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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Great Recession Roundup — June 25, 2009

Items of Interest:

Nouriel Roubini aka Dr. Doom Has Some Good NewsJames Fallows / The Atlantic:
Dr. Doom Has Some Good News -- Nouriel Roubini, the New York University economist who accurately forecast the bursting of the housing bubble and the resulting economic contraction, has become famous for his pessimism—he has been the gloomiest of the doomsayers. Which is what makes his current outlook surprising: Roubini believes that the Obama administration’s policy makers—and especially the much-maligned Tim Geithner—have gotten a lot right. Pitfalls may still abound, but he is now projecting an end to the recession, and he sees growth ahead.

On March 28, 2007, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke appeared before the congressional Joint Economic Committee to discuss trends in the U.S. economy. Everyone was concerned about the “substantial correction in the housing market,” he noted in his prepared remarks. Fortunately, “the impact on the broader economy and financial markets of the problems in the subprime market seems likely to be contained.” Better still, “the weakness in housing and in some parts of manufacturing does not appear to have spilled over to any significant extent to other sectors of the economy.” On that day, the Dow Jones industrial average was above 12,000, the S&P 500 was above 1,400, and the U.S. unemployment rate was 4.4 percent...
Nouriel Roubini / Global EconoMonitor:
Recent Bloomberg Roubini Interview -- Nouriel Roubini Says U.S. Economy `Sort of Stabilizing'

Mike O'Rourke / TheStreet.com: The Bubble of Bearishness Bursts
Wall Street Journal:
The Cap and Tax Fiction -- Democrats off-loading economics to pass climate change bill.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has put cap-and-trade legislation on a forced march through the House, and the bill may get a full vote as early as Friday. It looks as if the Democrats will have to destroy the discipline of economics to get it done.

Despite House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman's many payoffs to Members, rural and Blue Dog Democrats remain wary of voting for a bill that will impose crushing costs on their home-district businesses and consumers. The leadership's solution to this problem is to simply claim the bill defies the laws of economics...
Henry Waxman: His bill to fight global warming means largest tax hike in world history.Myron / Ebell / NY Post:

The House votes this week on the American Clean Energy and Security Act -- which claims to be about slowing global warming, but in fact is a massive tax hike that would vastly expand the federal government's power over the economy.

Indeed, the Waxman-Markey bill (as it's commonly called, after its two chief sponsors) would be the largest tax increase in world history, as well as transfer vast wealth from consumers to big-business special interests...

Todd Darling / LA Times: Cap-and-Trade Bill Contains Smoke & Mirrors
Pat Austin / And So it Goes in Shreveport: Cap 'n Tax and Mary Katherine Ham
Nick Loris / The Foundry: Cap and Trade Hits the Poor the Hardest
Jay Stevens / Left in the West: Too much selfishness and greed
Nate Silver / FiveThirtyEight: The Environmental Indifference Point
Dan / Riehl World View: Captain Climate To Arrive In Blimp
Lisa Lerer / The Politico: Gore stays in Tenn. to work phones
Testimony by Chairman Bernanke on the acquisition of Merrill Lynch by Bank of America -- Chairman Towns, Ranking Member Issa, and other members of the Committee, I appreciate the opportunity to discuss the Federal Reserve's role in the acquisition by the Bank of America Corporation of Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. I believe that the Federal Reserve acted with the highest integrity throughout its discussions with Bank of America ...
BBC News
Bernanke defends Fed on bank deal — The head of the US Federal Reserve says it acted with "integrity" in Bank of America's takeover of Merrill Lynch...

L.A. Times
Bernanke says he didn't bully BofA to buy Merrill — Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress today he didn't pressure Bank of America into acquiring Merrill Lynch in a deal that ultimately cost taxpayers $20 billion.
----Goldman Sachs: Engineering Every Major Market Manipulation Since The Great Depression
Zero Hedge:
Goldman Sachs: "Engineering Every Major Market Manipulation Since The Great Depression" -- With a subtitle like "From tech stocks to high gas prices, Goldman Sachs has engineered every major market manipulation since the Great Depression - and they're about to do it again" run, don't walk, to your nearest kiosk and buy Matt Taibbi's latest piece in Rolling Stone magazine. One of the best comprehensive profiles of Government Sachs done ...
The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it's everywhere. The world's most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money. In fact, the history of the recent financial crisis, which doubles as a history of the rapid decline and fall of the suddenly swindled-dry American empire, reads like a Who's Who of Goldman Sachs graduates...

The bank's unprecedented reach and power have enabled it to turn all of Americain to a giant pump-and-dump scam, manipulating whole economic sectors for years at a time, moving the dice game as this or that market collapses, and all the time gorging itself on the unseen costs that are breaking families everywhere - high gas prices, rising consumer-credit rates, half-eaten pension funds, mass layoffs, future taxes to payoff bail-outs. All that money that you're losing, it's going somewhere, and in both a literal and a figurative sense. Goldman Sachs is where it's going: The bank is a huge, highly sophisticated engine for converting the useful, deployed wealth of society into the least useful, most wasteful and insoluble substance on Earth - pure profit for rich individuals...

If America is now circling the drain, Goldman Sachs has found a way to be that drain...
Felix Salmon / Economics Roundtable: Matt Taibbi vs Goldman Sachs
Drea / Business Pundit: Matt Taibbi’s “The Great American Bubble Machine” Demystifies Goldman Sachs

Guardian: Goldman to make record bonus payout

Jeff Macke / Minyanville:
Congress Gives Goldman One More Free Pass -- Hank Paulson and Ed Liddy managed to testify for several days without ever answering why Goldman Sachs got favorable deals from the government, what role they played in those negotiations...
Wall Street Journal:
Downwardly Mobile: Living on Less in the City -- An Upper East Sider Negotiates Job Loss; Discounts on Haircuts, Dental Work ...
Fed Scales Back Some Lending Programs -- The Federal Reserve moved for the first time to scale back several emergency lending programs started last fall, at the height of the financial crisis. related items...

Annys Shin / Wash Post Business:
Fed Extending Many Emergency Lending Programs — The Federal Reserve said today that it was extending many of its emergency lending programs through February because conditions in financial markets remain strained...
Financial Times:
Inflation - the real threat to sustained recovery -- The rise in global stock prices from early March to mid-June is arguably the primary cause of the surprising positive turn in the economic environment. The $12,000bn of newly created corporate equity value has added significantly to the capital buffer that supports the debt issued by financial and non-financial companies. Corporate debt, as a ...
Catherine Holahan / MSN Money: Is Inflation Our Next Big Worry?

Mark Thoma / Economist:
Greenspan: Equity Prices are a Key to Recovery — Maybe there was a Greenspan put after all?: Inflation - the real threat to sustained recovery, by Alan Greenspan, Commentary, Financial Times: The rise in global stock prices from early March to mid-June is arguably the primary cause of the...

Reuters: China Should Buy Gold to Hedge Dollar Fall
David Goldman / Inner Workings: Will China Buy Gold?
Lynnley Browning / NY Times:
Florida Man Pleads Guilty in UBS Tax Case -- A wealthy American client of UBS pleaded guilty to tax fraud, the latest victory for the federal government in its crackdown on UBS and its offshore private banking accounts...
Paul Caron / TaxProf Blog
First UBS Client Pleads Guilty to Offshore Tax Evasion — The Department of Justice and IRS announced that the first UBS client pleaded guilty today to tax evasion. Steven Michael Rubinstein, a Boca Raton accountant, pleaded guilty to filing a false 2004 tax return by failing to disclose the existence of a Swiss bank account maintained by UBS...

Calculated Risk

MishTalk - Mike Shedlock

Paul Krugman - NY Times

The Big Picture - Barry Ritholtz

naked capitalism - Yves Smith

Pragmatic Capitalism

Washington's Blog

Safe Haven

Paper Economy

The Daily Reckoning - Australia