February 15, 2009

Greenspan Shrugged:

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The Reserve Chair's Philosophy Differs Little From His Ayn Rand Days
by Ralph Nader

Published on Tuesday, April 18, 2000 in the San Francisco Bay Guardian

Last year Congress made Federal Reserve Board chair Alan Greenspan a virtual regulatory czar over financial services corporations. Considering the waves of adulation that have been sweeping over Greenspan, the anointment was not a surprise.
It would be reasonable to assume that before placing this important regulatory power under the Federal Reserve, Congress undertook a careful review of Greenspan's regulatory philosophy and record. You can toss that assumption in the nearest trash can.

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December 14, 2008

Hey, you senators: Thanks for nothing

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A few parting words for the senators who squashed the auto rescue

By MITCH ALBOM • FREE PRESS COLUMNIST • December 13, 2008

Do you want to watch us drown? Is that it? Do want to see the last gurgle of economic air spit from our lips? If so, senators, know this: We’re taking a piece of you with us. America isn’t America without an auto industry. You can argue whether $14 billion would have saved it, but your actions surely could have killed it.


We have grease on our hands.

You have blood.

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November 29, 2008

Government Solutions

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November 19, 2008

Arrogant, Out of Touch Swine

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Big Three CEOs Flew Private Jets to Plead for Public Funds

Auto Industry Close to Bankruptcy But They Get Pricey Perk

By BRIAN ROSS and JOSEPH RHEE
ABC News November 19, 2008

The CEOs of the big three automakers flew to the nation's capital yesterday in private luxurious jets to make their case to Washington that the auto industry is running out of cash and needs $25 billion in taxpayer money to avoid bankruptcy.

The CEOs of GM, Ford and Chrysler may have told Congress that they will likely go out of business without a bailout yet that has not stopped them from traveling in style, not even First Class is good enough.

All three CEOs - Rick Wagoner of GM, Alan Mulally of Ford, and Robert Nardelli of Chrysler - exercised their perks Tuesday by flying in corporate jets to DC. Wagoner flew in GM's $36 million luxury aircraft to tell members of Congress that the company is burning through cash, asking for $10-12 billion for GM alone.

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November 16, 2008

The End

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Conde Naste Portfolio
by Michael Lewis Nov 11 2008

The era that defined Wall Street is finally, officially over. Michael Lewis, who chronicled its excess in Liar’s Poker, returns to his old haunt to figure out what went wrong.

To this day, the willingness of a Wall Street investment bank to pay me hundreds of thousands of dollars to dispense investment advice to grownups remains a mystery to me. I was 24 years old, with no experience of, or particular interest in, guessing which stocks and bonds would rise and which would fall. The essential function of Wall Street is to allocate capital—to decide who should get it and who should not. Believe me when I tell you that I hadn’t the first clue.

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Memories of the Depression Still Sear

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The Wall Street Journal


As hard times return, witnesses to the 1930s recall lessons they learned

When the Great Depression hit, people came to the front porch of William Hague's home near Pittsburgh pleading for food. One well-dressed young woman asked Mr. Hague's mother if she would hire her for $2 a week. Why would she work for so little? his mother asked. "We have nothing to eat at home," she replied.

Mr. Hague, 89, was just 10 years old during the Crash of 1929. His father was a prosperous small-town lawyer and the family led a relatively privileged life during the Depression years. Yet even as Mr. Hague found success as an editor and author he says he remained careful about food and money. He monitors the news intently, on the lookout for signs of "trouble." Now that trouble has come, he says he wonders if younger generations have the mettle to survive tough times

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November 12, 2008

America's Two Auto Industries

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Government Aid to GM, Ford, Chrysler Could Preserve Old Way of Building and Selling Cars

Joseph B. White
The Wall Street Journal

Can you imagine life without General Motors Corp.? That's now an urgent question facing America's political leaders.

GM survived for 100 years, steering through two world wars, the Great Depression, and all the booms and busts in between. But on Friday, GM said it faces a substantial risk of financial collapse by the middle of next year unless the economy makes a significant improvement, the capital market freeze thaws, or the government provides the money to sustain the company through the downturn.

The Democratic Congress and President-elect Barack Obama signaled last week they are willing to lend a hand. "The auto industry is the backbone of American manufacturing and a critical part of our attempt to reduce our dependence on foreign oil," Mr. Obama said Friday.

So the question isn't whether Washington is willing to offer more public money to help auto companies survive. There even appears to be a consensus on how much: Up to $50 billion. The tougher question is what's Washington's goal?

First, Congress and Mr. Obama will need to decide what they mean by "the auto industry."

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November 11, 2008

Retailers Report a Sales Collapse

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NYTimes
By STEPHANIE ROSENBLOOM
Published: November 6, 2008

Sales at the nation’s largest retailers fell off a cliff in October, casting fresh doubt on the survival of some chains and signaling that this will probably be the weakest Christmas shopping season in decades.

The remarkable slowdown hit luxury chains that sell $5,000 designer dresses as badly as stores that offer $18 packs of underwear, suggesting that consumers at all income levels are snapping their wallets shut.

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November 10, 2008

Fed Defies Transparency Aim in Refusal to Disclose

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Bloomberg

By Mark Pittman, Bob Ivry and Alison Fitzgerald

Nov. 10 (Bloomberg) -- The Federal Reserve is refusing to identify the recipients of almost $2 trillion of emergency loans from American taxpayers or the troubled assets the central bank is accepting as collateral.

Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said in September they would comply with congressional demands for transparency in a $700 billion bailout of the banking system. Two months later, as the Fed lends far more than that in separate rescue programs that didn't require approval by Congress, Americans have no idea where their money is going or what securities the banks are pledging in return.

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October 25, 2008

Alan Greenspan, ''Savant Idiot"

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Michael M. Thomas

In 1914, John Alexander Smith, professor of moral philosophy at Oxford, addressed the first session of his two-year lecture course as follows:

"Gentlemen, you are now about to embark on a course of studies that (will) form a noble adventure…let me make this clear to you…nothing that you will learn in the course of your studies will be of the slightest possible use to you in after life--save only this--that if you work hard and intelligently, you should be able to detect when a man is talking rot, and that, in my view, is the main, if not the sole purpose of education."

I happened upon Professor Smith long years ago, in the 1980 edition of John Julius Norwich's Christmas Cracker, and his words have stayed with me ever since. And never more frequently and more intensely than in conjunction with the public utterances of Alan Greenspan.

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