FINRA Arbitration: Kangaroo Court or Model of Fairness?

January 31st, 2014
in Op Ed, syndication

Written by Mark Mensack

Everyone is familiar with the notion of the fox guarding the henhouse, but few are aware that the fox guarding Wall Street is the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).  This self-regulatory organization (SRO) is charged with regulating brokerage firms.  An SRO is not a government agency like the Securities Exchange Commission; it is a private corporation with the authority of a government agency.  While FINRA is supposed to police Wall Street, many suggest that this cop is on the take, or perhaps, more kindly, that FINRA is Wall Street’s own trade association.  Madoff Whistleblower Harry Markopolos in his testimony before Congress describes FINRA as a “very corrupt self-regulatory organization.”[1]

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Consumer Confidence Beats Estimate, Remains in 21st Century Downtrend

January 30th, 2014
in Op Ed, syndication

by Lee Adler, Wall Street Examiner

Consumer Confidence Rose, Beating Market Expectations

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence measure beat market expectations today. The headline number of 80.7 beat the consensus guess of 77.5. Mainstream headline writers were ebullient about it. But the long term trend is far less positive. Briefing.com has a nice chart that shows that. I’ve added a couple of channel lines to illustrate.

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Justice Department Investigating Illegal Third-Party Payments by Banks

January 30th, 2014
in Op Ed

An Inside Look At Operation Choke Point

by Shah Gilani, Money Morning

As if banks aren’t choking us enough…

The Justice Department says lots of hard-pressed borrowers – the ones that too often have to rely on payday lenders – are gagging.

The DOJ (the Department of Justice – but not always “just” itself) has sent out over 50 subpoenas to third-party payment processors and banks as part of its latest investigation, which they’re calling Operation Choke Point.

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DSGE Models and Effects of High Government Debt Levels

January 29th, 2014
in Op Ed

by Dirk Ehnts, Econoblog101

The Journal of the European Economic Association has published its latest issue. It carries an article that reminds me why neo-classical economists need (!) to prove that higher government debt to GDP levels are bad. If it would be otherwise, than fiscal expansion would - in a liquidity trap - always increase GDP! Erceg and Lindé from the FED ask 'Is there a Fiscal Free Lunch in a Liquidity Trap?'.

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Top 10 American Misconceptions about Japan

January 28th, 2014
in Op Ed, syndication

Written by

In a previous post (America: What is Japan, Anyway?), I explained Japan to my fellow Americans. In this post, I will try to correct the top 10 American misconceptions about Japan.

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