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Banks, lobbyists, and Republicans
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 5558

PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 12:16 pm    Post subject: Banks, lobbyists, and Republicans Reply with quote

By Gary Rivlin in the May 20 "The Nation"

Quote:
The mood was triumphant on the morning of July 21, 2010, when Barack Obama, not quite two years into his presidency, strode to a podium inside the Ronald Reagan Building, a few blocks from the White House. As he prepared to sign the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act—the sweeping legislative package designed to prevent another spectacular financial collapse—into law, the president first acknowledged the miracle of having a bill to sign at all. “Passing this…was no easy task,” he told the crowd of hundreds. “We had to overcome the furious lobbying of an array of powerful interest groups and a partisan minority determined to block change.”

Indeed, some 3,000 lobbyists had swarmed the Capitol in hopes of killing off pieces of the proposed bill—nearly six lobbyists for every member of Congress. For Michael Barr, then an assistant secretary at the Treasury Department, the trench warfare spurred by Dodd-Frank left him shellshocked. “You pick a page at random,” says Barr, now a law professor at the University of Michigan, “and I’ll tell you about all the issues on that page where the fighting was intense.” Remarkably, despite the onslaught, Dodd-Frank “got stronger rather than weaker the closer we got to passage, which is incredibly unusual,” says Lisa Donner, executive director of Americans for Financial Reform, one of a handful of advocacy groups that fought tenaciously for the bill.

That sense of victory barely lasted the morning. The same financial behemoths that had fought so ferociously to block Dodd-Frank were not going to let the mere fact of the bill’s passage ruin their plans. “Halftime,” shrugged Scott Talbott, chief lobbyist for the Financial Services Roundtable, a lobbying group representing 100 of the country’s largest financial institutions. It was 5:30 am on a Friday when a joint House-Senate conference committee approved the bill’s final language. By Sunday, an industry lawyer named Annette Nazareth—a former top official at the Securities and Exchange Commission whose firm counts JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs among its clients—had already sent off a heavily annotated copy of the 848-page bill to colleagues at her old agency. According to a congressional staffer whose boss was a key architect of Dodd-Frank, Nazareth is one of two “generals” running the campaign to undo the bill. The other is Eugene Scalia, a fearsome litigator and son of the Supreme Court justice.


Read the rest at: http://www.thenation.com/article/174113/how-wall-street-defanged-dodd-frank

My favorite lines from the article include:

Quote:
...there are many hidden gems for progressives buried in Dodd-Frank. There’s an anti-bribery clause requiring companies to disclose payments to a foreign government when they acquire drilling and mining rights...

...two of the more prominent consumer advocacy groups on Capitol Hill, have spent a combined $1.1 million on lobbyists over the past three years—in contrast with the more than $350 million spent by the Chamber of Commerce during that same time period, or the $25 million laid out by the American Bankers Association...

and

Perhaps no part of Dodd-Frank matters more than the CFTC’s battle to implement derivatives reform. Certainly the big banks wouldn’t argue that point: no product peddled by Wall Street has proved as lucrative in recent years, especially for the country’s most elite firms. Just five banks—Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America—account for more than a 95 percent share of a derivatives market that has been generating an estimated $40 billion to $50 billion in annual revenues. Because derivatives have been traded on dark (i.e., unregulated) markets, this “oligarchy” of five, says Darrell Duffie, a finance professor at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and the author of How Big Banks Fail and What to Do About It, has been able to charge exorbitant rates to the wide range of businesses and government entities that buy them—profit margins that are sure to plummet if Dodd-Frank is fully implemented, Duffie says. That alone would justify the huge sums spent on lobbying to gut Dodd-Frank, a reflection of the banks’ unflinching resolve to protect the billions of dollars in derivatives profits they book every year. “If you look at the energy and ferocity and the dollars the financial sector put on the table, it was overwhelmingly directed at derivatives,” says Michael Barr, the former Treasury official.

This is why derivatives—and by extension, the CFTC—should matter to the rest of us as well, at least if we want to reduce the odds that the banks will again blow up the global economy anytime soon. It was derivatives, after all—all those credit default swaps, collateralized debt obligations and other exotic financial instruments that most of us would learn about in newspaper infographics offered only after the fact—that were the main culprit in the collapse of insurance giant AIG. They were also the main problem in the failures of Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns, and nearly took down the other big banks as well.


So you have the son of the Supreme Court justice fighting it, his dad refusing to recuse himself, and Wall Street dedicating most of their contributions to Republicans to fight the law. And some of you don't think there is any difference between Obama and Romney (or the new crop) on this issue. You just aren't paying attention!
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 5558

PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I think we can add the rating agencies to this unholy triumvirate. Matt Taibbi has an article in the July 4 Rolling Stone, laying out the fraudulent rating of subprime loan packages, as shown in litigation discovery by purchasers such as King County. He makes the persuasive case that these bastions of the free market presented essentially fraudulent ratings to maintain their market share. You can't get to the Rolling Stone article, but you can see his blog here: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/you-f-ked-up-you-trusted-us-talking-ratings-agencies-with-chris-hayes-20130621

Of course having the banks pay the salaries of the raters, without any intervening regulation, is a huge conflict of interest. So the second part of the story is what has been done to prevent this from happening again? The Senate passed a bill to change the compensation model and try to prevent this conflict of interest. House Republicans relegated that effort at reform to a study by the SEC--which called for more study.

The fraudulent peddling of sub-prime loans destroyed perhaps 40% of the wealth in the world, rewarding a few that stayed ahead of the implosion. Theft on a grand scale. We get real reform when we elect Tea Party members to the House of Representatives, eh?
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swchandler



Joined: 08 Nov 1993
Posts: 6022

PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mac, here's the link to the Rolling Stone article by Taibbi.

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-last-mystery-of-the-financial-crisis-20130619

No doubt, it's interesting reading. Heads should roll, but unfortunately, that's just a pipedream.
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stevenbard



Joined: 11 Nov 1993
Posts: 4336

PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I for one didn't want to bail the bastards out.
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stevenbard



Joined: 11 Nov 1993
Posts: 4336

PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A sickening personal story... A friend bought his home 10 years ago for $500k. Over the years refied multiple times. He built his loan balance up to $1.1 million ove the years, but didn't make a payment for the last 5 years. Last month his lender agreed to drop his principle back to $600k, forgive the last 5 years of interest, pay the taxes, and give him a 2.2% fixed loan for the next 22 years.

I applied for a lower interest rate 2 months ago and was turned down for a 40% LTV loan because my income had fallen in 2011. WTF? They said I had plenty of income to pay it, but my income MIGHT CONTINUE TO FALL. Is this entire system on crack?
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swchandler



Joined: 08 Nov 1993
Posts: 6022

PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your friend aside, I have to wonder about what you're leaving out about your situation, particularly given the very low ratio involved. At the bottom line, it's always about the details. In the past, I have found that you can be very light on specifics here. There's nothing wrong with maintaining a degree of mystery about who you are and what you do, but it can arguably affect outcomes.
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stevenbard



Joined: 11 Nov 1993
Posts: 4336

PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Honestly Chandler, it is beyond me. Luckily, I don't need the money. I just wanted to lower my interest rate. The whole thing is a mess and getting worse for people who follow the rules. I am suspicious that they didn't lock the loan when they said they did. Interest rates were rising. Wouldn't that open them up to a big lawsuit? Who has the time to sue?

The whole thing stinks though. Do you realize they just gave my friend over a $million over the next 22 years? How is that fair to anyone?
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14602

PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep. Why should anyone get bailed out just because his investment lost value and his mortgage is now upside down? That's no different from bailing out people who lose money in Las Vegas or the stock market. I've had stocks and home values decline (and have been profiled by the police, told which water fountain to drink from, and told which section of Montgomery buses and movie theaters I can and cannot sit in, but that's another story), but that's not the taxpayer's or the good mortgage payers' problem.
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windoggie



Joined: 22 Feb 2002
Posts: 2409

PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

isobars wrote:
and have been profiled by the police, told which water fountain to drink from, and told which section of Montgomery buses and movie theaters I can and cannot sit in, but that's another story
Wow. I always imagined you to be an old pissed off white guy, not an old pissed off black guy. I guess you never know.
_________________
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stevenbard



Joined: 11 Nov 1993
Posts: 4336

PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vf17W212Ps0

Is this Iso?
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