The Great Debate UK

from The Great Debate:

Too failed to live not too big to fail

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James Saft Great Debate -- James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

The U.S. policy of keeping zombie financial institutions alive is so clearly failing that it is now attracting attack from inside policymakers' circle of covered wagons.

The most interesting intervention in the banking debate in the past few weeks was an extraordinary attack by Kansas City Federal Reserve President Thomas Hoenig on what he termed a policy of "piecemeal" nationalization which leaves discredited management in place, repels new capital from the banking system and allows bad assets to fester rather than be cleared.

This is no academic who can be dismissed as having a poor grasp of the major systemic consequences of letting the big zombies fall, this is the man who has been a Fed president for 17 years and has a deep history in banking regulation, deeper and with more practical experience arguably than the people making the policies in Washington.

"If an institution's management has failed the test of the marketplace, these mangers should be replaced. They should not be given public funds and then micro-managed, as we are now doing under TARP, with a set of political strings attached," Hoenig said.

from The Great Debate:

An equal opportunity recession?

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Jim CarrJames H. Carr is chief operating officer for the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, a Washington-based association that promote access to basic banking services for America’s working families. He is a member of the Insight Center for Community Economic Development’s “Experts of Color Clearinghouse”. The views expressed are his own.

The U.S. economy is unraveling at a pace not seen in decades. The more than 650,000 jobs lost last month has contributed to a growing concern that the unemployment rate could rise to 10 percent or higher before the economy rebounds. At the center of the economy’s instability is a foreclosure crisis that has claimed 3.5 million homes in the last year alone, and threatens the loss of an additional 8 to 10 million homes to foreclosure over the next five years.

from The Great Debate:

Accounting change won’t save banking

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James Saft Great Debate —James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. –

By all means reform accounting, but for pity's sake take your time and keep your expectations low.

Suspending mark-to-market accounting immediately as a means of levitating banks out of peril simply won't work. While transparency may or may not be the foundation of banking, trust undoubtedly is.

from The Great Debate:

Hitting the reset button: the silver lining

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Jeffrey Bussgan– Jeff Bussgang is a General Partner at Flybridge Capital Partners, an early-stage venture capital firm in Boston. This post originally appeared in the Vox Populi section of www.peHUB.com. The views expressed are his own. –

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with the newly invented personal computer. In 1982, I used my paper route and Bar Mitzvah money to purchase an Apple II+ PC (my parents did subsidize the purchase somewhat, I confess). I was mesmerized by the magic of the personal computer and all its possibilities: games, programming, communications and more.

from The Great Debate:

Economic stimulus Beijing-style: I treat, you pay

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wei_gu_debate-- Wei Gu is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are her own. --

Beijing may criticize American consumers for spending money they do not have, but the truth is Chinese leaders do the same, they just make sure it doesn't end up on their account.

In its $585 billion economic stimulus package, the central government is contributing just a quarter of the funds needed, leaving the rest of the tab to banks, local governments and the private sector.

from The Great Debate:

First the stock market, now water

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Jonas Minton-- Jonas Minton is Water Policy Advisor for the Planning and Conservation League, an environmental advocacy organization.  Previously he was deputy director of the California Department of Water Resources. The views expressed are his own. --

In many ways, water policy in the Western United States mirrors the economic policies which created our financial catastrophe. Here in the West we’ve seen a massive development boom fueled by unrealistic expectations of ever-increasing supply.

from The Great Debate:

The equity illusion

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John Kemp Great Debate-- John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own --

Even after its recent decline, the U.S. equity market does not look especially "cheap" or "undervalued" when viewed over time; the bear market has simply brought valuations back into line with long-term trends.

At a fundamental level, equity is a claim on a corporation's residual cash flow after wages, interest, taxes and other costs have been paid.

from The Great Debate:

Here comes another set of dodgy U.S. loans

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jimsaftcolumn1-- James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

Banks in the U.S. face a new source of write-downs and failures in the coming year as loans made to developers to finance residential and commercial property development rapidly go bad.

And as these loans are old-fashioned and concentrated in smaller banks, their fate is particularly interesting as it indicates that issues with the banking system go far deeper than the so-called "toxic assets" belonging to the largest lenders that have thus far gotten most of the attention and government aid.

from The Great Debate:

Buck-passing augurs ill for G20 summit

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Paul Taylor Great Debate-- Paul Taylor is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

The foreplay to next month's G20 summit is degenerating into a buck-passing exercise rather than crafting a Grand Bargain to save the world economy and regulate capitalism.

The industrialized powers do not agree on how to arrest the steep slide in output, how to handle collapsing banks, how much market regulation is needed, how to reach a world trade deal and prevent protectionism, or how to redistribute power to emerging nations in exchange for their money.

Women as agents of change in Europe – nothing less

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image001- Brigitte Triems is president of the European Women’s Lobby, the largest non-governmental women’s organisation in the European Union, representing approximately 2000 organisations in 30 European Countries. Working with its members at national and European levels, the EWL’s main objective is to fight for gender equality and to ensure the integration of a gender perspective in all EU policy areas. The opinions expressed are her own. -

Some Europeans like to claim that we have achieved equality between women and men in Europe, and that the struggle for equality belongs to another, preferably faraway, region. Unfortunately there is little reality behind these claims.

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