The Senate Agriculture Committee met Tuesday to approve the nomination of Tim Massad as chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, even as the agency fumbles over the definition of a “swap.”
The Great Debate
The United States was the world’s first middle-class nation, which was a big factor in its rapid growth. Mid-19th-century British travelers marveled at American workers’ “ductility of mind and the readiness…for a new thing” and admired how hard and willingly they labored. Abraham Lincoln attributed it the knowledge that “humblest man [had] an equal chance to get rich with everyone else.”
The 2008 financial crisis demonstrated how interconnected the global financial system is. What began as a real estate bubble fueled by subprime mortgages in many states ballooned into a global financial panic of unprecedented magnitude. Bundles of poorly underwritten mortgages generated toxic derivatives bet on in a global market. When the dust settled, there was broad agreement that not only did we need a new financial regulatory regime, it had to be globally coordinated.
from David Cay Johnston:
The author is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.
A superb example of a sound rule in law and economics that needs reviving, because it can halt the rampant speculation in derivatives, is the ancient legal principle that gambling debts are not enforceable through court action.
By Roger Martin
The views expressed are his own.
The three-week old, 60’s-style Occupy Wall Street protest raises once again the question that won’t go away: What on earth were those bankers doing in the period leading up to the 2008 financial meltdown? This street-level insurgency combines with last month’s smackdown-from-on-high administered by the U.S. Federal Housing Finance Authority’s (FHFA), which sued 17 leading global financial institutions for $196 billion, charging that they knowingly peddled shoddy mortgage-backed security products to unsuspecting customers. With the European financial system continuing to teeter on the brink due to the massive bank losses and bailouts, the U.S. economy stagnating and its equity markets close to free-fall, the answer of Chuck Prince, former Citigroup chair, that “we danced until the music stopped” has not mollified either Occupy Wall Street or the FHFA, or anybody else for that matter.
The Obama administration's plan for reining in derivatives leaves unchecked one of Wall Street's dirty little secrets: the ability of a derivatives dealer to redeploy cash collateral that gets posted by one of its trading partners.