Links 4/5/11


  1. rjs

    re: Fed Exit Means No Pain for Obama as Foreigners Take Up Slack

    huh? didnt they hear bill gross? US debt is as bad a greece’s…

  2. James

    As government readies for shutdown, Obama dismisses GOP stop-gap plan

    But Boehner also announced his intention to offer Obama and Senate Democrats another stopgap funding measure that would keep federal funding flowing for an additional week. That offer would come with conditions, however: According to the House Appropriations Committee, Democrats would have to agree to $12 billion in further spending cuts and to fund the Defense Department for the remainder of the year — thus removing the Pentagon from the possible budget disruptions still faced by other federal agencies.

    Whoops! There it is! It’s really refreshing when duplicitous pols finally lay their cards on the table for all to see. Military funding – yes, social funding – what’s that? Say what you want about the GOP, but they certainly know who’s buttering their bread and spare no expense to pay tribute. Now the dems? They seem to be a little, shall we say, conflicted.

  3. GeneH3

    “Did Wall Street violate the Racketeering Act? There is no need to wait for the AG’s to take action, if ever. RICO allows a private right of action and treble damages. Some enterprising lawyer needs to conjure up a class action.

  4. GeneH3

    Regarding “Mr. Greenspan takes it all back” —

    Greenspan has failed to identify the core defect in the financial markets so starkly revealed in the past three years — and that is the system’s failure (whether by government regulation or by the market’s natural regulation) to allow consequences to police those who take excessive risks, who defraud, who overreach, who have sloppy business practices, and who by self-dealing (e.g., by taking obscene bonuses when the companies they manage are insolvent in fact) breach their duty to the stockholders.

    Ever since the King created the first corporate monopoly and in the U.S. since the Dartmouth College case, corporations have represented a moral hazard — giving shareholders limited liability for losses, not only for contract liability but for tort liability. It is one thing when parties voluntarily enter into a contract knowing that the other side’s liability is limited. I myself have withdrawn from negotiations when the other side did not have the wherewithal to make good on a contract breach. But limited liability for torts is a entirely different matter. Those occurrences are by nature unexpected and ithe njuries are not voluntary. True, the risks that shareholders could assume by sheltering their personal assets from the tort liability of their agents (corporate management and employees) has allowed commerce to flourish and explode in only a couple of centuries. But the encouragement of risk taking inherent in the corporate device is nevertheless a moral hazard.

    Superimpose on that another moral hazard: the Federal Reserve System’s original function to backstop the banks to avoid bank runs. That enabled banks to take full advantage of fractional reserve banking, lending out much more than they would otherwise.

    Superimpose on that another moral hazard: credit default swaps, a form of insurance, but without any regulation or required reserves.

    Superimpose on that another moral hazard: gargantuan bailouts by the Fed of banks and other corporations that were not allowed to fail when they should have failed as a result of excessive risk-taking.

    And finally superimpose on that another moral hazard: failure of governments to enforce the law against individuals for widespread criminal behavior, from violations of the securities laws to creating liar loans, and failure to call into account and purge the officials who exceed their authority, solicited deception and concealed the truth.

    Greenspan’s fundamental mistake was in applying a laissez faire mentality in a world where laissez faire did not exist — except in his own mind where it should have been relegated to the status of an “unknown ideal.”

    1. Glenn Condell

      Good op-ed in the Sydney Morning Herald (by the political editor no less) yesterday, expressing a degree of contempt for Greenspan, and even proffering a notion I’ve mused about myself and have seen mentioned here, that of AG as covert Randian agent of creative destruction. This is a courageous tack to take, certainly it’s unique in our MSM. Here is money graf:

      ‘It has often been observed that it was ironic that Greenspan, a leading critic of the paper money system, went on to become its chief, his signature appearing on every dollar bill. But maybe it wasn’t historical irony. What if Greenspan never did change his view, instead covertly dedicating his life to destroying the system he so despised? Could it be that he remained a secret agent of Ayn Rand all these years?’

      1. KnotRP

        There would be some irony in John Galt working for PIMCO now…I wonder if they do the opposite of what he says, or
        swallow it all hook line and sinker?

        1. KnotRP

          I guess that makes Brooksley Born into Dagny Taggart?
          Trying to stop the destruction from within, but failing….

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