The Great Debate

Massad: Taking the reins on derivative reforms

April 9, 2014

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 middle class’s missing $1.6 trillion

By Charles R. Morris
February 13, 2014

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.”

Derivative rules: Global problem needs global solution

By Martin Neil Baily and Aaron Klein
July 10, 2013

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:

Closing Wall Street’s casino

By David Cay Johnston
November 18, 2011

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.

Bank CEOs and the infinite pile of cash

By Roger Martin
October 5, 2011

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.

Industry defeated on U.S. derivatives reform

May 14, 2010

Senate Democrats have beaten back an ambitious, industry-supported amendment to the derivatives portion of financial reform legislation.

Lessons from the credit crisis debacle

January 14, 2010

- Steven Miller is managing director of Standard & Poor’s LCD, a unit not part of Standard & Poor’s ratings business. The opinions are his own and not those of S&P.-

from Commentaries:

Banking? Keep it simple stupid

September 10, 2009

In 1873, Walter Bagehot wrote that "the business of banking ought to be simple; if it is hard it is wrong." He would have struggled to recognize today's banking system.

from Commentaries:

Wall Street’s $4 trillion kitty

August 24, 2009

matthewgoldstein.jpgThe 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.