Banks Rake In Profits – Largely From Government Supports

By: Wednesday December 5, 2012 3:37 pm

It goes without saying that you should not weep for the banking industry. In the years following a Great Recession they caused, they still manage to churn out record profits. This is the 13th straight quarterly rise in profits for financial institutions. The industry’s third-quarter earnings jumped 6.6% from the same period in 2011, to [...]

Health Care Fun: Liz Fowler to K Street, Walmart Slashing Worker Hours

By: Wednesday December 5, 2012 12:21 pm

Here are a couple little snowflakes from the legacy of the Affordable Care Act. You might remember that the one staffer Max Baucus personally thanked on the floor of the Senate for her work on the bill was Liz Fowler, the former WellPoint VP. From there, she went to work at the Department of Haelth [...]

Today in Our Completely Captured Financial Regulatory Apparatus

By: Thursday November 29, 2012 11:40 am

Adding to the spate of delays on finalizing rules from the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the final Volcker rule will probably not get finished until 2013. This is at least six months past due, as the original law called for a final Volcker rule in July. Five separate government agencies – the FDIC, the Federal [...]

Mary Schapiro Steps Down as SEC Chief

By: Monday November 26, 2012 8:30 am

Schapiro’s replacement matters. Simon Johnson kicked this off a few days ago, juxtaposing the bona fides of Treasury Department under secretary for domestic finance Mary Miller (a former mutual fund executive) against former Special Inspector General for TARP Neil Barofsky. There’s no question than an experienced prosecutor like Barofsky would change the SEC’s culture, but there’s almost no chance he will ever hold another job in Washington, as he was specifically told by Herb Allison right at the beginning of his book Bailout.

Shadow Banking System Grows Larger After Financial Crisis

By: Monday November 19, 2012 10:46 am

Most experts agree that one of the major causes of the financial crisis was the rise of the shadow banking system, an unregulated sector of financial transactions that often stand in for traditional banking operations. This includes money market funds, insurance products like credit default swaps (as well as much of the unregulated derivatives market), [...]

Bill That Would Gut Financial Regulatory Efforts Delayed

By: Friday November 16, 2012 9:15 am

Lest I be described as a Gloomy Gus, let’s point out some good news for a change. Or at least some potentially good news. First, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission decided to appeal a ruling from a federal judge that cancelled the Dodd-Frank regulation on position limits. By a 3-2 vote, the commission agreed to [...]

Bernanke Wants Looser Lending Standards In Bubble Reinflation Effort

By: Friday November 16, 2012 6:15 am

I don’t know why I felt so insulted by Ben Bernanke’s housing speech yesterday, but it really stuck with me. Probably because he managed to give an entire speech on housing – one that at points implicitly blamed homeowners for their predicaments – without mentioning the word “fraud.” Or saying “I’m sorry.” It was very [...]

Financial Regulation Advocates Fighting Bill to Gut Regulatory Agencies

By: Friday November 9, 2012 10:17 am

Among the other goodies in store for America in the lame duck Congress is a bid to gut financial regulatory and other agencies and set up a process to take away their independent control and subsume them under the power of the executive. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, under the direction of [...]

“New Public Option” Not a Public Option

By: Tuesday October 30, 2012 10:49 am

The need to offer a substitute to placate those desiring a public option created this Frankenstein monster, which was admittedly not well thought-out. Those who did it ended up with the worst of all possible worlds; no public option supporter really even knew about these multi-state plans, and they have the potential to disrupt the exchanges and cause a race to the bottom.

Late-Campaign Pledges Show American Mythologizing of Business

By: Tuesday October 30, 2012 8:30 am

Just as a reminder of how captured our government has become, President Obama has embarrassingly floated the prospect of a Secretary of Business for his second term. First of all, we already have a Secretary of Commerce, which is pretty much an irrelevant federal agency. So much so, in fact, that the President has proposed [...]

Merkley, Levin Call Out Obstructionist Regulators Holding Up Volcker Rule

By: Thursday October 25, 2012 10:43 am

Almost four months after the deadline passed on finalizing the Volcker rule, the firewall on most types of proprietary trading set up between investment and commercial banks, the regulators tasked with writing the rule are no closer to a resolution. The Treasury Department last promised that the rule would get written by the end of [...]

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