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Marketplace Scratch Pad

Morning Reading

Scott Jagow Oct 7, 2009

Good morning. Today, a few pictures worth a thousand words. And a few words that might say even more:

Where’s the outrage? (Newsweek) Good interview with econ professor William Black, one of my favorites on financial regulation.

NEWSWEEK: A few weeks ago marked the one-year anniversary of the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. Since the financial collapse, there have been no indictments. The Dow is ready to hit 10,000 again. Where is the outrage?

Black: During the Saving & Loans crisis, we had over 1,000 convictions that involved insiders and gigantic borrowers. Now we have zero. The FBI did not even begin to investigate the large subprime lenders until March 2007. People would be upset if they had the facts, or if you asked them how many criminal referrals there were for mortgage fraud. (There were 65,000 last year.) Meanwhile, the administration is saying there is no problem and that the financial crisis is over. That’s the exact opposite of what you want to say and do if you want dramatic resources to change things.

Also, at the same link, make sure you check out Newsweek’s slide show, “The Meltdown, in Words.” It has a collection of quotes from the past five years. Warning: they might make you spit up your coffee.

Speaking of financial regulation… (Raw Story)

“It is not the banks that makes the rules, it is government,” Geithner said.

I ask you: What’s the difference? The Treasury Secretary also said this:

“There are many possible hazards that lie ahead of us. The most dangerous? That people feel too good too soon. Remember the problems that we had a year ago…”

Too big to live (Niall Ferguson) “Why we must stamp out State Monopoly Capitalism.” For when you have time. It’s a little long.

The recession through an economist’s walk to work (PBS NewsHour) Excellent slide show. From Harvard Economist Richard Freeman:

When people ask me, how is Boston doing, I do not give them the standard economic figures: unemployment is about the national average, the housing market is nowhere near as bad as in some other parts of the country, etc. Instead I tell them about the empty store fronts along major shopping streets.

When people ask me, how is Harvard doing, I do not tell them the latest scoop on Professor Gates vs the Cambridge police. Instead I tell them about the empty store fronts in the Harvard Square area.

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