Rolfe Winkler

Morning Links 1-7

January 7, 2010

Tim Geithner covered up AIG’s payments to counterparties (DealBook) Timmy G. knew it looked bad for AIG to pay out 100¢ on the dollar to counterparties like Goldman. So he told AIG to shut up.

Mosler vs. Rickards on fixing the economy

January 6, 2010

I have a treat to share with readers. Warren Mosler and Jim Rickards have agreed to an op-ed debate here on my blog. Over the course of a couple weeks, they’ll engage in intellectual fisticuffs about how to fix the economy.

Is the output gap smaller than we think?

January 6, 2010

Economist Kevin Kliesen at the St. Louis Fed asks that question in an article he published today.

Lunchtime Links 1-6

January 6, 2010

Let them eat lobster! (Yves, Naked Capitalism)

The weather according to economists: sunny! (Kedrosky) Group think…

How to combat the natural tendency to procrastinate (Economist)

Let’s get fisical (Bill Gross, PIMCO) In his latest investor letter, Bill Gross paradoxically laments the influence of special interests. Of course he was one of the chief special interests — representing the investor class — lobbying for government to support asset prices. He also questions how the market will perform when our government “sugar daddy” disappears, especially in light of the disappearance of foreign buyers of Treasuries.

Dodd to quit

January 6, 2010

The big news today comes out of Washington where Senator Chris Dodd, Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, is expected to announce he won’t seek re-election in November. (Ferraro, Reuters)

Ugly CRE charts

January 6, 2010

From the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Quarterly Data Book:

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Alvin the Franchise

January 6, 2010

Rolfe Winkler2.jpgAvatar’s $1 billion in ticket sales is getting all the headlines, but Fox’s other holiday film, “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel”, may be more valuable to Rupert Murdoch  over the long run.

Afternoon Links 1-5

January 5, 2010

Must ReadGlobal bear rally will deflate as Japan leads sovereign bond crisis (Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph) Points to Ambrose for making lots of predictions in a single column! (ht Yves)

Gerry Levin’s mea culpa

January 5, 2010

Finally got around to watching this video. Kudos to Gerry Levin for taking responsibility for the worst merger in history. His comments about banks being malls instead of supermarkets is very true, but it’s not his, it’s Chris Whalen’s, who provided a helpful counterpoint in NYT’s non-mea-culpa from Sandy Weill. Their point is that the synergy Sandy Weill claimed for Citigroup — combining insurance with commercial banking with investing banking with retail brokerage, etc. — was bogus from the start.

Buffett: Shareholder activist

January 5, 2010

Shareholder activism is a tactic typical of Carl Icahn, not the Oracle of Omaha. Yet Warren Buffett has issued a press release asking other Kraft shareholders to reject Kraft’s proposal to use up to 370 million shares of stock to buy Cadbury.

Afternoon Links 1-4

January 4, 2010

Living on nothing but food stamps (Deparle/Gebeloff, NYT) The safety net of last resort: 2% of U.S. households report zero income other than a food stamp card.

TARP deadbeats, update

January 4, 2010

Last month Treasury released the latest data on banks that missed their payment obligations under TARP. The number increased to 56 in November from 33 in August. Here’s a chart summarizing the problem:

The Swiss banking whistleblower

January 4, 2010

This feels like a report that deserves a full hour. Who are some of the tax cheats that have been uncovered? Who are the UBS executives that knew about and condoned the illegal behavior? Interesting nonetheless.

BlogArt: Maxing out deposit insurance

January 2, 2010

Two weeks without any bank failures so I thought folks might be interested in some deposit insurance trivia.