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  • The Bill Is Still Flawed

    The latest word today is that the GOP is standing down from its standoff over the Senate’s financial-regulation bill. Specifically, word is that Republican leaders will now let the bill proceed to the floor, having received assurances that provisions for creditor bailouts will be removed. That’s not an insignificant improvement, … More

    President Obama and Wall Street: Good Goals, Bad Plan

    President Obama went to Wall Street today to make the case for financial regulation. Putting aside the bank-bashing rhetoric employed just a few months ago (“…if these folks want a fight, it’s a fight I’m willing to have“), this time he was measured in his rhetoric, making the case for … More

    Obama: Read My Lips, No More Bailouts (But Let's Keep $50 Billion Around Just in Case)

    President Obama met today with members of Congress to jawbone them on the pending financial reform bill. A key part of his message: “we must end taxpayer bailouts.” Few statements are less controversial than that. Nobody wants to see more bailouts. But wait a second. Doesn’t the very legislation he’s … More

    Senator Dodd and Financial Regulation: New Plan, Old Problems

    There’s more going on in Washington this week than health care reform. Giving up on efforts to get a bipartisan deal on financial regulation, Senate Financial Services Committee chair Chris Dodd today released his own plan – sans GOP support – for “fixing” the financial system. The goal, according to … More

    Consumer Financial Protection: Thinking Outside the Boxes

    Is a congressional compromise on financial services regulation in the works? Steven Pearlstein of the Washington Post today reports the answer is “yes,” citing progress in negotiations between Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut and GOP Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee. Specifically, Pearlstein points to a breakthrough on one of … More

    Treasury to TARP Inspector General: Drop Dead

    The special inspector general for the TARP program, Neil Barofsky, has made a reputation for himself by issuing tough assessments of the troubled federal program for troubled assets. It’s been a problem for Tim Geithner’s Treasury Department. No one, after all, wants a watchdog at their heels. Treasury’s solution: muzzle … More

    Credit Card Regs No Credit to Congress

    Who said the 111th Congress has never accomplished anything? Today, major parts of the Credit Card Act of 2009 take effect. Enacted last May with great fanfare, the legislation restricts rate increases on existing balances, requires promotional rates to last at least six months, limits over-limit fees, mandates 45 days … More

    Severe Weather Warning for Commercial Real Estate: New TARP Not the Answer

    The Congressional Oversight Panel (COP), the watchdog board created by Congress to oversee the TARP program, yesterday issued the equivalent of a severe weather warning for commercial real estate markets. Like the residential market before it, the markets for retail, apartment, and other business properties are facing a wave of … More

    Rising Red Tape Erodes Economic Freedom in United States

    Red tape – rules, regulations, restrictions and mandates imposed on America – rose alarmingly in 2009, mirroring the overall decline in economic freedom in the United States, as reported in this year’s Index of Economic Freedom. That’s the conclusion of an upcoming Heritage Foundation report detailing trends in federal regulation. … More

    TARP Inspector General: Same Road, Faster Car

    In an unusually harsh report released yesterday, the government’s Special Inspector General for TARP blasted the bailout program, charging that it has not only failed to meet its goals, but that — absent change — it may have made things worse. Among other things, Inspector General Neil Barofsky concluded that … More