answer - more than 2,500 words long -- wandered from topic to topic, including commentary on the deficit, pay-as-you-go rules passed by Congress, Congressional Budget Office reports on Medicare waste, COBRA coverage, the Recovery Act and Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (he referred to this last item by its inside-the-Beltway name, "F-Map"). He talked about the notion of eliminating foreign aid (not worth it, he said). He invoked Warren Buffett, earmarks and the payroll tax that funds Medicare (referring to it, in fluent Washington lingo, as "FICA").

Always fond of lists, Obama ticked off his approach to health care -- twice. "Number one is that we are the only -- we have been, up until last week, the only advanced country that allows 50 million of its citizens to not have any health insurance," he said.

A few minutes later he got to the next point, which seemed awfully similar to the first. "Number two, you don't know who might end up being in that situation," he said, then carried on explaining further still.

"Point number three is that the way insurance companies have been operating, even if you've got health insurance you don't always know what you got, because what has been increasingly the practice is that if you're not lucky enough to work for a big company that is a big pool, that essentially is almost a self-insurer, then what's happening is, is you're going out on the marketplace, you may be buying insurance, you think you're covered, but then when you get sick they decide to drop the insurance right when you need it," Obama continued, winding on with the answer.

Halfway through, an audience member on the riser yawned.

But Obama wasn't finished. He had a "final point," before starting again with another list -- of three points.

"What we said is, number one, we'll have the basic principle that everybody gets coverage," he said, before launching into the next two points, for a grand total of seven.

His wandering approach might not matter if Obama weren't being billed as the chief salesman of the health-care overhaul. Public opinion on the bill remains divided, and Democratic officials are planning to send Obama into the country to persuade wary citizens that it will work for them in the long run.

It was not evident that he changed any minds at Friday's event. The audience sat politely, but people in the back of the room began to wander off.

Even Obama seemed to recognize that he had gone on too long. He apologized -- in keeping with the spirit of the moment, not once, but twice. "Boy, that was a long answer. I'm sorry," he said, drawing nervous laughter that sounded somewhat like relief as he wrapped up.

But, he said: "I hope I answered your question."