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Bank of America’s Shotgun Marriage to Merrill Lynch

Friday, November 13th, 2009, by

You can’t blame Ken Lewis, the beleaguered CEO of Bank of America, for wanting to quit early. It’s tough enough trying to manage a universal mega bank, without getting sniped at by the feds and the newly installed board of directors. The proximate cause of his departure is the hasty decision to acquire Merrill Lynch. […]

Fiat Money vs Commodity Money

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009, by

This issue will not go away quietly, as evidenced by the reply to my Meltdown, Part II posting last week.¬† Our alert reader, Toli, is a perpetual scold with a mission to expose my fallacious insights and conclusions. Unfortunately for me, he is often better informed and highly articulate on many of these issues. But […]

Meltdown, Part II

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009, by

A highlight of Thomas Woods’ “Meltdown” is his history of currency debasement. It goes back to Roman emperors, who clipped coins while mandating that the new, diminished coins must be accepted as legal tender. Of course, the more things change, the more they remain the same. It’s astonishing to think that not that long ago […]

Not-So-Secret Swiss Bank Accounts

Thursday, August 27th, 2009, by

What to make of UBS (formerly Union Bank of Switzerland) caving in to U.S. demands to identify their American secret bank account clients? Well…obviously….this is not your father’s Switzerland. The first wave of expatriated wealth transferred to Switzerland from America was ignited by the confiscation of private gold holdings during the first activist days of […]

In Defense of Subprime Loans, Part I

Friday, August 21st, 2009, by

Be careful what you wish for. Just as generals are always fighting the last war, so also are the oversight and regulatory agencies. In their zeal to punish all wrongdoing,¬† they have caused considerable¬† damage to the nascent recovery. Case in point—- the stated income loan. You may know it more by its colloquial nickname….the […]

The Name Game

Friday, August 14th, 2009, by

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” (William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet) Just as, no doubt, a skunk by any other name would continue to assault the senses. Case in point: Ally Bank. A nifty spin on the word “allies”—those people, groups or nations that have joined together in an association for […]

Finding Yield…A Variation on Sticker Shock

Thursday, August 13th, 2009, by

The much maligned banking sector has been racking up some impressive profits the past quarter. No mystery there.¬† The Feds have driven down the cost of funds to near zero–an advantage that makes it almost impossible to lose money, assuming they can now find borrowers capable of repayment. Maybe easier said than done. But their […]

A Dubious Anniversary

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009, by

This month we observe the second anniversary of the global financial crisis that most observers agree began in August 2007. There were tremors before the full calamity became evident, when housing prices crested in 2006 and began their sickening slide and when Bear Stearns’ twin mortgage hedge funds began to implode. That August, Countrywide Bank […]