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Lessons in Disaster

Lessons in Disaster

By Gordon M. Goldstein
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Tag: Treasury


From Austerity to Prosperity: Why I Am Running for California Treasurer

California cannot solve its budget problems by slashing services that have already been cut to the bone or raising sales taxes that hurt the poor far more than the rich. We are fighting over a pie that remains too small. The pie itself needs to be expanded—and it can be.

Posted on Jan 16, 2014 READ MORE


the day the government runs out of money
Shutterstock

Oct. 17: The Day the Money Runs Out

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has written House Speaker John Boehner to warn that unless Congress raises the debt limit, the United States of America is going to start bouncing checks.

Posted on Sep 25, 2013 READ MORE



Shutterstock image of virtual currency.

Prosecutors Use Patriot Act to Shut Down Virtual Currency Operator

Liberty Reserve, which, until Tuesday, operated a virtual currency that could be exchanged for cash, stands accused by the United States of laundering $6 billion in criminal funds.

Posted on May 28, 2013 READ MORE


George W. Bush
AP/Ron Edmonds

Bush’s Economic Policies Bankrupted U.S., Reagan Budget Director Says

David Stockman, who served as Ronald Reagan’s budget director from 1981 to 1985, leveled some harsh criticism at his former boss as well as at President George W. Bush in an op-ed he penned about the dire state of the economy for The New York Times titled “Sundown in America.”

Posted on Mar 31, 2013 READ MORE



moriza (CC BY 2.0)

Spy Agencies to Have Access to Your Finances

The Obama administration plans to give all U.S. intelligence agencies full access to a database that contains information on the financial activity of American citizens and others who bank in the country, a Treasury Department document seen by Reuters says.

Posted on Mar 15, 2013 READ MORE



AP/Michael Dwyer

Truthdigger of the Week: Elizabeth Warren

At a Senate hearing Thursday, Elizabeth Warren exposed and shamed regulators for failing to prosecute banks that played a leading role in the financial crisis.

Posted on Feb 16, 2013 READ MORE



White House/Pete Souza

Obama’s Debt Ceiling Gamble Depends on the GOP Being Sane

A week before his inaugural, Obama says he won’t negotiate with Republicans over raising the debt limit. But the president’s strategy depends on there being enough sane voices left in the GOP to influence others. That’s far from clear.

Posted on Jan 14, 2013 READ MORE



White House/Pete Souza

The Inconvenient Truth About Jack Lew

I suppose that he can’t be much worse than Timothy Geithner, but that should be scant cause for cheer over the news that the president has nominated Jack Lew as Treasury secretary.

Posted on Jan 11, 2013 READ MORE



AP/Mark Lennihan

A Sign That Obama Will Repeat Economic Mistakes

Reports in the business press tout a prime participant in the great banking hustle as a possible candidate to be the next Treasury secretary.

Posted on Dec 7, 2012 READ MORE



AP / Saul Loeb

Obama Talks Corporate Tax Cuts and Loopholes

So the official story here is that President Obama says he wants to cut the country’s corporate tax rate by seven percentage points, dropping it from 35 percent to 28 percent, which gives him a nice tax-related headline on a day when similar stories are cropping up about the competition.

Posted on Feb 22, 2012 READ MORE



Flickr / wallyg

Wall Street’s Not-So-Little Secret

In 2008, the 10 biggest U.S. banks and brokerage firms took $829 billion in emergency loans from the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve. Until now, who got what had been a secret. ... (more)

Posted on Aug 28, 2011 READ MORE



Julien GONG Min (CC-BY)

A Downgrade’s GOP Fingerprints

There is one good reason to downgrade the United States’ credit rating, but S&P, whose credibility was already spent after the housing meltdown, gave a host of largely bogus explanations for its actions.

Posted on Aug 8, 2011 READ MORE



Flickr / b00nj

Investors Seek Treasury Port in a Storm

U.S. stocks sank almost 6 percent Monday, as investors disposed of risky assets and bought low-yielding but more secure Treasury bills and bonds, despite Standard & Poor’s recent downgrade of the U.S. government credit rating. (more)

Posted on Aug 8, 2011 READ MORE



Flickr / woodleywonderworks

Big Finance Argues Its Irrelevance

Don’t mistake the claims of relative unimportance coming from the big shots on Wall Street before an audience of federal regulators over the past several months for some sort of newfound humility. (more)

Posted on Jun 12, 2011 READ MORE



AP / Vahid Salemi

Swiss Cheese Sanctions

Like a piece of Swiss cheese, U.S. sanction policy is riddled with holes, according to reports. A former Treasury official claims licenses to trade with blacklisted countries such as Iran have been doled out to the tune of billions of dollars in profits, all at the behest of lobbying groups.

Posted on Dec 24, 2010 READ MORE



AP / Seth Wenig

Fail and Grow Rich on Wall Street

Welcome to the brave new world of post-bailout capitalism. The Commerce Department announced Tuesday that corporate profits are at their highest level in U.S. history, and the Fed released minutes of an early November meeting in which officials predicted a stagnant economy and continued high unemployment. 

Posted on Nov 24, 2010 READ MORE



Flickr / Gisela Giardino (CC-BY-SA)

Federal Reserve Finds $600 Billion in the Couch

Trying to follow the amount of money the Federal Reserve has pumped into the economy (and the banks) can be truly mind-boggling, and it’s not getting easier. (continued)

Posted on Nov 3, 2010 READ MORE



Flickr / Rob Lee

The Incredible Shrinking Deficit

Republicans pulled off a pretty neat trick, running up huge deficits and then making it their party’s big issue. Not to be outdone, the Democrats have managed to make $1.3 trillion look small. (continued)

Posted on Oct 26, 2010 READ MORE



Flickr / Clyde Robinson (CC-BY)

AIG’s IOU Coming Due With Strings Attached

AIG plans to start paying back the taxpayers some of the $182 billion it borrowed, but the plan involves trading the government’s preferred shares in the company for common stock, a move that ought to raise at least one eyebrow.

Posted on Sep 30, 2010 READ MORE


washington
Flickr / jmlawlor

Fed Shifts to Bond-Buying Mode to Boost Economy

The Federal Reserve is taking action to try to give the flagging U.S. economy a much-needed jolt by committing to buy up some of the government’s debt in the form of long-term Treasury securities.

Posted on Aug 10, 2010 READ MORE



Flickr / IowaPolitics.com

Campaign Violations Catch Up to Biden

Joe Biden’s verbal gaffes are numerous, and so are his campaign violations. The 2008 Biden for President campaign committee owes the Treasury Department more than $219,000 for accepting excessive contributions and other infractions in his bid for the Democratic nomination.

Posted on Jul 18, 2010 READ MORE



Flickr / U.S. Treasury Department

Don’t Count on Us

In the face of the stereotypical image of Americans as free-spending consumers, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has told his international finance colleagues that G20 countries should not rely on American buyers for their products as they travel the road to economy recovery.

Posted on Jun 5, 2010 READ MORE


Goldman CEO to Perform Community Service as Treasury Secretary

A Treasury Department spokesperson said that by performing community service as treasury secretary, Lloyd Blankfein will do less harm to the economy because he will have significantly less power than he had as chairman of Goldman.

Posted on Apr 25, 2010 READ MORE


Volcker
AP / Gerald Herbert

Volcker Rules

Finally President Barack Obama has come to his senses on financial regulation. His endorsement of what he calls the “Volcker Rule” for once puts him squarely on the side of ordinary Americans as opposed to the banking bandits who have so thoroughly fleeced the public.

Posted on Feb 2, 2010 READ MORE


Fannie Mae
foreclosurewearhouse.com

Treasury Digging Deeper for Fannie and Freddie

Who knew the Treasury Department had such deep pockets? Well, besides all of Wall Street, we can put the beleaguered duo that is Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on the list. The Treasury has obligingly removed the $400 billion cap previously assigned to the funding designated to save the two mortgage firms.

Posted on Dec 24, 2009 READ MORE



speaker.gov

Put Your Money Where Your Jobs Aren’t

The president is so desperate for ways to fight unemployment he issued a call Thursday for “fresh perspectives and new ideas.” Well, Nancy Pelosi has some. The House speaker wants to spend some of that hot, hot TARP money on job creation. (continued)

Posted on Dec 3, 2009 READ MORE


Is It Time for Financial Institutions to Give Back?

It seems plausible that payback time has arrived for the international financial community. The principal obstacle here is, at the moment, the Obama administration.

Posted on Dec 1, 2009 READ MORE



infiniteunknown.com

When They Call, Geithner Answers

It’s unsurprising to say the least: A Freedom of Information Act request has discovered that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is in daily two-way communication with a small group of Wall Street CEOs—at Citigroup, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs—while lawmakers like Rep. Xavier Becerra are forced to leave messages for him.

Posted on Oct 8, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / ilkerender

Treasury Foils Cultural Exchange With Cuba

The New York Philharmonic was all set to fly into Cuba and jam, until the Treasury Department decided the patrons footing the bill couldn’t go. That’s pretty insulting to Cuba, considering that the same posse of musicians and rich people was cleared for a trip to North Korea.

Posted on Oct 5, 2009 READ MORE


Geithner’s Housing Crisis

Apparently Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner wants more for his home than he paid for it—in this market. The “Daily Show’s” John Oliver asks, “How can the American people trust the policies of a man who can’t sell his house? ... Is it not like hiring a personal trainer who is morbidly obese?”

Posted on Jul 30, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / The TruthAbout...

Some Banks to Repay Bailout Funds

Some of the country’s major banks are prepared to pay back money they borrowed under the TARP program, but don’t get too excited. The initial repayment is expected to be a meager $50 billion, which Timothy Geithner wants to inject right back into other troubled banks.

Posted on Jun 9, 2009 READ MORE


Ronald Reagan
Reagan Library

Reagan Didn’t Do It

It would be nice to blame Ronald Reagan for the economic meltdown, as Paul Krugman did recently, but the facts don’t support it. Unfortunately, the real villains are closer at hand.

Posted on Jun 3, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / gotplaid?

Uncle Sam to Own GM Without Any of the Perks

GM’s restructuring plan will make the Treasury Department the majority owner of the company, according to Bloomberg. The administration reportedly intends to take as passive a role as possible and will not appoint anyone to the automaker’s board, thereby avoiding the danger that something competent might happen.

Posted on May 26, 2009 READ MORE


Geithner Obama Summers
AP photo / Evan Vucci

The Clinton Bubble

Has Timothy Geithner ever had lunch with a non-megamillionaire who has lost his job or home because of the banking meltdown? I ask that question after reading the list of the treasury secretary’s luncheon dates when he was head of the New York Federal Reserve, a list that the government was forced to provide in response to a lawsuit.

Posted on Apr 28, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / Dr. Keats

Chrysler Heads for the Chop Shop

The Treasury Department has cut a deal with the United Auto Workers to send Chrysler into bankruptcy while protecting retiree benefits, The New York Times reports. Fiat would be in a more favorable position to take a cut of the company once it’s in bankruptcy. Chrysler’s equity stakeholders are shaping up as the big losers in all of this.

Posted on Apr 23, 2009 READ MORE



NASA / U.S. Treasury

Treasury Covers for Stingy Banks

President Obama has said he doesn’t want public money going into a “black hole,” but his administration’s bank bailout looks more and more like an abyss of cosmic proportions. Not only are the bailed-out banks lending less than before, the Treasury Department appears to be engaging in creative math to obscure the gravity of the situation.

Posted on Apr 20, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / dogonthesidewalk

Uncle Sam Forces GM to Stop and Ask for Directions to Bankruptcy

GM has until June 1 to cut a deal with its workers and bondholders, but the Treasury Department is requiring the automaker to prepare for bankruptcy just in case, according to The New York Times. Newly installed GM chief Fritz Henderson is more receptive to the possibility than his predecessor, but warns, “If we need to resort to bankruptcy, we have to do it quickly.”

Posted on Apr 13, 2009 READ MORE


Summers
AP photo / Charles Dharapak

Living Large and in Charge

Not surprisingly, Lawrence Summers is convinced that he deserved every penny of the $8 million that Wall Street firms paid him last year. And why shouldn’t he be cut in on the loot from the loopholes in the toxic derivatives market that he pushed into law when he was Bill Clinton’s treasury secretary?

Posted on Apr 7, 2009 READ MORE


toxic schmoxic
AP photo / Mary Altaffer

In for a Penny, In for $2.98 Trillion

The good news on the government’s “No Banker Left Behind” program is that, according to the special inspector general’s report on Tuesday, the total handout to date is still less than 3 trillion dollars. It’s only $2.98 trillion, to be precise, an amount six times greater than will be spent by federal, state and local governments this year on educating the 50 million American children in elementary and secondary schools. 

Posted on Mar 31, 2009 READ MORE


The Right’s Twisted Blame Game

Listening to the president’s critics, it would be easy to believe that Obama is responsible for the deficits, bailouts, bonuses, nationalized institutions and careening markets. It would be easy to believe but it’s entirely false.

Posted on Mar 26, 2009 READ MORE


A Repairman, Not a Revolutionary

Timothy Geithner has not been a good performer, but he does have a vision. He sees an improved Wall Street, though one not fundamentally different from what we have now.

Posted on Mar 23, 2009 READ MORE


Obama Takes Cheney to School

President Obama personally conducted a tour of the White House for “60 Minutes” and in the Sunday broadcast defended his embattled treasury secretary, said sending more troops to Afghanistan was his toughest decision yet, and refused to grant a look at his wife’s vegetable garden. The president also took the opportunity to unload on Dick Cheney, who recently suggested we are less safe without torture.

Posted on Mar 22, 2009 READ MORE


Obama’s Fight Against the Politics of Evasion

Critics who argue that he is asking Congress to do too much are finding it far easier to talk about an overloaded system than to tell those without health insurance that they will have to wait a few more years.

Posted on Mar 22, 2009 READ MORE


The Geithner Problem

The treasury secretary may indeed be the hardest-working man in Washington. But in order to survive, let alone succeed, he’s going to have to make a more convincing case that he’s part of the solution and not part of the problem.

Posted on Mar 19, 2009 READ MORE


Boehner
AP photo / Evan Vucci

House Passes Bonus Tax Bill

After the top brass at AIG couldn’t be stopped from dishing out $165 million in bonuses to executives who didn’t exactly deserve gold-star treatment, Congress is attempting to recoup most of the money by slapping a 90 percent tax on such executive windfalls.

Posted on Mar 19, 2009 READ MORE


Push Back Against AIG’s ‘Best and Brightest’

Having long flattered themselves as “masters of the universe,” the creative financiers of Wall Street and London are today exposed as grifters rather than geniuses, yet their arrogance remains intact.

Posted on Mar 19, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Obama Stands by His Treasurer

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has developed a bad reputation in his short time on the job. He appears to have the fortitude of porridge and a love of banks and the bankers who bankrupt them. Despite calls for Geithner’s ouster over the AIG bonus blunder, the president says he has “complete confidence” in his top economist.

Posted on Mar 18, 2009 READ MORE



Geithner image from Presidencia de la Nación Argentina

Geithner’s Bonus Plan as Perplexing as His Other Proposals

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has sent Congress an explanation of his plan to deal with the AIG bonus fiasco. Essentially, Treasury will dock the $165 million in bonuses from AIG’s next bailout payment. Here’s a question: If AIG can do without that $165 million, why were we giving it to the company in the first place?

Posted on Mar 17, 2009 READ MORE


A Bad Fix Would Be No Fix

Advice to solve the financial crisis before even thinking about health care, energy or education is either misguided or disingenuous. Fortunately, Obama seems to be ignoring all the chatter.

Posted on Mar 12, 2009 READ MORE


If Only Obama Were as Radical as They Say

While conservatives cry socialism, the president is trying to steer a moderate course. Moderation, however, may be the wrong recipe. There is something deeply disturbing about the drip, drip, drip of billions into the banking system with no apparent impact.

Posted on Mar 8, 2009 READ MORE


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