shaping the new financial architecture…

Medicare, right now, has a $38 trillion unfunded liability

Posted in progress by Kitty on February 28, 2010

Rep. Paul Ryan made the opening statement for Republicans at the White House health care summit last week… openly discussing the costs and funding models for reform is critical.

Here is what Rep. Ryan said in the video above…

“Mr. President, you said health care reform is budget reform. You’re right. We agree with that.

Medicare, right now, has a $38 trillion unfunded liability.

That’s $38 trillion in empty promises to my parents’ generation, our generation, our kids’ generation.

Medicaid’s growing at 21 percent each year.

It’s suffocating states’ budgets.

(more…)

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Stimulative projections

Posted in Deleveraging, progress by Kitty on February 19, 2010

via Econobrowser… (h/t Don)

Eleven principles of financial reform

Posted in progress, TBTF by Kitty on February 17, 2010

Repost from Jesse’s Cafe

~~~ “Personally I doubt that the US is capable of self-reform at this time.

The corruption of the socio-political system runs deep, and is embedded in the national consciousness as a reflexive set of slogans (the big lies) that substitute for practical thought and effective policy formation.

The examples of thinkspeak are numerous. People become parrots for their favorite corporate news/opinion channel, to which they become emotionally addicted, because otherwise, reality is too painful and complex to face. And so they are blinded and cut off from productive and even civil discourse, trapped within deep wells of subjectivity.

The major media in the States are owned by a few corporations. The Congress listens to its large contributors and ignores the public except at election time, when it inundates them with expensive media campaigns, political spin, false promises, and propaganda. And then it is back to business as usual.

“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.” Frederic Bastiat

What will it take? It took the Japanese about twenty years of economic privation to finally get rid of the LDP political party that had ruled the country since the Second World War. It may take ten years of stagflation and economic hardship for the American people to wake up and put an end to the crony capitalism that has captured its two party political system. A good start would be to continue to defeat incumbents from both parties, and to start electing viable third party candidates.

But that demands a more thoughtful venue than is currently the norm. It really does seem that bad to a relatively objective observer.

Vox
Eleven Lessons From Iceland
Thorvaldur Gylfason
13 February 2010

…What can be done to reduce the likelihood of a repeat performance – in Iceland and elsewhere? Here are eleven main lessons from the Iceland story, lessons that are likely to be relevant in other, less extreme cases as well.

Lesson 1. We need effective legal protection against predatory lending just as we have long had laws against quack doctors. The problem is asymmetric information. Doctors and bankers typically know more about complicated medical procedures and complex financial instruments than their patients and clients. The asymmetry creates a need for legal protection through judicious licensing and other means against financial (as well as medical) malpractice to protect the weak against the strong.

Lesson 2. We should not allow rating agencies to be paid by the banks they have been set up to assess. The present arrangement creates an obvious and fundamental conflict of interest and needs to be revised. Likewise, banks should not be allowed to hire employees of regulatory agencies, thereby signalling that by looking the other way, remaining regulators may also expect to receive lucrative job offers from banks. (I would add a prohibition of movement between regulators and the banks without a significant hiatus of at least four years. – Jesse)

Lesson 3. We need more effective regulation of banks and other financial institutions; presently, this is work in progress in Europe and the US (Volcker 2010). (Too slow, too driven by the banks themselves in the US – Jesse)

(more…)

Too much attention is being paid to maintaining a status quo

Posted in Deleveraging, progress, TBTF by Kitty on January 6, 2010

From the Financial Times and opinion piece by former US Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady…

Refocus the regulatory debate on essentials

By Nicholas F. Brady

Published: January 4 2010 19:57 | Last updated: January 4 2010 19:57

There is an inexorable drive on both sides of the Atlantic to finalise new rules, regulations and laws to place the financial system on a sounder footing. But in their zeal to act, politicians and regulators are looking through the wrong end of the telescope. Too much attention is being paid to maintaining a status quo that allows banks to continue engaging in the full range of activities to which they have become accustomed – admittedly under a number of regulatory constraints – without dealing with the fundamental causes of today’s critical difficulties.

Policymakers are intent on announcing all manner of new capital requirements, leverage ratios, “living wills” and directives on risk management, while brushing aside warnings by both Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England, and former US Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker that our banking system is unsound. Mr King and Mr Volcker are not alone in their concern that we may now miss a unique opportunity to secure core reforms.

The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision – the key multilateral authority on setting financial rules – dumped an 88-page present on governments and banks just before Christmas and, true to form, its focus was on technical ratios designed to force banking stability. The US House of Representatives last month voted for regulatory reform legislation that is no better. The House fails to consider the distinction between things that are critical and things that are merely important. The same mistake seems likely from the European Union, which is in the throes of establishing three new regulatory authorities.

The safety and soundness of the financial system is indisputably essential; without it, we have nothing. The long history of financial collapses proves this point. While efficiency, creativity and credit availability are important, they cannot be allowed to trump safety and soundness.

(more…)

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Cramdown!

Posted in progress by Kitty on December 7, 2009

House Democrats eye ‘cramdown’ measure for regulatory reform bill

The Hill.com By Silla Brush – 12/07/09 04:58 PM ET

House Democrats this week are expected to add to wide-ranging financial overhaul legislation a controversial amendment allowing bankruptcy judges to alter home mortgages.

The House already passed a bankruptcy measure this year, but the effort died in the Senate, with backers falling 15 votes shy. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) was unable to round up enough Democrat votes behind the effort.

Chair Frank more mods or bankruptcy provision

Source: Frank Statement on the Progress of Reducing Foreclosures July 29, 2009

“Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) today welcomed the announcement by Secretaries Geithner and Donovan that the meeting held by their top assistants with representatives of the mortgage servicing industry on July 28th was productive, and that they expect there to be a significant increase in the number of mortgage modifications. But Frank noted that there is great disappointment in both Congress in particular and the country as a whole in the failure of these institutions to do a much better job at modification so far, and he cautioned that if the progress the administration foresees is not soon evident, more drastic legislative measures will be back on the agenda.

“Congress has provided every legislative tool recommended by people in the mortgage industry, and in the administration, that we were told would be helpful in facilitating the modifications we need to diminish the flood of foreclosures which has been so much a part of our national economic problem.

See more at Riski… mortgage mods

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hello America!

Posted in progress by Kitty on December 7, 2009

hello… and welcome to a view of the inner workings of Congress as new law is made for our financial system….

I’m lucky to have a front row seat as Congress and the Administration have undertaken the most substantive rewrite of the federal laws for the banking and financial systems  since the early 1930’s.

We are about half way through the process and some good progress has been made.

There has been a fair amount of noise and smoke coming out of the House as they wrestled numerous issues into language which could be voted on… and they will likely be voting this week

And the Senate has been circling the major issues…

I’ll be writing more…