Ilya Shapiro and Trevor Burrus
The Carol Anne Bond saga continues. Now in her second trip to the Supreme Court—and with Cato’s support for the fourth time—Bond is still hoping to avoid federal punishment stemming from her attempts to get back at her erstwhile best friend for having an affair with her husband.
Bond, a microbiologist, spread toxic chemicals on her friend’s car and mailbox. Postal inspectors discovered this plot after they caught Bond on film stealing from the woman’s mailbox. Rather than leave this caper to local law enforcement, however, a federal prosecutor reached into his bag of tricks and charged Bond with violating a statute that implements U.S. treaty obligations under the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention.
Yes, rather than being charged with attempted murder and the like, Bond is essentially accused of chemical warfare.
Bond challenged the federal government’s power to charge her with a crime, arguing that Congress lacks constitutional authority to pass general criminal statutes and cannot somehow acquire that authority through a treaty. Before a court could reach this issue, however, there was a question whether Bond could even make that argument under the Tenth Amendment, which reaffirms that any powers not delegated to Congress are reserved to the states or to the people. On Bond’s first trip to the Supreme Court, the Court unanimously accepted the argument, offered in an amicus brief by Cato and the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, that there’s no reason in constitutional structure or history that someone can’t use the Tenth Amendment to challenge the constitutionality of the statute under which she was convicted.
On remand to the Philadelphia-based U.S Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and now with standing to challenge that law, Bond raised the argument that Congress’s limited and enumerated powers cannot be increased by treaties. We again filed in that case in support of Bond. The Third Circuit disagreed, however—if reluctantly—based on one sentence written by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in the 1920 case of Missouri v. Holland, which has been interpreted to mean that treaties can indeed expand Congress’s powers. With Cato supporting her bid to return to the Supreme Court on that treaty power question, Bond’s case reached the high court.
Now, in a brief authored by professor Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz and joined by the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, the Atlantic Legal Foundation, and former attorney general Edwin Meese III—in what we hope will be our final filing in the case—we argue that a treaty cannot give Congress the constitutional authority to charge Bond. Allowing Congress to broaden its powers via treaties is an astounding manner in which to interpret a document that creates a federal government of limited powers.
Not only would this mean that the president has the ability to expand federal power by signing a treaty, but it would mean that foreign governments could change federal power by abrogating previously valid treaties—thus removing the constitutional authority from certain laws. This perverse result makes Missouri v. Holland a doctrinal anomaly that the Court must either overrule or clarify. We also point out how the most influential argument supporting Holland is based on a clear misreading of constitutional history that has been repeated without question.
Although Holland is nearly 100 years old, there is thus no reason to adhere to a precedent that is not only blatantly incorrect, but could severely threaten our system of government. We’re in a constitutional quagmire with respect to the treaty power, one that can only be escaped by limiting or overturning Missouri v. Holland.
The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Bond v. United States in October.
View full post on Cato @ Liberty
Amazon received more money from UK grants than it paid in corporation tax
Amazon is on a fresh collision course over its contribution to the UK exchequer, after the American internet giant revealed it received more money in government grants last year than it paid in corporation tax in Britain.
Amazon’s British subsidiary employed 4,191 people at the end of 2012, and thousands more via contracting agencies
By Katherine Rushton, US Business Editor6:14PM BST 15 May 2013
Amazon’s UK operation generated £4.2bn of sales last year, but it used a subsidiary in Luxembourg to help it reduce its corporation tax bill in the country to just £2.4m in 2012. According to documents filed at Companies House, the company received £2.5m in government handouts over the same period.
The figures have reignited controversy over the tax paid in Britain by American corporations, such as Amazon, Apple, Starbucks and Google, whose executives have been summoned to appear before the Public Accounts Committee on Thursday to clarify previous evidence they gave about their tax status.
Justin King, chief executive of Sainsbury, has complained the current UK tax laws do not create a “level playing field” for online retailers and their bricks and mortar rivals.
Amazon, like Google and Apple, consistently argue that they operate within the law, and make many other tax contributions to Britain, such as National Insurance payments.
But Margaret Hodge, chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, described Amazon’s tax contribution as “just a joke”.
“What people will find particularly galling is that the amount Amazon is paying in tax is actually less than they are taking from UK taxpayers in the form of government grants. Companies like Amazon should pay their fair share of tax based on their economic activity in this country and the profits they make here.
“Its behaviour is not only unfair, it is anti-competitive, putting British businesses that do pay their proper tax at a disadvantage.”
An Amazon spokesman said: “Amazon pays all applicable taxes in every jurisdiction that it operates within. Like many companies, Amazon has received assistance in relation to major investments in the UK”.
The Seattle-based company would not say which investments the UK Government has helped with, but last year it opened a new distribution plant in Hemel Hempstead, creating 600 jobs, promising to open three more over the next two years.
It also took an eight-storey office in London to act as its global headquarters for “digital media development”. The site is one of the linchpins in TechCity, Prime Minister David Cameron’s project to redevelop the area around Shoreditch and Old Street as a hub for technology companies.
The Government is fearful that a severe crackdown on tax loopholes used by global companies could deter them from investing in Britain. Mr Cameron has called for a coordinated international effort to tighten tax legislation.
Amazon’s British subsidiary employed 4,191 people at the end of 2012, and thousands more via contracting agencies, but the company classed it as a service provider to its Amazon EU Sarl business in Luxembourg to reduce its tax bill. The UK business is funded by fees from Amazon EU Sarl, but these are only just enough to cover its operating costs, leaving little in the way of profits to be taxed.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Thu May 16, 2013 12:38 am
View full post on opinions.caduceusx.com
More Than 1 Million Baby Boomers Are Secretly Unemployed
By Claire Gordon
Posted May 3rd 2013
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its tabulation of the monthly unemployment rate, showing the jobless rate dipped to 7.5 percent in April. But that leaves out one major segment of the population: Those forced into retirement. While older Americans were less likely to lose their jobs in the recession, it’s well known that they were far less likely to find a new one if they did, in part, because of age discrimination. So some gave up and tapped their Social Security benefits — becoming retirees.
Early Retirees Were Kicked Out Of The Workforce
How many Americans are forced into retirement because they couldn’t find work? At the request of AOL Jobs, Matthew Rutledge, an economist at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, calculated that this group that remains invisible to the BLS. What he found: At the height of the recession, as many as 53,000 extra Americans were retiring early each month. In total, the recession has driven around 1.4 million additional Americans to collect Social Security early.
Why So Many?
No agency collects data on early or forced retirement. But Social Security does release how many people have started to claim benefits each month. Rutledge, a research economist, estimated how many people one would expect to be claiming benefits if there hadn’t been a recession, and then looked at the difference between the prediction and the reality. And that difference is stark.
More: Starting A Second Career At Age 60
Between June 2008 and June 2010, an average of 39,100 extra people claimed benefits each month than past trends predicted. In the 12-month period ending in November 2010, the average peaked at 53,192 monthly additional claims. (See the chart below.)
Financial Crisis Causes A Big Jump
The official unemployment rate in November 2010 was 9.8 percent. But in the previous two years, more than 1.05 million extra Americans had claimed Social Security. If these people were added to the unemployment rolls, the jobless rate that month would actually have been 10.4 percent — higher than at any point since 1983. It’s an especially stunning number, given that the trend for almost 20 years has been for people to retire later in life.
More: Retiring Postal Worker Deborah Ford: 44 Years, No Sick Days
But then, in 2011, the number of claims began to go down. In fact, in the 12-month period ending May 2012, an average of 4,000 fewer people claimed Social Security than expected each month. That isn’t because America’s older workers suddenly found lucrative employment, but because so many had claimed their benefits already.
"You’re someone who’s turning 64 in 2012, and you’ve looked at how long you’ve worked, and decided that’s when you want to claim," explained Rutledge. "And the recession happens, and you lose your job, or your stock portfolio goes in the tank, or your family really needs your help, your adult child moves back. So you decide you want to claim earlier."
A Sudden Slump
A person is eligible for full retirement benefits at 66 (if born between 1943 and 1954 — the retirement age is older the younger you are). But a person can claim as early as 62, if they’re willing to take a cut. By 2012, it seems that a lot of those 62-to-65-year-olds had already put themselves on the Social Security rolls, leading to a slump in the numbers. As Rutledge put it: "The elephant has been passed through the snake."
But the snake has left behind a stinking pile. In the summer of 2012, the number of claims once again rose above expectations, and has stayed elevated ever since. This may be because long-term unemployment remains so high. If a person turns 62 and has been without work for a year and a half, Social Security is probably a tempting proposition.
More: Is 48 Too Old To Be Working?
But still, there have been just 133,000 excess Social Security claims in the past two years, a far cry from the wrenching figures of winter 2010. If these are people who would otherwise be unemployed, it would hardly nudge the jobless rate at all. But it still adds up. Between March 2008 and March 2013, 1.4 million more Americans have opted for Social Security than expected.
A bad gamble for a healthy lady
Social Security claims are by no means a perfect way to judge who’s retiring early because they can’t find work. After all, people can start collecting Social Security benefits while still looking for work. Or they may retire and live off other funds before deciding to cash in on Social Security later on.
But multitudes of older Americans clearly did take advantage of Social Security before the official retirement age. And for many, that will come at a cost. Those who start collecting at age 62 see a 25 percent reduction in benefits. If you were to die at 70, that’s a pretty good deal, since you had an extra four years. But if you live into old age, that becomes a sizable cut.
"If you’re a healthy woman, you’re going to end up costing yourself a lot of money," explains Rutledge. "If you’re a man in poor health, it might actually make sense."
If you were laid off in the recession, even better. Research suggests that may have cut your life expectancy by as much as three years.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Sat May 04, 2013 9:11 am
View full post on opinions.caduceusx.com
New poll: Young people don’t trust the government, Poll from 2010: Young people trusted government more than any other group.
What happened. Did young people tack on a few more IQ points over the past 3 years because they started eating organic? Or is it that they have seen what the Obama machine has done and the crony capitalist policies it has implemented?
View full post on AgainstCronyCapitalism.org
Michael F. Cannon
Given the growing concern even among Democrats that ObamaCare will result in a “huge train wreck” later this year, I have a few questions for Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to add to my previous list:
- What happens if a federal court (say, the Eastern District of Oklahoma) issues an injunction barring HHS from making “advance payments of tax credits” in the 33 states with federal Exchanges?
- Has HHS done any planning for that contingency? If so, what are those contingency plans?
- If HHS has not, why not? Given that the Congressional Research Service and Harvard Law Review both say there’s a credible case that the PPACA forbids tax credits in the 33 states with federal Exchanges, how could HHS not have a contingency plan ready?
For more on how HHS is violating federal law by planning to issue advance payments of tax credits through federal Exchanges, read my Cato white paper, “50 Vetoes: How States Can Stop the Obama Health Care Law,” and my Health Matrix article (with Jonathan Adler), “Taxation Without Representation: The Illegal IRS Rule to Expand Tax Credits Under the PPACA.”
View full post on Cato @ Liberty
But the tank is built in politically important Ohio and new tanks mean manufacturing jobs stay in a key (Republican) congressional district. So what’s a half billion dollars on a weapons system which is not needed, which the Army specifically says it doesn’t want? Shoot, we’ve spent $400 billion on a fighter jet which can’t even fly in cloudy weather. So why not?
View full post on AgainstCronyCapitalism.org
Recently uncovered documents prove that the Obama administration has been working with the Mexican government to increase the number of illegal immigrants on food stamps, and when more illegal immigrants go on food stamps JP Morgan makes more money. As you will read about below, JP Morgan has made at least 560 million dollars processing Electronic Benefits Transfer cards. Each month, JP Morgan makes between $.31 and $2.30 for every single person on food stamps (and that does not even include things like ATM fees, etc). So JP Morgan has a vested interest in seeing poverty grow and the number of people on food stamps increase. Meanwhile, the Obama administration has been aggressively seeking to expand participation in the food stamp program. Under Obama, the number of people on food stamps has grown from 32 million to more than 47 million. And even though poverty in America is absolutely exploding, that apparently is not good enough for the Obama administration. It has now come out that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has provided the Mexican government with literature that actively encourages illegal immigrants to enroll in food stamps. One flyer contains the following statement in Spanish: “You need not divulge information regarding your immigration status in seeking this benefit for your children.” The bold and the underlining are in the original document in case you were wondering. Overall, federal spending on food stamps increased from 18 billion dollars in 2000 to 85 billion dollars in 2012, and at this point one out of every five U.S. households in now enrolled in the food stamp program. When people illegally or fraudulently enroll in the food stamp program, it makes it harder for those that desperately need the help to be able to get it.
It is certainly a good thing to help fellow Americans that are suffering. It is a crying shame that more than a million public school students in America are homeless. That should not be happening in the “wealthiest nation on earth”.
But today we have a system that has turned poverty into big business. According to an article posted on Breitbart.com, JP Morgan has made at least 560 million dollars (and probably much more) processing EBT cards…
A new report by the Government Accountability Institute finds that JP Morgan has made at least $560,492,596 since 2004 processing the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards of 18 of the 24 states it has under contract for the food stamp program.
A Daily Beast article provided some more specifics about the monster profits that JP Morgan is making…
Just how lucrative JP Morgan’s EBT state contracts are is hard to say, because total national data on EBT contracts are not reported. But thanks to a combination of public-records requests and contracts that are available online, here’s what we do know: 18 of the 24 states JP Morgan handles have been contracted to pay the bank up to $560,492,596.02 since 2004. Since 2007, Florida has been contracted to pay JP Morgan $90,351,202.22. Pennsylvania’s seven-year contract totaled $112,541,823.27. New York’s seven-year contract totaled $126,394,917.
These contracts are transactional contracts, meaning they are amendable based on changes in program participation. Each month, the three companies that administer EBT receive a small fee that can range from $.31 to $2.30 (or higher depending upon the number of welfare services on an EBT card and state contractual requirements) for each SNAP recipient.
So the more people that are out of work and that need to turn to the government for food, the bigger profits that JP Morgan makes.
What makes all of this even more insulting is that many of the jobs that JP Morgan could be providing to Americans to help alleviate this poverty are being shipped overseas instead. As I noted in a previous article, many EBT card customer service calls are being routed to call centers in India by JP Morgan.
So why doesn’t anyone do anything about this?
Well, it turns out that JP Morgan has the politicians that oversee the food stamp program in their back pocket. The following is from a recent Money Morning article…
And the bank has taken steps to make sure the SNAP program remains a growing source of revenue. JPMorgan’s political donations to the members of House and Senate agricultural committees, the ones with legislative responsibility for the program, soared from just over $82,000 in 2002 to nearly $333,000 as of 2010.
What a wonderful system we have, eh?
And surely JP Morgan just loves the fact that the Obama administration is actively encouraging illegal immigrants to apply for food stamps.
What you are about to read should absolutely shock you. At a time when the U.S. government is absolutely drowning in debt, the Obama administration is making it abundantly clear to illegal immigrants that their immigration status will not be checked when they apply for food stamps. The following is from a recent Judicial Watch press release…
Judicial Watch today released documents detailing how the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is working with the Mexican government to promote participation by illegal aliens in the U.S. food stamp program.
The promotion of the food stamp program, now known as “SNAP” (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), includes a Spanish-language flyer provided to the Mexican Embassy by the USDA with a statement advising Mexicans in the U.S. that they do not need to declare their immigration status in order to receive financial assistance. Emphasized in bold and underlined, the statement reads, “You need not divulge information regarding your immigration status in seeking this benefit for your children.”
The documents came in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request made to USDA on July 20, 2012. The FOIA request sought: “Any and all records of communication relating to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to Mexican Americans, Mexican nationals, and migrant communities, including but not limited to, communications with the Mexican government.”
The documents obtained by Judicial Watch show that USDA officials are working closely with their counterparts at the Mexican Embassy to widely broaden the SNAP program in the Mexican immigrant community, with no effort to restrict aid to, identify, or apprehend illegal immigrants who may be on the food stamp rolls.
You can see a copy of the flyer right here.
So who pays for all of this?
You do of course.
The Obama administration is doing all that it can to promote illegal immigration, and big banks such as JP Morgan just make bigger profits the more illegal immigration that we see, but it is you and I that end up with the bill. This was put beautifully in a recent article by Mike Adams of NaturalNews.com…
Nearly $75 billion of taxpayer money is spent each year on federal food stamps, and it turns out some of that is alarmingly being handed out to illegal immigrants — people who contribute nothing to the federal tax base in America but who seem to be experts on collecting social welfare benefits of all kinds. If you are working for a living, you are buying food for illegals who are being actively recruited by Obama and the democratic party so that they will vote more democrats into office.
When we reward illegal immigration, what happens?
That’s right – we are just going to get even more illegal immigration.
According to WND, we have already started seeing a huge increase in illegal immigrants coming across the border since Congress began debating the amnesty bill…
Illegal border crossings have doubled, and possibly even tripled, since the latest congressional push began toward comprehensive immigration reform.
In reporting first published by Townhall.com’s Katie Pavlich, border patrol agents in the Tucson/Nogales sector claim illegals are coming here in much higher numbers in just the past few months.
“We’ve seen the number of illegal aliens double, maybe even triple since amnesty talk started happening,” an unnamed border agent said to Townhall. The data from Customs and Border Protection cited in the report shows 504 illegals were detected crossing in that sector between Feb. 5 and March 1. Only 189 were caught on camera, and just 174 of the 504 were apprehended. Of those spotted on camera, 32 were carrying huge packs believed to contain drugs and several were heavily armed.
If that bill is passed, it is being projected that it will bring 33 million more people into this country…
The pending Senate immigration bill would bring a minimum of 33 million people into the country during its first decade of operation, according to an analysis by NumbersUSA, a group that wants to slow the current immigration rate.
By 2024, the inflow would include an estimated 9.2 million illegal immigrants, plus 2.5 million illegals who arrived as children — dubbed ‘Dreamers’ — plus roughly 3.4 million company-sponsored employees with university degrees, said the unreleased analysis.
The majority of the inflow, or roughly 17 million people, would consist of family members of illegals, recent immigrants and of company-sponsored workers, according to the NumbersUSA analysis provided to The Daily Caller.
We have made legal immigration a complete and total nightmare while leaving the back door completely wide open at the same time.
We greatly punish those who are trying to do things legally while at the same time we are greatly rewarding those that are cheating the system.
What kind of sense does that make?
Shouldn’t we insist that everyone come in through the front door?
Those that are coming over our borders illegally know what the score is…
Linda Vickers, who owns a ranch in Brooks County, which is Ground Zero for the immigration debate, pins the blame directly on talk of ‘amnesty’ and a ‘path to citizenship’ for people who entered the U.S. illegally.
She recalls one man being arrested on her ranch not long ago.
“The Border Patrol agent was loading one man up, and he told the officer in Spanish, ‘Obama’s gonna let me go’.”
Border Patrol agents report that immigrants are crossing the border, and in some cases surrendering while asking, “Where do I go for my amnesty?”
We are already becoming a poverty-stricken nation. We simply can’t afford to feed millions upon millions of illegal immigrants as well.
As I write this, the U.S. national debt is $16,758,107,082,298.63.
We now have a debt to GDP ratio of about 105 percent.
In the United States today, the amount of money that is deposited in our banks is about 9.3 trillion dollars. If we took every penny of that and used it to pay off the national debt, we would still owe more than 7 trillion dollars.
We are stealing more than 100 million dollars from future generations of Americans every single hour of every single day to pay our bills, and yet everyone seems to think that this is “normal” somehow.
The truth is that what we are doing is absolutely criminal, and we should all be ashamed.
For much more on our exploding national debt, please see the following article: “55 Facts About The Debt And U.S. Government Finances That Every American Voter Should Know“.
In the end, it should be apparent to everyone that our system is failing. Our government is corrupt, our big banks are consumed with greed and most average Americans are so addicted to entertainment that they have absolutely no idea what is going on.
What would those that bled and died for this country think about what we have become today?
View full post on The Economic Collapse
Brewers ‘nervous’ as malting barley hopes diminish
Malting barley premiums look set to remain strong thanks to the spring plantings setbacks rendering North American brewers "nervous", and seen sparking a sharp rebound in import needs in the key German market.
The malting barley premium over feed, which has already recovered in Europe from nominal levels late last year to E40 a tonne, "will remain high for the coming months", RMI Analytics said.
"The supply and demand balance for the coming crop on 2-row spring malting barley in the European Union looks far less optimistic compared to last year," the Swiss-based consultancy said.
"In addition, we expect negative news in the weeks ahead concerning weather and hence plant development, which will immediately push prices higher."
German imports to soar
The comments came even as market estimates emerged of a sharp drop in spring barley plantings in German, potentially by some 40% to 360,000 hectares, because of the cold and wet spring, with the south east of the country seen particularly a risk.
A decline of the level suggested "will leave Germany, Europe’s biggest user of malting barley, with over 1m tonnes to import next season", UK grain traders at a major European commodities house said, terming the slice a rare piece of fortune for Britain’s own rain-plagued growers.
"This is good news for UK malting barley growers," major suppliers of malting barley to Germany, "who will look to utilise this extra demand".
Germany’s import needs in 2012-13 are estimated by Evergrain, the Swiss-based broker, at 265,000 tonnes, although this is an unusually low number, depressed by high domestic sowings of spring barley last year following a cold snap which forced farmers to abandon many winter crops.
‘Malting industry is nervous’
Prospects for production of spring barley, the source of most malting barley, in North America have also deteriorated with the persistent snow cover which has prevented farmers in northern US states and much of the Canadian Prairies from making a start on plantings.
RMI said: "Comments from farmers across the snow-covered area is that they will be lucky to get their crops sowed by the beginning of June," even assuming land is not flooded by snowmelt.
With supplies of left-over 2012 barley "very tight", brewers "are starting to take further coverage into 2014 deliveries but the general sentiment in the malting industry is nervous", RMI said.
Force majeure, or "act of God" clauses in barley delivery contracts in Canada and North Dakota "become more likely to be enacted as the potential late crop becomes ever more likely".
Late plantings imply a late harvest, exposing crops to the risk of early frost, and a decline in malting quality.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Fri Apr 26, 2013 9:20 am
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Louise C. Bennetts
Today’s New York Times article by Senators Brown and Vitter (the preview of their much-touted “bank break-up” bill) starts with a very encouraging line: “governments shouldn’t pick economic winners and losers.”
Senator Brown, in particular, seems to have learned this important lesson fairly recently (auto bailout, anyone?). But putting this aside (and also ignoring the ongoing debate about the purported subsidy to large banking organizations, which should be eliminated, if it indeed exists), Senators Brown and Vitter display some disturbing, though not uncommon, misconceptions about U.S. and global banking. And, as is always the case, poorly understood and inaccurate facts create bad policy suggestions.
The first problem is the implicit assumption that large size and diversity of operations are negative traits. In fact, diversity is the key to managing risk in banking. Part of the reason why US banking has had such a checkered history relative to many other countries is because of its historical lack of geographical and product diversity – a result of the long-standing prohibitions on inter-state banking and branch banking and limitations on combining investment and commercial banking activities. One of the single biggest causes of the banking crisis in the late 1920s was a lack of geographical diversity (and, as congressional records show, States that prohibited branch banking fared the worst). Similarly, one of the primary causes of the 2008 financial crisis was a lack of asset diversity – too many banks holding too many securitized sub-prime mortgages.
Second, is the implicit assumption that investment banking and underwriting activity are inherently more risky than loan activities. Certainly, imprudent investment banking can be disastrous. So can making risky loans. And the 2008 crisis was, at its core, a loan origination problem (a fact largely ignored by Congress because of the uncomfortable questions it raises about the two GSE’s – Fannie and Freddie).
Third, is the belief that the 2008 bank bailouts were somehow linked to the FDIC deposit insurance scheme and that if we ‘narrow’ the safety net, all future bailouts will be avoided. I am no fan of federal deposit insurance, but the bailouts were unrelated to it. TARP was a Treasury creation, passed by Members of Congress under extraordinary circumstances. The only way to ensure it doesn’t happen in future is to rein in Congress and limit their ability to (in the words of Brown and Vitter) “pick economic winners and losers”.
As it turns out, the Brown-Vitter Bill is less about bank ‘break-up’ and more a U.S. variant of the FSB’s G-SIFI surcharge – which raises the question why it is necessary at all, except to put the U.S.’s global banks at a disadvantage, even though they are already disproportionately affected by the surcharge. Brown and Vitter’s calls for higher capital requirements are not objectionable per se, but as the ongoing problems with the Basel Accord shows, the devil is always in the details. And if you get it wrong, you risk creating exactly the systemic problems – such as an excessive reliance on sovereign bonds or mortgage-backed securities – that you were trying to avoid.
Essentially, the only way to end the perception of a government backstop is to put in place a credible system to allow large firms to fail if they make poor decisions. To this end, the Brown-Vitter Bill doesn’t add anything except more confusion.
View full post on Cato @ Liberty
The sugar guys are never happy. They want American consumers to pay an artificially higher price for their commodity (which we do) and then cry “unfair trade” when Brazil artificially pushes down their price of sugar. How about we let the market figure this one out?
View full post on AgainstCronyCapitalism.org