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    Repiglican Roast

    A spirited discussion of public policy and current issues

    Name:
    Location: The mouth of being

    I'm furious about my squandered nation.

    Sunday, March 23, 2008

    Deregulation and Privatization by Repigs and Dimocraps has created this collapsing economy

    The Federal Reserve not only taken has action unprecedented since the Great Depression — by lending money directly to major investment banks — but also has put taxpayers on the hook for billions of dollars in questionable trades these same bankers made when the good times were rolling.

    “Bear Stearns has made it obvious that things have gone too far,” says Mr. Gross, who plans to use some of his cash to bargain-shop. “The investment community has morphed into something beyond banks and something beyond regulation. We call it the shadow banking system.”

    [...]

    A milestone in the deregulation effort came in the fall of 2000, when a lame-duck session of Congress passed a little-noticed piece of legislation called the Commodity Futures Modernization Act. The bill effectively kept much of the market for derivatives and other exotic instruments off-limits to agencies that regulate more conventional assets like stocks, bonds and futures contracts.

    Supported by Phil Gramm, then a Republican senator from Texas and chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, the legislation was a 262-page amendment to a far larger appropriations bill. It was signed into law by President Bill Clinton that December.

    Mr. Gramm, now the vice chairman of UBS, the Swiss investment banking giant, was unavailable for comment. (UBS has recently seen its fortunes hammered by ill-considered derivative investments.)

    [...]

    Amid the regulatory swirl surrounding Bear Stearns, analysts have questioned why the Securities and Exchange Commission did not send up any flares about looming problems at that firm or others on Wall Street. After all, they say, it was the S.E.C., not the Federal Reserve, that was Bear’s primary regulator.

    Although S.E.C. officials were unavailable for comment, its chairman, Christopher Cox, has maintained that the agency has effectively carried out its regulatory duties. In a letter last week to the nongovernmental Basel Committee of Banking Supervision, Mr. Cox attributed the collapse of Bear to “a lack of confidence, not a lack of capital.”

    [...]

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