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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Great Recession Roundup — AIG Bonuses, Bailouts and Blame

Items of Interest:

Jeff Matthews is Not Making This Up:
New-New Gettysburg Address -- Four or five years ago our Investment Bankers helped bring forth on this continent, and around the world, a new banking system, conceived in Leverage, and dedicated to the proposition that all persons working for Investment Banks can create enormous Wealth for themselves with almost no Risk except to Taxpayers.

Now we the Investment Bankers of Goldman Sachs are engaged in a great Scam, testing whether that Nation of Bankers can get paid without Tipping Off the Taxpayers to that Scam.

We have come to cash our checks...

related:
NY Times:
Goldman Offers Loans to Stretched Employees -- Goldman Sachs got its bailout. Now some of its bankers, those aristocrats of Wall Street, apparently need a bit of a bailout too...
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Eliot Spitzer / Slate:
The Real AIG Scandal--It's Not the Bonuses -- It's not the bonuses. It's that AIG's counterparties are getting paid back in full.

Everybody is rushing to condemn AIG's bonuses, but this simple scandal is obscuring the real disgrace at the insurance giant: Why are AIG's counterparties getting paid back in full, to the tune of tens of billions of taxpayer dollars?....

And who were AIG's trading partners? No shock here: Goldman, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, UBS, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, Barclays, and on it goes. So now we know for sure what we already surmised: The AIG bailout has been a way to hide an enormous second round of cash to the same group that had received TARP money already...

related:
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Michael Kazin / Daily Beast:
Anger Over AIG: You Ain't Seen Nothing' Yet - From AIG to John Thain, the current public anger is just the latest expression of two centuries of periodic outrage—and Obama still has a chance to tame it...

Rich Edson / FOXBusiness.com:
Amid AIG Furor, Dodd Tries to Undo Bonus Protections He Put In — Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) on Monday night floated the idea of taxing American International Group (AIG) bonus recipients so the government could recoup the $450 million the company is paying to employees in its financial products unit...
discussion:
Glenn Greenwald / Salon:
The dishonest “Blame Dodd” scheme from Treasury officials — There is a major push underway — engineered by Obama's Treasury officials, enabled by a mindless media, and amplified by the right-wing press — to blame Chris Dodd for the AIG bonus payments. That would be perfectly fine if it were true...
discussion:
Ben Armbruster / Think Progress: Perino Defends AIG Bonuses: They Are 'Middle Class People …
Joanna Ossinger / FOXBusiness.com: Some Details About AIG's Bonuses Are Revealed
Jane Hamsher / Firedoglake:
Treasury Attempts to “Blame Dodd” for AIG Bonuses — As Geithner tries to get out of the way of the AIG bonus train wreck, it looks like the designated sin eater is going to be Chris Dodd: … So Treasury says Chris Dodd did this? In a word. . . no. — What they're talking about is a clause …
discussion:
Dan / Riehl World View: Greenwald's Half-Truth On AIG Bonuses
Louise Story / New York Times:
Cuomo Details Million-Dollar Bonuses at A.I.G. — Seventy-three employees were paid more than $1 million in the latest bonuses at the insurance giant American International Group, according to the New York attorney general, Andrew M. Cuomo. — The attorney general provided some new details …
discussion:
Jim VandeHei / The Politico:
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Newsweek cover: I want you to start spendingDaniel Gross /Newsweek:
Stop Saving Now! -- As consumers hibernate and investors hoard cash, the economy is withering. This new age of thrift is understandable. But for a recovery to take hold, Americans will need to start taking risks again...

Something less tangible is also absent: the spirit of caffeinated, heedless risk taking. For a generation, risk has been the adrenaline of the nation's economy, the substance that made us all—from the denizens of midtown Manhattan to the residents of Manhattan, Kans.—run a little faster and stay up a little later...
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Housing Wire:
Surprise! Housing Starts Up 22 Percent – After dropping almost 17 percent in January, housing starts surged 22 percent in February to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 583,000 — although still 47.3 percent below the revised February 2008 rate — due in large part to the 82 percent increase in the construction of apartment buildings, the Commerce Department said Tuesday...
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David Enrich / Wall Street Journal:
Citi Losing Economist to Treasury – Citigroup Inc.'s chief economist is leaving the company for a job at the Treasury Department, according to an internal Citigroup memo.

Lewis Alexander, who has been at Citigroup since 1999 and before that worked at the Federal Reserve, will head to the Treasury "to work on domestic financial issues," said the Citigroup memo, which was sent Tuesday...
discussion:
JammieWearingFool: Rewarding Incompetence: Citigroup's Chief Economist Gets Treasury Gig
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