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Michael Clark

Michael Clark
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  • From The $700B Man, which chronicles how managing TARP almost destroyed Neel Kashkari's life: "$700B was a number out of the air," Kashkari recalls. "It was a political calculus. I said, 'We don't know how much is enough. We need as much as we can get. What about $1T?' 'No way,' Hank shook his head. I said, 'Okay, what about $700B?' We didn't know if it would work. We had to project confidence, hold up the world. We couldn't admit how scared we were, or how uncertain."  [View news story]
    They all suck at the same teat. Do you think loyalty comes without money?

    Prior to joining the Treasury Department, Kashkari was a Vice President at Goldman, Sachs & Co., where he headed Goldman's information technology security investment banking practice in San Francisco.


    On Dec 07 04:23 AM Tatertot wrote:

    > Umm, no one in the federal government is making anywhere near $10
    > million from salary or bonuses. Unless you are saying that Kashkari
    > is receiving kickbacks from Goldman, in which case, you better be
    > able to put some sort of evidence for such a slanderous claim.
    >
    Dec 7, 2009. 07:31 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Deflationary Depression: The Simple Explanation [View article]
    James: I think you are essentially right. You see coming what I see coming.
    Dec 7, 2009. 05:19 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Bernanke Is Not the Problem [View article]
    The FED is the number one issue politically in America now. The issue is: Do we get rid of the Fed or not? I'm on the side that says we do.
    Dec 7, 2009. 05:18 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Financial Crisis: Treating the Symptoms Isn't Enough [View article]
    "Some of the most severe symptoms of the crisis are in remission. However, curing disease is more than treating symptoms. Are we doomed to wait for another crisis to take action against the disease?"

    It seems like that is the plan, John. Washington doesn't want to kill the Golden Goose. They don't realize that the Golden Goose is dead and buried.

    Afraid to move. Afraid to make it worse.
    Dec 7, 2009. 03:36 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • From The $700B Man, which chronicles how managing TARP almost destroyed Neel Kashkari's life: "$700B was a number out of the air," Kashkari recalls. "It was a political calculus. I said, 'We don't know how much is enough. We need as much as we can get. What about $1T?' 'No way,' Hank shook his head. I said, 'Okay, what about $700B?' We didn't know if it would work. We had to project confidence, hold up the world. We couldn't admit how scared we were, or how uncertain."  [View news story]
    Not only that: the proud Mr. Kashkari probably received one of those $10 million dollar bonuses for the work he did. I don't think I feel too sorry for a bagman who gets paid in the lower millions to act as Hank Paulson's bunion boy. 'Almost ruined his life': but he'll be able to live the rest of his life comfortably for the 'service' he rendered his country. Carrying billions from Washington back to Wall Street....yes, it is a treacherous, difficult path he chose. What a patriot!


    On Dec 07 02:56 AM Mikemx wrote:

    > I am proud of Mr. Kashkari. He did right by our country, and I don't
    > believe he was properly thanked. It's a shame that our politicians
    > treat proud volunteers, like Mr. Kashkari, the way they do.
    >
    > All of us should be willing to do what's right for this country,
    > to do our best, and not have politicians trash our efforts.
    >
    > Mr. Kashkari's work last year saved our country from a deep depression.
    > Wherever he ends up in the future, I wish him well.
    Dec 7, 2009. 03:32 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Did Housing Go into a Bubble? [View article]
    Pretty insightful response.


    On Dec 06 09:45 PM Ransome wrote:

    > The government forced nothing, it is a fable. The whole scenario
    > was developed on the credit card model. It was why credit scores
    > became the most important credential for a mortgage. The loans were
    > asset backed and most importantly risk was transferred via securitization.
    > Wall Street has a junk bond dream left over from the asset stripping
    > 80's.
    >
    > Greenspan put the gas pedal down with low interest rates to promote
    > growth to pay for a war. He had is eye on inflation, which never
    > happened. Unnoticed were the dollars and jobs moving overseas.
    > We did not experience inflation because the supply of goods coming
    > into the States was infinite and cheap. It was Asia that experienced
    > the growth.
    >
    > No bank has ever sent someone knocking on your door begging you to
    > re-finance or obtain a home equity loan to pay off your credit card
    > debt. Remember the credit card come-ons, 0% for 6 months, the same
    > come-on as toxic ARMS. Like credit cards, asset backed lending generated
    > fees with no risk, risk was securitized in bundles and off-loaded.
    > Servicing the loans was immensely profitable, with a penalty fee
    > structure like credit cards, which stayed with the servicer.
    >
    > Greenspan continued to have low rates and money went looking for
    > other AAA securities. Once the fee fever hit, they could not turn
    > off the machine. Greenspan tried to raise rates but money, offshore
    > "savings", was buying the bundled securities keeping long term rates
    > low, the "conundrum". The savings were the profits from us buying
    > all the imported stuff. The growth Greenspan was waiting for was
    > taking place in Asia and coming back as "savings". Inflation was
    > localized to real estate as supply dwindled and investment banks
    > swindled. Increasingly lax lending to unqualified borrowers allowed
    > commission fueled sales reps wallets to bulge stuffing more lending
    > down people's throats. The inflating housing prices created it's
    > own wind.
    >
    > Local banks were out of the picture around 2004 unless they did commercial
    > lending for new construction or exceedingly overpriced rental units
    > that were destined to become condos for snow birds. Idiots in town
    > government were floating gimmick securities to build local infrastructure
    > for new construction. People were lining up in the streets to put
    > down payments on condos yet to be built and that were sold three
    > times over before the ground was broken. Any idiot could become
    > a real estate broker, and they did. The old hands were complaining
    > about all the competition. Ultimately, very few were making money
    > because of the insane competition, so they lied as much as they could
    > to make a sale.
    >
    > It was the best example of out of control capitalism because everyone
    > was making money. No one wanted it to stop, so it didn't. Builders
    > could not build houses fast enough. Rates and terms had never before
    > been seen this favorable (but low rates did not force anyone to buy.
    > Rates are low now, and people are not acting foolishly.) Real estate
    > brokers were touting low rates, gimmick loans and the "better buy
    > now or you will never afford a house in your life time. If terms
    > seem unaffordable, you can sell the house at a profit. If you have
    > bad credit, make payments on an exploding mortgage and re-finance
    > before it blows up."
    >
    > Fannie and Freddie were out of the picture by 2005, there were no
    > more qualified borrowers. Raines was out for accounting fraud.
    > Mudd had his arm gently twisted by Frank and investors wanting better
    > returns. Frank wanted the poor not to miss out on the housing appreciation
    > "miracle" (but he didn't say make bad loans). Bush wanted everyone
    > in a house so they would buy stuff and keep the economy afloat.
    > Fannie and Freddie bought AAA ABS of loans they would never be allowed
    > to make, even before Mudd. Every bank in the US did likewise. Mozilo
    > offered Mudd conventional loans but he had to take ALT-A and twisted
    > ARMS as well. Mudd was in competition with the investment banks
    > with the exception that he would hold on to the loans or guarantee
    > them.
    >
    > Then the defaults came, first slowly as HELOCs were used to make
    > payments. Investment banks lost buyers so they turned attention
    > to oil and made that market, drawing in dumb money from pensions
    > and retirement accounts. Remember? Gas at $5 a gallon by the end
    > of the year?. Bear Sterns lost some funds and then Lehman went down
    > and a big freeze settled in.
    Dec 7, 2009. 01:47 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • From The $700B Man, which chronicles how managing TARP almost destroyed Neel Kashkari's life: "$700B was a number out of the air," Kashkari recalls. "It was a political calculus. I said, 'We don't know how much is enough. We need as much as we can get. What about $1T?' 'No way,' Hank shook his head. I said, 'Okay, what about $700B?' We didn't know if it would work. We had to project confidence, hold up the world. We couldn't admit how scared we were, or how uncertain."  [View news story]
    What a name, and what a destiny: 'Kneel; and then Carry the Cash!'

    I pity anyone who is assigned the role by Destiny to be Hank Paulson's bag man.
    Dec 7, 2009. 01:24 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Unemployment Rate Recedes - Worst of Downturn Is Over [View article]
    If you study this as a single isolated recession, you get one picture. A depression is a 'serial recession'. If we are in a depression, as some of us believe, the recoveries will amount to nothing and the recessions will keep coming in waves.

    Depressions are spiritual phenomena. They are built in to the system so that the people of the world can strip away their vanity, their greed, their pretensions, their 'sins'. By this measure, we still have a lot to strip away.

    Look for the political 'black swan' event. Israel and Iran?


    On Dec 06 11:54 PM John Lounsbury wrote:

    > Edward - - -
    >
    > Good thoughts, but all the changes in the past three months differ
    > by amounts less than the measurement errors involved (except for
    > the decline in the labor force). We must see more data to average
    > out measurement uncertainty. The best I can say for the employment
    > situation now is that many of the changes are getting small enough
    > to be uncertain in direction, an improvement from when they were
    > clearly all negative.
    Dec 7, 2009. 01:19 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Unemployment Rate Recedes - Worst of Downturn Is Over [View article]
    We CANNOT have a government of only lawyers and the rich. These people all think the same. We can't have a democratic system that costs millions to run for a federal office -- or only the rich can play. We cannot have a system in which the electoral 'season' runs for ever, like a football season, which seems designed only to cost more, and bring more indebted money into the system.... There are a lot of things we need to change.


    On Dec 06 10:13 AM MarkitWacha wrote:

    > I got a chance to watch C-SPAN for a while and it's convinced me
    > that the country is being harmed by the lack of diversity in the
    > US Senate. The men and women of the Senate are excellent speaking
    > lawyers, but their ideas are bankrupt regarding economics. Election
    > schedules have priority, clearly, in their actions. This is an economic
    > crisis in the country, not a legal crisis.
    >
    > That leads me to agree with your double-dip recession hypothesis.
    > There is no way to force the Senate to make the hard choices needed
    > to guide the economy out of this. Senators Reid , Dodd, and Durbin
    > are clearly out to push band-aids and they know they'll be facing
    > a tough election. Instead of focusing on items that encourage employers,
    > they focus on a discouraging health care bill. As a small business
    > owner, the health care bill means higher costs of hiring, so employees
    > have to be proportionately more productive to make it worthwhile.
    > If other business owners feel the same, then the only people being
    > hired are going to be the small percentage of true experts. That
    > explains why long-term unemployment is rising while short-term is
    > shrinking and that will drag us into another recession. Keep the
    > change, Obama.
    Dec 7, 2009. 01:09 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • From The $700B Man, which chronicles how managing TARP almost destroyed Neel Kashkari's life: "$700B was a number out of the air," Kashkari recalls. "It was a political calculus. I said, 'We don't know how much is enough. We need as much as we can get. What about $1T?' 'No way,' Hank shook his head. I said, 'Okay, what about $700B?' We didn't know if it would work. We had to project confidence, hold up the world. We couldn't admit how scared we were, or how uncertain."  [View news story]
    A number out f the air! Why not use $3.75? The government debt would be a lot better now!


    On Dec 06 08:21 PM Quiberon Bay wrote:

    > A number out of the air!
    >
    > And then they have the nerve to ask why gold is going up, and to
    > mock those who buy it.
    Dec 7, 2009. 12:48 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Perkins' 'Hoodwinked' Offers Solutions to the Economic Crisis [View article]
    Call someone a 'socialist' and you immediately confiscate their credibility. In fact, every person, every society, is a combination of capitalist and socialist. The balance is the question. There is no reality out on the far wing of pure capitalist and pure socialist. We are all mixtures of the two.

    It is very odd, I must say, to still read the 'pure capitalists' arguing against socialism after what the capitalists have just done to the global economy. Everything looked so good in 1992. But everything began to go bad in 2001.

    Greed is a season in Nature, but not every season. And the Greed season is over. Now the socialist season is coming on, like it or not. To everything there is a season. That's what 'balance' is all about.


    On Dec 05 02:15 PM ilc wrote:

    > Misstrade and Perkins sound like socialists in their video clip,
    > not capitalists.
    >
    > There is a certain kind of socialist who claims to be capitalist
    > for credibility (perhaps even credibility with himself - since we
    > all know, at some deep level, that socialism is just wrong). And
    > there is a certain kind of capitalist who, out of guilt for his life,
    > concedes the premises of socialists and begs the world to approve
    > of how he's turned around. I'm pretty sure Perkins is the latter.
    > Misstrade sounds like he could be either.
    >
    > One lesson made apparent by 9-11 is that the U.S. has to stop supporting
    > corrupt dictators and instead, put itself on the side of people's
    > aspirations to a better life. I think Perkins and I can agree on
    > that. But all the hand-wringing over the past (we were in a slow-motion
    > world war with the Soviet Union, after all), and crypto-socialist
    > greenspeak? Blech!
    >
    > There are also some holes along with the truths, in the narratives
    > put forth by Perkins and Misstrade. Perkins claims, for one thing,
    > that because he's published books, "the jackals" can't afford to
    > assassinate him. But Perkins is getting older. If "the jackals"
    > are real and have the intentions and the powers that he alleges,
    > they should be able to give him cancer or some other accident that
    > no one could possibly suspect.
    >
    > Long story short: I give the interview video a two-star review.
    > Perkins was insightful and interesting in some parts, whiny and self-contradicting
    > in some other parts. Misstrade I could have done without entirely
    > (except for the fact that he made the interview happen).
    Dec 6, 2009. 06:33 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Perkins' 'Hoodwinked' Offers Solutions to the Economic Crisis [View article]
    You're on to something. Actually, if you look at periods in American history of strong saving and low debt, you'll find we lived pretty well when the whole and the individual favored soberness, hard-work, savings, and disciplined values. We weren't manufacturing bubbles, living in fantasies of super-wealth...but we were NOT owned by China, Japan, and other 'saving' cultures.


    On Dec 05 10:46 AM Madcow2 wrote:

    > what's good for the individual (saving, delayed gratification, etc)
    > is bad for the whole.
    >
    > what's good for the whole (spending, debt, leverage) is bad for the
    > individual.
    >
    > that's the problem.
    Dec 6, 2009. 06:28 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Costs of Not Fixing a Broken Financial System [View article]
    I don't agree that Bernanke isn't a problem -- he's the biggest problem at the moment. But you are right, it IS the Federal Reserve that is the big problem. When did we decide that we would let the richest, most invisible banking families of the world run the world's political systems for their own fortune and, only secondarily, for the stability of the world? Of course they want world stability. It is much easier to steal when everything is 'normal', peaceful and prosperous... Reform is a sword. Reform is a sword best used while hot.


    On Dec 06 02:19 AM Dopamine wrote:

    > Lets look at America, like some of us might see Italy.
    > The Federal Reserve is run by puppets, that are orchestrated by some
    > of the oldest families, some say the most powerful people in the
    > world whom are invisible. We don't really know whom they are. It
    > is rumored that all the worlds central banks are run the same way.
    > But there are about 5 that are key to the movement of money.
    > Bernanke, has Greenspans mess on his hands, and Obama, wants to get
    > an 8year term at Presidency, and the Conductors of the Orchestra,
    > the puppeteers, also want Obama to stay in his job to be their front
    > man, as he does what he is told. So Bernanke has to do what others
    > tell him, he has no choice.
    >
    > Bernanke isn't the problem and President Obama isn't the problem.
    > The challenge is that, the Federal Reserve needs to be dismantled,
    > totally, this can only be done by the people.
    >
    > Then banks/investment institutions like Goldman Sachs would no longer
    > be tipped off on capital issues, so their revenue would not be gained
    > by betting against America, and then, America would look like America,
    > instead of Italy.
    >
    > Perhaps, all currencies could be backed by food,instead of items
    > most people cant afford, so all countries would work to produce
    > their own food, this would cut down on global emissions waste from
    > transporting food, this would create jobs more jobs at home, and
    > this would make each country more self sufficient, and less vulnerable
    > to the roller coaster speculators of the markets.
    >
    > Italy is never going to get anywhere, until the Mafia is renounced
    > by its people. What should America do?
    > Dump the Fed.
    Dec 6, 2009. 06:10 AM | 13 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Americans Say: Forget About Works Programs, Go for Protectionism [View article]
    What's good; what's bad? The word is heading back in to the fire. The metal of nationhood will need to be re-forged. Is it what everyone wants? Assuredly no. We want the picture of peace and prosperity we carry around in our mind. What do we get? We get what Nature decides ('the Thoughts of God are the Laws of Nature'). Better get ready for real contraction and difficulty. The party is over, no matter WHAT Ben Bernanke is saying.
    Dec 6, 2009. 06:04 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • More than one quarter of borrowers that benefitted from government-assisted loan modifications are already behind on their new mortgage payments.  [View news story]
    Extend and pretend. It's called the 'Viagra Rally' afterall.
    Dec 6, 2009. 05:50 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
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