For the Weekend: In the Mourning/Landslide
Weekend Reading: Paul Krugman: Review of Jeff Madrick, 'Seven Bad Ideas'

Afternoon Must-Read: Justin Fox: The Federal Reserve: Regulatory Capture Observed in the Wild

Justin Fox: Why the Fed Is So Wimpy: "Regulatory capture...

...is a phenomenon that economists, political scientists, and legal scholars have been writing about for decades.... Actually witnessing capture in the wild is different, though, and the new This American Life episode with secret recordings of bank examiners at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York going about their jobs is going to focus a lot more attention on the phenomenon. It’s really well done, and you should listen to it, read the transcript, and/or read the story by ProPublica reporter Jake Bernstein.... Segarra pushed for a tough Fed line on Goldman’s lack of a substantive conflict of interest policy, and was rebuffed by her boss. This is a big deal, and for much more than the legal/compliance reasons discussed in the piece. That’s because, for the past two decades or so, not having a substantive conflict of interest policy has been Goldman’s business model.... All this is meant not to excuse the extreme timidity apparent in the Fed tapes, but to explain why it’s been so hard for the New York Fed to adopt the more aggressive, questioning approach... Maybe if banking laws and regulations were simpler and more straightforward, the bank examiners at the Fed and elsewhere wouldn’t so often be in the position of making judgment calls that favor the banks they oversee. Then again, the people who write banking laws and regulations are not exactly immune from capture themselves. This won’t be an easy thing to fix.

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