Tag Archive | "obama"

An Issue of National Securities

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The following post is by Dealbreaker reader and commenter Infinite Guest.

President Obama has nothing to gain by negotiating with Republicans in Congress in order to raise the debt ceiling. The Department of Treasury doesn’t need Congressional approval to issue more debt and it will be a long time before Treasury actually needs to exceed the debt ceiling.

The analyses I’ve read on the topic are nothing if not variable, but they all assume at some level an agreement by all parties on the basic necessity of raising the debt ceiling and the general wisdom of reducing the deficit. The President knows what needs to be done, the Congress knows and so does the electorate. Based on this shared understanding, it follows that those who act in the spirit of compromise will be rewarded and those who act to obstruct
progress will be punished.

Never mind the compelling absence of evidence that any such shared understanding exists; that’s just not how things work.

The President, and this President in particular, is not answerable to Congress. The President is answerable to history, to the voting public, to our allies, to business interests including bond markets and in relatively rare cases to a 2/3 majority in the Senate. When the executive branch and the legislative branch can’t work out their differences the Supreme Court acts as referree. If Congress failed to raise the debt ceiling, history would not be kind to a President who on their advice failed to honor our debts. The bond markets would not be kind, our allies would not be kind and consequentially neither would the voting public. But a President who stood up to a hostile, inexperienced Congress and continued to honor our debts would win support from all sides. There will have been sufficient turmoil and pain following Congressional failure to raise the debt ceiling that everyone on earth will understand who the heroes and villains are.

If Congress failed to raise the debt ceiling, the President could stand up to Congress on Constitutional grounds, in which case he could count on a fairly corporatist Supreme Court to eventually rule in his favor. He could stand up to Congress on National Security grounds, in which case he might even be able to secretly issue fresh debt. He could stand up to Congress on technical grounds for a very long time without provoking a Constitutional crisis or raising the debt ceiling simply by draining the Treasurys out of trust funds and replacing them with other assets. And if he had to break the law, as President, in order to stand up to Congress, then he could break the law on moral grounds, secure in the knowledge that if he is impeached, the Senate doesn’t have enough votes to convict.

What would the electorate think of a President who defies Congress on any or all of those grounds? The Democrats would rally behind him, the Republicans would still oppose him and the independents would admire him for acting independently.

Now alternatively he can compromise to avoid a direct conflict but what’s in it for him? He could give away everything his constituents like and it still wouldn’t be enough to balance the budget. By compromising he snatches defeat from the jaws of victory. Democrats will hate him. Republicans will (rightly) say that they won. Without any drama to overcome through courageous and decisive action, independents will conclude that he’s a weak leader who stands for nothing.

Politics is not about forethought, compromise and the public good. Politics is about personalities and political narratives and the balance of power. This narrative has yet to be written, but in the politics of the debt ceiling, President Obama has all the power and his opponents in Congress have none.



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Opening Bell: 05.19.11

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I.M.F. Chief Quits in Wake of Charges of Sexual Attack (NYT)
“It is with infinite sadness that I feel compelled today to present to the Executive Board my resignation from my post of managing director of the I.M.F.,” he said in a statement dated Wednesday and released early Thursday by the I.M.F. “I think at this time first of my wife — whom I love more than anything — of my children, of my family, of my friends.”

Most French People ‘Think DSK Was Set Up’ (Sky News)
The survey, taken before the 62-year-old’s first court appearance on Monday, showed that 57% of respondents believe the Socialist presidential hopeful has been set up.

Lagarde May Stake Claim as First Female IMF Chief (Bloomberg)
A lawyer who became the first female chairman of Chicago- based firm Baker & McKenzie LLP, Lagarde was appointed as finance minister by French President Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007, just before the onset of the financial crisis. Lagarde’s negotiating abilities helped clinch agreement on the euro area’s sovereign bailout fund announced in the early hours of May 10 last year, according to a person who was there…A fluent speaker of English, Lagarde attended a year of high school as an exchange student at Holton Arms, a private girls’ school in Bethesda, Maryland. An avid swimmer, young Christine was selected for the French national synchronized swim team when she was 15 and competed internationally for two years.

J.P. Morgan, Fund Investors Rebut Meredith Whitney (MarketBeat)
J.P. Morgan Asset Management chucked a note over the transom in response to Meredith Whitney’s latest hate letter to the muni market.Their take is that Ms. Whitney makes some points they sort of agree with, but that she seriously overstates the default risk.

Levin sees ‘real hope’ of fresh Goldman probe (FT)
The senator said Goldman’s payment of $550m to settle fraud allegations from the Securities and Exchange Commission in connection with the marketing of one structured debt product did not preclude other allegations. He said Goldman executives misled his committee but suggested they might have stopped short of lies with “wiggle words”. “They obviously spent a lot of time parsing words,” he said, adding he was “not going to judge whether they committed perjury”. He said even large settlements were not satisfactory without admissions of guilt.

Goldman Sachs Back at No. 1 (Deal Journal)
According to figures from Dealogic, Goldman popped to the No. 1 spot for the first time this year in the league tables, the closely watched listing of M&A advisers ranked by the value of deals on which they advise. J.P. Morgan had held the crown for global deal advisers since Jan. 18.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s two sons born days apart (CNN)
A son fathered by Arnold Schwarzenegger with his housekeeper was born less than a week after Maria Shriver gave birth to another Schwarzenegger son, according to birth records obtained Wednesday by CNN.

SEC probes electronic platform failures (FT)
The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating computer system failures at electronic marketplaces including Nasdaq to determine whether internal controls are sufficient, according to people familiar with the matter. The investigation is being handled by the enforcement division’s market abuse unit and is part of a broader regulatory review of stock exchanges following last year’s “flash crash”, recent hacking attempts and trading glitches

Perella Weinberg to Fork Over $11.5 Million in Dreier Fraud (Deal Journal)
Under the deal, [Chapter 11 trustee Sheila M.] Gowan will drop a lawsuit in which she sought the return of $24.1 million in payments she says Perella Weinberg and an affiliated fund received on the approximately $60 million they spent on the promissory notes that Dreier was hawking to investors such as themselves.

Smith Barney Deal Still On (WSJ)
In its first-quarter report, Morgan Stanley posted a $655 million pretax loss related to the Mitsubishi joint venture. After reports surfaced about the loss, Mitsubishi agreed to convert $7.8 billion in preferred stock for 385 million shares of the company. That conversion boosted Morgan Stanley’s Tier 1 ratio and presumably will give it added capital for the planned buyout of Citigroup’s stake in the Smith Barney venture. Morgan Stanley can begin buying that stake next year under its agreement with Citi. Mr. Gorman said reports of Morgan Stanley asking Citi to alter the terms of that deal weren’t true.

Nominations Submitted for the SEC (WSJ)
The White House on Wednesday submitted to the Senate a pair of nominees for the Securities and Exchange Commission, requesting a second term for Democrat Luis Aguilar and naming former SEC staffer Dan Gallagher Jr. for a Republican seat that is due to become vacant in June…The SEC is an independent federal agency with five commissioners.

LinkedIn prices IPO at $45 a share (MarketWatch)
LinkedIn had raised its IPO pricing range earlier this week to between $42 and $45 a share, from $32 to $35 a share — thanks to strong demand. The public offering is expected to raise roughly $217 million for the company.

Yen falls as Japan enters recession (FT)
Gross domestic product fell by an annualised 3.7 per cent in the first three months, after a revised fall of 3 per cent in last quarter of 2010. Analysts had expected the economy to contract by just 1.9 per cent. A further contraction is expected in the second quarter before the economy rebounds as reconstruction spending kicks in, although the Japanese economy has suffered more than a decade of low growth and weak consumer spending.

Obama imposes sanctions on Syrian leader, 6 aides (WaPo)
The Obama administration ramped up the pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday with economic sanctions that targeted his personal finances and linked him explicitly to human rights abuses in his government’s brutal, two-month-old crackdown on demonstrators. The sanctions, which named six other top Syrian officials, represented a significant escalation in the administration’s public criticism of the Assad regime, marking the first time the ruler was penalized for the ongoing clashes that have left more than 900 people dead and thousands in prison.

Zombie Apocalypse? The CDC Describes How To Be Prepared (HuffPo)
The U.S. government wants to make sure that in the event of a zombie invasion, you know what to do. That’s right. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shocked us all with their post on how to prepare for the zombie apocalypse. The CDC post, “Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse,” came out Monday and has been gaining media traction since — the link has been down for much of the day, presumingly due to over-traffic.



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Cornel West Having Trouble Forming An Opinion About President Obama’s Relationship With Wall Street

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Sayeth Mr. West: “Obama is a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats. And now he has become head of the American killing machine and is proud of it.” [TD via NetNet]



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Opening Bell: 05.17.11

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IMF chief claims consent in hotel ‘attack’ (NY Post)
“The evidence, we believe, will not be consistent with a forcible encounter,” said Ben Brafman, the high-powered lawyer of IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, at the suspect’s sensational arraignment in a packed criminal courtroom. A source close to the defense later told The Post, “There may well have been consent.”

New York Investigates Banks’ Role in Fiscal Crisis (NYT)
The New York attorney general has requested information and documents in recent weeks from three major Wall Street banks about their mortgage securities operations during the credit boom, indicating the existence of a new investigation into practices that contributed to billions in mortgage losses. Officials in Eric T. Schneiderman’s, office have also requested meetings with representatives from Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, according to people briefed on the matter who were not authorized to speak publicly.

How Big Investors Are Betting (WSJ)
Mr. Cohen, whose SAC Capital reported a 9.3% increase in securities holdings in the quarter ended March 31, increased a stake in consumer electronics retailer Best Buy Co. to 2.3 million shares from 53,306 at the end of the previous quarter. SAC also more than doubled its stake in BJ’s Wholesale Club Inc. to 2.8 million shares from 1.1 million.

John Paulson Loves Hewlett-Packard (Deal Journal)
The $5 Billion Man, hedge fund manager John Paulson, reported plowing $1 billion into Hewlett-Packard, pared his stake in Citigroup and is standing pat with his big investment in a gold ETF…Paulson & Co. also disclosed owning 123.6 million shares of Bank of America, down by 226,522 from the end of 2010. And one interesting new holding showing up on Paulson’s radar: Lubrizol.

Soros Fund Cuts Gold, BofA, J.P. Morgan Stakes; Adds to Citi, Wells (Deal Journal)
Soros decreased his holdings of the SPDR Gold Trust, a gold-backed exchanged-traded fund, by 4.7 million shares to 49,400 shares, valued at $6.9 million at March 31…The fund lowered its Bank of America holding by 1.2 million shares and now owns 29,400 shares. Soros sold 378,050 shares of J.P. Morgan, leaving him with 624,600 shares. In contrast, his firm tripled its stake in Citigroup to 29.4 million shares. Soros’ stake in Wells Fargo climbed six-fold to 3.5 million shares.

Bill Ackman Throws in the Towel on Target (Deal Journal)
Pershing Square reported owning 7.4 million Target shares as of Dec. 31, but there is no whisper of the Target investment in Pershing’s latest snapshot of its stock holdings as of March 31.

David Einhorn Buys…General Motors (DJ)
David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital investment fund reported new ownership stakes in two newly public companies, hospital operator HCA Holdings and General Motors, a.k.a. Government Motors.

Falcone’s Harbinger Holdings Adds Bunge Shares, Trims Gold Stake (Bloomberg)
Harbinger Holdings LLC, the hedge fund run by Philip Falcone, bought shares of food company Bunge Ltd. (BG) in the first quarter and sold shares of SPDR Gold Trust, according to a regulatory filing.

Schwarzenegger fathered a child with longtime member of household staff (LA Times)
Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver, separated after she learned he had fathered a child more than a decade ago — before his first run for office — with a longtime member of their household staff.

Jump in Revenue Helps Halve California Deficit (NYT)
After months of doomsday scenarios and apocalyptic warnings about cuts to California schools, parks and the police, the news from Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday was nothing short of startling: California is now expected to see $6.6 billion more in revenue over the next two years than had been expected.

U.K. Inflation Quickens More Than Forecast (Bloomberg)l
Consumer prices rose 4.5 percent in April after a 4 percent increase in March, data today showed. The median forecast of 32 economists in a Bloomberg News survey was 4.1 percent. Core inflation quickened to the fastest in at least 14 years. King said in a letter to Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne that the surge is being driven by higher sales tax and increases in energy and import prices.

London Finance Job Openings Climbed 15% in April (Bloomberg)
The number of openings in the City, London’s main financial district, and elsewhere in the capital rose to 6,426 last month from 5,569 in April 2010, executive search firm Morgan McKinley said today. The figure was flat compared with the previous month.

President, first lady’s assets valued at $1.8 million to nearly $12 million (WaPo)
Financial disclosure documents released Monday showed the assets for last year…Assets are listed in wide ranges on the disclosure forms — for example, between $1 million and $5 million — making it difficult to determine their value with precision. Royalties from Obama’s books, “Dreams From My Father” and “Audacity of Hope,” totaled between about $1 million and $6 million.

Man To Eat 25,000th Big Mac (HP)
Wisconsin-based Don Gorske plans to eat his 25,000th Big Mac on May 17, 2011, 39 years after his first Big Mac bite on May 17, 1972. He averages two Big Macs per day and has 10,000 Big Mac cartons still in his possession. He keeps two Big Macs in his luggage in case he cannot find a McDonald’s when he travels. Gorske believes he has drank over 200,000 Cokes along with his burgers.



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Not Everyone On Wall Street Has Spurned Obama

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He’s kissed the warm embrace of Dan Loeb, Steve Cohen, Ken Griffin et al good-bye but some financiers are still showing Mr. President the love. According the Journal, former Goldman CEO (and New Jersey governor) Jon Corzine will be hosting a dinner for 60 tonight at his home tonight where Obama will speak, before heading into New York for a second dinner at the Waldorf for a slightly less intimate event to be attended by 340 guest (who have paid $35,800/ticket). No word on whether or not David Tepper will be throwing a bigger/better Obama fundraiser next door to Corzine’s, which he’ll hand out flyers for to guests as they walk up to JSC’s house, telling them “This isn’t the party you want to go to, pass it on.” [WSJ]



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Naughty Hawks

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The following post is by Dealbreaker reader and commenter Infinite Guest.

This is the worst time in decades to try to reduce the deficit. Unemployment is immorally high, growth remains anemic, private deleveraging shows no signs of abatement, infrastructure is rapidly deteriorating and the prospect of a stagflationary double-dip recession is all too imminent. Yet the drum beat for deficit reduction is deafening, with everyone from Standard & Poor’s to the Committee for Economic Development to the AFL-CIO keeping time, and the rest of the world joining in, marching for a cure to our ailing fiscal health. But if Dr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn prescribes it, and Dr. Zhou Xiaohuan concurs, then it’s snake oil. Don’t drink it.

To be fair, the cacophony of voices calling for deficit reduction is just that, a cacophony. Each special interest has its own rationale for deficit reduction, political, economic and otherwise, and each one places a different level of emphasis on the goal, with a different timeline, different priorities and tactics for achieving it. The AFL-CIO tepidly supports deficit reduction lite, at the bottom of a list of concerns trumped ultimately by the continuance of its own tenuous relevance. The Chinese are focused on their own political stability, now threatened by commodity inflation and their own rudderless domestic economy. The IMF needs contributor nations to appear credible if it has any hope of enforcing its agreements with debtor nations. The Tea Party misunderstands the inchoate backlash that bought them power as a mandate for Objectivism. President Obama is fighting for his political life. Standard & Poor’s, as near as I can fathom, is simply conducting a marketing exercise. But any attention paid to deficit reduction is wasted. Deficit reduction is not a legitimate strategy, period. It is merely one of the pleasant side-effects of a more balanced national economy.

Of all the various approaches floated to address our deficit, the one that seems most likely to succeed is the high-sounding “shared sacrifice.” Shared sacrifice is bullshit. It’s nationalist bullshit meant to distract pensioners from the exiguity of their pensions. It’s statist bullshit to bully the fortunate among us into silence. Shared sacrifice is what we must do when our homes are under attack by a foreign enemy. Otherwise anyone selling you shared sacrifice is picking your pocket.

The nice thing about using leverage is that when things go your way they go your way bigger. Uncle Sam has used a nice amount of leverage and at least has the sense to recognize (for the most part) that he should continue to do so. But there’s more than one kind of leverage.

At home, literally trillions of dollars are languishing on corporate balance sheets right now for a dearth of good investment opportunities. That would be crazy were it not for the stunning lack of leadership that characterizes our public sector. It’s fundamental: Who wants to invest in a country that can’t get its political act together? Chew on this: Spain is ahead of the United States in alternative energy. How is that possible? Among other advantages we have a more flexible economy, better immigration policy, a better educated and more productive labor pool on our side. Good leaders would find some way to encourage better utilization of all those factors. Or at least to stop discouraging their utilization. They may not even have to write any new legislation; they could start by conducting a better, more intelligible dialogue. Good leaders would signal something to the marketplace other than their willingness to squeeze the yield out of Treasurys at any cost. I’m not breaking any new ground when I say that private dollars invested domestically create jobs, which stimulates consumption, which improves profits. Income tax, sales tax and corporate taxes follow proportionately.

The story abroad is no different. Rather than living up to the ideal of American exceptionalism, we lean ever further toward repeating Queen Victoria’s British empire, sucking commodities out of our colonies as they grow progressively more dissatisfied with the burden of our friendship. It doesn’t end well. And like any pseudo-imperial power, we are too slow to recognize how badly we’re hurting ourselves. The core failure common to our China trade, our wars and our energy policy is that we are shipping boatloads of money overseas to people who don’t even want it. We should be recirculating that capital at home. The “how” is the same here. Our trade deficits, like our budget deficits, are only a symptom of the failure of leadership to encourage domestic investment.

Take care of the economy and the deficit will take care of itself.



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Opening Bell: 04.14.11

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Senator Levin: Goldman Sachs Misled Congress After Duping Clients (Bloomberg)
Goldman Sachs misled clients and Congress about the firm’s bets on securities tied to the housing market, the chairman of the U.S. Senate panel that investigated the causes of the financial crisis said. Senator Carl Levin, releasing the findings of a two-year inquiry yesterday, said he wants the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission to examine whether Goldman Sachs violated the law by misleading clients who bought the complex securities known as collateralized debt obligations without knowing the firm would benefit if they fell in value….Much of the blame for the 2008 market collapse belongs to banks that earned billions of dollars in profits creating and selling financial products that imploded along with the housing market, according to the report. The Levin-Coburn panel levied its harshest criticism at investment banks, in particular accusing Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank AG of peddling collateralized debt obligations backed by risky loans that the banks’ own traders believed were likely to lose value.

Senate Report Lays Bare Mortgage Mess (WSJ)
“I think I found white elephant, flying pig and unicorn all at once.” –Goldman Sachs email describing an Australian client that invested in a souring mortgage structure 4/26/2007

Moody’s, S&P Caved to Goldman, UBS Mortgage Pressure, Levin Says (Bloomberg)
“Investment bankers who complained about rating methodologies, criteria, or decisions were often able to obtain exceptions or other favorable treatment,” according to the Levin report. The decisions appeared to be “concessions made to prevent the loss of business.”

US Probes Libor Dealings (WSJ)
For the past year, law-enforcement officials have been investigating whether the U.S. and European banks understated their own borrowing costs, which are used to calculate the London interbank offered rate, or Libor. The investigators are now looking into whether the banks effectively formed a global cartel and coordinated how to report borrowing costs between 2006 and 2008.

Geithner: We Must Raise Taxes (PBS)
Appearing on the PBS NewsHour Wednesday evening, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said there is “no plausible way” to cut the deficit without raising taxes. “Unless you’re going to cut deeply into commitments we have made to seniors and to the disabled and to the poor, or ask the country to go borrow the money, you can’t solve this,” he said.

Raj Keeps Chin Up (NYP)
One reason Rajaratnam has to smile might be the ebullient praise he received yesterday from prominent educator and social activist Geoffrey Canada. Canada, who was called as a character witness, called Rajaratnam a “dear friend” with “a genuine concern for children.”
“Raj and I hit it off right away,” said Canada, the CEO of charitable group the Harlem Children’s Zone. Canada said he approached Rajaratnam earlier this decade to donate to the group and found him eager to help “level the playing field for kids.” “I never had to convince Raj” to be a donor, Canada said when asked to respond to the prosecution’s allegations that Rajaratnam committed his alleged crimes out of greed. “He’s a very generous person,” he added.

Deutsche Bank Sold Mortgage-Linked ‘Pigs’ as Market Buckled, Lawmakers Say (Bloomberg)
“Keep your fingers crossed but I think we will price this just before the market falls off a cliff,” Michael Lamont, the group’s co-head, said in a Feb. 8, 2007, e-mail about Deutsche Bank’s Gemstone CDO VII Ltd., according to a report released yesterday by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. The Frankfurt-based firm sold $700 million of the instruments, which lost most of their value within 17 months.

IMF: Banks Face $3.6 Trillion ‘Wall’ of Maturing Debt (Reuters)
Many European banks need bigger capital cushions to restore market confidence and assure they can borrow, and some weak players will need to be closed, the International Monetary Fund said in its Global Financial Stability Report.

Obama Challenges Republicans With Deadline For Deficit Deal (Bloomberg)
The timeline Obama proposed for coming up with an agreement — beginning talks in early May and completing them by late June — sets up a negotiation over the nation’s long-term fiscal challenges in parallel with a congressional debate over raising the $14.29 trillion legal debt limit.

Glenore Aims For $8.8 Billion In IPO (WSJ)
The company said it plans to list a 15% to 20% stake, through an offer to raise around $6.8 billion to $8.8 billion in new capital and up to $2.2 billion in existing shares. At the upper level, that would make it London’s largest-ever initial public offering, topping Rosneft’s $10.6 billion offer in July 2006.

London Retains Lure For Hedge Funds As Banks Demure (Reuters)
Throgmorton’s Rubio points to the “Harvey Nicks effect” — referring to upmarket London department store Harvey Nichols, a magnet for big spenders — and said he had seen one manager relocate to Barcelona, only to move back to London.



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Moody’s (Tentatively) Likes What It Hears About These Budget Discussions

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The U.S. is the only large AAA-rated country that saw its debt rise during the crisis that until recently had no plan that would reverse the trend, said Steven Hess, senior credit officer at Moody’s. Budget cuts would mean the U.S. wouldn’t likely sell as much debt, which has grown to $9.13 trillion in marketable Treasuries from $4.34 billion in mid-2007 as the government boosted spending to pull the economy out of recession. “It seems both sides of this debate are now targeting lower debt and lower deficits,” said Hess, based on the president’s speech today. “We do see this as a turning point in terms of the debate. We would view that as a positive, but we’ll have to wait to see the outcome.” [Bloomberg]



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

President Obama: Fiscal Responsibility Will Help Us ‘Win The Future’

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FYI, Paul Ryan’s plan will not put us on the path to winning.

Where Mr. Obama on Wednesday embraced tax increases and spending reductions in Medicare in order to rein in deficits, the GOP plan avoids tax increases and would change Medicare far more significantly, turning it into a menu of government-subsidized private insurance plans for younger workers. He said wealthier Americans should pay higher taxes as a matter of fairness. “As a country that values fairness, wealthier individuals have traditionally born a greater share of this burden than the middle class or those less fortunate….It is a basic reflection of our belief that those who have benefited most from our way of life can afford to give a bit more back,” he said in his prepared remarks.

Obama Lays Out Deficit Plan [WSJ]
Obama Offers Plan to Trim $4 Trillion From Deficit in 12 Years [Bloomberg]



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Lynn Tilton Bares All

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What do we know about Lynn Tilton? She runs the $8 billion private equity firm Patriarch Partners, and prior to that worked on Wall Street with a slightly lower profile with gigs at Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and Amroc. She sports 5-inch heels to “look sufficiently fierce to make sure I garner the respect I deserve.” Her office is decorated with whips, handcuffs, and a portrait of her “stretched across the hood of a black Mercedes.” She only “strips and flips men, not companies.” And she once sent a Christmas card to customers that featured a stuffed tiger, a naughty Santa suit and a whip. But that’s all surface. Until now, we haven’t really gotten to the mystery underneath the Roberto Cavalli miniskirt and a fur-trimmed cape, or determined her motivations and what makes Tilton tick. Luckily, Lynn recently granted audience with New York and let it all out. Every burning question you’ve wanted answered. Like:

Why did she decide to start Patriach, when she’d retired from Wall Street, had “a good-looking man, great sex, a small island, and was still looking good in a thong bikini”? A vision.

One night, on vacation in Costa Rica, she woke suddenly. “I was laying there in this hotel room, and I saw my father and my Mayan teacher very vividly,” she explains. “They said this was not what was planned for me. I said, ‘Why did I go through this path, to empty myself out of any needs or material longings, only to be sent back to New York to be a businessperson?’ And the answer was: You’re not capable of leading until nothing can hold you back. Get your ass back to New York. So I got up in the middle of the night and left.”

Does she see herself as the female George Soros? Yes.

Tilton’s goal is “to be part of the intelligentsia. An enlightened thinker. One of the people who are called together to think through economic issues for America. You know, like how George Soros is called on issues.”

Why is she pissed at Obama, for whom she voted? He hasn’t called her and she highly suspects he’s plagiarised her work.

“Look, I am the largest female business owner in this country,” she says, coming out from behind the rack in a Herve Leger gown. “I own 74 midsize businesses, and Obama has not once called me into the White House on these issues.” More offensive, Tilton claims, as a female stylist reaches into the bodice of the dress to plump up her cleavage, the president has borrowed language from her articles. “I mean actually lifting pieces,” she says. “Literally, I can give you paragraphs. I got like twenty e-mails after his speech, when he was like, ‘We need to be innovators and the makers of things.’ ”

Why doesn’t she cover up her breasts, despite being told “too much boob” will hinder her grand aspirations? They’re part of her total package.

“I think the fact that I look like this hinders me in some ways,” Tilton says between outfit changes. “But that’s also what makes me so much more fascinating, right? I mean, hello. I’m just trying to be someone who provides it all.”

Why did she send out the Christmas card pictured at left (first published here in ’09)to her clients?

By 1998, she had $10 million in the bank, enough to support herself and Carly for life, and she decided it was time to retire. She left her job at the time, as a partner at Amroc, though not before sending clients a Christmas card that has since become legendary: Double-sided, it featured two photographs, one of Tilton in a red lace bodysuit and Santa hat, straddling a stepladder, and the other of her wielding a whip in black lingerie and high vinyl boots. Her clients “were always asking what color underwear I was wearing,” she says. “So that was my farewell gift.”

What kind of grooming does Tilton go for? The full monty.

“I’m all about transparency,” she explains, as the dress falls to the floor. She’s not wearing any underwear. “Where do you get someone who’s worth looking at and listening to?” Stark naked except for her Gucci heels, seamless Brazilian Bronze tan, and diamond necklace, she flicks through the rack of clothes.

What traits does she appreciate in a man? The willingness to get on his knees.

“I think it went well,” she says later that evening, as she is being flown by helicopter back to New York. She’s surprisingly perky for someone whose day started with a slew of 3 A.M. e-mails, though the same cannot be said for her boots, one of which has slouched down around her ankle. John Bourne, a young employee, bends down to pull it up for her. “That’s what I like,” she quips. “A man on his knees.”

What is her go-to joke, used in both the Patriarch offices and during bankruptcy auctions?

“There are three universal lies: Margins are weak, but we’ll make it up in volume; the check’s in the mail; and I won’t come in your mouth.”

Will she be honest about what she thinks of your waistline? Yes.

Once, in front of a roomful of people at another company, she grabbed an overweight executive by his collar and dragged him over to a mirror. “What do you see?” she demanded. “Because I see a lazy, fat fuck.”

Does she believe in playing good cop and bad cop? Both of those, and maybe the cop who will sodomize you a little bit sometimes, too.

“I hug people when they walk into the room, I smack the crap out of them when we’re in there, and I hug them on the way out,” she told me in February. “You have to have that warmth and that fierceness.”

What was she put on earth to do?

Giliotti recalls a conversation he had with Tilton after the takeover of Stila cosmetics in 2009. Tilton was getting her makeup done by an employee, who happened to mention the cuts that Giliotti had made since the takeover: the layoffs, the salary reductions, and the people who had found themselves personally saddled with the bill for their corporate AmEx. Tilton called Giliotti immediately. “Emil, we can’t do this,” she said. “This is not me. I’m not put on this Earth to do this. I was put on this Earth to save jobs and help people.”

What will this be the year of?

“This year,” she says, “is going to be the year of Ruthless.”

And Jell-O shots. It’s always the year of the Jell-O shot.

What Does It Take For A Female Tycoon To Get Noticed Around Here? [NYM]



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