James Pethokoukis

The president’s speech on Wall Street

September 14, 2009

First, the great Stan Collender:

But the real purpose of the speech was to refocus the financial services reform debate in Washington.  The president may have been speaking to Wall Street executives, but the real audience was members of Congress, especially Democrats, some of who in the next few weeks will be marking up various pieces of financial services regulation legislation.  He had to show that the general issue hasn’t gotten lost in the health care debate and to say that the effort is still needed even if things seem to be better (“Normalcy cannot lead to complacency”).

The government bubble

September 14, 2009

Ed Yardeni gets it right, again:

Central banks, including the Fed, caused the housing bubble. Now they are once again conspiring to inflate the next bubble, i.e., the US Government Bubble. Over the past 12 months through August, they purchased $868.9bn of US Treasuries. Over this same period, the federal deficit totaled $1332.6bn and publicly-held federal debt soared $2005.0bn. This helps to explain the most recent conundrum in the bond market, i.e., why yields remain so low despite huge current and projected federal budget deficits.

More on Free Market Day

September 14, 2009

Barry Ritholtz responds to my previous post:

While I love the idea of Free Market Day, I have to disagree with the typical post-mortem assessment of Lehman. This was not a binary choice; The Lehman decision was not an either/or situation, limited to a gladiatorial thumbs up/thumbs down.

Get ready to celebrate Free Market Day

September 14, 2009

At a House Financial Services Committee hearing just after Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy protection a year ago, the committee chairman, Barney Frank, suggested that September 15, 2008 be commemorated as Free Market Day, since Lehman was allowed to fail and free markets allowed to work. Frank then added that because AIG was bailed out the next day, “the national commitment to the free market lasted one day.”