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  • WebMemo posted May 5, 2010 by Dave Mason The Senator Has No Clothes: Why a Ban on “Naked” Credit Default Swaps Is Ill-Advised and Impractical

    Senator Byron Dorgan’s (D–ND) proposal to ban what he calls “gambling” with “naked” swaps is deliberately calculated to evoke images of a wild weekend playing strip poker in Las Vegas. Regrettably it is Dorgan’s policy proposal that is bereft of intellectual or empirical cover. Dorgan’s game of politics on the Potomac is a far bigger threat to the economy than the…

  • Commentary posted April 22, 2010 by Dave Mason The Truth About Derivatives

    Demanding Diversity Through Uniformity“Derivatives” have gone from being the hottest thing on Wall Street to being the hottest thing in Washington. Indeed, President Obama -- who mentioned them no fewer than three times during Thursday’s Cooper Union speech -- has vowed to veto any financial reform bill that doesn’t attempt to regulate them. On April 14,…

  • WebMemo posted April 15, 2010 by Dave Mason The "Comprehensive" Problem with Derivatives Regulation

    Persuaded that lax regulation of financial derivatives contributed to the 2008 financial crisis, policymakers in Congress and the Obama Administration have adopted a knee-jerk solution: regulate everything. The Obama Administration has proposed and the House Financial Services and Senate Banking Committees have each approved schemes for regulating derivatives that…

  • WebMemo posted March 31, 2010 by Dave Mason Senator Dodd and Derivatives: How the Market Has Made Regulation Redundant

    Eighteen months after the financial crisis, Senator Chris Dodd (D–CT) and the Obama Administration are suddenly in a hurry to pass financial reform legislation, including blanket regulation of over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives.[1] Dodd’s derivatives proposal, as adopted by the Senate Finance Committee last week,[2] ignores changes in derivatives markets following the…

  • Backgrounder posted November 4, 2009 by Dave Mason Why Government Control of Bank Salaries Will Hurt, Not Help, the Economy

    Abstract: In response to the recent financial crisis, the Obama Administration and the Federal Reserve Board are capping executive salaries and bonuses, and imposing a host of new regulations and mandates--all in the name of reducing risk. If the rule of unintended consequences applies anywhere, it applies here. Government pay rules have been tried before--and have…

  • WebMemo posted July 30, 2009 by Dave Mason House Executive Pay Legislation Puts Pay Czar's Boot in the Door

    Understandably concerned over taxpayer-subsidized bonuses, the Obama Administration appointed a "pay czar" to oversee compensation at firms receiving substantial government backing, such as GM and AIG. Regrettably, the Administration did not stop with government-aided companies but proposed a sweeping plan regulating private-sector pay.[1] On July 28, the House…

  • Backgrounder posted April 23, 2009 by Dave Mason Credit Derivatives: Market Solutions to the Market Crisis

    As Congress and the Obama Administration consider changes in financial market regulation, much attention is focused on once obscure and still poorly understood financial instruments known as credit default swaps (CDSs). The House Agriculture Committee has approved legislation that would restrict who may own CDSs and where they may be traded. The Obama Administration…

  • Testimony posted March 23, 2009 by Dave Mason Executive Order on Regulatory Review

    Comments to the Office of Management and Budget FR Doc E9-4080 Delivered on March 16, 2009 history and Background The President's Memorandum on Regulatory Review begins by observing that the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs has reviewed Federal regulations for "well over two decades."[1] While OIRA regulatory review began in 1981,…

  • Special Report posted January 13, 2009 by David C. John, Dave Mason Reforming Financial Regulation: A Memo to President-elect Obama

    [W]e need to streamline a framework of overlapping and competing regulatory agencies. Reshuffling bureaucracies should not be an end in itself. But the large, complex institutions that dominate the financial landscape do not fit into categories created decades ago. Different institutions compete in multiple markets--our regulatory system should not pretend otherwise.…

  • Play Movie Basis to Appoint an Independent Financial Markets Commission Video Recorded on October 23, 2008 Basis to Appoint an Independent Financial Markets Commission

    Three Reasons to Appoint an Independent Financial Markets Commission: 1) The causes of the financial crisis are unclear. 2) The federal regulatory structure should be better coordinated. 3) Congress is part of the problem.…

  • WebMemo posted October 23, 2008 by Dave Mason Why an Independent Financial Markets Commission Is Needed Now

    The current financial crisis has many causes; there is plenty of blame to go around. While immediate action was necessary to stabilize the banking system, policymakers need a better understanding of the roots of the crisis before making permanent changes. Depression-era regulatory structures must be brought in line with a globalized 21st-century economy, but hasty…

  • Executive Memorandum posted March 22, 1995 by Dave Mason House Term Limit Options: Good, Better, Best

    This report is currently available only in PDF format.…

  • Backgrounder Update posted March 10, 1992 by Dave Mason Anatomy of a Whitewash: How to Judge the Ethics Committee Report on the House Bank Scandal

    (Archived document, may contain errors) 3/10192 175 ANATOMY OF A 1ITEWASH: HOW TO JUDGE THE ETHICS COMMITTEE REPORT ON THE HOUSE BANK SCANDAL (Updating Ftecutive Memoran&m, No. 3 10, "'Rubbergate': Five Steps to Avoid a Whitewash," October 9, 199 1.) After a five-month investigation, the House Ethics Committee' issued a report last week on the House Bank scandal.…

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