Rolfe Winkler

Evening Links 12-23

December 23, 2009

(Reader note 1: posting will be light through the weekend….taking a few days off)

Rich Dad fears Dec 2010

December 22, 2009

The tax code has a particularly odd quirk next year. The estate tax, which has decreased steadily from 50% to 45 % over the past few years, will drop to zero in 2010. To get the repeal passed, however, Bush 43 agreed to a sunset provision that brings the tax right back in 2011.

Lunchtime Links 12-21

December 21, 2009

Hedgie Tepper on pace to make $2.5 billion this year (WSJ) The moral hazard trade has a new face. Tepper bet big that government would rescue bank shareholders and creditors. He was right. Can we blame him? He didn’t make the rules; he just played the game better than the rest once they were made.

BlogArt: Dubai’s Tower of Babel

December 21, 2009

(ht Reddit)

dubai

Plus it was built with slave laborers

Update: Here’s a view from a helicopter…

Burj Dubai

Deposit Insurance Fund, UNoffcially

December 18, 2009

I was heading out for Thanksgiving vacation when FDIC released the quarterly banking profile, so I wasn’t able to update an important chart: Total Insured Deposits, Unofficially…..

Tonight’s bank failures: $14.5 billion combined assets

December 18, 2009

Wow….huge night….$14.5 billion in combined assets from tonight’s failures. The biggest fish is First Fed, with $6.1 billion of assets. First Fed was the last of the big option ARM lenders. Seems like FDIC wants to get a lot off its plate before the holidays…

Lunchtime Links 12-18

December 18, 2009

(Reader note: still working on

MUST READStrict framework leaves room for maneuver (Masters/Jenkins, FT) While this subject may seem a little dry, it’s the Basel Committee in Switzerland that will lead the way when it comes to how banks measure capital and how much they need to have. I’ll offer more detailed thoughts on this later today.

McCain wants to resurrect Glass-Steagall

December 17, 2009

Did we elect the wrong guy? While Obama follows the Bernanke/Geithner/Summers line that banks be backstopped lest their failure cause economic Armageddon, John McCain has seized the moment with a proposal to resurrect Glass-Steagall.

Evening Links 12-16

December 16, 2009

Fed repeats “exceptionally low” for “an extended period” (Fed statement) The Fed maintains that it isn’t raising rates for the foreseeable future, but repeated that it plans to end MBS asset purchases by April next year. Too bad we can’t get a surprise rate hike in order to chase risk back out of credit markets…

Sandy capital update (with chart)

December 16, 2009

A ruling by the IRS will allow Citi to dodge a direct hit to tangible common equity while saving money on taxes.

The Norway trade

December 15, 2009

The most recent “Weekly Charts” report from Variant Perception (no link) included the following summary of budget balances as a percentage of GDP for the world’s leading economies. Norway is notable as you can see in the chart….

Big banks get reprieve from FDIC

December 15, 2009

Due to new accounting rules — FAS 166 and 167 — banks have to bring certain off balance sheet assets back onto their balance sheets starting next year. More assets, same capital = lower capital ratios. (More in this column about the individual impact on the large banks).

Evening links 12-14

December 14, 2009

Substantial bank losses needed to fix housing (Bloomberg) To avoid foreclosures, principal has to be written down. That implies hefty losses, especially for banks that hold lots of home equity loans on their balance sheet. Such loans get wiped out before first mortgages lose a penny. Complicating matters, many big banks service both the first and the second mortgage, which means they are highly conflicted. They don’t want to eat a loss on the second mortgage, even if writing it down would make the first perform much better…

America’s debt burden starts to shrink*

December 14, 2009

Last week, when I published data showing that U.S. households were beginning to reduce their debt burden, I commented that the government is more than offsetting this with increased federal and state borrowing. I was wrong.