Economics Editor, AlterNet; Fellow, Campaign for America’s Future
Posted: September 12, 2010 02:52 PM
The Washington Post has published a very silly op-ed by Chrystia Freeland accusing President Barack Obama of unfairly “demonizing” Wall Street. Freeland wants to see Obama tone down his rhetoric and play nice with executives in pursuit of a harmonious economic recovery. The trouble is, Obama hasn’t actually deployed harsh words against Wall Street. What’s more, in order to avoid being characterized as “anti-business,” the Obama administration has refused to mete out serious punishment for outright financial fraud. Complaining about nouns and adjectives is a little ridiculous when handcuffs and prison sentences are in order.
Freeland is a long-time business editor at Reuters and the Financial Times, and the story she spins about the financial crisis comes across as very reasonable. It’s also completely inaccurate. Here’s the key line:
“Stricter regulation of financial services is necessary not because American bankers were bad, but because the rules governing them were.”
Bank regulations were lousy, of course. But Wall Street spent decades lobbying hard for those rules, and screamed bloody murder when Obama had the audacity to tweak them. More importantly, the financial crisis was not only the result of bad rules. It was the result of bad rules and rampant, straightforward fraud, something a seasoned business editor like Freeland ought to know. Seeking economic harmony with criminals seems like a pretty poor foundation for an economic recovery.
The FBI was warning about an “epidemic” of mortgage fraud as early as 2004. Mortgage fraud is typically perpetrated by lenders, not borrowers — 80 percent of the time, according to the FBI. Banks made a lot of quick bucks over the past decade by illegally conning borrowers. Then bankers who knew these loans were fraudulent still packaged them into securities and sold them to investors without disclosing that fraud. They lied to their own shareholders about how many bad loans were on their books, and lied to them about the bonuses that were derived from the entire scheme. When you do these things, you are stealing lots of money from innocent people, and you are, in fact, behaving badly (to put it mildly).
The fraud allegations that have emerged over the past year are not restricted to a few bad apples at shady companies– they involve some of the largest players in global finance. Washington Mutual executives knew their company was issuing fraudulent loans, and securitized them anyway without stopping the influx of fraud in the lending pipeline. Wachovia is settling charges that it illegally laundered $380 billion in drug money in order to maintain access to liquidity. Barclays is accused of illegally laundering money from Iran, Sudan and other nations, jumping through elaborate technical hoops to conceal the source of their funds. Goldman Sachs set up its own clients to fail and bragged about their “shitty deals.” Citibank executives deceived their shareholders about the extent of their subprime mortgage holdings. Bank of America executives concealed heavy losses from the Merrill Lynch merger, and then lied to their shareholders about the massive bonuses they were paying out. IndyMac Bank and at least five other banks cooked their books by backdating capital injections.
DinSFLA here: Side note…DJSP recently signed what may be the largest lease in Orlando this year. They plan to open a 12,870-square-foot in Highwoods Properties’ Landmark Center Two, near Lake Eola.
by Austin Kilgore September 9, 2010
The clogged foreclosure pipeline is delaying new foreclosure filings, and Florida-based processing services firm DJSP Enterprises said it’s considering layoffs to deal with the decreased business.
DJSP Enterprises’ main client is The Law Offices of David J. Stern, P.A. (DJSPA). In the DJSP Enterprises second quarter 2010 and mid-year earnings report released this week, the company said a slow down in new foreclosure filings will likely necessitate cost cutting and personnel layoffs. The company said it initially believed file volume would increase in the third quarter, leading to the decision to maintain current staffing levels. However, file volumes continue to be delayed and existing staffing levels are not sustainable indefinitely, the report said.
“While a large portion of our business can only be processed with human capital, we are identifying opportunities where technology and process change can be implemented to create efficiency,” recently-appointed DJSPA President and COO Richard “Rick” Powers said in the financial statement. “We are prepared to create efficiencies and make cuts where appropriate over the next three to six months.”
From Academy Award® nominated filmmaker, Charles Ferguson (“No End In Sight”), comes INSIDE JOB, the first film to expose the shocking truth behind the economic crisis of 2008. The global financial meltdown, at a cost of over $20 trillion, resulted in millions of people losing their homes and jobs. Through extensive research and interviews with major financial insiders, politicians and journalists, INSIDE JOB traces the rise of a rogue industry and unveils the corrosive relationships which have corrupted politics, regulation and academia.
Narrated by Academy Award® winner Matt Damon, INSIDE JOB was made on location in the United States, Iceland, England, France, Singapore, and China.
I couldn’t find statistics for local utility shut offs in my area, but I knew we would start to see more and more of this.
Houses everywhere are going vacant. People don’t say goodbye, they don’t leave a number, they just disappear. With their disappearance we add another vacant house to the street. But families living in housing without utilities is a new sight for me to behold. I spoke recently with a rep from So Cal Edison who, full time contacts residence who have had their electricity turned off due to non payment. She has a negotiator sent in and they work on a reduced payment. It’s amazing to me, that now, it is becoming acceptable in California to camp out in your home.
People are losing their homes, losing their cars and losing their dignity. How are we going to afford kids clothes and school supplies for the coming year? How can we expect families to pay for all these additional costs when the economy is in the shape it in. I ask myself this everyday.