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Easy Street

Easy Street: No Hiring, No Lending, Another Financial Crisis Coming?

Heidi Moore Jun 2, 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

One thing you never see in stories about Wall Street lobbying: an explanation that politicians are taking the money. Yet somehow, they never seem to refuse it.

Nick Leeson is best known as a rogue trader who single-handedly took down Barings Bank in the 1980s. He has an interesting column today about how government investigators, particularly in Ireland, should be criminally prosecuting banks that collapsed..

Felix Salmon backs down on his accusation that the New York Times hacked into Fabrice Tourre’s email account. The whole laptop story continues to be exceptionally strange, however.

Related: Goldman, like all of its rivals, is too big to fail – but is it, as one prominent Wall Street analyst says, too big to prosecute?

Related: Goldman has been subpoenaed by the Manhattan DA, which is investigating whether the firm misled Congress. Think of the laptops we’ll find.

Markets & Traders

Groupon’s IPO filing has a charming attempt at humor:

blockquote>Groupon is a local e-commerce marketplace that connects merchants to consumers by offering goods and services at a discount. Traditionally, local merchants have tried to reach consumers and generate sales through a variety of methods, including the yellow pages, direct mail, newspaper, radio, television and online advertisements, promotions and the occasional guy dancing on a street corner in a gorilla suit.

Related: How to write about the Groupon IPO when you don’t really care.

(Hat tip to Marketplace colleague Tracey Samuelson and Byrne Hobart, the CEO of Digital Due Diligence, for that one).

Fund Managers & Investing

Hedge funds, considered to be “smart money,” are backing away from their investments in U.S. banks.

Related: Moody’s is considering a downgrade of U.S banks to adjust for less government help.

Dan Loeb is still big on gold.

Politicians & Regulation

He (or she) who controls the International Monetary Fund controls the euro. That’s why France suddenly desires control of an agency that used to be considered a financial and political backwater.

The Securities and Exchange Commission seems to have a persistent problem with employees watching porn at work.

The Economy

“Roughly 9 percent of Americans who want to go to work cannot find an employer.”

Related: The Federal Reserve is out of stimulus options.

Related: One strategist says we are “on the verge of a great, great depression.”

Related: BlackRock, the powerful bond-fund manager, holds a contrarian view of our future: its experts don’t believe a double-dip recession is coming.

Related: Have the last two years been a “scam” perpetrated on the populace by central banks? Are we all going to wake up, a la Lost, only to find that we are an afterlife masterminded by Ben Bernanke? Increasingly, prominent financiers, including Richard Parsons of Citigroup, are talking about the certainty of another financial crisis.

Recreational Reading

Attorney General Eric Holder demands another season of The Wire. This is probably the kind of government intervention that would unite a nation.

V.S. Naipul, a well-known author who has made his name writing the kind of grim, self-important books about post-colonialism that seem important but which no one actually reads with any measure of enjoyment, says that women are “unequal” to him as writers. As one wag on Twitter points out, maybe that’s a good thing.

The forgetting drug from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind has been invented.

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