Commentaries

Game is up for health insurers

October 29, 2009

By John M. Berry

John M. Berry, who has covered the economy for four decades for the Washington Post and other publications, is a guest columnist.

Banks must see the debate has changed

August 28, 2009

Regulators are rarely accused of being too candid. But Adair Turner’s observation that the financial sector is too large has seen the chairman of Britain’s Financial Services Authority swamped by a wave of protest.

Turner is right to take on swollen banks

August 27, 2009

So the watchdog can bark after all. Adair Turner, chairman of Britain’s Financial Services Authority, says the financial sector has “swollen beyond its socially useful size”. That is a striking statement for any financial regulator, particularly one that counts promoting London’s financial centre as one of its goals. Identifying the problem, however, is the easy bit. Reversing decades of financial expansion will require global agreement on tough new rules, and the determination to make sure they are consistently enforced.

Next up for Fed, tackling the $4.5 trillion giant

June 22, 2009

The Financial Times reports that the Federal Reserve is taking on another mammoth undertaking – reform of the $4.5 trillion repurchase agreement market, which acts as the very plumbing of the U.S. financial system.  And the central bank should. This plumbing is looking creeky after the Lehman Brothers failure exposed some big cracks that had threatened to destabilize global markets.

Who is the Fed accountable to?

June 15, 2009

It’s pretty clear the Federal Reserve is going to emerge as the big winner in the Obama administration’s proposed overhaul of the financial regulatory system. But any grant of new powers to the Fed must come with legislation requiring greater accountabilty from the nation’s central banker.