[2008-2010] Meltdown & Bailout (and related affairs)
 Bringing Down Bear Stearns | Politics On Monday, March 10, Wall Street was tense, as it had been for months. The mortgage market had crashed; major companies like Citigroup and Merrill Lynch had written off billions of dollars in bad loans. In what the economists called a “credit crisis,” the big banks were so spooked they had all but stopped lending money, a trend which, if it continued, would spell disaster on 21st-century Wall Street, where trading firms routinely borrow as much as 50 times the cash in their accounts to trade complex financial instruments such as derivatives. Still, as he drove in from his Connecticut home to the glass-sheathed Midtown Manhattan headquarters of Bear Stearns, Sam Molinaro wasn’t expecting trouble.
The Feds vs. Goldman | Rolling Stone Politics
The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government—a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises. If the IMF’s staff could speak freely about the U.S., it would tell us what it tells all countries in this situation: recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform. And if we are to prevent a true depression, we’re running out of time. Jim Bourg/Reuters/Corbis One thing you learn rather quickly when working at the International Monetary Fund is that no one is ever very happy to see you.
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 Wall Street's Bailout Hustle | Rolling Stone Politics
Senior partner Sidney Weinberg in 1957. From The New York Times/Redux. As the firm grew, it developed a unique culture, characterized by impossibly hard work, loyalty, secrecy, and a lack of flashiness.  Bethany McLean on Goldman Sachs (January 2010) | Business
 The Blundering Herd | Business Excerpted from All the Devils Are Here, by Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera, to be published this month by Portfolio, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.; © 2010 by the authors. In the years leading up to the financial crisis of 2008, there was no more infectious disease on Wall Street than Goldman envy. Goldman Sachs, perhaps the most storied name in all of American finance, had gone public only in 1999, the last of the big firms to do so. After the I.P.O., Goldman’s mind-boggling profits were on full display.
 Jamie Dimon - America’s Least-Hated Banker
A few months ago, I came across an announcement that Citigroup, the parent company of Citibank, was to be honored, along with its chief executive, Vikram Pandit, for “Advancing the Field of Asset Building in America.” This seemed akin to, say, saluting BP for services to the environment or praising Facebook for its commitment to privacy. During the past decade, Citi has become synonymous with financial misjudgment, reckless lending, and gargantuan losses: what might be termed asset denuding rather than asset building. In late 2008, the sprawling firm might well have collapsed but for a government bailout. Even today the U.S. taxpayer is Citigroup’s largest shareholder. The award ceremony took place on September 23rd in Washington, D.C., where the Corporation for Enterprise Development, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to expanding economic opportunities for low-income families and communities, was holding its biennial conference.  Wall Street, investment bankers, and social good
By Dylan Matthews BHeffernan1 asks: How many jobs does a federal gov dollar buy? Provide optimistic (most efficient -- extending unemployment? building a smart power grid?)  What's a dollar of stimulus worth?
By Dylan Matthews PtitSeb did not ask this exactly, but this quotation he posted from Mark Zandi raises an interesting question: Mark Zandi's op-ed in the NYT last week ... mentioned that "successful small-business owners, who power the nation’s job-creation machinery, make up one-third of these high-income taxpayers." This reminded me of an argument that people like myself often make to defend giving money to lower-income people as a form of stimulus, which is that lower- and middle-class people tend to have a higher marginal propensity to consume than upper-income people. That is to say, if given more money from the government, the assumption is that lower- and middle-class people will be more likely to spend it, stimulating the economy now, while high-income people are likelier to save it.  Do the rich spend less of new income than the poor?
The foreclosure crisis