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Corporate Tool

Reading Time: 2 minutes Here’s a useful tool for finding out what US-based transnational corporations are doing around the world. Go to a website called Croctail, where you can search domestic and foreign subsidiaries of publicly traded companies. (Hat tip to www.dirtdiggersdigest.org which brought it to my attention.) And while we’re at it, here’s DirtDiggers on Shell’s spin on Read More

UBS or Just Plain BS?

Reading Time: 2 minutes The Obama Justice Department has just floated a trial balloon to see if it can drop a legal effort to force the Swiss Bank UBS to disclose the names of 52,000 rich Americans suspected of using the bank to evade US taxes. Back in February, the Justice Department sued the bank in an effort to Read More

Hedge Funds Flex Lobbying Muscle

Reading Time: < 1 minute The Wall Street Journal has a solid piece of reporting on the continued power of hedge funds to shape their own—and the nation’s—destiny. The lede says it all (subscription required): Many hedge funds were relieved last week when the Obama administration’s financial-overhaul plan included no big surprises or threats to the lucrative, secretive industry. It Read More

Protecting Monopoly Power

Reading Time: 2 minutes It’s rare that a public-policy proposal manages to please three-quarters of the public. A government-run healthcare option has managed to do just that, according to a recent poll by CBS News and the New York Times. Seventy-two percent of respondents, including fifty percent of Republicans, said they favored the creation of a public healthcare plan Read More

Goldman Sachs Record Bonuses: Where's the Investigation?

Reading Time: 2 minutes Goldman Sachs is on pace to make record bonus payouts after a robust first half, the Guardian newspaper reported on Sunday. Goldman staff in London were briefed on the outlook and told they could look forward to the bonus hikes if the company registers, as predicted, its most profitable year ever, the report said. The Read More

Who’s Got Obama’s Ear?

Reading Time: 2 minutes In the New York Times, Joe Nocera argues that Obama’s steps at regulating Wall Street are tepid compared to FDR’s and are likely to leave in place some of the very mechanisms that contributed to the crisis. Read this excerpt, if not the entire piece, then my closing comment: [T]he Obama plan is little more Read More

The End of American Hegemony?

Reading Time: 2 minutes At TruthDig, Chris Hedges, playing off an economist’s piece in the Financial Times, posits a dire future based on the collapse of the dollar, largely on account of the humongous military budget’s role in ballooning the deficit. The article, typically lively and controversial Hedges fare, is worth reading for its analysis, as are Hedges’s comments Read More

The Charity of Lobbyists

Reading Time: 2 minutes USA Today published a thorough investigation of the donations lobbyists pour into the favorite non-profits of Congressmen to gain influence and buy face time at charity events. Only since 2007, when congressional ethics rules were changed, has such beneficence had to be reported. The article shows that the reform didn’t come soon enough, since the Read More

Citigroup’s Bogus Profits

Reading Time: 2 minutes Remember how Citigroup’s reported $1.6 billion first-quarter profits sparked a rally in financial stocks? Martin Weiss of Weiss Research Inc. thinks Citigroup really suffered a $2.5 billion loss: Citigroup’s $1.6 billion in first-quarter profit would vanish if accounting were more stringent, says Martin Weiss of Weiss Research Inc. in Jupiter, Florida. “The big banks’ profits Read More

Moral Hazard, Fed Style

Reading Time: 2 minutes How exactly did the Federal Reserve gain the emergency authority to loan more than $1 trillion of taxpayer money to the banks secretly and without oversight? The Washington Post explains today in a long investigative piece by Binyamin Appelbaum and Neil Irwin. As it turns out, Sen. Chris Dodd slipped the necessary language into an Read More

Treasury’s Shadowy Bid to Bilk Taxpayers

Reading Time: 2 minutes The banks that received money under the Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program also granted stock warrants so that taxpayers could capitalize on the risk of investing their money. Bloomberg reports that the Treasury is well on its way to screwing taxpayers on the deal: Banks negotiating to reclaim stock warrants they granted in return for Read More

NY Times Deals New Card

Reading Time: 2 minutes Anybody who still appreciates the arcane pleasure of reading an actual newsprint newspaper knows how important it is what makes it onto the front page. The New York Times’s prominent placement of a column by personal finance columnist Ron Lieber signals an important development: traditional news organizations’ increasing willingness to level with readers and not Read More

Paying More to Cut Costs

Reading Time: 2 minutes The Washington Post today reviews the political push that led to the $36.5 billion in Obama’s stimulus package devoted to modernizing health records. Behind the president’s rosy predictions about the plan’s cost savings is the very industry that stands to gain a fortune from the bill’s passage. Candidate Obama promised $77.8 billion could be saved Read More

Investigative Story of the Week

Reading Time: < 1 minute Covering the increasingly urgent matter of food supply safety, the New York Times’s Michael Moss delivers a classic of investigative reporting in his examination of manufacturer instructions relating to frozen entrees. The thrust of the article is that, as food manufacturers look to cut costs and increase imports of ingredients, more and more pathogens are Read More

Insolvency

Reading Time: 2 minutes Anytime government or corporate interests allege an imminent crisis, journalists must guard themselves against manipulative terminology. Take the report the Obama administration released yesterday showing that the Social Security and Medicare trust funds are being depleted at a faster rate, thanks in part to the recession. The Medicare fund will run out of money in Read More

A Look Back: Hedge Funds

Reading Time: 2 minutes Sometimes, here at WhoWhatWhy, we find it useful to see what was said, back in the good old days, about the institutions that later became so reviled. Along these lines, we refer you to an April 2007 New York Magazine cover package, “Behind the Hedge”—a primer on hedge funds and the (almost all) men who Read More