Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

I Be Officially Right of Center Now?

As I am arguing on the same side as Henry Kaufman, and against the kind-hearted Mark Thoma, does the phrase “left-of-center” at the top of this blog have as much Memory Meaning as the Suzanne Vega song from Pretty in Pink? Kaufman: During the Greenspan years (1987-2006), the Fed clearly failed to recognize the significance […]

What is a Bank, then?

I was trying to avoid mentioning this, partially because I half-suspected it was deliberately over the top, and I’m not reading tone well these days. After all: Virtually every BHC has elected to become an FHC. Under 12 U.S.C. § 1843(k)(4)(H), FHCs are allowed to make “merchant banking investments” in nonfinancial companies, on a principal […]

FTC/Blogger Silliness Defined

Mark Cuban gets the FTC’s artificial distinction between bloggers and journalism exactly correct. Full disclosure: I had a Press Pass to the Clinton Global Initiative, and got things such as a disc copy of Financial Football* and a video ostensibly about the Rwandan National Forests (sadly, not so interesting) as a result. *It’s not my […]

OCC non-regulation keeps momentum going for Citi bank

rdan Seeking Alpha’s Matthew Goldstein notes that the OCC is continuing the last decade of regulatory non-action. The OCC, in its quarterly derivatives report, routinely notes that the Big Four “have the resources needed to be able to operate this business in a safe and sound manner.” In other words, the biggest banks are best […]

Simple Answers to Simple Questions, CRA edition

Dear Barry: The need for posts such as this one recurs because the large majority of economists are idiots. (Multiple exceptions noted—but not enough to change the truth of the initial statement.) As the regulatory reform report notes (quoted by PK at the last link above): In fact, enforcement of CRA was weakened during the […]

I Do Not Think "Tool" Means What You Think It Does

Dear Brad, Do you want to reconsider the title of this post in the context of this article? An examination of Mr. Geithner’s five years as president of the New York Fed, an era of unbridled and ultimately disastrous risk-taking by the financial industry, shows that he forged unusually close relationships with executives of Wall […]

Regulation matters

by reader Movie Guy I reviewed the OMB Watch list of proposed and final rules. If approved and published in the Federal Register, it is possible if not likely that some will be reversed. Unfortunately, OMB Watch doesn’t appear to provide government links necessary to follow up and monitor further actions. So, here are some […]

White House not slowed down by disaster in financials

Steve Benen at The Washington Monthly points to a WSJ article that cautions us: THE ULTIMATE BUSH LEGACY FOR BIG BUSINESS…. Bush’s presidency may be winding down, but he’s not quite done with his conservative domestic agenda. Bush administration officials, in their last weeks in office, are pushing to rewrite a wide array of federal […]

Floyd Norris points out another reason the bailout will not work

Take a page from Douglas North et al., I will simply note that if the institutions charged with managing the process are corrupt, the chance of success approaches zero. Case in point, Christopher Cox (R-BoughtAndPaid) and the SEC: The interesting thing here is that we have already heard that the S.E.C. staff almost immediately demanded […]