Goldman Sachs

Super wealthy today are better off than royalty of old

Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism this past weekend dismantled a small piece in the Wall Street Journal which had attempted to show that income disparity in the U.S. is not at an all time record. Back in the 1830s, Alexis de Tocqueville, author of Democracy in America, compared the compensation of French and American civil servants, with the king and President. What the Journal added was a comparison of the U.S. minimum wage with Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein's annual pay and bonus of $69 million in 2007.

But the King was almost certainly the richest and best paid individual in France. He made 8,000 times the most menial civil worker. Our disparity (minimum wage versus Lloyd Blankfein) at a mere 5,000+ isn't quite as bad, right?

James Lieber in Village Voice is a MUST read

What Cooked the World's Economy? It wasn't your overdue mortgage.

By James Lieber

Lieber asks all the hard questions - you know, the ones the answers to which are really, really embarassing. For example, where exactly has the $7 or $8 trillion from the Fed gone to?

In mid-September, when it was on the ropes, AIG received an astonishing $85 billion emergency line of credit from the Fed. Soon, that was supplemented by another $67 billion. Much of that money, to use the government's euphemism, has already been "drawn down." Shamefully, neither Washington nor AIG will explain where the billions went. But the answer is increasingly clear: It went to counterparties who bought derivatives from Cassano's shop in London.

If you havn't read Institutional Risk Analyst yet, you need to NOW

Last week ago, Institutional Risk Analytics interviewed Josh Rosner of Graham Fisher & Co and David Kotok of Cumberland Advisors, and the discussion is one of the most direct and revealing of the true political nature of the financial collapse I have yet seen. As I have written before, using reports from the Fed, FDIC, and Comptroller of the Currency, the financial problems are very tightly concentrated in a handful of the largest banks, with over 8,000 plus smaller and regional banks having declined to participate in Wall Street’s derivatives madness.