“This bill is the most important legislation for financial institutions in the last 50 years. It provides a long-term solution for troubled thrift institutions. … All in all, I think we hit the jackpot.” So declared Ronald Reagan in 1982, as he signed the Garn-St. Germain Depository Institutions Act.
He was, as it happened, wrong about solving the problems of the thrifts. On the contrary, the bill turned the modest-sized troubles of savings-and-loan institutions into an utter catastrophe. But he was right about the legislation’s significance. And as for that jackpot — well, it finally came more than 25 years later, in the form of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
For the more one looks into the origins of the current disaster, the clearer it becomes that the key wrong turn — the turn that made crisis inevitable — took place in the early 1980s, during the Reagan years.
A history lesson that is somewhate wasted on the Obama administration who seems intent on imitating the Republican-lite econmic policies of the Clinton years. Krugman gives Bill Clinton credit for getting the deficit under control and for not letting the middle-class lose even more ground, but Clinton didn’t do as much as he could he shore up the basic structural problems left by the Reagan Bush 41 years. During the Bush 43 years conservatives did away with even basic economic policing, In Cox Years at the SEC, Policies Undercut Action
The outcome, though discouraging to the team, was not a complete surprise, sources said. After Cox became SEC chairman in mid-2005, he adopted practices that undermined the enforcement division’s efforts to investigate cases of corporate wrongdoing and punish those involved, according to interviews with 19 current and former SEC officials.
During Cox’s tenure, investigators who wanted to subpoena documents or compel interviews faced an increasingly cumbersome process to win the commission’s approval for each case, according to current and former agency officials.
Cox also required enforcement officials to see the commissioners before approaching a company about a civil settlement. In several high-profile cases, when SEC lawyers were ready to ask the commission to authorize lawsuits or approve settlements, Cox postponed the decisions at the last minute, leaving cases unresolved for months, the sources said. At times, as in the Biovail case, the commission eventually weakened the sanctions sought by the enforcement division.
This is the legacy Mary Schapiro inherited when she replaced Cox as chairman this year. Among her first acts, Schapiro freed enforcement officials from getting commission approval before negotiating settlements with companies and established an accelerated process for authorizing subpoenas and depositions. She speaks frequently of taking the “handcuffs” off of the enforcement division.
Which brings us back to Bob Dylan’s observation,
They say that patriotism is the last refuge
To which a scoundrel clings.
Steal a little and they throw you in jail,
Steal a lot and they make you king.
Steal a lot and the Right covers their tracks, rewrites history, blames it on Democrats, gets a line up of apologists at Fox News and AM radio.
There are two distinct camps in this argument. One camp, which includes legislative leaders, is pushing for trading on an open exchange — much like stocks — where value and structure are visible and easily determined. Another camp, led by the banks, prefers that some of the products be traded in privately managed clearinghouses, with less disclosure.
The Obama administration agrees that more regulation is needed. A proposal unveiled recently by Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner won plaudits for trying to make derivatives trading less freewheeling and more accountable — a plan that hinges in part on using clearinghouses for the trades.
Putting aside the possibility that trading derivatives in and of itself is to engage in a kind of casino game where investments are mere bets on real estate that do not represent anything of real value. Some say that Geithner’s plan doesnt have enough transparency customized, credit-default swaps. If Washington and banks are determined to let the practice of trading derivatives continue the transparency issue can be solved, but that is exactly what the banks are fighting because they are customized to meet some institutional investors specific needs. Its a head spinner because that is part of why AIG’s financial division tanked – too much secrecy and not enough regulation, and betting on real estate never losing any value and the economy never having a hard down turn. Even if they go with the clearinghouse trading it will require that as in the case of Cox at the SEC, the regulators be allowed to do their job.
“George Tiller was a mass-murderer. We grieve for him that he did not have time to properly prepare his soul to face God.”
Terry and ORF can hardly take the moral high ground if they cannot tell the difference between providing life saving medical care to women in need and murder. Then we have the morally vacant ramblings of pundits or in this case drooling hate agitators like Bill O’Reilly who encourage the public to stay willfully ignorant, to see the medical care provided like Dr. Tiller as murder. O’Reilly’s campaign against murdered doctor The Fox News star had compared Tiller to a Nazi, called him a “baby killer,” and warned of “Judgment Day”
Tiller, O’Reilly likes to say, “destroys fetuses for just about any reason right up until the birth date for $5,000.” He’s guilty of “Nazi stuff,” said O’Reilly on June 8, 2005; a moral equivalent to NAMBLA and al-Qaida, he suggested on March 15, 2006. “This is the kind of stuff happened in Mao’s China, Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Soviet Union,” said O’Reilly on Nov. 9, 2006.
Dr. Tiller never murdered a baby. Not one. O’Reilly and Fox bear some culpability in the Doctor’s death for promoting the idea that he did. O’Reilly, Terry and Ann Coulter among others would have the country believe that women came to Tiller in droves to have their babies killed. What kind of deranged wacko believes that garbage. Apparently the kind that are willing to commit actual murder. Ballon Juice has a personal testimony from a man and his wife that sought out Dr. Tiller’s help in a heart breaking situation – one that was brought about partly because their regular doctors failed to provide the kind of thorough care that was required, Commenter deekaa6 on his experiences with Dr. George Tiller