Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sep 22: Morning Notes

ZH: ABC Consumer Confidence Drops, Poll Gets Downright Cynical: "Recession Ends, Nobody Notices"

  • This week 89 percent of Americans rate the economy negatively, 75 percent say it’s a bad time to spend money and 55 percent rate their own finances negatively"

NC: How Serious is the GMAC Problem? Pretty Serious and Not Just GMAC

On CR: On the GMAC Foreclosure Stories

Mish: Amazing Arrogance, Gall, Chutzpa, and Unmitigated Effrontery from Berkshire Hathaway.

  • Nauseating Insensitivity

    If that kind of arrogant insensitivity does not make you nauseous, what will?

    It's hard to know where to start, but let's start with a blatant lie. This was no "little bailout", this was a multitrillion bailout, not just from the Fed and Congress but from every central bank in the world.

    One of the beneficiaries of course was billionaire Charles Munger. Middle class America was the loser.

    Displays of Ignorance

    The biggest display of ignorance in Munger's rant is his comparison of the current financial mess to Weimar Germany. Forgive me for asking but pray tell in what kind of fairytale fantasyland is the current deflationary credit bust remotely related to the war reparations imposed on Germany after the end of World War I that gave rise to Hitler?

    Need for a Culture Change

    The ridiculous Weimar comparison was not the Munger's most galling statement, however.
    This is: “Now, if you talk about bailouts for everybody else, there comes a place where if you just start bailing out all the individuals instead of telling them to adapt, the culture dies.”

    The one thing we desperately need is a culture change. Instead, we made too big to fail, too bigger to fail. We preserved a culture that benefits billionaires like Munger and greedy CEO's that helped cause this mess. That culture benefits no one else.

    Yet Munger wants us to “suck it in and cope” and expect to be happy that he did not get wiped out.

    You know what? It would have been a damn good thing if the culture died and assholes like Munger got wiped out. Munger just proved beyond a shadow of a doubt Wall Street's culture was not worth saving.

Mish: HSBC Commercial Account Manager responds to "Amazing Arrogance, Gall, Chutzpa, and Unmitigated Effrontery from Berkshire Hathaway"

  • In Third World America: How Our Politicians are Abandoning the Middle Class and Betraying the American Dream, Arianna Huffington describes how Wall Street insiders used the financial crisis to bribe, coerce, and manipulate Washington into bailing them out and handing them unprecedented, unconditional windfalls.

    Warren Buffett Jumped the Squid

    Today's interested men defend the bailouts and subsequent absence of felony indictments. They include Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, and Berkshire's Vice-Chairman, Charlie Munger.

    Charlie Munger's War

    Andrew Frye of Bloomberg News reported Charlie Munger's recent remarks to law students at the University of Michigan. Munger suggests we shouldn't be "bitching about a little bailout;" we should have wondered why the bailout wasn't even bigger.

    Munger conjured the specter of Germany's Weimar Republic in an attempt to justify the bailouts: "We ended up with Adolf Hitler." ZeroHedge, home to finance's mainly masked throw downs, spoke for many (including me), when it retorted that Germany's hyperinflation was born from "wanton money printing" and set the stage for Hitler.

    When it comes to bailouts that will hit middle class taxpayers most, Munger has a double standard:

    "The 86 year old told the 25 million of Americans who comprise the 16.7% of the underemployed population in the country, to "suck it in and cope." Not only that, but apparently, all those who have been without a job for 99 weeks and more and no longer have recourse to insurance benefits, should "thank God for bank bailouts." Why of course he would say that: after all $26 billion worth of direct BRK investments were the recipient of over $95 billion in bailouts."

    [From] ZeroHedge, September 20, 2010: Munger Tells 25 Million Americans To "Suck It In", And To "Thank God For Bank Bailouts" As BRK Benefits From $95 Billion Of TARP Funding

    We bailed out banks that were the key architects of much of our national misery and currency destruction. Those living in poverty will have a much more difficult time bettering themselves, as much of the middle class sinks.

Jesse: Slouching Towards Bethlehem: Double Dip or Banana Split?

Kathy: Compare the FOMC Statements