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Janet Yellin for FED chair

Personally, I think that if you have proven that you have fumbled the ball in critical situations, you probably shouldn’t get the ball in critical situations. This concept works in football and it should work in government. Larry Summers was a big cheerleader for deregulation. He squashed the regulation of derivatives, which would’ve prevented the meltdown of Long-Term Capital Management in the ’90s and would’ve prevented the great recession. All we needed to do was regulate derivatives. (Let us not forget that this month marks the 10th anniversary of the meltdown of Lehman Brothers.)

Economist Joseph Stiglitz has more:

The controversy over the choice of the next head of the Federal Reserve has become unusually heated. The country is fortunate to have an enormously qualified candidate: the Fed’s current vice chairwoman, Janet L. Yellen. There is concern that the president might turn to another candidate, Lawrence H. Summers. Since I have worked closely with both of these individuals for more than three decades, both inside and outside of government, I have perhaps a distinct perspective.

But why, one might ask, is this a matter for a column usually devoted to understanding the growing divide between rich and poor in the United States and around the world? The reason is simple: What the Fed does has as much to do with the growth of inequality as virtually anything else. The good news is that both of the leading candidates talk as if they care about inequality. The bad news is that the policies that have been pushed by one of the candidates, Mr. Summers, have much to do with the woes faced by the middle and the bottom.

The Fed has responsibilities both in regulation and macroeconomic management. Regulatory failures were at the core of America’s crisis. As a Treasury Department official during the Clinton administration, Mr. Summers supported banking deregulation, including the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, which was pivotal in America’s financial crisis. His great “achievement” as secretary of the Treasury, from 1999 to 2001, was passage of the law that ensured that derivatives would not be regulated — a decision that helped blow up the financial markets. (Warren E. Buffett was right to call these derivatives “financial weapons of mass financial destruction.” Some of those who were responsible for these key policy mistakes have admitted the fundamental “flaws” in their analyses. Mr. Summers, to my knowledge, has not.) (more…)

By |2013-09-10T20:58:48-04:00September 10th, 2013|Economy|Comments Off on Janet Yellin for FED chair

Why Goldman Sucks

Besides being very proud of myself for the pun, I’m still distressed at Goldman Sachs raking in record profits. I heard on Left, Right and Center, Mike Murphy say something like what is good for Sachs is good for the country. What? Wall Street has divorced itself from the rest of the country. They are living in the lap of luxury while the rest of America has been really struggling. As usual, Paul Krugman puts all of this into perspective.

Krugman (emphasis is mine):

First, it tells us that Goldman is very good at what it does. Unfortunately, what it does is bad for America.

Second, it shows that Wall Street’s bad habits — above all, the system of compensation that helped cause the financial crisis — have not gone away.

Third, it shows that by rescuing the financial system without reforming it, Washington has done nothing to protect us from a new crisis, and, in fact, has made another crisis more likely.

Let’s start by talking about how Goldman makes money.

Over the past generation — ever since the banking deregulation of the Reagan years — the U.S. economy has been “financialized.” The business of moving money around, of slicing, dicing and repackaging financial claims, has soared in importance compared with the actual production of useful stuff. The sector officially labeled “securities, commodity contracts and investments” has grown especially fast, from only 0.3 percent of G.D.P. in the late 1970s to 1.7 percent of G.D.P. in 2007. (more…)

By |2009-07-18T03:46:04-04:00July 18th, 2009|Economy|Comments Off on Why Goldman Sucks
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