Daily Archives: February 10, 2015

Geithner: “The End of Capitalism as We Know It”

By William K. Black
Bloomington, MN: February 10, 2015

Timothy Geithner’s penchant for speaking about things he does not care enough about to get right has led to him uttering many of the most cringe-worthy phrases about the economic crisis. The latest example is in David Axelrod’s new book about the Obama administration’s response to the financial crisis. This column was prompted by Sam Stein’s piece in the Huffington Post about Axelrod’s key points.

“Axelrod was ‘livid’ when he found out that Geithner and [Larry] Summers ‘had quietly lobbied’ against an amendment to the stimulus that would have restricted the payment of bonuses at firms that received bailout funds. Those bonuses had become a huge political sore point for the administration, but the finance guys argued that retroactive steps to claw back the money would have violated existing contracts.

‘This would be the end of capitalism as we know it’ Geithner told Axelrod, to which Axelrod says he responded: ‘I hate to break the news, Mr. Secretary, but capitalism isn’t trading very high right now.’”

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Hensarling Loves Clinton’s Worst Deregulatory Blunders

By William K. Black
Bloomington, MN: February 9, 2015

This the second in a series of columns about Jeb Hensarling and Peter Wallison – the Nation’s chief myth makers about the causes of our financial crisis. Hensarling is the Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee and a leader in the effort to gut the Dodd-Frank Act’s few effective provisions. Wallison is one of the primary architects of the three “de’s” (deregulation, desupervision, and de facto decriminalization) that made the banking environment so criminogenic that it caused the fraud epidemics that hyper-inflated the bubble and drove the financial crisis.

In this second column I focus on Hensarling’s embrace of Bill Clinton and Al Gore’s worst anti-regulatory blunders. Their overall blunder was “Reinventing Government,” a broad assault on regulation and government effectiveness. In the financial sphere, Clinton and Gore embraced a fatal concept (the regulatory “race to the bottom”), two specific legislative acts of deregulation, and the growth of systemically dangerous institutions (SDIs) that were “too big to fail.” Each of these blunders contributed to the most recent crisis and unless corrected will contribute to future crises. Hensarling celebrates each of these anti-regulatory blunders as superb policies.

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Hensarling: Regulations (and Condoms) Don’t Work if You Don’t Use Them

By William K. Black
Bloomington, MN: February 8, 2015

I am writing a series of columns about the Republican fantasy team of apologists for the elite banksters. Jeb Hensarling (R, TX), chair of the House banking committee that is taking the lead in trying to further deregulate banking and Peter Wallison, one of the chief architects of the most recent banking crisis, are teaming up to flog Wallison’s book. The book attempts to convince its readers that Wallison’s leadership of the effort to push the three “de’s” – deregulation, desupervision, and de facto decriminalization – played no role in creating the criminogenic environment that produced the three most destructive epidemics of financial fraud in history. Hensarling is hosting Wallison’s book unveiling.

They are the perfect fantasy team because they inhabit a fantasy world of their own construction that rests on a foundation of non-facts with appalling logical leaps. This first column begins with a brief introduction to how crazy Hensarling is – and recall that he is the Republican Party’s leader on financial issues. George Akerlof and Paul Romer, in their classic 1993 article “Looting: The Economic Underworld of Bankruptcy for Profit,” explained that the 1982 federal deregulation law was “bound to produce looting.”

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