Posts filed under “Really, really bad calls”

The Spending Habits of the 0.01%

Attention peasants: The Greubel Forsey GMT at $549,000

Source: Greubel Forsey
I have been hearing a lot about the spending habits of the 0.01 percent lately.

Perhaps, a little bit too much.

Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a class-warfare rant or a treatise on living the simpler, less materialistic life. Rather, it is a suggestion to some folks that perhaps they might want to make some of their conspicuous consumption a little less conspicuous.

For example, I learned last week that Tiffany & Co. had a secret room for the big spenders. That’s because when you’re dropping $20 million on a necklace that, according to Tiffany’s vice president, is being bought with literally a wheelbarrow full of cash, you want some, you know, privacy.

Or how about those folks who want to learn how to drive a $500,000 car very, very fast and they need to take a specific class? It’s tough luck if you don’t have a Lamborghini Aventador Roadster yet, because they are sold out. So is the new $1.4 million Ferrari LaFerrari. You can still buy a Bentley GT or a Ferrari California T — assuming you don’t mind hearing the derisive snickers of the parking valets behind your back.  Continues here

Category: Consumer Spending, Psychology, Really, really bad calls

S.E.C. Commissioner Stein’s Blistering Remarks

Remarks Before the Peterson Institute of International Economics

Commissioner Kara M. Stein

Washington, D.C.

June 12, 2014

Thank you, Adam, for the kind introduction.  I also would like to thank the Peterson Institute for International Economics for hosting me today.

I, like all of you in this room, believe we need to have strong, vibrant capital markets if we want to have a healthy, job-creating economy.  Our capital markets must be built on a foundation that is strong enough to withstand the next storm.  During the Great Recession, we started a discussion about how to help insulate us when the next crisis comes.

The next financial crisis may come from any direction.  My job is to help figure out where the next crisis may come from, and how to minimize the damage it would cause.  That means we must identify systemic risks and mitigate them.  Today, we have convened to continue this conversation and discuss what the SEC can do to better prevent the buildup and transmission of risks that can take down our entire financial system.

I’m going to begin our discussion today with a quick reminder of how we got here.  And then, I’m going to focus on the three key areas where the SEC can play a critical role in addressing systemic risks.  First, we need to step outside of our silo and think broadly and cooperatively with our fellow regulators, both domestic and international.  Second, we need to focus on improving the stability and resiliency of the short-term funding markets, including securities lending and repurchase agreements (repo).  Third, we need to re-examine how we evaluate capital, leverage, and liquidity within the financial institutions and funds we regulate.

With the financial crisis in the rear view mirror, many forget the forces that converged in 2007. Some even deny the impact of the recession, optimistically viewing our financial markets and our economy as inoculated from a virus that spread quickly and wreaked havoc on a global economy.  Yet, studies demonstrate that the Great Recession continues to affect both attitudes and behaviors.  A recent survey found that the generation entering the workforce now – the Millennials, who are 21 to 36 years old – have the same fiscally conservative views as the generation that exited the Great Depression.[1]  Millennials are skeptical of the financial markets and long-term investing, yet we increasingly depend on them to invest and drive our economy.

I, too, am crisis-scarred.  And I share a dream with these Millennials.  I dream of never facing another financial crisis.  I want to do my part to avoid ever having to face another one.  The events of 2008 are indelibly etched into my memory.  In 2008, while I was working for Senator Jack Reed, our country’s economic leaders began closed-door briefings with members of Congress. Concerned about the unfolding financial crisis, the Chair of the Federal Reserve and the Secretary of Treasury pleaded for help and for an unprecedented financial intervention to stave off another Great Depression.  They wanted tools to protect our Nation from an invisible force that came to be known as systemic risk.  A comprehensive strategy was developed to stabilize our economy and unlock the credit markets in order to save our financial system.

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Category: Bailouts, Really, really bad calls, Regulation

Why Occupy Movement Was Treated As Terrorism

Government Treated Peaceful Boycott As Terrorism Anyone Who Questions the Powers-That-Be May Be Labelled a “Terrorist” The Partnership for Civil Justice (a public interest legal organization which the Washington Post called “the constitutional sheriffs for a new protest generation”) reported this week that the Obama administration treated a peaceful boycott as a terrorist threat: 4,000…Read More

Category: Legal, Really, really bad calls, Think Tank, War/Defense

Bank Fines + Prosecutions = Enforcement

Since 2008, the U.S. authorities have meted out $87.53 billion in fines to global banks. That number comes from data complied by the Financial Times. Some people believe that bankers are finally getting their due, being hit with billion-dollar penalties for their recklessness. I don’t see it that way; rather, it looks like little more…Read More

Category: Bailouts, Legal, Really, really bad calls

Tyrants Have Always Spied On Their Own People

5,000 Years of History Shows that Mass Spying Is Always Aimed at Crushing Dissent Spying has been around since the dawn of civilization. Keith Laidler – a PhD anthropologist, Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a past member of the Scientific Exploration Society – explains: Spying and surveillance are at least as old as…Read More

Category: Really, really bad calls, Think Tank, War/Defense

Why Does US Cell Phone Service Suck?

Yesterday on my commute to work, I became annoyed with the spotty coverage and slow connection provided by Verizon Wireless. I tweeted my frustration. Imagine my surprise when AT&T’s social networking Tinkerbell responded to me: “Connect when and where you want with our reliable 4G LTE!” I found that amusing. The reason I switched to…Read More

Category: Really, really bad calls, Regulation, Taxes and Policy, Technology

Congratulations, you were drafted! Prepare to go broke.

>   My Sunday Washington Post Business Section column is out. This morning, we look at how often pro athletes manage to go financially bust. The print version had the headline Congratulations, you were drafted! Prepare to go broke!, while the online version is merely Professional athletes need to learn to keep their finances in good…Read More

Category: Apprenticed Investor, Foreclosures, Investing, Really, really bad calls

Why Make Shareholders Accountable?

  “I don’t know what all these banks did to deserve all this but once again, when you are fining the bank, you are fining the shareholders of the bank who had nothing to with what management did. So if management did something egregious or criminal go after the people that did it and stop…Read More

Category: Legal, Really, really bad calls

How to Build a Better Bailout

“To avert panic, central banks should lend early and freely, to solvent firms, against good collateral, and at ‘high rates.’ ” -Walter Bagehot, Lombard Street   Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has been promoting his new book, “Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises.” I haven’t read it, and based on what I have heard…Read More

Category: Bailout Nation, Bailouts, Books, Really, really bad calls, Taxes and Policy

The Daily Show: Timothy Geithner Extended Interview

FAILWATCH: Here are all five segments of Former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s Daily Show appearance this week:

 
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Category: Bailouts, Economy, Really, really bad calls, Video