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Showing posts from May, 2008

A Child's Perspective

The UDB grew until it encompassed virtually all asset classes and nearly every nation around the world. Many markets and countries have now fallen off the former trend but the consequences are just starting. In covering something this large and complex, we tend to use a lot of statistical analysis here at Financial Jenga. But occasionally, a simpler perspective can be really helpful.

I occasionally play babysitter for my young nieces on weekdays and they sometimes overhear my phone conversations with friends and colleagues. Yesterday, they were here and overheard me ranting about the bankers' attempt to get even looser accounting treatment. Right afterwards, the 5 year old said: "Those must be really bad people if they lie so much."

She made me think a bit. We've always known that the only way to offset a bubble bursting is to inflate an even bigger bubble somewhere else. And most of us learned from our parents that if you lie, you'll just have to make up bi…

Fed Deception Wears Thin

Two critical events in the last 24 hours:

1) AIG reports an enormous loss
This is very important since insurance is the largest financial sub-sector which does not have access to the Fed's discount window, which has been used to conceal the losses or the various swap programs designed maintain the fraud that some banks are not insolvent. Given that, an honest report from AIG gives us some insight into what the REAL situation looks like in the financial industry and it's not pretty. With the strains imposed on the Fed's balance sheet by their past actions there is essentially zero chance that the insurance industry as a whole will get access.

Yesterday's selloff was triggered by an SEC announcement that greater disclosure would be required in the balance sheets of investment banks. Financials dropped hard. Essentially anything that interferes with the ability of the banks to commit fraud is going to tank the sector since fraud is the only thing between some of them and ban…