Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Taking Care Of Their Own

TMZ reports on a bank?
Northern Trust, a Chicago-based bank, sponsored the Northern Trust Open at the Riviera Country Club in L.A. We're told Northern Trust paid millions to sponsor the PGA event which ended Sunday, but what happened off the golf course is even more shocking.

Northern Trust flew hundreds of clients and employees to L.A. and put many of them up at some of the fanciest and priciest hotels in the city. We're told more than a hundred people were put up at the Beverly Wilshire in Bev Hills, and another hundred stayed at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel. Still more stayed at the Ritz Carlton in Marina Del Rey and others at Casa Del Mar in Santa Monica.

You can go see how Northern Trust defines itself if you please, but I'll give you their lead in:
To achieve your financial objectives, you need a partner you can trust. Our clients' trust helped us become a global leader in asset management, asset servicing, wealth management and banking. Northern Trust (NASDAQ: NTRS) offers you exceptional service backed by innovative technology and the latest economic research from our industry-renowned experts. For more than a century, our clients have relied on us for service, expertise and integrity.

Part of that service includes the kinds of things that interest celebrity sites like TMZ:
- Wednesday, Northern Trust hosted a fancy dinner at the Ritz followed by a performance by the group Chicago.

- Thursday, Northern Trust rented a private hangar at the Santa Monica Airport for dinner, followed by a performance by Earth, Wind & Fire.

- Saturday, Northern Trust had the entire House of Blues in West Hollywood shut down for its private party. We got the menu -- guests dined on seared salmon and petite Angus filet. Dinner was followed by a performance by none other than Sheryl Crow.

There was also a fabulous cocktail party at the Loews. And how's this for a nice touch: Female guests at the Chicago concert all got trinkets from ... TIFFANY AND CO.

To TMZ's credit they attempted to indepentently assess costs, see them.

To get a feel for Nothern Trust's view of economics you might find their analysis of the Great Depression interesting, a fair clip:
But the facts of the 1930s appear to be pretty clear – monetized increased federal government spending does result in increased real economic activity in the short run.

You can read the entire piece which ignores the political reality of the Republican inspired cuts to FDR's programs immediately preceding the second slump - a typical Republican ploy of late. You will note, perhaps, that the presence of this bank in this story is because this bank got a New Deal, like $1.5B worth of a new deal that allows a bank that caters to the rich have a big goddam party for the rich all the while telling you - essentially - that the rich are our benefactors.

This bank has stated that no government funds were involved...exactly how does that work? Is this bank's balance sheet run on separate pages, one for taxpayers' liabilities and the other for rich folk? Who the hell's money got lost? Not one damn cent of mine, but I ain't rich enough to use their bank.

It isn't that these bankers can't read a paper or see the news, they do - they don't give a rat's patoot because they're not the little people. Rules of ethics don't count after a certain income level - this is for you poor fools who'll make a good faith effort to pay your obligations. These folks may be responsible for an economic smash-up but they don't have to give a damn about it.

The media asks questions like, "how can they not get it?" They do get it, they get bailed out. Their clients will have plenty of money no matter how far south this mess goes short of apocalypse and they'll use that money at firesale prices to further enrich themselves. Try to get this, if you have money free this is a buying opportunity of historic proportions, stock prices are falling below the actual value of company assets. If you think you've seen a concentration of wealth over the last 30 years, you ain't seen nothing yet. Oh jeeze, there's a little matter of 15% capital gains tax...

What exactly is it that you're supposed to think they don't get?

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