Some longer reads for the weekend:

• Did Corzine direct Segregated Client Account money be used to pay overdrawn accounts to JPM?
…..-MF Global’s Corzine Ordered Funds Moved to JP Morgan, Memo Says (Bloomberg)
…..-New Details Emerge on MF Global, but No Smoking Gun (Dealbook)
…..-Email Ties Corzine to Missing Funds (WSJ)
Housed: Is homeownership, despite three presidents’ best efforts, out of reach for the sinking middle-class? Good riddance, says one former homeowner (Guernica Mag)
• Madoff FBI Files Reveal How He Fooled His Own Employees (Bloomberg)
• 2009: As Goldman Thrives, Some Say an Ethos Has Faded (NYT) see also More Than Culture Shifted On Wall Street (Wired)
• Where’s _why? (Slate)
• Dangerous Minds: An Inquiry into the History of Psychoanalysis (Literary Review)
• How Obama Tried to Sell Out Liberalism in 2011 (NY Mag)
• Israelis Grow Confident Strike on Iran’s Nukes Can Work (Bloomberg) see also Oil Prices Spike Exacerbated By Wall Street Speculation, Federal Reserve Study Finds (Huff Post)
• What Happens When A 35-Year-Old Man Retakes The SAT? (DeadSpin)
• The evolution of death (Salon)

What are you reading?

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Tax Breaks Exceed $1 Trillion: Report


Source: WSJ

Category: Financial Press

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

30 Responses to “10 Weekend Reads”

  1. Chief Tomahawk says:

    “What Happens When A 35-Year-Old Man Retakes The SAT?” What a drama queen!

  2. rktbrkr says:

    Israelis Grow Confident Strike on Iran’s Nukes Can Work

    Regardless of the military effectiveness of an attack the attack will certainly drive up oil prices and US unemployment and improve chances of a Republican victory in Nov and I think every Republican candidate is viewed more favorably than Obama by the Israeli government. The Repubs will hammer O’B for both high oil prices and “weakness” if he doesn’t jump into the fray with Iran.

    Israel needs to launch the attack soon to give the high oil prices time to ripple thru the US economy and put it back into recession, they can’t wait until the fall.

  3. Greg0658 says:

    not be dramatic .. but wtf GOP takeover .. REALLY ? like we fell off the turnip truck yesterday .. thats the trouble spot – we gots us some smarts – now how to handle the population? ouch.

  4. ilsm says:

    Preemptive strike on Iran development facilities…………………..

    Someone ought to read where the ships raised at Pearl Harbor in 1942 were in 1945, hint doing their job taking down the axis.

    Galbraith’s appraisal of the allied strategic bombing campaign in WW II.

    But Bibi is a W type of guy.

  5. streeteye says:

    Corzine’s going to say he was told there were excess funds in the accounts, and he explicitly ordered his troops not to give Santiago a Code Red.

  6. Russ says:

    RE the Slate article, “The Evolution of Death,” see also the Fresh Air interview with both Teresi and with transplant surgeon Richard Freeman. Freeman argues that Teresi has overstated the case, and perhaps he has. However that may be, this is another example of disputes in the public square about personhood at the beginning of life, the end of life, and in between.
    BR, you’re a strong and compelling voice for ethical conduct in the markets. As the lines move and blur and the ethos changes (at GS, Wall Street, in political campaign ethics, and across the culture), what reliable sources do you access–sources that don’t shift with every wind of doctrine–for moral and ethical reasoning and for being that strong voice?

  7. jpmist says:

    What I’m reading is a ProPubica article on getting Fannie and Freddie under the big National Mortgage Settlement tent.

    http://www.propublica.org/article/fannie-and-freddie-slashing-mortgages-is-good-business

    “New analyses by mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have added an explosive new dimension to one of the most politically charged debates about the housing crisis: Whether to reduce the amount of money beleaguered homeowners owe on their mortgages.

    Their conclusion: Such loan forgiveness wouldn’t just help keep hundreds of thousands of families in their homes, it would also save Freddie and Fannie money. That, in turn, would help taxpayers, who bailed out the companies at a cost of more than $150 billion and are still on the hook for future losses.

    The analyses, which have not been made public, were recently presented to the agency that controls the companies, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, according to two people familiar with the matter. Freddie Mac’s meeting with the FHFA took place last week.

    The decision of whether to allow such reductions rests with Edward DeMarco, the acting director of the FHFA, who has steadfastly opposed so-called principal reductions on the grounds that it’s a bad business decision for the companies and would cost taxpayers money.”

    I dunno what to make of this. Given the closed door nature of the Mortgage Foreclosure Settlement thus far and it’s dubious quality, I’m not inclined to buy into the conclusion of yet another non-public analysis.

    At first glance it seems to be yet another way the 5 Banks have offloaded their “fine” to private investors and taxpayers via TARP, Fannie and Freddie.

  8. VennData says:

    “…remembered reading a report from a major European group, talking about how Sweden was doomed to years of depression and endless malaise. Yet within a few years Sweden was again growing, as those socialists got their government act together…”

    But America is doomed, Doomed I tell you!! Obama has ruined the nation, we were doing fine under Bush, then Obama came in and ruined everything!!!

  9. VennData says:

    ‘… A widely held assumption about a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities is that it would spur Iranian citizens — many of whom appear to despise their rulers — to rally around the regime. But Netanyahu, I’m told, believes a successful raid could unclothe the emperor, emboldening Iran’s citizens to overthrow the regime (as they tried to do, unsuccessfully, in 2009)…”

    Anyone who thinks that blasting the dictator’s arsenal is going to upset the citizenry is daft.

    Anyone who thinks that blasting the dictator’s arsenal is going to temporarily stop the dictator, forgets that you can reblast.

    Anyone who thinks that blasting the dictators arsenal will make non-subjects sympathetic to the dictator hasn’t read history.

    Anyone who thinks that blasting the dictator’s arsenal will cause an unacceptable, temporary rise in gas prices needs to imagine the price of things when the dictator gets the arsenal he wants.

  10. mark says:

    @rktbrkr

    Two things:

    1. I fully realize how quibbling this may seem but it is Netanyahu and his allies in government that are thinking and behaving that way, not “the Israelis”. One can read all kinds of commentaries on both sides of the issue in the Israeli press to a far greater degree than one sees here (sadly IMO). One can also read in Israeli press reports that Netanyahu will call early elections before November to ensure that he has a multi-year mandate that will face any US president, especially Obama. Then Obama can’t wait, hoping that Netanyahu will go away by being voted out of office.

    2. It seems to me that if Netanyahu actually intended to (and could) attack Iran he would want to keep that fact a secret and the attack a surprise as in the successful attacks on the Iraqi and Syrian nuclear programs. Netanyahu’s remarkably public campaign vis-a-vis Iran can only rationally be viewed as political, economic and a sign of military weakness, not a prelude to attack – at worst a war of words will drive up oil prices making Obama’s reelection somewhat less likely and at best (from his point of view) force Obama to agree to and join in an attack on Iran.

    Netanyahu will not and cannot attack without Obama’s approval and US military support. No attack will occur before the next round of Israeli and US national elections.

  11. DeDude says:

    Maybe austerity leads to a permanent reduction in productive capacity.

    http://mainlymacro.blogspot.com/2012/03/strange-case-of-disappearing-productive.html

    This makes sense since we know that if a guy is out of work for 6 month he can pick up and quickly be as productive as before – if he is out of work for 2 years he has to be retrained. If a factory is closed down for 6 month it can be restarted in a few weeks – if it is closed down for 2 years you probably might as well build a new one. Choosing austerity as a policy has some very serious long-term consequences.

  12. rktbrkr says:

    Mark,

    Jeff Goldberg,a middle eastern expert and author of the article, wrote “the Israelis”, I said the Israeli government.

    I’m not really familiar with Israeli politics but I’ve read that many Israeli and American military experts doubt that Iran has a nuclear weapon development program at this time or that it’s close to fruition.

    After sneak attacks on Syria and Iraq Israel has kind of lost the surprise effect with their bombings so Bibi figures he gains more politically by rattling the sword than he loses militarily.

    It would be very difficult for Israel to take out a half dozen hardened Iranian sites with fighter bombers that need to be refueled, need to fly over other countries and possibly encounter some sort of organized Iranian aerial defense of their country. But that wouldn’t be the objective of the attack, the attack would be symbolic hoping to get the US involved in a third middle eastern war that Obama wants to avoid and Romney says he wants to start. If American lives were lost in the aftermath of such an attack it would be very difficult for Obama to say no, even if the cause of the American deaths was unclear. After such an attack oil prices would spike, the US economy would be choked into a recession, Republicans would label Obama a coward and Romney would come in and take out Iran. Bibi’s Mission Accomplished!

  13. Joe Friday says:

    Israelis Grow Confident Strike on Iran’s Nukes Can Work (Bloomberg)

    1) It’s not the “Israelis”, it’s the RightWing Likud.

    2) The Israeli military cannot reach the Iranian uranium enrichment facilities. Even if the American military gave the Israeli military their 30,000 pound “bunker-buster” armaments, the Israelis do not own any planes that could deliver them.

    3) The American military, even with their 30,000 pound “bunker-buster” armaments, delivered by large bomber planes, cannot reach the Iranian uranium enrichment facilities.

    MARCH 05TH – CBS EVENING NEWS:

    Defense department correspondent David Martin reported in regards to one of Iran’s uranium enrichment plants buried more than 250 feet below a mountain:

    not even America’s most powerful conventional weapon, a 30,000 pound bunker-buster, can reach it

    4) So, ‘What’s It All About Alfie’ ?

    Who benefits from the RightWing Likud running this bluff, and driving up gasoline prices ?

  14. Joe Friday says:

    FROM: “Housed: Is homeownership, despite three presidents’ best efforts, out of reach for the sinking middle-class? Good riddance, says one former homeowner (Guernica Mag)

    “The government encouraged this American capitalist fantasy. In 1995, President Bill Clinton initiated the National Homeownership Strategy: Partners in the American Dream to create 8 million new homeowners out of working class families, with a special focus on minorities, who historically had been priced out of homeownership.

    The government alliance with public and private housing industry organizations opened the door for subprime lenders to prey on inexperienced, but eager, first-time homebuyers. The qualifications needed to acquire a home loan sank to incredulous levels. No down payment? Not a problem. No financial documents? That’s fine. Just sign here. Under Clinton’s policy, the national homeownership rate grew to 67 percent.

    I’m afraid Aimee Phan is confused.

    The lax qualifications, down payments, and financial documents, were utilized by UNREGULATED predatory lenders, not subject to the CRA or any of the other policies instituted by the Clinton administration. For that matter, the Clinton administration and the Democratic Congressional Majority attempted to bring these lenders under government regulation early in the ‘90s, but were blocked by a Senate Republican filibuster.

    The predatory mortgage industry was one of the largest political contributors to the Republican Party.

  15. newton says:

    Technology Review – published by MIT

    http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/39925/?p1=MstRcnt

    Review: Bad Apple
    As the company caters less to the demands of artists and other creative professionals, the quality of its products is slipping.

    TUESDAY, MARCH 20, 2012 BY SIMSON L. GARFINKEL

  16. Joe Friday,

    this..”…The lax qualifications, down payments, and financial documents, were utilized by UNREGULATED predatory lenders, not subject to the CRA or any of the other policies instituted by the Clinton administration…”

    is, only, “half-Right”..

    understand that there is a Secondary Market for those Loans..

    those Loans, once made, always carry with them, certain, identifying ‘Brownie Points’, as above, and, thereby, Trade at a Premium..

    LSS: a ‘Bank’, in need of such ‘Points’, could/can go the Secondary Market, pay the Premium, and ‘get back into Line’…saves on ‘beating the Bushes’..as, but, one ‘benefit’..

  17. Transor Z says:

    Aide says Cheney had heart transplant
    http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2012/03/24/aide_says_cheney_had_heart_transplant/?p1=News_links

    Which reminds me of this from the Onion Radio Network:

    Dick Cheney Can’t Get Enough New Hearts
    http://www.theonion.com/audio/dick-cheney-cant-get-enough-new-hearts,12927/

  18. Joe Friday says:

    Mark,

    this..’…The lax qualifications, down payments, and financial documents, were utilized by UNREGULATED predatory lenders, not subject to the CRA or any of the other policies instituted by the Clinton administration…’ is, only, ‘half-Right’… understand that there is a Secondary Market for those Loans..

    And ?

    Since the predatory lenders were UNREGULATED, how could any law or regulation instituted by the Clinton administration have been involved as Aimee Phan claims ?

  19. Joe Friday,

    look, w/this..”…The lax qualifications, down payments, and financial documents, were utilized by UNREGULATED predatory lenders, not subject to the CRA or any of the other policies instituted by the Clinton administration…”

    fine.

    though..”…understand that there is a Secondary Market for those Loans..

    those Loans, once made, always carry with them, certain, identifying ‘Brownie Points’, as above, and, thereby, Trade at a Premium..”
    ~~

    you were asking..”…Since the predatory lenders were UNREGULATED, how could any law or regulation instituted by the Clinton administration have been involved…?”

    the Regulations–instituted by the Clinton administration (that are, but, a piece)– made those Loans more Valuable, on the Secondary Market, for the “Regulated” ‘Banks’..

    as I said, above..

    LSS: a ‘Bank’, in need of such ‘Points’, could/can go the Secondary Market, pay the Premium, and ‘get back into Line’…saves on ‘beating the Bushes’..as, but, one ‘benefit’..
    ~~

    so, really, the “unRegulated” Predatory Lenders were incentivized, at least, two ways..

    the first, by being able to rip-off the Mortgagee..
    the second, by providing Loans/’Loan Pools’, to the Secondary Market, that, because of the ‘Regulation’-enhanced “Brownie Points”, were met by ‘Premium Pricing’..

    IOW, if you think ‘Red Lining’ is a thing of the Past, try laying off TPM, for starters..

    http://search.yippy.com/search?query=CRA+Premium+Secondary+Market+Home+Loans&tb=sitesearch-all&v%3Aproject=clusty

  20. Robespierre says:

    “New Details Emerge on MF Global, but No Smoking Gun
    By AZAM AHMED and BEN PROTESS”

    “Ms. O’Brien, MF Global’s assistant treasurer, has also declined to cooperate with federal prosecutors without immunity from criminal charges. Prosecutors are doubtful about their chances to bring a criminal case. The investigation so far has shown that chaos in the final days and the firm’s sloppy bookkeeping most likely caused the wrongdoing, according to people with knowledge of the case.”

    The facts are that Ms. O’Brian (Allegedly) ordered the transfer from a customer account to pay JP Morgan. That is illegal. The law does not care that it was due to chaos or sloppy bookkeeping or fraud. That is for a jury to determine. But I guess for an administration that has now decided to be jury, judge and executioner letting a jury decide has become redundant and inefficient use of tax payers dollars.

  21. Joe Friday says:

    Mark,

    the Regulations–instituted by the Clinton administration (that are, but, a piece)– made those Loans more Valuable, on the Secondary Market

    That’s not possible.

    You don’t seem to grasp the meaning of “UNREGULATED”.

    What made the mortgage loans underwritten by predatory lenders “more valuable” was FRAUD:

    * Fraudulent appraisals
    * Fraudulent income verification
    * Fraudulent financial documents
    * Fraudulent sales practices
    * Fraudulent ratings from rating agencies
    * Fraudulent securitization
    * Fraudulent securities

  22. Joe Friday,

    you understand what ‘half-Right’ confers, no?

    past that, are you a Partisan Hack, an avowed Troll, or, merely, too _______ Lazy to do any Reading?

    the first four results, from the link I posted, above, will give a primer on how, excactly, the CRA, and ‘other Regulations’ helped ‘fuel the Fire’..

    here..
    “….
    Definition of ‘Community Reinvestment Act – CRA’
    An act of Congress enacted in 1977 with the intention of encouraging depository institutions to help meet the credit needs of surrounding communities (particularly low and moderate income neighborhoods). The CRA requires federal regulators to assess the record of each bank or thrift in helping to fulfill its obligations to the community. This record will then be used in evaluating applications for future approval of bank mergers, charters, acquisitions, branch openings and deposit facilities.
    Investopedia Says
    Investopedia explains ‘Community Reinvestment Act – CRA’
    Because the percentage of “CRA loans” that a mortgage lender originates or purchases in the secondary market is important, CRA loans tend to trade at a premium price in the secondary market. Generic packages of loans are frequently searched by traders looking to find overlooked individual CRA loans within the package which can be extracted and sold for a premium, independent of the entire package .

    Read more: http://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/community_reinvestment_act.asp

    is, but, a snip from one of them..

    you know, for you, Investing Time in http://www.rif.org/ , instead of Wasting Time @ http://talkingpointsmemo.com/ might, just, be The Trade that does a World of Good..~

  23. Jojo says:

    Sometimes Friedman writes something sensible. This is one of those times.
    ————-
    March 24, 2012
    A Festival of Lies
    By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN

    THE historian Victor Davis Hanson recently wrote a brutally clear-eyed piece in The National Review, looking back at America’s different approaches to Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Egypt, Pakistan and Afghanistan and how, sadly, none of them could be said to have worked yet.

    “Let us review the various American policy options for the Middle East over the last few decades,” Hanson wrote. “Military assistance or punitive intervention without follow-up mostly failed. The verdict on far more costly nation-building is still out. Trying to help popular insurgents topple unpopular dictators does not guarantee anything better. Propping up dictators with military aid is both odious and counterproductive. Keeping clear of maniacal regimes leads to either nuclear acquisition or genocide — or 16 acres of rubble in Manhattan. What have we learned? Tribalism, oil, and Islamic fundamentalism are a bad mix that leaves Americans sick and tired of the Middle East — both when they get in it and when they try to stay out of it.”

    And that is why it’s time to rethink everything we’re doing out there. What the Middle East needs most from America today are modern schools and hard truths, and we haven’t found a way to offer either. Because Hanson is right: What ails the Middle East today truly is a toxic mix of tribalism, Shiite-Sunni sectarianism, fundamentalism and oil — oil that constantly tempts us to intervene or to prop up dictators.

    Where people don’t share our values, we should insulate ourselves by reducing our dependence on oil. But we must stop wanting good government more than they do, looking the other way at bad behavior, telling ourselves that next year will be different, sticking with a bad war for fear of being called wimps and selling more tanks to people who can’t read.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/25/opinion/sunday/friedman-a-festival-of-lies.html

  24. Joe Friday says:

    Mark,

    you understand what ‘half-Right’ confers, no?

    I understand what ‘completely wrong’ confers.

    the first four results, from the link I posted, above, will give a primer on how, excactly, the CRA, and ‘other Regulations’ helped ‘fuel the Fire’..

    Gibberish.

    ~

    1) FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair on CRA

    I want to give you my verdict on CRA: NOT guilty,” said FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair, according to a press release by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Before the Consumer Federation of America, Bair said … she wanted to clear up the “myth” that the Community Reinvestment Act caused the financial crisis – and she set out to do so with vigor.

    And “Let me ask you,” she proceeded. “Where in the CRA does it say to make loans to people who can’t afford to repay? Nowhere.

    The facts are simple, Bair said. The lending practices that are causing problems today were driven by a desire for more market share and revenue growth, not because the government encouraged certain lending practices.

    2) From the Federal Reserve:

    “Neither the CRA nor its implementing regulation gives specific criteria for rating the performance of depository institutions. Rather, the law indicates that the evaluation process should accommodate an institution’s individual circumstances. Nor does the law require institutions to make high-risk loans that jeopardize their safety. To the contrary, the law makes it clear that an institution’s CRA activities should be undertaken in a safe and sound manner.”

    3) Not to mention that the CRA only applied to REGULATED mortgage lenders. The vast overwhelming majority of toxic mortgages were written by UNREGULATED mortgage brokers. The rate of bad loans written by the federally regulated banks and savings & loans is EXTREMELY SMALL.

  25. [...] The Big Picture, issues with defining death: The evolution of death. This is a very important issue is modern [...]

  26. GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

    Re: Corzine and the other bank fraudsters

    I agree it appears they broke the law and ought to be prosecuted. However, I think we’ve reached the point where it’s unlikely that we can get a jury intelligent enough to convict if the defendant can afford top lawyers. And the case will be complicated enough that even if they do get convicted, said lawyers can find an appeals court which will rule that the case needs to be retried because it violated some procedural rule.

    I think we need to set up a system for financial fraud cases similar to the tax court system, where cases aren’t tried by a collection of 12 random people who survived the jury selection process, but by trained jurists with the technical expertise needed to understand the case.

  27. bear_in_mind says:

    @GeorgeBurns: I don’t think the jury or appeals process is the issue, although I agree that there’s so many who should stand trial that a tribunal with a standing panel of retired judges serving as jurists would make a lot of sense.

    If law enforcement can’t bring criminal charges against anyone at Countrywide, Merrill Lynch, not to mention MF Global, that suggests the real problem is the regulatory and law enforcement systems are so pocked with political careerists and wastrels from the financial sector (essentially foxes paid to guard the henhouse) that it’s going to take an outside force to break the entropy and garner any movement toward meaningful prosecutions.

  28. Joe Friday,

    if it isn’t asking, too, much..

    there’s a “Broad Topic” you may care to ‘look into’..

    http://search.yippy.com/search?query=Spirit+of+Inquiry&tb=sitesearch-all&v%3Aproject=clusty

    past that, thank you, again, for confirming my, original, reservations–about attempting to interact with you..

    but, really, don’t bother sending me an Invoice.

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/reservation try #3..

  29. Joe Friday says:

    Mark,

    What color is the sky in your world ?

  30. DiggidyDan says:

    ,