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Wall Street

The Takeaway

A Talk with the Pay "Overseer": What's Fair?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Obama administration has announced the appointment of a compensation czar who will regulate executive pay at seven of the largest companies getting TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) funds. He will also develop a compensation structure for 80 smaller companies. The man who is taking on that job is Kenneth Feinberg, a Washington, D.C. attorney who was in charge of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. He joins The Takeaway to tell us about his plans. (Click through to read the interview.)

"Let everybody know exactly what we're doing, why we're making these decisions, why we feel they're the right decisions, and let the public then decide for themselves with full disclosure." — Compensation overseer Kenneth Feinberg

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The Takeaway

Banks and the Economy: Frustration with the SEC

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

"Disappointed" was the word that Mary Schapiro, Chairperson of the Securities and Exchange Commission, used to describe the performance of the SEC. Schapiro promised to do better at providing the oversight that taxpayers and ordinary investors expect. She appeared before Congress to talk about new funding slated for the regulatory body. Author Michael Lewis, who chronicled the excesses of Wall Street in his book "Liar's Poker", talks to The Takeaway about the SEC.

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The Takeaway

March unemployment numbers show increase in job losses

Friday, April 03, 2009

New unemployment numbers out today reveal that the U.S. economy lost 663,000 jobs in March and jobless rate jumps to 8.5 percent, the highest since late 1983. The U.S. continued to shed jobs at an unrelenting clip in March, pushing total losses since the recession started 16 months ago past five million. The figures are a sober reality check on the economy after some mildly encouraging news on housing, automobiles and manufacturing. But on hearing the news, the markets jumped. So what do the numbers really mean? We turn to Kelly Evans, an economics reporter for the Wall Street Journal.

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The Takeaway

Oops: How Michael Osinski helped start the financial meltdown

Thursday, April 02, 2009

One way to get your head around exactly what happened with the mortgage crisis is to look at the tools that made it happen. Michael Osinski started out with a job in data entry to support his sick wife. A decade later, he found himself on Wall Street writing the software that let traders turn plain old mortgages into bonds. You could say it’s thanks to him that we all know the arcane term turned dirty word: mortgage-backed security. Osinski joins The Takeaway this morning to talk about his role in the financial meltdown and his new life as an oyster farmer.

For more, read Michael Osinski's article, My Manhattan Project: How I helped build the bomb that blew up Wall Street in this week's New York Magazine.

See Osinki at his new job as an oyster farmer in the video below.

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The Takeaway

Radically re-thinking the economy with David Korten

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Will fixing Wall Street really help Main Street? David Korten is suggesting that instead of bailout after bailout we should completely re-imagine our economy. He is the author of Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth and he joins us now to talk about the future he imagines for banks.

For more, here is David Korten on Democracy Now! discussing his book:

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The Takeaway

How low will the market go?

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Let's talk about your bottom. When do you think the market can go no lower? Is that when you bail out of the Dow and stick your money under the mattress? There's no sure way to predict the bottom of the market, of course, but history does give some hints. Ben Steverman, a reporter with BusinessWeek.com's investing channel, takes a look at bear markets of the past and what they say about the current market meltdown.

Tell us your version of "the bottom" here or call us at 1-877-8-MY-TAKE.

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The Takeaway

This is a test, it is only a test

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Starting Wednesday the U.S. government will begin examining how each of the country’s major banks would do in case of a worst-case scenario for the economy. Depending on the results of these so-called “stress tests,” the Treasury Department says it will make sure banks have the capital they need to survive an economic meltdown. Business Week Washington Bureau Chief Jane Sasseen gives a preview of how this process is likely to unfold.

"It's very unlikely the government is going to step in today, tomorrow, even a few months from now and say 'we're just going to take over.'"
— Jane Sasseen, Washington Bureau Chief for Business Week, on the unlikelihood of bank nationalization

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The Takeaway

Gov. Paterson fighting to keep New York solvent in face of Wall St. struggles

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Wall Street's woes have been well reported and as the White House looks to cap executive salaries and denounces bonuses, the nation has been keeping an eye on New York's financial center. But as earnings on Wall Street suffer, so does the budget of New York State. With a deficit of 1.6 billion looming, Governor David Paterson is fighting to keep the state solvent. He joins us now to talk about New York's efforts to survive the fiscal crisis.

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The Takeaway

Put Wall Street bonuses to work by rewarding the watchdogs

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Wall Street executives are getting plenty of criticism for handing out $18 billion in bonuses to themselves last year. But maybe there's a way to put bonuses to good use—by paying them to regulators who help keep the system in check. Andrew Ross Sorkin, chief mergers and acquisitions reporter for the New York Times, joins Adaora and Alvin Hall to talk about the idea of rewarding watchdogs with cold, hard cash.

For more information, read Andrew Ross Sorkin's column, What if Watchdogs Got Bonuses? in the New York Times.

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The Takeaway

Out with the old, in with the new at big banks

Friday, January 23, 2009

Two of the nation's largest and most troubled banks are going through high-level personnel changes. Bank of America has taken over Merrill Lynch, and is now pushing out its chairman John Thain. And under pressure from federal regulators Citigroup has brought in a new chairman, Richard D. Parsons, who used to head up Time Warner. New York Times business reporter Louise Story joins John and Adaora to explain the high level staff shifts and what they might mean for the future of the banks.

For more, read Louise Story's article, Thain Resigns Amid Losses at Bank of America in the New York Times.

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The Takeaway

The Dow tanks on Inauguration Day

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What a way to start an administration. As if things weren't bleak enough already, even as President Obama was giving his inauguration speech, the Dow was plunging, taking its biggest slide ever on an Inauguration Day. Despite billions funneled to the banking system by the federal government, that's where the crisis in the economy remains rooted. How are we going to get out of this mess? Newsweek's Dan Gross give his insights on the possible ways for the new President to get things under control, and how long we can expect troubled times to continue.

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The Takeaway

The shrinking of Citigroup

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Despite a massive bailout back in November, giant financial services conglomerate Citigroup is considering radical measures to save itself. The company is likely to sell off its brokerage unit to Morgan Stanley, and may shed other parts of its business as well. Newsweek Senior Editor Dan Gross joins us with a look at what the shrinking of Citigroup says about our economy now and in the future.

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The Takeaway

Didn't we have $350 billion around here somewhere? Oversight wants answers on the bailout funds

Monday, January 12, 2009

Congress could be asked to turn over control of the remaining $350 billion in bailout funds today. The Bush administration is expected to file the request for the rest of the money so the incoming Obama administration can start doling it out almost as soon as the President-elect takes office. The Congressional panel overseeing the Treasury Department’s $700 billion bailout isn't quite ready to approve the release of funds, though. First they would like some answers on how the first $350 billion of the bailout money was spent. Joining The Takeaway is former New Hampshire Senator John Sununu, who is on that Congressional oversight panel.

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