On The Economic Populist you might have noticed the middle column. We try to list other sites and blogs who have exceptional insight and writing on what is happening in the U.S. economy.
Sometimes though, one cannot say it better but miss those who did.
Must Read Post #1
If you believe government policies have little effect, think again. The above graph on food subsidies comes from this article, Health vs. Pork. It shows government subsidies for food are upside down, making cheap things like high fructose corn syrup. This explains why a salad costs more than a Big Mac.
Must Read Post #2
Naked Capitalism is all over the Lehman Brothers story. In Timmy-Gate: Did Geithner Help Hide the Lehman Fraud, Professor Randell Wray points to the evidence and demands an investigation into Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.
Just when you thought that nothing could stink more than Timothy Geithner’s handling of the AIG bailout, a new report details how Geithner’s New York Fed allowed Lehman Brothers to use an accounting gimmick to hide debt. The report, which runs to 2200 pages, was released by Anton Valukas, the court-appointed examiner. It actually makes the AIG bailout look tame by comparison. It is now crystal clear why Geithner’s Treasury as well as Bernanke’s Fed refuse to allow any light to shine on the massive cover-up underway.
Recall that the New York Fed arranged for AIG to pay one hundred cents on the dollar on bad debts to its counterparties—benefiting Goldman Sachs and a handful of other favored Wall Street firms. The purported reason is that Geithner so feared any negative repercussions resulting from debt write-downs that he wanted Uncle Sam to make sure that Wall Street banks could not lose on bad bets. Now we find that Geithner’s NYFed supported Lehman’s efforts to conceal the extent of its problems. Not only did the NYFed fail to blow the whistle on flagrant accounting tricks, it also helped to hide Lehman’s illiquid assets on the Fed’s balance sheet to make its position look better. Note that the NY Fed had increased its supervision to the point that it was going over Lehman’s books daily; further, it continued to take trash off the books of Lehman right up to the bitter end, helping to perpetuate the fraud that was designed to maintain the pretense that Lehman was not massively insolvent.
Must Read Post #3
In Total Return Swaps also used we get an insider account of big banks pushing fictional accounting tricks, probably illegal, beyond the repo 105 to hide insolvency.
Must Read Post #4
Bloomberg reports in Goldman Sachs Demands Collateral It Won’t Dish Out, that Goldman Sachs is demanding other firms pony up large amounts of cash, which Goldman can then use, on the cheap, because they dominate now the derivatives market.
The firm led by Chief Executive Officer Lloyd C. Blankfein collected cash collateral that represented 57 percent of outstanding over-the-counter derivatives assets as of December 2009, while it posted just 16 percent on liabilities, the firm said in a filing this month. That gap has widened from rates of 45 percent versus 18 percent in 2008 and 32 percent versus 19 percent in 2007, company filings show.
“That’s classic collateral arbitrage,” said Brad Hintz, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in New York who previously worked as treasurer at Morgan Stanley and chief financial officer at Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. “You always want to enter into something where you’re getting more collateral in than what you’re putting out.”