Monthly Archives: August 2011

Nevada Lawsuit Shows Bank of America’s Criminal Incompetence

It’s pretty remarkable that Mr. Market shrugged off the devastating implications of the amended lawsuit filed by the Nevada attorney general, Catherine Masto against various Bank of America entities. As we’ve stated before, litigation by attorney general is significant not merely due to the damages and remedies sought, but because it paves the way for private lawsuits.

And make no mistake about it, this filing is a doozy. It shows the Federal/state attorney general mortgage settlement effort to be a complete travesty. The claim describes, in considerable detail, how various Bank of America units engaged in misconduct in virtually every aspect of its residential mortgage business.

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25 Big Corp CEOs Made More Than Their Companies Paid in Federal Taxes

In case you doubted that America needs more progressive taxation, the case in its favor has just been made in a study, “Executive Excess 2011: The Massive CEO Rewards for Tax Dodging,” by the Institute of Policy Studies (hat tip readers aet and Vlad via the International Business Times). The report found that the CEOs of 25 major companies paid themselves more than their companies paid in Federal income taxes. Exhibit 1 on page 31 names and shames them (well, assuming they are capable of shame), and they include John J. Donahoe of eBay, Robert Coury of Mylan Labs, Jeff Immelt of GE, and Robert Kelly of Bank of New York. The New York Times article on the report elicited some not-convincing rebuttals.

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Matt Stoller: Sell America to Communist China Faster, Says New York Fed Official and Schneiderman Foe Kathryn Wylde

By Matt Stoller, a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. He is the former Senior Policy Advisor to Rep. Alan Grayson. You can reach him at stoller (at) gmail.com or follow him on Twitter at @matthewstoller

The elite consensus in American politics is held together by a small group of well-paid and well-connected insiders who are marbled throughout the world of corporations, banks, government service, and elite nonprofits. Who are they? And what do they believe?

One way to start is to look at who is being recruited to attack Eric Schneiderman, the liberal New York Attorney General going after the big banks. Normally these people stay behind the scenes, but in this case, we’re getting a nice peak behind the curtain. The best example so far is Kathryn Wylde, the chief of the nonprofit Partnership for New York City, a big bank/corporate-funded lobbying group that advises political officials on how to build a more business-friendly New York.

Wylde, importantly, sits on the Board of the New York Federal Reserve as a Class C Director, the group that is supposed to represent “the public”.

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Philip Pilkington: Dynamism and Instability – The Search for Profits and Disequilibrium

By Philip Pilkington, a journalist and writer living in Dublin, Ireland

The completeness of the Ricardian victory is something of a curiosity and a mystery. It must have been due to a complex of suitabilities in the doctrine to the environment into which it was projected. That it reached conclusions quite different from what the ordinary uninstructed person would expect, added, I suppose, to its intellectual prestige. That its teaching, translated into practice, was austere and often unpalatable, lent it virtue. That it was adapted to carry a vast and consistent logical superstructure, gave it beauty. That it could explain much social injustice and apparent cruelty as an inevitable incident in the scheme of progress, and the attempt to change such things as likely on the whole to do more harm than good, commended it to authority. That it afforded a measure of justification to the free activities of the individual capitalist, attracted to it the support of the dominant social force behind authority.
– John Maynard Keynes

In our previous piece on profits we showed how profits ultimately come from investment. There we saw that whether this investment was from the government sector or from the private sector mattered little (once again we leave out the external sector for the sake of simplicity). Either way it was the key factor determining profits.

We also saw that this entire system was rather fragile and prone to breakdown.

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More Legal Woes for BofA: Homeowners Opposes $8.5 Billion Settlement; Different Trustee Sues Over Reps and Warranties

Bank of Americas’s stock beat a bit of a retreat today as its so called $8.5 billion settlement came under increased fire. Frankly, the number of objections filed prior to late afternoon yesterday and today meant it was dead in its current form. At best, it would take a two or three years and a bigger price tag for any deal to be concluded (although we are in the skeptics’ camp, particularly as far as the currently overly broad waiver of liability is concerned).

Nevertheless, the latest developments pound more nails into the coffin.

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ECRI: “It’s Too Late” for Obama on Jobs

Cross-posted from Credit Writedowns Economic Cycle Research Institute co-founder Lakshman Achuthan was on Tech Ticker yesterday discussing the outlook for the economy. Business Insider does a good write-up of his commentary, highlighting the fact that the ECRI has yet to signal a double dip. However, I wanted to add a few comments as well. ECRI’s […]

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Memo to Ezra Klein: Doing Something Stupid Isn’t Smart

The Administration appears to be gearing up to try to Do Something on the housing and general economy front. Readers have no doubt wised up to the fact that Doing Something, Obama Administration version, generally consists (at best) of largely cosmetic measures accompanied by lots of handwaving. The latest sightings include yet another effort to push the 50 state attorney general settlement over the line by the phony deadline of Labor Day and more chatter among by members of the Democratic hackocracy in favor of an expanded Fannie/Freddie refi program as a way to fix the housing market. That idea appears to be moving front burner, since Baghdad Bob Ezra Klein has decided to weigh in.

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Pain in Maine

By Richard Smith You won’t be hearing much from Yves today: Traceroute has started… traceroute to vroo.pair.com (209.68.1.136), 64 hops max, 52 byte packets 1  192.168.1.1 (192.168.1.1)  5.882 ms  0.760 ms  0.631 ms 2  yves.tearing.hair.out (yves.tearing.hair.out)  8.501 ms  15.333 ms  9.936 ms 3  te-9-4-ur01.brunswick.me.boston.comcast.net (68.87.36.53)  9.966 ms  10.767 ms  9.605 ms 4  te-0-7-0-2-sur01.brunswick.me.boston.comcast.net (68.85.162.61)  10.250 ms  […]

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Matt Stoller: Power Politics – What Eric Schneiderman Reveals About Obama

By Matt Stoller, a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. He is the former Senior Policy Advisor to Rep. Alan Grayson. You can reach him at stoller (at) gmail.com or follow him on Twitter at @matthewstoller

A lot of people have asked why New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is going after the banks as aggressively as he is. It’s almost unbelievable that one lone elected official, who happens to have powerful legal tools at his disposal, is doing something that no one with any serious degree of power has done. So what is the secret? What kind of machinations is he undertaking that no one else has been able to do?

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