The death penalty for "financial crimes against the People" might get their attention.
More Equal Than Others According to the White House, contracts for bonuses at AIG are sacrosanct; mortgage contracts, not so much. Why not pay the bonuses in AIG common stock, no-dividend, non-redeemable, non-transferable for 10 years and forfeit if the recipient leaves the company. If these wizards can make AIG rise from the dead, repay the money the taxpayers borrowed from China and increase the value of AIG common stock, then they would deserve the bonus.
The Talking Cure: So Obama's going to sit on jay Leno's couch, explaining to Jay Leno's senior citizens that the economy is fine, just fine. How scared are the folks in high places?
Sausage: No one but the agri-business that makes the stuff likes ethanol. They make too much and are paying their Congressional puppets to increase its presence in gasoline from 10% to 15 or 20%, even though at that level it will ruin most engines. Never mind the studies that show there is no net energy gain from using ethanol as a gasoline subsitute, nor any net reduction in CO2 emissions. It pays for votes, so it'll get votes.
Technical Terms: Wonkish Paul Krugman describes the European economy: "Europe has gotten itself into one heck of a mess, worse even than ours … this is going to be ugly. "
Fifteenth Best in Everything: Especially self-deception. The US is rated 15th among developed countries in terms of health,education, security and general well-being. Don't blame it on the credit bubble. The decline started under Saint Ronnie and has been gathering speed as it rolled through the Bushes and Clinton. Non sequitor: "Something deeper about the structure of American society is probably responsible."
Pressing Matter: On Sunday, Bernanke admitted that the Fed is "effectively" printing money, " because our economy is very weak and inflation is very low." It may not cure the economy, but it will certainly take care of that pesky low inflation rate.
Bull Market: US industrial output fell 1.4% in February, down 11.2% YoY. Factory utilization is at 70% of capacity. The Empire State Manufacturing Survey reported NY manufacturing deteriorated rapidly in February.
Free Lunch: Attendees at the Copenhagen climate talks are encouraged to get there "without using any fossil fuels," which seems to mean bikes, sailing, and sea kayaks. Okay, if they can build the bikes without the petroleum that goes into mining and manufacturing the metals or the petrochemicals that go into the fiber sails and fiberglass hulls, and they don't count the 10 calories of petroleum it takes for each calorie of food they will burn, pedaling away...
A Modern Epic: Best quote to come out of the AIG manipulation: "The Fed has no business regulating anything more complex than a checking account."
Keep Your Eye on the Prize: AIG is the sideshow. In the blacked out center ring, the money keeps coming from the Federal Reserve, not via Congress. Via TALF the Fed is giving another trillion of unvoted taxpayer money to "investors" who will put up10%,and take 100% of the profits with 0% of the risk. And the investors can split the investments up into... CDOs! Brilliant. All in the name of creating more funds for consumers who have no appetite to go further into debt.
Mirror Image: More than half of all MBA students cheated regularly in college - more than any other discipline. That everyone was doing it was the rationale. They still are.
On The Record: In 2005 Bernanke said there was no housing bubble. In 2007 Bernanke said the bubble was confined to the sub-prime market. In 2009 Bernanke says it's all over but the suffering. Anyone else see this as a solid indicator that the recession will drag on and on?