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!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Lawrence Summers

- Goes by "Larry"!

- One of the "best and brightest" acting as advisers to Barack Obama -- and former Clinton administration Treasury Secretary!

- Matriculated at MIT -- when he was 16!

- Free market ideologue!

- As chief economist at the World Bank, wrote, "I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that ... I've always thought that under-populated countries in Africa are vastly underpolluted"!

- Under Clinton, helped ensure that derivatives like those that destroyed the global financial system in 2008 would remain unregulated!

- During the 2000 energy crisis in California, accompanied Enron CEO Ken Lay to a meeting with Governor Gray Davis -- to argue that the problem wasn't manipulation of energy markets by corporations, but rather state regulation!

- Key supporter of the Gramm-Leach-Billey Act, which overturned the Glass-Steagall Act and opened the door for financial institutions to grow too big to fail!

- Paid $5.2 million by hedge fund D.E. Shaw in 2008 -- for a one-day-a-week job!

- Also received $2.7 million for speaking appearances at Wall Street banks (like Goldman Sachs)!

- Central to the decision to bail out AIG and pay off counter parties to credit default swaps (like Goldman Sachs) -- to the tune of 100 cents on the dollar!

- To date, U.S. taxpayers are on the hook for $1 trillion in bank bailout money!

- Despite the global economic disaster -- and the central role market breakdowns played in creating it -- still believes that markets are "self-equilibrating"!

- Key backer of the Geithner Plan, which gives hedge funds a virtually risk-free chance to make trillions of dollars -- while costing taxpayers big-time should "toxic asset" prices remain in the dumps!

- Idiot!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sandy Weill

- In 1998, merged his Travelers insurance business with commercial banking giant Citicorp to create Citigroup -- the biggest financial services company in the world!

- Completed the Citi-Travelers merger even though the Glass-Steagall Act mandated the separation of banks and insurance companies!

- Pressed politicians to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act, keeping Citigroup intact -- and setting the stage for other institutions to get "too big to fail"!

- Introduced to Citi an aggressive take-no-prisoners corporate culture!

- Under his leadership, Citi aggressively grew its subprime mortgage lending operation -- and was repeatedly accused of predatory lending practices!

- Said to consider himself an old-fashioned, Gilded Age business tycoon -- like Andrew Carnegie!

- Since the failure of Lehman Brothers and the crash of the global financial system in 2008, propping up other too-big-to-fail institutions has cost taxpayers trillions of dollars in bailouts and guarantees!

- The cost to bail out Citigroup? $350 billion -- or $1,000 for every man, woman, and child in the United States!

- That $1,000 that used to be yours? It belongs to the same bankers who destroyed the global economy!

- The cost of the crash to society? Well, in the past year, 6 million people have lost their jobs!

- Citi's contribution to that number? 53,000 people!

- As the bank he created was being bailed out by taxpayers, took a private Citi jet -- one of the perks of his $3 million-per-year retirement package -- to Cabo San Lucas, where he and his family vacationed at a $10,000-a-night hotel!

- Saw his net worth tumble by more than a quarter in 2008 -- all the way down to $1.3 billion!

- Idiot!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Myron Scholes

- Nobel Prize-winning economist, and co-creator of the Black-Scholes equation for derivatives pricing!

- Known as the intellectual godfather of credit-default swaps -- perhaps the biggest culprit in the worst global economic crash since the Great Depression!

- Believes that all good things come from fewer rules and freer markets -- and that all bad things come from government!

- Apparently hasn't spent much time with government-employed cops ... or soldiers ... or firefighters ... or schoolteachers!

- Believes financial speculation is a good thing -- making markets more liquid and more efficient!

- The Black-Scholes equation claimed to be able to price complex derivative products -- scientifically!

- Black Scholes allowed investors to believe they could accurately measure the risk implicit in complex derivative products!

- Principal of the Long Term Capital Management (LTCM) hedge fund -- which made big bets on complex derivative products!

- LTCM employed 25 PhDs!

- In 1998, LTCM's formulas stopped working, and the fund's investment portfolio collapsed -- losing $4.6 billion in value in just four months!

- Because an LTCM bankruptcy might have caused seizures in global markets, the fund was bailed out -- to the tune of $3.6 billion!

- Busted by the government for illegal LTCM tax shelter shenanigans!

- Said, under oath, that he wasn't a legal expert -- then was confronted with a textbook he wrote, which indicated his detailed understanding of why those shenanigans were illegal!

- After the utter failure of LTCM, somehow continued to convince investors to hand over their cash -- this time to his Platinum Grove Asset Management hedge fund!

- Same old story: In October 2008, down 38 percent on the year, Platinum Grove suspended fund withdrawals!

- Idiot!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Lloyd Blankfein

- CEO of Goldman Sachs -- current or former employer of Hall of Idiots inductees including Hank Paulson, Robert Rubin, and John Thain!

- Goldman is known as the gold standard of investment banks!

- In May 2009, Goldman agreed to pay $60 million to settle charges that it had promoted unfair lending in Massachusetts -- to feed the appetite for fresh mortgages of its mortgage securitization business!

- Goldman issued $33 billion of mortgage-backed securities from 2005 through 2007 -- flooding mortgage lenders with capital, and leading to increasingly risky and aggressive lending practices!

- Goldman engaged in the same uber-risky practices as other big banks, but made it through the crash in one piece -- no small thanks to its many friends in high places!

- An AIG bankruptcy may well have capsized Goldman, because the insurer owed the bank $12 billion on credit default swaps!

- After a meeting at which Blankfein was the only Wall Street CEO, the government decided to bail out AIG rather than letting it go bankruptcy -- to the tune of 100 cents on the dollar!

- Tried to hide massive losses in Q4 2008 from investors -- using legal but ethically dubious accounting trickery!

- In April 2009, told Congress that bankers needed to stop making so much money that they look "self-serving and greedy"!

- Days later, set aside $4.7 billion for Goldman compensation in Q1 2009 -- or about $675,000 per employee on an annualized basis!

- Blankfein's 2006 compensation: $53 million!

- His 2007 compensation: $70 million!

- Idiot!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Ronald Reagan

- Fortieth President of the United States!

- Began his career as a New Deal-supporting Democrat -- but later became the darling of the Republican Party!

- President of the Screen Actors Guild during the late-1940s Red Scare -- during which he provided the names of "communist sympathizers" in Hollywood to the FBI!

- Opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 -- and the Voting Rights Act of 1965!

- Held an extreme right-wing economic philosophy known as "supply-side" economics -- which held that lowering taxes more than pays for itself in economic growth!

- Supply-side philosophy was famously derided as "voodoo economics" -- by Reagan's very own Vice President, George H.W. Bush!

- Lowered taxes during his time in office, but had to pay for government somehow -- and so raised the national debt from $700 billion to $3 trillion!

- Signed an early version of NAFTA -- which made it easier for businesses to exploit workers in the relentless pursuit of bigger profits!

- Fired striking air traffic control workers -- but reduced business regulation!

= Opposed giving health care to all Americans!

- Believed in unregulated free markets as the best way to address all of society's problems -- saying, "Government is not the solution to our problem -- government is the problem"!

- Actually believed AIDS might be God's punishment on those with sinful lifestyles!

- Cut housing subsidies by three-quarters -- causing an explosion in the American homeless population!

- Provided the philosophical underpinning for the practices and policies that would lead to global financial meltdown in 2008!

- Idiot!

Bill Clinton

- Husband of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton!

- From a town called Hope!

- Before having heart surgery in 2004, known to enjoy the occasional cigar!

- Nickname: Slick Willie!

- Key supporter of the North American Free Trade Agreement -- which made it easier for businesses to exploit workers in the hunt for ever-bigger profits!

- Signed welfare reform legislation, making life more difficult for millions of Americans!

- Fostered the inflation of the 1990s dot-com bubble, dress rehearsal for the economic meltdown of 2008 -- and product of the same free-market ideology!

- Pushed to expand subprime mortgage lending!

- Ramped up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac leverage levels to finance subprime mortgages!

- Repealed the Glass-Steagall Act, which kept investment and commercial banks and insurance companies separate -- paving the way for the creation of too-big-to-fail financial institutions!

- Signed the Commodities Futures Modernization Act -- ensuring that the risky derivatives that would topple the global financial system remained exempt from regulation!

- Since leaving government, has made some $75 million writing books and giving speeches!

- Made millions more selling his Rolodex of Middle Eastern royals to the investment firm of Ron Burkle -- a billionaire buddy and political contributor!

- Is he an idiot? Depends on what the meaning of "is" is!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Kerry Killinger

- CEO of Washington Mutual -- the biggest failed bank in history when it was seized by the FDIC on September 8, 2008!

- Took home more than $100 million in compensation while at WaMu!

- Dreamed of making WaMu the Wal-Mart of banking!

- Called WaMu branch offices "stores"!

- Made the bank a big player in subprime lending!

- Managed WaMu in such a way that the bank was repeatedly accused of illegal, predatory lending practices!

- Under Killinger, WaMu "pressured appraisers to provide inflated property values that made loans appear less risky" -- and "pressed sales agents to pump out loans while disregarding borrowers' incomes and assets"!

- 2003 WaMu ad campaign: "The Power of Yes"!

- Received compensation of more than $14 million in 2007, even as the housing market crashed, foreclosures soared -- and WaMu's stock price fell by 70%!

- 2008 WaMu ad campaign: "WaMu - Whoo Hoo!"

- In July 2008, then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson warned Killinger to sell WaMu -- before it collapsed!

- In 2003, predicted that in five years, thanks to that massive growth, WaMu would no longer be considered a bank -- and was correct!

- Left WaMu with a $44 million golden parachute!

- Idiot!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Franklin Raines

- CEO of mortgage underwriting behemoth Fannie Mae from 1999 to 2004!

- Middle name: Delano!

- Son of a Seattle janitor!

- Harvard grad and Rhodes scholar!

- First African-American Fortune 500 CEO!

- Called "the Jackie Robinson of corporate America" by the head of the National Urban League!

- Formerly an investment banker and Clinton White House budget director!

- Railed against unethical corporate behavior during the Enron scandal!

- Received $3 million in sweetheart loans from Countrywide Financial while Fannie CEO -- a clear conflict of interest, since Fannie was one the biggest buyers of Countrywide mortgages!

- Cooked the books at Fannie -- and got $90 million in compensation as a result!

- Forced out as Fannie CEO when the SEC started investigating the "accounting irregularities" that benefited him so handsomely!

- Left Fannie with a $19 million golden parachute -- proving that cheating does pay, at least occasionally!

- Paid a paltry $2 million fine for his accounting fraud!

- Insists he's innocent of any wrongdoing!

- Started Fannie's focus on buying subprime mortgages in 2004 -- supercharging the inflation of the housing bubble!

- Purchased a luxury DC condo for $4.9 million in 2008 -- a year that saw a record three million home foreclosures!

- Idiot!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

David Lereah

- Chief economist of the National Association of Realtors from 2001 to 2007!

- In 2000, published a book called The Rules for Growing Rich: Making Money in the New Information Economy -- which, just before the tech bust, advised investing in tech stocks!

- When that didn't work out, switched his writerly focus to real estate, penning the 2005 book Are You Missing the Real Estate Boom? -- in 2006 retitled Why the Real Estate Boom Will Not Bust!

- Relentless spin-meister for the real estate industry!

- Known in the real estate industry as "Baghdad Dave," after Mohammed "Baghdad Bob" al-Sahaf, Iraqi Information Minister -- the Saddam Hussein propagandist who claimed that Iraqi troops were defeating American troops as the U.S. invaded the country in 2003!

- In October 2005, derided those who suggested real estate prices might be too high -- calling them "Chicken Littles"!

- When the real estate slowdown became too big to ignore, predicted it would be a "soft landing"!

- In January 2007, said regarding housing prices, "It appears we have established a bottom"!

- As of April 2009, observers are still on the lookout for a true market bottom!

- Has started his own business, but isn't yet making the big bucks again -- causing his wife to whine, "We have an expensive lifestyle: a big house, a housekeeper once a week, college tuitions, the country club"!

- Idiot!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

John Thain

- The last CEO of famed investment bank Merrill Lynch -- before its balance sheet collapsed and it was auctioned off to Bank of America in 2008!

- Lives on a $10 million estate in leafy, exclusive Rye, New York.

- Before joining Merrill, served as CEO of the New York Stock Exchange -- and president, COO, and CFO of (you guessed it) Goldman Sachs!

- At Goldman, proved he was CEO material by forcing out his mentor, Jon Corzine!

- One of the highest paid CEOs in corporate America in 2007, "earning" $83 million as Merrill CEO!

- In January 2008, told the Wall Street Journal that yes, Merrill had been affected by subprime investments -- but that the crisis "is for the most part behind us"!

- That same month, began a $1.2 million redecoration of his office -- with purchases including a $35,000 commode and a $1,400 waste paper basket!

- Claimed it would have been "very difficult" for him to work in the prior CEO's office without making the renovations!

- Apparently let the pressure get to him that summer -- when he blew up during a meeting, and threw a chair through a glass panel!

- With the bank facing a liquidity crisis due to subprime exposure, sold Merrill to Bank of America in late 2008!

- To date, BofA has received $45 billion in federal bailout funds!

- During negotiations with BofA, failed to reveal the full extent of the weakness in Merrill's investment portfolio!

- After agreeing to the BofA takeover, accelerated bonuses totaling $4 billion to senior Merrill execs -- to get the bonuses paid out before the BofA transaction became official!

- In December 2008, while the BofA deal was being finalized and Merrill's financial weakness was becoming more apparent, went skiing in Vail!

- Forced out of his position when Q4 2008 results became clear -- and showed Merrill losses in the quarter totaling $15.3 billion! (Yes, "billion" with a "b"!)

- Claimed he deserved a 2008 bonus of $10 million -- since the bank's sale to BofA "saved" Merrill!

- Drove one of Wall Street's oldest, most prestigious banks off a cliff -- but was still compensated to the tune of $15 million in 2008!

- Idiot!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Jimmy Cayne

- From 1993 to 2008, CEO of Bear Stearns -- before it collapsed in 2008, one of Wall Street's Big 5 investment banks!

- World-class bridge player -- and noted pothead!

- As a teenager, disliked school and wanted to be a bookie!

- Hired as a stockbroker by Bear Stearns in 1969 -- when Bear CEO Ace Greenberg met him at a bridge tournament!

- Made Fortune magazine's 2005 list of the 400 richest Americans -- with a net worth estimated at $900 million!

- Estimates of Cayne's wealth reached $1.6 billion in 2007!

- In 1998, while other banks were chipping in billions of dollars to save the global financial system in the wake of the crash of the hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management, refused to chip in Bear Stearns money -- saying, "Let them fail"!

- Under Cayne's watch, Bear Stearns took on massive risk -- vastly increasing leverage, and betting heavily on "toxic" subprime mortgage-backed securities!

- In the month of June 2007, as two Bear hedge funds collapsed after making big-time bets on subprime mortgage markets, spent 10 of 21 workdays out of the office -- golfing and playing bridge!

- Boasted of paying $140 apiece for Cuban cigars -- which he kept in a humidor in his office!

- In 2008, purchased a couple of condo units in Manhattan's luxe Plaza Hotel -- for $27 million!

- On the day Bear agreed to be acquired by JP Morgan, was out of the office -- at a bridge tournament in Detroit!

- In 2008, as Bear was tanking, sold all his stock in the company -- which had been worth as much as a billion dollars a couple of years before -- for $61 million!

- Blamed a "conspiracy" for bringing down Bear -- not the gaping holes in the bank's balance sheet!

- When the Fed refused to come to Bear's aid as the bank collapsed, said of NY Fed chairman Tim Geithner, "This guy thinks he's got a big dick. He's got nothing -- except maybe a boyfriend"!

- Reportedly is now "concerned about his legacy"!

- Idiot!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Robert Rubin

- Goldman Sachs alum -- like practically everyone else central to the destruction of the world economy!

- Ran the Treasury Department under President Bill Clinton -- who called him "the greatest secretary of the Treasury since Alexander Hamilton"!

- In his autobiography, noted that many investors don't understand the risks of derivatives -- yet as Treasury Secretary, fiercely opposed derivatives regulation!

- In 2008, unregulated subprime-mortgage derivatives deals caused the collapse of credit markets -- pulling the global economy into a downward spiral worse than any since the Great Depression!

- Joined the Citigroup board in 1999!

- In 2001, used his influence at Treasury to pressure ratings agencies not to downgrade Enron's credit rating!

- Received $126 million in compensation from Citi, while overseeing the bank's extensive subprime lending -- and its $80 billion investment in risky "toxic" derivatives!

- Under Rubin's watch, in 2008, Citi's stock price declined by more than 90%!

- To date, Citi has received $45 billion in federal bailout money!

- Rubin refuses to take any responsibility for Citi's collapse -- or the collapse of the global economy!

- In 2009, named by Marketwatch as one of the ten most unethical people in business!

- Rewarded for his "accomplishments" by President Barack Obama, who tapped Rubin to advise on economic policy!

- With Rubin's help, the Obama team has come up with a plan to get "toxic" assets off banks' books by giving hedge funds the opportunity to make mountains of money == while taxpayers shoulder all of the (hundreds of billions of dollars of) risk!

- Idiot!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Christopher Cox

- Named chairman of the SEC in 2005 -- by President George W. Bush!

- Longtime supporter of securities deregulation who actually believed that markets are better off regulating themselves voluntarily!

- Described by Forbes magazine as having "the air of a well-scrubbed, mischievous schoolboy" -- and "the retro good looks of a square-jawed astronaut"!

- In 1980, appeared as a contestant on the NBC game show Password Plus -- winning more than $5,000!

- 17-year Republican member of Congress -- representing sunny Orange County, California!

- Also served on the White House staff of Ronald Reagan, whose voodoo economics set the stage for the current global financial meltdown!

- Yet another of the best and brightest who got a Harvard MBA before going on to destroy the economy!

- According to one former SEC employee, the business community felt that the agency "was too tough on corporate America and Wall Street" -- and "Cox was brought in to chill it out"!

- Shifted SEC enforcement efforts from major investigations of big Wall Street banks to smaller-time investigations -- essentially looking the other way while Wall Street looted the economy!

- Watered down the SEC's risk-assessment program -- designed to prevent financial crises!

- Under Cox, SEC fines fell from $1.5 billion in 2005 to just $500 million in 2008!

- Also under Cox, the SEC failed to stop Bernie Madoff's $65 billion Ponzi scheme -- despite having been warned that Madoff was up to no good for years!

- Did nothing while banks' subprime-backed securities holdings grew and capital ratios shrank, leading to the demise of Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, and Lehman Brothers -- three of the five major investment banks on Wall Street!

- Finally got a grip on reality in September 2008, saying, "Voluntary regulation does not work"!

- Idiot!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Angelo Mozilo

- Founder and CEO of Countrywide Finance -- aggressive sub-prime mortgage lender, and the first mortgage lender to top $1 trillion in loans!

- Also co-founded IndyMac bank, another sub-prime mortgage origination factory!

- Wrote risky loans in order to sell them to Wall Street bankers -- who then packaged them into the "toxic assets" that are rotting corporate balance sheets around the globe!

- Son of a . . . butcher!

- Gave special loan terms to friends who really needed the financial break -- including Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT), former Clinton White House staffer Paul Begala, former Clinton Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, former Fannie Mae CEOs James Johnson and Franklin Raines, and diplomat and investment banker Richard Holbrooke!

- Sold off hundreds of millions of dollars in Countrywide stock -- even while assuring buyers of the stock that they'd experience sweetness and light and skyrocketing investment returns!

- Took home $470 million in compensation between 2001 and 2006!

- Referred to borrowers who, under financial duress, contacted Countrywide to request revisions to their loan terms as "disgusting"!

- Proud owner of a George Hamilton tan!

- In January 2008, avoided Countrywide bankruptcy by selling the company to Bank of America -- for $4 billion!

- A month later, BofA (which to date has received $45 billion in bailout money) announced it would settle charges of predatory lending against Countrywide -- at a cost of nearly $9 billion!

- Soon to face SEC fraud charges!

- Believes Countrywide made a "positive impact" on society!

- Idiot!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Henry Paulson

- Goes by "Hank"!

- Eagle Scout!

- Worked for John Ehrlichman -- Republican and felon -- during the Watergate break-in and cover-up!

- CEO of Goldman Sachs during the inflation of the sub-prime mortgage bubble!

- Received total compensation from Goldman of more than half a BILLION dollars!

- As CEO, convinced the SEC to release Goldman from the net capital rule -- exposing the bank to more risk than ever before!

- Also convinced the SEC to lessen regulatory oversight of risk-taking by investment banks!

- Named U.S. Secretary of the Treasury in 2006 -- by fellow Harvard Business School alum George W. Bush!

- As Secretary of the Treasury, charged with overseeing the same banking industry which had made him as rich as Midas!

- In March 2007, said, "An open, competitive, and liberalized financial market can effectively allocate scarce resources in a manner that promotes stability and prosperity far better than governmental intervention"!

- In August 2007, claimed the sub-prime mortgage crisis was "contained"!

- After coming to the aid of Bear Stearns earlier in 2008, in September allowed Lehman Brothers to fail -- sending the global economy into a death spiral!

- On September 15, 2008, called the U.S. banking system "safe and sound"!

- Later that month, asked Congress to give him $700 billion to bail out the banking industry and thaw frozen credit markets!

- Initially tried to get Congress to give him absolute, unchecked power to do what he deemed necessary to save the financial system!

- Told Congress and the public that the bailout money would go towards purchasing "toxic assets" -- but gave the money to his banker buddies instead!

- Gave bailout money to banks with no requirement to use the money to make loans -- and no oversight of how the banks actually use the money!

- Bailout recipients used taxpayer money to pay bankers billions of dollars in "performance related" bonuses!

- Word on the Street is that billions of dollars in AIG bailout money have gone to pay off bets by Goldman that the sub-prime market would collapse!

- Never required that Goldman, or any other bank, reveal the extent of sub-prime mortgage-related investments -- resulting in continuing distrust of banks, and an ongoing credit crunch!

- Under Paulson's watch, two of the four major investment banks disappeared; only Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs -- Paulson's former employer -- remain!

- Claimed that the last thing he wanted to do with the bailout was cause a moral hazard among his banker buddies!

- Diagnosis: utterly deluded, or in possession of deep reserves of chutzpah!

- Idiot!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Ken Lewis

- CEO of the biggest bank in the U.S. -- Bank of America!

- To date, BofA has accepted $45 billion in federal bailout money!

- Started his career in banking in 1969, as -- get this -- a credit analyst!

- In 2008, in the middle of the utter collapse of the global housing market, made the brilliant decision to acquire sub-prime mortgage lender Countrywide Financial -- for $4 billion!

- That same year, spent $50 billion to acquire Merrill Lynch -- despite that bank's massive sub-prime exposure!

- Failed to disclose Merrill's 2008 financial situation to BofA shareholders -- despite having full knowledge of how dire it was!

- Signed off on $3.6 billion in bonuses to Merrill bankers -- despite Merrill's loss of $27 billion in 2008!

- BofA posted a loss of $2.4 billion in 2008 -- but Lewis still received compensation of $9 million!

- Thanks to Lewis' "leadership", BofA may well end up having to be nationalized -- at further great expense to taxpayers -- to prevent the total collapse of the financial system!

- Stunning as it may seem, won American Banker's 2008 Banker of the Year Award!

- One former BofA executive called Lewis "the most dispassionate man I've ever met," adding, "He has ice water in his veins"!

- Last week, in an historic speech before the entire Congress, U.S. President Obama declared that the days of bankers flying on expensive private jets "were over"!

- This week, Lewis flew to New York to meet with Attorney General Andrew Cuomo -- on an expensive private jet!

- Cost to fuel and staff the private jet, per hour: $5,000!

- Cost for a commercial flight from BofA headquarters to New York: $440!

- At the meeting, Lewis refused Cuomo's request for information about the Merrill bonuses he signed off on -- in essence saying, "Up yours, taxpayers!"

- Idiot!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

George W. Bush

- The 43rd President of the United States of America!

- Born with a silver spoon in his mouth!

- Like his father and grandfather before him, attended Yale -- where he got Cs!

- Member of Yale's elite Skull & Bones secret society!

- Was a cheerleader in college -- and, later, a cheerleader for deregulation and lower taxes for the super-rich!

- Cokehead, drunk, and failed oilman!

- The nation's first CEO president, ran his country even less effectively than his businesses!

- Pushed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to meet aggressive targets for loans to low-income home buyers!

- In 2006 pooh-poohed warnings of a looming housing crash!

- In 2007 blamed the subprime-mortgage crash on homeowners with insufficient "financial literacy" -- not deregulated markets or greedy lenders!

- In 2002, demanded that Argentina respond to an economic crisis by instituting free-market reforms!

- In 2008, when the U.S. faced its own economic crisis and the government gave hundreds of billions of dollars to struggling private-sector financial institutions, said, "I've abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system" -- with a straight face!

- Even in 2008, continued to deny that the U.S. economy was in a recession -- and that it was fundamentally strong!

- Granted Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson unprecedented power when credit markets froze, resulting in a haphazardly planned bailout that gave Paulson's banker buddies hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars -- with no direction on how the money should be used, and no oversight of how bankers used it!

- Throughout his presidency, took credit for creating jobs and stock market growth!

- Today the jobless rate is skyrocketing -- and the stock market is lower than it was when Bush took office!

- Thanks to the foreclosure boom caused by Bush policy, today the U.S. homeownership rate is no higher than it was when he entered office!

- Idiot!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Rick Santelli

- In the 1980s, worked at Drexel Burnham Lambert -- the same bank where junk-bond king and convicted felon Michael Milken did his dirty, greedy work!

- Now works for the pro-Wall Street cable TV outfit CNBC, where he appears live from the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT)!

- Thinks CBOT traders -- most of them rich, white Republicans -- are a "pretty good cross-section of America"!

- In recent years, Santelli and his "cross-section of America" made making a mint trading unregulated derivatives -- until unregulated derivatives ended up cratering the stock market and destroying the economy!

- Recently proposed a "Chicago Tea Party" -- a revolt against the Obama stimulus package!

- Says out loud what most Wall Streeters secretly believe -- that Americans who are coping with foreclosures are "losers"!

- Outraged at those "losers," whom he believes are at fault for the current dire situation -- not at the bankers who aggressively sold and securitized subprime mortgages!

- Has yet to express outrage at bankers who are accepting bailout billions!

- Get this: Believes that the founding fathers -- Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson -- would agree with him!

- In September 2008 -- just a couple of weeks before the markets crashed -- claimed "the economy is healthy"!

- Sounds remarkably like Matt Foley, motivational speaker!

- Recently ripped a new one by Jon Stewart!

- Blowhard -- and idiot!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Joseph Cassano

- In the 1980s, worked at Drexel Burnham Lambert -- the same bank where junk-bond king and convicted felon Michael Milken did his dirty, greedy work!

- More recently, head of insurance giant AIG's financial products division!

- Just by himself, took a 30% cut of his division's profit -- compensation amounting to $280 million over eight years!

- Lives in a luxe 3-story townhouse in a posh London neighborhood -- just around the corner from Harrods, the world's most famous luxury department store!

- Encouraged buyers to "play the power game" -- i.e. aggressively purchase his credit derivatives, which allowed investors to bet that the subprime mortgage market would tank!

- Repeatedly claimed credit derivatives posed no danger to the company or its shareholders!

- When the housing bubble burst in 2007, buyers of credit derivatives from Cassano's group started coming to cash in on their bets -- and AIG was stuck with tens of billions of dollars in losses!

- As a result, AIG -- the world's biggest insurance company -- plunged towards bankruptcy and a bailout costing taxpayers $150 billion!

- Somehow, Cassano still managed to get a $34 million bonus!

- In the words of U.S. Representative John Sarbanes (D-MD), Cassano "single-handedly brought AIG to its knees"!

- Fired in February 2008 -- but continued to work for AIG as a $1-million-per-month consultant! (Yes, as in a one with six zeros after it! Per month!)

- Idiot!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Larry Kudlow

- Reagan budget director turned Wall Street flack!

- Relentless stock-market cheerleading played a central role in inflating the past two market bubbles -- which, when they popped, resulted in trillions of dollars of lost wealth!

- Worked for liberal Daniel Patrick Moynihan's 1976 U.S. Senate campaign before turning true believer in supply-side economics -- a.k.a. "voodoo economics"!

- Against the estate tax and capital gains taxes!

- Believes unlimited executive compensation is fine and dandy -- and that pension and medical benefits for rank-and-file workers are an "undue burden" on corporations!

- Forced to resign as chief economist at Bear Stearns in 1994 -- because he was a cokehead!

- Worked for Arthur Laffer, inventor of the Laffer Curve, which "proves" that lower taxes lead to higher government revenues!

- Currently on his third wife!

- Favored the war in Iraq because -- get this -- "a lack of decisive follow-through in the global war on terrorism is the single biggest problem facing the stock market"!

- Enjoys tennis and golf in his free time!

- Mocked those worried about the business climate and the markets as purveyors of doom and gloom -- even as the global credit crunch was gathering steam!

- Called recessions "therapeutic" and "cleansing"!

- Blamed the current economic crisis, the most severe since the Great Depression, on "liberal guilt"!

- Idiot!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Milton Friedman

- Nobel Prize-winning U. of Chicago economist!

- Believed government regulations are bad, bad, bad!

- Believed the government should manage the economy using monetary policy -- by managing the money supply -- rather than by using Keynesian government-spending programs!

- Provided philosophical justification for rampant greed -- and for policies that led to the dot-com bubble, Enron and the related accounting scandals, investment bank conflict-of-interest scandals, the California electricity market crisis, the housing bubble, and the subprime-mortgage boom!

- Inspired Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Augusto Pinochet!

- Honored in 2002 for his "towering intellect" by George W. Bush -- certainly a qualified judge!

- Between 1980 and 2008, while Uncle Miltie's economic philosophy was in ascendance, the gap between rich and poor grew at an astounding rate!

- Influenced Icelandic leaders to get the government out of business and the financial markets, leading to the bankruptcy of that country in 2008!

- Died in 2006, and so never got the chance to see the global economic meltdown caused by the policies he espoused -- or the Keynesian policy response!

- Idiot!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Phil Gramm

- Former U.S. Senator (R-TX)!

- Has been called the High Priest of Deregulation!

- Opposes the minimum wage!

- Has called Wall Street a "holy place"!

- Argued for cutting the food stamp program by saying "all our poor people are fat"!

- Has a face only a mother could love -- and a smile like a constipated person trying to evacuate his bowels!

- From 1989 to 2002, in the top five among politicians in terms of campaign contributions from Wall Street!

- Cowrote the 1999 Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which eliminated rules in place since the Depression designed to protect the economy from widespread financial-institution failure!

- Gramm-Leach-Bliley allowed commercial banks like Citi and BofA to invest in the very subprime mortgage-backed securities that would later render them insolvent!

- Cosponsored the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, which paved the way for the corruption and collapse of Enron -- and ensured that derivative products like credit default swaps would remain unregulated!

- Superstar investor Warren Buffet called those same derivative products "weapons of mass destruction"!

- In 2001 said subprime home lending is "the American dream in action"!

- After leaving the Senate, went to work for investment bank UBS, where he lobbied the government to ease regulation of predatory subprime mortgage lenders!

- In 2008 called the economic crash a "mental recession," and called the U.S. "a nation of whiners"!

- That same year, UBS received a $60 billion bailout from the Swiss government, to compensate for subprime mortage-related losses!

- Of claims that deregulation caused the economic crisis, says, "I just don't see any evidence of it"!

- Idiot!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Allan Mulally, Bob Nardelli, and Rick Wagoner

- CEOs of Chrysler, Ford, and GM, respectively -- the Big Three U.S. automakers!

- The Big Three have a longstanding and deserved reputation for making lower-quality vehicles than foreign automakers!

- In high school, Rick Wagoner was named best all-around student in his class!

- Wagoner has an MBA from Harvard -- just like Grover Norquist, Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling, and George W. Bush!

- Early in his career, while at GE, Bob Nardelli was known as "Little Jack," after GE CEO Jack Welch, a global warming skeptic who during his career at GE left his wife for a journalist who interviewed him for a story and laid off hundreds of thousands of workers -- and who continues to draw an $8 million annual retirement payment despite already having a net worth of more than $700 million!

- Wagoner's 2007 compensation was $15.7 million!

- After being ousted from Home Depot with a $210 million golden parachute, Nardelli signed on with Chrysler, where he's taking an annual salary of $1 -- but is receiving other compensation that he doesn't disclose!

- During the oil crisis of 2003-2008 -- as demand for big, inefficient vehicles tumbled -- the Big Three continued to focus production and marketing efforts on gas-guzzling cars, trucks, and SUVs!

- Big Three market share in the U.S. dropped from 70% in 1998 to 53% in 2008!

- After years of mismanaging the Big Three, traveled to Washington, DC, to request a $25 billion bailout from the U.S. Senate -- spending tens of thousands of dollars to get there via private jet, rather than a fraction of that on regular commercial flights!

- Who do they blame for their companies' pathetic performance in the marketplace? Unions!

- After being excoriated for their travel expenses on the first trip, traveled by car to a follow-up meeting with the Senate -- Nardelli in a hybrid, Mulally in a Ford Escape, and Wagoner alternating between a Chevy Malibu, a Chevy Cobalt XFE, and a Buick Lucerne!

- Wagoner and Mulally actually spent part of the nine-hour drive from Detroit to DC behind the wheel of the cars they were traveling in!

- When asked by U.S. Representative Paul Kanjorski (D-PA) how much money GM needed to survive, Wagoner all but said, "How much do you have?"

- Idiots!

Stephen Joynt, Raymond McDaniel, and Deven Sharma

- Heads of Fitch, Moody's, and Standard & Poor's, the three main credit rating agencies -- financial gatekeepers responsible for rating debt based on the issuer's ability to repay on time!

- Claim they offer independent, objective ratings -- despite being paid by the very companies whose securities they rate!

- Relaxed ratings standards to win business during the housing boom -- giving investment-grade ratings to the very same subprime mortgage-backed securities that caused the collapse of the global economy!

- Revenue at the agencies doubled during the housing boom -- from $3 billion in 2002 to more than $6 billion in 2007!

- Continued to give investment-grade ratings to subprime mortgage-backed debt even after they knew how much risk these securities were adding to the financial system!

- S&P gave Lehman Brothers a triple-A rating just a month before Lehman declared bankruptcy!

- According to one S&P analyst, that agency would rate deals even if they were "structured by cows"!

- Claim they couldn't possibly have foreseen the current economic crisis -- even though they're supposed to be experts at understanding financial risk!

- Idiots!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Alan Greenspan

- Chairman of the Federal Reserve from 1987 to 2006, presiding over U.S. monetary policy that helped create not one but two financial bubbles, the dot-com bubble and the housing bubble -- the first of which resulted in a stock market crash and massive layoffs, and the second of which resulted in an unprecedented global crisis!

- A firm believer in unfettered free markets -- and a staunch opponent of regulation that might have helped us avoid the current dramatic downturn!

- Kept interest rates low even as the housing market overheated, while going out of his way to downplay the potential danger of his policy!

- Now calls the crisis resulting from his policy "a once-in-a-century credit tsunami"!

- Dated Barbara Walters in the 1970s!

- An acolyte of "novelist" Ayn Rand -- whose philosophy, Objectivism, "was an extreme form of libertarianism that actually celebrated selfishness and greed"!

- Called "the Undertaker" by Rand -- not because she had foreknowledge that he'd preside over the destruction of the economy, but for his dour dress and demeanor!

- In October 2008, said he was "shocked" to discover that free markets might not always be good at regulating themselves!

- Supported Bush plan to privatize Social Security!

- Supported Bush tax cuts despite skyrocketing government spending!

- Played in a jazz band in college!

- Blamed by not one but two Nobel Prize-winning economists, Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz, for destroying the economy!

- Recently compared by U.S. Representative John Yarmuth (D-KY) to Bill Buckner, the Red Sox first baseman who fumbled away certain victory for the Sox in the 1986 World Series by letting a ground ball hit by the Mets' Mookie Wilson dribble through his legs!

- Isn't it ironic, don' you think: For most of his career, known as "the Maestro"!

- Idiot!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Richard S. Fuld, Jr.

- CEO of Lehman Brothers, a venerable Wall Street institution that went bust in September 2008, triggering the collapse of the entire financial system!

- Joined Lehman as an intern in the 1969, and worked at the bank for 39 years!

- Oversaw Lehman's aggressive move into risky subprime mortgage lending and highly leveraged subprime-backed securities investments!

- #11 on Forbes' 2008 list of best-compensated CEOs, with total 2007 compensation of $71.9 billion!

- Continued outrageous compensation payments to himself and his firm's employees even after the beginning of the credit crunch -- because he was certain the government would bail out Lehman like it did Bear Stears!

- In a June 2008 conference call, assured investors that Lehman was in good shape despite its $2.8 billion Q2 loss!

- Known as "the Gorilla" for his "take-no-prisoners manner of doing business" (read: temper tantrums)!

- Destroyed his first career, as an Air Force pilot, by punching his commanding officer!

- Got in a fist fight at his son's hockey game -- with the father of one of his son's teammates! Was pulled away by another Lehman exec -- because, as the fellow Lehman exec put it, the rival dad "was being attacked by the bigger man"!

- Owns luxurious homes in Greenwich, CT, on Jupiter Island, FL, and on Park Avenue! (UPDATE: In a move common among rich folks looking to protect assets from creditors, recently sold the Jupiter Island home, purchased for more than $13 million in 2004, to his wife -- for just $10!)

- Astoundingly, still works as a consultant to the company he destroyed!

- Following his weasel-like performance in front of the House Oversight Committee (see video above), was punched in the face while working out in the Lehman Brothers gym!

- Idiot -- and a great, big Dick!