The Nossiter Net
The net that shall enmesh them all
Edited, Written, and Published by Josh Nossiter
Friday, June 4th, 2009
Phil Gramm, U.S. Senator, McCain campaign advisor,
investment banker, and dismantler of those pesky
banking regulations that kept our financial system stable
for more than half a century, was right: we are a "nation
of whiners" suffering from a "mental recession."
Consider the evidence:
At UBS, the international bank whose initials do not
stand for "Used to Be Smart," executives are enjoying
twenty to thirty percent pay increases. The bank itself is
taking a bath on fifty billion dollars of reckless and
stupid investments, but the bankers themselves are
bathing in cash. Why the big increases? With caps
imposed on annual bonuses, UBS is getting around the
problem with increases in base pay. And who said
bankers aren’t creative.
Meanwhile Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan are
preparing to repay their TARP funds, the better to
escape the associated modest restrictions on executive
pay. Bank of America and Citibank, unable to return
their own bailout funds, are gravely concerned. If
Goldman and Morgan can pay whatever to whomever,
they might steal all the talent from B of A and Citi. The
same talent that led to losses of many tens of billions at
both banks. The pressure is on the Treasury
Department to allow the compensation taps to flow
unimpeded once again and there's no reason to think
Treasury won't cave. At the same time, all the banks
are making billions in operating profits because the
funds the feds hand them for free are earning income
every second of every day. Recession among bankers?
Don't make me laugh.
Nor is there a recession for the former executives of
Countrywide Financial. The mortgage giant threw
lending guidelines out the window and made many of
the bad loans that precipitated the financial crisis. The
company itself vaporized in a forced bargain basement
sale to B of A. Don't worry about Countrywide's
executive suite though. They got together to form a new
company called PennyMac. Their business? Buying at
fire sale prices the same distressed loans they made
through Countrywide and repackaging and selling them
for profit. That's like a doctor profiting from curing
patients he sickened in the first place, but no matter.
Business is crazy good, the PennyMac execs report, so
there's no recession for them either.
The oil companies are enjoying more record profits.
Insurance companies are rolling in billions upon billions
of federal cash. Defense contractors continue to profit
from our two endless wars; Forbes reports that giant
SAIC of San Diego is making a handsome twenty-seven
cents a share this quarter.
What's that? The local manufacturing plant closed? The
county cut nursing, policing, park and recreation,
education, transit, and every other kind of public
service? Neighborhood rife with shuttered shops? Lost
your own job, home, car? We've proven there's no
recession, so stop whining. Either your woes are in your
head or you simply chose the wrong profession.
©Joshua C. Nossiter, 2009
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A NOTE TO READERS ***Update***
Another three week plus hiatus, from April 30th until May 23rd, again
due to Yahoo Geocities dismal service.
There was nothing new at The Nossiter Net between March 3rd and
April 26th, 2007, nearly eight weeks. The reason: tech sabotage.
Yahoo Geocities, the host for this site, denied access for the entire
period. At one point, they even managed to lose all the files. In many
discussions with Yahoo staff, no clear explanation was forthcoming.
No one seemed able to fix the problem. Ruling out the possibility of
Dubbya’s revenge, I finally wrote to Mr. Terry Semel, Chairman and
CEO of Yahoo! Inc and described the ordeal the page had undergone
since the beginning of March. A week later, a helpful Yahooo engineer
named Jason called. He had my letter before him. Though he couldn’t
do the repairs on on the spot, he promised a fix by the next day. That
was April 26th, nearly two months after shutting me down in the first
The Nossiter Net apologizes, which is more than I can say for Yahoo
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