Posts filed under “Bailout Nation”

Busted Banks Rebuff Regulation

Front page of the NY Times goes over the shameful behavior of banks — one of the primary causes of the entire crisis — using bailout money to pay lobbyists to maintain the regulatory status quo.

Its yet another reason for why they should have been put into bankruptcy once they became insolvent.

So far, the Obama administration approach to bailouts has been to keep running Bush Economic term III. They have been far too kind (genteel even) showering taxpayer monies  on the incompetents and fools who drove their firms over the abyss. Indeed, its all but impossible to see where the largesse of the Bush bailout policies ends and the Obama bailout policies begins.

If today were November 2012, I would not vote for this team. As far as the banking sector is concerned, this gang is no different than the knaves and dolts who came before. It is more of the same irresponsible, expensive and reckless  policy that preceded them.

That anyone is even debating pulling Derivatives out of the shadow banking system and putting them into a regulated derivatives exchange — transparent, reserved for, counter-party guaranteed, exchange supervised –  is embarrassing for our nation, its corporate and political leaders.

Oh, well, back to business as usual . . .


Today, just as the bankers anticipated, a battle over derivatives has been joined, in what promises to be a replay of a confrontation in Washington that Wall Street won a decade ago. Since then, derivatives trading has become one of the most profitable businesses for the nation’s big banks.

The looming fight over regulation is the beginning of a broader debate over the future of the financial industry. At the center of the argument: What is the right amount of regulation?

Those who favor more regulation say it would offer early warning signals when companies take on too much risk and would help avert catastrophic surprises like the huge derivatives losses at the giant insurer the American International Group, which has so far received more than $170 billion in taxpayer commitments. The banks say too much regulation will stifle financial innovation and economic growth.

The debate about where derivatives will trade speaks to core concerns about the products: transparency and disclosure.

There are two distinct camps in this argument. One camp, which includes legislative leaders, is pushing for trading on an open exchange — much like stocks — where value and structure are visible and easily determined. Another camp, led by the banks, prefers that some of the products be traded in privately managed clearinghouses, with less disclosure.

The Obama administration agrees that more regulation is needed. A proposal unveiled recently by Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner won plaudits for trying to make derivatives trading less freewheeling and more accountable — a plan that hinges in part on using clearinghouses for the trades.

Critics in both the financial world and Congress say relying on clearinghouses would be problematic. They also say Mr. Geithner’s plan contains a major loophole, because little disclosure would be required for more complicated derivatives, like the type of customized, credit-default swaps that helped bring down A.I.G. A.I.G. sold insurance related to mortgage securities, essentially making a big bet that those mortgages would not default.

Go read the full piece.


Idiots Fiddle While Rome Burns (July 16th, 2008)

Even in Crisis, Banks Dig In for Fight Against Rules
NYT, May 31, 2009

Category: Bailout Nation, Bailouts, Credit, Regulation

NPR Marketplace on Bailout Nation


I did a fun interview with NPR’s Marketplace on Bailout Nation.


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Category: Bailout Nation, Bailouts, Media

Bloomberg Review: Bailout Nation

The first mainstream review on Bailout Nation is out, and its from Bloomberg (Europe). I am not disappointed: “Ritholtz waltzes the reader though the decisions and missteps that landed us in this morass, including the Federal Reserve’s power grab over the years, notably during the leadership vacuum of 2007 and 2008, when markets melted like…Read More

Category: Bailout Nation, Bailouts

Finally! Bailout Nation Publishes Today

(For those of you sick of hearing about the book, register, then “deselect” bailout nation as a category — you will never see another post on the subject again!) ~~~ At long last, the date is finally here: The book officially publishes today, May 26, 2009. Some pretty encouraging news so far on sales.  As…Read More

Category: Bailout Nation, Bailouts, Books

The Back Story to Bailout Nation

Tomorrow is the official publication date of Bailout Nation. This is the back story to how and why the book came to be. > Long story short:  After Bill Fleckenstein’s GREENSPAN’S BUBBLES was published, McGraw Hill asked him to do a follow up to that book. He wisely said no. However, Bill suggested they contact…Read More

Category: Bailout Nation, Bailouts, Books

New Website: BailoutNation.Net

For those of you who are getting sick of hearing about the book, rejoice:  The new site is launching tonight.  All of the book related stuff will eventually find its way there. (Some will end up here in Books). This is just the home page — it should populate over the next few days ….Read More

Category: Bailout Nation, Bailouts

Bailout Nation in Singapore Bookstores

Pau Bryant writes: Thought you would be interested to know Bailout Nation is on the shelves here in Singapore, and on the “highlights” shelf – photo evidence from Page One store attached (price SGD43.82). Notice the company it is keeping on the right? >

Category: Bailout Nation, Bailouts, Books

Bailout Nation: Where Are the Bloggers?

Felix Salmon asks an oddly interesting question: “As befits a book from such an assiduous source-citer as Ritholtz, Bailout Nation comes with 17 pages of endnotes, most of them with URLs. But here’s the funny thing: the number of blogs cited is tiny. Paging through the notes, I see Barry citing himself a couple of…Read More

Category: Bailout Nation, Bailouts, Weblogs

The Strange Death of American Capitalism

I was pleasantly surprised this morning when I woke up to find the first review of Bailout Nation was written, by Eddy Elfenbein of Crossing Wall Street. It is very long and thoughtful and I am thrilled with it. Excerpt: In Bailout Nation: How Greed and Easy Money Corrupted Wall Street and Shook the World…Read More

Category: Bailout Nation, Bailouts, Books

Roger Lowenstein on Charlie Rose

Fascinating discussion with one of my favorite business writers: Roger Lowenstein on Charlie Rose, circa 1995 discussing Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist. I quote Lowenstein’s When Genius Failed extensively in Bailout Nation. I’d love to get a copy to him, but I cannot find his email address anywhere (except Portfolio, which is now…Read More

Category: Bailout Nation, Bailouts, Financial Press