Category Archives: Wall St.

Conspiracy Theory

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It must be a conspiracy. The stock market lost all its gains for the year this past week. So naturally as I post this the markets are soaring.

Ben Bernanke’s Money

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What good is quantitative easing if Ben Bernanke can’t get a loan? The former Fed chairman confided last week that he was unable to refinance his $850,000 home mortgage. It’s true he’s out of a job but ex-government swells are never out of the money. Bernanke is still making the stuff from thin air (or hot air) by cranking out speeches at more than $200,000 a pop.

Helicopter Ben Bernanke

IBD notes that even Barney Frank now lays some blame on the government for the 2008 banking crisis. It forced banks to lend to risky home buyers and now Dodd Frank is overcorrecting by putting the clamps on the banking industry. Banks have been forced to close branches to pay penalties. They’re sitting on piles of free money but they’re reluctant to lend, even to Helicopter Ben.

In that same speech he also discussed how the government can always avoid deflation by printing more dollars and referred to a statement made by Milton Friedman, a Nobel Prize winning economist, about using a helicopter drop of money to fight deflation. Since then, Bernanke has had the nickname of “Helicopter Ben.”

 

 

Economic Patriotism

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President Obama’s favorite billionaire is making a run for the border. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway will finance Burger King’s purchase of Canadian donut dynamo, Tim Hortons.

Economic Patriotism

As a Canadian operation, Burger King will still have to pay US corporate taxes on earnings inside the United States. But earnings outside the US will only be taxed at the rate of the country where they occur. US companies have to pay taxes in the countries where they operate and also must pay IRS the difference between those rates and the US rate. The Obama administration calls this economic patriotism.

Burger King’s move is called a tax “inversion”. Matt Levine gives a great explanation in this Bloomberg article.

The US corporate rate, including state and local taxes comes to about 40%. That’s the highest in the world outside the Islamic State jizya. Roberto A. Ferdman provides a nice chart in the Washington Post showing the tax rates of the 34 OECD countries.

The nominal corporate tax rate in the U.S., which combines national, state, and city-level tax rates, is nearly 40 percent—the highest across all 34 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries. Canada’s, by comparison, is just over 26 percent.

Poor Mouth

140625-hillary-poor-mouthHillary’s book tour got off to a poor start during an interview with Diane Sawyer.  We learned that Bill and Hill came to the White House “with no money” and left “not only dead broke but in debt“. People used to call her Patches.

It wasn’t for lack of effort, though, or “dint of hard work” as Hillary put it.

The threadbare baggage the Clintons brought to Washington from Arkansas in 1993 included the Whitewater real estate scheme. They lost $40,000 on that one. According to prosecutors, dubious loans through a failed S&L didn’t profit them either. More hard work and nothing to show for it. Plucky Hillary did finally manage to shoo the wolf from the door by turning $1,000 into $100,000 on a cattle futures trade. She attributed her investing acumen to reading the Wall Street Journal.

All that hard work finally blossomed into a happy ending with $200,000 speaking fees, multi million dollar book advances, and a bankroll over $100,000,000.

As a candidate for the 2004 nomination Howard Dean said he led the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party. Poor Patches now leads the limousine liberal wing of the Democratic Party.

Only in America.

Backdoor Wall Street Bailout

131114-fed-yellen-easy-money-backdoor-bailout-wall-streetOur magic president has appointed a new Fed chief to make more magic money.

Janet Yellen’s Senate hearing for approval to succeed Ben Bernanke began yesterday.

Backdoor Wall Street Bailout

Andrew Huszar, a former bond buyer for the Fed, wrote an interesting apology in the WSJ this week for his role in “quantitative easing”.

He says that the Fed never bought a mortgage bond in its 100 year history until he was hired in 2009 to buy $1.25 trillion of the things! In a single year. According to Huszar Bernanke spun the scheme as a plan to help Main Street but it was really “the biggest backdoor Wall Street bailout of all time”.

Chairman Ben Bernanke made clear that the Fed’s central motivation was to “affect credit conditions for households and businesses”: to drive down the cost of credit so that more Americans hurting from the tanking economy could use it to weather the downturn.

QE may have been driving down the wholesale cost for banks to make loans, but Wall Street was pocketing most of the extra cash.