Bernanke vs. Congress: Final testimony in bond fight?
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This was a major week for economic news, the city of Detroit filed for bankruptcy protection. As economic observers reflect on what comes next for Motor City, we take a look at the other major financial stories that got somewhat overshadowed.
For one thing, hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen was hit with a civil action from federal regulators.
“They’ve been going after Steven Cohen for a while,” says Catherine Rampell of The New York Times. “Is it really that big of a deal? I’m sure it’s a big deal to him. But if you look at the charges themselves, they’re not criminal charges.”
And in terms of non-Detroit headline news … that’s not all. In what was likely to be Ben Bernanke’s last appearance before Congress as chairman of the Federal Reserve, Bernanke told lawmakers the central bank will begin to scale back its bond-buying program as long as economic recovery continues.
“He transmitted a message that didn’t move the markets,” Bloomberg Government’s Nela Richardson says, meaning it was a good performance. Richardson says he also conveyed the message of a “economy that is recovering, led by housing. But he was also very cautious that there was some downside risk: That’s economist speak for ‘we may be wrong about this.'”
Meanwhile, the Senate appears close to a deal on tying student loan rates to the market while retroactively fixing loan rates that doubled earlier this month.
Also, each week, the Weekly Wrappers offer their #longreads picks for the weekend ahead. Here’s what you should read.
Nela Richardson suggests:
- The New Yorker’s Peter Hessler takes a deep dive into Egypt’s ongoing revolution and examines the winners and losers from reform.
- In the Atlantic, former director of the Office of Management and Budget Peter Orszag and former Bush administration official John Bridgeland discuss how government scarcity could make Washington work better.
- Also from The Atlantic, David Freedman shows how junk food can end obesity. If this is true, then it’s the greatest news since the return of the Twinkie!
Catherine Rampell recommends:
- How much is a law degree really worth? Economists Michael Simkovic and Frank McIntyre say, all things considered, about $600,000.
- Peter Eavis reports in The New York Times that economic regulators and members of Congress are stepping up efforts to increase regulation over big banks, despite the fact that they’re more profitable than ever.
- Best (or worst) art heist story ever: A man stole a bunch of paintings by Picasso, Matisse, Monet, Gauguin, Lucian Freud and Meyer de Haan — and after he was arrested, his mother incinerated the masterpieces to destroy the evidence.
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