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    The Volcker Rule: Three Years and Nearly 1,000 Pages Later

    Five financial regulatory agencies have completed the final rules to implement the Volcker Rule, a regulation required by the Dodd–Frank bill that is supposed to protect taxpayers by restricting banks’ financial activity. The rule would prohibit banks from engaging in what’s known as proprietary trading—that is, making risky investments solely … More

    The Fed Inflation-Unemployment Trade-Off: Outlasting the Energizer Bunny

    George Selgin has a new post on the Free Banking Blog that highlights the economic quandary the Fed now has the U.S. in. The post uses subtle sarcasm to make an excellent point, but many readers may miss Selgin’s main idea. Selgin starts by discussing the current policy debate surrounding … More

    Too Big to Fail: Some Questions for the House Financial Services Committee

    Tomorrow, the House Finance Committee, chaired by Representative Jeb Hensarling (R–TX), is holding a hearing on one of the most damaging legacies of the 2008 financial crisis: the “too big to fail” doctrine. Simply put, the doctrine holds that some firms are so essential to the functioning of the U.S. … More

    Consumer "Watchdog" Tailing Consumers

    Many Americans are understandably unsettled by news reports about the National Security Agency’s widespread monitoring of telephone and Internet traffic. Attracting far less attention is the rampant snooping of a more personalized nature carried out daily by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The two-year-old agency created by the Dodd–Frank … More

    Too Big to Fail: Brown–Vitter Swings and Misses

    In an unusual left–right pairing, Senators Sherrod Brown (D–OH) and David Vitter (R–LA) last week introduced legislation to increase capital requirements on large banks. Calling it the “Terminating Bailouts for Taxpayer Fairness” or TBTF Act, the legislation is aimed at ending another TBTF: the doctrine of “too big to fail.” … More

    Bernanke’s Defense of Fed Policies Neither Comforting nor Convincing

    Do the risks from the Federal Reserve’s trillion-dollar annual stimulus program justify the rewards? That was the central question at Tuesday’s Senate Banking Committee hearing featuring Fed chairman Ben Bernanke. Bernanke worked hard to defend the Fed’s quantitative easing policy, but he appears to oversell the rewards by a mile … More

    Free Checking No More: Thanks, Dodd–Frank!

    Free checking accounts, once considered common, are becoming increasingly rare as the enormous costs of new regulations hit banks’ bottom lines. According to the just released 2012 Checking Survey by Bankrate, Inc., a publisher of financial information, only 39 percent of banks continue to offer free checking accounts, a sharp … More

    Italian Prime Minister Warns of EU Collapse

    In an interview with Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine on Sunday, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti warned of the “psychological break-up” of Europe if the euro crisis is not soon resolved. To which there is only one thing to say: The European Union has been a schizophrenic construct from the very … More

    Countrywide Gave VIP Loans to Top Policymakers, Regulators

    The now defunct Countrywide Financial Corp. issued hundreds of discounted loans to government officials and Fannie Mae employees in order to build clout with influential policymakers, a new House report shows. The report, issued by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, details several Countrywide VIP loans that were given … More

    Morning Bell: Don't Fear the Free Market

    The lingering headline on the front pages this week is that JP Morgan Chase suffered a massive loss on a hedging strategy, costing them $2 billion. That’s no small mistake, and it’s an example of how bad decisions in the free market can cost big money. But just because mistakes … More