Financial products and institutions should be regulated for the economic function they provide and the risks they present, not the legal form they take. . . . We can’t allow institutions to cherry pick among competing regulators, and shift risk to where it faces the lowest standards and constraints.Fighting words. No details. But right on! Let's party like it's 1999.
Or like the 2 tops guys at GDF Suez in France, who had a press conference to congratulate themselves on renouncing their stock options for a year, while Gangster-Prez Nicholas Sarko said stuff like "you can't make a donkey drink that isn't thirsty" so he's going to pass a law against options and bonuses for executives at companies supported by the public. He also said France hates success and the crisis has given us our freedom back, and more of the usual nonsense.
Meanwhile back in reality, the crisis shrank the US economy at an annualized 6.3% rate in the 4th quarter of 2008. And Jeffrey Sachs joined a growing number of mainstream economists hatin on the Geithner giveaway of taxpayer money to Wall Street
California voters are not as dumb as their leaders, and are ready to reject the transparently stupid Schwarzenegger idea of filling part of the budget deficit with securities backed by future lottery revenues. Happily, Arnold's popularity is down to 33% approval - which is 3 times higher than the approval rating of the state legislature.
But THE GOOD STUFF.
- Matt Taibbi's amazingly hostile but useful history of the A.I.G. scam. This is the US government as Hedge Fund, in which the taxpayers are increasingly indebted shareholders in a failing company.
- Thomas Geoghegan's "“Infinite Debt: How Unlimited Interest Rates Destroyed the Economy.” Read his interview on Democracy Now, then subscribe to Harpers to read the article (it's a good magazine). Geoghegan's crucial thesis: "the inability of people to raise their own wages and the incredible ease with which they could get credit instead helped create this flow of capital out of manufacturing and into finance."
- Daniel Brook on payday lending - at 200-400%. On DN, Amy Goodman's intro points out, "In the early ’90s, there were fewer than 200 payday lending stores in the country. Today it’s a $40 billion industry with more than 22,000 stores. There are more payday lending stores than McDonald’s and Starbucks combined. As more Americans are living paycheck to paycheck [47%], the demand for payday loans is increasing.