Category Archives: William K. Black

Sorkin on the Street’s Surge of Suicides: Ignoring the Obvious

By William K. Black
Quito: June 2, 2015

Andrew Ross Sorkin wrote two related columns only two weeks apart, but ignored his first column in writing his second. The May 15, 2015 report by the University of Notre Dame on the results of its survey of financial sector participants in the U.S. and the UK was the subject of Sorkin’s May 18, 2015 column entitled “Many on Wall Street Say It Remains Untamed.” “Untamed” is a word with a positive connotation that Sorkin chose as his euphemism in his self-appointed role as apologist-in-chief for the banksters. Here is the report’s summary.

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SEALs, CEOs, Milton Friedman, and Fraudulent Incentives

By William K. Black
Quito: May 31, 2015

I saw an intriguing squib in the Wall Street Journal about an article in the Harvard Business Review entitled “How the Navy SEALS Train for Leadership Excellence.”  The article offers an, unintentionally, useful insight into the pathologies of elite business schools, their “leadership” faculty, and our elite C-suites.

The most interesting comment in the article is by Brandon Webb, a former senior SEAL sniper trainer.

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Peggy Noonan Joins George Will in Being Enraged at Rape – Victims

By William K. Black
Quito: May 26, 2015

Peggy Noonan’s column in the Wall Street Journal attacks and mocks a victim of a sexual assault and four of her classmates at Columbia University who supported her in an op ed in the school paper. Here are the facts as Noonan presents them.

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The WSJ and Barron’s Apologists for the Banksters Peddle Wallison’s Fables

By William K. Black
Quito: May 23, 2015

Few people’s efforts at myth-making have been as devastatingly refuted as Peter Wallison. But fables that are designed to make the banksters look less criminal are always welcome by the banksters. Any honest discussion of Wallison’s claims would begin with three points. First, Wallison’s adult life has been devoted, on behalf of the banksters, to pushing the three “de’s” – deregulation, desupervision, and de facto decriminalization. He is therefore as culpable as anyone in the world for the epidemics of accounting control fraud that drove the financial crisis and the Great Recession.

Second, he was appointed by the Republican leadership to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) to assure that the banksters would have the benefit of their leading apologist. The chances that he would ascribe any problems to the three “de’s” was always non-existent because he does not have a scholarly instinct in his body. He is rabidly ideological and a willing tool of the banksters.

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Krugman Is Half Right

By William K. Black
Quito: May 16, 2015

Paul Krugman has a nice column entitled “Fraternity of Failure” dated May 15, 2015.

In Bushworld, in other words, playing a central role in catastrophic policy failure doesn’t disqualify you from future influence. If anything, a record of being disastrously wrong on national security issues seems to be a required credential.

But refusal to learn from experience, combined with a version of political correctness in which you’re only acceptable if you have been wrong about crucial issues, is pervasive in the modern Republican Party.

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New Labour’s Economic Illiteracy Exacts a Terrible Price: “I’m afraid there is no money.”

By William K. Black
Quito: May 17, 2015

One of the great ironies is that just as neo-liberal economics and “modern finance” were falsifying each of their core claims Tony Blair led New Labour to embrace both dogmas. The result was a double economic catastrophe and it also led to the defeat of New Labour at the polls. I have already explained how Blair’s and Gordon Brown’s embrace of the most criminal and corrupt elements of the City of London (and their dogmas) and their resultant unholy war on financial regulation caused the UK financial crises and the UK’s Great Recession.

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The FSA’s Defense Against Blair’s Attack on it Shows Why the FSA Failed

By William K. Black
Quito: May 16, 2015

In my immediately prior article I discussed in detail Prime Minister Tony Blair’s May 26, 2005 speech calling on the UK to “win” the regulatory race to the bottom. In particular, Blair singled out the Financial Services Authority (FSA) for blistering criticism.

But something is seriously awry when … the Financial Services Authority that was established to provide clear guidelines and rules for the financial services sector and to protect the consumer against the fraudulent, is seen as hugely inhibiting of efficient business by perfectly respectable companies that have never defrauded anyone….”

Blair’s attack on the FSA bewildered and angered its Chairman, Callum McCarthy, who was busily eviscerating UK financial regulation in accordance with Blair’s earlier declarations of war on effective regulation. By 2005, the FSA was spineless and a cheerleader for the corrupt City of London – which McCarthy, in a pratfall of unintended humor, described as a “clean” center of international finance. Blair did not warn the FSA leadership in advance that he was going to excoriate them “as hugely inhibiting of efficient business.” The good thing, for those of us seeking to document the causes of the financial crises is that Blair’s rant provoked a written response from the FSA’s leader on May 31, 2005. The response proves that the FSA was a Potemkin regulator in the run up to the UK crises, that Blair knew that he and his government had destroyed effective financial regulation – and that his response to that knowledge was to order that any remnants of even modestly effective financial regulation be trampled into the City’s dust.

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New Labour Leaders Want to Go Back to Blair’s Policies that Blew Up the UK

By William K. Black
Quito: May 13, 2015

Given the media effort and the push by the Red Tories to lionize former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair I thought it was a good idea to explain just how destructive his war on financial regulation, supervision, enforcement, and prosecutions was. Blair most famously made public his war on regulation and his embrace of “winning” the regulatory race to the bottom in his May 26, 2005 speech on “Risk and the State.” In a classic example of “be careful what you ask for; for you may receive it,” he called on his Nation to embrace greater risk. He claimed that the public’s excessive aversion to risk produced a regulatory nightmare: “The result is a plethora of rules, guidelines, responses to ‘scandals’ of one nature or another that ends up having utterly perverse consequences.” Blair endorsed the Chicago School (and Tory) analysis of the folly of regulation – claiming that it characteristically produces “utterly perverse consequences.”

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The Curious Case of the English “Envenom” Meme about the Scots

By William K. Black
May 11, 2015

My intended series about the UK election is expanding because the material is just too good and too important. My “Kilkenomics” colleague Liam Halligan who is the lead economics writer for the Telegraph wrote a column dated May 10, 2015 about the election that sparked this column. The tag line for his column is: “Nigel Farage has opened a Pandora’s box that cannot now be closed.” Farage was the former (and likely future) leader of UKIP, the ultra-right party enraged by immigrants, particularly people of color.

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The New York Times’ Secret Rule Forbidding Its EU Writers from Reading Krugman

By William K. Black
Quito: May 10, 2015

I don’t know when the New York Times adopted the (obviously secret) rule that forbids its news staff that writes about the EU from reading Paul Krugman’s columns in that obscure newspaper named the New York Times. I can say that compliance with the rule appears to be nearly 100 percent. It is, of course, a mystery why the NYT would give Krugman, a Nobel Laureate in Economics; the most prominent position in the world to explain economics and then require its news staff covering Europe to ignore virtually everything he explains.

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