Posts filed under “Really, really bad calls”
Yesterday, we looked at why bankers weren’t busted for crimes committed during the financial crisis. Political corruption, prosecutorial malfeasance, rewritten legislation and cowardice on the part of government officials were among the many reasons.
But I saved the biggest reason so many financial felons escaped justice for today: They dumped the cost of their criminal activities on you, the shareholder (never mind the taxpayer).
Corporate executives theoretically work for the owners of the company, namely, the shareholders. But there is an agency problem in that owners can’t closely manage and object to the actions of these executives. Collective owners, such as mutual funds, seem to have no interest in doing so. What we end up with is a management class that works for itself instead of on behalf of the owners of the publicly traded banks. Many of these executives committed crimes; got big bonuses for doing so; and paid huge fines using shareholder assets (i.e., company cash), helping them avoid prosecution.
As for claims, like those of white-collar crime defense attorney Mark F. Pomerantz, that “the executives running companies like Bank of America, Citigroup and JP Morgan were not committing criminal acts,” they simply implausible if not laughable. Consider a brief survey of some of the more egregious acts of wrongdoing:
“There Were No Convictions of Bankers for Good Reason” is the headline of a post by Mark F. Pomerantz, a lawyer and retired partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in the New York Times’s Room for Debate discussion: The reason that senior bankers did not face charges, even though investigators interviewed countless witnesses…Read More
As I sat down to write this early this morning, no one knew what the jobs numbers would be. But I did know three related things: 1. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists is that 230,000 workers were added in August; 2. Almost all of the individual forecasters will be wrong. (Actually,…Read More
Earlier this week, Prudent Bear fund founder David Tice warned of an imminent crash — as bad as 30-60% down on the S&P500. One small thing: This is pretty much the same call that Tice made in 2010 and 2012. Apparently, if you make the same crash call every 2 years, most of the media…Read More
Student loans are the next great subprime crisis! At least that’s what the usual purveyors of doom and gloom say (see this, this and this). The numbers are big, the default rates are high and soon enough this is going to tip the economy into the next crisis or recession. Not so fast, writes…Read More
Last week, we discussed the problems with having poor reading comprehension and the impact that has on consuming news. This week, I want to look at the lack of math skills. America seems to becoming a dangerously innumerate society. Innumeracy is incompetence with numbers rather than words. This is a worrisome issue for the future…Read More
Hawks Crying Wolf: Charles Plosser of the Philadephia Fed; if you’ve been following these things, you know that Plosser has been warning about imminent inflation since the beginning of the crisis. He did it in 2008; he did it in 2009; he did it in 2010; he did it in 2011; I’m getting tired here,…Read More
Many years ago, when I was a poor and humble graduate student, I taught the prep course for students taking the GMATs and LSATs. I understood the internal logic and game theory needed to succeed on standardized tests, and could explain techniques used to do well on them. One of the keys to succeeding on…Read More