David Stockman is very pessimistic

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David Stockman has a new book out pretty much ripping everyone on the debt. He has a real problem with the bailout, takes on the Ryan budget along with the Obama administration, and predicts another crisis.

He loses credibility in my opinion when he discusses how we could have used bankruptcy through the crisis, and then he also goes back to the gold standard.


Capital One fined by consumer protection bureau

Here’s one of Capital One’s catchy ads featuring Alec Baldwin. The ad wasn’t deceptive, but apparently the bank was benefiting from other problematic business practices.

The nation’s consumer watchdog on Wednesday delivered its first enforcement action against the financial industry, fining Capital One for pressuring and misleading more than two million credit card customers.

Capital One, one of the nation’s biggest banks and credit card lenders, agreed to pay $210 million to resolve a pair of regulatory cases, the latest legal setback for the financial industry.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Wall Street’s newest regulator, accused Capital One of “deceptive marketing tactics.” The credit card company — which is known for its catchy television ads, asking “what’s in your wallet” — received a regulatory rebuke for misleading card customers into buying unnecessary products like payment protection and credit monitoring, according to the consumer agency.

It’s nice to see someone looking out for the consumer . . . finally.


Another Euro deal

Stocks surged in the United States and around the world today as markets reacted to the latest news out of Europe. We’ve had so many deals and false starts, but it looks like serious progress might be at hand in Europe.

By the end of a vital two-day summit here, European diplomacy had played out like soccer, with Spain and Italy — the two nations headed to the Euro 2012 finals — emerging victorious and the Germans returning home in shock.

After a marathon 14 hours of talks, Berlin unexpectedly agreed to concessions clearing the way for a deal that could help both Madrid and Rome in their desperate efforts to stave off economic collapse.

The agreement, while conditional on the creation of a regulatory body, addressed the core of the questions facing Europe: Who will cover the tab for its 2½-year-old debt crisis, and how?

Under the terms of the deal, troubled euro-zone countries would have more options for aid, including using a pool of European rescue funds to directly recapitalize ailing banks. That, in turn, would spare governments the humiliation of having to ask for aid themselves to channel to domestic banks, sidestepping the kind of intrusive financial inspections imposed on Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

The big change has to do with the decision to directly fund the troubled banks. Check out the whole article for the story, but it looks like Germany will cave here.


Heat gets turned up on Jamie Dimon

It hasn’t been a good week for Jamie Dimon and all the banker apologists trying to stop regulation of the big banks. With the stunning loss posted by JP Morgan and its irresponsible trading operation, we have another example of why we need strong regulation preventing banks from gambling with funds insured by the government. Hopefully this helps beef up the regulations for the Volcker Rule.


10 Years for the Euro

Has it really been ten years since the Euro was introduced?

When the euro was introduced just after midnight on Jan. 1, 2002, celebratory fireworks exploded above the European Central Bank headquarters in Frankfurt. The historic bridge the Pont Neuf in Paris was lit up in European Union blue with 12 rays of light to symbolize the 12 nations circulating the euro — as people in those countries lined up at A.T.M.’s to get their hands on new bills that would be daily reminders of the project of European integration and unity.

Ten years later, the word “euro” in a headline is usually paired with the word “crisis.” Instead of hosting celebrations for the 10-year anniversary, policy makers appear to be staying as quiet as possible, as if hoping not to upset the brief calm that has come with the holiday season after European central bankers injected nearly $640 billion into the European banking system in December.

Will Europe get its act together? The recent events in Italy have to be encouraging. Let’s see if the austerity can be sustained.


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