Posts filed under “Really, really bad calls”

Volcker’s anti-Geithner, anti-Summers World Tour

“Bankers and regulators have not come anywhere close to responding with necessary vigor” to the worst economic crisis in 70 years. There is a lot of evidence that financial weaknesses brought us to the brink of a great depression . . . The proposed changes are like a dimple.”

-Paul A. Volcker, Dec. 8. at a conference in West Sussex, England.


That paraphrased quote above comes to us from none other than Tall Paul on his five country, eight week, Bankers Shame lecture series. The Bloomberg article its from (Regulators Resist Volcker Wandering Warning of Too-Big-to-Fail) extensively reviews the anti-Geithner, anti-Summers World Tour.

Even thought this is obvious, it still needs to be repeated:

“Two years after the start of the deepest recession since the 1930s, no U.S. or European authority has put in force a single measure that would transform the financial system, based on data compiled by Bloomberg. No rule- or law-making body is actively considering the automatic dismantling of banks that Volcker told Congress are sheltered by access to an implicit safety net.

There’s little evidence that policy makers are heeding Volcker, the former chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve. More than 50 regulatory overhaul proposals have been submitted in the U.S. and Europe, the data compiled by Bloomberg show. Lawmakers and regulators have debated new rules for capitalization and leverage, central clearing for derivatives trading, oversight of hedge funds and ways to monitor systemic risk.

While the U.S. House of Representatives has approved a financial regulation bill, authorities in the U.S. and Europe have sidelined measures that would automatically force changes in the structure of financial companies that Bank of England Governor Mervyn King called “too important to fail.” Volcker is leading a chorus arguing for restricting the size or primary functions of financial institutions.”

Of all the critics out there on this issue, none is more important, accurate and credible (present company included) than Volcker. He is The Man on these issues: Make banks smaller, make them accountable, don’t engage in moral hazard, do not reward reckless speculation. If they are too big to fail, then they are too big.

If the President were nearly as smart as advertised. he would jettison the dynamic duo in favor of Volcker’s prescriptions. He is the only politician/banker who is not afraid to prescribe foul tatsing but effective medicine . . .


Regulators Resist Volcker Wandering Warning of Too-Big-to-Fail
Gadi Dechter and Alan Katz
Bloomberg, Dec. 15 2009

Category: Bailouts, Credit, Really, really bad calls, Regulation

The Folly Of Economic Forecasts

> Interesting discussion on one of my favorite subjects — The Folly Of Forecasts — on NPR with Chicago/Austrian economist Russ Roberts, now at George Mason University. click here for audio > Previously: Apprenticed Investor: The Folly of Forecasting Barry Ritholtz, June 07, 2005 Source: The Folly Of Economic Forecasts NPR, December 7,…Read More

Category: Analysts, Economy, Really, really bad calls

WSJ: Are Humans Responsible for Climate Change?

Wow, the results of this WSJ poll was surprising: > chart courtesy of WSJ > And they teed up the poll with this description: This decade is on track to become the warmest since records began in 1850, and 2009 could rank among the top-five warmest years, the U.N. weather agency reported on the second…Read More

Category: Really, really bad calls, UnScience

Michael Boskin on “The Obama Crash”

They never seem to learn, do they? The idealogues who use the ups and downs of markets to critique political figures. These, rigid, rabid partisans care not the least about your investing dollars; rather, the hardcore political junkies are more than happy to lose you money, so long as they can score political blood in…Read More

Category: Politics, Really, really bad calls

We Don’t Know How Black Friday Sales Were Yet

Today, the WSJ ran this patently incorrect headline (which many TV stations dutifully (mis)reported: Black Friday Spending Rose Slightly Preliminary sales data showed shoppers spent $10.66 billion on Black Friday. That’s 0.5% more than last year. The figures were compiled by ShopperTrak RCT Corp., a Chicago research firm that tracks sales at more than 50,000…Read More

Category: Consumer Spending, Data Analysis, Really, really bad calls

Fox News (Chicago) Makes the Best. Pie Chart. Ever.

Fair & Balanced? Not exactly. Mathematically competent? Not one tiny bit. > Hat tip Flowing Data ~~~ Update: Here is the Video (Nov 23)

Category: Financial Press, Mathematics, Politics, Really, really bad calls, Television

Site of the Day:

> Some good learnin’ here: This web site stems from a personal interest in critical thinking and is a collection of links to articles and sites pertaining to numeracy and critical thinking. Links should be good for at least the date posted. After the posting date, link reliability depends on the policy of the linked…Read More

Category: Mathematics, Really, really bad calls

Gramm: Glass Steagall Repeal Irrelevant

Phil Gramm, the former Republican Senator from Texas who co-wrote the act that undid Glass-Steagall, has our DQotD: > “I’ve never seen any evidence to substantiate any claim that this current financial crisis had anything to do with Gramm-Leach-Bliley. In fact, you couldn’t have had the assisted takeovers you had. More institutions would have failed.”…Read More

Category: Bailouts, Really, really bad calls, Regulation

Volcker: Accounting Panel Needs to be Independent

Why aren’t we listening more to this font of common sense and logic? “A proposal to give banking regulators authority to block accounting standards is “a terrible idea,” Paul A. Volcker, a former chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, said Monday. Mr. Volcker has been an outspoken critic of “mark to market” accounting that forced…Read More

Category: Bailouts, Really, really bad calls, Regulation

Ayn Rand: The Boring Bitch is Back

There is a substantial take-down of pedantic bore Ayn Rand in GQ. They tease it thusly: 2009′s most influential author is a mirthless Russian-American who loves money, hates God, and swings a gigantic dick. She died in 1982, but her spawn soldier on. And the Great Recession is all their fault. I love that because…Read More

Category: Psychology, Really, really bad calls