"I have been a big critic of the systemic risk posed by excessive leverage, problematic CDOs and the credit derivatives written against them. But I did not specifically criticize Goldman’s deals until it became an issue of public interest when AIG blew up. Goldman may not have to answer to sophisticated investors, but it should answer for its role in the systemic risk posed by AIG’s near collapse, its role in the way in which AIG was bailed out, and the fact that the U.S. taxpayer had to bail out the global financial system along with a number of Goldman’s trading partners." - Janet Tavakoli
Let’s hope that Barofsky did not rely upon Blackrock for uncovering problems. Blackrock was involved in disturbing activity as a CDO manager. Among other things, Blackrock Financial Management was CDO manager in some horrific 2007 vintage CDOs such as Pacific Pinnacle CDO ($1 billion; closed 1/1/07; Event of Default 2/4/08); Pinnacle Point Funding ($2B closed 6/7/07; acceleration 12/13/07); Tenorite CDO I ($1 B closed 5/11/07; liquidation 2/7/08); or Tourmaline CDO III ($1.5 billion closed 4/5/07; Event of Default 3/31/08).
This is aimed at those banking execs that believe that they will be better off hiding losses than taking them now and preempting the guaranteed higher losses to come in the future. Yes, the US is Japan - the "19 year" lost decade, redux!
"During AIG’s bailout, Goldman had influence over the decision to use public funds to pay 100 cents on the dollar for these CDOs (the underlying risk of the credit derivatives), but none of the information about the volume of Goldman’s trades with AIG—or the Goldman CDOs hedged by AIG’s other counterparties—was made public. Goldman’s public disclosures in September 2008 obscured its contribution to AIG’s near bankruptcy and the need to bailout Goldman’s trading partners in AIG related transactions. Goldman’s trading activities played a starring role in the near collapse of the global markets." - Janet Tavakoli
"Goldman was not a disinterested party in AIG’s bailout. AIG’s bailout—and the way the payouts were handled for its trading counterparties—hugely benefited Goldman Sachs. Goldman received a cash payment worth more than $10 billion from the U.S. Treasury—via AIG—during a system?wide liquidity crunch. Under the circumstances, I cannot think of any scenario that would have provided a more certain and stable outcome for Goldman Sachs." Janet Tavakoli
Tavakoli: "We Should Impose a 95% Excess Profits Tax—Or Windfall Profits Tax—On Certain Financial Institutions... Enriching Themselves" at Our ExpenseSubmitted by George Washington on 10/19/2009 20:11 -0500
Janet Tavakol says:
"During World War II, we imposed an excess profits tax. We should impose a 95% excess profits tax—or windfall profits tax—on certain financial institutions (including Goldman Sachs) enriching themselves with ongoing low-cost Fed funding and debt guarantees."
What do you think?
"I have seen many people debate whether gold is a bet on inflation or deflation. As I see it, it is neither. Gold does well when monetary and fiscal policies are poor and does poorly when they appear sensible. Gold did very well during the Great Depression when FDR debased the currency. It did well again in the money printing 1970s, but collapsed in response to Paul Volcker’s austerity. It ultimately made a bottom around 2001 when the excitement about our future budget surpluses peaked." - David Einhorn
Courtesy of the Fed's own disastrous policy of flooding the market with trillions of cheap credit over the past several decades, the resulting massive one-sided trade of buying dollar denominated securities, funded with inappropriately duration matched products, ended up in $6.5 trillion of Fed-funded global Moral Hazard exposure. When the wheels came off the financial system last fall, the Fed had to step in and bail out all foreign Central Banks. From the BIS: "In providing US dollars on a global scale, the Federal Reserve effectively engaged in international lending of last resort...What pushed the system to the brink was not cross-currency funding per se, but rather too many large banks employing funding strategies in the same direction, the funding equivalent of a crowded trade." The imminent question - How long until the next iteration of the Fiat banking system's most crowded trade (long US-denominated securities, courtesy of a cheap carry trade somewhere in the world) pulls the system back to the brink again?
Prosecute the criminals, or else the economy won't improve...
Experts say that the economy will not recover until trust is restored.
So how do we restore trust?
One of the foremost experts on structured finance and derivatives presents a holistic overview of not only the current economic fiasco, and in 10 brief minutes with Max Keiser she provides more succinct, unbiased and relevant information that most pundits are able to convey in years on and off TV, but also highlights the bigger problem of how the administration keeps treating the US public as a bunch of stupid infants, throwing paper blankets over raging systematic fires that are anything but doused. And yet, the administration's ploy so far is successful, unfortunately speaking volumes about the intellectual rigor of the average American.
"Wall Street supplies a swinging door of jobs for its financial regulators, and—in the case of many members of Congress and our Presidents—campaign contributions. This dependence is known as “capture,” and the result is that instead of reigning in Wall Street, dependent thinking enables mayhem. In the recent Ponzi scheme only the agents—mortgage lenders, rating agencies, fund managers, securitization professionals, CFOs, CEOs, and other fee or bonus beneficiaries—prospered. Controls and risk management were undermined. The financial institutions and their shareholders, for which these agents are failed stewards, collapsed. Investors in toxic securitizations lost money. Had regulators done their jobs, they would have shut down Wall Street’s financial meth labs, and the Ponzi scheme would have quickly choked to death from lack of monetary oxygen." - Janet Tavakoli
Frequent Zero Hedge readers are aware of our fascination by the ethically pure and intellectually honest legacy rating agencies (read S&P and Moody's), whose primary goal in life is to provide readers of its reports with unconflicted, unbiased research, without regard for the top and bottom line of key Wall Street firms, which purely by accident happen to be the biggest sources of revenue to these same NRSRO via structured products which are spun off from the banks' balance sheets and sold to highly sophisticated, erutide yet unfortunately bankrupt island nations (which luckily have a monopoly on geysers and 6 foot tall women to feed their GDP). The complete transparency that shrouds the work of these rating agencies, and the integrity of its professionals is beyond reproach, and where, contrary to litigation disclosure, the phrase "let's hope we are all wealthy and retired by the time this house of cards falters", was massively taken out of context and was simply referring to an intern's attempt at recreating the Sistine Chapel using nothing but 10 decks of Bicycle cards.
Recently, we have had a rally in the bond market, a rally in the stock market, and a rally in gold bullion with tame currency moves. What gives?
"One might argue there was no Fed bailout involved with Bank of America’s purchase of Merrill Lynch, but I am not the one to make that argument. Merrill’s purchase by Bank of America at a premium price seems to only make sense with the huge assist of the Fed’s largesse in suddenly agreeing to accept lower quality collateral for its loans."
"The main beneficiaries are the insiders who have Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke on speed dial. The Fed has undertaken a massive bailout using U.S. taxpayer dollars."
- Janet Tavakoli