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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

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 May 5, 2010 / 21 Iyar 5770

Just a Few Questions

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Maybe only someone woefully ignorant of high finance — like me — would still be trying to understand the basis, if any, of the case filed against Goldman Sachs by our suddenly awake Securities and Exchange Commission.


Having slept through the stock market's great boom, the SEC is now leading the hunt for a scapegoat for the great bust. The agency seems to have gone from comatose to frenetic, as if it had no settings in between.


No doubt many questions, relevant and ir-, will be raised at trial. That is, if this lawsuit/vendetta against Goldman Sachs ever gets to trial rather than being settled in the usual, morally murky way with nobody accepting any real responsibility.


Among the many questions the SEC's case raises:


—If Goldman Sachs was out to commit fraud, how come it wound up investing — and losing — some $90 million on this deal? Did it conspire to defraud even itself? And if it's so cunning, how did it manage to lose an estimated $1.2 billion on bad mortgages in 2007 and '08?


No wonder it was looking for ways to balance its portfolio. Among the trove of e-mails released in this dispute, by both sides, there are some from execs at Goldman Sachs — sent even as the downturn turned into a meltdown — saying that now would be a grand time to invest in housing, what with prices falling. It seems Goldman Sachs wasn't infallible, either.


—When Goldman Sachs put this now controversial deal together — excuse me, assembled this product, or made this market — was it fraud, or just an attempt to offset risk? Isn't that why hedge funds are called hedge funds? They hedge bets on the market. Here's a metaphor even the densest politician will understand: When some businessmen make campaign contributions to both major political parties, are they being fraudulent or just hedging their bets?


—The SEC's five commissioners voted to file this lawsuit 3 to 2. Along party lines. As with the storied board of directors that wished its chairman a full and speedy recovery by a vote of 5 to 4, there is something less than whole-hearted about the SEC's decision to pursue this case. If the accusers can't agree that fraud was committed, why should the courts?

Letter from JWR publisher

—If fraud was committed, where are the criminal charges? This is only a civil case. Isn't fraud a crime, not just a tort? There are investigations aplenty but no indictments, verdicts but no trials.


—Is it now fraud to sell a security that could go down in value — whether stock or bond or, in this case, a "synthetic collateralized debt obligation"? If so, the country's prosecutors are going to stay awfully busy.


—Is this whole thing less about economics than politics? Is what we have here what used to be called, in the late and unlamented Soviet Union, an "economic crime"?


—If I decide to switch from blue chips to government bonds in my little 401(k) account because I think the market's going down and I want to run for cover, am I committing fraud? After all, for every stock sold there was a buyer. Did I defraud him?


—For that matter, every time I go to the grocery store and decide not to buy tomatoes — or kumquats or kiwis


— because they cost too much now but will surely get cheaper later in the season, am I being one of those evil speculators?


—Is the real offense here not fraud but the idea of speculation itself? It's an idea, and daily practice, on which so much of any economy depends. At least if it's gone beyond the barter stage. Without speculators to buy things like commodity futures, and no doubt hedge their bets, American agriculture would be set back a century or two. And that's only one sector of the economy that depends on speculators to moderate supply and demand.


Maybe this case should have been styled SEC v. The Modern Economy.

Paul Greenberg Archives

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JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

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