The Business of Wall Street

If you don’t mind working hard—and partying even harder—why not get a business degree, take a couple of state and federal tests, and become a Wall Street trader? These are the people who are the current crop of Gordon Gekkos—you know, the pretend-fictional character portrayed by Michael Douglas in Wall Street. The men spend thousands of dollars on suits, ties, and cocaine. The women spend thousands just to own a closet of Jimmy Choo shoes. But their existence is shrouded by a coop they call an office or cubicle. Their tools are multiple phone lines and computer screens. The chase for money—and perhaps the excitement in getting people to give up a chunk of their earned income after hearing a finely-tuned pitch—drives these college graduates. But, the rewards are high. Last year, Wall Street paid $28.5 billion in bonuses. That’s an average of $172,000 per person. Some got more. […] Read More

Coming for Your Funds: Supremes “Justify Seizure of Pension Funds to PROTECT Pensioners”

This article was originally published by Paul Joseph Watson at Infowars.com. Editor’s Note: Incredibly, and in direct defiance of any sane logic, a recent Supreme Court decision has justified “government seizure of private pension funds to protect pensioners,” according to famed economist Martin Armstrong. This unsettling decision puts 401ks and plenty of other funds in the crosshairs. How that can be considered consumer protection, or government shepherding is unclear, if not unfathomable. Nonetheless, the rationale is in place – so beware. It has long since been legalized for Wall Street equity firms to gamble away pensions – including public pensions for states like California – through derivatives, while it has long since been legalized for the Federal Reserve to literally grow paper on trees, hand out free candy to sugar addicts and make money (for those at the top) so cheap its practically free – all driving down the […] Read More

Matt Taibbi: World’s Largest Banks Admit to Massive Global Financial Crimes, But Escape Jail (Again)

This is about as serious a financial crime as you can possibly get, says the Rolling Stone journalist. In an interview with Democracy Now!, Rolling Stone journalist Matt Taibbi spoke about the recent news surrounding the five major banks – Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS – who pled guilty to rigging the price of foreign currencies and interest rates. Their fines amount up to more than $5 billion. “They were monkeying around with the prices of every currency on Earth,” Taibbi told Amy Goodman. “So, if you can imagine that anybody who has money, which basically includes anybody who’s breathing on the planet, all of those people were affected by this activity. So if you have dollars in your pocket, they were monkeying around with the prices of dollars versus euros, so you might have had more or less money fractionally, depending on all […] Read More

Inside the Clintons’ Cozy Relationship With the Big Banks

Whatever her populist pitch may be in the 2016 campaign, Hillary Clinton has not publicly condemned Wall Street. To stay on top of important articles like these, sign up to receive the latest updates from TomDispatch.com  here. [This piece has been adapted and updated by Nomi Prins from chapters 18 and 19 of her book  All the Presidents’ Bankers: The Hidden Alliances that Drive American Power, just out in paperback (Nation Books).] The past, especially the political past, doesn’t just provide clues to the present. In the realm of the presidency and Wall Street, it provides an ongoing pathway for political-financial relationships and policies that remain a threat to the American economy going forward. When Hillary Clinton video-announced her bid for the Oval Office, she claimed she wanted to be a “champion” for the American people. Since then, she has attempted to recast herself as a populist and distance herself from some of […] Read More

The New “Water Barons”: Wall Street Mega-Banks are Buying up the World’s Water

A disturbing trend in the water sector is accelerating worldwide. The new “water barons” — the Wall Street banks and elitist multibillionaires — are buying up water all over the world at unprecedented pace. Familiar mega-banks and investing powerhouses such as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, UBS, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, Macquarie Bank, Barclays Bank, the Blackstone Group, Allianz, and HSBC Bank, among others, are consolidating their control over water. Wealthy tycoons such as T. Boone Pickens, former President George H.W. Bush and his family, Hong Kong’s Li Ka-shing, Philippines’ Manuel V. Pangilinan and other Filipino billionaires, and others are also buying thousands of acres of land with aquifers, lakes, water rights, water utilities, and shares in water engineering and technology companies all over the world. The second disturbing trend is that while the new water barons are buying up water all over the world, governments are moving […] Read More

America Is About To Change In a Major Way: “Everything That Can Be Shaken Will Be Shaken”

Editor’s Note: We know things are getting bad. But how bad can they get? According to the information shared by Michael Snyder of the Economic Collapse Blog in the article below, families across America are being systematically destroyed and the trajectory of the economic data suggest that it’s are only going to get worse. And though most people don’t realize it’s happening and continue to live their lives in passive oblivion, their lives will soon be shaken to the very core, as everything they have come to know as “normal” is torn to pieces. 19 Signs That American Families Are Being Economically Destroyed By Michael Snyder The systematic destruction of the American way of life is happening all around us, and yet most people have no idea what is happening.  Once upon a time in America, if you were responsible and hard working you could get a good paying job that could […] Read More

Robert Reich: Wall Street Is Hard at Work Cooking Up the Next Financial Collapse

The finance industry still presents a massive threat to the middle class. Presidential aspirants in both parties are talking about saving the middle class. But the middle class can’t be saved unless Wall Street is tamed. The Street’s excesses pose a continuing danger to average Americans. And its ongoing use of confidential corporate information is defrauding millions of middle-class investors. Yet most presidential aspirants don’t want to talk about taming the Street because Wall Street is one of their largest sources of campaign money. Do we really need reminding about what happened six years ago? The financial collapse crippled the middle class and poor — consuming the savings of millions of average Americans, and causing 23 million to lose their jobs, 9.3 million to lose their health insurance, and some 1 million to lose their homes. A repeat performance is not unlikely. Wall Street’s biggest banks are much larger now than they were […] Read More

How To Fix High-Frequency Trading

Submitted by Anthony Tassone of Green Key Technologies, Solution to HFT Debate: Match Based On Price & Quality, Not Time. The recent public outcry over high frequency trading is pointless. Solutions exist. Virtually every comparable market in the world uses them already. But, some electronic exchanges may not willingly adopt them. Doing so may disrupt their current business model. The incentives are misaligned, and competitors or regulators may need to force the issue to see change. Luckily, the issue to be forced is far simpler than most think. It’s time to add quality to the matching process. Over thousands of years, every naturally evolved market has headed this direction – from the ancient Greeks to Alibaba.com. It’s time for Wall Street to realize what they lost along the way, and how it can fix far more than just HFT. In 500 BC, the Greeks were auctioning off war plunder, […] Read More

Momentum Stock Fiasco Already Pricked San Francisco Housing Bubble

Wolf Richter   www.testosteronepit.com   www.amazon.com/author/wolfrichter San Francisco is unique in many ways, and not only because it gets cold in the summer. Wild boom-and-bust cycles rule the city, and right now we’re in a boom cycle. Medium-rise and high-rise buildings for offices and apartments are sprouting like mushrooms. Cranes dot the skyline. Construction sites are everywhere. Streets are even more congested than usual, with concrete pumps blocking three of the four lanes. Tax revenues are flooding city coffers. Money grows on trees. Rents are soaring. People are getting evicted. And home prices, oh my…. By February, the median home in San Francisco changed hands at $945,000, according to DataQuick (now a division of CoreLogic). That was up a screaming 35% year over year, and 16% higher than the peak of the prior bubble. That peak was in November 2007, the craziest time when nothing could go wrong because stocks were […] Read More

When The Real Cost is Hidden, Making Good Decisions Is Impossible

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog, When good decisions are no longer possible, bad decisions are inevitable. If we had to summarize the response of the Federal government and the Federal Reserve to the structural financial crisis of 2008-2009, we could say that both institutions went all-in to obscure the real price of credit and capital. The real cost of credit and capital is discovered by open, transparent markets. When a central bank sets the price of credit, it destroys the market’s price-discovery process. When the government subsidizes certain types of credit, for example, home mortgages and “cash for clunkers” auto loans, it destroys the market’s price-discovery process. This distorts not just the price of credit, but the price of everything purchased with credit. This is the origin of bubbles, and of the resulting busts. The state and central bank manipulate the price of money (credit and capital) […] Read More

SEC Official Claims Over 50% Of Private Equity Audits Reveal Criminal Behavior

Submitted by Mike Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg blog, Last week, Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism penned a fantastic piece leveraging a talk by SEC official Drew Bowden. Mr. Bowden heads the SEC’s examinations unit, and at a private equity conference he explained that “more than 50 percent of private equity firms it has audited have engaged in serious infractions of securities laws.” What is so incredible about the talk, is that while Bowden goes into details of shady practice after shady practice, he ultimately admits that the SEC isn’t being particularly aggressive with the private equity industry because “we believe that most people in the industry are trying to do the right thing, to help their clients, to grow their business, and to provide for their owners and employees.” Yes, go ahead and read that again. The industry regulator is assuming that private equity firms are trying to do the […] Read More

When $1.2 Trillion In Foreign ‘Hot Money’ Parked At The Fed Dissipates

Wolf Richter   www.testosteronepit.com   www.amazon.com/author/wolfrichter It fits the pattern of gratuitous bank enrichment perfectly, but this time, the big beneficiaries of the Fed are foreign banks. A JPMorgan analysis, cited by the Wall Street Journal, figured that in 2014 the Fed would pay $6.74 billion in interest to the banks that park their excess cash at the Fed – half of that amount, so a cool $3.37 billion, would line the pockets of foreign banks with branches in the US. This is where part of the liquidity ends up that the Fed has been handing to Wall Street through its bond purchases. Currently, the Fed requires that banks keep a minimum balance of $80.2 billion at the Fed. Banks can keep up to $88.2 billion at the Fed as part of the “penalty-free band.” In theory, as “penalty-free” implies, there’d be a penalty on balances above $88.2 billion. But the […] Read More

Supercars Taking Steps To Go Eco-Friendly

Tesla Motors IPO was just $19 a share in 2010, and many on Wall Street thought the company was doomed for disaster. Boy, were they ever wrong. As of 5/5/2014, Tesla is trading at $216/share with specialized Tesla recharge stations starting to pop up across the country. This story of the “little electric engine that could” now looks to be one of the biggest, most daunting shadows to be cast over the car industry since the likes of Henry Ford. Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson said on October 31st, 2004, “[Supercars] are designed to melt ice-caps, kill the poor, poison the water table, destroy the ozone layer, decimate indigenous wildlife, recapture the Falkland Islands, and turn the entire Third World into a huge uninhabitable desert… but only after they’ve nicked all the world’s oil.”  10 years ago, this sentiment was amusing. Today, as we have become significantly greener as a […] Read More