Category Archives: William K. Black

Trump Models His War on Bank Regulators on Bill Clinton and W’s Disastrous Wars

William K. Black
December 13, 2018     Bloomington, MN

The Wall Street Journal published an article on December 12, 2018 that should warn us of coming disaster:  “Banks Get Kinder, Gentler Treatment Under Trump.”  The last time a regulatory head lamented that regulators were not “kinder and gentler” promptly ushered in the Enron-era fraud epidemic.  President Bush made Harvey Pitt his Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair in August 2001 and, in one of his early major addresses, he spoke on October 22, 2001 to a group of accounting leaders.

Pitt, as a private counsel, represented all the top tier audit firms, and they had successfully pushed Bush to appoint him to run the SEC.  The second sentence of Pitt’s speech bemoaned the fact that the SEC had not been “a kinder and gentler place for accountants.”  He concluded his first paragraph with the statement that the SEC and the auditors needed to work “in partnership.”  He soon reiterated that point:  “we view the accounting profession as our partner” and amped it up by calling accountants the SEC’s “critical partner.”

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Douthat’s Mendacious Meritocracy Myth

William K. Black
December 8, 2018      Bloomington, MN

The funeral services for President George HW Bush triggered Ross Douthat’s nostalgia for the “aristocratic virtues of the old WASP establishment, and a disappointment with the meritocracy that has risen in its place.”  This column ignores his nostalgia and alleged virtues and discusses briefly his bizarre assumption that a “meritocracy” runs America.  Given the 2008 Great Financial Crisis (GFC) and President Trump, I thought that the meritocracy fantasy was dead.  We are far closer to anti-meritocracy (a kakistocracy).    Continue reading

Who Said This?

William K. Black
Associate Professor of Economics and Law, UMKC
December 5, 2018     Bloomington, MN  55437

I cannot write many blogs during the fall semesters because I teach four classes (I co-teach one of them).  The fall term of instruction at UMKC is now over so I am writing one piece before turning to grading.  I have recently done additional research on a topic I know is of great interest – the prosecution of elite white-collar criminals.  I have organized it in the form of a game in which the reader guesses who authored the quoted passage. Continue reading

Sears Bankruptcy Engineered to Benefit Executives and Stiff Workers

Executives of Sears stand to gain up to $1 million in bonuses, should Sears be liquidated, and $500,000 if it’s restructured. Meanwhile, ordinary workers at Sears are being laid off without severance payments. NEP’s Bill Black appears on the Real News Network and talks about how US bankruptcy law is rigged to favor executives. You can view with transcript here.

Amazon’s New NYC and DC Headquarters Bilked the Cities

The contest for Amazon’s HQ2 prompted hundreds of cities to put in tax break and subsidy bids. NEP’s Bill Black appears on the Real News Network and says these deals never pay off for the communities involved. You can view with a transcript here.

Trump Probably Engaged in Felony Tax Evasion

NEP’s Bill Black appears on The Real News Network and analyzes the New York Times investigation into Trump’s tax evasion and argues that if true, these would be considered felonies. However, he will probably never be held to account for this, before he leaves office. You can view here with transcript.

Trump Ally Rep. Chris Collins Arrested for Insider Trading – Is the Swamp Drained Now?

NEP’s Bill Black analyzes the significance of Rep. Chris Collins arrest for insider trading along with his son and son’s fiance’s father on 13 counts of wire fraud, securities fraud, and making false statements to the FBI. Collins was first Congressman to endorse Trump and is one of his closest confidants.

Bank Whistleblowers United Told DOJ to use 4506-T as Kryptonite v Banksters

Steven Krystofiak Warned the Fed 12 Years Ago

By William K. Black
August 6, 2018     Bloomington, MN

Steven Krystofiak formed the Mortgage Brokers Association for Responsible Lending, a professional association dedicated to fighting mortgage fraud and predation.  On August 1, 2006.  He tried to save our Nation by issuing one of the most prescient warnings about the epidemic of mortgage fraud and predation and the crisis it would so cause.

The context was Congress’ effort to empower and convince the Federal Reserve to take action against what the mortgage lending industry called, behind closed doors, “liar’s” loans.  A liar’s loan is a loan in which the lender does not verify (at least) the borrower’s actual income.  The industry knew that the failure to verify inherently led to endemic fraud.  George Akerlof and Paul Romer’s 1993 article on “Looting” by financial CEOs explicitly cited the failure to verify the borrower’s income as an example of a lending practice that only fraudulent lenders would use on a widespread basis.

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How Democratic Party Mendacity about Deficits and Banksters Lifted Trump

By William K. Black
August 2, 2018     Bloomington, MN

Peter Suderman, the managing editor at Reason.com (hard right) has published an op ed in the New York Times entitled “How Republican Hypocrisy Lifts Social Democrats.”  His subtitle is “By its astoundingly cynical approach to deficits and debt, the G.O.P. has opened the door to an expansive left.”  What is actually astounding is that Suderman never mentions, much less discusses; the situations in which a Nation with a sovereign currency should run deficits.

Stephanie Kelton and I have been trying hard to keep Democrats from, again, rushing into the trap of denouncing Republicans for running federal deficits.  Yes, Republicans are hypocrites about debt and deficits.  That does not mean that Democrats should repeat Clinton and Obama’s embrace of the Republican’s economically illiterate, harmful, and fake hysteria about debt and deficits.  Suderman makes an acute observation about why Republicans pretend to embrace deficit hysteria.

Through their actions, [Republicans] have proven that they cared about the deficit primarily for its usefulness as a political cudgel, an easy way to curtail Democratic policy goals.

My ‘friendly amendment’ would remove the word “primarily” from that sentence.

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Mankiw Whiffs on “Learning the Right Lessons from the Financial Crisis”

By William K. Black
July 31, 2018     Bloomington, MN

I am writing a major article on myths about the causes of the financial crisis, so I read with special interest N. Gregory Mankiw’s column “Learning the Right Lessons From the Financial Crisis.”  (HT: DCJ.)  The context of Mankiw’s article, as he appropriately discloses, is to do a favor for a friend by plugging the friend’s new book in Mankiw’s column in the New York Times.  I have no criticism of that purpose and applaud him for alerting readers to it.  The problem is substance, both the book’s and his column.

Mankiw is the leading author of economic textbooks in the world, so his views and his ideology are enormously influential.  The first sentence of his book review asks the right question:  “What caused the financial crisis of 2008?”  The remarkable thing is that he never attempts to answer the question and does not explain how the book he is reviewing attempts to do so.

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