Two weeks ago, Judge Jed Rakoff refused to approve the $33 million settlement between Bank of America and the SEC. He said he wanted more facts and ordered the parties to file briefs to that effect by today.
Boy meets girl, dies. Girl retires. From AFP:
The widespread tendency in Brazil for men to remarry women several decades younger — called the “Viagra effect” — is undermining the country’s pension system, researchers warned Tuesday.
Something to ponder on the weekend (ht Ecopolis):
Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our Gross National Product, now, is over $800 billion dollars a year, but that Gross National Product – if we judge the United States of America by that – that Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities. It counts Whitman’s rifle and Speck’s knife. And the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children. Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.
Some breaking news from Reuters about an updated deficit projection:
The Obama administration will raise its 10-year budget deficit projection to approximately $9 trillion from $7.108 trillion in a report next week, a senior administration official told Reuters on Friday.
Warren Buffett is back as the nation’s financial conscience, publishing an op-ed in yesterday’s NYT lamenting the dangers of too much monetary and fiscal stimulus. As regular readers of this blog are aware, that’s a message with which I wholeheartedly agree. My problem with Buffett’s piece is that he makes a good argument and then totally undercuts it in his conclusion:
Ouch. Colonial left a mark (CalculatedRisk) CR pulls a very helpful chart from BB&T’s investor presentation regarding the Colonial deal. It shows that BB&T marked down Colonial’s loans 37%. It also shows the marks taken on similar transactions over the past year. While Colonial’s loans appear particularly toxic, this gives you a sense for losses that may be embedded in the loan books of other banks.
The Moody’s/REAL commercial real estate index for June was released today. Down just 1% compared to May, it suggests the pace of decline is moderating. The index was squarely in freefall the prior two months, declining 9% from March to April and 8% from April to May.
Why we need to regulate the banks sooner, not later (FT) This op-ed is notable because of its author, Ken Rogoff, and because of a great lead. Overall, he rambles a lot, commenting on the problems festering inside the financial system without really offering a prescription to fix them. But there are some good lines. For instance: “The fact is that banks, especially large systemically important ones, are currently able to obtain cash at a near zero interest rate and engage in risky arbitrage activities, knowing that the invisible wallet of the taxpayer stands behind them. In essence, while authorities are saying that they intend to raise capital requirements on banks later, in the short run they are looking the other way while banks gamble under the umbrella of taxpayer guarantees.”