Wednesday, May 20, 2009

4 Things That Should Make You Angry

1. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation is $33.5 billion dollars in debt. Furthermore, the geniuses in charge were paying large fees to the likes of Goldman for investment advice over the last few years, leading to an implosion of their holdings. So, for those of you like myself in your mid-30s or so, add an unfunded pension to the demise of Social Security and Medicare by the time we've put in our 30 or 40 years.

2. Alan Grayson. No, he shouldn't make you angry, just his unanswered questions to officials in the Fed and Treasury. Actually, you should add him to the short list of politicians (Kucinich, Paul) who actually seem to be disturbed by the illegal use of powers those institutions have employed during this crisis. When asked by Grayson where the $1 trillion in direct balance sheet holdings and $9 trillion in off-balance sheet holdings have gone, Inspector General of the Federal Reserve Elizabeth Coleman said, "Uh, I don't know." Grayson then asked, who would know? No answer. This is Paulson all over again. We are printing money and giving it to the banks without any concessions or even Congressional approval.

3. Lost in the post bailout euphoria is not only the issuance and subsequent devaluation of common shares by large banks, but the sudden huge increase in insider selling by the C-levels of those banks. Quite the opposite of Vikram Pandit buying shares ahead of leaked good news, these guys are dumping shares after the recent run up at all-time rates. "Insiders from New York Stock Exchange-listed companies sold $8.32 worth of stock for every dollar bought in the first three weeks of April, according to Washington Service, which analyzes stock transactions of corporate insiders for more than 500 institutional clients." Very nice boys, glad we were able to salvage your bonuses after all.

4. Credit card reform, if you're like me and just use your credit card as a delayed debit transaction without accruing fees but while accruing bonuses, may not be so good for us. When companies can no longer zap their deadbeats for higher interest payments or one-time fees, they'll start looking towards their "good" customers for new ways to generate revenue. I've even read that they may start charging interest from the point of purchase. It would be interesting to see if these reforms actually destroy consumer spending, particularly on-line transactions even using PayPal (Max, perhaps you can comment on this in the actual comments section of the site, not in a direct response to me, would be helpful to all readers).

http://news.moneycentral.msn.com/provider/providerarticle.aspx?feed=AP&date=20090519&id=9919765

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEScYhv0rIg

http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/andrew_martin/index.html?inline=nyt-per

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=arl3VgxA0FAA

2 comments:

Tiger Coach said...

Ax...

Alan Grayson testimony is always amusing... How come he never gets a straight answer???

Only Congress has the power to coining money. The Fed has taken that that role for simple expediency purposes because Congress can rarely do anything efficiently.

However, it appears that the Fed now gives the orders instead of taking them... And is accountable to no one... Do not think for a second that the Fed is not threatening a Depression should any power be usurped. Truth be told, they are the fourth branch of government...

AX said...

Same reason Ron Paul doesn't, no one holds these people responsible. And without any repercussions, why shoud they answer. Elizabeth Warren had no subpoena power, which killed her authortity despite her probing questions.