Obama: “Yes, I’m in a Can”

Let’s look a little further at what ails Obama—and us. It’s about the pretty small part of the One Percent that really calls the shots, and keeps a president from doing what he surely knows he must.

Giving Chase: Egypt, OK – But What About America’s Oligarchs?

With all the attention on crowds of ordinary people rising up and asserting themselves against corruption and self-dealing by an oligarchy, we’re missing what the oligarchs are doing right at home. Take, for example, the activities of one of our biggest banks, JPMorgan Chase. Newly released documents show that high officials of the bank knew Read More

Credit Where Credit Ain’t Due

Two large debit-card issuers have suddenly decided to clean up their acts in the face of pending legislative action against them. The bigger question is: what’s to prevent them from pulling a bait and switch, first voluntarily revising their rapacious practices and then, when the threat of legislation dies down, ramping those practices right back Read More

Florida Regulators Aided and Abetted Stanford

The Miami Herald published a long investigative piece about how Sir Allen Stanford, whose Antigua-based banking empire has been shut down as a massive fraud, was able to open a Miami branch in 1998 free from regulatory oversight, with the approval of Florida banking regulators. Stanford got his regulatory-free branch—one of his most lucrative franchises—despite Read More

UBS or Just Plain BS?

The Obama Justice Department has just floated a trial balloon to see if it can drop a legal effort to force the Swiss Bank UBS to disclose the names of 52,000 rich Americans suspected of using the bank to evade US taxes. Back in February, the Justice Department sued the bank in an effort to Read More

Who’s Got Obama’s Ear?

In the New York Times, Joe Nocera argues that Obama’s steps at regulating Wall Street are tepid compared to FDR’s and are likely to leave in place some of the very mechanisms that contributed to the crisis. Read this excerpt, if not the entire piece, then my closing comment: [T]he Obama plan is little more Read More

Moral Hazard, Fed Style

How exactly did the Federal Reserve gain the emergency authority to loan more than $1 trillion of taxpayer money to the banks secretly and without oversight? The Washington Post explains today in a long investigative piece by Binyamin Appelbaum and Neil Irwin. As it turns out, Sen. Chris Dodd slipped the necessary language into an Read More

NY Times Deals New Card

Anybody who still appreciates the arcane pleasure of reading an actual newsprint newspaper knows how important it is what makes it onto the front page. The New York Times’s prominent placement of a column by personal finance columnist Ron Lieber signals an important development: traditional news organizations’ increasing willingness to level with readers and not Read More