Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Thursday, July 1, 2010 9:07 pm

Financial regulation reform

Filed under: We're so screwed — Lex @ 9:07 pm
Tags: , ,

Kunstler: far too little, way too late:

President Obama made a very interesting remark when the financial regulation package passed in the senate the other day. He said the bill would make sure that “Main Street is never again held responsible for Wall Street’s mistakes.”

Whoosh….

That was the sound of something going over America’s head. Something about the size of Rodan the Flying Reptile. And frankly I don’t think the president even meant to be coy or deceptive. It just means he doesn’t get it either.

Never again….

Never again?

What the [expletive]?

Why even this time?  Why isn’t there an army of federal attorneys out there, their teeth bristling with subpoenas, beating the bushes in every lane and skyscraper floor of lower Manhattan (and Fairfield County, Connecticut, not to mention a thousand office parks around the USA) to roust out the grifters and swindlers who took Main Street to the cleaners this time.

I asked this same question of my rep, Howard Coble, in a recent e-mail. Here’s what he said:

As you may know, recently the Securities and Exchange Commission announced a civil fraud suit against [Goldman Sachs] for questionable mortgage-related transactions.  Concurrently, the Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation into the firms’ activities.  Finally, congressional investigations regarding Goldman’s role in the financial crisis are ongoing.  We have noted your thoughts regarding these actions should legislation be debated in the coming months that would affect these transactions.  Finally, until these inquiries are concluded, as a member of the House Judiciary committee, I am hesitant to express an opinion.

Apparently Howard is shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here. (Your winnings, sir.)

Kunstler continues:

The audacity of cluelessness! And the hilarity of “next time.”

Earth to President Obama: there isn’t going to be a next time. This time was enough to git ‘er done. Wall Street – in particular the biggest “banks” – packaged up and sold enough swindles to unwind 2500 years of western civilization. You simply cannot imagine the amount of bad financial paper out there right now in every vault and portfolio on the planet. Enough, really, to sink any company even pretending to trade in things more abstract than a mud brick or an hour of labor. What’s more, the cross-collateralized obligations between them are so vast and intricate that all the standing timber in North America could not be fashioned into enough pick-up sticks to represent the hideous death-dealing tangle of frauds waiting for the wing-beat of a single black swan to come crashing down.

Granted, that’s not great. But, hey, it could be worse. It’s not like there’s actually a black swan out there — like, say, $1.4 trillion in commercial real estate financing coming due by the end of 2014, with half those loans currently under water, or anything.

Oh. Wait.

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Thursday, December 31, 2009 2:13 am

Odds and ends for 12/31

Enough already: GMAC wants another $3-4 billion from the taxpayers. Just. Say. No.

Our arrogant national culture is letting our soldiers/marines die unnecessarily: “Indeed, off-the-shelf solutions [to military problems in Iraq and Afghanistan] were there for the asking within Coalition partner states, but no one asked.”

Some good news for a change:Q: Obama says America will go bankrupt if Congress doesn’t pass the health care bill. A: Well, it’s going to go bankrupt if they do pass the health care bill, too, but at least he’s thinking about it.” So we’ve got that going for us.

A question: If the guy accused of being the pants-on-fire would-be terrorist on Flight 253 is “cooperating” with investigators, as investigators say, then why are people calling for him to be tortured?

News flash: U.S. corporate governance sucks, at least at publicly held companies.

Another news flash: Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., send the president a letter asking him not to release six Guantanamo detainees to Yemen. Just one problem: too late. A big deal? Of course not. But imagine how this would have been played if three Democratic senators had done this with George W. Bush still in the White House.

The Washington Post’s Steven Pearlstein, unlike McCain, Graham and Lieberman, is NOT too late. Not that it helps: Indeed, he warned us a year ago that Obama’s choice of Mary Schapiro to run the SEC would suck. And it has come to pass as it was foretold.

Well, at least we’re going to have a national election contested on a clear issue: Newt Gingrich has been calling on Republican Congressional candidates in 2010 to pledge to repeal health-care reform (should it finally pass) if elected. Now the White House is double-dog-daring them to do it, too.

How to keep your recently deregulated, greedy, rapacious, out-of-control industry from being intelligently re-regulated: First, get the majority party to assign a bunch of politically vulnerable rookies, who will therefore be desperate for lots and lots of re-election campaign cash, to the committee that oversees you.

Worst financial footnote of the year: By the time this post sees the Interwebz, results should be posted.

Dennis Kucinich may see flying saucers, but he also sees some incredibly bad policy (if not actual crime) and is calling it out.

From the banksters’ own fingers: Some internal AIG e-mails are finally being made public. We need many, many more, and we need many, many people to go through them looking for evidence of crime.

Sigh. More Calvinball*. Better journalists, please.

Newt’s getting predictable.

Memo to Andrew Sullivan: There’s a difference between accountability and kabuki, and John Cole, being smarter than you, explains the difference. Pay attention; this will be on the exam.

*Term explained here.

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