Wednesday, April 30, 2008

4/30/2008 Orange County Again, Bloomberg (Jonathan Weil). U.S. Representative Gary Miller, a real-estate developer from Orange County, California last week succeeded in getting a rider attached to a bill seeking to help homeowners refinance their mortgages. It would require the Fed to study the FASB's mark-to-market accounting rules and report back to Congress. What Miller means is: "Dear Ben, tell us how we can gut the rules.'' Comment: Orange County was the home base for Countrywide Financial and New Century Financial, the two largest subprime mortgage lenders, and three of the next eight largest. The county itself went broke investing in derivatives and the treasurer and assistant treasurer were indicted. Now the new treasurer is being investigated and the sheriff was indicted last year. It all gives Mickey Mouse a bad name.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

CAMPAIGN 2008 | Two New Posts

Two of my posts have recently appeared in Huffington Post:

April 5, 2008: Survey: "19% Say USA on Right Track." Who ARE These People? 

The lead NY Times story yesterday is headlined: "81 Percent in Poll Say Nation Is Headed on Wrong Track" and the first paragraph tells us this is the highest number since 1992 poll (this Times/CBS News poll was first conducted in 1991) and way up from the 35 percent figure in 2002. Hmmm... (1) The last time four-fifths of the nation was so negative about the future of the United States was in the last year of the presidency of Bush 41. (2) The percentage of people generally happy with the direction of the country has been steadily declining during the presidency of Bush 43.

March 23, 2008: The Bankers Panic of 2008 -- New Regulation

In late 1999, the bulwark bank regulation of 1933, the Glass-Steagall Act–the wall between investment banks and commercial banks–was torn down. This was a great victory for creative bankers, who had found the wall irksome and restrictive. What was outside the wall should have been brought under an expanded regulatory scope of the Federal Reserve or the SEC, or both.