Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Financial News of Note

Countrywide gets $50 Billion bailout from the taxpayers via cash advances on transactions with the Federal Loan Bank. From what Krugman is saying, it seems like a quasi-governmental institution is fronting Countrywide cash on future transactions, which, while not quite a bailout, is almost certain to blow up in taxpayer's faces. One things for sure, though, the subprime mess isn't going away anytime soon. The few companies that saw the subprime debacle coming, are reaping handsome rewards. 1,000% ROI. Hedging against subprimes is now the most profitable single trade of all time. Oh yeah, and remember kidies, you can't call talk about the probability of a recession. You've got to talk about kumquats

New Orleans' top 10 most powerful people and Fortune's 25 Most Powerful People in Business. Some of the bios are way too kind on the executives. For example, Wal-Mart is about to head down the shitter because their entire business model (the "warehouse on wheels") is based off cheap diesel fuel. That's going to kill Wal-Mart, not bad PR for employing slave cheap labor.

Oh yeah, speaking of companies in trouble for outdated business models, Vista, what was supposed to be Microsoft's breadwinner for earnings for the next 40 quarters just got rated as one of the 10 worst tech products of all time. Look who else made the list. Ouch.

If the US was populated with nothing but Macroeconomics professors, this would be the trial of the century.

Tidewater staying in New Orleans. They can say whatever they want, but the real reason they're sticking around is bulk cargo, which depends heavily on a combination of barges, the Intracoastal Waterway, and specialized loading/unloading facilities, is booming big time and guess where the biggest bulk cargo port in the world is.

Time to end the Petrodollar? "The dollar is like the Microsoft Windows of the oil world," said Tertzakian - Now that's a quote that doesn't inspire much confidence! Uncoupling oil from the dollar could infect the rest of the economy like the subprime debacle has.

Warren Buffet calls for return of Estate Tax. Tax my heirs! "Dynastic wealth, the enemy of a meritocracy, is on the rise. Equality of opportunity has been on the decline. A progressive and meaningful estate tax is needed to curb the movement of a democracy toward plutocracy." Is that Warren Buffet talking or Che Guevara? It's actually sort of sad that things have gotten so bad that even the filthy rich are starting to complain about the rich/poor gap.

Naomi Klein lays out how to vaccinate against the Shock Doctrine. Her book in next on my reading list. Right now I'm still working on "The Smartest Guys in the Room" and "The Black Swan."

RIAA continues to sue college students, except at Harvard. Afraid of their big, bad checkbooks? Don't worry, RIAA. Harvard would never make that bad an investment. H/T to Instapundit.

Retire on minimum wage. Actually. Pretty interesting story, except for the ending. A lot of economists say that remittances have done more to alleviate poverty in developing nations than all the foreign aid and World Bank programs combined.

Rich citizens can't escape our poor public infrastructure. Don't enjoy that $25,000 desert too much: if you're lucky, it's full of salt because the cooks only know how to follow directions, not innovate. If you're unlucky it's full of roach droppings because the cooks are too poor to care about cleaning the kitchen.

1 comment:

jeffrey said...


I always enjoy your news aggregation posts. There's a lot of good stuff here. I'm particularly fascinated by the Countrywide-FHLB development. It's possible that the credit collapse is going to be even worse than the currently most pessimistic expectations.

Oh and instead of rambling... I should mention that you might enjoy reading, Woody Holton's Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution

Somewhat in the Charles Beard school, it's a look at the financial crisis that drove the shaping of the U.S. Constitution.