Good morning

The headlines:

  1. Volker rule.

    Link: are we still talking about it?

    According to Standard and Poor’s, the Volker Rule will reduct the poor banks’ pre-tax earnings by $10 billion. As opposed to last year, when they said that it would reduce it by $4 billion. And the fiscal impact of this will be $0 billion because I don’t think that American banks pay tax.

    Yes – there’s no doubt that the Volker Rule will be terrible (in the banks’ view). Especially when you think that although the 2008 bailout cost $350 billion at the time; that amount has since been revised to $51 billion, because the US government managed to recover some most of those bad investments. And that amount, in turn, has since been revised to $29 billion, because you need to take into account interest owing from AIG.

    So when it’s all said and done, this article says that the American taxpayer didn’t do too badly. In fact, by all accounts (literally), the taxpayer may even have benefitted from the bailout.

    Apart from the recession.

    But, you know, in the banks’ view, that’s hardly the fault of the banks. So: down with the Volker Rule.

  2. Back from the dead.

    Link: long live Jiang Zemin.

    The former Chinese leader was reported dead by Hong Kong television last year. And yet here he is:

    Alive and influencing the upcoming Party Congress.

  3. A boring presidential debate.

    Link: whatever the Huffington Post might say.

    It was all foreign policy talk. Which has never really been America’s strong point, if we’re honest. It’s all do-as-we-say or you’re-hiding-a-wmd-and-defence-gets-offensive.

    For a more interesting take on the two candidates and how unfortunate America is, here’s a link to an interview with Jim Rogers. It’s pessimistic but jazzed up by his pink bow-tie.

  4. Eskom has applied for permission to raise tariffs.

    Link: wildcat.

    South Africa’s electricity provider would like to raise electricity tariffs by 16% each year from next year until 2018. Which is a lot of increase when you do the math; because over 5 years, that means that the price of electricity will more than double.

    I don’t argue that this is all necessary – there’s lots of capital investment required and so on. But when you look at the South African track record over the last two months, your general impression is one of “not exactly amenable to reason”. But very amenable to wildcat strikes, you know?

    It doesn’t bode well…

That’s all for now.

Have a good day.