Posts Tagged ‘bankers’

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Running for cover

February 17, 2010

Trouble looming, potentially, with Greece’s use of currency swaps to cover up its debt:

European Union leaders last week ordered Greece to get its deficit under control and vowed “determined” action to staunch the worst crisis in the euro’s 11-year history. Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings are questioning Greece over its use of the swap agreements, said two people with direct knowledge of the situation, who declined to be identified because the talks are private.

“Greece used accounting tricks to hide its deficit and this is a huge problem,” Wolfgang Gerke, president of the Bavarian Center of Finance in Munich and Honorary Professor at the European Business School, said in an interview. “The rating agencies are doing the right thing, but it may be too little too late. The EU slept through this.”

And its not just Goldman Sachs, currently close advisors to the Greek government, that are now under scrutiny for arranging the swaps. Like kicking over a log, the Greek crisis has brought all sorts of wriggling creatures into the light of day.

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Financial Times uncovers anticapitalist mood

January 26, 2010

Opinon poll, Financial Times yesterday:

Three in four people want the government to go further in its crackdown on bankers’ pay and impose a cap on salaries, according to the results of the latest Financial Times/Harris poll.

Almost four in five said they agreed with the supertax on bankers’ bonuses announced by Alistair Darling, the chancellor, last month. But three-quarters of those polled said there should be an additional ceiling on pay.

Perhaps no great surprises, there. Investment bankers rank somewhere around bubonic plague and anthrax in the public’s affections at present. And it’s good to see such widespread aversion to fat corporate paycheques. Making a few pips squeak in a few bloated lemons with a new, higher rate of income tax would be both fair, and popular.

It’s the result the FT doesn’t comment on that is most interesting, however. From the graphic, thirteen per cent don’t just blame bankers for the crisis – the ‘economic system as a whole’ is at fault. That’s nearly six million voters nationally.

That doesn’t mean they’re all about to rush into the Left’s arms – blaming the ‘economic system as a whole’ is open to wide interpretation, left or right. But it does mean that an extraordinarily large number of people are open to the sort of system-wide critique an organised, effective Left can provide.