Earth to the Villagers – decent paying jobs with good benefits would go a long way to resolving much of the “crisis” that has so many of you twisted in knots. And that is not to be defined as McDonald’s level jobs or other primarily minimum wage service jobs. I’m talking here about jobs that can allow a family to do more than survive and jobs where the wage earner can pay a rent or mortgage, purchase new clothing, maybe even buy a new car. If the jobs actually have benefits rather than being Perma-Temp, all the better.
Regional and state unemployment rates were generally little changed in March. Thirty-four states recorded unemployment rate decreases, seven states registered rate increases, and nine states and the District of Columbia had no change, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Forty-four states and the District of Columbia posted unemployment rate decreases from a year earlier, five states reported increases, and one state had no change. The national jobless rate was 8.8 percent in March, little changed from February but 0.9 percentage point lower than a year earlier.
Again I ask, what kind of jobs are these that are “lowering” the official unemployment rate? Since today is the big, nationwide McDonald’s Job Fair that was trumpeted a couple of weeks ago, will this push the Unemployment rate down another tenth of a point? If so, it probably won’t do much for the Underemployment (U6 in linked chart) numbers at all. Read the rest of this entry →
Special report: Jamie Dimon wants some R-E-S-P-E-C-T
This would be JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, one of the bailed out banks that did more than their share to destroy the US and world economy.
At last week’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the JPMorgan Chase chief executive once again lambasted the media and politicians for portraying all bankers as greedy evil-doers.
It was at least the 12th time since the start of the financial crisis that Dimon has complained about Wall Street critics painting all bankers as cut from the same cloth. But the timing of his latest outburst seemed odd.
To their credit, Reuters goes on to point out a number of reasons why Dimon should not be whining, not least of which is the appointment of William Daley, former JP Morgan executive, as President Obama’s Chief of Staff. They also point out that the Dimon self image just might be a bit of PR fluff:
But there’s another side to the popular narrative about Dimon the Good and how he outperformed his peers by steering clear of things like subprime-backed mortgage securities. In reality, the main reason JPMorgan didn’t load up on subprime debt as much as other banks was because it was slow to enter the market, critics say.
Critics point out that JPMorgan, even if it wasn’t a leader in churning out collateralized debt obligations, provided some of the building blocks for these toxic securities through all the home loans and second mortgages it sold.
And despite his good-guy image, Dimon is just as aggressive as any banker when it comes to looking for ways to generate fees from credit cards and other staple consumer banking products.
On June 15, 2007, an evidently high-level risk management officer for Chase’s investment bank sent a lunchtime e-mail to colleagues to report that another bank executive “just told me that there is a well-known cloud over the head of Madoff and that his returns are speculated to be part of a Ponzi scheme.”
Despite those suspicions and many more, the bank allowed Mr. Madoff to move billions of dollars of investors’ cash in and out of his Chase bank accounts right until the day of his arrest in December 2008 — although by then, the bank had withdrawn all but $35 million of the $276 million it had invested in Madoff-linked hedge funds, according to the litigation.
Bill Clinton says the “jury may still be out” on whether behemoth banks like JPMorgan Chase are good for America.
But the former president said he remains a fan of Jamie Dimon, largely because the JPMorgan chief executive is one of the few top bankers willing to speak his mind and admit mistakes.
“I know that Jamie Dimon did not like everything in the financial reform bill, but he supported higher capital requirements for banks,” said the former president, during a half-hour phone conversation last month. “He has been more forthright than a lot of (bankers).”
Do you think it’s ethically justifiable that certain bankers earn $50 million or $60 million a year at a time when unemployment is nearly 10 percent and income inequality is widening in this country?
The income inequality that you refer to is apparent in many different places. You see it in athletics; you see it in entertainment; you see it in your industry as well. You take a look at the compensation of C.E.O.’s of major corporations, recognizing that those corporations have become much larger —they do business in many different parts around the world — and it’s very difficult to know how to properly benchmark the compensation.
Do you feel any responsibility for the economic meltdown of 2008, which you failed to foresee?
That’s an odd question to be asking me.
I did not think that was part of what we were going to be talking about.
Uh, Ms Cohen? Athletes and entertainers didn’t destroy the global economy, bankers did.
The Sergeant Schultz defense seems to be fairly common among CEOs and upper management for many companies, even though they are paid to be aware of what is going on. I would imagine that there are many of us among the millions of long term un and underemployed who could do the jobs of CEOs and so-called Masters of the Universe and be not only more honest in our dealings with others but also more empathetic for those who are struggling.
The firm’s board granted restricted stock valued at $12.6 million to Mr. Blankfein and other senior executives, including Gary D. Cohn, the firm’s president. The board also approved a new annual base salary of $2 million for its chief executive, up from $600,000. Mr. Cohn and others will see their base salaries increase to $1.85 million, according to the filing on Friday.
With his previous salary of $600,000, Mr. Blankfein’s 2010 compensation comes to $13.2 million. Senior executives often receive part of their compensation in cash, but Goldman did not release details on this component of Mr. Blankfein’s compensation.
How might you compensate management for a year in which profits plunged, you spent $550 million of shareholder money to settle a fraud investigation and your stock ended up more or less exactly where it started (see chart, right)?
You might be tempted to nix raises or withhold bonuses to send a responsible message about linking pay to performance. But if so, you wouldn’t be Goldman Sachs (GS).
It just had the year described above – and responded by tripling everyone’s base salary while boosting bonuses by 40%. Is this a great country or what?
Bank of America Corp. intends to give some investment bankers a greater share of their bonuses in cash, the latest Wall Street compensation move roiling banking chieftains as they meet in Davos, Switzerland.
Last year the highest-paid bankers at the nation’s largest bank by assets received as little as 5% of their payout in cash. Now bankers and traders making more than $5 million are getting as much as 30% of their 2010 compensation in cash and at least 70% in deferred stock, according to people familiar with the situation. Some could see a stock award of as much as 80% and 20% in cash.
In the messages, Lloyd C. Blankfein, the bank’s chief executive, acknowledged in November 2007 that the firm had lost money initially. But it later recovered by making negative bets, known as short positions, to profit as housing prices plummeted. “Of course we didn’t dodge the mortgage mess,” he wrote. “We lost money, then made more than we lost because of shorts.”
Goldman, of course, denies they made the profit:
Goldman on Saturday denied it made a significant profit on mortgage-related products in 2007 and 2008. It said the subcommittee had “cherry-picked” e-mail messages from the nearly 20 million pages of documents it provided. This sets up a showdown between the Senate subcommittee and Goldman, which has aggressively defended itself since the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a security fraud complaint against it nine days ago. On Tuesday, seven current and former Goldman employees, including Mr. Blankfein, are expected to testify at a Congressional hearing.
My absolute first thought when I saw the "cherry-picking" complaint was of Richard Nixon and the Watergate Tapes. I am not a lawyer and as always, just might be an idiot but it sure looks to me that Sen Levin and staff found what can be very close to the "smoking gun."
just four e-mails from the almost 20 million pages of documents and e- mails provided to it by Goldman Sachs,” van Praag said. “It is concerning that the subcommittee seems to have reached its conclusion even before holding a hearing.”
So tell ya what we can do there Goldman Sachs folks. Why don’t you go ahead and release all 20 million pages of documents and emails and let those of us who are interested do some crowdsourcing review for everyone. Surely this would be satisfactory for all parties, right?
No. I’m not going to hold my breath on this to happen.
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