Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Links 05/13/2009

Global Confidence Increases as Bernanke Sees Start of Recovery – Bloomberg

The New Resourcefulness – Minyanville

U.S. Eyes Bank Pay Overhaul – The Wall Street Journal

The initiative, which is in its early stages, is part of an ambitious and likely controversial effort to broadly address the way financial companies pay employees and executives, including an attempt to more closely align pay with long-term performance.

Administration and regulatory officials are looking at various options, including using the Federal Reserve's supervisory powers, the power of the Securities and Exchange Commission and moral suasion. Officials are also looking at what could be done legislatively.

Tax Revenues Collapse! Medicare And Social Security Going BUST – Clusterstock

According to the latest estimates, Social Security will take in less in revenue than it pays out each year by 2016. That's just a few years.  And the program will go completely insolvent by 2037 if no serious changes are made.

Medicare will be insolvent by 2017.

The Truth Behind the Social Security and Medicare Alarm Bells – Robert Reich

Don't be confused by these alarms from the Social Security and Medicare trustees. Social Security is a tiny problem. Medicare is a terrible one, but the problem is not really Medicare; it's quickly rising health-care costs…

Jimmy Cayne Was Smoking Pot For Years And Years – Clusterstock

The Declaration of Interdependence – Minyanville

We’ve not yet passed the point of no return. We can still shift towards a legitimate meritocracy where those who proactively prepared themselves and their organizations are rewarded for their efforts and those who transgressed pay the price as debt is destroyed and markets reset.

To this I would ask if not us, who and if not now, when? I, for one, would rather bear this burden rather than pass the residue of societal excess to future generations. It won’t be a pleasant process but the sooner we’re allowed to go through it, the quicker we’ll be able to get through it.

Retail Sales Decline in April – Calculated Risk

1000 GM Dealerships Forced Out May 15; Executives Dump Shares; Restructuring May Fail – Mish

Voros: California's financial train wreck – The Contra Costa Times

Cover your eyes, Californians. Your state's financial health is about to take a serious turn for the worse.

Six days before voters will reject all four tax measures, there appears to be no Plan B in place to deal with a budget deficit twice the size we are being told exists. Consider this:

  • We are currently staring at a $15 billion deficit even if all $6.3 billion in tax measures pass, which they won't. So that's how we get to $21.3 billion to start.
  • President Barack Obama said last week he is going to withhold $6.9 billion of $50 billion in federal stimulus money the state was banking on. The White House is protesting state pay cuts made to in-home health care workers. Now we're at $28.2 billion.
  • State Controller John Chiang last week said year-to-date revenue is $2.1 billion under the budget's estimates with two months left in the fiscal year. That brings us to $30.2 billion short on a $100-billion-plus budget.

    Wait, there's more…

  • Sour commercial real estate loans threaten to hurt regional banks – The Los Angeles Times

    That's bad for giants like Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. But it's even worse for smaller banks, which stepped up lending to local developers and businesses as a way to stay afloat after the national institutions grabbed big-ticket consumer businesses such as home loans, credit cards and checking accounts.

    That's especially true in California, where unemployment exceeds 11% and commercial real estate is being pummeled.

    "Commercial lending is our bread and butter, the lion's share of our business," said Dominic Ng, chairman of East West Bancorp, which with $12 billion in assets is the second-largest bank based in Los Angeles County.