Sarah Palin as Policy Wonk

    It would have probably been fair to say of Sarah Palin that until a few days ago ‘policy wonk’ would have been an unlikely description, love her or loathe her, of any facet of her complex relationship with American politics. But now this: I’m deeply concerned about the Federal Reserve’s plans to buy up anywhere from $600 billion to as much as $1 trillion of | Read More »

    Moral Hazard and Fraud

    The bailout of failing financial institutions in 2008-09, while arguably necessary, missed an essential step which may now be stalling our economic recovery: Specifically, [former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan] said today in a panel discussion at a Fed conference in Jekyll Island, Georgia: Banks operated with less capital because of an assumption they would be rescued by the government, he said. [Lehman | Read More »

    Nice Little Economy You’ve Got There…

    Underlying the outcome of the recent midterm shift in our political landscape is the almost universal acknowledgement that the electorate is not happy. Down on Congress, certainly, concerned about the direction the country is headed and pessimistic that things will change any time soon. We all seem to understand it’s because our economy is broken and we are broke, and more importantly the remedies we’ve | Read More »

    The Untouchables

    Back during Prohibition federal agents were used to break up the crime syndicate of Chicago’s Al Capone, using federal law, because local law enforcement was unwilling or unable to do so. Unsuccessful bribery attempts by the syndicate were widely publicised, hence their nickname. Now the situation seems reversed, with state attorneys general taking virtually the only steps to investigate allegations of fraud, in this case | Read More »

    The Curious Case of HR 3808

    Back in April the House of Representatives passed a bill known as HR 3808, the Interstate Recognition of Notarizations Act of 2010 and sent it to the Senate where it languished in the Judiciary Committee until late September. The circumstances of the passage of this bill in the Senate are curious, to say the least. It was discharged from committee and passed by unanimous consent, | Read More »

    The Socialisation of Risk

    The Federal Reserve has bought a ‘staggering’ $1.2 trillion of bad debt since the beginning of the sub-prime mortgage and credit crisis of 2008. There is considerable evidence that this bad debt was a direct consequence of faulty, if not outright fraudulent, processes which pervaded the securitisation of this debt during the housing boom: Faulty underwriting appears to be prevalent across the board, with originators | Read More »