G-20 Better batten down the hatches London



Bankers acting foolishly: “Likewise the actions of banking staff are unlikely to engender much good feeling from the attendant crowds. BoE employees (presumably) were seen laughing and pointing from the stone balconies of the landmark building, shown below. The protesters immediately began a chant of “JUMP BANKERS!” and worse.” [ftalphaville]
Above photo: bankers (?) peering out from balcony at Bank of England laughing at the crowd below.

Starve the veterans/feed mismanaged insolvent investment banks?


Okay taxpayers, would you rather pay the compensation the United States has promised to disabled, injured veterans and surviving spouses of soldiers being killed in Iraq and Afghanistan…or shell out billions of dollars seemingly on request to investment bankers who sold each other worthless securites? It seems that the VA is stockpiling veterans’ claims, and literally shoving them into desk drawers. At the same time, Congress barely blinks an eye at the huge corporations begging for a refill to their bankrupt coffers.

Here’s the latest on the VA claims fiasco:

“A new report about Veterans Affairs Department employees squirreling away tens of thousands of unopened letters related to benefits claims is sparking fresh concerns that veterans and their survivors are being cheated out of money.

VA officials acknowledge further credibility problems based on a new report of a previously undisclosed 2007 incident in which workers at a Detroit regional office turned in 16,000 pieces of unprocessed mail and 717 documents turned up in New York in December during amnesty periods in which workers were promised no one would be penalized.

“Veterans have lost trust in VA,” Michael Walcoff, VA’s under secretary for benefits, said…”

Note: Aside from disability , medical, and survivor claims, there is a serious problem involving homelessness of veterans. “Firm estimates of the number of homeless Iraq war veterans are hard to come by. In June 2005, the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans reported the number of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) veterans seeking assistance from community-based homeless services providers had exceeded 400.

The group Veterans for America, formerly the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, estimates that 10,000 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan are now living on the street.

Activists concerned about increases in the number of homeless veterans argue for greater federal investment in affordable housing and social services. Of particular concern is the wait for mental health care, which can run as long as six months.

A recent study by Harvard�s Kennedy School of Government found that by the time the Iraq and Afghanistan wars end, there will be at least 2.5 million vets. Because of that, the Harvard study concluded, Congress will have to double the Veteran Administration�s budget simply to avoid cutting services”. []

Econ. 101?


Hattip Jesse’s Cafe

Here’s hoping your ETF isn’t on the ETF deathwatch list

Better check it out:
“The number of exchange-traded products on Deathwatch jumped to 171, an increase of nearly 12% from a month ago and another new record. The current list consists of 134 ETFs and 37 ETNs that are at least six months old and failed to have an Average Daily Value Traded (ADVT) of at least $100,000 during the month of February.”
The chart can be found here:

You can keep the change

We’re back from a hiatus since the election. 

Having fervently hoped for change we could believe in, that hope is slowly fading.  We were looking forward to watching a thorough house cleaning — put Madoff in jail for a start, put someone relentlessly honest in charge of Treasury for Pete’s sake!  The list was a long one.  Mark to market and get this slow motion train wreck over and done with.

Sadly, it sure looks as if we’re just treading the same wornout paths as everything collapses around our ears.  Perhaps that old Republican speech writer Peggy Noonan captures it best in her WSJ op-ed:

“Meanwhile, the inquest on President Obama’s great stimulus mistake continues.

His serious and consequential policy mistake is that he put his prestige behind not a new way of breaking through but an old way of staying put. This marked a dreadful misreading of the moment. And now he’s digging in. His political mistake, which in retrospect we will see as huge, is that he remoralized the Republicans. He let them back in the game.

Mr. Obama has a talent for reviving his enemies. He did it with Hillary Clinton, who almost beat him after his early wins, and who was given the State Department. He has now done it with Republicans on the Hill. This is very nice of him, but not in his interests. Mr. Obama should have written the stimulus bill side by side with Republicans, picked them off, co-opted their views. Did he not understand their weakness? They had no real position from which to oppose high and wasteful spending, having backed eight years of it with nary a peep. They started the struggle over the stimulus bill at a real disadvantage. Then four things: Nancy Pelosi served up old-style pork, Mr. Obama swallowed it, Republicans shocked themselves by being serious, and then they startled themselves by being unified. But it was their seriousness that was most important: They didn’t know they were! They hadn’t been in years!”

China resents dollar hegemony

Chinese central bankers are angry, and exploring ways to end the “dollar hegemony.”  If the dollar ends its reign as the global reserve currency, the implications for the US are complicated and negative. 

Read the latest: