Bloomberg

Columbia Journalism Review Assesses Failure of Business Press to Warn of Crises

Hat tip to lambert on correntewire for providing the link to the latest cover story in the Columbia Journalism Review, Power Problem: The business press did everything but take on the institutions that brought down the financial system, by Dean Starkman.

Starkman and a team of researchers set out to examine how well the nation’s business press did in providing warning of the coming financial crises in the past decade. They selected a list of the nine business-news outlets they considered the most important (Wall St. Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Financial Times, Bloomberg, Forbes, Fortune, and BusinessWeek) and the financial institutions with leading roles in the collapse (Wall Street: AIG, Bear Stearns, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley. Lenders: Ameriquest, Citigroup, Countrywide, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, IndyMac, New Century, Washington Mutual).

$42,000 Each That's What Bernanke Cost US Since 2007

Bloomberg circulated a report this morning on the total size of the bail out facilities run through the Federal Reserve and Geithner's Treasury. They estimate the total to be $12.8 trillion, or $42,105 for every man, woman and child in the country, 14 times the amount of currency in circulation, and just $1.4 trillion less than the Gross Domestic Product, which is what economists call everything produced and sold in the country last year. Since last November when the facilities under both departments amounted to $7.4 trillion, the amount has increased by 73%. 

I think there is something wrong here. What do you think? Do you agree? Or do you think it is OK that the Federal Reserve Chief has accumulated this kind of power without feeling compelled to tell anyone exactly what he is doing or how?

The Filthy Rich: UBS AG and Lichtenstein LGT Group Help U.S. Clients Hide Money

From Bloomberg:

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UBS, LGT Helped Hide Assets, Evade Taxes, Senate Says (Update1)
By David Voreacos and Carlyn Kolker

July 17 (Bloomberg) -- UBS AG and Liechtenstein bank LGT Group aided rich U.S. clients who wanted to disguise ownership of accounts and evade taxes on hidden assets, a Senate subcommittee said.

UBS, the world's largest wealth manager, hid as much as $17.9 billion for 19,000 Americans who didn't declare assets to the Internal Revenue Service, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations said in a report released in Washington late yesterday. LGT, owned by Liechtenstein's ruling family, fostered a ``culture of secrecy and deception'' while assigning code names to U.S. clients, the panel said.

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Isn't it nice that banks will bend over backwards for the money of rich Americans?

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Senate investigators got help from former UBS banker Bradley Birkenfeld, 43, who pleaded guilty June 19 to helping California billionaire Igor Olenicoff evade taxes. Birkenfeld said he conspired with Liechtenstein banker Mario Staggl, 43, who was indicted with him on April 10.

Staggl is a fugitive.

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Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Mr. Staggl should contact the Justice Department, post-haste -- it appears that they are actually taking this case seriously, as opposed to domestic ones that are looking into multiple instances of malfeasance and criminal conduct by the Bush Administration, and therefore might actually use the information wisely.

Check out the complete article on Bloomberg (linked at the top of the story). It's an eye-opener.

Is Obama Earning the "Republican Lite" Label?

The big news this morning is how Barak Obama and Michael Bloomberg shared an eggs-and-potatoes breakfast this morning in a New York diner. It hit the newswires after Mayor Bloomberg's Friday schedule was released to reporters last night.

Lot's of speculation about what was discussed but no statements have yet been released by either party. It is not so much of a stretch to see this as another example of how Obama is packaging himself as a center candidate.