Commentaries

from Rolfe Winkler:

Lunchtime Links 9-25

September 25, 2009

Iran reveals existence of second uranium enrichment plant (WaPo) According to the article, we've known about this site for years but Obama/Brown/Sarkozy "decided to publicly disclose the existence of the facility after learning that Iran had become aware the site was no longer a secret." Pardon me for not understanding the intricacies of diplomacy, but if we've known about this site for years, why wasn't it made public? I'm sure there's a reason...

from Rolfe Winkler:

Afternoon Links 9-24

September 24, 2009

(Reader note: yeah, R.I.P. in two successive headlines is problematic. My bad. Next time we'll plan our headlines a bit better.)

from Rolfe Winkler:

Lunchtime Links 9-23

September 23, 2009

Kalashnikov faces bankruptcy (Globe & Mail) Knockoffs are cutting into sales of AK-47s....

from Rolfe Winkler:

Lunchtime Links 9-22

September 22, 2009

AIG may never pay backtaxpayer billions, GAO (WaPo) $120.4 billion to be precise. Why make AIG pay all that money back? Why can't we go after banks like Goldman that were the ultimate recipients of much of the money?

from Rolfe Winkler:

Lunchtime Links 9-21

September 21, 2009

Everyone, into the pool! It's the only way insurance works (NY Daily News) Eric Dinallo pens this op-ed. He's the former insurance commissioner for NY State and is running to replace Andrew Cuomo as Attorney General. He's also championed tighter regulation for CDS.

from Rolfe Winkler:

CreditSights: Bearish on housing

September 21, 2009

Commentary from CreditSights today (no link):

As we have repeatedly commented over the past few weeks, we believe the current positive momentum in the housing sector (especially in the equity market) has been a product of government life support and cannot be sustained once government initiatives that were implemented to boost the sector come to an end.The recent improvement in home demand and prices has been the result of government efforts to lower mortgage rates and provide tax credits for potential home buyers. The homebuyer tax credit expires on December 1 this year, while the Fed's program of buying MBS--which have kept rates low and mortgage loans flowing--will eventually wind down. We are concerned that once this happens, the momentum of better sales could halt unless jobs are created and mortgage rates remain low....

from Rolfe Winkler:

Lunchtime Links 9-20

September 20, 2009

Homeowners who "strategically default" on loans a growing problem (LA Times) More evidence that negative equity causes walk-aways. This will be a growing problem as folks realize home values aren't coming back. If they do come back, it will be because the Fed has succeeded in blowing another asset bubble, and the consequences of that will be much worse.

from Rolfe Winkler:

Lunchtime Links 9-18

September 18, 2009

FDIC considers using Treasury line of credit (WSJ) This would be a shame. FDIC should keep charging special assessments on banks before taxpayers are forced to borrow to replenish the fund. CR notes that Senator Carl Levin has asked Bair not to charge another assessment because it would hurt small banks. That's just misdirection; FDIC charges special assessments as a % of total deposits, which means the biggest banks pay the most. 95% of banks got a free ride for years, not paying ANY premiums for deposit insurance from 1996-2006. Now they have to pay. Special assessments are an good way to shrink the financial system; it reduces the profitability of the business!

from Rolfe Winkler:

Afternoon Links 9-17

September 17, 2009

Barclays accused of trickery in $12.3 billion toxic asset sale (Telegraph) Speaking of off-balance sheet games, Barclays lent $12.6 billion to a limited partnership called Protium so that Protium could buy $12.3 billion worth of Barclays' toxic assets. So Barclays rids its balance sheet of thee toxic assets -- which are subject to fair value accounting rules -- in exchange for a loan -- which isn't. It's a shame accounting rules permit such shenanigans. Neil Unmack has more.

Counterparties

September 17, 2009

Can Wall Street find a balance between risk and prudence? — Andrew Ross Sorkin