David Westerfield

Theology, Culture, Technology, Reviews, and Other Commentary

Orwellian Financial Doublespeak – Update 1

This really makes you wonder who is really running the engine of this nation now: from politics to corporations to the media, it really seems to be the moneychangers now, the banks and major investment firms. And instead of the Fed addressing the “too big to fail” issue, the bailed out banks are even bigger than before after all of these tax-payer funded bailouts.

Don’t believe everything you read in the headlines out there about the state of things in the economy, or in this case the bailouts. It is not rosy nor can we determine the state of the economy based solely upon what the stock market is doing, as some seem bent on doing.

It seems alternative media are more faithful these days to doing actual economic and financial journalism than many of the big hitters, including blogs like Naked Capitalism, Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis and Calculated Risk. In addition, though Alex Jones may be the leader of conspiratorial hype movement in the alternative media world, where everyone and their dog is an agent of the Fed and the global elitist interests that are coming to enslave us, he at least has one thing completely right that I agree on: we are in an information war of vast proportions against some wealthy stake holders in this country now.

Take for example this from Naked Capitalism: More Bogus Bailout Reporting: “As Big Banks Repay Bailout Money, U.S. Sees a Profit” (Archive)

“Clearly, the spin is in. As a post earlier today discusses, the Financial Times is running a story that claims that the Fed made money on its rescue programs, then slips in all the tidbits in the body of the article to let discerning readers know that the reporter understands that the analysis is utter rubbish while looking like it is not crossing the Fed.

“In a simply remarkable coincidence of timing, the New York Time[s] [is] running a story with the very same message, namely that bailouts are good for taxpayers because the Treasury has made money on the TARP.

“If you believe that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you. The fact that we have such patent garbage running as a front page New York Times story says either the reporter and his editors lack the ability to think critically (or find sources who could do that for them) or that we have a controlled press. Given that subscriber-driven Bloomberg has even fallen in line, I am inclined to the latter view, but I am still curious as to how this has been achieved. Is this the price of access journalism, or is something more pernicious at work?

“Now to the intellectually bankrupt New York Times story. Here is how it determined the TARP was making money:

The profits, collected from eight of the biggest banks that have fully repaid their obligations to the government, come to about $4 billion, or the equivalent of about 15 percent annually, according to calculations compiled for The New York Times.

“Help me. Credit 101 is that your best borrowers repay first (unless you gave them overly generous terms, of course, then they might hang on to the proceeds). A quick but not conclusive search suggests that only a small portion of the TARP has been retired, so it is wildly premature to declare victory.

“In fact, another source looked at the TARP as of June and estimated that it had lost $148 billion, and had lowered loss total as a result of the repayments. Now bank stocks have rallied since then, but the biggest contributors to the red ink, namely AIG and Citigroup, are not in any better shape fundamentally than they were then. Indeed, the fact that new AIG CEO Robert Benmosche has in a remarkable show of hubris, effectively told the US taxpayer to stuff it, AIG has the dough and is in no particular hurry to return it, nor does it care what the public or Treasury wants, its demands are unreasonable. I wouldn’t hold my breath about having the loans repaid.

“… if you subscribe to the world according to the New York Times, you’d think we the long suffering taxpayer got a really good deal. By extension, we should be really happy if financial firms throw themselves off the cliff again en masse, since that will give us all the opportunity to make even more money by rescuing them!”

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