Obama, seriously dude

January 23, 2009

A tax cheat in the Treasury?

The I.R.S. is a part of the U.S. Treasury. I can appreciate irony but this fucking redonculous!

This dude Geithner did his taxes with TurboTax? Seriously? And he used TurboTax? Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fine product, but… shouldn’t the role as Treasury Secretary be for a person that can do- or have done- his taxes properly? Without relying on the f limsy excuse that it was all TurboTax’s fault? Puh-leaase. He signed the 1040, right? He was aware that being self-employed carries with it certain responsibilities? One of those is to do your taxes properly. He’s a bean-counter, right? Even more to the point.

And if you hold yourself out for a gummint post this, erm, important- but so recently stained with by the skid marks of guy who shaves his frikkin’ head- you and your actions should be above reproach, and withstand scrutiny. After all, you want to get the new adminsitration started off on the right foot.

Clearly this candidate is wrong.

Hey, wasn’t he at the scene at the Bear Stearns, Lehman Bros, Wachovia, and AIG implosions? Grrreeeeeeat, those worked out splendidly for the taxpayer. He had a major role in this fiasco.

C’mon dude, seriously… it’s not quite a Harriet Myers, Jr. move, but this appointment should inspire confidence- not letting the citiznes/taxpayers out there wonder if this is just more of the same old same old.

Felix Salmon suggests that Geithner is getting very good at absolving himself from responsibility for things gone wrong. [Portfolio]

Geithner Doth Speak With Forked Tongue (Dollar Edition) [naked capitalism]

Should We Bailout Geithner Too? [New Geography]

Finally, it is a simple matter to compare Geithner’s activities at the Fed to those of Ken Lay at Enron. Remember all those “partnerships” with cool names derived from Star Wars movies? Geithner’s New York Fed created Delaware Limited Liability Companies with the name “Maiden Lane” which is the Fed’s street address in New York. They are using unregulated companies to make loans and to buy and sell assets completely outside the view of the public. The Senate Finance Committee approved Geithner’s nomination on January 22, 2009 in an Open Executive Session. Geithner has proven he can hide the ball; let’s not let this scheme move to Treasury.

Bull Shyster

January 23, 2009

Merrill Lynch paid billions of dollars of bonuses to its employees, three days before completing its life-saving sale to Bank of America, reports the Financial Times.

The money was paid as Merrill’s losses were mounting, forcing Bank of America CEO Kenneth Lewis last month to seek additional government support for the deal. Merrill’s compensation committee agreed to pay bonuses on December 29, at least one month earlier than usual, the paper said.

Bank of America said Merrill had a $21.5 billion operating loss in the fourth quarter. Despite the massive losses, Merrill set aside $15 billion for 2008 compensation, 6% lower than a year earlier. About $3 billion to $4 billion of that compensation were annual bonuses.

[Financial Week]

John Thain spent $1.22 million of Merrill’s money to refurbish his office. Thain’s largest expense was the hiring of celebrity designer Michael Smith for $800,000. This is the same guy who is currently redesigning the White House for the Obama family for only $100,000. Thain had Merrill pay that designer $700,000 more for the redesign of only his office. Again, are you kidding me?

Persian Area Rug =$87,000
Egyptian Silk Curtains =$28,000
Mink Guest Chairs =$87,000
Roman Shade Fabric =$11,000
Mahogany Pedestal Table =$25,000
19th Century Credenza =$68,000
Hand-Stitched Polynesian Sofa =$28,000
George IV Desk =$18,000
Wall Sconces =$2,700
6 Antique Chairs =$37,000
Private Dining Room Mirror =$5,000
Dining Room Chandelier =$13,000
Commode On Legs =$35,000
Regency Chairs =$24,000
40 yards of Fabric For Wall Panels =$5,000
Parchment Waste Can =$1,400
Additional designer Expenses =$30,000

Finally, in addition to the above ridiculous numbers, documents show Merrill paid $230,000 for Thain’s personal driver for one year’s work, which included the driver’s $85,000 salary and bonus of $18,000, and another $128,000 in over-time pay.

[Street Insider]

Your tax dollars hard at work making CEO’s comfy.

It is one thing when the best-paid people seem to be the smartest and the most accomplished. Those who make much less may not like it, but the differential seems understandable. It is another thing when those people are shown to have committed huge blunders that would have driven their companies out of business, and them into the unemployment line, but for government bailouts.

So it is now with Wall Street. In both Europe and the United States, antipathy toward the bailout is rising amid complaints that the money has not helped the economy by encouraging loans, but has kept the bankers in Champagne and caviar.

Are financial workers overpaid? And if so, will it continue? The answers, according to a new study by two economists, are yes, they are overpaid, and no, it will not last.

“Wages in finance were excessively high around 1930 and from the mid 1990s until 2006,” wrote Thomas Philippon of New York University and Ariell Reshef of the University of Virginia, in a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper released this week, “Wages and Human Capital in the U.S. Financial Industry, 1909-2006.”


Is it pitch-fork and torch time yet?

[Hat tip 1] [Hat tip 2]


January 22, 2009

Is it cynical to think that the CEO’s of BofA and JPM bought a few token shares (doesn’t this just scream CONFIDENCE!?) of their stock while they are at all-time lows? BTW why is the share price at all-time lows? Should the money used be considered ill-gotten gains conisdering the industry-wide fraudulent activites of just over two years ago? Is this ironic? Moronic? Assinine? Absurd? Should not this money have a claim placed agasinst it for the people of the United States of America and confiscated under the RICO statute? Why so many questions?[The Big Picture]

Harriet Myers, Jr.

January 9, 2009

Liar’s poker, homeowner edition

January 6, 2009

The past eight years of affluenza is continuing to take its toll.

The post du jour, courtesy of patrick.net:

Foreclosure Stories Ignore Foolish Greed Of Borrowers

Re: [MSNBC video]

Hi Chris, I have to say that I think your profile on forclosures was completely one sided. Almost all of the piece was about the sad reality of people being evicted from ‘their’ homes. Hardly any time was spent on how they got into the problem in the first place. The Alverez family in Florida had their mortgage payment double, however these people obviously had taken out an exotic loan in the hopes that housing prices would continue to rise and interest rates would continue to stay at historic low levels forever so they could refinance. They should have never have put themselves in that situation. A school principal said she did not read the contract when she refinanced her mortgage. I hope she did not do the same when she was managing the contracts for her school. As an educator she should have been saving money for her daughters school from the time her girl was born, however that would take sacrifice and how much easier was it for her to use the house atm.

For your next piece you should spend some time talking to the real victims of this crisis, the responsible people who did not take out mortgages that they could not afford. Because of the absurdity in the housing market many familys with good incomes were priced out of the market because they were not willing to take exotic mortgages. These were the people that realized that by taking an adjustable rate mortgage, option arm, or interest only loan there was a possibility that things could go underwater very quickly just like it did. Many of these people ended up renting, loosing the tax breaks that come with home ownership, and maybe saving money which due to the bail outs, is worth less and less each day. These people responsible people are the true victims, not the people who bought houses they could not afford with loans they did not understand. I hope you spend some time discussing the reasons why these people put themselves in such bad situations in the first place.. I think that you will find that the main motivation was either greed, trying to keep up with the Jonses, or choosing to spend their money on other things.


Be sure to watch the video. “Read” between the lines. I’m sorry if I sound a bit harsh, but these folks- claiming to not know the terms of their loan, and are now soured that their bet on perpetual home appreciation was wrong- are prevaricating. Having bet “the house,” the only tactic left to them is playing the sympathy card (the joker?), which only buys a little time.

The mainstream media will always be there to pimp them out as victims (who nevertheless could have avoided this entire fiasco if they had done five minutes worth of basic math)- but you and I know better.

Common sense tells you that if you gamble, most of the time you will lose.