Wednesday, February 22, 2012

More Cowbell . . .

Several stories of particular interest to the Corporate Justice Blog have been featured in the financial news in recent days. Articles worth thinking about include:

(1) A Washington Post story discussing a recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey that found that women of color have been hit hardest by the Great Recession, stating "The Great Recession carried special pain for black women . . . .":

For Some Black Women, Economy and Willingness to Aid Family Strains Finances

(2) A Wall Street Journal article quoting Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke as saying that new U.S. government policies need to be adopted to assist in the housing market recovery. Bernanke stated "We need to continue to develop and implement policies that will help the housing sector get back on its feet.":

Bernanke: U.S. Needs Policies to Help Housing Recovery

(3) Much controversy surrounds the proposed implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act's "Volcker Rule" (named after former Fed Chair Paul Volcker, pictured) which is slated to take affect in July 2012. Large Wall Street and international firms are lobbying fiercely for further emasculation of the rule which ostensibly prohibits investment and commercial banks from proprietary trading:

Boos, and Backers, For 'Volcker Rule'
"Foreign governments and financial-industry giants lined up Monday to throw one last roundhouse punch at a proposed rule that aims to limit risk-taking by U.S. banks. Dozens of international banks, foreign officials, insurance companies, law firms and money managers petitioned U.S. regulators ahead of a midnight-Monday deadline to delay or water down the pending restrictions on banks' trading activities."

Goldman: Seeks Volcker Rule Change
"Goldman argued the rule underestimates the complexity of the financial markets, diminishes the role of banks in making money flow around the world to companies and countries, and could wind up causing banks to lend less and charge more for their services. The company asked that regulators revisit its basic assumptions and definitions of proprietary trading, market making and investing."

The Volcker Diversion
"Could even Paul Volcker draft a Volcker Rule? Team Obama and Democrats in Congress couldn't figure out how to turn his sensible idea—prohibiting banks from gambling with taxpayer money—into law. Now Mr. Volcker seems to be acknowledging that federal regulators can't draft a Volcker Rule either, at least not without help from the same bankers who will be subject to it."

1 comment:

  1. The housing market cant "get back on its feet" until it first finds the floor. Government-backed lending programs, i.e. VA, FHA, and the Dept. of Agriculture Rural Development Program, create an artificially "qualified" pool of buyers that only perpetuate the housing market's woes. The private market can and should be the only way of determining what appropriate levels of risk are. Speaking from my experience in housing, putting people in homes that they would otherwise be unqualified to purchase if not for government programs that (a) require lower down-payments and (b) lower credit requirements is a disservice to them and the country as a whole.