After the Great Depression, Democrats ran against Herbert Hoover for 30 years—and with great success. Even though Hoover’s policies were anything but market-oriented—he greatly raised spending, taxes, and tariffs in response to the 1929 Wall Street crash—Republicans took the fall for Hooverism. It wasn’t until Ronald Reagan that free markets were fully politically rehabilitated.Read more
General Electric is divesting its finance business, starting with the sale of $26.5 billion of real estate assets. Back to its roots as an industrial manufacturing powerhouse, churning out jet engines, medical devices, oil drilling equipment and the other heavy equipment.Read more
When writers become famous, it is easy to forget that they were once obscure, and sometimes very poor. Yet with few exceptions—Homer, Tacitus, Omar Khayyam, Jonathan Safran Foer—even the greatest writers had to slave away at menial positions before their careers took off and they could support themselves with their pens alone.Read more
Celebrating a fourth birthday and growing nicely. That’s the story of the Dodd-Frank law, designed to end a “too big to fail” banking system that forced taxpayers to bail out bankers who took not only their own banks but the entire financial system to the verge of collapse, and brought on a record recession. Dodd-Frank, which weighed in at over 2,000 pages at birth, has since put on 14,000 pages of implementing regulations, with more to come.Read more
To meteorologists, an inversion is a deviation from the normal change of an atmospheric property. It can lead to pollution and adverse health effects. To Wall Street dealmakers, and now to most boards of directors, an inversion is a cross-border merger that allows the buyer to reincorporate in a more tax-friendly jurisdiction.Read more
In January during his State of the Union Address, President Obama unveiled his new myRA program. “Let’s do more to help Americans save for retirement. Today, most workers don’t have a pension. A Social Security check often isn’t enough on its own. And while the stock market has doubled over the last five years, that doesn’t help folks who don’t have 401(k)s. That’s why ... I will direct the Treasury to create a new way for working Americans to start their own retirement savings: myRA,” he explained.Read more
President Obama likes to promote his domestic policy agenda by highlighting economic competition from China. In particular, he has repeatedly pointed to China’s massive infrastructure investments to tout his proposals for infrastructure spending in America.Read more
Take a visit to the cyber-belly of the beast, to a website run by the European Commission, the EU’s bureaucratic core, and you will be told that “the financial sector was a major cause of the [economic] crisis and received substantial government support.” Soon it will be payback time, in the form of Europe’s new Financial Transaction Tax (FTT), set to be levied at a rate of 0.1 percent on equity and debt transactions, and 0.01 percent on trades in derivatives. It will ensure that the financial sector “makes a fair and substantial contribution to public finances.”Read more
On Sunday, the leading experts on terrorism finance in the Middle East and North Africa will convene for a five-day conference. The Financial Action Task Force is essentially the United Nations for combating terror finance, and MENAFATF ranks among its most important regional bodies. So why is the group meeting, in all places, in Khartoum?Read more
In a press conference today, the Federal Reserve announced it will keep interest rates low and leave QE3 unchanged, continuing to buy $85 billion a month in bonds to prop up the economy.Read more
President Barack Obama pledged this morning in his weekly radio address to continue to crackdown on "irresponsible behavior."
Always looking "forward," President Obama has asked Bill Clinton—who was elected to the presidency 20 years ago—to speak tonight and suggest to the American people (whether explicitly or implicitly) that this is really a choice between Clinton and George W. Bush, rather than between Obama and Mitt Romney. If you're Obama, this beats running on your record.Read more
According to the pool report, "joining POTUS on the flight from San Fran was Penny Pritzker, the campaign's finance chair four years ago. Jay Carney said she was in the neighborhood."
Must be nice to have been a big bundler for President Obama, and pretty convenient to get a lift on Air Force One when the president just so happens to be in the neighborhood.Read more
Last week, Marc Lasry defended private equity on national television. "Private equity, do they do God's work or are they vampires?" a CNBC host asked Lasry, who is a hedge fund manager. "I think they do very good work," he replied.
Today, Barack Obama will go to Lasry's New York City home. But the president isn't going to voice his disagreement with the money man; instead, he's going to collect a check--$40,000 per person in attendance.Read more
This morning on CNN, Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was asked, "Why is it not hypocrisy for the president to take campaign donations from private equity when he's attacking private equity making that an essential part of his campaign?"Read more
This may come as a shock to many pollsters and much of the press corps, but public opinion is a little more complicated than randomly calling 1,000 Americans, asking them a dubiously worded question about a complex political issue, and reporting the aggregate results.Read more
President Obama’s budget for 2013 is pure Obama. How do we know? Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, was once asked how to become a budget expert. “You have to read the budget,” he said. To know Obama, it’s similar. You have to read the speeches and look over the budgets.Read more
Christmas is nigh, and so are the nonstop showings of Frank Capra’s beloved 1946 classic, It’s a Wonderful Life. As they do every year, millions of Americans will take in the tale of small-town mortgagee George Bailey—who, with a little help from his guardian angel, reminds us that true success is measured by the love of family and friends.Read more
Three Republican presidential candidates—Herman Cain, Ron Paul, and Newt Gingrich—have at least hinted about the desirability of a return to the gold standard. The four top Republican congressional leaders recently called on the Federal Reserve to curb its interventions in the U.S. economy. In early October the Heritage Foundation held a two-day sound money conference in which both keynote speakers—New York investment banker Lewis Lehrman and former presidential candidate Steve Forbes—called for adoption of a gold-backed dollar. Advocating the replacement of Fed chairman Ben Bernanke has become aRead more
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