TD Ameritrade Visits Big Rock Candy Mountain
February 11, 2013
What's that song playing in the background of the online brokerage's TV spot? Our obsessive cultural critic evaulates the unintentionally subversive message.
Will Bernanke Be Another Coakley Casualty?
January 22, 2010
If I had to guess as I write this, I'd say no. But the trendlines for the Fed chairman aren't moving in the right direction. Today's Wall Street Journal had a piece noting that the Fed chairman was headed toward a closer than expected vote in the Senate next week, with Dems Byron Dorgan and Jeff Merkley joining Bernie Sanders, the Senate's chief Bernanke-hater on the left, as opponents of a second term.
TNR Q&A: Dr. Stephen Schneider
November 09, 2009
Not many Ph.D. students expect their research to generate outrage among Washington pundits decades later, but, as it turns out, that's exactly what happened to Stephen Schneider. Back in 1971, Schneider was studying plasma physics at Columbia and moonlighting as a research assistant at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
Another Step Closer to Breaking Up the Banks?
November 05, 2009
A banking industry lobbyist I spoke with this evening alerts me to a fascinating development in the House Financial Services Committee: Pennsylvania Rep. Paul Kanjorski is about to introduce an amendment to the systemic risk bill moving through the committee (see my discussion here and here) that would give regulators the power to break up too-big-to-fail firms. The details are a little unclear--as it stands, the current bill would give the Fed some vague powers in this vein. But the soon-to-be Kanjorski amendment appears to go much further, and the banks are freaking out about it.
Britain To Break Up Biggest Banks
November 02, 2009
The WSJ reports (online): “The U.K.’s top treasury official Sunday said the government is starting a process to rebuild the country’s banking system, likely pressing major divestments from institutions and trying to attract new retail banks to the market.” The British style is typically understated and policymakers always like to play down radical departures, but this is huge news. Pressure from the EU has apparently had major impact--worries about unfair competition through subsidizing “too big to fail” banks are very real within the European market place. Also, strong voices from within the
'Too Big' Banks Won't Disappear On Their Own
October 29, 2009
That's the conclusion of a new St. Louis Fed study by David Wheelock and Paul Wilson. In the two decades between the mid-80's and 00's, the number of commercial banks fell by 50% while the average size per institution surged by an inflation-adjusted 500%.
The Man Who Killed Glass-Steagall Wants It Back
October 27, 2009
Something sure to get Simon Johnson's heart pumping: Via the Journal's Real Time Economics blog, I see that John Reed, the man who helped deliver the coup de grace to the Depression-era law against combining commercial banking with investment banking and insurance, now wants to bring it back.
Dan Tarullo, Regulatory Hero
October 27, 2009
Yesterday's Wall Street Journal had a pretty encouraging profile of Dan Tarullo, the Obama-appointed Fed governor. Take, for instance, this passage: Inside the Fed, where Mr. Tarullo succeeded a Bush-appointed free-market economist in the banking oversight post, the transition hasn't been seamless. Some Fed officials said privately Mr. Tarullo can have an overbearing skepticism of banks and supervisors. Some Fed staffers are so wary of being second-guessed they ask him to approve even mundane bank applications. Sounds pretty good to me.
Can Limits on Executive Pay Solve the Too Big To Fail Problem?
October 23, 2009
On Wednesday, Dan Tarullo, a governor of the Federal Reserve and distinguished law school professor, dismissed breaking up big banks as “more a provocative idea than a proposal” and instead put almost all his eggs in the “creation by Congress of a special resolution procedure for systemically important financial firms.” He stressed: “We are hopeful that Congress will, in its legislative response to the crisis, include a resolution mechanism and an extension of regulation to all systemically important financial institutions” (full speech). This put him strikingly at odds with Mervyn King, gove
October 21, 2009
Macroblog compiles the evidence for a jobless recovery. The CBO on how and when its estimates are made public. Will banking reform dominate the first half of 2010? Look to India to see which global sectors are recovering. Martin Feldstein says companies don't have to worry about future higher taxes.