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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 19, 2009 / 27 Sivan 5769

Obama's financial market reforms a giant step in the wrong direction

By Robert Robb

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | President Obama's proposed new financial market regulations are a giant step, but mostly in the wrong direction.


Rather than establish new rules of behavior, they mostly give government regulators unchecked, arbitrary, discretionary and sweeping powers.


A committee headed by Treasury would have authority to designate certain financial institutions as posing a potential systemic risk to the economic system. Such firms would be subject to additional regulation by the Fed to ensure that they don't in fact endanger the system.


In the first place, determining which of the blizzard of financial institutions pose a potential systemic risk, under what circumstances, and what steps would eliminate that risk is an impossible task. No group of regulators - indeed no group of human beings - has the knowledge, insight and foresight necessary to make such judgments.


And giving the job of regulating systemic risk to the Fed is a serious mistake. The Fed already has a big job to do, establishing and maintaining a sound currency. And it is doing a lousy job of it. In fact, excessively lax monetary policy is the proximate cause of an overleveraged economy.


Establishing and maintaining a sound currency requires a single-mindedness of purpose that is inconsistent with giving the Fed the responsibility of chasing after the ghosts of supposed systemic risks.


Obama's proposed reforms also give the federal government perpetual bailout authority.


The Treasury, with the consent of the Fed or other regulators, could simply seize any financial institution designated as potentially posing a systemic risk.


After seizure, the federal government could abrogate contracts the company has with customers, lenders and employees. It could sell off assets, take equity and loan money to the company.


These would all be decisions made by the government. The shareholders of the company would have nothing to say about it and no standing to protest or effectively challenge the decision.


This ought to be considered an unconstitutional taking of property without due process or fair compensation. But put that aside for the moment. Has the experience with government takeovers and bailouts really been so good as to warrant making them a permanent feature of the regulatory apparatus?


Rather than increase broad-based, normative regulatory requirements, the Obama reforms increase the power of the political class to make discretionary and arbitrary economic decisions.


In addition to maintaining a sound currency, the Fed operates as the lender of last resort in our financial system. Various steps are taken to protect the Fed from political influence in exercising its various responsibilities.


Under Obama's reforms, however, Fed lending in exigent circumstances would be subject to approval by the treasury secretary, who is a political appointee of the president. In other words, the Fed's function as the lender of last resort would be subject to a political check.


Let us assume for purposes of discussion that financial markets do need to be subject to additional regulation and constraint to limit systemic risk. The way to do that is to establish broad-based normative standards of behavior.


If financial institutions of more than a certain size are too big to fail, then pass a law that prohibits financial institutions from getting that large.


If a certain level of leverage constitutes a systemic risk, forbid that amount of leverage.


There might be some economic inefficiencies in such an approach. But it would establish rules of behavior that apply equally to all economic actors and are know in advance.


There is some of this in Obama's reforms. Mortgage lenders would have to retain some part of their loan portfolios to create incentives for sounder underwriting practices.


But there's precious little of it. Instead, politicians and regulators are given sweeping subjective authority, with little in the way of rules or checks on their own behavior.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Robert Robb is a columnist for The Arizona Republic. Comment by clicking here.

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