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Apr 29, 2009

Gata Dispatches:" Change you can believe in - if you're an investment bank"

Submitted by cpowell on 06:35PM ET Wednesday, April 29, 2009. Section: Daily Dispatches The accursed power which stands on Privilege(And goes with Women, and Champagne, and Bridge)Broke -- and Democracy resumed her reign(Which goes with Bridge, and Women, and Champagne).-- Hilaire Belloc, "On a General Election."* * *Goldman Sachs Hires Former Frank Aide to Run Washington OfficeBy Chris, Arlington, VirginiaThursday, April 23, 2009 Sachs is finalizing a deal to hire Michael Paese to head its Washington office, according to lobbying and company insiders. Paese, now the executive vice president of global advocacy for the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, is viewed as "the capstone in an effort to reformulate the Washington office," said a company insider. Paese is a big-name Democrat with deep industry ties and an inside Washington game who had worked for House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass. Paese would replace Ann Costello, a Republican who recently announced she's leaving Goldman to run Bank of New York Mellon Corp.'s global government relations. Mark Patterson, who partnered with Costello to run the office before leaving last year to advise Barack Obama's presidential campaign, is now Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's chief of staff. Paese would join Goldman after a career that has spanned government and the financial services industry. He was executive vice president of Mercantile Bankshares Corp. and worked in various roles at ­JPMorgan Chase and the House Financial Services Committee. "Michael, in a very short time frame, has significantly increased the profile of SIFMA in Washington, made them incredibly effective in a very tough time in the industry," said the Goldman insider. A Goldman spokeswoman declined comment, and Paese did not respond to requests for comment. He'll join a Washington office filled with recent additions. Last summer Goldman picked up Republican Todd Malan, who was president of a trade association representing foreign companies' U.S. subsidiaries, and Democrat Ken Connolly, a veteran of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee who was at the law firm Mintz Levin. "This is a very conscious, long-term effort that is very deliberate and is intended to address this two-pronged need of understanding the political process and understanding our business," said the Goldman insider.
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FORA T.V. Innovation and Opportunity from crisis

This is an extraordinary video on a conversation of distinguished personalies- Paul Saffo, Richard Drae,Jonathan wolfson and Drew Endy, about the roots of the crisis and the viability of policies to get out of it.
To wiew it click HERE

Howard Miller Reports From Global Bullion Trading Group

Economy in U.S. Shrank at 6.1% Rate in First Quarter April 29 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. economy plunged again in the first quarter, capping its worst performance in five decades, reflecting a record slump in inventories and further declines in housing. Gross domestic product dropped at a 6.1 percent annual pace, more than forecast, after contracting at a 6.3 percent rate in the last three months of 2008, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. The report, which marked the weakest six months since 1957-58, comes as Federal Reserve policy makers meet for a second day. Smaller stockpiles may set the stage for a return to growth in the second half of the year amid signs Fed efforts to reduce borrowing costs and unclog lending are starting to pay off. The recession persisted even as lower gasoline prices and larger tax refunds helped bring an end to the worst slump in consumer spending in almost three decades. “This is one of those good-bad numbers,” Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors Inc. in Holland, Pennsylvania, said in a Bloomberg Television interview. “Businesses are running about as lean as they possibly can be. It sets up the reality that any sort of increase in demand will cause firms to have to increase production.” As a result, Naroff predicted growth won’t “be nearly as bad in the current quarter, and will probably be reasonably good.” Stocks, Treasuries Stocks rose for the first time in three days as banks rallied, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index up 1.4 percent at 867.4 as of 10:10 a.m. in New York. Treasuries were little changed, with benchmark 10-year notes yielding 3 percent. The median forecast of 71 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News projected GDP, the sum of all goods and services produced, would shrink at a 4.7 percent pace. Estimates ranged from declines of 2.8 percent to 8 percent. The world’s largest economy shrank 2.6 percent in the first quarter compared with the same period a year earlier. Today’s advance report on GDP is the first of three estimates on first- quarter growth. Consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy, climbed at a 2.2 percent annual pace last quarter, the most in two years. Purchases dropped at an average 4.1 percent rate in the last half of 2008, the biggest slide since 1980. Stockpiles Plunge Companies trimmed stockpiles at a $103.7 billion annual rate last quarter, the biggest drop since records began in 1947. Excluding the reduction, the economy would have contracted at a 3.4 percent pace. “This is the combination you want for a turn in the economy -- better sales and an inventory correction,” John Silvia, chief economist at Wachovia Corp. in Charlotte, North Carolina, said before the report. Companies cut total spending, including equipment, software and construction projects, at a record 38 percent annual pace. Residential construction also decreased at a 38 percent pace last quarter, the most since 1980. One reason for the larger-than-projected decline in GDP was that government slashed spending at a 3.9 percent pace, the most since 1995. The drop reflected cutbacks in defense spending and the biggest decrease in state and local government outlays since 1981. Trade Gap A smaller trade gap added 2 percentage points to growth last quarter. The deficit shrank as imports collapsed at a 34 percent annual pace, the most since 1975, which reflected the reduction in stockpiles. Should the economy shrink again in the second quarter as projected by economists surveyed this month by Bloomberg, the recession that began in December 2007 would be the longest since the Great Depression. Recent announcements by companies including General Motors Corp. indicate that will be the case. GM last week said it will idle 13 U.S. assembly plants for multiple weeks to trim production by 190,000 vehicles from May through July. Sales in its home market fell 49 percent this year through March. General Motors and Chrysler LLC are threatened with bankruptcy as sales have plummeted since credit markets seized last year. Still, data in recent weeks, including signs of stability in home sales, residential construction and consumer confidence, signal the world’s largest economy may shrink at a slower pace. Government Efforts “Most people are saying we could bottom out in the second half of the year, maybe in the third quarter and then see positive growth again,” Christina Romer, the White House’s chief economist, said in a Bloomberg Television interview. “We’re certainly looking for some positive news towards the end of the year.” Part of the improvement may be due to government efforts to stem the recession. In its last meeting on March 18, the Fed pledged to double mortgage-debt purchases to $1.45 trillion and buy as much as $300 billion in long-term Treasuries. That’s helped bring down rates on mortgages and auto loans. The central bank’s statement today, due at around 2:15 p.m., may acknowledge that the pace of economic decline has moderated in the past six weeks and may reiterate it will keep the benchmark rate low for an extended period and continue to boost its balance sheet to revive lending. The Fed’s preferred measure of inflation, which tracks consumer spending and excludes food and fuel costs, rose at a 1.5 percent annual pace last quarter, toward the lower end of central bankers’ longer-term forecasts. Ford Motor Co., working to avoid a federal bailout, is among companies seeing some improvement. The automaker last week posted a first-quarter loss that beat analysts’ estimates. “We’re not quite sure where the bottom is,” Ford’s Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally said in an April 24 Bloomberg Television interview. “But we believe with the stabilization of the banks, freeing up the credit, and the stimulus packages we have, both monetary and fiscal, that we’re going to see an uptick in the third and fourth quarter.” Alerts: "Americas Most Reputable Companies"

The Reputation Institute just released its annual survey that determines the nation's most respected companies. Google is no longer on top.

To read full story , click HERE

BBC NEWS: "Germany Slashes Growth Forecast"

The German government predicts its economy will shrink by 6% this year, dramtically downgrading its previous forecast. ...

To read full coverage of this report, click HERE

THE EWI INDEPENDENT: Municipal Bonds Another Save-Haven

According to the mainstream experts, all bonds are NOT created equal. There is debt, and then there is government-backed debt. And never the twain shall meet. So, when all asset-backed forms of credit were pulled under by the financial tsunami, the general consensus was to keep moving to higher ground. And don't stop until you hit the Municipal Bond market...

To read full coverage of this report, click HERE