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!