Entrevista a Randall Wray

The full interview with NEP’s Randy Wray by EKO de Público TV in Spain. This is the complete interview. Questions from the interviewer are in spanish. Randy’s responses are subtitled in spanish. This was recorded on March 6, 2015 as part of his introduction of the spanish version of the Modern Money Primer.

 

The New York Times Covers the TPP: A Commentary

Wikileaks did us all another service yesterday by releasing the “Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP): Investment Chapter Consolidated Text,” and collaborating with the New York Times to get the word out. Jonathan Weisman wrote the story for the New York Times. Apart from providing a very high level and very selective summary of what the chapter says, the article contains talking points used by proponents and opponents of the TPP. I think a close commentary on the article and associated issues would be useful. So here it is.

An ambitious 12 nation trade accord pushed by President Obama would allow foreign corporations to sue the United States government for actions that undermine their investment “expectations” and hurt their business, according to a classified document.

Why are we negotiating the TPP at all? Why is it the business of the Representatives of the people of the United States in Congress to support agreements that will mitigate the political risks borne by American businesses who chose to invest in other nations, as well as the political risks borne by foreign corporations, who choose to invest in the United States? Why is it their business to provide protection against such risks to foreign corporations beyond the protections we provide to our own corporations?

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Meet Citi’s Ethical Underwriters That Tried to Save It and America: Sherry Hunt

By William K. Black
Quito: March 26, 2015

This is the fourth and final column in my series that began by focusing on Richard M. Bowen, III.  Bowen blew the whistle on Citi’s sale of scores of billions of dollars in toxic mortgages, primarily to Fannie and Freddie, through fraudulent reps and warranties.  After Bowen protested and blew the whistle within Citi to its senior management (including Robert Rubin) – Citi’s senior officers’ classic accounting control fraud strategy expanded both in terms of the volume of sales and the incidence of fraudulent reps and warranties – which rose to 80 percent.

I have explained how Bowen and his boss’ banking careers were destroyed by the retaliation of Citi’s senior managers and how the SEC, the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) have followed the disgraceful policy of trying to keep Bowen’s detailed disclosures from becoming public and being used to bring Citi’s criminal controlling officers to justice.

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How FCIC Spurned Its One Chance at Greatness

By William K. Black
Quito: March 25, 2015

This is the third column in what I intended to be my three-part series about Citi’s most famous whistleblower, Richard M. Bowen, III.  In this column I discuss Bowen and Citi’s senior (but not controlling) officers’ presentations before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC).  Upon further research I realize that a fourth column is required to bring in the related story of Bowen’s estimable colleague and fellow-whistleblower, Sherry Hunt.  Hunt’s story is not simply important and necessary to understand the scandals of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the SEC and Citi’s top managers the FCIC’s spurning its one chance at greatness – it also deserving of a movie.  It’s too complex and rich to add it to this column.  Hunt also deserves full length treatment devoted to her attempted service to Citi, her service to the Nation, and to DOJ’s and the SEC’s failure to act against any of Citi’s fraudulent officers despite her offering them up tied with a bow.

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Thoughts About the Trans-Pacific Partnership

During a recent Amy Goodman interview of Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, on her Democracy Now show, Wallach neatly summarized the problems of progressives with the TPP:

Well, fast-tracking the TPP would make it easier to offshore our jobs and would put downward pressure, enormous downward pressure, on Americans’ wages, because it would throw American workers into competition with workers in Vietnam who are paid less than 60 cents an hour and have no labor rights to organize, to better their situation. Plus, the TPP would empower another 25,000 foreign corporations to use the investor state tribunals, the corporate tribunals, to attack our laws. And then there would be another 25,000 U.S. corporations in the other TPP countries who could use investor state to attack their environmental and health and labor and safety laws. And if all that weren’t enough, Big Pharma would get new monopoly patent rights that would jack up medicine prices, cutting off affordable access. And there’s rollback of financial regulations put in place after the global financial crisis. And there’s a ban on “Buy Local,” “buy domestic” policies. And it would undermine the policy space that we have to deal with the climate crisis—energy policies are covered. Basically, almost any progressive policy or goal would be undermined, rolled back. Plus, we would see more offshoring of jobs and more downward pressure on wages. So the big battle is over fast track, the process. And right now, thanks to a lot of pushback by activists across the country, actually, they don’t have a majority to pass it. But there’s an enormous push to change that, and that’s basically where we all come in.

I, too, am bothered by all the things Wallach mentioned and I, too, am strongly opposed to the TPP, and the upcoming Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), which would impose similar agreements and rules to the TPP. So, I thought it would be worthwhile to add a few other concerns to the ones she mentions.

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The DOJ and the SEC Spurn their Ace in the Hole: Richard Bowen

By William K. Black
Quito: March 24, 2015

In this second column about Richard M. Bowen, III, I discuss the failure of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to make use of his expertise and testimony.  Bowen was the Citi SVP who blew the whistle on Citi’s senior managers’ strategy of knowingly buying massive amounts of fraudulently originated loans sold to Citi through fraudulent reps and warranties and then reselling those toxic mortgages (primarily to Fannie and Freddie) through false reps and warranties.  My first column described that strategy and the failures of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) to understand how damning Bowen and Clayton’s testimony was.  Clayton was the dominant “due diligence” firm for secondary market mortgage sales and was designed to be an easy grader.  The two great epidemics of mortgage origination fraud (appraisal fraud and liar’s loans) were so endemic and so crude that even Clayton found a 46% incidence of false reps and warranties by the sellers to the secondary market who fraudulently originated the loans.  That incidence grew to 54% by the second quarter of 2007.

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Public Banking and Boom Bust Boom

By L. Randall Wray

While in Spain for the launch of my Modern Money Primer in Spanish, I gave a long interview for Public Television. Parts of that interview are interspersed in this segment on Public Banking.

My interview is in English (with Spanish subtitles) while the rest is in Spanish. Other portions of my interview will be broadcast later.

The Boom Bust Boom movie on Minsky will be released next month. Watch for it. I do not know how widely it will be distributed, but it is well worth seeing. Here’s a nice piece from the Guardian:

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The Lessons Richard Bowen’s FCIC Testimony Should Have Taught the Nation

By William K. Black
Quito: March 20, 2015

This is the first of three columns prompted by Richard Bowen’s interview this morning on Bloomberg.  Richard Bowen, a Citi SVP, blew the whistle within Citi on Citi’s massive fraudulent sales of fraudulently originated mortgages, primarily to Fannie and Freddie.  Even Attorney General Eric Holder now repeatedly labels these mortgages “toxic.”  Had Citi’s leadership been honest, Bowen’s warnings could have substantially reduced the three fraud epidemics driving the financial crisis and Bowen would be one of Citi’s most senior leaders.  No spoiler alert is required because even my readers who know anything about Bowen know how the story actually ended.  Citi’s senior managers did not ignore Bowen’s warnings – they actively made the frauds he documented worse and they destroyed Bowen’s distinguished career in banking.  Citi, Fannie and Freddie, and Treasury lost billions of dollars and Citi’s senior officers were made wealthy by the “sure thing” of the accounting control fraud “recipe.”

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Stanford Exposes Rodgin Cohen’s Myth of the Myth of Regulatory Capture

By William K. Black
Quito: March 19, 2015

Sometimes the fates conspire to bring together two stories that when considered together bring that lightbulb moment.  The first story, dated March 18, 2015, is from the Wall Street Journal.  It overwhelmingly conveys the opinion of Rodgin Cohen, the super-lawyer to the super-fraudulent bank CEOs.  He was a leader of the financial regulation wrecking crew that produced the criminogenic environments that drove our recurrent, intensifying financial crises.  As I will explain in a future column, Cohen basically has one speech, which he has repeated with minor variants for decades.  The latest Cohen variant claims that:

“[T]he regulatory environment today is the most tension-filled, confrontational and skeptical of any time in my professional career.

Cohen says the strained relations between government regulators and bank officials stems from ‘the myth of regulatory capture.’

‘The consequences of such as approach are likely to be less effective examinations, not more,’ he said. ‘Unless we deal with the canard of regulatory capture, we will inevitably be placing pressure on examiners to disprove this charge.’”

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What Does it Take to Get Fired at the SEC?

By William K. Black
Quito: Happy St. Patrick’s Day 2015

“Yves Smith” has a distressingly wonderful column in her blog, NakedCapitalism, on the SEC’s Andrew Bowden.  The SEC Chair, Mary Jo White, needs to read it and walk to Bowden’s office and tell him she needs his resignation letter on her desk by noon or she will terminate his employment.  When the SEC appointed Bowden as its lead examiner it put out a press release that purported that his unit was hiring folks from the industry like Bowden, which was going to make it a competent, kick-ass regulator.

“The SEC’s National Exam Program conducts inspections and examinations of SEC-registered investment advisers, investment companies, broker-dealers, self-regulatory organizations, clearing agencies, and transfer agents. OCIE has adopted a risk-focused examination program, hired industry experts, leveraged technology to increase efficiency, and launched a training program focused on quality and consistency. These initiatives have enabled OCIE to more effectively fulfill its mission to promote compliance with U.S. securities laws, prevent fraud, monitor risk, and inform SEC policy.”

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