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Entries by Robert Kuttner from 05/2009

Reviving Pecora's Ghost

| Posted 05.03.2009 | Business

With Summers, Geithner, and Bernanke working closely with major investment bankers to restart the system of securitization, there will be a titanic struggle over what kind of regulatory system to have going forward.

Collateral Damage and Double Standards

| Posted 05.10.2009 | Politics

The stress tests were not a set of rigorous examinations at all, but a modeling exercise using the banks' own valuations of their assets. Why is the Fed low-balling the problem? The hope is that by keeping the banks afloat for a few more months, and trying to entice private capital back to the table, the recovery in other parts of the economy will spill over onto the banks. But the greater likelihood is that weakened banks will continue dragging down the rest of the economy.

Profiles in Financial Courage

| Posted 05.17.2009 | Business

The JFK Presidential Library gives a Profile in Courage Award to public officials who took a stand that took a lot of integrity and nerve.

Selective Lion

| Posted 05.24.2009 | Politics

All week, Obama demonstrated his great skills as a teacher and orator, but it remains to be seen how he will use these outsized gifts as challenges on several fronts continue to unfold.

A Real Pecora Commission

| Posted 05.31.2009 | Politics

In 1932 through 1934 the Senate Banking Committee, led by its Chief Counsel Ferdinand Pecora, ferreted out the deeper fraud and corruption that led to the Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression. The Pecora Committee's findings helped change the political mood, and laid the groundwork for the sweeping financial reforms of Roosevelt's New Deal. President Obama has now signed legislation which, among other things, creates an investigative commission inspired by Pecora. The new Financial Markets Commission has a sweeping mandate, including subpoena powers, to investigate all the causes of the collapse. But whether the commission carries out this mandate will depend entirely on who its chair and members are, and whether they hire a tough staff.