Sunday, September 21, 2008
Outrage in Europe, anyway, as GWB sleeps
by Larry Geller
Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC), the administrator to Lehman’s European operation has demanded that the firm repay £4.4 billion that was transferred from the UK to Lehman’s US holding company just hours before the firm collapsed. This left London with no money to pay staff. [The Times (London), Fury at $2.5bn Lehman bonus, 9/21/2008]
Remember, the New York staff of Lehman Bros. will share a $2.5 billion bonus.
The finance minister of Italy's conservative and pro-U.S. government warned of nothing less than a systemic breakdown. Giulio Tremonti excoriated the "voracious selfishness" of speculators and "stupid sluggishness" of regulators. And he singled out Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, with startling scorn.
"Greenspan was considered a master," Tremonti declared. "Now we must ask ourselves whether he is not, after [Osama] bin Laden, the man who hurt America the most. . . . It is clear that what is happening is a disease. It is not the failure of a bank, but the failure of a system. Until a few days ago, very few were willing to realize the intensity and the dramatic nature of the crisis.". . [LA Times, Europeans on left and right ridicule U.S. money meltdown, 9/20/2008]
That’s from one of our closest allies! I wonder if this strong reaction could portend an isolation of the US dollar, further driving down its value.
On this week’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me (NPR), they quipped something like, the dollar is rapidly becoming worthless, might be a good time to put George W. Bush’s picture on it.
We might need that to remind us of what he looks like. Notice that as all this transpires, George is keeping away from the action, hiding out so to speak. See: Bush Absent on Financial Crisis as Paulson Leads:
For three days, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 800 points, the president's absence had been conspicuous.
``It's George W. Who?'' Fred Greenstein, a presidential historian at Princeton University in New Jersey, said yesterday.
Where’s George? The president, I mean.
You remember him. Dubya. No. 43. Won a second term a few years ago. It was in all the papers.
But where has he been lately? Where has he been during America’s worst financial crisis since the Great Depression?
Nowhere. AWOL. Every now and then, when the stock market takes yet another sickening plunge, a few words issue forth from the presidential lips. A very few words. Delivered with the greatest reluctance.
“I will continue to closely monitor the situation in our financial markets and consult with my economic advisers,” President Bush said Thursday in a two-minute address from the Rose Garden.
That’s right, two minutes. Delivered, according to the official White House transcript, from 10:15 a.m. EDT to 10:17 a.m. EDT. Maybe you missed it. Maybe you were at work. Maybe the president doesn’t care.
Maybe that’s the problem.
George W. Bush will continue to draw a paycheck until noon on Jan. 20, 2009. (If there is still any money left in the U.S. Treasury to pay him, that is.)
Perhaps candidate McCain prefers that Bush basically disappear. At this point, he wouldn’t want to be associated with the guy at all.
The rest of the world is watching, though, and America may need its support to pull through this one. We ought to behave better.
"Greenspan was considered a master," Tremonti declared. "Now we must ask ourselves whether he is not, after [Osama] bin Laden, the man who hurt America the most.
Wow, this is exciting. Finally the corporate criminals are being identified as the economic terrorists they are by the folks who ought to know.
Yeah, I agree Larry and Joan. It is interesting that these events are finally taking place. This whole thing has been 8 or more years in the making...some would say much more. Wall Street has had systematic problems in the past few decades, they just finally appear to be losing control of it this time. I think it is partly the function of the lack of ethics and professional ignorance of a generation. This most recent generation finally lost control of it.