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  • Commentary posted July 27, 2016 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. Dodd-Frank and Glass-Steagall: 'Consumer Protection for Billionaires'

    It may be hard to believe, but I pay very little attention to presidential politics. People send me news clips and ask me what I think about what the candidates said, but I generally don’t indulge them. This week, however, a friend sent me a clip from a Donald Trump Jr. speech that actually got my attention. Trump the younger, of course, is not running for political…

  • Commentary posted July 14, 2016 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. Why Big-Wig Financial Execs Love Dodd-Frank

    House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) has released a discussion draft of the Financial CHOICE Act, legislation that would replace large parts of the failed Dodd-Frank Act. It has attracted some high-profile fans. Three Nobel Prize winning economists, a former U.S. Treasury Secretary, and a host of academics and policy officials have released…

  • Issue Brief posted July 7, 2016 by Justin Bogie, David R. Burton, Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. 2017 House Financial Services and General Government Bill: Reduces Spending, But Does Not Go Far Enough on Policy Changes

    This week, the House is expected to consider the Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill. This bill provides funding for the Treasury Department, the Justice Department, the Small Business Administration, and the Securities and Exchange Commission, among other agencies. The fiscal year (FY) 2017 bill provides a total of $21.7 billion in…

  • Commentary posted June 17, 2016 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. CFPB's Payday Lender Rules: Markets Exploit, Government Saves

    Radical change may soon come to the short-term lending business. And we’re not talking about the good kind of change. New rules proposed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) are bad news for consumers, those who work for short-term lenders, and the people who supply the capital to make these loans. Topping out at more than 1,300 pages, the proposal is a…

  • Commentary posted June 6, 2016 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. Shrink The Government's Role To End Too-Big-To-Fail

    We have now entered the Bizarro World of financial regulations, where the people who in 2008 orchestrated billions in bailouts for “too big to fail” institutions are now insisting that they can craft a plan to end “too big to fail.” That’s right. The same people who once insisted that the only way to head off an economic crisis was for the federal government to bail out…

  • Issue Brief posted May 18, 2016 by Justin Bogie, Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D., Michael Sargent Senate Bill Should Cut Wasteful Programs and Provide Long-Term Sustainability for Highway Programs

    The Senate will soon consider the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill. The THUD bill provides funding for the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development. The 2017 bill provides a total of $56.5 billion in discretionary budget authority. This represents an $827 million decrease below the current funding level and…

  • Backgrounder posted April 28, 2016 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. The Myth of Financial Market Deregulation

    A persistent myth regarding the 2008 financial crisis is that it was caused by deregulation of financial markets. All such claims are wrong. From an aggregate perspective, the industry has always been regulated, and there has never been a substantial reduction in financial regulations in the U.S. during the past 100-plus years. Instead, this time period has included an…

  • Backgrounder posted April 28, 2016 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. The Glass–Steagall Act: Unraveling the Myth

    The 1933 Glass–Steagall Act is still admired by many who believe its separation of commercial and investment banking banned the high-risk activities that caused the Great Depression. Yet there are so many myths and falsehoods surrounding this notion—and the Act itself—that it is difficult to comprehend how little supporting evidence Congress uncovered prior to passing the…

  • Executive Summary posted April 26, 2016 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. The Case Against Dodd–Frank: How the “Consumer Protection” Law Endangers Americans

    The Case Against Dodd–Frank: How the “Consumer Protection” Law Endangers Americans grew from a shared concern among the contributing authors about the direction that financial regulation in this country has taken since the 2007–2009 financial crisis due to the regulations of the 2010 Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Rather than dealing with the…

  • Commentary posted April 19, 2016 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. Pull the Plug on 'Living Wills' for Banks That Are 'Too Big to Fail'

    For the past few years, federal regulators have been working with the nation’s eight largest banks to develop “living wills” — contingency plans for how, if they become insolvent, they would close down without crashing the economy. This month, the feds announced that the plans submitted by five of those banks were simply not credible. In other words, they failed their…

  • Backgrounder posted April 14, 2016 by David R. Burton, Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. Financial Institutions: Necessary for Prosperity

    Financial intermediaries serve a key role in the U.S. economy. They are a central reason why the U.S. economy is as productive as it is. The term financial intermediary includes depository institutions (such as banks[1] and credit unions[2]); insurance companies;[3] investment banks;[4] investment companies (such as mutual funds and exchange-traded funds);[5] and venture…

  • Issue Brief posted April 1, 2016 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. The Fed Needs Reform: Six Changes for Monetary Policy

    In the wake of the longest recession since the Great Depression, policymakers have contemplated many monetary policy reforms. While some of these ideas, such as the Fed Oversight Reform and Modernization Act of 2015 (the FORM Act), introduced by Representative Bill Huizenga (R–MI), have received support in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Senate has yet to undertake…

  • Commentary posted January 28, 2016 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. Obama's Misguided Solution to the Keynesian Crisis in Puerto Rico

    Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has sent a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives to update Congress on the Puerto Rican “debt crisis.” Lew is referring to the fact that Puerto Rico has buried itself under a mountain of debt that it’s struggling to repay. Aided by a special tax status, the island’s total debt doubled in the 1980s and 1990s, and has tripled since…

  • Commentary posted January 13, 2016 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. The Other Glass-Steagall: The FOMC And The FDIC

    Democratic presidential aspirants Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have dueling financial reform plans. Sanders wants to resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act; Clinton opposes the idea. Sanders thinks the repeal of Glass-Steagall caused the 2008 financial crisis. Clinton denies it. As I wrote in October, one problem with the theory that “repeal of Glass-Steagall caused the…