Since the Troubled Asset Relief Program was launched in October, banks bolstered by capital infusions have boosted charges on a wide range of routine transactions, hiked rates on credit cards and continued making loans criticised as predatory by consumer advocates.
The TARP funds are intended to open lending spigots and make it easier for people to borrow money.
Last week, for example, Bank of America told some customers that interest rates on their credit cards will nearly double to about 14 per cent. The bank, which got $US45 billion ($62.6 billion) in capital from the US Government, also is imposing fees of least $US10 on a wide range of credit-card transactions.
Citigroup, another recipient of government cash, is trying to entice customers to borrow at high rates.
“You could get $US5000 today,” Citigroup's consumer-finance unit wrote in fliers mailed to customers. The ads don't disclose that the loans often carry annual interest rates of 30 per cent ... Citigroup has received $US50 billion in capital from taxpayers, and the US government will soon own as much as 36 per cent of the company's common stock.
You know what I think we need? A mandate. Read more about Bailed out banks charge us 30% interest to lend us our own money
If you thought Black's truthtelling with Bill Moyers was incendiary, read his latest interview in Barrons. Just like his interview on Moyers, it's about as easy to excerpt as, say, an artillery barrage (and quite a contrast to spread-the-blame-around weak tea like this.) Herewith: Read more about The problem with Bill Black? He never says what he really feels. Not.
It's definitely night time for the economy, so why isn't the dog barking? Curious! Read more about So where's the #Krugman column on Bill Black and accounting control fraud at the banks?
Just came back from a two hour Thai massage in Hong Kong, and afterwards spent some time hanging out talking with the Thai women who work in the place about the events in their country. Yeah, I know this is a variation on the "taxi driver interview" that so many lazy journalists work to death. Still, the masseuses come from the rural NE of Thailand, have worked their way out of rural poverty into small business. They're representative of an important slice of the current Thai conflict.
Anyway, their consensus: it's a mess. "The red shirts can't win. The yellow shirts can't win. Something has to change." Read more about Thai massage
...in response to this dung from James Roosevelt Jr., CEO of Tufts Health Plan. I doubt that they'll print it, since in giving him a large chunk of the op-ed page, they've kind of shown which side they're going to line up on, but you never know. There was a lot more in his letter I wanted to comment on, but that would have guaranteed it not seeing the light of day- the Globe's into pithy or ranting from the rabble, not anything longform. Read more about Letter to the Boston Globe
Seriously, I appreciate that Joss and everyone at Harvard Humanist Society are trying to promote secularism.
But the opening gambit was painful to watch.
Joss Whedon: "[nonbelievers] got a shout-out during the inauguration. That was amazing!"
Both from Baseline Scenario:
Tunneling: Borderline legal/illegal smuggling of value out of businesses.
Rents: Economics jargon for easy money from business that others aren’t allowed into (like, say, the easy money from owning an ATM network -- or a network of "health care" "providers").
With that in mind, see this by Simon Johnson. The point he's making is too subtle for me, so maybe somebody who understands finance can translate:
Q: Michael Moore, the gonzo filmmaker, made a movie on health-care problems called "Sicko." Is Moore a prophet or a pest?