US banks say they want to repay tens of billions of dollars this year, returning funds to the government that bailed them out.
Stock markets were rising until the latest reality check in the form of rising US jobless claims and a statement of the obvious from former Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan that the financial crisis isn’t over.
Ignoring the real world, the banks plough on in their eagerness to free themselves of government controls on salaries.
However, the banks will never repay the UK government for the support they've received, just as the US banks are conducting a PR stunt in their supposed eagerness to repay the US Treasury.
The sums they propose to repay barely register in terms of the total bailout fraud.
The banks do not propose to repay the billions they received through the rescue of their counterparties (much of the three successive bailouts of AIG went directly to the banks, in the case of Goldman Sucks, to the tune of $30 Billion in one wadge).
The UK banks cannot put a value on the government loan guarantees that halted the run on the banks except that it saved their a*ses.
So don't tell me HMG will get the money back with profit!
Looking at the economy, after all the bailout money, using taxpayers’ money as a war chest, the banks propose to go on an acquisition spree.
The banks, not the hedge funds, were the biggest shorters of banking stock, as the Wall Street Journal discovered when it looked into the trades.
And the banks are about to go on a carcass feast, buying up their corpsed rivals.
But the reality is that bank lending to companies and consumers is still weak. In the UK, figures show it fell from March to April.
Companies have been paying down debt. Households have barely begun.
The trade routes remain frozen. Ships lie like logs around the Greek isles. Exporters like Germany and Japan are seeing double-digit falls in sales, year on year.
Producers, from car and plane makers to consumer goods, are mothballing factories.
So only a stock picker, counting his pennies, could see something positive in all this. He should look up from his ledger, adjust the glasses on the end of his nose, open the window and sniff the air.