facing swans

Crisis has a feature I enjoy. More speak their mind.

Simon Johnson, the former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund:

We Are Looking Straight Into The Face Of A Great Depression

“We have built a dangerous financial system in the United States and Europe. We must step back and reform the system.”

David Frum, another example.

Libertarians For Oligarchy?

How long can an economic oligarchy remain a political democracy? Why would it? Wouldn’t the oligarchs be reckless to permit it?

I’m not suggesting here that anyone will overthrow the Constitution or anything like that. … We’ll still have elections, just as the British have royal weddings.

…the distribution of power tends to follow the distribution of wealth. If only a comparative few own, then only a comparative few will rule.

What will Bill Moyers be saying?

Wall Street Occupied America.

not content with their wealth just to buy more homes, more cars, more planes, more vacations and more gizmos than anyone else. They were determined to buy more democracy than anyone else.

Money rules…. Our laws are the output of a system which clothes rascals in robes and honesty in rags.

The political parties lie to us and the political speakers mislead us.

Our politicians are little more than money launderers in the trafficking of power and policy—fewer than six degrees of separation from the spirit and tactics of Tony Soprano.

Why New York’s Zuccotti Park is filled with people is no mystery. Reporters keep scratching their heads and asking, “Why are you here?” But it’s clear they are occupying Wall Street because Wall Street has occupied the country.

Barry Ritholtz clearly, clearly spells out what caused the financial crisis.

The Big Lie goes viral.

Our economy is a complex and intricate system. What caused the crisis?

Why are people trying to rewrite the history of the crisis? Some are simply trying to save face. Interest groups who advocate for deregulation of the finance sector would prefer that deregulation not receive any blame for the crisis.

Some stand to profit from the status quo: Banks present a systemic risk to the economy, and reducing that risk by lowering their leverage and increasing capital requirements also lowers profitability. Others are hired guns, doing the bidding of bosses on Wall Street.

Mike Mayo told the Senate Banking Committee in 2002 that financial analysts “are on the front lines of holding corporations accountable.” However…

Wall Street Can’t Handle the Truth

Analysts are supposed to be a check on the financial system—people who can wade through a company’s financials and tell investors what’s really going on. There are about 5,000 so-called sell-side analysts, about 5% of whom track the financial sector, serving as watchdogs over U.S. companies with combined market value of more than $15 trillion.

Unfortunately, some are little more than cheerleaders—afraid of rocking the boat at their firms, afraid of alienating the companies they cover and drawing the wrath of their superiors.

The approval rate for Congress is just 9%, with 84% disapproving. [link]

“There still are plenty of corrupt lobbying practices that are perfectly legal”, warns Jack Abramoff. out of jail, earning restitution with a book: “Capitol Punishment: The Hard Truth About Washington Corruption from America’s Most Notorious Lobbyist”