Marketplace Scratch Pad

Morning Reading

Scott Jagow Mar 9, 2010

Good morning. Europe gives Wall Street banks the hand, and Greece wants the US to give the banks some new rules. Plus, why every nation cooks its books, and the surprising story of Peru’s economy:

Europe tells Wall Street to take a hike (The Guardian)

European countries are blocking Wall Street banks from lucrative deals to sell government debt worth hundreds of billions of euros in retaliation for their role in the credit crunch…

“Governments do not have the confidence that the excessive risk-taking culture of the big Wall Street banks has changed and they still cannot be trusted to put the stability of the financial system before profit,” said Arlene McCarthy, vice chair of the European parliament’s economic and monetary affairs committee. “It is no surprise therefore that governments are reluctant to do business with banks that have failed to learn the lesson of the crisis. The banks need to acknowledge the mistakes that were made and behave in an ethical way to regain the trust and confidence of governments.”

Geithner’s financial plan is working and making him unpopular (New Yorker)

Economists are still debating what it was that ended the financial crisis and turned the economy around. It is inarguable, though, that Geithner’s stabilization plan has proved more effective than many observers expected, this one included. “The policy worked,” Brad Hintz, a top-rated financial analyst at the research firm Sanford C. Bernstein, said. “Now, did it raise the mob to come after the bankers and politicians and try and drag them off to the guillotine? Certainly it did. That’s part of the political price that is being paid for the policy having worked.”

Greek prime minister seeks US help regulating speculators (Washington Post) He’s in DC today, not asking for money but for bank regulations…

“The same financial institutions that were bailed out with taxpayers’ money are now making a fortune from Greece’s misfortune,” the prime minister said. “Europe and America must say ‘enough is enough’ to these speculators who only place value on immediate returns, with utter disregard for the consequences on the larger economic system — not to mention the human consequences of lost jobs, foreclosed homes and decimated pensions.”

Why every nation cooks its books (MSN Money)

It makes you wonder what other countries are cheating on their accounts. Or maybe we should ask it this way: “Is anyone not cheating?” We all know that the United States does. But so does China, that much-admired model — at the moment anyway — of economic management. Even the Canadians — yes, the Canadians! — cheat.
The consensus view is that the world’s books are in pretty bad shape. But the consensus view has a long history of ignoring problems until they bite it. Hard.

Anyone remember what’s in the health care bill? (NPR)

“It still has the sweetheart deals in it. … I mean, what’s fair about taxpayers in Louisiana paying less than taxpayers in Tennessee? And what’s fair about protecting seniors in Florida and not protecting seniors in California and Illinois and Wyoming?”

Peru’s surprising economic rise (PBS NewsHour) Ray Suarez previews his upcoming series on the South American country…

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