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.”
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.
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.
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?'.