Posts filed under “Financial Press”

An Improved Version of Bailout Math

The New York Times one ups the Wall Street Journal, taking a more philosophical — and broader — look at the Treasury’s Bailout Math.

It is still incomplete, but a significant improvement. Recall yesterday we criticized the WSJ’s wide approach  (Light At the End of the Bailout Tunnel) as so much happy talk.

The Time’s Andrew Ross Sorkin followed our advice. In addition to a snarkier tone (Uncle Sam down $89 billion? “It’s enough to make us all feel rich, isn’t it?”) his article included the following bullet points:

• Probable losses from American International Group = $48 billion
• Losses from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac = about $320 billion
• The Federal Reserve virtually interest-free loans to Wall Street = $1 trillion dollars
• Moral Hazard: Numbers don’t help avoid another financial mess in the future
• Last, its about right and wrong.

Its a more skeptical improvement over other less critical takes on the success of the Bailouts. Still, Sorkin’s piece is also incomplete, leaving out:

• Depleted FDIC reserves;
• FASB 157 suspension allowed banks to hide losses
• Bad loans on bank balance sheets
• General Motors & Chrysler Bailouts
• Ongoing Foreclosures and Housing Problems
• Highly concentrated banking sector/lack of competition

I believe the best we can honestly say about the bailouts (without any spin or bias) is that, so far, the worst case scenarios have not played out, and that the return on investment is in the top quartile of expectations. Further, we still do not know what the final costs will look like, given a variety of factors such as housing, economy, etc. Also, we have no idea what the longstanding repercussions and moral hazard will end up doing in the future. Lastly, we have created a less competitive banking system, and allowed banks to fabricate their balance sheets.

But other than that Mrs, Lincoln . . .


Imagine the Bailouts Are Working
NYT, April 12, 2010

Category: Bailouts, Financial Press

Pulitzers to WaPo, NYT, Prop Publica, Liaquat Ahamed

Congratulations to this year’s Pulitzer prize winners: • The Washington Post won four Pulitzers; • The New York Times won three; • ProPublica became the first online, nonprofit news organization to win; • Liaquat Ahamed for the historical work “Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World; (NYT review here)

Category: Financial Press, Markets

Farewell To The Most Widely Anticipated IPO Ever?

If there was ever a more widely anticipated and publicized IPO than PALM, a commenter will have to remind me what it was.  [BR: Google?] As I recall all too well, no CNBC talking head could do a segment without at least a dozen or so mentions of PALM.  No guest could be interviewed without…Read More

Category: Financial Press, Media

Declining Bailout Costs or Bad Math ?

There is a bizarre article in this morning’s WSJ. It declares that the bailouts will cost less than initially feared. It is notable not for what it includes, but what it managed to completely ignore. The 2008 Emergency Economic Stabilization Fund passed by Congress was over $700 billion dollars — not $250B. There is no…Read More

Category: Bailouts, Financial Press, Really, really bad calls, Regulation

Weekend Reading

For your perusing pleasure, here are several worthwhile reads for the weekend: • SHILLER: Don’t Bet the Farm on the Housing Recovery (Sunday NYT) • SEC looks to rein in trading battlebots (Ars Technica) • 15% tangible equity capital survival ratio (Reuters) • Prince Shows Shame, Rubin Defiance (WSJ) • The Well-Off Are Spending Again…Read More

Category: Financial Press

Wednesday Reads

Lots of interesting stuff on the docket today — beyond what I have mentioned earlier today: • Job Market Confirms End of Recession (NBER member) • Who Controls Bank of Japan? (The Diplomat) • Greenspan’s Delusions Get Much Worse With Age (Bloomberg) • Edward Glaeser: Why Your House’s Value (Probably) Won’t Rise (Economix) • Fannie…Read More

Category: Financial Press

Consumers Climb Out of Their Bunkers . . .

From the “It-Aint-That-Bad” file comes the most recent reports of consumer spending. As we have previously exhorted, the consumer is “not quite dead, yet.” Indeed, the data suggests that after falling into a state of frozen panic during the credit crisis, there are signs of pent up demand being satisfied slowly but surely. The perma-bears…Read More

Category: Consumer Spending, Financial Press

No, Treasury Bailout Profits Are Not 10 Billion Dollars . . .

Why doesn’t anyone understand what a profit is? It is the total revenue minus the total costs. Which is why this FT headline is our second dumb headline of the day: US Treasury’s bail-out profits top $10bn “The US government has made more than $10bn so far on banks’ repayments of bail-out funds, according to…Read More

Category: Bailouts, Financial Press

Monday Reads

Lots of interesting reading to start the week: • Goldman Sachs: Don’t Blame Us (Business Week) • Bulls Increase With Buybacks Signaled by Profit Surge (Bloomberg) • A fine Matt Taibbi rant: Looting Main Street (Rolling Stone) • What If Women Ran Wall Street? (NY Mag) • A Deeper Look at the Fed’s Inflation Debate …Read More

Category: Financial Press

Weekend Reading

Ahhh, glorious Spring is upon is: The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and the muddy remnants of recent storms are beginning to dry out. The hammock beckons! Before I head out East to see if our summer house is still standing, here are a few worthwhile reads for those of you suffering in…Read More

Category: Financial Press