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Marketplace Scratch Pad

Morning Reading

Scott Jagow Jan 25, 2010

Good morning. Hope you had a good weekend. A few things to start the week, including: why bankers don’t deserve their bonuses, calls for Geithner and Bernanke to go, and why cable companies bundle their channels.

Why bankers haven’t earned their bonuses (MSN Money)

…if these financial institutions had reduced their leverage to sane, more manageable levels, and if they’d marked to market all of their assets (especially real-estate-related ones) and the securitized products that flowed from those asset classes, then perhaps we could say that, well, you know, these institutions have healed themselves, and they’re not going to be a problem for us down the road. So they should feel free to distribute the profits as they see fit.

But they haven’t.

Geithner must go — and the future of the Fed (The Nation)

Failure to disclose is a big no-no in corporate finance. People can go to jail if they willfully withhold material information from shareholders and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), or they may be sued for investor fraud. Yet that is what the New York Fed told AIG to do. The company officers wanted to report fully to the SEC. Their Fed overseers told them to take out the disclosure out of their report to the SEC (the facts were ultimately not disclosed until five months later). The Fed, remember, is the government’s principal banking regulator. It is supposed to enforce the laws, not tell regulated firms to break them.

Paul Krugman should replace Ben Bernanke (Baseline Scenario)

No, that’s a crazy suggestion (Paul Krugman):

Does it make sense to deny Bernanke reappointment simply in order to appoint someone who would follow the same policies?

And yet, the Fed really needs to be shaken out of its complacency.

As I said, I’m agonizing.

New anti-smog measures could warm the planet (NPR)

The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to tighten the ozone standard for smog will have an unfortunate side effect: Because of a quirk of atmospheric chemistry, those measures will hasten global warming.

Why cable companies bundle their channels (The New Yorker)

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