Commentaries

from Rolfe Winkler:

Geithner’s faulty apologia

January 28, 2010

Tim Geithner's appearance in front of Congress today was another embarrassment, perhaps more for the people's representatives than the Treasury Secretary. Still, Geithner offered a clumsy defense for paying out 100¢ on the dollar to AIG's counterparties, which included more than Goldman Sachs.

from Rolfe Winkler:

Morning Links 1-27

January 27, 2010

Note: Apologies for no links yesterday. Busy day writing columns!

SEC to vote on new money fund rules (Johnson, WSJ) Unfortunately, the SEC won't do away with $1 NAVs, price fluctuations will be published on a 60 day lag. So investors will continue to treat money funds as cash equivalents, even though they aren't, and the systemic risk they pose won't really go away.

from Rolfe Winkler:

Hayek vs. Keynes Rap Anthem

January 26, 2010

Two economic giants in a freestyle face-off. An instant classic... (ht Rej)

from Rolfe Winkler:

Why not Baby Banks?

January 25, 2010

The President is right to target firm size if he wants to insure no financial firm can cause a system failure. Yet despite clear evidence that banks are already too big, Obama's proposal won't cut them down. It would only limit future growth by acquisition.

from Rolfe Winkler:

Existing home sales plunge

January 25, 2010

When it looked like the First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit was going to expire, folks rushed to buy. The result was merely to pull forward demand, similar to the dynamic that played out with Cash4Clunkers.

The $1.2 billion fraud alleged at Russia’s largest bank

January 22, 2010

Tucked away on page 4 of the Moscow Times today there is a remarkable article which made me wonder whether I wasn’t hallucinating.

from Rolfe Winkler:

Morning Links 1-22

January 22, 2010

Geithner has reservations on US banks (Wutkowski/Eder, Reuters) More evidence that Geithner is a goner. Will Volcker replace him? Sheila Bair could be a dark horse. She has lots of Democratic fans on the Hill despite being appointed by a Republican. In any case, Geithner was on PBS last night defending the plan.

from Rolfe Winkler:

The Ascent of Volcker

January 21, 2010

So, wow, the Obama administration has reacted very quickly -- perhaps too quickly -- post the Massachusetts Senate election. After proposing a tax on bank liabilities, Obama is taking an even tougher line, adopting recommendations from Paul Volcker that banks be limited in their size and scope.

from Rolfe Winkler:

Buffett lets public down…again

January 21, 2010

The public has always seen in Warren Buffett a different kind of capitalist, an honest observer providing sound financial advice regardless of his personal interests. But is he?

from Rolfe Winkler:

New off-balance sheet rule: Little impact on Wells

January 21, 2010

The new accounting standard requiring banks to bring assets back on balance sheet had a negligible impact on Wells Fargo. Despite having over $2.0 trillion of off-balance sheet assets, Wells consolidated just $10 billion of risk-weighted assets when the new standard took effect January 1. (See slide 17 in the bank's supplemental earnings release)