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    As Fed Tapers, More Central Bank Independence Needed

    This week finance ministers and central bank officials from around the world will converge on Washington for the spring meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Discussions of monetary policy normalization are leading this year’s expansive schedule. One notable item missing from the agenda is discussion of … More

    Congress to Mega Banks: It Was All Your Fault—Pay No Attention to the GSEs

    Last week, Chairman Dave Camp (R–MI) outlined a new reform proposal that included a punitive tax on some of the largest banks in the U.S. The Chairman should be commended for tackling the complex issue of reforming our tax system, but it’s not at all clear what imposing an arbitrary … More

    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

    Iran's Covert Cyber War

    Over the weekend, Hassan Rowhani, a former top nuclear negotiator, was officially sworn in as Iran’s new president. Unfortunately, there are no indications that he will curtail Iran’s nuclear or cyber activities. While most are concerned with the military implications of Tehran’s expanding nuclear program, there is little focus on … More

    Critics Resort to Canned Rhetoric in Goldman Sachs Attack

    Goldman Sachs and other big banks have been accused of costing American consumers more than $5 billion over the past three years through its dealings in the obscure business of warehousing aluminum. These dealings were the subject of a Senate hearing on July 23. The rhetoric level was high, exemplified … More

    Writing with Sidewalk Chalk Can Earn You Hard Time?

    Jeff Olson has no criminal record, has hurt no one, and has done no significant damage to anyone’s property. And he nearly ended up in prison. His crime? Writing on the sidewalk—with washable chalk. Olson wrote a series of protest slogans between February and August 2012 on public sidewalks in … More

    China GDP Claims Don’t Matter

    China’s State Statistical Bureau (SSB) announced second-quarter real gross domestic product (GDP) growth at 7.5 percent and first-half real GDP at 7.6 percent. High or low, whether it meets the official target or not, no one should care. GDP is a poor indicator of economic health—anywhere. It is especially poor … 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