Daily Digest - February 5: FinReg's Blank Slate

Feb 4, 2013Tim Price

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What Would Jack Lew Do? (Prospect)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal writes that the next Treasury Secretary will be responsible for implementing financial reform and guiding it forward, but Obama's pick has no record on these issues, so we'll all get to experience the thrill of discovery together.

U.S. Accuses S.&P. of Fraud in Suit on Loan Bundles (NYT)

Andrew Ross Sorkin and Mary Williams Walsh report on the charges that S&P inflated its ratings for the mortgage bundles that sparked the financial crisis, which it denies. "We should have downgraded your credit more when we had the chance," S&P did not say.

Too Fast to Fail: Is High-Speed Trading the Next Wall Street Disaster? (MoJo)

Pundits have warned that the average American worker should fear the robot uprising, but the real danger might be on Wall Street, where Nick Baumann notes that computer algorithms could generate crises even more quickly and efficiently than their human counterparts.

The Trouble with Wall Street (TNR)

Michael Lewis argues that Greg Smith's account of life as a disgruntled Goldman Sachs employee accidentally gets at the truth about the culture of greed at oversized banks, and while we can't ask a tree to change its leaves, we can chop it up into firewood.

Fresh Questions Over a Bank of America Settlement (NYT)

Gretchen Morgenson writes that new documents suggest BofA's griping about its acquisition of Countrywide and the billions it set aside to settle mortage abuse claims hasn't stopped it from adopting some of Countrywide's best (read: worst) practices.

A Few Good (and Fair) Tax Hikes (The Nation)

Katrina vanden Heuvel writes that while congressional Republicans would rather hide under the table than put any more tax increases on it, the right mix of changes could provide better incentives, reduce inequality, and, you know, help pay for stuff we want.

Totally Unexpected Outrage Over the White House's Tardy Budget (Slate)

Dave Weigel notes that President Obama received his obligatory scolding from John "Brisk" Boehner and "Punctual" Paul Ryan for failing to submit a budget by yesterday's deadline, because the Do-Nothing Congress always makes sure nothing gets done on time.

Everybody's working for the... health care benefits (WaPo)

Sarah Kliff highlights a new survey that finds that most current workers base their retirement plans at least partly on their desire to keep the health insurance they receive through their employers, even if it doesn't cover the chronic condition of being sick of work.

Student loans: The next housing bubble (Salon)

Paul Campos warns that students are taking on as much debt as the average mortgage without even the bare minimum of safeguards built into the subprime mortgage fiasco, which mostly involved lenders taking off their rings before the mugging commenced.

'The Blackout Bowl,' or 'The Most Depressing Super Bowl Column You'll Read' (The Nation)

Dave Zirin writes that Sunday wasn't just a sad night for 49ers fans and anyone who had to go to work nursing a hangover the next day. The half-lit Superdome was also a perfect illustration of the unequal economy we've built in New Orleans and throughout the U.S.

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