Weil on Finance P.M.: Bailouts and Subprime Retreads
Happy Wednesday, View fans. Unless you're an Apple shareholder, in which case you might not be so happy after the stock's 5 percent drop today. What does Mr. Market know about the kinds of iPhones that customers want anyway? But enough chit-chat. As Mr. Burns might say if he were a blogger: Release the links.
If you despise government bailouts, you'll love this
John Tamny, editor of Real Clear Markets, has a feisty read today bemoaning the 2008-2009 bailouts. "Markets had worked somewhat beautifully in ending the crisis that was financial institutions chasing housing and mortgage false economies, but rather than allow markets to work their breathtaking magic, a Bush administration that spoke with a very forked tongue about capitalism renounced it," he writes. Cue the scene from the movie "Airplane!," where the TV talking head says "Let 'em crash."
Deutsche Bank just can't catch a break
The German bank fired four traders in February during an internal investigation over Libor manipulations. Now a court in Frankfurt says they were wrongfully dismissed. It seems the judge decided it was Deutsche Bank's fault that they did whatever it was they might have done that they weren't supposed to -- not theirs. So congratulations to them.
Dirty little secrets of the insurance industry
Did you know that some state insurance commissioners settle investigations by accepting payments from insurance companies without making the allegations against them public? I didn't until I read this article today on Corporate Crime Reporter. No wonder the industry doesn't want federal regulation.
Surprise, subprime lending executives are back in the business
This article by the Center for Public Integrity, a Washington-based nonprofit, is as amusing as it is distressing. It reads: "The Center for Public Integrity in 2009 identified the top 25 lenders by subprime loan production from 2005 through 2007. Today, senior executives from all 25 of those companies or companies that they swallowed up before the crash are back in the mortgage business. Most of these newer `non-bank' lenders are making or collecting on loans that may be too risky to qualify for backing by the U.S. government." OK, so are we supposed to be surprised? What else do you expect these people to do for a living? Become schoolteachers or hot-dog vendors? This is the business they've chosen. And the government has done everything it can to reflate the housing bubble. This is a natural consequence.
How strapped for cash is the Postal Service?
It can't afford to buy new mail vans. So for the first time it's looking to rent them, according to Jennifer Liberto at CNNMoney. Which makes you wonder: How long till it can't afford to rent them?
(Jonathan Weil is a Bloomberg View columnist. Follow him on Twitter.)