Easy Street

Easy Street: Is Wall Street Hurting or Helping America?

Heidi Moore May 27, 2011

Easy Street is our daily roundup of the most interesting news stories and commentary about Wall Street, Washington and the curious world of finance. You can see more of what we think are the biggest stories of the day on our News in Brief page. Every day, you can download Marketplace’s daily show on iTunes and follow us for more headlines at twitter.com/mktplaceradio. If you want to listen to Marketplace on the radio, find your local station and time here.

Bankers & Finance

On the heels of Dick Parsons of Citigroup talking earlier this week about what would cause another bank crisis, investor Jeff Gundlach throws in his view on the same subject.

47% of people surveyed by Pew believe that Wall Street hurts the U.S. economy more than it helps. One wonders, however, how many of those people are fully knowledgeable about what Wall Street is, or what it does.

UBS is not leaving Switzerland, says its chief.

Markets & Traders

Investment advisers in Joplin, Missouri are in shock [after the tornadoes]: “‘We are trying to track down clients and contact as many as we can,’ she said. The main message: ‘Are they okay, do they need anything)?'”

Fund Managers & Investing

Portrait of a hedge-fund manager (and Mets investor) as a young man.

Bill Gross is one of the most powerful bond managers in the world. He is betting against U.S. Treasury bonds, and he doesn’t care what you think of him.

A big part of the defense big banks have offered of their subprime hijinks is that sophisticated investors buying mortgage-backed securities should have done their own research to find out whether the mortgages in the bundles were actually worth investing in. A fine today belies that argument: Credit Suisse and Merrill Lynch paid a fine to settle charges that they did not provide full information on mortgage delinquencies.

Related: The Myth of the Sophisticated Investor

Politicians & Regulation

Republicans have blocked a potential recess appointment of Elizabeth Warren to the CFPB.

The SEC is preparing to block felons from participating in securities offerings. Send opinions!

The U.S. Treasury did actually almost once default on its payments on savings bonds.

The typical Congressman who invests does better than hedge-fund superstars. This may be attributable to what Wall Street calls “asymmetric information.”

SEC chair Mary Schapiro has spent more time with executives of Goldman Sachs than any other bank over the past two years.

Spencer Bachus “comforts Wall Street while bashing Dodd-Frank at home.” Also: “During the past two decades, Spencer Bachus has been the U.S. House of Representatives’ third-biggest recipient of donations from financial companies led by JPMorgan.”

Recreational Reading

Rod Blagojevich has a giant man-crush on Alexander Hamilton. But really, who doesn’t?

Related: The best rap about Alexander Hamilton ever written, by Lin-Manuel Miranda..

The Economist says that Andrew Ross Sorkin is the true financial hero of Too Big to Fail.

What did President Obama know about Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and when did he know it?

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