William K. Black is Associate Professor of Economics and Law at the University of Missouri - Kansas City. He was a senior regulator during the savings and loan scandal and blew the whistle on prominent politicians, including House Speaker Wright and the five US Senators who became famous as the "Keating Five." He was the lead staffer on the successful reregulation of the S&L industry and directed the investigations that led to convictions in many of the worst S & L frauds
Robert Johnson was formerly a managing director at Soros Funds Management and chief economist of the Senate Banking Committee
Walker Todd worked for many years in the Federal Reserve System. He was a legal officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and a legal and research officer at the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank. He is the author of many studies of bank failure, reform of the Fed's discount window, open market operations, and the Reconstruction Finance Corporation of the 1930s
These three wrote "How To Stop AIG Bonuses"
Part I of Ferguson and Johnson's "Too Big To Bail: The 'Paulson Put,' Presidential Politics, and the Global Financial Meltdown," appears in the next issue of the International Journal of Political Economy
Brooksley Born bio from Wikipedia states from 1996-1999 she served as chairperson of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the federal agency which oversees the futures and commodity options markets as well as the individuals who participate in those markets. In 2008, she appeared on the Legal Times list of "The 90 Greatest Washington Lawyers of the Last 30 Years" and was described as a "Champion".
Her appointment as a member of the CFTC, on April 15, 1994, came after a career as head of the firm's derivatives practice, where she represented clients in numerous complex litigation and arbitration cases involving financial market transactions. Among her other high-profile cases was the matter of the Hunt Brothers attempt to corner the silver market in the 1970s.
While on the commission and after becoming its chair two years later, Born sought comments on the need to regulate derivatives, specifically swaps that are traded at no central exchange, known as the dark market, and thus have no transparency except to the two counter-parties (no actual regulatory scheme was proposed at the time). The request for comments, called the "Concept Release," stated that the growth of trade in derivatives had prompted the CFTC to re-examine its regulatory scheme.
The request for comments was opposed by Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan and Treasury Secretaries Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers.
Specifically, on May 7, 1998, former SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt joined the other members of the President’s Working Group – Treasury Secretary Rubin and Federal Reserve Board Chairman Greenspan – in objecting to the issuance of the CFTC’s concept release, in which Born attempted to shed light on the dark market, citing grave concerns about the possible consequences of the CFTC’s action.
In particular, these concerns focused on the risk that such discussion would increase legal uncertainty concerning swaps and other OTC derivative instruments and, thus, destabilize what had become a significant global financial market. They claimed potential turmoil created by the report and concerns about the imposition of new regulatory costs also might have stifled innovation and pushed transactions offshore.
As the financial crisis of 2008 gained momentum, newspapers began reporting on what might be some of its causes, including the adversarial relationship Greenspan, Rubin and Levitt had with Brooksley Born, with Greenspan leading the opposition, and how Born's recommendations were suppressed.
Iris Mack From TPMuckracker, Iris Mack is a former quantitative analyst at Harvard Management Company, the university's once-vaunted endowment manager, tells the Harvard Crimson she was fired for voicing concern to then-university president Larry Summers' chief of staff about the money manager's risky use of derivatives the traders didn't understand.
The episode dates back to 2002, when analyst Iris Mack, whose website identifies her as the second African American woman to earn a Harvard PhD. in applied math (and someone who likes primary colors) joined the much-venerated Harvard Management Company, which invests the university's then $18 billion endowment, to find what she termed a "frightening" state of affairs.
Joseph Eugene Stiglitz from Wikipedia bio is an American economist and a professor at Columbia University. He is a recipient of the John Bates Clark Medal (1979) and the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (2001). He is also the former Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank. He is known for his critical view of the management of globalization, free-market economists (whom he calls "free market fundamentalists") and some international institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. In 2000, Stiglitz founded the Initiative for Policy Dialogue (IPD), a think tank on international development based at Columbia University. Since 2001, he has been a member of the Columbia faculty, and has held the rank of University Professor since 2003. He also chairs the University of Manchester's Brooks World Poverty Institute and is a member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences
From Joseph Stiglitz:
Obama Has Confused Saving the Banks with Saving the Bankers
We get reaction to President Obama’s speech from Nobel economics laureate and former World Bank chief economist, Joseph Stiglitz. Stiglitz says the Obama administration has failed to address the structural and regulatory flaws at the heart of the financial crisis that stand in the way of economic recovery.
Paul Volcker Chafes at Panel Delay, Clashes With Summers
By Robert Schmidt and Julianna Goldman
Feb. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Paul Volcker has grown increasingly frustrated over delays in setting up the economic advisory group President Barack Obama picked the former Federal Reserve chairman to lead, people familiar with the matter said.
Volcker, 81, blames Obama’s National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers for slowing down the effort to organize the panel of outside advisers, the people said. Summers isn’t regularly inviting Volcker to White House meetings and hasn’t shown interest in collaborating on policy or sharing potential solutions to the economic crisis, they said.
The contretemps shows the difficulties Volcker, perhaps the world’s most respected economist, may encounter as an outside adviser charged with providing policy alternatives to the president, said William Silber, a finance professor at New York University’s business school.
Volcker “is not in the White House and he doesn’t have a bureaucracy to command,” Silber said. “It puts him at a disadvantage.”
After testifying at a congressional hearing yesterday, Volcker declined to respond to questions. His office said he doesn’t grant interviews.
Summers, in an interview, played down any conflict.
Elizabeth Warren, chief watchdog of America's $700bn bank bailout plan, will this week call for the removal of top executives from Citigroup, AIG and other institutions that have received government funds in a damning report that will question the administration's approach to saving the financial system from collapse.
Warren, a Harvard law professor and chair of the congressional oversight committee monitoring the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program (Tarp), is also set to call for shareholders in those institutions to be "wiped out". "It is crucial for these things to happen," she said. "Japan tried to avoid them and just offered subsidy with little or no consequences for management or equity investors, and this is why Japan suffered a lost decade." She declined to give more detail but confirmed that she would refer to insurance group AIG, which has received $173bn in bailout money, and banking giant Citigroup, which has had $45bn in funds and more than $316bn of loan guarantees.
Warren also believes there are "dangers inherent" in the approach taken by treasury secretary Tim Geithner, who she says has offered "open-ended subsidies" to some of the world's biggest financial institutions without adequately weighing potential pitfalls. "We want to ensure that the treasury gives the public an alternative approach," she said, adding that she was worried that banks would not recover while they were being fed subsidies. "When are they going to say, enough?" she said.
She said she did not want to be too hard on Geithner but that he must address the issues in the report. "The very notion that anyone would infuse money into a financially troubled entity without demanding changes in management is preposterous."
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