The Fierce Urgency of Pork
By Charles Krauthammer
"A failure to act, and act now, will turn crisis into a catastrophe." President Obama, Feb. 4.
Catastrophe, mind you. So much for the president who in his inaugural address two weeks earlier declared "we have chosen hope over fear." Until, that is, you need fear to pass a bill.
BEHOLD THE FEAR: PASS IT NOW, OR WE MAY NEVER RECOVER
Bush Calls Bailout Vital to Economy, Will Meet With McCain and Obama
Proposal Takes Shape in Congress, but Broad Support Is Lacking
The Bush administration overpaid tens of billions of dollars for stocks and other assets in its massive bailout last year of Wall Street banks and financial institutions, a new study by a government watchdog says The Congressional Oversight Panel, in a report released Friday, said last year's overpayments amounted to a taxpayer-financed $78 billion subsidy of the firms.
By Lori Montgomery and Paul Kane
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, September 25, 2008; A01
President Bush said yesterday that the credit crisis that has seized world markets could devastate the U.S. economy unless Congress acts quickly to approve a $700 billion bailout plan for the nation's financial system, a message aimed at reluctant lawmakers as much as a deeply skeptical public.
Obama Set to Name Economic Panel
President Obama is set to appoint on Friday a new team of outside economic advisers, led by a former Federal Reserve chairman, Paul Volcker, to offer independent advice to help the White House craft a response to the nation’s growing recession.When he first met Obama, Volcker sat at a table with Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn and Merrill Lynch President Greg Fleming
The group also will include Jeffrey Immelt, chairman of General Electric, and Jim Owens, the chairman of Caterpillar Inc., which announced last week the layoff of 20,000 jobs. William Donaldson, a former Securities and Exchange Commission chairman, will also serve on the board, along with Roger Ferguson, the president of T.I.A.A.-CREF, and Martin Feldstein, a Harvard University professor, who was the chief economic adviser to President Ronald Reagan.The group also includes two leading labor officials: Richard Trumka of the A.F.L.-C.I.O. and Anna Burger of the Service Employees International Union. The board, which will meet for two years, will be guided by Austan Goolsbee, an economic adviser to the president.
11/21/2008: Where Will GE's Jeff Immelt Be at 2 PM Today?
General Electric (GE) said last week that it will tap the FDIC for guarantees covering $139 billion in corporate debt via its finance arm. Banks are automatically enrolled in the FDIC guarantee program unless they decide to opt out. However, a group of nine large banks, including Goldman Sachs (GS), Bank of America (BAC), Citigroup (C) and JP Morgan (JPM), had objected to certain key provisions in the Interim Rule. In particular, the nine banks, and Credit Suisse (CS), warned that anything short of an unconditional and prompt payment obligation on the part of the FDIC will place American financial institutions at a distinct disadvantage when compared to their British and European counterparts.James W. Owens, Glow Baller Deluxe:
“Nationally, my big interest quite frankly is trade and globalization,” he says. “I feel very strongly about it as a professional economist, as an American, and certainly as a chairman of a major company that participates in a global economy.”William Donaldson
He says the United States has to win and compete in the world market in order to continue to be a great country in 2050. With only five percent of the world’s population, U.S. companies will not be able to compete in the long term by encouraging protectionist policies.
“There’s tremendous apprehension among the public, fed by and flamed by the politicians for short-term votes, which I think is a bit of a tragedy,” he says. “I think the business leadership in our country has got to speak out more forcefully and articulately about the benefits of trade, the win-win aspect of trade.”
Effective globalization also encompasses the need for a thoughtful immigration policy, which our political system seems to be fighting.
“I believe more people have been lifted out of poverty by globalization and opening markets than by the sum of all the charities by a factor of many,” he says.
As SEC Chairman, Donaldson presided over the meeting at the SEC on April 28, 2004, that was held at the request of the major Wall Street investment houses, including Goldman Sachs, then headed by future Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr. The firms requested that the SEC approve an alternative to the so-called "net capital rule", or responsibility to hold regulatory capital in their brokerage units. They also wanted to avoid European Union regulation of the entire investment banking conglomerates, since the EU had agreed not to scrutinize foreign firms at the consolidated level if the SEC were to do so instead.
A 1999 law, however, put investment bank holding companies, the consolidated groups of their hundreds of subsidiaries, beyond SEC oversight. The investment banks therefore lobbied for a decision that would allow "voluntary" regulation at the holding company level by the SEC.
The Commission under Donaldson voted unanimously to change the regulation as the investment banks requested. Under the final rules the large investment banks were "subject to substantially fewer requirements," according to the adopting release.
In the 2004 rulemaking, the Commission under Donaldson decided to rely on the firms’ own computer models for determining the riskiness of investments, "essentially outsourcing the job of monitoring risk to the banks themselves." Donaldson and the other Commissioners who voted for the rule change were aware of the risks at the time, as indicated by the comment at the April 28, 2004 meeting by Commissioner Harvey Goldschmid. "If anything goes wrong," said Goldschmid, who supported Donaldson in voting for the proposal, "it's going to be an awfully big mess." A report by the SEC Office of the Inspector General after the near-failure of Bear Stearns stated that the standards the Commission adopted under Donaldson in 2004 were inadequate to warn of the firm's impending crisis.
The only briefing the Commission received that criticized the regulatory change prior to its adoption came from Leonard D. Bole, an information technology consultant, who found the risk models used by investors no better in 2004 than during the 1998 failure and bailout of the hedge fund, Long-Term Capital Management. At the time of the rulemaking the SEC took no action to contact Bole to follow up on the briefing that he submitted.
Speech by SEC Chairman William H. Donaldson
Remarks before the Caux Round Table
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
November 30, 2004
So, I ask myself WTF is all this "Moral Capitalism" crap he keeps referring to through the whole speech? Well, I'll tell you:
Let me start by thanking the Caux Round Table for giving me this much appreciated honor and the opportunity to speak this evening. The Round Table has done, and continues to do, important and valuable work – in the United States and throughout the world – helping to advance ethical business practices and a moral capitalism. It is an honor and a pleasure to be here.
I also want to thank John Whitehead for his generous words. Through his career in business and government John has come to embody the ideals at the core of the Caux Principles for Business. He has been a close friend for many years, and as many of you know he has had a long and distinguished career as the senior partner at Goldman, Sachs and as Deputy Secretary of State. Today, New York and the nation are fortunate to have him leading the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which has been helping to rebuild the area around the World Trade Center following the September 11th terrorist attacks. He has also served as a director of many non-profit organizations and business corporations, including Pillsbury here in Minneapolis.
Moral Capitalism is based on the Caux Round Table (CRT) Principles for Business, a code of ethics that sets consistent and attainable worldwide guidelines for how business can behave responsibly and ethically. The book shows readers how to manage market capitalism and globalization for economic and social justice and fairness, in the process improving individual lives and communities. Author Stephen Young argues that "brute capitalism" - profit-seeking regardless of effects - must give way to moral capitalism to attain widespread monetary and moral well-being. Emphasizing a cross-cultural perspective that draws on Chinese and Japanese philosophies of selflessness, Young links moral aspirations to practical, day-to-day guidelines for a profitable approach to business that is also ethical, resulting in the public good.
SO. Let's look at this Caux Round Table crapola for a minute:
CAUX ROUND TABLE:
"An international network of business leaders working to promote a moral capitalism"
"What has differentiated the Caux Round Table from its inception is that it consists of individual senior business leaders who share common values and a conviction that business should assume a leadership role in bringing positive changes in society. We seek to affect the policies and conduct not only of internationally involved businesses but also of governments and multinational institutions. We believe that sensitivity to the concerns of all stakeholders, dialogue that leads to advocacy and action, and collaboration with others are the keys to greater prosperity, sustainability and fairness in a global economy."
~Winston R. Wallin
Former Chairman, Caux Round Table and Chairman Emeritus, Medtronic Inc.
"These principles are rooted in two basic ethical ideals: kyosei and human dignity. The Japanese concept of kyosei means living and working together for the common good enabling cooperation and mutual prosperity to coexist with healthy and fair competition. "Human dignity" refers to the sacredness or value of each person as an end, not simply as a mean to the fulfillment of others' purposes or even majority prescription."
Principles for NGO's
The Caux Round Table believes that social justice and better outcomes from the global modernizing and wealth-creating process called "globalization" depend on values of accountability, transparency, and stewardship being infused in all social, cultural, political and economic institutions.
The Caux Round Table has suggested certain principles of accountability, transparency and stewardship for both businesses and governments. Modern civilization, importantly however, also includes civil society. Therefore, the Caux Round Table has undertaken a project under the coordination of Dr. Harry Hummels of The Netherlands, Director of Socially Responsible Investments, ING Bank, to develop a similar set of principles for the non-governmental organizations "NGO's" that play such a vital role in the activities of civil society. To see the draft Principles for NGO's please click here.
Un-MFingHoly Caux Round GlowBalls-o-FIRE, mah Peepers!
Martin Feldstein, who serves on the board of AIG, is one of McCain's top economic advisers. Earlier this month, Feldstein gushed in the Wall Street Journal over McCain's plans to cut taxes even further, and to shift healthcare costs from employers to employees in a "tax credit" scheme that many believe will solely benefit insurance companies, at the expense of workers. Since AIG is--or was--the world's largest insurance company, it stood to gain from McCain's policies.
He is also a Director at Eli Lilly and Company....
Meantime, WTF is an Austan Goolsbee?
Goolsbee was the senior economic advisor to Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign until a memo was leaked regarding a visit Goolsbee paid to Canadian officials at the Canadian consulate in Chicago in April of 2008. The memorandum detailed Goolsbee's reassurances that Obama's announced intent to "renegotiate NAFTA" (the North American Free Trade Agreement) during a debate with Hillary Clinton "should be viewed as more about political positioning than a clear articulation of policy plans." The event was later listed in Fortune Magazine's "21 Dumbest Moments in Business 2008".
“I think Austan innocently went over there, half as a professor, half as a campaign adviser,” said Obama campaign manager David Axelrod. “He’s basically a volunteer. He’s one of the economists Barack talks to. He’s not in close and constant contact with the candidate.”