Marketplace Scratch Pad

Morning Reading

Scott Jagow Jun 23, 2009

Ford, Tesla and Nissan will be getting loans from the federal government to make more fuel efficient cars. The Energy Department required that the money go to “financially viable” companies. Hence, GM and Chrysler can’t get their hands on this particular stash. Other things to read:

At Marketwatch, David Weidner blames President Clinton for crippling financial regulation during his term:

We had weakly regulated markets when Clinton took office. When he left, they were an invitation to lawless dealing where, for the ease of it, Willie Sutton would have traded his gun and mask for a briefcase and necktie.

During his final three years in office, Clinton created a fertile environment for home-lending charlatans, hiding places for Wall Street swindlers and a regulatory structure that had served the financial marketplace so well for more than six decades.

Real Clear Markets’ contributor Wendy Milling takes a shot at the advocates of “socialized” medicine:

They back up their calculations with a secret weapon: The citizen’s feelings of guilt. “It’s a moral issue,” assert the advocates of socialized medicine. It certainly is, but not in the way they think. It is immoral to steal and coerce. Doctors are not chattel, and taxpayers are not piggy banks to be broken and raided for the next claimant in line.

Allan Sloan writes in the Washington Post about Wall Street’s selective memory and the government’s distracted brain:

The Street’s biggest hope — and my biggest fear — is that Washington will focus on symbolism such as a pay czar while substantive things, such as regulating derivatives and setting capital requirements, are done out of public view. Wall Street wants to make its own rules again — and could get away with it.

Speaking of executive pay, Footnoted.org, which culls through SEC filings, came up with this from a Legg Mason document:

There, in the justification for Chairman and CEO Mark Fetting’s bonus, was this little pearl:

“Mr. Fetting’s leadership of the company during one of the worst financial crises of the last 100 years, which particularly affected financial services companies…”

Just to make sure, we did a quick check for the word crisis (or crises) at other financial services companies and didn’t come up with anything that even came close. While the word was used in several other proxies, it wasn’t used in a way to justify a bonus and there were no pronouncements about this being the “worst financial crises”.

It amazes me. The spin. It really does.

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