OCTOBER 4, 2011
BRUCE A. BRENNAN BLOG FROM THE WORLD AND MY MIND
The news as I see it and the views as I want them.
October 4 is … National Golf Day
We should have fore of these days every year.
Amanda Knox, now go home never to be heard from again. I, however, smell a book, publicity tour and movie of the week.
ESPN apparently does not want any talent it has associated with it to exercise their First Amendment Rights. Hank Williams, Jr., who plans to run for the US Senate in Tennessee in 2012, was pulled from the opening of Monday Night Football for using Obama and Hitler in a speech. Bocephus was only making a point, his point not that of ESPN or Disney. The length of the punishment has not been determined but I am sure will be governed by the bad press ESPN gets from this action.
The government, with the use of taxpayer’s money, bailed out banks just to ensure the executives that ran the banks into bankruptcy would get paid their huge salaries and bonuses. In a report issued last week, In the wake of the financial crisis, a number of the nation's largest banks were excused from the government's rescue program before they had returned to a position of complete financial security -- in part because they wanted to avoid restrictions on how much their executives would get paid, according to a new report from the program's government overseer.
Citigroup, Wells Fargo, PNC and Bank of America successfully lobbied to leave the federal bailout program early in 2009, even though the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation had recommended they take additional steps to shore up their assets, according to a new report from the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Relief Asset Program, a government watchdog office. Regulators, including the Treasury and the Federal Reserve Board, eventually "relaxed" their criteria for letting the banks out of the program, the report says, leaving questions about whether the banks had strengthened their holdings enough to be able to withstand another systemic crisis.
"Ultimately, the federal banking regulators ended up bowing to pressure" to let the banks leave early, said Christy Romero, Acting Special Inspector General for TARP and the author of the report. Romero added that in the event of another shock, many banks could be left with too little capital to endure, raising the possibility that "it could potentially trigger an avalanche of severe consequences to the broader economy." SIGTARP's findings do little to change widespread impressions that the government's Wall Street rescue handed out billions of dollars in taxpayer funds without extracting lasting change in return, with many institutions able to continue operating much as they had before the crisis.
The new report shows how several major banks were allowed to exit the program by paying back their government loans even before they had returned to full health. According to SIGTARP, in 2009, these four banks repeatedly tried to leave the bailout program, also known as TARP, ahead of schedule, claiming that the stigma attached to the bailout would damage investor confidence in their stability. Bank of America was especially persistent, submitting 11 separate exit proposals to the Federal Reserve Board in less than a month.
The banks, particularly Citigroup and Bank of America, also expressed concern that if they stayed in TARP, they would be subject to the program's restrictions on executive compensation. Romero told The Huffington Post that the matter of executive payment was "a recurring theme" throughout the banks' requests to exit the program.
Once it was clear that these banks wanted to leave TARP sooner rather than later, the Federal Reserve undertook stress tests to determine how much capital the banks would need to have on hand in the event of another emergency, and issued recommendations for how the banks could raise the money.
However, each of the banks ended up negotiating different terms for their exits, and between December 2009 and February 2010, all four banks were allowed to repay their bailout funds and leave TARP, even though doubts remained about whether they'd taken sufficient steps to secure a big enough safety cushion of capital.
In the end, the process by which these banks exited TARP was "ad hoc and inconsistent," the report says. As a result of this lenience, Romero told The Huffington Post, the financial system is still carrying considerable systemic risk from huge, interconnected banks, well after the meltdown of 2008.
"The institutions that were 'too big to fail' ... are bigger than they were before," said Romero. "It's very critical that regulators remain vigilant to banks' demands to relax capital requirements."
Just a couple of thoughts I had and you should too or at least think about.
BRUCE A. BRENNAN
DEKALB, IL 60115
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Holmes the Ripper
A Revengeful Mix of Short Fiction
"Observe your enemies, for they first find out your faults." - Antisthenes