Author Archives: Devin Smith

Panama: Cheating “Epidemic” Crowds Out Honest Business, Implicates Banks

Cross-posted from ineteconomics.org

The Panama Papers are not simply a story of public corruption as depicted in news outlets like the Wall Street Journal, says former financial regulator William K. Black. They’re a reminder that such corruption destroys the possibility for honest businesses to succeed.

“Markets become completely perverse when cheaters prosper,” explains Black, a leading expert on corruption and finance and frequent speaker at Institute events. When cheating brings a competitive advantage, the victims are not only middle class taxpayers who have to shoulder a heavier burden, and the wider public that suffers from schools not being built and roads not being repaired. A less obvious victim is the honest business person.

“Those who want to do business honestly simply can’t compete against people who don’t pay taxes,” says Black. A company may start out with strong values and principles, but if all of its competitors are cheating, that business will either just fail, or else will “grit their teeth and go for it.” Thus, still more cheaters, and fewer straight shooters.

Read rest of the post here.

AEI Pushes Government Propaganda Telling Women to Marry Schlubs

By William K. Black
April 5, 2016     Bloomington, MN

I wrote a two-part column on the joint report by AEI and Brookings on poverty reduction.  Part two of my column focused on the policy that report pushed most prominently – a government program of propaganda urging pregnant women to marry.  My first article, however, criticized Eduardo Porter’s February 2, 2016 column in the New York Times for ballyhooing the supposed wondrous nature of Brookings and AEI working together.  Porter portrayed them as “leading thinkers on opposite sides of the ideological divide.”  I pointed out that a majority of the group had hard-right views and that the group had an exceptionally weak member pushing a single idea – marriage propaganda.  I also pointed out that Brookings had, for decades, played the same very junior partner role of giving AEI cover for “joint” proposals with Brookings to cripple financial regulation.

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Is there a solution to Brazil’s crises?

By Felipe Rezende

This is the first of a series of posts on the Brazilian crises.

There are two major crises Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff is facing: one is a political crisis and the other is Brazil’s sharpest recession in 25 years.

Brazil’s Political Crisis

The political crisis has two main pillars: a) a vast corruption scandal (with evidence of a kickback scheme funneling billions of dollars from state-run firms and, more recently, in a massive data leak over possible tax evasion, Brazil politicians linked to offshore companies in Panama leaks); and b) impeachment proceedings to move forward against President Dilma Rousseff.

The Federal Court of Accounts (TCU) announced in 2015 that it had rejected the accounts of Rousseff’s administration for the year 2014. In a unanimous vote, the federal accounts court, known as the TCU, ruled Dilma Rousseff’s government manipulated its accounts in 2014 to “disguise fiscal deficits” as she campaigned for re-election. The allegation is that Ms. Rousseff manipulated Brazil’s account books to hide a growing fiscal deficit.

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Fraud Key Profit Center for Wall Street

BWU/NEP’s Bill Black is interviewed by Greg Hunter over at USAWatchdog.com. The topic is fraudulent banking. You can view the post here.

Why Minsky Matters Events

This weekend: March 11th – 15th 2016, there are events taking place at the Village East Cinemas in New York including a book signing by Randy Wray on the 15th as well as screening of the movie. You can get all the details and list of guest appearances from Village East Cinema’s website here. Flyer for the book signing is after the jump.

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Jamie Galbraith’s Letter to Former CEA Chairs

Jamie Galbraith has written an excellent letter to the four former Chairs of the Council of Economic Advisers under Clinton and Obama regarding their letter to Professor Gerald Friedman and Senator Bernie Sanders. The full text is below.


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Bank Whistleblowers United Covered in NYT

The New York Times has taken notice of Bank Whistleblowers United (BWU). You can read it here.

Bill Black on CCTV America

Bill appeared on CCTV America discussing the American economy with Rachelle Akuffo. You can view it here.

Time to Jail the Bankers and Take Back Control over Money

Randy Wray and Bill Black appear on “Clearing the Fog.” You can listen to the podcast here. Bill, of the newly formed Bank Whistleblowers United, speaks about the plan they have outlined to instill the rule of law on Wall Street and end fraud with the hope of mitigating the effects of the next financial crisis. Randy, an expert in financial instability and macroeconomics, speaks about alternatives to the current financial system that would bring greater stability.

Hollywood Glorifies Bankers, Ignores Unsung Whistleblowers

Bill Black reviews the highlights and holes of the film The Big Short in 2 parts on The Real News. You can view part 1 here and part 2 is here. Both have transcripts.

“Any request for loan level tapes is TOTALLY UNREASONABLE!!! Most investors don’t have it and can’t provide it. [W]e MUST produce a credit estimate. It is your responsibility to provide those credit estimates and your responsibility to devise some method for doing so.” [S&P 2001] [emphasis in original]