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C&L Opening Bell, SPECIAL Fed Doc Dump Edition!

Christmas has come early this year as the Fed opened its books to show us just how many different companies it bailed out during the great crash of 2008. If you're looking for evidence that America's "free market" system is nothing but a pathetic

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Christmas has come early this year as the Fed opened its books to show us just how many different companies it bailed out during the great crash of 2008. If you're looking for evidence that America's "free market" system is nothing but a pathetic joke, you won't get any better than this. Let's git 'er started!

  • Actually, before we get to the Fed, we should really examine this amazing quote from Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan and all-around dirtbag:

    The day before, "60 Minutes" broadcast an interview with Obama in which he referred derisively to "fat cat" bankers. To Dimon, who earned $16 million for 2009 -- all but $1 million of it in long-term stock incentives -- the slap was the sort of broad-brush slur he was hearing too much of on all sides. He reminded the president: "President Lincoln could have denigrated all Southerners. He didn't."

    No, he didn't denigrate Southerners; he just sent a bunch of troops down there to bayonet them and burn their cities. And to me, that seems a lot worse than being called a nasty name.

    But that's the thing about narcissists -- they're stunningly insecure people who get comically angry and upset whenever anyone dares to challenge their sense of self-worth and accomplishment. Dimon, like the rest of his dirtbag compatriots, seem completely oblivious to the horror and ruin they have caused for millions of people around the world. If he's so upset at being called evil all the time, maybe he should work in a less evil profession.

  • Next:If you thought the Fed was only providing an emergency lending window to "too-big-to-fail" financial institutions, well, you got a big surprise coming:

    The Federal Reserve released documents Wednesday showing that its efforts to help stabilize the markets at the height of the financial crisis reached far beyond Wall Street and deep into the economy.

    The disclosures reveal the extent that corporations relied on the Fed for the money to pay supplies and make weekly payroll. The crisis in the commercial paper market, the documents show, was more extensive and lasted longer than was previously known.

    Even bedrock corporations like Caterpillar, General Electric, Harley Davidson, McDonald’s, Verizon and Toyota depended on a program that supported the market for commercial paper — the short-term i.o.u.’s that corporations use. During the worst moments of the crisis, in the fall of 2008, even creditworthy corporate borrowers found this source of financing had dried up, and had to turn to the Fed.

    While most of the Fed’s commercial paper purchase were made in the first few weeks after the program opened on Oct. 27, 2008, the central bank had to buy nearly as much in January 2009 and only slightly less in March 2009. Indeed, the Fed was still supporting the market for commercial paper well into the summer of 2009 — even as the recession officially came to an end.

    Gee and all this time I thought American corporations were the absolute bestest in the entire world because they were run by rugged individualists who deign to use their Galtian superpowers to provide the rest of us poor fleshbags with jobs. Why, if Ayn Rand were still alive (and thank God she's not, she was a horrible human being), she'd condemn the whole lot of them as LOOTERS.

  • Wall Street, of course, were the biggest looters on the block, as they always are:

    Wall Street was a heavy user of the Federal Reserve's extraordinary credit facilities during the financial crisis, Fed data released Wednesday showed.

    Goldman Sachs Group Inc., for instance, tapped the Fed's Primary Dealer Credit Facility 84 times. Morgan Stanley borrowed from the Fed's Primary Dealer Credit Facility 212 times between March 2008 and March 2009, an indication of just how close Wall Street's second-largest investment bank came to the brink of collapse during the financial crisis.

    The Fed created the Primary Dealer Credit Facility, or PDCF, to provide discount window loans to investment banks, a privilege previously reserved for more tightly regulated commercial banks. Eventually both Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley were granted bank-holding-company status.

    Commercial banks also were big users of the facilities, often through their investment-banking arms.

    Citigroup Inc. used the Primary Dealer Credit Facility almost daily through its investment-banking unit, borrowing as much as $17.9 billion in late November 2008, around the time the government stepped in to prevent Citi's cardiac arrest. The use tapered off in April 2009.

    Bank of America Corp. used the PDCF nearly every trading day from Sept. 18, 2008, to May 12, 2009, more than 1,000 times in total. The bank's single biggest use of the facility was for $11 billion in October 2008, and seven times it took more than $10 billion at a time.

    Bank of America had to run to the Fed trough nearly every day for more than half a year??? The term "Zombie Bank" doesn't even begin to describe BofA. For you Buffy fans out there, I think the only true way to describe BofA is a super-powerful "Turok-Han Bank." Goldman, of course, is the First Evil.

  • Here's another good detail from Zach Carter:

    burning-money.jpg
    The Fed accepted a total of $1.31 trillion in junk-rated collateral between Sept. 15, 2008 and May 12, 2009 through the Primary Dealer Credit Facility. TARP was nothing compared to this. [...]

    Anyone suggesting that the Fed's "emergency lending" facilities are just part of macro or monetary policy is kidding themselves. The Fed refused to accept junk-rated collateral until Sept. 15, 2008. When it became clear that Lehman was going off the rails, they started accepting junk-rated collateral-- even from Lehman Brothers itself!

    That makes it very clear that the Fed was bailing out these firms in the midst of a crisis. They made a conscious decision to lower their lending standards in order to save big Wall Street firms with no strings attached.

    You know your sketchy neighbor Jimmy who's always begging you to borrow $.75 for a bus fare and who then offers you a plastic bag full of his anal hair as collateral when you turn him down? Remember how you always wondered, "Who would be insane enough to take Jimmy up on that deal?" Well, now we know who: the Federal Reserve.

    On teh Twitter, Matt Stoller asks the most obvious question: What happened to all the anal hair bags junk securities that the Fed accepted as collateral?

  • Atrios sums up perfectly why the Fed's actions made no sense policy-wise. Basically, the "banking" system in this country no longer exists as an industry designed to move capital from savers to borrowers. Instead, it's just a damn gambling casino. But our elected public officials seem to think that these guys are Indispensable Men despite the fact that they, uh, destroyed the entire world.
  • This is all particularly galling (Galting?) when you remember stuff like this is going on:

    Unemployed workers whose federal jobless benefits began lapsing Wednesday will probably have to wait until mid-December for them to restart while congressional lawmakers iron out a deal.

    With House and Senate leaders aiming for a Dec. 17 adjournment, the most likely scenario during the lame-duck session is for lawmakers to complete the extension of unemployment benefits as part of a larger legislative package, such as a measure dealing with the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts, shortly before the 111th Congress leaves town for the last time, sources tell The Hill.

    Corporate America gets an endless bailout. Workers get bent. We have a remarkably evil political class in this country in case you haven't noticed.

    But hey, at least Paris Hilton will get to keep her precious, precious tax cut!

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