Crooks, incompetents, nincompoops and naifs

January 29, 2009

As Barry Ritholtz points out, Time magazine crunches TRAP numbers. Bernie Madoff malinvestments may have lost 100%, but your government, those investing mavens in the nation’s capitol, have lost an astounding -1,096%. Ladies and germs, that’s:

-1,096%

Normal programming will resume after I pound my head against the wall for ten minutes.

Since the Tarp was jammed through in October, Treasury has invested $165 billion into the nation’s eight largest banks.

Those same financial firms are now worth $418 billion less than they were four months ago. CBO calculates the taxpayer’s preferred shares are worth $20 billion less.

[Time]

Barry also coaches Turbo Timmy about his need to change costumes from Fed Guv’nor to Treasury Sec’y.:

I’ve noticed something I find a bit disturbing about our new Treasury Secretary: He has not yet fully come to terms with his new job, role — and boss. Granted, he’s been in the job for only two days. But given the extraordinary circumstances the financial sector and the economy is in, it is important for the Treasury Secretary to get up to speed as soon as possible.

Consider this statement from Geithner, who said that Treasury is considering a “range of options” for its financial rescue plan, with the goal of preserving the private banking system. “We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we’d like to do our best to preserve that system.”

No! Defending these idiots was your old gig. In the new job, you no longer work for the cretins responsible for bringing down the global economy. Please stop rationalizing their behavior, and preserving the status quo!

[The Big Picture]


“Simón Bolívar is the only person in history to be exiled from a country named after him.” -Kinky Friedman


Corporate welfare state of America

January 29, 2009

Just like bank and Wall Street executives, gummint contractors also win when they fuck up:

Gummint bureaucrat hard at work

U.S. Senator Kit Bond shifted in his chair at a 2005 congressional hearing, poised with a question on national security. He turned to Treasury Secretary John Snow, who was seated at a witness table.

Was Snow sure, asked Bond, a Missouri Republican, that a Treasury Department computer on order for $8.9 million would help detect terrorist money laundering?

“Yes, absolutely,” Snow said.

A year later, in July 2006, the U.S. Treasury Department abandoned the project. The computer didn’t work. The department had spent $14.7 million — a 65 percent increase above the original budget — for nothing.

As the federal government’s $700 billion bailout of banks sputters, there’s an object lesson for the new administration of President Barack Obama: Federal departments, including Treasury itself, routinely squander tens of billions of dollars a year in taxpayer money as they farm out public business to private corporations. [Bloomie]


15 ways to delay foreclosure

January 25, 2009

And live rent free indefinitely!

[Hat tip]


Wind him up, let him go

January 25, 2009

Pincer movement, stage two

January 22, 2009

And Asshat of the Year goes to…

January 21, 2009

Bankers first

January 19, 2009

The Economist says that this photo is “one of the most apt visual metaphors for the crisis yet”. I’m not sure that it isn’t literally true. After all, Charlotte is a banking center, and 23 of the passengers worked at Bank of America alone. I’d say that the passengers in the 12 first-class seats at the front of the plane were disproportionately likely to be bankers, no? –Felix Salmon