CRASH 2: Division, greed & sub-prime sovereigns are still the norm.

The evidence that the asylum inmates are on the roof is as strong as ever

Rather like their equivalents in the EU, US Federal Reserve officials are more deeply divided then they’ve ever been about how to get their economy back on track.  Transcripts of the most recent discussions were released yesterday, and the spectrum of opinion seems to go all the way from full-on QE via no QE to ringing up God with a view to further guidance.

But as the Euro-American axis of poo seeps out of its gilded cage towards the Big Fan prior to ignition, twenty-five of the best-paid chief executive officers in the U.S. had little or no motivation to consider the West’s problem in more depth. This is because they earned more in salary and other compensation in 2010 than their companies’ federal income tax expenses. Now that’s a shedload of money, and not conducive to concentrating the mind. This news reaches us in a report from the Institute for Policy Studies, a Washington-based nonprofit group, which surveyed 100 publicly traded U.S. corporations with the highest-paid CEOs.

It found that companies whose CEOs’ compensation exceeded reported tax expense in 2010 had average global profits of $1.9 billion. Now: do I care if the IPS has traditionally been a tad Kennedy Democrat rather than Tea Party in its outlook? Not really, because – as in the case of Newscorp depravity – facts are facts. And facts raise ethical questions like “Should you really pay your CEO more than you pay for the privilege of living in what is still the best ordered and richest, safest society on the planet?”

It might even raise the question, is your selfishness  helping to downgrade the US credit rating? Or was it really those wicked ratings agencies all the time? Well, Standard & Poor’s is giving a higher rating to securities backed by subprime home loans – the same type of investments that led to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, than it assigns to the U.S. government.

What are we supposed to make of that? The possibilities are more terrifying than endless, but thus far in 2011, S&P has awarded AAAs to more than $36 billion of securities in America. Equally mind-boggling is that these loaded guns were created by bankers who continue to gather thousands of loans, bundle them into bonds of varying risk…..and then pay ratings firms a fee to assign credit rankings. Pretty much as they did in the fat years leading up to the near-disaster of 2008.

This article was brought to you by Slog Spot the Ball Random Bollocks, a wholly-owned subsidiary of  Bollockslog Enterprises. In case you missed it, the conclusion I draw from the content is that the authorities are all over the place, business is engaged in an orgy of blinkered greed, ratings agencies can’t be trusted, and I’d rather invest in the Venusian Klop than the American Dollar. But I appear to be in something of a minority.