Friday, January 22, 2010

Volcker Trumps Geithner's and Summers' Approach by Looking to Future Needs in Financial Regulation

President Obama's prudent choices of common sense/experienced Vice President Biden and choosing advisors with opposing views made prove to be the elixir to a successful presidency. I suspect both Geithner and Summers will leave the administration after losing their top dog status and take advantage of the riches provided by Bankers/Wall Street and/or lobbying firms.

Just like the New York Times, their online version of news order of priority is to put the newest stuff first and sometimes busy readers will miss the most important news. This morning Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) quoted extensively about the opposition to Bernanke as the next Fed Chairman. So far Bernanke can squeak through with some Republican help, but they need sixty senators to allow a vote because one or more senators have placed a hold which requires 60 votes to overcome. That is why The Transportation Security head dropped out of consideration for the job of securing airports because one Senator from South Carolina, a far right senator DeMint (R-SC) put a hold on it because he claimed he supports unionization of its members even though a search of his records indicates he did not.

These senate rules were put in place to make the senate a body that stops bills more than passes bills. In 2007 and 2008, the Republicans stopped 80 bills by March of 2008 by the Democrats, more than double the two year record in 2007 alone! In 2009, Republicans stopped almost all the bills. Unlike the Democratic senators who are rewarded for resistance of voting for a bill, Republicans are punished for voting for a bill. Bush was able to pass many bills with only a 50 Republicans!

We need a more warrior mentality in the Democrats. If you cross the majority without good reason, you will be punished. Pelosi who grew up steeped in politics knows this and she has a remarkable record of getting the votes to pass a bill out of the House in spite of over 50 conservative Blue Dog members from the South and Midwest. If she is able to get the House to pass the Senate Healthcare Bill, then President Obama will sign the bill without any interference from the Senators.

Knowing and acting on politics which is not a dirty word but something all humans practice all their lives to survive and thrive. Do what is in your interest, but you need to know the facts first and not what you see in corporate and special interest political ads on television. You cannot use your gut feel without knowing much. In the book "Blink" many people who read the book miss the point that art experts have the best intuitive feel for fake art, but still use science to confirm the gut feel!

Investing in ignorance will cause all of us to panic. By knowing more, I am much more calm in crisis. In the past I really knew very little and paid the price. No can do anything about the Financial Melt Down, but if you paid attention, you would know it had to come at some time, but I did not know when. I also knew that if I sold everything in panic, I would be in much worse shape than I am now. Markets go up and down. It is going down now, 6-7% drop in the large financial banks, affects sentiment of the whole market. No one can predict which way it would go. The emotions of ignorant investors in mutual funds lead to panics so it is hard to decide which way the market will go eventually.

The Financial Times in London tends to be more accurate and not agenda driven as the American newspapers and television. You need to know which writers in the New York Times to trust more than others. That is up to you. I dropped my subscription to the Wall Street Journal because I know Murdock (FOX News) to well. He murdered the superb newspaper the London Times and doing the same to the Wall Street Journal and cable television where FOX allows fake news to dominate.

Jim Kawakami, Jan 22, 2010,

Volcker Trumps Geithner's and Summers' Approach by Looking to Future Needs in Regulation
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 22, 2010 (page 1 of the Post in today's paper below the fold)

Excerpt: ... But after the House passed a regulatory reform bill on Dec. 11 that was largely based on the Geithner's vision, the administration began to warm to Volcker's ideas, which had the political value of seeming tough on Wall Street, said sources in contact with the Treasury and White House.

At the time, administration officials were growing concerned that government guarantees designed to spur lending by letting banks borrow cheaply were instead funding banks' speculative investments and fueling soaring profits, said Austan Goolsbee, a member of the president's Council of Economic Advisers.

"We started coming out of the rescue and you saw some of the biggest financial institutions . . . who had access to cheap financing . . . use that money without lending or anything, just doing their own investments," he said. "That clearly started putting [the issue] on the radar screen for us."

Goolsbee said that Vice President Biden became a particular advocate for Volcker's approach.

In mid-December, the president formally endorsed Volcker's approach and asked Geithner and Lawrence H. Summers, the director of the National Economic Council, to work closely with the former Fed chairman to develop proposals that could be sent to Capitol Hill. The three men had long discussions about the idea, including a lengthy one-on-one lunch between Geithner and Volcker on Christmas Eve.

Summers and Geithner had been reluctant to take on battles that weren't at the heart of the problem that fueled the crisis. But ultimately, an administration official said, the two men concluded that reform needs to be about more than just fighting the last war -- it needs to address sources of future risk as well. ...

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