It takes a nation of whiners to hold them back

I may never understand the alchemy with which the invisible hand of the free-market transmutates mooching, looting professors into Moon-mining, job-creating Galtian geniuses:

Phil “nation of whiners” Gramm is retiring as Vice Chairman of the Investment Bank at UBS. Perhaps no single person is more responsible for the financial crisis of 2008 and more representative of all that is loathsome about the revolving door between Wall Street and Washington.

Interesting that the firm’s press release announcing his retirement doesn’t attach “former” to his former title of Senator. He was perhaps so instrumental to UBS in that former role that he kept the title at the firm.

Like Newt, Gramm was an obscure professor who became a principled, centrist Congressional leader and later a high-profile presidential primary flame-out. Both left Congress under reasonably disgraceful conditions and were soon rewarded with millions of hard-earned dollars by our meritocracy. When you hit the bricks, new whips, money ain’t a thing.

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93 replies
  1. 1
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Gramm (and his wife, who was up to her eyebrows in Enron corruption) should be very early on in the non-Villager section of the parade of tumbrels.

    My loathing for that shitstain is pretty much on the same level as that of the deserting coward and the Dark Lord.

  2. 2
    BGinCHI says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I would not piss on Phil Gramm if he was on fire, unless my urine was lighter fluid.

  3. 3
    Suffern ACE says:

    You get to keep the title, as does a president and governor. Unless you’ve had sex with a sheep, in which case you get a nickname to go with the title.

  4. 4
    schrodinger's cat says:

    Wasn’t Gramm behind the successful push to repeal Glass-Steagall?

  5. 5
    some guy says:

    Phil Gramm and his close personal friend Chuck Schumer made sure we would never be bothered buy outmoded regulations like Glass-Steagal ever again.

  6. 6
    DougJarvus Green-Ellis says:

    @some guy:

    Yup.

  7. 7
    Anya says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Why blame him when practically the whole senate voted for it. According to my mother in-law, Clinton lobbied hard for the repeal.

    P.S. for what it’s worth, my mother-in-law is a republican and she hates Bill Clinton with intensity. But she also hates Gramm

  8. 8
    Cat Lady says:

    @some guy:

    Funny how when Clinton was president he signed this POS, yet according to our progressive betters Obama’s always the one who sold us out.

  9. 9
    barath says:

    I hate to cite zerohedge on political matters because they’re crazy Paulites, but they may be onto something here:

    [if] the debt ceiling becomes a sticking point at the election, Obama’s chances of reelection plunge. Which makes us wonder – will Republicans grasp that the paradox of defeating Obama is precisely in giving him a carte blanche on all the stimulus programs he wants? Because if Congress approves another $200, 300 or even $400 billion in stimulus pork … the Treasury will drown in the need to raise hundreds of billions more, and will in fact hit the ceiling well in advance of the elections.

    I can see the GOP going full throttle about the debt ceiling, to the point of causing an actual default, right before the election. If they have the opportunity, that is. The only way to avoid it is to make sure that the federal spending rate is such that the debt ceiling will be hit after the election.

    The payroll tax extension the GOP agreed to (with no spending offset or tax increase) might just cause the debt ceiling to be hit before the election…

  10. 10
    some guy says:

    Schumer worked his ass off whipping the repeal of G-S. it’s how he made his bones.

    but the question still remains open, was Clinton/Rubin or Obama/Geithner the bigger threat to the legacy of the New Deal?

  11. 11
    Gordon, The Big Express Engine says:

    Can someone post a link to the thread where JC posted the photo of himself? Thanks!

  12. 12
    Anya says:

    @Gordon, The Big Express Engine: If you didn’t that photo, then maybe you shouldn’t. It was not meant to be.

  13. 13
    Xboxershorts says:

    @Anya: This, is sadly, all too true. Dems were convinced the merger of Travellers and Citi would keep us competetive *internationally*…

    Byron Dorgan gave a quite prescient speech on the senate floor, predicting that within 10 years there would be much gnashing of teeth about that…he was spot on too.

  14. 14
    kdaug says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Payback is a bitch. For all of us. Services rendered.

  15. 15
  16. 16
    Xboxershorts says:

    @some guy:

    but the question still remains open, was Clinton/Rubin or Obama/Geithner the bigger threat to the legacy of the New Deal?

    Rubin is just a thief. Little Timmy was a true believer. That makes little Timmy the greater threat to the legacy of the new deal.

  17. 17
    Suffern ACE says:

    @barath-what additional stimulus did he propose in the budget? I didn’t notice any new initiatives and the bulk of the infrastructure plan werent for after 2012?

  18. 18
    barath says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    No stimulus (that was an old quote talking about the possibility of new stimulus).

    The current context is the GOP agreement today to pass the payroll tax cut without any spending cuts or tax increases. That means it’ll add to the deficit in the short run and move up the debt ceiling breach. The thing I don’t know is by how much it’ll move it up and whether it will now be hit before the election.

  19. 19
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    You get to keep the title, as does a president and governor.

    Bullshit to that. The only title you keep in America is ‘Coach’.

  20. 20
    Martin says:

    @barath:

    The payroll tax extension the GOP agreed to (with no spending offset or tax increase) might just cause the debt ceiling to be hit before the election…

    I don’t think so. They’ve got 3 months of breathing room, plus accounting gimmicks (another 3 months). They’d need about $300B in spending to break the debt ceiling and it’s not clear if the current run-out-of-money date has fully factored in the savings from Iraq or the drawdown savings from Afghanistan, some of which will hit this year.

    Payroll tax is $100B and things like the doc fix I believe are already factored in. But I agree, if the debt ceiling needs to be dealt with pre-election, that would not help.

  21. 21

    Occupy Nashville saved a 78-year-old veteran of the civil rights fight from having her house foreclosed by JP Morgan Chase. Meanwhile, Tennessee’s Republican legislature was busy accusing the group of urinating on legislative aides and was passing laws to oust the group.

    Of course.

  22. 22
    The Dangerman says:

    @BGinCHI:

    …unless my urine was lighter fluid.

    Careful; if that were so, some would want to “drill baby drill” down there.

  23. 23
    Mark S. says:

    @barath:

    I think that debt ceiling bullshit hurt the repubs more than it hurt Obama. I think they’d be pretty stupid to try it again right before the election.

  24. 24
    barath says:

    @Martin:

    Ok, I hope that’s the case. But it sounds like it might be getting close. (And there’s also the other factor that we don’t know what unforseen spending or lack of revenue might pop up over the course of the year.)

  25. 25
    The Other Chuck says:

    @barath:

    I can see the GOP going full throttle about the debt ceiling, to the point of causing an actual default

    Except they no longer have the power to do so. The most they can do now is pass a symbolic “resolution of disapproval”, which of course they will every year.

  26. 26
    Anya says:

    @Xboxershorts: I don’t understand, why isn’t anyone mad at him (Clinton) for all this mess? Repeal of Glass-Steagall is a major cause of the financial meltdown, if not the cause. Where was the progressive movement then?

  27. 27
    barath says:

    @Mark S.:

    It definitely hurt them, but it increased both their negatives. I’m not sure the GOP cares if more people hate congress (if that’s even possible).

  28. 28
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Marc S – I think what hurt them is the Ryan Plan. I will believe that people understand public finance and understand what is in the budget when I see it. Otherwise, it’s still all waste and foreign aid that could be cut easily and taxes could go down to boot.

  29. 29
    barath says:

    @The Other Chuck:

    Wait, I’m confused. I thought the resolution of disapproval thing only applied to now. As in for the extension of the ceiling through the election. Thereafter I thought we reverted to the usual debt ceiling antics. And the context I’m talking about is for raising the ceiling again sometime around the election (hopefully after, but the worry is that it’d happen before).

  30. 30
    Martin says:

    @barath: It’s close, but I don’t think the GOP is going to give in that much. The doc fix is paid out of Medicare and is only $22B. Unemployment extension is $44B. If Obama could get $150B in stimulus out of the GOP beyond those (and the payroll tax cut) *and* have it spent in the next 9 months (no small feat) we’d be doing fucking cartwheels over here.

  31. 31
  32. 32
    efgoldman says:

    @pseudonymous in nc:

    Bullshit to that. The only title you keep in America is ‘Coach’.

    Like “Coach” Sandusky, for instance…

  33. 33
    Mark S. says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    Ack! No c! No c!

  34. 34
    Suffern ACE says:

    @martin – unless of course we suddenly need to send a bunch of troops somewhere.

  35. 35
    barath says:

    Apparently according to Josh Marshall at TPM the current debt ceiling is set to a date (sometime after the election) instead of a number. Which is weird, but if that’s the case then this isn’t a problem after all.

  36. 36
    Mark S. says:

    @efgoldman:

    I’m sure he’ll be “Coach” in prison.

  37. 37
    liberal says:

    Perhaps no single person is more responsible for the financial crisis of 2008 …

    Nah. Gramm is way up there, to be sure, but it’s pretty clear the number one asshole is Greenspan.

  38. 38
    Suffern ACE says:

    @MarK S – sorry. This one thumb phone typing gives me a two inch screen to work with.

  39. 39
    Yutsano says:

    @barath: It’s been baked into the cake for that date, as in the number crunchers already had this planned out until then. So you’re actually both correct.

  40. 40
    efgoldman says:

    @Mark S.:

    I think they’d be pretty stupid to try it again right before the election.

    Umm….. this is the GOBP Boehner Brigade in the House we’re talking about. “Pretty stupid” is kind for how they have acted in this Congress. OTOH, the are also likely are too stupid to do the medium/long range calculation suggested by @barath:

  41. 41
    Mike in NC says:

    Probably the only honest thing Phil Gramm ever said was “I’m too ugly to be president”. Yet I knew plenty of wingnuts on K Street who worshiped the corrupt bastard.

  42. 42

    @Anya:

    Repeal of Glass-Steagall is a major cause of the financial meltdown, if not the cause.

    For god’s sake, if people are going to insist on this, could one of you at least stop long enough to explain HOW the repeal of Glass-Steagel was a significant factor in the financial crisis? To date, there isn’t a commenter here that has bothered to do that when I ask, except Stuck with a bunch of vague handwaving that the repeal somehow sent a psychological signal that set it off, a psychological signal that none of the other repeals or changes in the industry would have sent, apparently.

    Where in the cycle that led to this crisis was it crucial that a commercial bank be tied to an investment bank or an insurance company?

    The cycle went basically like this:

    1) Someone makes a bad loan to someone using their house as collateral. Overwhelmingly, the companies that did this were not banks of any sort. Countrywide wasn’t not a bank, and neither were companies like it. You would think that liberals would remember this part, since it was the fact that they weren’t banks that was the number one reason that the argument that the crisis was due to the Community Reinvestment Act was not only wrong, but patently silly: the CRA only applied to banks.

    2) Whoever made the loans sold them to the big investment banks. Note that the serious players in this process among the investment banks would still have been legal under Glass-Steagal. Goldman had no commercial bank. J.P. Morgan didn’t have a commercial bank. Lehman had no commercial bank. Bear Stearns had no commercial bank. Ano on and on. Citi, which did combine the services, was not a major player in this portion of the cycle.

    3) The investment bank turns around and slices up the mortgages and stuffs them into bonds. They then sell the bonds to all sorts of institutional investors. Here the combined firms were involved, but they weren’t necessary. There was plenty of money flowing from all sorts of sources, from pension funds to hedge funds to German banks, who were enormous buyers of all of the toxic stuff thanks to an odd loophole in their regulatory structure.

    4) The same investment banks either combined the crappiest tranches of those bonds into synthetic products, or they sold them to someone else who did. The combined firms were a slightly larger player here, but not by much. There is no reason to think that, had they not had the capital, someone else might have.

    5) A whole bunch of people then sold Credit Default Swaps on those crappy synthetic products. Here, the big players were primarily hedge funds and AIG. AIG was a pure insurance company. That they were allowed to sell CDS was partially thanks to reforms during the 1990s, but completely different reforms than the repeal of Glass-Steagal, and primarily ones for which the supposed Democratic villains here (Clinton, Geithner, Summers, whoever) weren’t pushing. Phil Gramm, who the thread is ostensibly about, slipped many of them in when no one was looking. Now, what is the case is that no one at the time understood the danger that these reforms presented, but that’s because it took not only those reforms, but another handful of changes in the financial markets, all acting together, to create the doomsday conditions.

    Where in this chain of events would Glass-Steagal have changed anything? Please, let me know.

    Everyone is running off after this jackalope of an idea and investing lots of effort into trying to bring back a regulation that wouldn’t have prevented the crisis. You people are making another meltdown *more* likely, not less, by spending all of your time on it.

  43. 43
    portlander says:

    @barath:

    Folks at zerohedge are amusing to be sure, but their record with regard to predicting the political landscape is fairly lacking. Remember these are the inflationistas who have been saying that interest rates would skyrocket for the last several years (just like the WSJ). Among the many flaws in their arguments is the premise that the debt-ceiling debates have hurt Obama. There is no evidence for that. If the Keynesians are right, and evidence is certainly in their favor, allowing Obama to spend more will hasten the recovery leading into the election. So while I would hope their predictions of the GOP strategy is correct because the US could be getting more people back into the workforce, I would take it with less than a grain of salt.

  44. 44
    some guy says:

    Nevertheless, the bill did not lack champions, many of whom declared that the original legislation — forged during the Great Depression — was both antiquated and cumbersome for the banking industry. Congress had tried 11 times to repeal Glass-Steagall. The twelfth was the charm.

    “Today Congress voted to update the rules that have governed financial services since the Great Depression and replace them with a system for the 21st century,” said then-Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers. “This historic legislation will better enable American companies to compete in the new economy.”

    “I welcome this day as a day of success and triumph,” said Sen. Christopher Dodd, (D-Conn.).

    “The concerns that we will have a meltdown like 1929 are dramatically overblown,” said Sen. Bob Kerrey, (D-Neb.).

    “If we don’t pass this bill, we could find London or Frankfurt or years down the road Shanghai becoming the financial capital of the world,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. “There are many reasons for this bill, but first and foremost is to ensure that U.S. financial firms remain competitive.”

    Tumbrels: How the fuck do they work?

  45. 45
    Suffern ACE says:

    @liberal – Well, to be on the safe side, we could just torch Capitol hill and the 2nd ward, just to make certain we didn’t miss anybody. Ranking is so hard. This had been a group effort. I find it hard to believe that we once had leaders who could wage a war in europe and Asia at the same time without getting lost.

  46. 46
    barath says:

    @portlander:

    Agreed. I thought they might be onto something here, but apparently not…

  47. 47
    Jimbo316 says:

    “Like Newt, Gramm was an obscure professor who became a principled, centrist Congressional leader…” I have to assume much tongue-in-cheek. Both were/are arch reactionaries and lunatics (including the pseudo-Prof. Gramm).

  48. 48
    some guy says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    1) Someone makes a bad loan to someone using their house as collateral. Overwhelmingly, the companies that did this were not banks of any sort. WRONG. the overwhelming majority of liar loans were originated by banks.

    2) so what?

    3) seems to contradict your point in 5) CDOs and RMBS were originated by firms that would not have been allowed to do this under G-S

    4)The combined firms were a slightly larger player here, but not by much. There is no reason to think that, had they not had the capital, someone else might have.

    and that someone else would not have been guaranteed a backstop by the US taxpayers

    5)Here, the big players were primarily hedge funds and AIG.

    Shill Fail. get back to us when you know what the fuck you are talking about

  49. 49
    portlander says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    I’m not an expert on this but my understanding is that it was an issue of incentives. The lenders had at least some reason to not give out too many bad loans, but the financial companies had every reason to give out plenty of bad loans, as many as possible actually, because they were selling the derivatives like hot-cakes, and often taking side-bets on the success of those derivatives.

    Countrywide wasn’t not a bank

    I assume that’s a typo, but actually correct. Countrywide was a bank as of 2001, they bought Treasury Bank, allowed due to the Glass-Steagal repeal.

  50. 50
    Montysano says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    Where in this chain of events would Glass-Steagal have changed anything? Please, let me know.

    Once Glass-Steagall was gone, the banks were free to use their balance sheets (i.e. depositor accounts) as collateral for leverage, which they did to extreme levels. It allowed commercial banks to begin underwriting securities, again placing depositor accounts at risk. Also, Gramm-Leach-Bliley gutted regulation/oversight of the financial sector.

    As bad as it was, I think history will judge the Commodity Futures Modernization Act as far worse.

  51. 51
    portlander says:

    @Montysano:

    I think there is a good point there. People should probably rally around “repealing Gramm-Leach-Bliley and restoring Glass–Steagall” rather than simply “restoring Glass–Steagall”.

  52. 52
    some guy says:

    Today’s bankers promise they will be more careful. But to accept their assurances runs counter to the simple principles of fairness and common sense. Banks want to keep the Federal insurance that attracts depositors and then use that capital to compete against traditional, unsubsidized securities firms. No one could complain if banks renounced their Federal insurance and then competed evenly against securities firms. But the banks simply should not be allowed to gamble with taxpayer insured dollars.

    “Don’t Let Banks Become Casinos” http://www.nytimes.com/1987/08.....sinos.html

    Chuck Schumer, writing in the NY Times, a few years before he did his part in destroying the New Deal

  53. 53
    Xboxershorts says:

    @liberal: I disagree, I think it’s Bob Rubin. Big time advocate for repeal of Glass-Steagall while leaving in all the taxpayer funded account insurance. Left Treasury to join Citi right after the merger, got a hundred mill from Citi and joined Fannie Mae just in time to be called to clear up their accounting scandal..yeah, right..Rubin? You called in Rubin? WTF?!?!?!

  54. 54
    Shawn in ShowMe says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    I think Glass-Steagall has become a kinda blog shorthand for financial regulation. We do need stronger regulation and just as important, formidable agencies to enforce those regulations.

    I too question the symbolic importance that has been attached to Glass Steagall. Signing free trade agreements that encourage companies to ship jobs to countries with no worker or environmental protections did more damage to our economy than the repeal of Glass-Steagall. Banning naked credit default swaps also would be more relevant than a repeal of Glass-Steagall.

  55. 55
    Xboxershorts says:

    @Montysano: It wasn’t JUST the repeal of Glass-Stegall that screwed us though. It was that PLUS the Commodities Futures Modernization Act which DEREGULATED Derivatives trading…plus the loosening of capital reserve requirements (Hank Paulson lobbied for that), leaving in all the taxpayer guarantees like FDIC, FHA, Pension Guaranty Corp…

    Why deregulate and LEAVE the taxpayer guarantees?

    They damn well knew what the fuck they were doing…

  56. 56
    Redshift says:

    @Montysano:

    As bad as it was, I think history will judge the Commodity Futures Modernization Act as far worse.

    Yes, and that one was really Gramm’s baby. It put the derivatives that actually were central to much of the financial crisis outside of regulation by the SEC, Treasury, or anybody.

  57. 57
    Xboxershorts says:

    PS…when the Commodities Futures Modernization Act was installed in 98(?), Wendy Gramm was director of the CFTC, in charge of regulating derivatives.

    Yeah, it was a family affair

  58. 58
    Xboxershorts says:

    Always remember, it wasn’t the 1.7 trillion worth of bad mortgages that drove the economy off the cliff.

    It was the multiple layers of derivatives based upon those mortgages that caused the financial collapse.

  59. 59
    David Koch says:

    Another contradiction, if not hypocrisy, is how the wingers rail against academia. They even say holding an academic job isn’t a “real” job.

    But what are wingers if not a contraction. The bloviate against people who evaded the Vietnam draft, and they the bow in bended knee to draft dodgers like Dubya, Cheney, Rush, Oreilly, Noot, and Gramm.

  60. 60
    Xboxershorts says:

    Multiple layers of derivatives, also know as hyper-hypothecation

    http://www.realclearmarkets.co.....99428.html

    Using the same asset to derive multiple layers of financial investment vehicles known as derivatives.

    It was always, and all, about the transaction fees.

    THAT is the fraud.

  61. 61
    Redshift says:

    @David Koch:

    But what are wingers if not a contraction. The bloviate against people who evaded the Vietnam draft, and they the bow in bended knee to draft dodgers like Dubya, Cheney, Rush, Oreilly, Noot, and Gramm.

    Apparently, defying the law to keep from fighting in a war you are opposed to is disgraceful, but cheating to evade the law to save your ass from fighting in a war that you’re in favor of other people going to fight is patriotic.

    No, I don’t get it either.

  62. 62
    Redshift says:

    @Xboxershorts: And selling the world on the idea that they were creating new financial “products” with higher returns, when in fact it was just the age-old maxim that higher risk produces higher reward, and the only “new” part was fraudulently disguising the risk.

  63. 63
    Shawn in ShowMe says:

    @Shawn in ShowMe:

    Banning naked credit default swaps also would be more relevant than a repeal restoration of Glass-Steagall.

    Fixed.

  64. 64
    dww44 says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): As it so happens, I’m reading Clinton’s “Back to Work” and on page 40 he says:

    By the time Glass-Steagall was repealed, Federal Reserve rulings, beginning in the late 1980’s had already eliminated restraints on big banks’ability to engage in both commercial and investment banking activities,……. The real problem was that both before and after I signed the bill, the SEC, which oversees investment banks, lacked the authority to require them to set aside more cash to cover high-risk investments and the bank regulators didn’t do enough to limit commercial banks’ risky loans.

    What I do know as one who went to work on January 2, 1974 in the branch office of a national brokerage firm and who retired on January 2, 2002 that what was once a very focused business trading stocks, bonds, and a few commodities got a whole lot more complicated and far ranging in types of investments. An investment bank that became a direct competitor of the local commercial bank, which also became direct competitors of ours. The business changed rapidly and there was a whole lotta lobbying going on for all those years to get the firm to where it was in the first decade of this century at the time of the financial crisis which put it on the auction block. Mr. Phil Gramm was a big big cheerleader. But, truth is, Mr. Greenspan deserves the most credit for putting us where we were in the fall of 2008.

  65. 65
    Ira-NY says:

    What does Dickie Flatts have to say about this?

  66. 66
    Xboxershorts says:

    @Redshift:

    And selling the world on the idea that they were creating new financial “products” with higher returns, when in fact it was just the age-old maxim that higher risk produces higher reward, and the only “new” part was *quietly betting against that risk they were selling to you*.

    Fixed for accuracy

  67. 67
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Redshift:

    Apparently, defying the law to keep from fighting in a war you are opposed to is disgraceful, but cheating to evade the law to save your ass from fighting in a war that you’re in favor of other people going to fight is patriotic.

    As a veteran and a former officer, this revolts me no end. The utterly disgraceful mocking of John Kerry’s actual service in combat, his leadership, his heroism, the wounds he suffered in a mostly pointless war infuriates me. The mocking of Al Gore’s actual service “in country”, like Kerry’s, should engender the same reaction from any Vietnam vet…yet many of them sneer at honorable service, while looking the other way at desertion (Bush) and draft dodging (Cheney, Romney, Gingrich, Limbaugh, O’Reilly, etc). All of these men were active, vocal supporters of the idiocy in Vietnam, yet none of them felt compelled to actually put their own skin in the game. For some, it’s understandable. Had any of these men gone to Vietnam, not one of them would have returned alive. Their own troops would have solved that problem for us.

    Yet this legacy of craven dishonor is celebrated by Rethugs who claim to “support the troops.” Bah!

  68. 68
    joel hanes says:

    Molly Ivins on Phil Gramm.

    Another piece Molly did on Gramm

    In his later years, Gramm and wife acted as if eager to set a new national record for unscrupulous, grasping venality. He was mean too.

  69. 69
    Xboxershorts says:

    @Shawn in ShowMe: However, there are solid arguments in favor of returning to the Glass-Stegall era firewalls between different bank types.

    Especially knowing that the government guarantees from FHA, FDIC etc..aren’t being removed (indeed, they’ve been expanded).

  70. 70
    Redshift says:

    @Xboxershorts: I would accept that friendly amendment as an addition, but not a substitution.

  71. 71
    Xboxershorts says:

    @Redshift: If they were going to deregulate as they intended, they should never have left some of those taxpayer guarantees in place.

    I think they did that intentionally.

    Gamble with your own fucking money you fucktard Gramm…

  72. 72
    Xboxershorts says:

    @Xboxershorts: There are very few people in this world that I hate. It is too strong an emotion for me.

    Phil and Wendy Gramm are on that very short list.

  73. 73
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Xboxershorts:

    Absolutely. The entire idea was to gamble with other people’s money. If it paid off, you got all the winnings. If it did not…the other people were stuck with having to answer to the thugs of the cas1no.

    Very neat and tidy.

    Which is why the blood of banksters needs to run copiously in the streets…along with their agents like Gramm, Dodd, and Schumer.

  74. 74
    Suffern ACE says:

    So what was he at UBS? VC of drug lord money, or was his knowledge of dictators needed to bring in those account? Or was it something mundane like hiding taxable income that they kept him around for.

  75. 75
    Xboxershorts says:

    @Suffern ACE: Hiding taxable income.

    His (and his wife’s) greater crimes came in service of the American people…so to speak.

    Or are you trying to assert that the two of them actually (shudder) have integrity?

  76. 76
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    I might also add that money was to be made through fees and commissions for placing the bets in the first place, regardless of whether you won or lost. As the Duke brothers once said, “tell him the good part!”.

  77. 77
    Martin says:

    @Suffern ACE: I think his official title was ‘Destroyer of Worlds’.

  78. 78
    catpal says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    “This repeal directly contributed to the severity of the Financial crisis of 2007–2011 by allowing Wall Street investment banking firms to use their depositors’ money that was held in the commercial banks.” and

    Agency’s ’04 Rule Let Banks Pile Up New Debt

    decisions made at a brief meeting on April 28, 2004

    They wanted an exemption for their brokerage units from an old regulation that limited the amount of debt they could take on. The exemption would unshackle billions of dollars held in reserve as a cushion against losses on their investments. Those funds could then flow up to the parent company, enabling it to invest in the fast-growing but opaque world of mortgage-backed securities; credit derivatives, a form of insurance for bond holders; and other exotic instruments.

    So the Bush buddies Purposely-did-not-Regulate and allowed the “Banks” to leverage their debt a little too much, Bear Stearns was up to 33 to 1, Citibank was over 40 to 1, etc.

    so it just another Big-On-Purpose-Scam from the Bush Criminal Enterprise.

  79. 79
    Xboxershorts says:

    @catpal: I see you’re late to the pool party.

    I promise that’s not pee

    PS…it was former treasury secretary Hank Paulson who successfully lobbied congress for the easing of reserve requirements. He was CEO of Goldman Sachs at the time.

  80. 80
    butler says:

    @barath:

    [if] the debt ceiling becomes a sticking point at the election, Obama’s chances of reelection plunge.

    Key word “if”. A big damn “if”. Actually several big damn “ifs”. As in “if the public manages to pay attention to an issue that they historically haven’t paid attention to and if other bigger factors they historically do pay attention to (ie the state of the economy and the candidate’s appeal and the weather and if the Knicks beat the spread last night and etc…) get overlooked by them this time and if the Republicans manage to somehow flip the debt ceiling issue 180 degrees from what happened last time where they ended up pissing off a lot of people”… then yes, it hurts Obama’s chances.

  81. 81
    catpal says:

    @Xboxershorts: yes I see now that that idiocy was taken care of.

    I get a little enraged when people try that “it was all those bad mortgages” crap, and really watch out if they try that CRA bs on me.

    How many times do we have to keep freaking explaining this to the ideological idiots?

  82. 82
    Martin says:

    @catpal:

    How many times do we have to keep freaking explaining this to the ideological idiots?

    Hmm. I think your answer is in your question.

  83. 83
    Bethanyanne says:

    Hehe: Germany declares “shitstorm” the top English contribution to the German language in 2011. http://t.co/J7ErNcnh

  84. 84
    Xboxershorts says:

    @catpal: It really doesn’t take a whole lot of research to realize we were played. The US was ripped the fuck off by a handful of fucking insiders.

    For trillions.

    And jesus fucking krist….they all donate to Karl (no condom, santorumicious) Rove…

  85. 85
    trollhattan says:

    Fun to consider that had Walnuts been elected, Gramm would have probably been his Treasury secretary.

  86. 86
    scav says:

    @Bethanyanne: and yet we are still vastly in their debt for schadenfreude.

  87. 87
    WyldPirate says:

    @Cat Lady:

    Funny how when Clinton was president he signed this POS, yet according to our progressive betters Obama’s always the one who sold us out.

    And Obama took on the Harvard douchebag, Larry Summers, as his National Economic Council director. The same douchehat that advised Clinton as to what a great idea it was to replace Glass-Steagall with the Gramm-Leach-Bililey bill.

    Obama also didn’t listen to Christine Romer who told him that the stimulus wasn’t nearly big enough and kowtowed to Orzag and Geithner–and his own appeasement/centrist/bipartisan instincts–and undershot out of the gate the level of stimulus needed.
    The Struggles of a Passive Centrist

  88. 88
    The prophet Nostradumbass says:

    @WyldPirate: Okay, genius, who’s your alternative with a chance of being elected?

  89. 89
    Xboxershorts says:

    @WyldPirate: No shit…did the DNC think we’d fucking forget? WTF were they thinking?

    We fucking elected his ass using the god damn internet….

  90. 90
    Barry says:

    “…principled, centrist Congressional leader …”

    Since when?

  91. 91
    Catpause says:

    Hey, I want to sign Phil’s retirement card!

    “May your retirement be punctuated with continuous bouts of shingles! And if you go golfing with Jack Welch please stand close together so it only take one lightening strike.”

  92. 92
    Xboxershorts says:

    @Catpause: I would add…”And Phil, may you grow taste buds on your asshole” to that list

  93. 93
    Some Loser says:

    @WyldPirate: Of course, I am an Obot if I mentioned that he pushed for a large stimulus but didn’t have the vote for it, right?

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