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  • What the Death Penalty and Foreclosure Have in Common (You Will Be Surprised)

    Blog Personal Finance Money 

    There is so much news—mostly ugly news from the consumer point of view—about the foreclosure crisis, but it seems one of the most important initiatives taken against the banks that caused the crisis has been all but overlooked. For a period of months, the federal government and most of the states’ attorneys general have been negotiating with the banking industry over appropriate sanctions and penalties that should be imposed for lender misconduct during the foreclosure […]

  • Tea Time for the Occupation

    Government Politics Blog 

    Historically, America’s greatness as a country could be measured by the social mobility of its citizens. If you worked hard enough at a well-defined goal, you could get where you’re going, no matter who you were or from where you started. Case in point, the election of Barack Obama — but is it really true that anyone can make a billion, and/or become President these days? Increasingly, the United States is a place of less […]

  • I’m a One Percenter Who’s Pre-Occupied with Wall Street

    Personal Finance 

    I confess I’m a one percenter. I guess I’m one of the folks that the people down on Wall Street are pointing their fingers at. I don’t blame them, I’m upset too. That said, none of us — neither the one percenters nor the 99 percenters — can either ignore or deny the ripple of unrest disturbing the calm of America’s social waters in the form of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has spread […]

  • If You’re Worried About Medical Privacy, Better Take Some Xanax

    Blog Privacy 

    It was announced recently that nearly 5,000,000 patient records of military personnel were stolen. There was no elaborate hacking, and no technical skill was required on the part of the thieves — some tapes containing these records were stolen from a car belonging to an employee of SAIC who was prosaically transporting them between federal facilities in San Antonio Texas. The data included not only sensitive medical information, including prescription records, but also the names, […]

  • Bank of America, Adam Smith and a Fee Market System

    Financial Literacy Banking Blog Personal Finance 

    This week, Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill) made a remarkably pithy statement on the floor of the Senate that Bank of America patrons should “vote with your feet, get the heck out of that bank.” By now, everyone who reads, watches and listens knows that Bank of America instituted a five dollar per month charge for usage of its debit cards effective early next year, and, of course, that’s what prompted Durbin’s remark. While there will […]

  • Memo to Obama: Push for Jobs, Don’t Shove Employers

    Government Blog Money 

    The American Jobs Act provides yet another example of President Obama potentially snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. It proposes a punitive response to a problem that now plagues the country — employers are hesitant to hire the long-term unemployed. The missed opportunity is still there to be had: How about providing incentives? At issue is the Job Act’s proposal to make it “an unlawful employment practice” to refuse employment “because of the individual’s […]

  • How to Fix the Foreclosure Crisis: A Real Bailout

    Government Mortgages Blog Personal Finance 

    We need a real bailout, because the last one relied on a bad theory — namely: horse-and-sparrow “trickle-down” economics. Why do we need a real bailout? The first one was a corporate give-away. And it seems now like the only thing that trickled down from the interventions of 2008-9 was further economic distress, which is now manifesting itself quite possibly as double-dip recession. Anyone born before 1975 remembers “trickle-down economics.” It’s a very simple idea […]

  • Consumers Be Damned: Senator Shelby, Captain Queeg and the Politics of No

    Government Politics Blog Personal Finance 

    Last week’s Senate Banking Committee hearing on the nomination of Richard Cordray to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau featured prepared speeches that were utterly without sound and fury but still managed to do a huge disservice to American consumers. It felt like a really bad Capitol Hill reality show, devoid of all emotion, featuring actors who made Snooki and the Situation seem like “clean” coal shills at a global warming conference. Confirmation hearings are […]

  • Freddie and Fannie — Has Everyone Gone Postal?

    Government Mortgages Politics Blog Money 

    Between Freddie and Fannie’s latest woes and the United States Postal Service teetering on collapse, it’s been a bad week or so for quasi-governmental agencies. Late last week the United States Postal Service (USPS) announced that it was facing a shortfall of approximately $5.5 billion in terms of its obligations in the month of September, and that without Congressional action it might have to cease operations entirely during the winter of 2011. In a week […]

  • Homeowners

    Medication for Middle-Class Mortgage Mania

    Mortgages Blog Money 

    Everything old is new again…. Between 1634 and 1637, tulips became all the rage in Holland. The record of exactly what happened is sketchy and perhaps apocryphal in part, but at one point a particular kind of tulip bulb could be traded in the marketplace for about 12 acres of land. This is one reason why the history of this phenomenon is often labeled the “tulip mania.” In America between 2005 and 2008, real estate […]

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