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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Great Recession Roundup — January 29, 2009

Items of Interest:

MSNBC:
Obama slams Wall Street on bonuses — President calls the $18.4 billion in bonuses paid last year ‘shameful’ — President Barack Obama issued a withering critique Thursday of Wall Street corporate behavior, calling it “the height of irresponsibility” for Wall Street employees to be paid …

Discussion:
Ben White / NY Times:
What Red Ink? Wall Street Paid Hefty Bonuses -- By almost any measure, 2008 was a complete disaster for Wall Street — except, that is, when the bonuses arrived.

Despite crippling losses, multibillion-dollar bailouts and the passing of some of the most prominent names in the business, employees at financial companies in New York, the now-diminished world capital of capital, collected an estimated $18.4 billion in bonuses for the year...

Felix Salmon / Market Movers:
Let The Bonus Outrage Begin -- The issue of Wall Street bonuses in general, and Merrill Lynch's bonuses in particular, is only just beginning to heat up. The NYT is scandalized today that bonuses in New York are going to total $18.4 billion -- the sixth-largest year on record -- and frankly I too am quite shocked that the average bonus award fell only 36.7%, even as profits simply evaporated...

Chris Bowers / Open Left: The Bonuses Can Still Be Stopped
Brendan Scott / New York Post: WALL STREET BONUSES DROP TO LOWEST IN 30 YEARS
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Why do the taxpayers get stuck with the Bad Bank?

Barry Ritholtz / Big Picture
The Moral Hazard of the “Bad Bank” - Yesterday’s 13% surge in bank stocks is a clue as to what an obscene taxpayer giveaway this “bad bank” plan is — its free money for the firms that caused the problems, many of whom still have the same incompetent management in place that caused the problem. Purging toxic assets from bank balance sheets, without punishing the management, shareholders and creditors of these institutions for their horrific judgment will only encourage more of the same in the future. Its moral hazard writ large...
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Daily Options Report:
And The Winner Is... -- I ask you, would the Bad Bank have bad tellers, with bad service and bad breath? Would they only take bad checks and offer bounced check rewards? Pay costumers interest on auto loans and yet charge interest on deposits? Alas, these are questions only the wizards behind the curtain (perhaps only those on the “golden commodes) which can answer...
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Martin Feldstein / Washington Post:
An $800 Billion Mistake -- As a conservative economist, I might be expected to oppose a stimulus plan. In fact, on this page in October, I declared my support for a stimulus. But the fiscal package now before Congress needs to be thoroughly revised. In its current form, it does too little to raise national spending and employment. It would be better for the Senate to delay legislation for a month, or even two, if that's what it takes to produce a much better bill. We cannot afford an $800 billion mistake....
Discussion:
Rep. David Obey / Legislation: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
Marc Moore / PoliGazette: New Jobs Under-Stimulated by Dem's Plan
Harry Moroz / The Huffington Post: Rethinking the Stimulus
Steve Verdon / Outside The Beltway: Martin Feldstein Now Skeptical of the Stimulus Package
Larry Kudlow / The Corner: Stimulus Criticism Mounts
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Marc Ambinder:
Politics Of Stimulus: Tying The GOP To Bush – The Center for American Progress Action Fund is about to release a report advocating a new political tack for Democrats. They're going to tie the GOP alternative proposals to -- yes -- President Bush's now-unpopular agenda...
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Todd Woody / Green Wombat:
Wind jobs outstrip the coal industry – Here’s a talking point in the green jobs debate: The wind industry now employs more people than coal mining in the United States.

Wind industry jobs jumped to 85,000 in 2008, a 70% increase from the previous year, according to a report released Tuesday from the American Wind Energy Association. In contrast, the coal industry employs about 81,000 workers....
Discussion:
Jesse Jenkins / WattHead: The Jobs are “Blowin' in the Wind”
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