This is an ongoing post to study what exactly happened to Lehman Brothers.
Sep 15, 2008: Lehman Brothers was the 4th largest investment bank in the world. Why was Hank Paulson smiling the day Lehman Brothers was declared bankrupt? Did he play a role in the denial of US Govt support for Lehman Brothers at a critical juncture? Nobody knows that. But what one surely knows is that Hank Paulson is ex-Goldman Sachs and Goldman Sachs is a long term beneficiary of Lehman Brothers fall. Agreed that Lehman had much higher leverage (about 40x) than its peers (20x), so their balance sheet was much higher in risk. But if US Govt could support other large financial organizations like AIG, Fannie Mae and Freddie Max, maybe they should have offered some “short term support” to Lehman Brothers too. In credit crunch situation, time is all that one needs, and with a bit of time, Lehman could have got a chance to get sell some of its assets to raise capital or raise fresh capital from its long term investors globally. The US Govt’s/ Fed’s attitude of “not a single dollar to support you” towards Lehman Brothers was not logical and it harmed the global financial markets, including US economy. Continue reading →
It has been three years since the beginning of the most intense phase of the financial crisis in the late summer and fall of 2008, and more than two years since the economic recovery began in June 2009.
There have been some positive developments: The functioning of financial markets and the banking system in the United States has improved significantly. Manufacturing production in the United States has risen nearly 15 percent since its trough, driven substantially by growth in exports; indeed, the U.S. trade deficit has been notably lower recently than it was before the crisis, reflecting in part the improved competitiveness of U.S. goods and services. Business investment in equipment and software has continued to expand, and productivity gains in some industries have been impressive.
Nevertheless, it is clear that, overall, the recovery from the crisis has been much less robust than we had hoped. Recent revisions of government economic data show the recession as having been even deeper, and the recovery weaker, than previously estimated; indeed, by the second quarter of this year–the latest quarter for which official estimates are available–aggregate output in the United States still had not returned to the level that it had attained before the crisis. Slow economic growth has in turn led to slow rates of increase in jobs and household incomes. Continue reading →
This afternoon, Congress approved a compromise to reduce the deficit and avert a default that would have devastated the economy. Speaking from the Rose Garden, President Obama thanked the American people for reaching out to their elected officials during the debate, and stressed that this compromise guarantees more than $2 trillion in deficit reduction, and will ensure that as a nation we live within our means, while still making key investments in things that lead to new jobs, like education and research. Continue reading →
Michael Pento, senior economist at Euro Pacific Capital, and Dan Greenhaus, chief economic strategist with Miller Tabak, debate the issues in this clip.
I strongly disagree with Michael Pento, who says a depression should be encouraged in America. His view that the govt. should be as impotent as possible, is one of the most funny statements in the recent months. The need is to increase the money supply, not decrease it. The asset prices (home prices) will automatically fall down gradually in the coming years, based on demand-supply, but it will avoid a crash. Today is not the time to trim the role of the Govt.
If anything can prevent America from depression with deflation, it is the US Govt taking the lead with offering new economic stimulus packages – for infrastructure, for education, for vocational training, etc. Fiscal policy levers/incentives must be used to spur private sector growth, where in the govt. either becomes a buyer or actively sources buyers through export opportunities.
The need is for the govt. to take charge and play a major role. US businesses alone can’t do much. In addition, taxes on the rich must be renewed, not removed. Unless job growth happens, no real economic recovery is possible.