Thursday, June 11, 2009

Margaret Thatcher

- Former prime minister of the United Kingdom!

- Daughter of a grocer!

- Closely allied with fellow idiot Ronald Reagan!

- Known for her arrogant dismissal of opinions contrary to her own!

- Bemoaned the changing racial composition of her country!

- Called anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela a terrorist!

- Abhorred government efforts to directly aid the poor and disadvantaged -- believing that self-interest and unfettered free markets are the answer to all of society's problems!

- Cut taxes, fought labor unions, and cut funding for education and housing!

- Actually said, "There no such thing as society" -- aloud!

- Privatized providers of public services -- giving the investor class a sweetheart deal on stock in the privatized enterprises!

- Deregulated British financial markets!

- Considered a hero by free marketeers the world over!

- Deeply disliked by less fortunate subjects of the British Crown!

- During her time in office, the gap between rich and poor Brits grew like never before!

- Thanks to the global economic crash, her economic philosophy has been revealed to be as sound as a subprime mortgage loan!

- Today suffers from dementia -- and so remains blissfully unaware of the carnage wrought by those inspired by her economic philosophy!

- Idiot!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ayn Rand

- Russian-born writer -- and inventor of Objectivism, a simplistic philosophy beloved by 15-year-old social outcasts everywhere!

- Believed self-interest to be all good -- and altruism to be evil!

- Found the idea of volunteering to help the less fortunate to be offensive!

- Elevated a rapist to hero status in her novel The Fountainhead!

- Provided a pseudo-intellectual justification for narcissism and selfishness!

- Never really addressed what would happen to those who don't "make it" in her ideal, selfish society; presumably, they would be sent somewhere where they could starve in private!

- Favorite of CEOs, bankers, and others with excessively favorable opinions of themselves!

- Current acolytes include deep thinkers like TV "journalist" John Stossel -- and Rush drummer Neil Peart!

- Mentor to former Federal Reserve chairman (and fellow idiot) Alan Greenspan!

- Admired by anti-tax, anti-regulation free marketeers like Newt Gingrich, Ronald Reagan, Tom DeLay, Ann Coulter, and Rush Limbaugh!

- Rather than "going Galt" and refusing to participate in society, her followers tend to whine about government -- while continuing to drive on government-built and -maintained highways, use government-run postal services, and enjoy government-run police and fire protection!

- Some Randians even consider Somalia to be an ideal small-government nation!

- Idiot!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Stan O'Neal

- Former CEO of Merrill Lynch!

- Graduate of (wait for it...) Harvard Business School!

- Known for firing people who disagreed with him!

- Despised by Merrill's rank and file!

- Called "a mean person, a disrespectful person" who "drove out thousands of years of experience" by a former Merrill EVP!

- Bet the farm on subprime mortgage market growth!

- Acquired subprime lending junkie First Financial in 2006 -- the peak of the housing bubble!

- 2006 compensation: $48 million!

- Forecast a subprime-related loss of $3 billion for Q3 2007!

- Two weeks later, Merrill announced an actual writedown of $8 billion!

- While his bank's balance sheet was crumbling, somehow managed to squeeze in more than a few rounds of golf!

- 2007 compensation: $46 million!

- Relieved of his position after trying to sell Merrill to Wachovia -- without the approval of the Merrill board!

- Left with a $160 million golden parachute -- the biggest ever!

- In late 2008, a deeply distressed Merrill was acquired by Bank of America!

- Idiot!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Charles Prince

- Former Citigroup CEO!

- Goes by "Chuck" -- surely proof that he's just a regular guy!

- A lawyer by training, and an administrator by nature!

- Originally ran the bank in tandem with the COO, Robert Willumstad!

- When Willumstad left Citi, Prince somehow believed he could run the bank himself -- despite his lack of banking experience!

- Under Prince, Citi bet its future on rapid and ongoing growth in subprime mortgage markets -- amassing more than $40 billion in subprime investments in addition to making a mountain of residential mortgage loans of its own!

- Conducted little to no oversight or risk management of the bank's subprime investment portfolio!

- Forced to resign in November 2007 -- after Citi suffered losses and write-downs totalling more than $65 billion!

- Walked away from the mess he'd caused with a golden parachute worth $30 million!

- To date, Citi has been bailed out by taxpayers to the tune of $45 billion!

- Citi's stock price in 2006: in the 50s!

- Citi's stock price today: $3.42!

- Idiot!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Christopher Dodd

- United States Senator (D-CT)!

- Chairman of the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs -- ground zero for Senate banking-oversight efforts!

- Regular recipient of massive campaign donations from the very financial institutions he's charged with regulating!

- In sum, has received $13.2 in contributions from Wall Street since 1989!

- Received more money from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac than any other legislator!

- Ignored warnings about dangers to Fannie and Freddie resulting from their aggressive subprime lending -- and fought efforts to regulate them more closely!

- In July 2008, said of Fannie and Freddie, "These are viable, strong institutions"!

- In September 2008, Fannie and Freddie collapsed and were taken over by the government -- at a cost to taxpayers of $200 billion!

- As a "Friend of Angelo", received sweetheart mortgage from Countrywide Financial!

- Pushed housing bailout bill that would have benefited Countrywide to the tune of $25 billion!

- Has received nearly $300,000 in contributions from AIG since 1998!

- Premier idiot Joe Cassano personally solicited contributions to Dodd from his employees!

- To date, the AIG bailout has cost taxpayers $170 billion!

- Amended the original bailout bill to allow the payment of AIG bonuses totaling $165 million -- but claimed to have no idea how the amendment got into the bill when public outcry ensued!

- Current approval rating among his constituents? A whopping 33 percent!

- Idiot!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Maurice Greenberg

- Former CEO of insurance giant AIG!

- Instead of going by a snooty French name, goes by "Hank" -- after baseball great Hammerin' Hank Greenberg!

- Still manages to be described as "brusque" and "arrogant"!

- Board member of the New York Federal Reserve Bank from 1988 to 1995!

- Forced out as CEO of AIG in 2005 -- the result of an accounting-fraud investigation!

- Oversaw the creation of AIG's Financial Products Group!

- Set up the Financial Products Group such that it wasn't subject to the oversight of the AIG board of directors!

- As the largest insurer in the world, AIG depended on limiting its risk exposure!

- Instead, via the Financial Products Group's complex credit default swap (CDS) transactions, the insurer took on massive but uncertain amounts of risk!

- Because AIG was traditionally a very staid, conservative business, its securities were AAA-rated!

- As a result of that high rating, AIG didn't have to put up collateral on CDSs!

- The Financial Products Group also invested in billions of dollars of "toxic" subprime mortgage-backed securities!

- When the housing market crashed, so did the value of AIG's toxic assets!

- When AIG's capital reserves decreased as a result, its credit rating was lowered, CDS counter parties demanded $100 billion in collateral -- and the insurer cratered!

- To date, AIG has been bailed out by taxpayers out to the tune of $180 billion!

- The main beneficiaries of the AIG bailout? CDS counterparties like (wait for it...) Goldman Sachs -- which were paid 100 cents on the dollar of what they were owed!

- Greenberg refuses to accept any blame for AIG's destruction!

- According to Forbes, though, "In the end, Greenberg's legacy will be shabby"!

- Idiot!

Herb and Marion Sandler

- Co-CEOs of Golden West Financial, parent company of World Savings Bank -- a major subprime lender!

- The first housing lender to offer adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) -- one of the easy-credit products that ending up cratering the housing market!

- Also did big business in "liar's loans" -- which require no proof of income from the borrower!

- Made a regular practice of issuing illegal, predatory loans!

- Cashed out of the housing market in 2006, just as it was starting to teeter -- selling Golden West to Wachovia and making $2.4 billion in the process!

- Because of World Savings' extensive subprime portfolio, in 2008 the housing crash devastated Wachovia -- resulting in massive layoffs and the acquisition of Wachovia by Wells Fargo at a fire-sale price!

- Described as people who deserve to be shot by Saturday Nite Live!

- Now claim they're being "unfairly tarred" by accusations of their wrongdoing!

- Idiots!