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  • dointhedog2 dointhedog2 Nov 30, 2008 5:20 PM Flag

    Alpha's God, Stein, reads Canu

    Alph,

    You seldom fail to take the "bait". Let me suggest that the real discussion, if one cares to look for resolution rather than temporary advantage, centers on "how and why did we get there/here?" The emphasis is on WE!

    What are the trends/movements that occur, affecting all of us, with the evolution of thought on a given subject and what did we learn? Canu once responded to Duckie with the question/assertion that Duckie doesn't really understand what money is.

    Do we really know what money/fiat is now and have we gotten so far down the road that we have lost site of the answer? That is the essence, IMO, over whether or not fiat or metal backed currency is correct for the modern society.

    Now why do I engage these points? Simply to understand whether trends in thought as exemplified by Rubin and industry cohorts, are but errors in practice or dishonest manipulation of a system open to such. We are all subject to error and I can't imagine that anyone thinks that Greenspan, for one, is corrupt. He believed everything that he said and testified to in the 80-00's period. Fact is, some people's errors are more important than others.

    Now the real issue is, has Rubin learned? Is he smart enough and is he prepared to work for the necessary evolution in thought and practice to resolve the current financial mess that we find ourselves in. I believe Obama has surrounded himself with very capable and experienced financial advisors that, if they are at least mostly pure in thought and sufficiently dedicated, can move the country forward.

    Best,

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    • Dog, I welcome your insight. It takes an honest person to establish an empirical based review of where we are at and heading. I suggest you consider the below article regarding Rubin. No... he hasn't learned is what you will find.

      As one of the most highly paid at Citicorp, he claims immunity from what has befallen Citi. As one of the guiding intellectual and operational talents at Citi, he claims no responsibility for its failure. He just wants you to bail it out because of 'unforeseen' market failures.

      What nonsense.

      But read it for yourself. Then tell me you are not worried that Rubin is the principal architect of Obama's financial restructuring plans.

      NOVEMBER 29, 2008 Rubin, Under Fire, Defends His Role at Citi
      'Nobody Was Prepared' for Crisis of '08
      By KEN BROWN and DAVID ENRICH

      Under fire for his role in the near-collapse of Citigroup Inc., Robert Rubin said its problems were due to the buckling financial system, not its own mistakes, and that his role was peripheral to the bank's main operations even though he was one of its highest-paid officials.

      "Nobody was prepared for this," Mr. Rubin said in an interview. He cited former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan as another example of someone whose reputation has been unfairly damaged by the crisis.

      Mr. Rubin, senior counselor and a director at Citigroup, acknowledged that he was involved in a board decision to ramp up risk-taking in 2004 and 2005, even though he was warning publicly that investors were taking too much risk. He said if executives had executed the plan properly, the bank's losses would have been less.

      Its troubles have put the former Treasury secretary in the awkward position of having to justify $115 million in pay since 1999, excluding stock options, while explaining Citigroup's $20 billion in losses over the past year and a government bailout of at least $45 billion.

      Mr. Rubin's salary made him one of Wall Street's highest-paid officials -- and a controversial figure among Citigroup shareholders and some executives, who questioned whether his limited duties justified the big paydays.

      "Even though he has no 'operating' responsibilities, he still has a fiduciary responsibility as a board member," said William Smith, a New York money manager and frequent critic of Citigroup's current management and board. "He has overseen the entire meltdown, yet been compensated as an operating employee while bragging about having no operating responsibility." Mr. Rubin can't "have it both ways," Mr. Smith added.

      Mr. Rubin said his pay was justified and that there were higher-paying opportunities available to him. "I bet there's not a single year where I couldn't have gone somewhere else and made more," he said. He turned down his bonus last year, telling the board the money could be better spent elsewhere.

      Asked if he had any regrets, Mr. Rubin said: "I guess that I don't think of it quite that way," adding that "if you look back from now, there's an enormous amount that needs to be learned."

      Mr. Rubin's effort to salvage his reputation comes just after Chief Executive Vikram Pandit appeared on PBS's Charlie Rose show. Mr. Pandit, too, blamed the overall financial crisis, not Citigroup, for the problems that led the government to decide to inject money into the bank for a second time this fall.

      cont'd

      • 1 Reply to canucanoe1
      • cont'd



        "This was something that was bigger than Citi," Mr. Pandit said. "It was about confidence in the financial system. It was about stability of the financial system."

        From the time Mr. Rubin joined Citigroup in October 1999, shortly after leaving the Treasury, the former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. co-chairman said he didn't want to run any of Citigroup's businesses. At the time, he told colleagues he wanted more time for activities such as fly fishing. In the recent interview, he said his task was to meet with clients and have an advisory role as an "experienced senior person who has no ax to grind."




        Since 1999, the bank has lurched from crisis to crisis, first with regulatory authorities, then with investors who grumbled that the bank lacked a strong strategy and was bloated.

        Since the housing market turned down, Citigroup has grappled with its worst crisis ever. Besides an initial $25 billion injection as part of a broad rescue of financial firms, the government recently agreed to put in $20 billion more and vowed to protect Citigroup against most losses on $306 billion of its assets.

        Mr. Rubin said it is a company's risk-management executives who are responsible for avoiding problems like the ones Citigroup faces. "The board can't run the risk book of a company," he said. "The board as a whole is not going to have a granular knowledge" of operations.

        Still, Mr. Rubin was deeply involved in a decision in late 2004 and early 2005 to take on more risk to boost flagging profit growth, according to people familiar with the discussions. They say he would comment that Citigroup's competitors were taking more risks, leading to higher profits. Colleagues deferred to him, as the only board member with experience as a trader or risk manager. "I knew what a CDO was," Mr. Rubin said, referring to collateralized debt obligations, instruments tied to mortgages and other debt that led to many of Citigroup's losses.

        Mr. Rubin said the decision to increase risk followed a presentation to the board by a consultant who said the bank had committed less of the capital on its balance sheet, on a risk-adjusted basis, than competitors. "It gave room to do more, assuming you're doing intelligent risk-reward decisions," Mr. Rubin said. He said success would have been based on having "the right people, the right oversight, the right technology."

        The decision has been blamed in part for Citigroup's problems, including the growth of its CDO holdings amid signs the mortgage market was unraveling. Mr. Rubin doubts that's true. "It was not an inflection point," he said, but "I just don't know what would have happened" if the decision had been different.

        At the time, Mr. Rubin was saying in speeches that most assets were overvalued. He would quote a noted investor he knew as saying that "the only undervalued asset class in the world is risk."

        cont'd

    • "Obama has surrounded himself with very capable and experienced financial advisors that, if they are at least mostly pure in thought and sufficiently dedicated, can move the country forward."

      "Pure in thought" Dog? "Pure in thought"??

      Forgive my sarcasm but didn't most of the advisors that Obama picked have a hand in the SUB-PRIME/SLIME DEBACLE??

      Unless these advisors found Economic Religion and became BORN AGAIN (economically speaking) then their "Pure in thought" may still be locked into their old "Impure In Thought" mentality.

      As Dr. Phil has always said; "you can't change something you don't acknowledge". I don't recall any of Obama's advisors acknowledge their complecity in the GREATEST ECONOMIC DEBACLE IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. Maybe if they came forward and admited to their part in THE GREATEEST ECONOMIC DEBACLE IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD then I think there's a chance they COULD CHANGE and put the NATIONs INTERESTS FIRST.

      However, IMHO there AIN'T NOTHING CHANGING. Cause too much money was made by the WALL STREET CROOKS with their willing accomplices in Congress, Rating Agencies, and Oversight/Regulatory Agencies. Also, if Wall Street gets BAILED OUT when they fail and KEEP the MONEY when they win why would they want CHANGE?

      And guess who GAVE MILLIONS and MILLIONS of Campaign Dollars to Obama and his party?

      Oh, and since there hasn't been a REAL HEARING by Congress concerning THE GREATEST ECONOMIC DEBACLE IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD I figure TPTB want this DEBACLE to continue.

      Nothing like good old SOCIALISM to put the FREE MARKET OUT OF BUSINESS.

      Comrade eggsky and hamsky

    • "...has Rubin learned?"

      As a Citigroup long term shareholder, and a committed sceptic based on experience, I would very much like to be entertained by any argument he has "learned".

      Because that would make good theatre.

      DiB

 
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