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  Monday, 7 Feb 2011 | 2:45 PM ET

The Wrong Crisis And The Wrong Solution

Posted By: John Carney
Government Regulation
Government Regulation

Dean Baker has provided a provocative and must-read response to the report of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.

His basic response is that the entire premises of the commission was wrong. Instead of focusing narrowly on the “financial crisis” it should have asked how we got into an economic crisis.

“The FCIC investigated risky investments, lax regulation, excessive leverage. And it downplayed the more mundane, but vastly more important, collapse of the housing bubble,” Baker writes.

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  Monday, 7 Feb 2011 | 2:13 PM ET

Mmmmm. Debt-to-GDP Charts. Pretty.

Posted By: Ash Bennington

What's more fun than an über-geeky debt-to-GDP map-chart combo , in a split screen view, from the IMF?

If you answered 'nothing', then today is your lucky day.

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  Monday, 7 Feb 2011 | 1:38 PM ET

Why The SEC Is Fighting A War Against Private Placements

Posted By: John Carney
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission seal hangs on the facade of its building in Washington, DC.
Getty Images
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission seal hangs on the facade of its building in Washington, DC.

In the wake of the Facebook-Goldman fiasco, it’s asking: why does the SEC have a built-in bias against private placements?

John McLaughlin, an attorney whose firm represents Goldman Sachs , offered an answer last week—the SEC is defending its turf.

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  Monday, 7 Feb 2011 | 12:26 PM ET

It's Official, the Credit Markets Are Going Berserk Again

Posted By: John Carney

The latest sign that the debt markets are awash in liquidity comes in the form a $500 million covenant-light debt issuance to pay a dividend to its private-equity owners.

Aleris International Inc—a Beechwood, Ohio aluminum company that emerged out of bankruptcy last year and is now owned by Oaktree Capital Management, Apollo Management, and Sankaty Advisors—sold the seven year notes at par yesterday to yield 7.625 percent.

The bonds offer some of the weakest lender protections of any deal to come to market recently, according to analysts at Moody’s and Covenant Review quoted in Michael Aneiro’s story in today’s Wall Street Journal . In particular, the covenants don’t provide checks on the ability of the company to borrow more and push cash out to sponsors.

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  Monday, 7 Feb 2011 | 11:21 AM ET

The Dizzying Complexity of Eurozone Debt

Posted By: Ash Bennington
Medioimages | Photodisc | Getty Images

The scariest part about not understanding an article about European sovereign debt is this: The realization that people making policy may not understand it either.

Earlier today, I linked to an article from Bloomberg about quantitative eas

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  Monday, 7 Feb 2011 | 9:55 AM ET

Pat Toomey: 'Default Not Inevitable'

Posted By: Lori Ann LaRocco

The sands in Uncle Sam's debt ceiling hourglass are sliding down. Between April and May, according to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, we will have exhausted the nation's borrowing authority.

Junior Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) is hoping his "Full Faith and Credit Act" will be the answer. Geithner, however, has called the bill "quite harmful."

What Toomey's billwould do is force the Treasury prioritize payments, paying off debt first and then paying for programs like Social Security. If passed, it would allow the US to hit the debt ceiling without automatically triggering a default on the nation's debt. The bill has support from the House Republican Study Committee but with such harsh words from Treasury and from some Democratic Leaders, the act faces an uphill battle on Capitol Hill. I caught up with the Senator and talked about all things budget reform and tax reform.

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  Monday, 7 Feb 2011 | 9:17 AM ET

Meredith Whitney Stands by Her Dire Muni Land Predictions

Posted By: Ash Bennington

Geithner attempts to hash through capital control issues in Brazil. [CNBC]

Guess what? Monetary policy isn't a precise science with easily predicted results . [Bloomberg]

SEC lawyers—who missed Madoff crimes—get major hookups at private law firms [NY Post]

Santander bids on Polish bank. [DealBook]

"Nile Revolution" isn't going away. [Reuters]

» Read More
  Friday, 4 Feb 2011 | 4:51 PM ET

Ignoring—Warning—Signs—About—Madoff is The New Black

Posted By: Ash Bennington
  Friday, 4 Feb 2011 | 4:35 PM ET

Will Fannie Mae Take Over Freddie Mac?

Posted By: John Carney

Obama administration officials are hard at work preparing a white paper on overhauling the nation's housing finance system. Next week they are expected to make a major announcement about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two mortgage companies the government took over in the summer of 2008.

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  Friday, 4 Feb 2011 | 3:56 PM ET

Diamonds Are A Dictators Best Friend?

Posted By: Ash Bennington
Jeffrey Coolidge | The Image Bank | Getty Images

With all the talk of 'regime elements' and wealthy businessmen fleeing Egypt, I've been thinking about gold and diamonds a lot lately.

We hear of dictators stashing large quantities of gold: For example, stories of Saddam Hussein's gold stash have achieved quasi-mythic proportions—George Clooney even starred in a film based on the premise.

But why not diamonds?

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