5. The bankruptcy process has becomes a political process. If this is the worst economy since the great depression, why aren’t there more bankruptcies? When did bondholders–which own a risky asset class called, ahem, “bonds”–become a guaranteed non risk asset class? It is obvious that my college professors were mistaken in teaching that the only RISK FREE asset class was US GOVERNMENT DEBT SECURITIES. They are going to have to rewrite a ton of economics and corporate finance textbooks to include Bear Stearns bondholders and preferred stock holders, Fannie and Freddie bondholders, any bond or preferred instrument held by Bill Gross/PIMCO (the official fourth branch of the US govt.) and any bonds or preferred stocks of the too-politically-connected-to-fail group of financials including AIG, GS, MS, WFC, C, JPM, et al as part of the risk-free asset classes in 21st century American capitalism. And, maybe they should hold off publishing until June because GM and Chrysler debt and preferred holders may be on that list as well.
3. William Black, the former Chief Fraud Investigator at the Federal Home Lending Bank and Office of Thrift Supervision during the Savings and Loan scandal, calls the current bank stress tests ” A COMLETE SHAM.” The FHLB is a very big institution, with $1.3 trillion (with a T) in loans, and its Chief Fraud Investigator during the S&L scandal, says a pillar of Federal banking reform policy is “a complete sham.” A complete sham. In addition to comparing the stress tests of our nations’ financial system to a counterfeit, fraud, flimflam, ruse (is that emphatic enough for you America, or do I need naked women shooting you with lasers to make you pay attention? I know, I do. Can we get some graphics of naked ladies in here, please?) Mr. Black also called the stress test “a Potemkin model. Built to fool people.” Like many others, Black believes the “worst case scenario” used in the stress test don’t go far enough. Black also said, “There is no real purpose [of the stress test] other than to fool us. To make us chumps,” Black says. Noting policymakers have long stated the problem is a lack of confidence, Black says Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is now essentially saying: “‘If we lie and they believe us, all will be well.’ It’s Orwellian.” “The fact bank stocks have been rising since Geithner unveiled his plan is “bad news for taxpayers,” he says. “It’s the subsidy of all history.”