Items of Interest:
AIG Warned of 'Crisis' if Government Didn't Help -- An AIG report to the Treasury Department last month warned that if the government didn't come to its rescue again, its collapse would trigger a "chain reaction of enormous proportion" that would "potentially bankrupt or bring down the entire system" and make it impossible for AIG to repay the billions it already owed the U.S. government...
A draft of the report, obtained by ABC News, was marked "strictly confidential." It said, "The failure of AIG would cause turmoil in the U.S. economy and global markets and have multiple and potentially catastrophic unforeseen consequences." ...
Barry Ritholtz / The Big Picture : AIG: Is the Risk Systemic?
The Stash: An Eye-Opener: Why the AIG Bailout Isn't Close to Over
Jim Puzzanghera / Los Angeles Times: Why AIG Still Gets Taxpayer Funds
Obama Plan Will Hurt U.S. -- Only nine stocks in the S&P 100 are up so far in 2009, Cramer pointed out during Monday’s Stop Trading!, and none of them have gained more than 5%. That, of course, means that 91% of the index is down...
Jim Cramer / TheStreet.com: Worst-Case Dow View
US Recession Could Last Up to 36 Months: Roubini -- The man who predicted the current financial crisis said the US recession could drag on for years without drastic action.
Among his solutions: fix the housing market by breaking "every mortgage contract."
"We are in the 15th month of a recession," said Nouriel Roubini, a professor at New York University's Stern School of Business, told CNBC in a live interview. "Growth is going to be close to zero and unemployment rate well above 10 percent into next year."
Echoing a speech he made earlier in the day, Roubini said he sees "no hope for the recession ending in 2009 and will more than likely last into 2010."...
The 10 Major Newspapers That Will Either Fold or Go Digital Next — A San Francisco Chronicle newspaper vendor — Over the past few weeks, the U.S. newspaper industry has entered a new period of decline. The parent of the papers in Philadelphia declared bankruptcy, as did the Journal Register chain...
discussion:Hugh Hewitt / Townhall.com: Not The Plain Dealer!Jill Miller Zimon / The Moderate Voice: Top 10 Newspapers That Will Fold Or Go Digi By 1/10, Courtesy of TIME
discussion:Tom Petruno / Money & Company: BofA CEO: Worst bank culprits of credit crisis ‘are gone’
The Tsunami That Buried a Wall Street Giant -- In March 2008 when the 85-year-old firm Bear Stearns — the nation’s fifth-largest investment bank, which had survived every crisis of the 20th century, from the Great Depression to the market dive of 1987 without a single losing quarter — crashed and burned in little over a week, it became a harbinger of the credit crisis that snowballed later in the year and led to the current global financial meltdown. As William D. Cohan makes clear in his engrossing new book, “House of Cards,” Bear Stearns is also a kind of microcosm of what went wrong on Wall Street — from bad business decisions to a lack of oversight to greedy, arrogant C.E.O.’s — and a parable about how the second Gilded Age came slamming to a fast and furious end.
Mr. Cohan, a former investment banker and the author of “The Last Tycoons,” a 2007 book about Lazard Frères & Company, gives us in these pages a chilling, almost minute-by-minute account of the 10, vertigo-inducing days that one year ago revealed Bear Stearns to be a flimsy house of cards in a perfect storm...
Fallen Wall Street Titan Speaks -- A year after the death of Bear Stearns, former CEO Jimmy Cayne—still playing bridge!—talks to Charlie Gasparino about why he went down with his ship, where to invest now (gold?), and why other CEOs did a worse job.
It’s hard to believe that a year ago this week, one of the largest investment banks in the world, Bear Stearns, imploded. Its finances were so stretched by investments in soured real estate that the federal government arranged an emergency loan to prop up the company before it forced Bear’s shotgun sale to megabank JP Morgan a couple of days later...
All Boarded Up -- TONY BRANCATELLI, A CLEVELAND CITY COUNCILMAN, yearns for signs that something like normal life still exists in his ward...
Prayer and sheer persistence are pretty much all Brancatelli has to go on these days. Cleveland is reeling from the foreclosure crisis. There have been roughly 10,000 foreclosures in two years. For all of 2007, before it was overtaken by sky-high foreclosure rates in parts of California, Nevada and Florida, Cleveland’s rate was among the highest in the country. (It’s now 24th among metropolitan areas.) Vacant houses are not a new phenomenon to the city. Ravaged by the closing of American steel mills, Cleveland has long been in decline. With fewer manufacturing jobs to attract workers, it has lost half its population since 1960. Its poverty rate is one of the highest in the nation. But in all those years, nothing has approached the current scale of ruin...
Recession Sends Lawyers Home -- Firms Trade Brick-and-Mortar Prestige for a Better Business Model
Across the country, the recession is putting increasing pressure on law firms to slash spending and discount their services. Client demand for lower prices is prompting firms to outsource some of their document work to India, hire more temp or contract lawyers, shift from billable hours to fixed fees and eliminate staff.
Geoff Willard, a Northern Virginia lawyer who largely represents newly launched companies, illustrates how the Wal-Mart effect of discounting is playing out in the Washington region's legal community...
Economic Tumult Besets Trump Property Projects -- With the economy bearing down, Donald Trump's real-estate business has hit new snags that imperil several big projects that bear his name.
The latest troubles -- following a bankruptcy filing by the casino company he founded and a dispute with lenders at a Chicago condo project -- come in Las Vegas. Three-fourths of the buyers of condo-hotel rooms at the Trump International Hotel & Tower Las Vegas have failed to close contracts, according to public records and people familiar with the project...
In the six weeks since Mr. Geithner took over as Treasury secretary, he and a skeleton crew of unofficial senior advisers have been racing to make decisions that will shape the future of the banking, insurance, housing and automobile industries...
discussion:Glenn Thrush / The Politico: Geithner meets with Dem caucusPhil Bronstein / The Huffington Post: Is Obama-Love Holding the Economic Pitchforks & Torches at Bay?Johanna Neuman / Top of the Ticket: Warren Buffett to Timothy Geithner: Your ‘muddled’ message hurting recoveryEd Morrissey / Hot Air: The loneliness of the long-distance statistTaylor Marsh: Buffet, Pirates and the EconomyLindsey Ellerson / The Note: Obama Faces New Attack, GOP Alarmed By Lack of NomineesJosh Marshall / Talking Points Memo: GEITHNER IN THE HOUSE — Tim Geithner is addressing …Brian Faughnan / RedState: Is Geithner Fighting for His Job?Will Bunch / Philly.com: What's that, Lassie? (Woof, woof!!) Timmy Geithner's in the well?!!Myglesias / Matthew Yglesias: Mission Impossible: Rescuing Banks Without Spending Money
Barry Ritholtz / The Big Picture: SNL on Tim Geithner
Over 15,000 descend on Fullerton to protest higher taxes -- Shouting “Off with their heads!” and “Heads on a stick!” over 15,000 people from all over California descended on downtown Fullerton for the Revolt, Recall, Repeal rally to protest over $50 billion in tax increases in the state of California and to begin a recall effort against the governor and many state legislators. Freeway off ramps heading into Fullerton had to be shut down because so many people were heading to the event and police services were stretched thin, according to a sergeant handling traffic duty at the event...
Collapsitarians -- Doom and collapse are in the air. We could think of the Long Doom as the opposite of the Long Boom. The stock market has been falling steadily for a year and not even the usual optimists are claiming it has bottomed out. Like a vicious circle bad news breeds more bad news, and so at the moment the prospect for the near future is for more of the same bad news.
How low could it go?
That's the question on everyone's mind. Once you start thinking about it, you can imagine it going very low: unemployment, massive layoffs, huge migrations, class warfare, classic war, and without much effort, you soon arrive at the collapse of civilization itself...
The only thing left to believe in is collapse.
That's not boring! The end of civilization would be terribly exciting, and unlike any future we could imagine, probably more likely. Dystopias are a favorite science fiction destination now. We all are collapsitarians these days...
- An L of a Recession – Reform Is the Way Out - Wolfgang Munchau, FT
- I Suspect Markets Are About To Get Volatile - John Hussman, Hussman
- Sick Men of Europe Need Dr. Merkel’s Medicine - Michael Sesit, Bloomberg
- Economists Rush to Disagree About Crisis Solutions - Peter Coy, BizWeek
- Barack Obama Starts a War On Business - Kevin Hassett, Bloomberg
- In Defense of Obamanomics - Laura D'Andrea Tyson, Wall Street Journal
- Obama's Double Talk On the Budget - Robert Samuelson, Washington Post
- A Failure to Control the Animal Spirits - Robert Shiller, Financial Times
- Bank Nationalization? Hey, Not So Fast - Alan Blinder, New York Times
- Two Lessons From London In 1933 - John Batchelor, RealClearMarkets
- Don't Forget the Credit Card Crisis - James Surowiecki, The New Yorker
- Talking to the Victims of Bernard Madoff - Mark Seal, Vanity Fair
- A Market for Window-Shoppers Only - Bill Fleckenstein, MSN Money
- The Positive Economics of a Marijuana Tax - Bill Frezza, RealClearMarkets
- When Left Alone, Recessions Correct On Their Own - John Tamny, Forbes
- No, Recessions Result From Weak Demand - Jonathan Chait, New Republic
- Will The DOW Hit 5,000? - Henry Blodget, Clusterstock
- The Financial Wreck Surpasses the Tech Wreck - MarketBeat
- Is Detroit Down for the Count? - James Hamilton, Econbrowser
- Five Reasons for Economic Optimism - TIME
- Wall Street Sure Seems To Have Been a Racket - Epicurean Dealmaker