An article in this week’s BusinessWeek titled “Wall Street Plays Hardball” makes it clear that the taxpayers are taking a hit, again.
“Wall Street targeted cities big and small with risky financial products that promised to save them money or boost returns. Investment bankers sold exotic derivatives designed to help municipalities cut borrowing costs. Banks and insurance companies constructed complicated tax deals that allowed public utilities, transit authorities, and other nonprofit organizations to extract cash immediately from their long-term assets. Private equity firms, pointing to stellar historical gains, persuaded big public pension funds to plow billions of dollars into high-cost investments at the peak of the market. Many of the transactions shared a striking similarity: provisions that protected the banks from big losses and left the customers on the hook for huge payouts.”
“Now, as many of those deals sour, Wall Street is ramping up its efforts to collect ..continue reading
Talking about something that is annoying… The constant barrage of anti-Republican and highly political messages here! Don’t get me wrong. I don’t like the GOP… I don’t like Sarah Palin but it would be nice to see basic annoying topics here like…. Shoe laces that never stay tied or the call procedures at the DMV.. I’ve been a member of this site for 6 months and joined because I loved the inane annoyances.. For political banter I can go to CNN.com, the Onion, The SmirkingChimp, Buzzflash, NewsMax…. and the list goes on… Leave politics where they belong.. on their own trashy sites….
CNN reports that Peter Orszag, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, stated that the federal government made $98 billion (with a B) of improper payments in the 2009 fiscal year. That is a 37.5 percent increase over the $72 billion in improper payments in 2008.
These numbers are mind boggling. If the the total of these improper payments, a sizable percentage of which is believed to be fraud, can be eliminated it would more than pay for the health care reform costs.
President Obama is expected to issue an executive order in coming days to combat the problem.
According to Orszag the executive is to provide transparency, strengthen accountability and provide incentives to improve the government payment process.
Orszag also added that incentives in the executive order will reward states, local communities and other organizations for reducing improper payments and increase penalties for contractors that fail to report problems such as receiving double ..continue reading
This morning I read an article in the New York Times about the windfall coming to many bankers.
While the government is trying to enact regulations to control Wall Street many bankers will see a substantial increase to their bottom line.
This is a result of financial institutions turning to larger percentage of compensation by distributing stock and stock options. This was partially due to a reaction by Washington “demanding that a greater portion of pay be made in stock in hopes of rewarding long-term performance rather than short-term bets.” This appears to have backfired.
The stock grants and options were distributed when most financial stocks were at all time lows.
The recent meteoric recovery of the markets has assured bankers of hefty returns in a very short period of time and totally unrelated to their performance.
In lieu of a large bonus Goldman Sachs “gave its general counsel 104,868 stock options and 14,117 shares in December, when ..continue reading
It appears that another manufacturer of defense equipment is raking it in in Iraq. This time it is a British company selling a device that most believe is totally useless.
The Iraqi forces are using a bomb detection device, a wand device called the ADE 651 , manufactured by ATSC Ltd.
The New York Times reports “The small hand-held wand, with a telescopic antenna on a swivel, is being used at hundreds of checkpoints in Iraq. But the device works “on the same principle as a Ouija board” — the power of suggestion — said a United States Air Force officer, Lt. Col. Hal Bidlack, who described the wand as nothing more than an explosives divining rod.”
“The American military does not use the devices. “I don’t believe there’s a magic wand that can detect explosives,” said Maj. Gen. Richard J. Rowe Jr., who oversees Iraqi police training for the American military. ..continue reading