News & Comment
Blogs and Opinion
An Institutional Flaw At The Heart Of The Federal Reserve by Simon Johnson, baselinescenario.com | June 14, 2012Prominent financial sector executives and their close allies are much too involved in how the New York Fed operates. This is partly an anachronistic holdover from the original Federal Reserve Act of 1913 – and reflects the political milieu of that time, in which bankers had to be persuaded to accept a central bank. But it is also an all-too-accurate reflection of where we stand today with regard to global mega-banks and the large, nontransparent and highly dangerous subsidies they extract from the rest of society by being too big to fail. read more »
Charting the Cozy Connections between JP Morgan and the Senate Banking Committee by Cora Currier, propublica.org | June 13, 2012This morning, Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase, faced a Senate hearing over more than $2 billion in bank losses caused by risky hedges that blew up. Dimon said that the hedges—investments meant to protect the bank—had grown into “complex and hard-to manage risks.” The losses “let a lot of people down, and we are sorry for it.” Many lawmakers are holding up the losses as evidence of the need for stronger financial regulation. The chairman of the Senate banking committee, Tim Johnson, D-S.D., in his opening remarks, asked for “a full accounting” of JP Morgan’s losses. But through campaign contributions and well-connected staff, JP Morgan appears to have already taken its own accounting of the Banking committee. Here’s a picture of connections between the company and the committee. read more »
How Wall Street Hustles America's Cities and States Out of Billions by Thomas Ferguson, alternet.org | June 13, 2012We all know that America’s cities and towns are in the throes of a deep financial crisis. And are told, over and over, what’s supposedly behind it: unreasonable demands by grasping state and municipal workers for pay and pensions. The diagnosis is a grotesque cartoon. Many of the biggest budget busters are on Wall Street, not Main Street. What has driven cities and towns to the brink is not demands from their workforce but the collapse of national income and the ensuing fall in tax collections. Or, in other words, the Great Recession itself, for which Wall Street and the financial sector are principally to blame. But many powerful interests have jumped at the opportunity to use the crisis to eviscerate what’s left of the welfare state, roll back unionization to pre-New Deal levels, and keep cutting taxes on the wealthy. The litany of horror stories that now fills the media is ideal for their purposes. read more »
Jamie Dimon and the Sickness in Our Culture by Michael Tomasky, thedailybeast.com | June 13, 2012In a rational world, Jamie Dimon would have been booted from JP Morgan weeks ago. No; not "been booted." He'd have left in shame. He'd have said: "I made a major f--- up here. I shouldn't be running a big bank anymore. I'm resigning, and I'm going off to reflect for a while, and I'm going to come back and do something to make up for this." That you're laughing at my suggestion does not show that I'm some dreamy-eyed idealist. I know that was never going to happen. What it does show, rather, is how inured we've become to the people at the top of society getting away with anything and taking responsibility for nothing. And you conservatives expect poor people to take responsibility for their behavior? Why should they? All they see around them every day on the news is the example of rich people getting away with everything. read more »
Dimon Testifies - and the People Have a Few Questions by Richard (RJ) Eskow, OurFuture.org | June 12, 2012Wednesday is the day that JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon testifies before the Senate Banking Committee. He was called before the Committee (I believe the term is "invited") after it was disclosed that his bank lost billions of dollars in reckless and unregulated trades - trades which, as Dimon himself acknowledged, may have included criminal activity. read more »
The "Fiscal Cliff"? A Hoax. The Democrats' "Long Game"? A Myth. This Is the Real Budget Battle by Richard (RJ) Eskow, OurFuture.org | June 11, 2012Suddenly the headlines are filled with talk of an impending "fiscal cliff," a series of tax and budget changes which the news pages say is an impending catastrophe and which the editorial pages are urging Washington lawmakers to prevent. read more »
40 Million Strong: Underwater Homeowners Can Fight and Win ... If They Get Organized by Richard (RJ) Eskow, OurFuture.org | June 7, 2012It sounds like hype to say it, but underwater homeowners can change the course of history. It's not me saying that - it's the numbers. People who owe more than their homes are worth have the power to become the a powerful new political and economic force. They've got the numbers, they've got the votes, and - if they can get organized - they've got the economic clout. And we can prove it. read more »
A Hidden Economic Ideology: Six Flaws in the CBO's New Report by Richard (RJ) Eskow, OurFuture.org | June 5, 2012The new CBO report is out, and it's a huge disappointment. Their report misrepresents both our nation's economic situation and the range of policy solutions available to the Federal government. read more »
How the Corporate Media Obscure the Truth About Mitt Romney's 'Vulture Capitalism' at Bain by Joshua Holland, alternet.org | June 4, 2012Were it not such a sad statement about how superficial our political discourse has become, the indignant defenses of Bain Capital by self-flattering “centrists” in the media would be almost comical. The simple reality that has been totally obscured in most of the coverage of what has been reduced to a “political flap,” is that finance is what's known as an “intermediary good” – it doesn't produce anything directly. It can -- and does -- stimulate the larger economy. But the financial sector can also extract wealth from the real economy, at a cost. The lion's share of Mitt Romney's fortune was made doing the latter through leveraged buy-outs (LBOs), a reality that Romney doesn't like to talk about on the campaign trail. Perhaps the media, like much of the American public, doesn’t understand what LBO artists like Romney really do. Here’s a quick refresher. read more »
Bill Clinton's Blind Spot by Mike Lux, Huffington Post | June 4, 2012I have been thinking a lot about my old boss President Clinton the last few days. I still have a great deal of respect and affection for him. But one thing you always knew as a staffer of his was when he did make a mistake it was a doozy. And as his Bain Capital statement reminds us, he has always had an incredible blind spot for the Wall Street crowd. The biggest political mistake of his presidency was to allow himself to be seduced by the slick Wall Street guys who convinced him the further deregulation of the financial industry — the repeal of Glass-Steagall and failing to regulate derivatives — would be good for the economy. You would think after the crash of 2008 and all that it has wrought he would be wary of defending Wall Street again, but it appears his massive blind spot is still there. read more »
N.Y. Challenger Saujani Embraces Wall Street in Bid to Enseat Rep. Maloney, The Washington Post | July 8, 2010
They did not always feel this way about Maloney. The 64-year-old Democratic representative hasn't faced a serious challenge to her seat since she was first elected in 1992. For nearly two decades, they have viewed her as a solid, if unremarkable, member of Congress. read more »
Lobbyist Urges Community Banks to Back Regulatory Reform, Not Wall Street, bloomberg.com | July 7, 2010
A lobbyist for community banks privately urged his industry not to oppose the U.S. regulatory overhaul, warning that smaller lenders are being used by Wall Street to derail the legislation. read more »
Sen. Brown: 'I'm Liking What I See' on Financial Reform Legislation, thehill.com | July 6, 2010
Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) offered a hint that he may support the financial reform bill when it comes to a final vote later this month.
“I’m going to be making a decision soon, but I’m liking what I see,” Brown told WHDH television station in Plymouth, Mass., on Sunday. read more »
Wall St. Plans Payback for Reg Reform, Politico | July 6, 2010
That compromise hasn’t stopped the financial community from singling out Lincoln for scorn.
"She told us she knew Congress had to be sensible in its approach to dealing with derivatives, and then she went and hit us with her amendment,” a financial executive said. “It was pretty amazing.”
Lincoln says she’s not worried, despite facing a difficult reelection fight this fall.
Democratic Campaign Committees Losing Big Wall Street Donors, The Washington Post | July 6, 2010
The drop in support comes from many of the same bankers, hedge fund executives and financial services chief executives who are most upset about the financial regulatory reform bill that House Democrats passed last week with almost no Republican support. The Senate expects to take up the measure this month.
Senate Dems Closer to Wall St. Overhaul as Cantwell Voices Support, blogs.abcnews.com | July 2, 2010
Senate Democrats took a big step towards passing the Wall Street reform bill tonight as Maria Cantwell, D-Washington, announced that she will vote for the measure.
Cantwell had opposed the bill when it first passed the Senate in May, but she now will support the version that emerged from the conference committee.
Regulators Made Sure Goldman Sachs Got All Of Its Bailout Money, truthdig.com | June 30, 2010
A devastating report in The New York Times documents how Timothy Geithner’s New York Fed worked tirelessly to make sure that AIG was forced to pay banks such as Goldman Sachs 100 percent on dubious contracts that might otherwise have been slashed or subjected to lawsuits. For his efforts, Geithner was promoted to run the rest of the nation’s economy. read more »
Kagan Hearing Day One: The Battle To Define ‘Judicial Activism’ , wonkroom.thinkprogress.org | June 29, 2010
If someone does a word cloud of today’s opening statements in the Kagan hearing, the word “activism” will dominate the screen. And this is nothing new. Conservative senators figured out a long time ago that if they label anyone to the left of Samuel Alito a “judicial activist” then their more progressive colleagues will put their tail between their legs and cower.
Knocking Kagan's Experience, GOP Attack May Backfire , Huffington Post | June 28, 2010
As the Senate begins hearings for Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court nomination, Republicans are returning to a critique that separates Kagan from every sitting Justice. She has no judicial experience. read more »
In Deficit "Town Meetings," People Reject America Speaks' Stacked Deck , Huffington Post | June 28, 2010
On Saturday, the group known as America Speaks (funded by Wall Street mogul Peter G. Peterson and two other foundations) brought together several thousand people in meetings in 60 cities. They gave participants misleading background information about the federal deficit and economic options to achieve fiscal "balance" and future prosperity.