Unlikely 2014 Headlines

Unlikely 2014 Headlines

Read at the New York Times

Hey, it’s a new year! I’m not a psychic, but I guarantee you that the news will be unpleasant, infuriating and terrible throughout.

Not mentioned in this comic is that there will be another manufactured budget crisis, the economy will remain stalled, and tens of thousands of Americans will die at the end of a gun. Happy 2014!

The Incredible Volcker

The Incredible Volcker

Read at the New York Times

It’s been over three years since the Dodd-Frank Act became law, although most of its regulations were left to be written into it at a later date. So it was just last week that the much-vaunted Volcker Rule was codified and included in the law.

Bankers and their lobbyists are freaking out about it, which means it must be doing at least some good. But it’s really just a minor provision. Anything but the return of Glass-Steagall only tackles a few symptoms of the financial sector’s hold on the economy at large.

There were multiple people who did not get why Elizabeth Warren is wearing an eye patch. I overestimated the number of readers who saw those indie films from the small art-house studio called Disney-Marvel, including their little-known cult hit, “The Avengers.”

Dow Jones Industrial Average

Dow Jones Industrial Average

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The Dow Jones reached record highs last week! The recovery’s over … for the rich. The rest of us have had more productivity squeezed out of us for the same, or even lower wages, or are one of the 12 million or so who want a job but can’t find one.

February’s jobs numbers were pretty decent, for an average month in the 90’s. But to make a dent in unemployment, those numbers would have to be significantly higher than that for a year just to bring us back to 2007’s not-so-great numbers. Unfortunately, it’s easier to report on the Dow with a green or red arrow and a number, than to explain the fall in median incomes and household wealth. It’s not impossible though. This video was everywhere last week, which shows the public actually wants to hear about this stuff:

And the stupidity of austerity, which we’re euphemistically calling “the sequester” because everyone knows austerity doesn’t work, won’t begin to gum up our already shitty economy until the end of this month. FUN TIMES.

I don’t own a portfolio, so I generally don’t read The Wall Street Journal, but this article about the poor, long-suffering banks is an example of how far up its own ass the financial sector is, five years after ruining everything:

Moreover, as investors chase stock returns, they are dumping fixed-income products, which will likely put pressure on interest rates. Over time, this will help the lending side of the ledger, which has been squeezed by razor-thin interest margins.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that even when all of the financial-crisis overhang subsides and the economy is thriving, it is unlikely that banks will be able to engage in the level of leverage that created outsize profits and stock valuations of the bubble days. U.S. regulators might not be able to rein in pay incentives as their European counterparts have, but they have been aggressive on balance-sheet risk.

Aw, those poor banks! They won’t be able to repeat the same disaster we’re still living through! They’ll have to come up with new bullshit schemes to extract wealth from ordinary Americans. And even though it’s a given that the U.S. won’t cut the bankers’ balls off like the Swiss did, there’ll be some unpleasant rules to make sure their balance-sheets are slightly grounded in reality. Fuck those guys.

Lastly, Eric Holder admits he’s a wuss.

New Bank Reforms/How They Lost $2 Billion

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Since both cartoons this weekend were about JPMorgan’s huge loss, I figured I’d lump ’em into one post. JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon is also on the board of the NY Fed. I’m sure he is super-great at oversight besides this little $3+ billion whoopsie-daisy. He’s against even the lukewarm reforms that were included in Dodd-Frank following the 2008 economic collapse.

And speaking of Dodd-Frank, it really is only half-written. Two years after it passed. Check out the page for the House Financial Services Committee and get a load of these regulation-hatin’ morons bitching about the rules they’re supposed to be writing.

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And as I noted in the tag at the bottom of the comic, that loss increased by at least another billion in the week since I drew this cartoon.