Seen this before…

…it was called Enron. 

Read “The Smartest Guys in the Room” and there is one thing that stands out. At the start they moved stuff off balance sheet as a short term gain. They intended to put things right later, instead they found themselves getting more and more daring as they tried to cover up their previous deceptions. 

“The only reason the government did not take 100% of the equity was for the same reason they only took 79.9% of Freddie and Fannie in their conservatorship: going above that level would force the Federal government to consolidate their balance sheets.

But instead, stunningly, the accounting fiction, that AIG is an independent operation with rights, as opposed to a ward of the state, is not only being dignified, it is being acted upon.”

naked capitalism: AIG: The Looting Continues (Banana Republic Watch)

At 81?

I can’t imagine what runs through your mind when you find that you’ve no support at the age of 81…

To conserve its dwindling cash reserves, G.M. is eliminating lifetime health care coverage for its legions of retirees at the end of this year, leaving people like Ken Hewitt to fend for themselves in deciding how to cover their doctor’s bills and prescription drug costs.

“Everybody felt like they were set for life,” said Mr. Hewitt, 81, who retired from the former Chevrolet Engineering Center in 1982 and lives north of Detroit. “It’s been difficult, but the information they’ve given us has been beneficial. Still, when you get to be our age, it’s tough to make any big changes like that.”

Some G.M. Retirees Are in a Health Care Squeeze –

Wonder if this also applies to the UK?

“Denmark twice raised interest rates in October to help protect its currency, the krone, which is pegged closely to the euro. Sweden’s krona fell to a record low against the euro in October as the central bank there cut interest rates in the hope of fending off a recession. The Danish prime minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, says that being outside the euro zone during the financial crisis is “detrimental” to the economy, and he wants a referendum by 2011. Even in non-EU countries, such as Iceland, adopting the euro is now a hot topic.”

The shelter of the euro | Seeking shelter | The Economist

Surely a decision as big as this should be made for the very long term and not just as a reaction to the latest crisis.