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  • The Downgrades: Forget the 1%. It’s the 9%, Stupid!Government, Banking, Blog, Money

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    Well kids, summer is here again — time for sun, fun and debt downgrades. And in a related downgrade story, according to a recent Harris poll, just nine percent of Americans gave Congress positive job ratings. A low number, indeed, but it still feels wildly optimistic. Last summer, August 5 to be exact, Standard & Poor’s dropped the rating of United States debt below AAA for the first time in history. This year, with our […]

  • NOBAR: Could It End the Credit Gap and Get Banks Lending Again?Government, Banking, Blog, Personal Finance, Money

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    While a whole lot of folks are obsessed with what to do about, or to, the 1%, I would like focus on an issue involving the 90%. This isn’t about the wealth or income gap. It’s about the credit gap. It’s driving the Fed crazy and stifling the economy. Here’s the problem. Right now, banks are lending the bulk of mortgage money to people who have great credit, but are less likely to spend the […]

  • Obama’s Mortgage Task Force: Working Hard or Hardly Working?Government, Mortgages, Blog, Personal Finance, Money

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    Maybe you’re reading about it less and less. It doesn’t seem to be the lead story on many national news broadcasts anymore. But it’s still there, festering away like an untreated wound. The foreclosure crisis and the morass of other problems surrounding persistently problematic real estate prices, unwise loans made to now-bereft homeowners, and predatory mortgage products and practices isn’t going away. But this week, at last, there was some news. Unfortunately, the news by […]

  • National Consumer Protection Week: It’s Up to You (Sorry!)Blog, Money

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    Once again National Consumer Protection Week falls smack in the middle of Lent. Is this yet another coincidence, or rather a celestial reminder of the benefits of occasional restraint? This year, in particular, no one really wants a restrained consumer, and by no one, I mean not your Occupy-Wall-Street-friendly, local small business, nor the largest of American corporations, nor the government, nor the underpaid factory workers in China. No one. Consider this: the most recent […]

  • Mortgages, Greece & Obama’s Budget: The Global Financial Literacy CrisisFinancial Literacy, Government, Politics, Blog, Personal Finance, Money

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    Seven days, three seemingly disconnected announcements, and one subtle theme: what we have here is a failure to communicate… or more to the point, a failure to educate. America and much of the world is in the midst of financial literacy crisis that goes well beyond one’s ability to manage his or her own money. Consider what’s going on at home and abroad. First, the attorneys general of 49 states agreed on a $26 billion […]

  • Eastwood Meets West Wing: No Permanent Foreclosure Crisis?Mortgages, Blog, Personal Finance, Money

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    I am a New Yorker. I am a Giants fan. They made my day last Sunday. Sorry, Gisele. Like over 100 million of you, I saw the Chrysler commercial and, for the record, Clint Eastwood made my day. Now, in the interest of full disclosure — my college flame was the granddaughter of a famous Chrysler design engineer — so I confess that I have a warm spot in my heart for those guys, but […]

  • The S&P and the EU: Timing Is EverythingGovernment, Banking, Blog, Money

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    In keeping with a tradition firmly established in the 20th century, Europe suffered a late-night bombing raid on Friday evening. This time the attacker was Standard & Poor’s, everybody’s favorite rating agency, which announced well after the markets closed in New York it was downgrading the debt of no fewer than nine European countries. France was dropped one notch and therefore lost its prized AAA rating, and Italy and Spain both dropped two notches. Portugal’s […]

  • The First Annual Most DisCREDITed AwardsFinancial Literacy, Blog, Personal Finance, Money

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    Welcome to the first annual “Most disCredited Awards.” In a bad-economy year full of silly laws, mortgage miseries, political gaffes, Hatfield-McCoy feuding, credit downgrades, mysteriously rising prices, fee gouging of every description, and art-project political campaigns — whew(!) — I thought you might like a guide to help you to weed out the ridiculous from the truly tragic. So what follows are the awards for the worst ideas, policies and personalities of 2011. Most disCredited […]

  • Memo to American Consumers: You Just Got Screwed… AgainGovernment, Mortgages, Blog, Personal Finance, Money

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    The too-big-to-fail boys and their GOP handmaidens — the Hon. Richard Shelby, the Hon. Mitch McConnell and the other 43 legislative dwarves in the U.S. Senate — have struck again. Today, they blocked the confirmation of Richard Cordray as Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which is the first federal regulator with the sole purpose of protecting regular people from the likes of financial scoundrels. Plain and simple — just like we experienced a […]

  • Chestnuts, Jack Frost and Wall Street’s Spring BonusesBanking, Blog, Money

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    As we ring out what has been a pretty lousy year for most of us, Wall Streeters are all aglow — thoughts turning to sugar-plum fairies dancing in their brains, bearing bundles of spring bonuses — while stepping around agitated demonstrators who Occupy but a tiny part of their head space. While Wall Street bonuses may be down somewhat this year, the billion-dollar payday for America’s 1% is seen as an insult to most Americans […]

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