Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Wall Street

Citigroup Bailout Retrospective

Citigroup

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In the announcement that the U.S.Treasury was likely to make a profit selling its stock in Citigroup, much was made about the great returns that sale would generate, and very little was said about how it all happened in the first place.

The potential profit was estimated to be about $7.5 billion assuming that the price of Citigroup’s stock stays at its current level through the end of the year. The article joyfully announced that “it’s a 14 percent rate of return on the $165 billion invested in the biggest banks. Hundreds of smaller banks also received [TARP] money and have been paying the government a steady stream of dividends and interest.” Banking analyst Bert Ely said, “Overall, TARP may cost taxpayers money. But the banking part of it is going to be a moneymaker.”

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Sordid, Sleazy, Shameful, Squalid Sausage-Making

Ordinary sausage making in Hungary with animal...

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Back in the good old days, once upon a time, moving a bill into law was clear, transparent, and usually based upon the Constitution. Nearly 2½million viewers have seen the YouTube video “Schoolhouse Rock” over the past three years, most of them recalling days when things were simpler and more honest.

As Kimberly Strassel said in the Wall Street Journal, “It’s clearly time for a remake.”  Except that YouTube wouldn’t allow it because it would have to be X-rated.

The title of Strassel’s article, “Inside the Pelosi Sausage Factory,” alludes to the old maxim that those with weak stomachs should not watch sausage or legislation being made.

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Free Markets, Deregulation, and Blame

Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics

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Free markets, in the full sense of the phrase, exist only in the minds and imaginations of free-market economists from the Austrian School, such as Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard.

The classic definition is simply a market without intervention or regulation by government. In truth, commerce in any developed country is always controlled to some extent by government. A free market requires the right to own property, which means that the wages, earnings, profits, and gains obtained by providing products and services to others belongs to the individual generating them. The assumption is that an individual with this kind of freedom would only make an exchange that gained him a benefit.

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Jobs Bill: The Law of Intended Consequences

London | 2009

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With great fanfare, the Obama administration celebrated its first policy victory of the year—the $17.6 billion jobs bill. Eleven Republican Senators helped push the bill through the Senate, 68-29.

The economically flawed and unconstitutional law provides employers an exemption from Social Security tax withholding through the end of the year on any employees added to the payroll who have been unemployed for at least 60 days. And if the employees stay on that payroll for at least a year, the employers would receive an additional $1,000 tax credit. In addition, the law spends $20 billion on federal highway construction and other public improvement projects.

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Lehman Bros.: Pinprick That Burst the Bubble

Balloon POP !!!

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The culprits blamed for the failure of Lehman Brothers in September of 2008 included the company’s top executives, their accountants, their highly-leveraged loans that had started going bad, their success at hiding those bad loans by cooking the books, and their lenders demanding more and better collateral, according to Anton Valukas in his 2,200 page report released Thursday.

There is certainly plenty of blame to go around, and it looks like there will be criminal charges filed too. The biggest lie, however, wasn’t mentioned: that this implosion of Lehman Brothers caught everyone by surprise.

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Obama Healthcare II is Financial Lunacy

Selling Obamacare - July 22, 2009

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Even if the Obama administration is able to persuade (or bludgeon) enough Democrats into passing his latest version of healthcare, it would still be financial lunacy.

Last summer CNS News reported on the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of President Obama’s initial public offering for healthcare, which they called “fairly blistering…concerning the ability of the…plans to save money and control health care costs for the long term.” According to CBS, the Director of the CBO, Doug Elmendorf, told the Senate Budget Committee that none of the bills he has seen would reduce health care costs: “In the legislation that has been [analyzed so far] we do not see the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of…health care spending by a significant amount…On the contrary, the legislation significantly expands the federal responsibility for health care costs.”

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Financial Reform: Pressing On, Regardless

Bob Corker

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Last month, Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) pushed back against the Obama administration’s plans to create a “standalone” Consumer Financial Protection Agency, and some Washington-watchers held their breath to see if Corker would hold his ground.

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U.S. Postal Service: Time to Free the Mail

WASHINGTON - AUGUST 06:  Postmaster General Jo...

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When U.S. Postmaster General John Potter recommended eliminating Saturday delivery service in order to save money, he was merely responding to the postal service’s continuing inability to make money, or even cover its costs, delivering the mail. In a microcosm, the postal service’s difficulty is reflective of the government’s attempt to operate anywhere outside the constraints of the Constitution.

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2010 Census: Much More than Simple Enumeration

Logo for the 2010 United States Census.

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The Census Bureau is facing an uphill battle to obtain all the information being demanded in the short form arriving in the mail at every household in the country, starting this week. As usual, the government is making a simple task complicated by reaching far beyond what the Constitution allows. Article I, Section 2 states:

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For Goldman Sachs, the Greece Fleece is Another Ripoff

Goldman Sachs Headquarters, New York City

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When Goldman Sachs was implicated in helping Greece deceive the European Union and its own citizens about the extent of its debt and deficits, it was another stone in the growing pile of evidence illustrating the incestuous relationship between governments and central banks.

In order to conform with Eurozone rules, Greece must limit its annual deficit to less than three percent of its GDP, and its total outstanding debt to no more than 60 percent of its GDP.  Now that it’s clear that Greece has been in significant violation of both of those rules for several years, experts have discovered that efforts were made to hide those violations through the use of “obscure derivatives provided by [Goldman Sachs and] other U.S. banks to delay payment on obligations, borrow even more money and to keep the true figures off the official books.”

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Latest on the Economy: Heading Up or Head Fake?

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When the Bureau of Economic Analysis announced that “the output of goods and services…increased at an annual rate of 5.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009,” the usual suspects in the kept media could hardly restrain themselves. ABC News’ headline trumpeted, “Economy Grows…Fastest Since 2003” which was “fueled by companies boosting output to keep stockpiles up.”  Their announcement explained that “Growth exceeded expectations mainly because business spending on equipment and software jumped much more than [was] forecast.”

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Bernanke’s Kudos, Criticisms Miss the Point

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A preliminary vote today for Ben Bernanke’s reappointment to a second four-year term as chairman of the Federal Reserve is expected to clear the way for a final favorable vote by the Senate.

Bernanke’s first term record was subjected to criticism and praise during confirmation hearings in December, and  he was selected as Time magazine’s Person of the YearTime magazine’s Michael Grunwald was kind to a fault, calling Bernanke “our mild-mannered economic overlord” (a reference, no doubt to Superman’s mild-mannered Clark Kent), and “the most powerful nerd on the planet.”  In that lengthy tribute, Grunwald summarized the Fed’s role:

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Sarah Palin, Enigma

English: Sarah Palin addressing the 2008 Repub...

When Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin announced her support for three prominent Republicans, her Facebook statement entitled “Ride the Tide with Commonsense Candidates” resounded with laudibles such as supporting those who offer “commonsense government,” and those “who promise to fight FOR the people and AGAINST politics as usual.” She referred to the Massachusetts election as “truly amazing,” and a “demonstration of the momentum we all share in the fight for the values and policies that will get our country back to work. The commonsense conservative principles of liberty and fiscal responsibility are on the rise…”

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Lessons from Massachusetts

Coakley Senate Sign

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Yesterday the New York Times concluded that Scott Brown’s victory over Martha Coakley for Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat resulted from Democrat complacency, Republican tentativeness, and Tea Party activism. Based upon interviews with more than 30 individuals involved in the race, the Times traced the rise of Brown from relative obscurity over the past month to victor on Monday.

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Mass. Senate Race: It’s Going to be Close!

01-15-10_Ted-Kennedy-Scott-Brown

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From obscurity to prominence to possible victory, Massachusetts State Senator Scott Brown’s campaign for Teddy Kennedy’s seat in a special election on Tuesday, January 19, is receiving national attention. From a 30-point underdog, Brown has campaigned for the seat—which he says “With all due respect, it’s not the Kennedys’ seat, it’s not the Democrats’ seat, it’s the people’s seat” — with his pledge:  “I will send this [Obama healthcare] bill back.”  And in so doing he has closed the gap so that several prominent pollsters are saying the race is too close to call.

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The Fed: Forever Blowing Bubbles

Girl blowing bubbles

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An article in the New York Times asked that since the Federal Reserve “failed to recognize the last bubble…why should Congress, or anyone else, have faith that future Fed officials will recognize the next [one]?”

The roots of the present Great Recession stretch back to the bursting of the last bubble—the tech bubble—in the late 1990s. As the stock market declined sharply, the Fed under then-chairman Alan Greenspan lowered interest rates in an attempt to keep the economy from collapsing. The Times succinctly noted in its overview of the credit crisis that “lower interest rates make mortgage payments cheaper, and demand for homes began to rise, sending prices up. In addition, millions of homeowners took advantage of the rate drop to refinance their existing mortgages. As the industry ramped up, the quality of the mortgages went down.”

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Economic Reality vs. Cheerleaders

Timothy Franz Geithner, President of the Feder...

When MSNBC headlined the report that existing home sales surged by 7.4 percent in November (according to the National Association of Realtors), it suggested that such an improvement boosted “recovery hopes.” Others jumped on the recovery bandwagon, including Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and former Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board Alan Blinder.

According to Geithner, it’s now reasonable to expect “positive job growth” by spring and correct to assert that people should have confidence in an improving economy.  “I think most people would say the economy actually is strengthening now,” he added.

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Frank Luntz Filters Gun Owners

Frank Luntz

In Monday’s editorial, the New York Times reported the results of a Frank Luntz poll indicating that NRA members are much softer on key issues than the National Rifle Association itself.

Unfortunately, the editorial was rife with filters in the form of hot labels and emotionally-laden words and phrases that immediately impugned the validity of the results of the study.

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Obama, Dems Slip Sharply in Polls

Tea Party Protest, Washington D.C., September ...

Nearing the end of his first year in office, President Obama and his Democratic Party are taking a beating in polls by NBC News/Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post/ABC.

After defying the laws of political gravity for much of his first term, Obama and his party’s poll numbers are starting to reflect increasing public unhappiness over the economy, healthcare, and Afghanistan.

For the first time in his presidency, Obama’s overall approval rating has fallen below 50% to 47%. More of those polled also see the Democrat party in a negative light, and believe the country is “on the wrong track”, with a negative 55% rating, the highest since inauguration.

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Bernanke Claims Economy Recovering

Ben Bernanke
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told the Economic Club of Washington that the economy is recovering, even as it confronts “formidable headwinds.”

He also promoted the Federal Reserve, and the job he is doing as head of the Fed) in an op-ed piece he wrote recently in the Washington Post where he assured readers (and Congress) that “the Fed played a major part in arresting the [financial] crisis, and we should be seeking to preserve [the Fed’s] ability to foster financial stability and to promote economic recovery without inflation.”

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.