by architek, Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 12:26:47 PM EST
According to the London-based Daily Mail, international banking firm Goldman-Sachs (popularly known as Golden Sacks for its habit of paying large bonuses to its top employees) is getting ready to pay out billions in bonuses just weeks after asking for and receiving a huge US taxpayer-financed "bailout" which was represented as "necessary" because Goldman Sach's speculation in real estate had failed and the funds were allegedly to prevent a global financial meltdown. However, the "bonus" dwarfs the bailout, making the truth of that statement dubious.
Goldman Sachs ready to hand out £7bn salary and bonus package...(That is $17 billion US dollars) after its £6bn bail-out
"The size of the pay pool comfortably dwarfs the £6.1billion lifeline which the U.S. government is throwing to Goldman as part of its £430billion bail-out.
As Washington pours money into the bank, the cash will immediately be channelled to Goldman's already well-heeled employees. "Another version of this story from Singapore
by architek, Sat Oct 18, 2008 at 07:02:16 PM EDT
According to the NYT:
"The Federal Bureau of Investigation is struggling to find enough agents and resources to investigate criminal wrongdoing tied to the country's economic crisis, according to current and former bureau officials.
The bureau slashed its criminal investigative work force to expand its national security role after the Sept. 11 attacks, shifting more than 1,800 agents, or nearly one-third of all agents in criminal programs, to terrorism and intelligence duties. Current and former officials say the cutbacks have left the bureau seriously exposed in investigating areas like white-collar crime, which has taken on urgent importance in recent weeks because of the nation's economic woes.
The pressure on the F.B.I. has recently increased with the disclosure of criminal investigations into some of the largest players in the financial collapse, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The F.B.I. is planning to double the number of agents working financial crimes by reassigning several hundred agents amid a mood of national alarm. But some people inside and out of the Justice Department wonder where the agents will come from and whether they will be enough.
So depleted are the ranks of the F.B.I.'s white-collar investigators that executives in the private sector say they have had difficulty attracting the bureau's ATTENTION in cases involving possible FRAUDS of MILLIONS of dollars. "
Was this INTENTIONAL?
by architek, Tue Oct 14, 2008 at 06:30:06 AM EDT
Recent weeks and the huge costs of bailing out the gamblers in the financial industry seem to have succeeded in taking healthcare out of the media and because of the cost of socializing risk but not profits, perhaps off the table for the forseeable future for both campaigns.
The U.S. spends more on health care per capita than any other nation in the world. Current estimates put U.S. health care spending at approximately 15.2% of GDP, second only to the tiny Marshall Islands among all United Nations member nations. The health share of GDP is expected to continue its historical upward trend, reaching 19.5 percent of GDP by 2017. In 2007, the U.S. spent a projected $2.26 trillion on health care, or $7,439 per person.
According to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. is the only wealthy, industrialized nation that does not have a universal health care system. The World Health Organization (WHO) in 2000 ranked the U.S. health care system first in both responsiveness and expenditure, but 37th in overall performance and 72nd by overall level of health (among 191 member nations included in the study).
Despite many requests by the public to cover this issue, the candidates two (and a half) debates largely avoided the subject of healthcare.
Few Americans realize that neither candidates proposals will work in the way they are represented to. They may improve the statistics, but for one fifth of Americans, they may actually increase the chances of medical bankruptcy.
by architek, Sat Oct 04, 2008 at 05:51:19 AM EDT
I just had a thought. Now, many of you Obama fans berate me for constantly bringing up adverse selection as a probable obstacle that will doom Obama's optional healthcare plan for adults. I say that for self-employed people with chronic medical conditions, even whatever "fairly priced" insurance is offered to them, if it is still priced by risk, it will be more expensive than they can afford. (IF it is NOT priced by risk, it will be TOO expensive FOR EVERYBODY.) They say that somehow, the insurance companies will be pursuaded to charge less than they can to break even on that person. I say that is impossible, insurance COMPANIES are not welfare agencies. They are not in the business to LOSE money! The government can't just hand these kinds of problems off to companies and not expect to pay to have them dealt with. Some illnesses are very expensive to treat. (Drugs and hospital visits and procedures, especially, can be very expensive.)
So, the price will be high. I say that only the sickest will buy insurance at those risk-based prices, they say that everybody will participate even though their income doesn't really allow it. (where will the money come from now that we have given so much to the bankers? (We haven't even dealt with credit card debt, another crisis waiting to happen, they say, if lots more people lose jobs.)
Well, to give you an example of the ugly, predictable effects of adverse selection, I present to you, the market over the past few years for high interest "subprime" home loans, or "mortgages" and probably, in other forms of credit as well (credit cards also are subject to similar rules of adverse selection).
by architek, Fri Oct 03, 2008 at 05:57:54 AM EDT
During the debate last night, I noticed Palin
agressively insisting that the GOP does not oppose people being able to modify the terms of loans when they declare bankruptcy on their primary residence. However, people like McCain who own many homes, can modify the terms of their loans when THEY declare bankruptcy, resulting in their often being able to keep VACATION, SECOND, THIRD, FOURTH, FIFTH... (and so on) homes at a lower cost.
(As they say, the rich are not like you and me.)
Years ago, the GOP insisted on this "anti-cramdown provision" for primary homes, claiming that it would make home loans easier to get for low income people. However, it makes it almost certain that families lose their primary residence when hit by uncovered medical debt, loss of one wage earner's job, or the other common reasons for family bankruptcy.
Isn't this a no brainer? How come a provision allowing bankruptcy judges to modify terms of existing loans is not part of this bailout? Lets not allow millions of homes to be destroyed ("plowed under" in Depression-era parlance), just to protect a few well-connected bankers when millions of working class Americans need those homes and would gladly pay to remain in them!
by architek, Fri Oct 03, 2008 at 04:02:43 AM EDT
Looking at Sarah Palin's robotic performance, I kept being reminded of a film I have seen several versions of.
"Invasion of the Body Snatchers"..
Basically, the film's real subplot is about the terrifying amoral quality of narcissists and narcissism. Most of us have never been closely involved with narcissists, but for those of us who have, they evoke a certain horror. Because nobody except us knows the damage that they can cause, the lives that they ruin. Sarah Palin is almost certainly one of those narcissists, In my opinion, so is John McCain. His actions have the stamp of narcissism.
What is the plot behnd the Body Snatchers/Pod People films?
"Dr. Miles J. Bennell is called back to his small California home early from a conference because a number of his patients have been frantically asking to see him. But oddly, when he returns home, most forget about their unspecified needs.
At the same time, it seems that a mass hysteria is building where residents believe that friends and loved ones are "not themselves", literally. Just what is going on? "
What is going on is that some kind of spore from space is raining down on Earth, attaching itself to people, and growing, then, they, our loved ones, while they sleep, are being replaced by other people who look just like them, but who have no real emotions, no real morals. They look like us, they talk like us, but they are different. They live in a gray world of non-feelings. Everything is fake for them. And they (in the movie) are trying to kill the real humans.
And its TERRIFYING.
by architek, Wed Oct 01, 2008 at 10:32:50 AM EDT
I am trying to get more informaton on the Cantor bill. Obviously, the GOP is desperate for an infusion of taxpayer money to delay any financial implosion into the next term of Congress. The Dems seem to be falling into the trap. From what I can see, its being done by their playing a classic game of "Good Cop, Bad Cop" except nstead of cops, they are using bailout bills. Neither bill as I can see it are even marginally acceptable. Both are trickle down economics. However, the GOP's Cantor bill seems even worse in that not only would the goverment "insure" the toxic debt (i.e. ASSUME THE "RISK" NOW- WHEN ITS NOT A RISK, ITS A "KNOWN"!) at its long gone cover value, it (obviously) would also not be able to share in any profits.. not only because the amount "insured" is wildly higher than the worth, also its only insuring the loss, not buying anything. In other words, the GOP "alternative" is basically a "pure giveaway" from the taxpayer to the rich..
Could people post their opinions of these bills? From what I can see, they both are evil.
I will post updates here as find them.
Democrats should not buy into this concept of socializing risk and privatizing profit.
by architek, Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 01:56:06 PM EDT
"as is often the case, only after fiery markets burn out do we see the risks that buyers ignore and sellers play down."
With all the spin going every which way about the now almost worthless mortgage backed securities and the banks that sold them, I think one of the only ways to help us all get through this mess without doing stupid things we will regret might be for ALL of us to take just a few moments of quality time to listen to one of the ONLY media descriptions out there that really tells it like it is.
The 2007 episode of NPR's "This American Life""The Giant Pool of Money."
Its been in the news quite a bit recently.
The New York Times did an article today, "Daring to Say Loans Made No Sense" praising "The Giant Pool of Money" as one of the very best pieces of journalism on the mortgage securities collapse (and its also their most downloaded episode ever)
Update [2008-9-30 20:41:55 by architek]:Wondering why many Republicans opposed the last "bailout"? They are proposing a plan that IS FAR WORSE.
by architek, Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 12:59:02 PM EDT
Hopefully, now we can ALL see how unpredictable the global economy is getting. (Without a real change, its only going to get worse for most of us.)
We can also see how the GOP is desperate to portray themselves as "not responsible for this mess".
Well, JUST IMAGINE how angry the electorate will be if the economy continues to tank, millions more lose their jobs and job based health coverage, AND the Democrats FAIL TO DELIVER ON HEALTH CARE FOR THE SICK, not just the healthy, employed 80%.
(That seems to be the plan.. Correct me if I'm wrong...)
This is a time when we all can see just how PRECARIOUS the future is for ALL of us.
This is the time for REAL UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE, NOW.
Lets spend that 700 billion dollars on SOMETHING THAT IS ACTUALLY REALLY IMPORTANT AND NOT JUST ANOTHER PRETTY...BIG LIE..
by architek, Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 10:48:21 AM EDT
"No Rescue for the Hungry
(quoted from an article in today's Washington Post by Joel Berg)
When social services advocates like me hear that the cost of the federal bailout of the finance sector might top a trillion dollars, we're not quite sure how to process such a massive figure.
Our country has been told that a gargantuan government rescue of the private sector is necessary because the collapse of major financial institutions would lead to unthinkable outcomes for society. Almost as if by magic, our nation's leaders conjure up vast sums to respond to this crisis.
Yet when advocates point out that our nation is facing an altogether different kind of crisis, one of soaring hunger and homelessness, and that a large-scale bailout is needed to prevent social service providers nationwide from buckling under the increasing load, we are told that the money these agencies need just doesn't exist.
In 2006, fully 35.5 million Americans, 4 million more than in 1999, lived in households that couldn't afford enough food, according to the Agriculture Department. Those households included more than 12 million children. "