Posts filed under “Really, really bad calls”

Who Benefits from Bailouts?

I always find it amusing whenever someone expresses surprise that the financial bailouts for Greece haven’t benefitted Greek citizens. “Bailout Money Goes to Greece, Only to Flow Out Again” in the New York Times is just the latest example. “The cash exodus is a small piece of a bigger puzzle over why — despite two major international bailouts — the Greek economy is in worse shape and more deeply in debt.”

Unfortunately, this is a feature of bailout, not a bug.

A plethora of financial rescues during the past decades has proven quite convincingly that this isn’t an aberration. Follow the money instead of following the headlines. That’s how you learn who profits from a bailout.

Look around the world — Japan, Sweden, Brazil, Mexico, Ireland, the U.S. and now Greece to learn who is and isn’t helped by these enormous government-backed bailouts. No, it isn’t the Greek people, nor even their banks. They never were the intended beneficiaries of the bailouts, nor were Irish citizens in that bailout. Indeed, homeowners in the U.S. were little more that incidental recipients of aid as a percentage of total rescue spending.

You probably learned the phrase “moral hazard” during the financial crisis. In short, what it means is that the bailouts rescued leveraged, reckless speculators from the results of their unwise professional folly and gave them an incentive to do it all over again. They were and the intended rescuees.

Do you think I am exaggerating? Consider the U.S. bailout in its manifold forms, from TARP to ZIRP to QE. How many bondholders suffered losses from their poor investment decisions? With the exception of holders of Lehman Brothers’ debt and a handful of banks that weren’t deemed too big to fail, just about every other bondholder was made whole, 100 cents on the dollar.

Thanks to rescue plans such as the Trouble Asset Relief Program, holders of bonds from a diverse assortment of failed and failing companies suffered literally no losses. American International Group? Zero losses. Government sponsored entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? Zero losses. Banking giants Citigroup and Bank of America? Zero losses. Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, Bear Stearns? Zero losses.

Continues here: Who Really Benefits From Bailouts?




Category: Bailouts, Philosophy, Really, really bad calls

China Bailout Charted

Awesome RBS graphic via FT Alphaville:   Source: FT Alphaville:  

Category: Bailouts, Really, really bad calls

Stop Anthropomorphizing Markets !

    Act. v. What a financial market supposedly does. As if it were a living creature with a sense of self and volition . . . Depicting a financial market as an athlete sprinting, leaping or cliff diving makes news coverage more exciting than a droning flux of numbers. The above definition is from “The Devil’s…Read More

Category: Humor, Markets, Really, really bad calls

What Are The Reasons to Own Gold Miners?

Bloomberg View Columnist Barry Ritholtz discusses the price of gold. He speaks on “Market Makers.”

Category: Gold & Precious Metals, Really, really bad calls, Video

Gramm’s Unrepentant Cognitive Dissonance

    Some people look at subprime lending and see evil. I look at subprime lending and I see the American dream in action. My mother lived it as a result of a finance company making a mortgage loan that a bank would not make. –former U.S. Senator Phil Gramm Many elected or appointed officials…Read More

Category: Bailout Nation, Bailouts, Philosophy, Politics, Really, really bad calls

Curse of the Macro Tourist

How’s your macro? Not too good? Terrible? Unsure what that even means? Let’s start here: Macro refers to the large geopolitical moments, and the natural and man-made disasters, that some investors track as potential market moving events. Large economic trends or reversals, diplomatic breakthroughs, political crises and even war are all macro events. Think: a…Read More

Category: Apprenticed Investor, Asset Allocation, Financial Press, Really, really bad calls

Gold Miners Are No Longer a Proxy for the Metal

Let’s say this right up front: The SPDR Gold Shares Trust exchange-traded fund has killed the shares of the gold miners. For a few years now, I have been very skeptical about gold’s value as an investment (this may seem excessive, but see this, this, this, this,this, this, this, this, this, this and of course this). The primary reason for this is straightforward: Gold is bought…Read More

Category: ETFs, Gold & Precious Metals, Investing, Really, really bad calls

The Tyranny of the U.S. Criminal Justice System

How can the life of such a man Be in the palm of some fool’s hand? To see him obviously framed Couldn’t help but make me feel ashamed to live in a land Where justice is a game.—Bob Dylan, “Hurricane”     Justice in America is not all it’s cracked up to be. Just ask…Read More

Category: Legal, Philosophy, Really, really bad calls, Think Tank

When Do Gasoline Sales Peak?

On Monday, I discussed why Tesla’s latest announcement was big. The electric carmaker said it planned a modification that would give its autos the ability to accelerate faster than cars that cost two to three times more and keep up with those that cost 10 to 20 times more. That’s an astonishing accomplishment. I made the…Read More

Category: Energy, Politics, Really, really bad calls, Taxes and Policy

Market Forecasters Are Like Blind Squirrels…

Earlier this summer, I tweeted a wonderful line from Brett Arends column, 25 things I wish I knew when I graduated from high school:



That led to a delightful column last week from Michael Johnston’s A Visual History of Market Crash Predictions.

Here are some of the more egregious calls, but the entire article is well worth your time to read:



Source: Fund Reference



Read More

Category: Analysts, Mathematics, Really, really bad calls