Mike at Rortybomb explains that the whole reason why Wall Street bonuses are so big is that there’s a non-zero chance that they won’t be paid:
Tyler Durden has a scary post up, connecting banks’ profitability in January and February to the fact that those were the months when AIG Financial Products was unwinding an enormous number of its contracts en masse. These trades, initiated by AIGFP, were allegedly enormously profitable for the biggest banks in the CDS market:
Evan Thomas has a profile of Paul Krugman on the cover of Newsweek. The 2,825-word article has six on-the-record quotes about Krugman; none of them — not even the one from his mother — are particularly flattering. No one is quoted saying a single nice thing about Krugman’s economics or his opinions.
Chris Wyser-Pratte, who got his MBA from Stanford in 1972 and then spent the next 23 years as an investment banker, sent me the following note last night. I’m reprinting it here with his permission:
Executives at AIG Financial Products are not happy bunnies these days, and they’re starting to make their views public. Jake DeSantis, for instance, published his resignation letter as a NYT op-ed. But Paul Harriman and his wife, Jan Ellen Harriman, clearly don’t have that kind of access. So they’re blogging at Livejournal instead.
Warren Buffett, take note:
Although mean reversion makes a strong negative contribution to long-horizon variance, it is more than offset by the other components. Using a predictive system, we estimate annualized 30-year variance to be nearly 1.5 times the 1-year variance.
I was on a panel last night with Simon Constable of Dow Jones Newswires, and I’m sure that to our lay audience a peculiar exchange in the middle of the conversation must have sounded a bit like dolphin squeaks. He was trying to demonize credit default swaps, and said with great finality and self-assuredness that if you wanted proof positive that they were the spawn of the devil, all you needed to do was examine them objectively, as he had done, and you’d see that they had no natural seller.