investment bank

Very interesting development on the "too big to fail" front today: The Journal reports that Colorado Rep. Ed Perlmutter is planning an amendment to the systemic risk bill currently before the House Financial Services committee. The amendment would partly revive certain New Deal-era restrictions on banks:  Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D., Colo.) is working on a separate amendment that would allow bank regulators to impose restrictions prohibiting certain companies from operating both a commercial bank and an investment bank if capital reserves fall below a certain level.

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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.

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It sounds like the insurers aren't too keen on the insurance company tax Max Baucus is now flirting with for his Finance Committee compromise: Insurers and many Republicans in Congress oppose the fees, saying they would be passed on to families and employers who buy insurance. Robert E.

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    Sitting in her lawyer's office at South Brooklyn Legal Services, her hands folded calmly in her lap, Sandra Barkley describes how she became the first person in her family to buy a home. The 52-year old single mother begins by speaking in a relaxed southern drawl, but as she comes to recount her experiences more fully, her voice rises, and her cool breaks. In the winter of 2002-2003, an acquaintance of Barkley's put her in touch with United Homes, a New York City-based company that specialized in fixing up and reselling homes purchased at foreclosure auctions and distress sales.

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Clay Risen is managing editor of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas and a contributing editor at World Trade. His first book, A Nation on Fire: America in the Wake of the King Assassination will appear in January.  It's hard to say when, exactly, the demise of Lehman Brothers became inevitable. But it likely came around noon on Saturday.

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As the age of cheap oil comes to a close, it's springtime for gloomy futurists. Visions of a brutish world marked by violent squabbles over dwindling reserves, of junkyards littered with abandoned cars, of suburban slums overrun by weeds, of the collapse of industrial agriculture--none of this sounds as outlandish as it once did.

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The Devil's Advocate

The sleazy lobbyist who might save the world.

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