Amazing what one rogue trader can do, eh?
Establismentarianism: Goldman Sachs took a few moments off from
screwing their customers and thumbing their noses at the SEC today to announce they would be paying $5 billion in bonuses for their triumphs in the first three months of the year. That is a tad over $9,000,000 per hour. What's the wording of the RICO statues?
First Thing: Literally hundreds of thousands of travelers are stranded all over Europe. Farmers in Kenya, Chile and New Zealand are losing tens of millions because they can't get their produce to markets in Great Britain and Northern Europe. Airlines are loosing $200 million a day in flight revenue. Of course it's the airlines which are prattling about a bailout.
Carrousel: In yet another “major victory against al-Qaida in Iraq™” US forces have once again killed the organization's two top leaders. Peace, however, did not immediately break out.
Jesus Wept: Father Gerhart Gruber, former vicar-general for the archdiocese of Munich, says that last month church superiors pressured him into taking the blame for things Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope, did in the case of a pedophile priest 30 years ago. Do you call this the smoking gun, or just another burning bush?
Things Not Thought About: At the height of the bubble, there was $11.95 trillion in outstanding mortgages. Through payments, default write-offs, foreclosures and such, that has decreased to $11.68 trillion – a 2% drop. At the same time the value of the houses securing these mortgages has dropped 30%. Move along, nothing happening here. Move along.
Devil/Details: Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) pledges to cut $300 billion is “waste, abuse, fraud and inefficiencies” out of Medicaid's $280 billion budget.
Values: Citibank reported a net income of $4.43 billion for the quarter. ExxonMobil made $6.05 billion for the last quarter of 2009, drilling for, finding, producing, refining and delivering petroleum products like gasoline, which it delivers to the local gas station for about 10 cents a cup. What did Citibank do? It charged the merchant 2% or more of the sale to let you use a credit card to pay for the gas, then charged you 14% to 28% or more interest, plus miscellaneous fees, for using the card.
Podium Note: “If financial sector growth is so good for the real economy it ought to be easy for its defenders to demonstrate this empirically.”
A Few Gold Men: “ You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth. Son, we live in a country with an investment gap. And that gap needs to be filled by men with money. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Middle Class Consumer? Goldman Sachs has a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Lehman and you curse derivatives. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what we know: that Lehman’s death, while tragic, probably saved the financial system. And that Goldman’s existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves pension funds. You don’t want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want us to fill that investment gap.” Brilliant.