Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 19, 2009

Helmut Schmidt: Six steps to curb speculation

Last week Helmut Schmidt, former German finance minister and chancellor who just celebrated his 90th birthday, published a longer piece (in German) on the financial crisis.

The headline asks: How can we escape the depression trap?

In the first part Schmidt explains why the financial crisis happened and why the international steps taken so far are, by far, not enough and come to slowly to lower the risk of a possible depression. The lost trust in financial institutions, Schmidt says, is the greatest factor contributing to the slump of the real economy and hinders any eventual recovery.

For the second part over to Schmidt as translated by me:

/begin of excerpt/

Six steps to curb speculation

Today's focus of governments and parliaments in many countries is to rescue some banks with extensive guarantees by taking over their non-performing assets and through the purchase of new shares (called nationalization). At the same time, central banks use similar means. This is in most cases useful, even as the states budgets plunge into egregious deficit, and although the unorthodox and enormous increase in money supply in dollars and sterling establishes future threats. But this alone will not restore confidence in the reliability of financial markets nor will the many national 'economy and investment programs' achieve such.

Because of the risk of depression the networked global economy can not wait years for the healing of the financial markets! Therefore, I think it is appropriate that the G-20-states urgently implement some very drastic steps. Considered for implementation by law or regulation must be these:

  1. All private financial institutions (including investment banks, mortgage banks, investment and pension funds, hedge funds, equity trusts, insurance companies, et cetera.) And all marketable financial instruments are to be put under the same banks- and financial supervisory authority. 
  2. The financial supervisory authority sets equity-minima for all sectors of the private financial institutions. 
  3. For all financial institutions any activities outside of their own balance sheet (and the profit and loss account) are prohibited and punishable. 
  4. All financial institutions will be prohibited, under threat of punishment, from dealing in any financial derivatives and certificates, that are not approved and listed at an accredited exchange. 
  5. All financial institutions are by punishment prohibited to sell any futures and options on securities and financial instruments it does not possess at the time of the sale. This is to make speculation on falling prices ('short selling') more difficult. 
  6. Financial deposits and loans in favor of companies and individuals registered in tax and regulation havens are prohibited under penalty.

Obviously the leaders of the international financial industry will protest against such laws with sophisticated arguments. Obviously some radical market-oriented governments will give in to these protest, since they are already in the awkward situation to need the experience and expertise of the hitherto offenders. Therefore there is the question whether the 16 European countries in the Euro zone should implement this on their own.

/end of excerpt/ 

The last third of Schmidt's piece is about the implementation of stimulus packages and the need for more global cooperation on these issues.

Probably needless to say is that Schmidt certainly favors such a Euro-realm solution for financial re-regulation as any more global solution is unlikely to come early enough to prevent a depression.

Also probably needless to say is that I agree with Schmidt on this about 95%. 

What is your take on this?

Posted by b on January 19, 2009 at 17:29 UTC | Permalink


The 6 recommendations are sound, except that in 2. he doesn't specify his desired mimimum capital adequacy ratio (it was 8 %). I also agree that the Euro- realm should do its own thing and set an example of financial prudence for the rest of the world.

However, I believe Schmidt is omitting (unless he mentioned it elsewhere) the crucial aspect of 'risk analysis' which very few bankers and financial institutions seem to understand (even today). Basel II encouraged banks to adopt proprietary risk analysis methods, but not one of them did, preferring instead to rely on Moody's, S&P and Fitch for individual country and corporate ratings, so they all went over the cliff together like sheep. Really and foreseeably dumb.

Posted by: Parviz | Jan 19 2009 18:08 utc | 1

#5 seems like an overreaction because what looks like speculation could just be hedging with an imperfectly-correlated asset - you would need portfolio-level information about hedge ratios to tell the difference, and that's easy to manipulate. The ideal of multilateral prudential regulation is great, though. The big question: will the EU be willing to enforce #6 against the US as a regulation haven? Otherwise US banks will subvert the regulator and gut the rules because that is their business model.

Posted by: ...---... | Jan 19 2009 18:26 utc | 2

Some interesting observations and suggestions from a professional publications:

Neville Holmes writes about the financial crunch in IEEE Computer magazine A 3-page PDF; the article begins on the last page and doubles back to the start.

Posted by: Obelix | Jan 19 2009 18:41 utc | 3

my position is - let the whole shithouse fall apart as it is doing all by itself. the reality of the suffering of the people will not change in either case

the real changes that are necessary will have to be fought for - militantly

(it is interesting to see this word which in french merely describes a person committed to acting has now become demonised - in gaza - the reportage often interchanged terrorist with militant & i do not think that was accidental)

when the state cannot pay welfare as is the case in a number of regions in the us - you tell me how quickly anger will be turned into militancy & what foxnews will no doubt call insurrectionary or insurgent

in europe the underclass who are already under the greatest strain they have been under are going to be steamrollered into finding their ferocious heart just to survive

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jan 19 2009 19:06 utc | 4

b--what is your take on the Obama camp's proposals for a "Bad Bank" or "Aggregator Bank" which would take over all the toxic waste investments of banks. I'm assuming this includes the CDS's and the derivative "exotic" instruments based on the CDS's, along with the mortgage purees.

Paul Krugman has been writing about this, saying the plan only goes to the point of putting taxpayers on the hook, not really cleaning up the bad management, etc., that got us where we are.

Here are the two recent Krugman blog posts on this, Bad Bank Bafflement and More on the Bad Bank.

I'd appreciate your take on this, or links to previous discussions of this kind of proposal. Seems fraught with all the problems of the original TARP--what is the market price? how is the government to determine that? if the price is low, what good does it do the institution? is there enough money anywhere to deal with the toxic meltdown? etc.

Strange, my embedding of the first link doesn't seem to work--and I can't see the error. So, just the link:

Posted by: jawbone | Jan 19 2009 19:21 utc | 5

Heh. Had to move cursor more toward the middle of the phrase for the first link, then it worked. Interesting!

Posted by: jawbone | Jan 19 2009 19:23 utc | 6

Here in the US we rescue shareholders, because the integrity of the financial class must be be preserved (rather than swinging from the nearest lampposts).

So, does the eurozone liquidate the investors? Is that part of the old boy's plan?

Posted by: slothrop | Jan 19 2009 19:35 utc | 7

Also, it's worth reminding ourselves that "investors" rescued by US bailout are little miss french pensioner and German industrialist, too.

I'd imagine the default global scheme will be to rescue the finance class first, socialize the costs, and let permanent inflation take care of the rest.

Posted by: slothrop | Jan 19 2009 19:50 utc | 8

@1 - However, I believe Schmidt is omitting (unless he mentioned it elsewhere) the crucial aspect of 'risk analysis' which very few bankers and financial institutions seem to understand (even today).

He mentions that elsewhere as "complexity" and "hidden risk" through "math wizardry" (not quotes, but the essence).

@2 - Schmidt wants to ban naked short selling, not short selling per se.

The big question: will the EU be willing to enforce #6 against the US as a regulation haven?

1. It is not the EU (27 members including US poodles GB and Pl) but the Eurozone which has 16 members.
2. Declaring the US a regulation haven would indeed be a big step, but the threat thereof might be quite a tool as it would be a problem for a deficit ridden U.S.. Indeed I think Schmidt wants to set up the scheme as an example and hopes that others would follow (China?, Russia?) and then the threat to the U.S. to be cut from private financing from those countries would be real.

@3 - I'll take a look

@4- in europe the underclass who are already under the greatest strain they have been under are going to be steamrollered into finding their ferocious heart just to survive

Yep - already happening in Greece, Latvia, Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania where people have taken to the streets ... that will sip into the Carolingian "core-Europe" later this year

@5 - I agree with Krugman (as does Schmidt when he says "called nationalization" to what is not nationalization) - take the banks over, the shareholders go to zero (where they realistically already are), screw the big lenders to these banks, and then sort through the mes and chancel out as much as possible. When the banks are clean privatize them again.

@7 - I'd imagine the default global scheme will be to rescue the finance class first, socialize the costs, and let permanent inflation take care of the rest.

That was obvious from the onset ...

Nice to see Schmidt is rallying against it.

Posted by: b | Jan 19 2009 20:26 utc | 9

Did they talk about CDS's? I know MOA's been recommending a 'null and void' approach...I didn't see anything in the article....

Posted by: Jeremiah | Jan 19 2009 20:39 utc | 10

@3 - from your link an interesting idea:

In an earlier essay I suggested
a way to reduce the complexity of
corporate structures (The Profession,
July 2003, pp. 100, 98-99). The
idea was to forbid “any corporation
from owning part of any corporation
that owns part of any other corporation—
or, more succinctly, [to limit]
corporate ownership to two levels.”

Yep - sounds good to me as it take away complexity.

Posted by: b | Jan 19 2009 20:48 utc | 11

Ah, right, he says G20 (though Europe would likely have to take the lead). Another way to implement it would be with a special-purpose Most Favored Nation regime. Poaches on WTO turf but the narrow prudential focus might be a way to defend it, particularly if BIS were to get involved. That way US or other resistance could be penalized with red tape rather than what, in effect, would be trade sanctions. More carrot and less stick.

The big risk is that authoritarian states seize on the regulatory process to bolster their totalitarian panopticon. Transparency needed to enforce the rules is very useful for crushing the opposition, like when Elliot Spitzer pipes up about officially-sanctioned mortgage fraud you can catch him in his socks with a bignosed Jersey whore and shut him up.

Posted by: ...---... | Jan 19 2009 21:02 utc | 12

Did they talk about CDS's? I know MOA's been recommending a 'null and void' approach...I didn't see anything in the article....

Schmidt does not specifically. But if he, as I do, believes (which I think he does) that no sane exchange (which has to guarantee deals done through it) would ever approve and list CDO's in the first place, the point is made implicitely.

Posted by: b | Jan 19 2009 21:05 utc | 13

From The End, a particularly good description of the mechanics of America's financial integrityy.

“This was the engine of doom.” Then he [Eisman] draws a picture of several towers of debt. The first tower is made of the original subprime loans that had been piled together. At the top of this tower is the AAA tranche, just below it the AA tranche, and so on down to the riskiest, the BBB tranche—the bonds Eisman had shorted. But Wall Street had used these BBB tranches—the worst of the worst—to build yet another tower of bonds: a “particularly egregious” C.D.O. The reason they did this was that the rating agencies, presented with the pile of bonds backed by dubious loans, would pronounce most of them AAA. These bonds could then be sold to investors—pension funds, insurance companies—who were allowed to invest only in highly rated securities. “I cannot fucking believe this is allowed—I must have said that a thousand times in the past two years,” Eisman says.


That’s when Eisman finally got it. Here he’d been making these side bets with Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank on the fate of the BBB tranche without fully understanding why those firms were so eager to make the bets. Now he saw. There weren’t enough Americans with shitty credit taking out loans to satisfy investors’ appetite for the end product. The firms used Eisman’s bet to synthesize more of them. Here, then, was the difference between fantasy finance and fantasy football: When a fantasy player drafts Peyton Manning, he doesn’t create a second Peyton Manning to inflate the league’s stats. But when Eisman bought a credit-default swap, he enabled Deutsche Bank to create another bond identical in every respect but one to the original. The only difference was that there was no actual homebuyer or borrower. The only assets backing the bonds were the side bets Eisman and others made with firms like Goldman Sachs. Eisman, in effect, was paying to Goldman the interest on a subprime mortgage. In fact, there was no mortgage at all. “They weren’t satisfied getting lots of unqualified borrowers to borrow money to buy a house they couldn’t afford,” Eisman says. “They were creating them out of whole cloth. One hundred times over! That’s why the losses are so much greater than the loans. But that’s when I realized they needed us to keep the machine running. I was like, This is allowed?”

Bernard Maddof is a piker compared to the likes of Henry Paulson, ex Goldman Sachs and Rober Rubin, ex Citigroup, present and past guardians of America's financial integrity.

Posted by: Thrasyboulos | Jan 19 2009 22:17 utc | 14

It's turning out that the argument used by Washington's Power Elites about a bank, such as Citigroup, being too big to fail is nothing but a bunch of hogwash!

But because Robert Rubin used his power as a kleptocrat to morph Citi into the mammoth that it is today and especially because Rubin is still free to muck around in the mud of American Kleptocracy, Citi and its ilk will continue to pig out on pork dished out by Washington (in a very post-partisan sort of way, of course), causing the rest of us (Uncle Sam included) to starve to death.

Don't get be wrong, I'm all in favor of post-partisanship, just so long as those at the top are skimmed off and thrown to the wind. And something tells me, much to my chagrin, that Obama will stand firm on keeping those at the top as Masters of the Universe in his quest for post-partisanship.:~(

Posted by: Cynthia | Jan 20 2009 0:44 utc | 15

Thrasyboulos @ 14--Agreed! But Bernie Madoff's criminal behavior is so much easier to understand (even if many are not sure how he actually did it), so he'll be the whipping boy for the MCM (Mainstream Corporate Media), the butt of jokes for the late night comics, the easy to remember bad actor for the public. Madoff's crime has a name which is familiar to most people. The Banksters' activities, no such easy handle.

There's an undercurrent of feeling that the really Big Bankster Boyz are behind all the problems, but it's very difficult for lay people to voice how and what, which makes it difficult to, say, call one's Congress Critters to rationally demand actions. And the MCMers are working to make things less transparent, not more understandable. Just look at Bernie Madoff's $50B! No need to worry your little heads about those amorphous trillions. Who can even write out a trillion? Just focus on Ol' Bernie and his giving expensive gifts to relatives.... Or, before Madoff was found out, the MCM worked with the Repubs to place the blame on people with lower incomes and the Dems demanding that they be given cheap mortgages. Or it was Fannie and Freddie, somehow....

Now, Atrios at Eschaton, he of the cryptic econ messages to readers, and Johs Marshall at TPM are both looking at the Bad Bank proposal being floated and feeling very, very uncomfortable--and at Barney Frank, who appears to be swallowing the Obama line, per commentary by Theda Skopcol (there's no link other than to the quoted portion at TPM that I can find--which is strange).

Apparently, Rep. Frank, head of the House Banking Committee, is saying that the Banksters must be given their money to satisfy their stock holders (?), and in exchange they need only promise to support Congress in improving the social safety net. Like that will happen.

Especially with Camp Obama saying that cuts and "reforms" to SocSec, Medicare, and Medicaid are needed, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi putting everything on the table except for elimnating the three programs, where does Frank think any safety net improvements are going to support from? Get signed by?

I spent the primary season trying to suss out what Obama really would do as president; I never felt I knew, but I felt very uncomfortable with his comments, flip flops on commitments, hints given to private fund raisers. Now, I'm getting even more uncomfortable.

Would Hillary have been better? At least Dems would have held her to her promises; I have no such sense Dems will do that with Obama.

But what has happened to Barney Frank? Skocpol thinks she knows--he's being bamboozled (TPM prefers to think he can't be):

The idea that "elites" will "get serious about repairing the safety net" if they are FIRST given billions of dollars of payoffs to shareholders who made bad decisions is the height of naivete. There are no corporatist institutions in U.S. politics that can enforce this kind of bargain, that can corral all the interests and get them to carry through on mutual promises. That is why Obama and the Democrats will get for the people in general exactly what they push through right now and will squander opportunities if they give money and leverage to "elites" first!

This is what Ira Magaziner imagined with health care back in 1992 -- that he could get up front understandings with powerful interests by giving them concessions in the Health Security proposals, and they would let it get through Congress later. (I remember sitting in his office as I took notes for BOOMERANG and having him complain to me that he could not understand why the business roundtable types "lied" to him about what
they would do!) Of course, they turned on him the moment Congress got ahold of things. Same thing will happen here.

The banking/Wall Street interests will sucker Obama and Barney Frank into giving them yet more (unpopular and ineffective and very expensive) handouts -- and, then, when the improvements to health care, college funding, etc. come up later they will suddenly be fiscally responsible with the public's money. And, of course, they will have plenty of blue dogs and small business lobbies and others to hide behind as they make this manuever. Mark my words, this is my prediction.... U.S. institutions frustrate bargains and can only be moved by big pushes of popular leverage at key moments of crisis. (My emphasis)

Posted by: jawbone | Jan 20 2009 1:00 utc | 16

Surely there's going to be talk of regulation everywhere, and just as surely the Rubins and Paulsons who are running the government will be certain they're toothless.

I'm with Mike Whitney today who says we don't have a liquidity or "trust" problem, we have an income/employment problem. I'm with "giap" too.

Posted by: seneca | Jan 20 2009 1:13 utc | 17

I don't think it's an improper simplification of these parlous days boils down to: 1) overproduction of goods & services; 2) overaccumulation: excessive savings in developing countries because of lack of consumer class; 3) credit expansion in deindustrializing service economies needed to maintain circulation of commodities; 4) massive imbalance of trade; 5) fall in rates of profit averted by ponzi finance; 6) crisis (liquidity trap, deflation, unemployment).

This crisis is solved by the unhappy capitalist class by: 1) dispossession--socialize capitalist class rescue; 2) Immiseration--reduce wages & benefits globally; 3) war; 4) reconstruction financed by the recycling of especially petro wealth through wallstreet, etc. 5) recovery!

There is a global solution to this, but requires pulling capitalists out of their homes and beating them with big sticks.

Posted by: slothrop | Jan 20 2009 1:38 utc | 18

Actually, to complete what slothrop mentioned as #1, I'm not even sure we ever managed to go beyond the obvious overproduction and overcapacity of the 1920s - which at the time was most of all US overproduction. Depression froze it all, war allowed it to run at full speed. And when WWII was over, it isn't really that US overcapacity had been reduced or global consumption had so massively increased that it could efficiently use all that overcapacity. No, I've come to the conclusion that the only reason why US (and the world) didn't go again into a 15-y depression after 1945 was that nearly every other industrial powerhouse on the planet had been utterly devastated and was totally unable to function again and fast - leaving the monstrously overproductive US industries as the only left to produce in any substantial way. Logically, as other industrial countries rose again, notably Japan and Germany, US economy and industries would eventually suffer quite a bit. Yet the issues related to the global and to the American overproduction were never addressed - if even diagnosed.
And here we are now, with the bulk of US industries displaced to China, with a global overcapacity as big as ever, and a new industrial powerhouse, China, with overproduction (notably compared to national demand, but even to global ones) that dwarfs even 1929 USA.

Posted by: CluelessJoe | Jan 20 2009 2:07 utc | 19

Also, to be clear, the insurmountable contradiction in all this is the expansion of wages is a fetter on capitalist accumulation, but such expansion is of course needed to detain overproduction.

There's no system-wide reforms preserving capitalist growth which can overcome this basic contradiction.

Posted by: slothrop | Jan 20 2009 2:24 utc | 20

I was hoping (yes, hoping) when the madness of the financial sector was becoming apparent to wee lay-cogs like myself that party politics would finally take a back seat so we could focus on the colossal systematic cash-drunk driver driving the global economy off the cliff.

and it's not just how Hank rammed through a mind-boggling transfer of wealth, but that he did it through intimidation and fear by threatening martial law when the congressional skeptics who actually listened to their constituency voted no.

who serves who is so obscenely obvious now folks seem almost embarrassed to discuss it.

Posted by: Lizard | Jan 20 2009 2:42 utc | 21

heaven forbid the moneychangers, and others who don't do a lick of actual work, would be forced to reckon with the fakeness of capitalism. instead of acknowledging that interest is wrong, and that holding money as its own value is wrong, and admitting that socialism is smarter for the long term, Schmidt suggests bandaid approaches to repairing doomed capitalism.

The dying breaths of capitalism smell like bailouts, stimulus packages, and fierce regulatory promises.

Posted by: micah pyre | Jan 20 2009 4:30 utc | 22

They can only tighten the market regulations up so far before it gets so "boring", in terms of alpha chasing, that governments (taxpayers) must step in as investors of last resort (bank bailouts, consolidations, government "receivership") in order to keep Treasuries from a negative coupon yield, thereby crushing the government employees union pension funds. Snake eating tail.

Screw Mom & Pop, they're bled to death. What we're seeing now is Fed flushing out Gramma and Grandpa's equity with zero yields. High stakes play between financial elites and the government-employee elites, monetized onto everyone's tax returns, but what about retirement home dumping when savings runs out? Geriatric homeless?

Our local government is on the verge of passing a huge license plate "carbon" fee, so that our 10,000 environmental bureaucrats have breathing revenues to pencil flip up a huge new "carbon" sales tax on all goods and services, the revenues from which will mean they won't get laid off, or lose their 100%-of-highest-salary pensions.

But the first to go of course, were 10,000 mentally handicapped already dropped from the benefit roles, other social programs saw major fund cuts, which is why we have government in the 1st place, to keep the public order, taser shoplifters and militants, and provide job security for government employees and liquidity for the banks and brokers who invest the government employees pension funds.

Joe Six Pack is just mud in their chariot tracks.

Watch naked shorts. If they outlaw all naked shorts and require all states to have balanced budgets, there's a bleeding edge chance for a long U. Otherwise flatline,
and if you've been watching since the bottom was laid in at Thanksgiving, that's exactly what the market is doing, "trading within a narrow range" (e.g. DOA).

“The Governator Tuesday brushed aside warnings state coffers could start to shrink. Referring to his $37-billion public-works borrowing package that voters approved last week, Schwarzenegger said: ‘There will be so much construction activities going on that where private sector will fall off, the public sector will pick up.’"

In Arnold's Fall, so Screwed We All.

Posted by: Trappen Belowdek | Jan 20 2009 5:17 utc | 23

Slothrop and Clueless Joe: Creative Destruction or Wealth Transfer? Wealth transfer is obvious in the TARP and other US measures so far, but loss of asset value through global securities markets so far must dwarf the transfer of wealth by government actions. Capital shrinks when asset value shrinks, and since markets (consumers) have shrunk too, capital and markets come back to some kind of balance.

In other words, we're all poorer, though capital still has the upper hand, and labor is weaker. The good news is that hardship like we haven't seen before makes resistance more possible.

Posted by: seneca | Jan 20 2009 13:56 utc | 24

micah pyre,

It strikes me as a little odd that those from the Christian Right are blind as bats to the fact that Jesus Christ, Their Holy Savior, despised the hell out of moneychangers. Jesus firmly believed that moneychangers were some of the biggest evildoers on Earth. All I can figure is that the Christian Right has somehow come to believe that the Invisible Hand of Capitalism is one and the same with God the Almighty, thereby making those who rule the gold rulers over The Golden Rule.

Posted by: Cynthia | Jan 20 2009 14:44 utc | 25


I think you overplay the Jesus Card here, but I would agree that if you spend your time on "liberal" and "progressive" discussion websites, you'd imagine that it's about Jesus or Christianity. That's Karl Rove's work. Just remember, Rove got the weak-kneed pseudo-left to fear Christians, and look how durable was his work.

It's not about Christ. It's about greed. Christianity isn't about greed. And Dubya Bush is NOT a Christian, never was. It was an act, to get votes. And to set up the "blame the Christians" theme, which your post seems to be plying.

I'd suggest revisiting the situation with an eye toward the real motives here -- power & money, and absolutely nothing to do with Christianity as a religion. References to Christianity are a sly ruse, a grift.

Posted by: micah pyre | Jan 20 2009 15:32 utc | 26

I think that #5 could work out to be enormously counterproductive. As it is, the equity markets are plagued by low volume because the risk is (rightly) perceived to be very high. Remove the sole means for many people and institutions to hedge their portfolios (i.e. shorting through ETF's and other instruments) and there will be a mass migration out of equities to mitigate risk. That would be catastrophic to all of the middle aged people and pensioners whose lives are tied up in their illiquid 401k's, and probably only serve to deepen the economic collapse.

Posted by: Li | Jan 20 2009 19:09 utc | 27

Might I also add, that such a rule would primary benefit financial institutions that everyone knows are essentially insolvent and bankrupt under mark-to-market accounting, by preventing people from driving down the value of their equities to a level more appropriate for a bankrupt institution. In other words, I'd say that this betrays a certain allegiance to the (broke) big money boys rather than the people who actually suffer in times like this.

Posted by: Li | Jan 20 2009 19:14 utc | 28

But if he, as I do, believes (which I think he does) that no sane exchange (which has to guarantee deals done through it) would ever approve and list CDO's in the first place, the point is made implicitely.

Well I don't know about CDOs, but Eurex already lists CDS baskets and will soon list individual CDS contracts based on ISDA...

CME and ICE are each working on similar products:

Posted by: vaudois | Jan 21 2009 0:13 utc | 29

Wow, Yves linked here. You'll wind up infiltrated with even more perfidious bloodsucking capitalists.

Posted by: ...---... | Jan 21 2009 15:02 utc | 30

Thanks for the link to the original article in ZEIT.
Everyone who can should read what Helmut Schmidt had to say in full.

He is very clear about the situation and the politician's half-hearted responses.
Maybe someone has to become 90 years of age before they can see the Big Picture, and feel free to speak their mind. In that vain, Mr. Volcker has spoken up to some degree,
but has anyone read/listened to the Warren Buffett interview with Brokaw done a few days ago? Falls far short of the halo surrounding Mr. Buffett as guru/master of salvation.....(but then, he has a day time job, doesn't he??!!) My five cents worth.

Posted by: A.S. | Jan 21 2009 15:05 utc | 31

Naked shorting already is banned. The SEC just never gave a fuck about enforcing it.

Posted by: Phil | Jan 21 2009 22:58 utc | 32

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