Thoughts and Observations

30 April 2017

One hundred days.
If you are a special interest lobbyist in Washington D.C, you have every reason to celebrate. That swamp candidate Trump railed against has suddenly gotten much deeper, with room for bigger and lots more alligators. The feeding frenzy is already breaking previous records, and you can safely bet it is going to get a lot worse.

13 March 2017

The Trump campaign’s final TV commercial last November spelled out his pledge to take on Wall Street. It featured a photo of Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and a voice over describing “a global power structure that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class.” Jay Clayton is the wrong person to fulfill that pledge.

26 February 2017

Since 2008, there have been two new laws and a lot of work done to improve the Presidential Transition process. Unfortunately, a number of poorly made key decisions has created chaos in the Trump transition.

11 February 2017

The Trump administration and the big banks are organizing to weaken protections like they did before the financial crisis. The most likely result is another financial meltdown and more suffering by millions of Americans.

5 May 2016

The proposal by IEX to become an exchange has initiated a full-scale battle on Wall Street, with market players picking sides. Hundreds of letters sent by mutual funds, pension funds, brokers, and members of the general public have spoken out in support of IEX.
It is time for the SEC to make IEX an exchange.

27 March 2016

It is good sense for America to get back to what we say on the Statue of Liberty:

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

28 February 2016

More and more stock trades are moving from exchanges to “dark pools”. It is time for the SEC to turn them into “light pools”.

28 January 2016

Billionaires are accumulating a higher and higher percentage of the world’s wealth. Some are using the Citizen’s United changes in our campaign finance laws to use their great wealth to supplant our political parties. So few controlling so much threatens our political system.

20 September 2015

The U S Department of Justice finally distributed a memo to its prosecutors in instructing them to go beyond fines in settlements with major banks. For the first time since the financial meltdown that caused the Great Recession part of the settlement will be identifying the individuals responsible.

30 August 2015

In the classic movie “The Candidate” the last line is “What do we do now?”. Planning for serving as President of the United States must start long before election day. In 2012, I sponsored a bill which enabled presidential candidates to start meaningful work right after they were nominated. It became law and Republican nominee Mitt Romney did a first class job. This year the senate passed a bill to improve it. The House should waste no time in passing it.

23 August 2015

The Securities Exchange Commission has approved a rule to require public companies to disclose the ratio of their CEO’s pay to median employees pay. It took them 5 years to approve this rule which was required by Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform Act. This is because of the opposition of the business lobby. One of the reasons for their opposition is that most Americans under estimate the incredibly large pay to CEOs.

16 August 2015

The Congress faces a very difficult fall. The major reason is that even though both Houses are controlled by the Republicans, they cannot work together. As an example, they have only scheduled 10 days when they will be in session simultaneously. This is in spite of the fact that they have The Highway Bill, The resolution to fund the government, having to increase the debt limit, the Iran nuclear pact and other issues, to resolve.

9 August 2015

Two recent reports confirm what we all know; too many children in the United States are stuck in poverty, and their numbers are growing since the Great Recession. We should do something because childhood poverty penalizes children for their whole life. We also know that it does not comport with our view of ourselves as being a caring nation.

2 August 2015

One of the major causes of the increase of cynicism towards our elected leaders is the way the media covers political campaigns. The media dedicates most of its coverage to the “game” and not on the “substance”. Nothing demonstrates this any better than the rise of Donald Trump whose campaign lacks a policy director, a major speech on substance, or even an “issues” tab on its website. Skepticism in government can be good, cynicism is not.

26 July 2015

China’s stock market is crashing. The market was driven up in part by propaganda from the government.Now the government is intervening to try to inflate it. In addition the chinese government has thrown billions of dollars at the real state market and to prop up local governments. Too many of the Chinese leaders still believe in a government run economy. The government has a role to play, but they must have more faith in the market.

19 July 2015

In our present financial markets, High Frequency Traders make millions of trades in seconds. Much to fast to be observed. We need a Consolidated Audit Trail on our financial markets, to be our black box. Just like the black box on our airliners determines what happens when things go wrong.

12 July 2015

Next wednesday is the 5th anniversary of the U S Senate passage of the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform Act. I will not be celebrating. The reason is that while Dodd Frank has done some good things, it still leaves the American Taxpayer in a position to have to bail out our big banks because they are still Too Big to Fail.

5 July 2015

Putin went into Ukraine with a plan that looked good on paper but failed to take into the unintended consequence of uniting NATO. NATO is now strengthened and his move may not look so good to Russians who feel surrounded and facing loss of jobs and economic hardship.

28 June 2015

Supreme Court Justice Brandeis said that the states could be laboratories for the country. In 2010 Kansas and California elected new Governors with very different ideas on how to deal with the Great Recession. We should look at the results of these two laboratory tests five years later.

21 June 2015

Pope Francis’ encyclical may be the decisive catalyst that changes the mainstream debate from “does it exist?” “to “what we should do about it?”

14 June 2015

The concept of “plausible deniability” has probably been around since the dawn of civilization, but it seems to me we recently have seen it turn into something like an epidemic that cuts across business, political, and cultural lines.Leaders in our society should be held accountable in the court of public opinion.

7 June 2015

We now live in a country without any effective controls on campaign contributions. As a result,we are in for a mess of a presidential campaign beyond your wildest nightmares.

2 June 2015

Beau Biden was special right from the beginning.
He was genuinely a good person who had good values. He was a natural leader, very smart, articulate, and an accomplished speaker and writer. But he also had this inner drive to never cut corners.

31 May 2015

For as long there has been politics, there has been the saying “politics makes strange bedfellows”. In our partisan world of the last 5 years, there have been few gatherings of strange bedfellows. Their recent reappearance in the congress, may be an indication that we can get back to bipartisan governing.

24 May 2015

“You are known by the company you keep” goes all the way back to Aesop’s Fables. President Obama’s meeting with our middle east allies against ISIS shows that while we need them in this fight, we do not share their values, and will probably pay a price in the future for keeping company with them.

17 May 2015

The cause of gridlock in Washington is not weak leaders. It is followers who refuse to follow.

10 May 2015

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-profit, nonpartisan research group, corporations and organizations representing corporations spent $2.6 billion on lobbying last year and labor unions spent $45 million. Is this imbalance good for the country?

3 May 2015

The Department of Labor has proposed a rule which
would require brokers handling retirement accounts to act in the best interests of their clients. It makes sense, and will help to assure that investors not only are treated fairly, but feel that they are being treated fairly.

26 April 2015

The latest Gallup poll says that 52% of Americans believe that the financial system is “getting better”. The highest percentage since 2004. It has been very tough time for many Americans and this could be the first step to a return to good times for the country.

19 April 2015

DuPont management is being challenged by Nelson Peltz of the Train Fund. According to a report from the Business Roundtable one of the questions that should be asked is “How does this company make customers, suppliers, communities, employees, and financiers better off?” not just shareholders.

12 April 2015

More and more the U.S. media has concentrated on the “gotcha” journalism of picking apart something someone has said. The latest examples of victims are Brian Williams and Bill O’Reilly. They would better serve the country if they spent more time working on, in depth investigative reporting.

5 April 2015

The Economist and Financial Times have written about the advantages of breaking up the big universal Banks. It is time for action.

29 March 2015

The latest examples of denying the doctrine that politics ends at the water’s edge will make it very difficult for Republican or Democratic Presidents to conduct foreign policy in an increasingly complex world.

22 March 2015

Cuba is still a dictatorship and does not allow it’s citizens the liberties we think it should. But, so are any other countries with which we have trade agreements. It is time to end the embargo.

15 March 2015

The World Bank declared that China’s economy would surpass the United States this year. In an unusual move the Chinese government disputed the statement.There is speculation on why they did that. I think they know that their economy is faltering and they want to lower their people’s expectations to avoid political problems.

8 March 2015

The money flowing into college sports is growing. Unfortunately, because of the increase in costs the vast majority of colleges must still subsidize athletics. This is causing a rush to the bottom which must be stopped. Colleges must decide whether their priorities are sports or academics. Too many are picking sports.

1 March 2015

Science can be fun. First state Robotics has had very positive results by involving children from kindergarten through high school in building and competing with robots. Take a look at them and other organizations involved in using Science Technology Engineering and Math to motivate and educate school age students.

22 February 2015

Many Americans have suffered and are continuing to suffer because of the Great Recession. I believe we need to begin a serious national
dialogue about new economic realities and how they affect most American families. That dialogue ought to begin by acknowledging a new truth: The
proverbial rising tide no longer lifts all boats.

15 February 2015

I have been appointed to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s new Equity Market Structure Committee. It’s job is to assure that our equity markets are fair and credible.

1 February 2015

In 2009, we all agreed that we had to stop the Wall Street banks from using FDIC insured funds to gamble in risky investments. The “Volcker Rule” and limits on the use of derivatives in the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform Act were designed to do just that. Unfortunately, 6 years later, actions by the House of Representatives and delays by the Federal Reserve have weakened those provisions.

25 January 2015

The big Wall Street banks have used all their lobbying and Public relations power to keep from having to reduce their size. Their size, which was smaller in 2008, was big enough to require the government to bail them out. Recently there are sign that the regulatory agencies here and abroad, aided by the market are breaking them up without congressional action.

18 January 2015

The horrifying terrorist attacks in Paris ten days ago united the civilized world and heightened fears about the threat of extreme Islam.But, they were also an attempt by the terrorists to distract the world from the problems they are having in the middle east.

11 January 2015

The interstate Highway System is one of our greatest accomplishments. We need to increase the federal gas tax to keep it from crumbling.

4 January 2015

The economy rebounded at the end of the year. Next year should be a good one. The major question is will it bring along those most hurt by the Great Recession?

28 December 2014

Time Magazine has their Person of the Year. Here are my choices for the 10 Women of the year for 2014 – they are an impressive group.

21 December 2014

Peace on earth, good will to all…
That timeless Christmas wish can’t be improved on, but as the world changes we may need to be reminded what “good will to all” means. Pope Francis in his “Gospel of Joy” addresses those changes.

News Journal: Wall Street’s Washington friends- Streets-Washington-friends-with-benefits

14 December 2014

How does wall street keep getting away with it? The answer is not just the amount of money they spend on campaigns, and lobbying, or the revolving door. It is a club of powerful individuals who view the world from their insulated view and accuse anyone who criticizes them of being a raging populist.

7 December 2014

More and more the media feasts on some event such as Benghazi, Ebola, Ferguson then moves on. If later it turns out to have not been the way it was portrayed, you never find out. This is the case with Benghazi. A number of congressional committees run by republicans and Democrats have characterized as having “no there, there”. Like politicians, the media should be held accountable.

30 November 2014

It looks like finally regulators in the U.S. and Europe are beginning to put in place safeguards to prevent another financial crisis. While this is promising, there is much more which has to be done.

23 November 2014

Things look difficult for the United States right now. We should look back to the era of President John Kennedy to renew our optimism.

16 November 2014

I believe that the Republican leadership in the House and Senate want to legislate during the next two years. They will be faced by a number of problems such as republican incumbents running in 2016 in democratic friendly states, a number of Presidential candidates and a cry from tea partiers to come with a hard right agenda.

9 November 2014

When did so many Americans turn their back on science? Science usd to be revered in this country. Even though just about all of our respected scientific organizations recognize climate change and cite human activity as a major cause, many americans are still in denial.

2 November 2014

The Parliamentary elections in Ukraine on October 26 are an important step forward. The election rid the country of ousted President Viktor Yanukovych’s Parliament, which was generally acknowledged to be corrupt to the core. Another positive was that people from the right parties were elected. Ukraine will be in an excellent position to deal with both Russian threats and European Union negotiations.

26 October 2014

Interest groups are an integral part of the American democracy. They can, however, by the abuse of their power, add to the gridlock in our democratic institutions.

19 October 2014

Few U S corporations pay the official corporate tax rate, by using tax avoidance schemes like tax inversions. It is time to close such tax loopholes and reform the U S corporate tax code.

16 October 2014

Parliamentary Elections will take place on October 26 in Ukraine. The success of those elections in electing honest, smart parliamentarians is key to Ukraine’s future.

12 October 2014

The internet is a great source for information. But it also can distribute emails peddling untrue “facts’. Be sure to check out the truth of an email before passing it on.

5 October 2014

Not that long ago, people would make a career in government. Many still do. But some now have as their objective “monetizing their government service” by taking a high income private sector lobbying position which sometimes can create a conflict of interest with their government responsibilities.

28 September 2014

I returned last week from my third trip this year to observe elections in Ukraine. One of the most promising signs, in the upcoming parliamentary elections, is the many new faces, especially female faces.

21 September 2014

The United States must maintain its military power.But we should have learned by now that it must be used only as a last resort, and only when we have a clear objective that does not lead us into an endless and unwinnable conflict.

14 September 2014

Since Russian President Putin has intervened in Ukraine his popularity at home has gone up as his economy has deteriorated. Soon he will have to decide to stop his reckless actions or the lost jobs will cause both his economy and popularity will crash.

7 September 2014

Corporation’s massive purchase of its own stock exacerbates income inequality. It balloons executive pay while not leaving money for pay raises for everyone else.

31 August 2014

It is a long time since the financial crisis which caused the Great Recession and damaged so many American’s lives, In spite of $145 billion in fines and admissions of breaking the law, no Wall Street banker has gone to jail.

24 August 2014

It is easy to demand a quick fix to any problem. But it does not work in foreign policy. Even though the United States is the most powerful, military, economic,and diplomatic power in history, we still need an informed public discussion to be successful.

17 August 2014

The refusal by some in the Congress to increase any revenue is leading to slights of hand such as using “pension smoothing” to keep the Federal Highway Trust Fund in cash. Like the “canary in the mine” the deterioration of our highways and roads is warning us of the implications of “hollowing out” the federal government.

10 August 2014

There is a coming retirement crisis. Too many Americans will be arriving at retirement with no defined benefit pension, little retirement savings and an economically challenged Social Security Security and Medicare System. We must act now to deal with this problem.

3 August 2014

Beware of rulings by the European Court which are designed to maintain personal privacy by restricting Google. The unintended consequence of these rulings could be to give dictators around the world another method of stifling free speech.

27 July 2014

One of the major causes of gridlock in the country is the anger of those who are still hurting from the Great Recession. As the economy improves, gridlock will ease.

22 July 2014

Four years after passage in July, 2010 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act we’re pretty much back to square one in terms of fixing the major causes of the financial meltdown of 2008-2009.

20 July 2014

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is a genuine tragedy. The silver lining may well be that it finally convinces our NATO allies to join us in real tough economic sanctions against Russia.

13 July 2014

There are more important goals in life than making money. And there are many fulfilling job choices available for liberal arts majors. But if your children have any aptitude for science or math, a new report from the Brookings Institute should certainly encourage them to consider a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education and career

6 July 2014

Our Founders were only able to agree on our Constitution by compromising on many important issues. On July 4 2014, let us all rededicate ourselves to compromising with others and ending gridlock.

29 June 2014

NASA studies show polar ice capes are melting with potential costs in the trillions of dollars. It is time for action to stop this damage.

22 June 2014

It looks like the book “Flash Boys” which lays out the problems with computer driven High Frequency Trading is making some headway in Washington. There is a real chance that Washington will actually put in place regulations that make our financial markets more transparent and fair in both reality and perception.

15 June 2014

Lobbying is guaranteed in the Constitution, but too many individuals are using loopholes in the lobbying registration law to avoid the intent of the law to stop the revolving door in and out of government. Senators Tester and Bennett have introduced bill to end this practice. It deserves our support.

8 June 2014

During the consideration of the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform Bill, Former Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner stated that the Bill ended taxpayer bailouts of Too Big To Fail banks and nothing needed to be done to reduce their size. Now he says ’ Ending too-big-to-fail was ‘like Moby-Dick for economists or regulators. It’s not just quixotic, it’s misguided.’ ”, and we are left with TBTF banks.

1 June 2014

I have always liked election days in Delaware, but I must admit I had to travel to Ivano-Krankivsk in Ukraine to experience my favorite election day experience.

25 May 2014

Americans are very unhappy with the congress, and some are proposing term limits. There are a number of reasons why I do not believe that is a good idea.

18 May 2014

Contrary to public perception, Russian President Putin has made a major mistake by using troops to take over Crimea.It is clear he is beginning to understand this.

11 May 2014

The Supreme Court has based its decisions in the Citizens United and McCutcheon cases on the test for corruption being whether there was a quid pro quo between a contributor and an elected official. In real life the question is a lot more complicated.The future of our democracy is dependent on a renewed effort to agree on meaningful campaign finance reform.

9 May 2014

Putin’s adventures in Ukraine have brought him short term adulation in Russia. But, it was a big mistake. It is becoming clear that his actions will seriously hurt Russia’s citizens economically.

8 May 2014

After the failures that led to the financial crisis, many taxpayers expected that the government would take a hard stance against those who had committed egregious violations.Unfortunately, None of the Wall Street players went to jail. This brings into question the efficacy of equal justice under law.

4 May 2014

The time is long overdue to have a bi-partisan effort to amend Obamacare to take into account what we have learned since it became law. There are some preliminary signs that both parties are beginning to see the light.

27 April 2014

Kara Stein, a new commissioner at the Securities and Exchange, gave her first big speech and it is worth reading. In it, she laid out a list of what has to be done to accomplish real financial reform to avoid another financial crisis.

20 April 2014

I spent last week in Ukraine as part of an NDI delegation to observe pre-election preparation for May 25 elections. Things look good except for the possible Russian interference. It would be a shame for Ukraine and an economic disaster for Russia if that happens.

13 April 2014

The book “Flash Boys” by Michael Lewis should get people to look at High Frequency trading and how “The United States stock market, the most iconic market in global capitalism is rigged.”

6 April 2014

Last week, the Partnership for Public Service, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that works to revitalize the federal government, and Booz Allen Hamilton, the international consulting firm, released a report entitled “A New Civil Service Framework.”

30 March 2014

The Inspector General for the U S Department of Justice just came out with a report which confirms my suspicions that tracking down the financial fraud that was a major contributor of the Great Recession was not a DOJ priority.

23 March 2014

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will be coming to another vote in the senate this summer. It is based on our Americans with Disabilities Act and was negotiated by President George W. Bush and ratified by 138 countries. Lets all work to see that it receives the five new votes it needs to bring it to the 67 votes required to ratify a treaty.

16 March 2014

The Congress, in the Dodd Frank law, left most of the responsibility for fixing the causes of the Financial Crisis up to the financial regulators. Now the Congress will not provide the funding to do the job. Another financial crisis Coming?

9 March 2014

The corrupting influence of conflict of interest, both in and out of government, is a major threat to our democracy. Academic papers and submissions should disclose any of the author’s conflicts of interest.

2 March 2014

College football, and to a lesser extent college basketball, are awash in money.But, that does not mean they are making money. Just 23 of 228 athletics departments at NCAA Division I public schools generated enough money on their own to cover their expenses in 2012.

23 February 2014

All recent Presidents of the United States have had difficult second terms. One solution is to put more emphasis on the transition operation between the two terms.

16 February 2014

The revolving door that takes Wall Street leaders into government jobs and then back to Wall Street can create an irresistible conflict of interest. Gary Gensler who just retired as Chair of the Commodity Future Trading Commission resisted that conflict and did a great job.

9 February 2014

The congress has been cutting the budget of the IRS which collects 93% of federal revenues. It seems that some Members of Congress’s objective is not to balance the budget, but to destroy the federal government.

2 February 2014

The fall of Presidential frontrunners Governors Christie and McDonnell reinforces what most Americans believe. Presidential elections are too long and early speculation on candidates is pointless.

26 January 2014

Most Americans believe that the U.S. no longer offers everyone an equal chance to get ahead. Education can bring back the American Dream.

19 January 2014

Vice President Dick Cheney repeatedly invoked the principle that if there’s even a 1 percent chance of a terrorist attack, we must prepare as if it were a certainty. There is clearly much more than a 1 percent chance global warming is a reality. And even those who persist in denying it ought to think hard about applying Dick Cheney’s 1 percent doctrine. We are running out of time.

12 January 2014

If freedom were a sport, President Putin has led Russia to the very bottom of the world’s countries.

It will be interesting to see what happens when thousands of journalists from countries with real press freedom descend on Sochi for the Winter Olympics next month.

5 January 2014

Wilmington today is very much “a tale of two cities,” experiencing “the best of times and the worst of times.” It is time for all of Delaware’s leaders to get together come up with a plan to stop the violence and make all of Wilmington great.

29 December 2013

Sometimes in politics there is a major turning point that isn’t recognized as such when it is happening. Only in retrospect does its importance become clear. I think the government shutdown in October may have been one of those turning points.

22 December 2013

Christmas is the time to celebrate not just as an individual, but as part of the larger community. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all listen all year round to Pope Francis who suggests that we
argue less. Accomplish more. Spread mercy. I can’t think of a better Christmas wish for all of us.

15 December 2013

The Volcker Rule, which is supposed to end proprietary trading by banks, was finally approved by the necessary five federal regulatory agencies after four years and countless thousands of hours of work. They produced a document filled with exceptions, contradictions and foggy language. The major celebrants will be the Wall Street lawyers who have been given the Christmas gift of their dreams.

10 December 2013

The tattered remains of the rule Paul Volcker envisioned will do little to stop banks from engaging in high-risk trading with FDIC-insured deposits.

8 December 2013

It is time to recognize that Afghan President Karzai will continue to be a poor partner, abandon hope for a security agreement, and bring our troops home from Afghanistan –all of them.

1 December 2013

The filibuster has been a key part of protecting the rights of political minorities. What makes American democracy different, and I believe better, than it is in other countries is the result of our founders’ apprehensiveness about an unrestrained majority.

24 November 2013

China is putting undue pressure on journalists and academics to try to assure positive coverage. This must stop if China wants to take their place in the world.

17 November 2013

No one seriously questions that our future economic growth is highly dependent on technological innovation. It is time to dump sequestration and get back to funding the research and development that will make that growth a reality.

10 November 2013

I do not anticipate any major changes in what the two parties advocate coming out of the January talks, but I do not think there will be another government shutdown.`

4 November 2013

On November 5 is the first of two hearings in preparation of voting to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It is time to join 138 other countries around the world and endorse this international version of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

3 November 2013

Many in the financial press are saying that J P Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon is being treated unfairly by the U S government for actions taken by companies he took over. The truth is that Dimon knew of the problems at the time that he acquired the companies and has done quite well with them.

27 October 2013

The country wants change to eliminate the gridlock in Washington. We should do that, but we must be careful to avoid unintended consequences.

18 October 2013

Washington has changed. Speakers of the House Tip O’Neill and Newt Gingrich could close a deal with Presidents Reagan and Clinton. Speaker John Boehner does not have enough support in his caucus to close a deal with President Obama.

13 October 2013

We must improve our recent treatment of federal employees if we expect our government to function properly.

6 October 2013
In a world becoming more connected and competitive every day, the only way the United States will prosper in the future is to make certain our children have the education to meet its challenges.
29 September 2013

It finally looks like US and International regulators are starting to do something to curb the Too Big To Fail megabanks.

22 September 2013

The Supreme court justices are the only federal judges without an official Code of Conduct. It is time they had one.

15 September 2013

In October, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that could destroy what is left of our campaign-finance system. The case is called McCutcheon v. the FEC (Federal Election Commission), and it would remove, for all federal elections, the total limits that any contributor could give to a political candidate or party. The present limit is $123,200 –well beyond what the majority of Americans could ever contribute.

8 September 2013

Pope Francis has brought a much needed message to the world.

1 September 2013

If Congress does not pass a continuing resolution to fund the government by Oct. 1, it will shut down. There is a small but powerful minority in the congress who are trying to do just that. It’s nuts.

25 August 2013

No matter what they say, it gets harder and harder to believe what the Wall Street megabanks have been doing in the past few years. But the revelations just keep coming. Here are the latest about J P Morgan Chase.

18 August 2013

We have learned in recent years that U. S. use of military options is limited. Therefore, it is promising to see that Economic sanctions are beginning to work in Iran.

11 August 2013

Going to jail is a real deterrent for white collar criminals. Why has bo banker gone to jail.

4 August 2013

The Republicans in the Congress are promising to do everything including possibly shutting down the government to stop Obamacare. It will make for a tumultuous next 60 days.

31 July 2013

Dodd-Frank has failed to reach its announced objective; to make the systemic changes necessary to prevent another financial meltdown.
What can be done?

30 July 2013

Everyone agrees that one of the major causes of the financial meltdown of 2008-2009 was the fact that the credit rating agencies improperly rated mortgage backed securities. Why, 5 years later has nothing been done?

29 July 2013

Going to jail has been demonstrated to be a major deterrent to white collar criminals. Why then did no bank executives go to jail for the great financial meltdown 2008-2009

28 July 2013

Immigration Reform was not a major issue in President Obama’s first term. The results of election day 2012 will put it front and center in his second term.

26 July 2013

This is the eighth in an 11-part series on the failed promises of the Dodd-Frank financial reform package and the continued, dangerous imbalances in our financial system.

25 July 2013

This is the seventh in an 11-part series on the failed promises of the Dodd-Frank financial reform package and the continued, dangerous imbalances in our financial system.

24 July 2013

This is the sixth in an 11-part series on the failed promises of the Dodd-Frank financial reform package and the continued, dangerous imbalances in our financial system.

23 July 2013

This is the fifth in an 11-part series on the failed promises of the Dodd-Frank financial reform package and the continued, dangerous imbalances in our financial system.

22 July 2013

This is the fourth in an 11-part series on the failed promises of the Dodd-Frank financial reform package and the continued, dangerous imbalances in our financial system.

21 July 2013

Three years ago Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform was signed into law. Not many of the causes of the 2008-2009 financial meltdown have been corrected.

21 July 2013

Today marks the third anniversary of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act. Sadly, except for a recent promising development that might increase capital requirements for megabanks, the act has not delivered on its promise to fix the problems that caused the financial meltdown of 2008-09.

19 July 2013

With the third anniversary of the signing into law of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform act approaching Sunday, one might assume that all the regulations called for in the legislation would be in place by now.
Not even close.

18 July 2013

There was general agreement on one thing during debate on Dodd-Frank wall street reform bill three years ago. That it had to make sure that no taxpayer funds would ever again be used to bail out a bank. Unfortunately we have not reached that objective yet.

17 July 2013

Sunday marks the third anniversary of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act. Remember when it was touted as the solution to all of the problems that caused the financial meltdown of 2008? I won’t be lighting any celebratory candles and neither should you.

14 July 2013

Just about everybody believes that, as Americans, we have a right to privacy and protection from government intrusion on that right.

Just about everybody believes the government should do everything in its power to protect us from terrorist threats.

Recently some people have argued that we have to choose between one or the other, that we can’t continue to hold both of those beliefs. I think we can, but only within the limits we have always lived with.

7 July 2013

This July 4 we should re-commit to the political give and take demonstrated by our founders when they wrote our Constitution.

29 June 2013

There are some good reasons why we cannot always run government like a business.

22 June 2013

I have raised the alarm in previous columns about high frequency trading and the threat it poses to fair, transparent markets. This week, I have some good news.

15 June 2013

President Obama’s appointments did not make it a priority to fix the problems that caused our financial crisis. Hopefully his remaining second term appointments will do better.

8 June 2013

The United States cannot dictate its preferred outcomes on other democratically elected governments. There are limits to our power.

2 June 2013

International businesses are shifting manufacturing facilities from China to United States. This creates more U S jobs, but could destabilize China.

26 May 2013

Time is long past for our regulators to bring some light to the “dark pools’ on wall street.

19 May 2013

The sheer stupidity of the across-the-board budget cuts mandated by sequestration is becoming obvious in many ways.

12 May 2013

Congress has just voted to spend an extra $436 million to production. The Army doesn’t want them, but politically important Ohio, where 700 people work in the only Abrams tank plant, is represented by senators and representatives who do.

5 May 2013

We all read a lot of headlines about how our education system needs to do more to ensure American competitiveness. Delaware High Schools are doing something.

27 April 2013

The pressure to win, to recruit the best players at any cost, and to generate more income every year guarantees that the increase in scandals in college sports will continue.

20 April 2013

Cracks are beginning to appear in the gridlock ice.

18 April 2013

I believe that banks that are too big to fail and demonstrably too big to manage are too big to exist. The soon-to-be-introduced Senate bill co-sponsored by Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and David Vitter (R-LA) doesn’t explicitly break up TBTF banks, but it is a major step in the right direction.

18 April 2013

The Obama administration has a big opportunity to get on the right side of history and finally do something about the size, complexity and riskiness of our very largest banks.

13 April 2013

What a difference an election makes.

6 April 2013

The longer we wait, the bigger the TBTF problem becomes.

1 April 2013

I read recently that one academic “conflict resolution” expert had a sure cure for partisan gridlock in Washington. It was all a lack of civility, he said, that could be cured by a few get-togethers over poker and cigars at the White House.

If it were only so.

9 March 2013

Thought the news about the big banks’ mismanagement of the housing/mortgage crisis couldn’t get worse? Two new reports are out. You were wrong.

2 March 2013
Too many people revolve back and forth from a firm or industry into a government job in which they can aid that industry or firm.
26 February 2013

Fortunately for the country, Republicans and Democrats in Congress voted for tax increases as part of the “fiscal cliff” agreement. I believe that most of us realize, as Oliver Wendell Holmes said, that “taxes are the price we pay for civilization.”

26 February 2013

One hundred years ago today, Delaware became the 36th state to ratify the 16th Amendment to the United States Constitution, and the federal income tax was made legal.

We all know people who would probably say that Feb. 3, 1913, was a dark day for America. In fact, there are some in Congress who have called for the repeal of the 16th Amendment. They do not like taxes of any kind, and the federal income tax least of all. Others do not go so far as to call for repeal, but the overwhelming majority of the Republican members of Congress have signed a pledge that they will not vote for a tax increase.

23 February 2013

In our private-enterprise system, neither the government nor corporations ultimately pick winners or losers. The market always does that. But it is essential that we continue to support both public and private-sector efforts to develop the new technologies that will ensure future economic growth.

19 February 2013

If he wants to retire the trophy for senators who got off to a terrible start, Ted Cruz is already 90 percent there. I’ll take the gift for my party, but it’s a sad spectacle for the Senate and the country.

16 February 2013

Perhaps the key reason is that those most responsible for indicting and prosecuting Wall Street executives seem to believe that, just as there are banks that are too big to fail, there are people who are too big to jail.

9 February 2013

When all is said and done, with weak parties, I come down on the side of a long election process that gives democracy its best chance to work.

22 January 2013

What will be the major issues brought up in Barack Obama’s second inaugural address this Tuesday? Here are my best guesses.

12 January 2013

CEO paychecks didn’t get smaller under the first Obama administration.

22 December 2012

Our collective grief about the Newtown killings.

15 December 2012

“Why can’t those idiots in Washington get their act together and solve a problem like the fiscal cliff, when everyone knows what a realistic solution looks like?” That’s pretty much the question I get asked these days when I run into people at the coffee shop.

8 December 2012

Mary Shapiro leaves the agency better than she found it. But she also leaves it still failing to fully achieve its goal of protecting investors and ensuring fair and efficient markets.

1 December 2012

After years of heated and often inaccurate debate, this is a good time to take a deep breath and review some actual facts about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.

24 November 2012

The temptation to use an ax is going to be nearly irresistible as the people around the table discuss the budgetary cuts that will be necessary in the fiscal cliff negotiations.

18 November 2012

It was a long campaign, but I don’t recall any discussion of global climate change until the very end, when Superstorm Sandy jump-started a long-overdue conversation. It is time, way past time, for us to stop pretending there isn’t enough evidence to take action.

11 November 2012

It is time to come together and forge bipartisan solutions to our most urgent problems.

5 November 2012

Tell your member of Congress that you support putting the election behind us and finding a way to compromise to solve our very real problems.

31 October 2012

The words of President John Kennedy are as true today as they were 50 years ago: “The success of this government, and thus the success of our nation, depends in the last analysis upon the quality of our career services.” Maintaining that quality will be one of the major challenges facing whomever is sworn in as president next January.

20 October 2012

Self-policing alone simply doesn’t work. Not in the financial industry, where a lack of meaningful regulation helped cause the 2008-2009 meltdown. And certainly not in industries like food and drugs, where human error or pressure to maximize profits in complicated production and distribution systems can cause serious illness or death.

15 October 2012

Finally, the SEC has begun to take some action. Last month the agency announced a historic first fine of the New York Stock Exchange, on charges that it was unfairly giving advance market information to some of its premium paying customers.

7 October 2012

Don’t cut Amtrak. It is exactly the kind of infrastructure spending we need to improve our global competitiveness.

29 September 2012

We must acknowledge that our national security depends not only on our troops and our weapons, but also on our ideas and how effectively we transmit them.

23 September 2012

We have balanced budgets before without doing it on the backs of the poor. In the name of common decency, we can and must do it again.

15 September 2012

When a political party tries to reach its objectives by refusing to compromise on just about anything, frustration and gridlock are the inevitable results. It is easy to see how people might begin to question the system that makes such tactics possible, and even the Constitution itself.

9 September 2012
“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion,” U.S. Sen. Patrick Moynihan famously said, “but not his own facts.”
25 August 2012

Follow developments and arguments in this campaign carefully, in print media, and on the Internet. But beware of nonsense masquerading as ‘facts’.

18 August 2012

Whomever we elect our next President is going to face an incredible array of challenges. But next year’s newly inaugurated president with the toughest job in the world won’t be Obama or Romney. That dubious distinction goes to Xi Jinping, the expected choice to be China’s new leader when the Communist party congress meets in November.

13 August 2012

The markets don’t belong only to hedge funds; they should and must belong as well to individual investors.

7 July 2012

A lot of the provisions in Dodd-Frank were hotly debated two years ago, but there was nearly unanimous agreement in Congress that we had to make sure taxpayers would never again have to bail out a bank.

30 June 2012

The New England Journal of Medicine, said in 2010, “It is hard to ignore that in 2006, the United States was No.1 in terms of health care spending per capita but ranked 39th for infant mortality, 43rd for adult female mortality, 42nd for adult male mortality, and 36th for life expectancy … Why do we spend so much to get so little?”

Doing something to address the facts in that paragraph is what the ACA is all about.

26 June 2012

There is a disturbing disconnect between some of our rich and powerful and the rest of the population – they just don’t think the rules apply to them.

4 June 2012

he Facebook initial public offering fiasco is just the latest in a string of events that have seriously damaged the credibility of U.S. equity markets.

The exodus of retail customers from our stock markets is the most obvious and dangerous indication of this loss of credibility.

14 May 2012

As partisan a conservative Republican as he was on most domestic issues, Senator Lugar deeply believed in the approach to foreign policy articulated in the early 1940s by Michigan’s Republican Senator Arthur Vandenberg: “To me, ‘bipartisan foreign policy’ means a mutual effort, under our indispensable, two-party system, to unite our official voice at the water’s edge so that America speaks with one voice to those who would divide and conquer us and the free world.”

7 May 2012

Changes in the corporate tax rate will affect all of us. They will determine tax revenues available to help bring the budget deficit under control; encourage innovations, research and development; create jobs in the United States; and improve our competitiveness overseas. There is no question that our major corporations will have their say in the process. I hope that a lot of other voices from across America are heard as well.

1 May 2012

Most working people understand that they are held accountable if they don’t do their jobs well. They don’t get raises. If they continue to perform badly, they get fired.That’s true of elected officials too. Our president and members of Congress will be held accountable by voters this November.

So how have so many corporate executives been able to avoid being held accountable?

30 April 2012

To maintain fairness and international competitiveness, accountability and democracy must be reinstated in the boardroom.

26 April 2012

I’m afraid we will have to live through this election year with super PACs as they now exist. Let’s just hope that after November, both parties will agree to end this threat to our system.

14 April 2012

We must insist on more transparency and a return to markets that are fair to all investors. The tremors keep happening. We can’t afford to wait until after the next catastrophic eruption.

7 April 2012

One of the more dangerous consequences of the financial crisis is how governments at all levels are, in effect, cutting off their noses to spite their faces. In the rush to balance their budgets, some are indiscriminately firing, freezing and cutting pay, and cutting pensions — too often impacting the people who actually make government work.

1 April 2012

This week the Delaware STEM Council will release its first report on how effectively science, technology, engineering and math are being taught in our schools.

24 March 2012

There is now a realistic chance that economic sanctions are having the desired effect and Iran may finally allow inspections to determine if they are developing nuclear weapons.

17 March 2012

By any objective standard, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act has failed to address the three major causes of the financial crisis.

12 March 2012

It is hard to take the knee-jerk anti-regulation crowd, which now seems to include Governor Romney, seriously. It was, after all, the lack of regulation and oversight on Wall Street that led to the meltdown of 2008 and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

10 March 2012

Our Defense Department budget is close to half a trillion dollars annually; the State Department budget is $36 billion. Gates thinks that is out of whack and so do I.

5 March 2012

When I was in the Senate back in 2009-2010 there were disagreements about virtually every element of Wall Street reform. But everyone, Republican or Democrat, agreed that the American taxpayer should never again have to bail out a bank because it was “too big to fail”— so large and so intricately a part of our financial system that if it wasn’t bailed out it could cause another economic meltdown.

3 March 2012

When I was in the Senate, there were disagreements about virtually every element of Wall Street reform. But everyone, Republican or Democrat, agreed that the American taxpayer should never again have to bail out a bank because it was “too big to fail” — so large and so intricately a part of our financial system that if it wasn’t bailed out, it could cause another economic meltdown.

25 February 2012

It is hard to see how the world will muddle through the Greek debt crisis. “New Bailout is a Reprieve for Greece, but Doubts Persist,” was the February 21 headline in the New York Times. Count me among the doubters.

19 February 2012

Do we really want to live in a country where we cut back on regulations to prevent dangerous products from being distributed?

12 February 2012

American corporations are finally loosening their purse strings and investing again. New manufacturing jobs will probably continue to be created; factory employees in January put in their longest work weeks in fourteen years and overtime jumped to its highest level since March 2007. In Pennsylvania the Bureau of Labor statistics reported that manufacturing job growth was the highest since 1990.

5 February 2012

We need to build a corps of civilian experts who can provide the non-military help needed in counterinsurgencies — experts in governance, development, education and all the other areas that are needed to ensure success. And, we need to fight the media wars with more funding to take on the government media giants from Al Jazeera to China International radio and TV.

28 January 2012

There is no question that piracy and counterfeiting on the Internet cost American businesses billions of dollars. Thousands of jobs are lost. We must protect intellectual property because stealing a book, a movie or a song without fair payment to its creator is exactly the same as shoplifting or robbing a bank.

A new bill appears to balance commercial needs with better protections of freedom of speech better than previous efforts.

20 January 2012

By now all sides of the political spectrum ought to acknowledge that it is a lot easier to send the world’s most powerful military into a country than it is to get it out. We also ought to know by now that promoting democracy in other countries means that when democratic elections take place we don’t control the results.

14 January 2012

There is nothing new about the importance of money in a political campaign. But when you look at the recent primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire, and what has been happening this past week in South Carolina, you see that money is no longer just important. It could well be the determining factor in future elections.

9 January 2012

Though social media may prove to be a mixed blessing, recent successful campaigns prove that there are good reasons to be hopeful about it as an effective new tool for the consumer.

2 January 2012

Virtually every reputable organization of scientists in the world has reached the same basic conclusion. Climate change is real and poses a threat to every living thing on the earth.

24 December 2011

“Mutually pledge.” Ben Franklin summed it up best in those perilous days when, after signing the Declaration, he wrote, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we will all hang separately.”

19 December 2011

There is no “good” way to save a bank that is “too big to fail.” The U.S. way was probably the worst. The way the U.K. handled it produced better results.

11 December 2011

We have become accustomed to seeing photos of protesters with economic grievances throughout Europe and recently here at home with the Occupy Wall Street movement. Now, for the first time, similar protests are taking place in China.

4 December 2011

The new innovative industries drawn to Delaware by our STEM-educated workforce are the very best thing we can do in the long term to create jobs for all Delawareans.

13 November 2011

Our troops have made great progress in destroying the capability of the Taliban and essentially eliminating al-Qaida from Afghanistan. They have done their job. It is time to bring them home.

5 November 2011

We send people to jail for stealing $100. What about people who steal $100 million? Judge Rakoff and a few State Attorney Generals are asking the right questions.

2 November 2011

Much of the recent media coverage and Internet chatter about financial industry reform has focused on the Occupy Wall Street movement. If we ever end up with the kind of reforms needed, that movement would certainly deserve some of the credit.

If we look back on the Fall of 2011 a few years from now, however, I suspect we may trace the beginnings of real reform from two events that occurred last week with little fanfare.

30 October 2011

The debate about President Obama’s jobs plan is really just an extension of the long-standing disagreement in the country over the role of government in jump-starting the economy.

23 October 2011

Why are so many so angry with Wall Street? Let me count the whys.

17 October 2011

The weakness of the Volcker Rule in practice

16 October 2011

Don’t believe everything you read! The internet and email can give long lives to false ‘statistics’

9 October 2011

The corrupting influence of conflict of interest, both in and out of government, is a major threat to our democracy. When the people making the most important decisions in our society have a personal, financial stake in the outcome, or when the people providing supposedly objective information to the public are in effect paid for their point of view, democracy falls apart.

2 October 2011

A flood of new clients for charities is coming at a time when charitable funding is tighter than ever.

25 September 2011

Franklin Delano Roosevelt is generally regarded as a great leader. But it was Roosevelt who said, when asked to implement a new policy, “I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it.”

He knew effective leadership depends on a motivated followership.

18 September 2011

I am not opposed to debating a balanced-budget amendment if there were any chance that it could pass. It is clear, however, after over 30 years of trying, that it will never become part of the Constitution, and based on recent history, it is not needed.

11 September 2011

We haven’t been “just lucky.” Luck always plays some part in our lives, but those who attribute the absence of terror attacks within the United States since 9/11 to luck are wrong. They are ignoring the tireless and often heroic work done by hundreds of thousands on the front lines in the often secret and never-ending struggle against terrorism.

28 August 2011

I have opinions and so do you. But let’s honor Sen. Patrick Moynihan’s famous line: “You are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.” Let’s see if we can distinguish between the two for just a minute.

21 August 2011

Our historically free, fair and credible markets are in danger. Investors from all over the world once came here to invest because they believed in our markets’ transparency and fairness. We are losing some of those investors, as well as individual investors here at home, at an alarming rate.

16 August 2011

Ever since the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act passed last year, there has been a running debate about the Resolution Authority in the bill. Would it actually prevent another taxpayer bailout of a bank or banks to avoid a financial meltdown? I believe there is a real possibility that the present mortgage mess could trigger such a test.

14 August 2011

This announcement, believe it or not, may have been a positive development and a sign that rating agencies may finally be acknowledging the mistakes they made that helped cause the financial meltdown.

7 August 2011

The great debt limit crisis of 2011 is over. We will be living with its repercussions for years to come.

1 August 2011

In a system where compromise has been part of the political fabric since the Constitutional Convention of 1787, a legislature filled with partisans who have made binding, no-compromise pledges is a serious threat to our survival.

31 July 2011

The entire system in place to bundle and sell mortgages through “securitized” mortgages might be fatally flawed.

24 July 2011

As we mark the first anniversary this week of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, what was already a weak bill is suffering a slow death by a thousand cuts.

The megabanks that owe their survival to the Troubled Asset Relief Program and extraordinary Federal Reserve measures are fighting any new regulation as if there had never been a financial crisis.

21 July 2011

To say that the year-old Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is under attack in Washington is like describing Little Big Horn as an engagement between the cavalry and the Indians. What we are watching looks more and more like a one-sided policy massacre by hordes of financial industry lobbyists and their enablers in Congress. It should be noted that Wall Street is winning the public relations and lobbying fight, but that markets are for real. When they fall like they did in 2008, they send an unmistakable message. No amount of lobbying money can change that. If we do not heed that message and institute real change, the next meltdown will be even worse.

20 July 2011

Ever since the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act passed last year, there has been a running debate about the Resolution Authority in the bill. Would it actually prevent another taxpayer bailout of a bank or banks to avoid a financial meltdown? I believe there is a real possibility that the present mortgage mess could trigger such a test.

17 July 2011

That democracy has prevailed and taken root in Eastern Europe is in no small measure due to NATO’s influence. However, what we see today is an alliance in disarray.

10 July 2011

I am a college sports fan, always have been, always will be. I love watching the games, but I haven’t liked watching what has been happening to the role of sports in our educational system.

7 July 2011

It is way past time for all of us to get serious about the upcoming vote in Congress to raise the debt limit and avoid an unprecedented default on the sovereign debt of the United States.
Not just members of Congress. Sure, some of them are grandstanding with take-no-prisoner stands. But they are also often reflecting the will of their constituents. Isn’t that what Congress is supposed to do?

3 July 2011

It is way past time for all of us to get serious about the upcoming vote in Congress to raise the debt limit and avoid an unprecedented default on the sovereign debt of the United States.

27 June 2011

Almost everyone I talk to privately in the financial industry says there are six mega-banks that should be broken up or subjected to greater regulatory constraints — and that doing so wouldn’t hurt the economy one bit. When I suggest they speak out publicly, they say, “I just can’t break ranks with the rest of the industry.” It’s the Wall Street version of “No Snitch” tee shirts worn by inner city gang members, creating a self-enforcing culture of non-cooperation with law enforcement.

19 June 2011

Anyone who is knowledgeable about the situation in Afghanistan and present budget constraints knows that the president has an extremely difficult decision to make.

3 June 2011

The truth is the meltdown was not the result of a natural disaster or the normal business cycle. It was the result of a series of bad business decisions, government inaction, and poor judgment by a lot of consumers.

29 May 2011

Don’t get me wrong. America faces an extraordinary range of problems today, perhaps the largest being how to deal with the monumental federal debt. But the difficulty in finding solutions to these problems is attributable to major policy differences in the public at large and not to imperfections in our federal legislative system.

15 May 2011

We must pass the debt limit and move on quickly to begin the hard work of reducing the towering U.S. debt.

To do that, everyone involved should make a commitment to “fact-based” decision-making and take a hard look at the history of our national debt and how we reversed its growth in the recent past.

5 May 2011

We haven’t had a repeat of last year’s “flash crash,” but algorithmic trading has caused mini-flash crashes since, and surveys suggest that most investors and analysts believe it’s only a matter of time before the Big One.

1 May 2011

Anyone who visits China may be surprised by its economic growth, but it has many serious hurdles to overcome.

21 April 2011

Wall Street bankers, with help from key Republicans in the House and Senate, have begun a major campaign across the country to kill the regulations currently being developed to enforce Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform.

17 April 2011

The policy of “self-regulation” on Wall Street and elsewhere, which the country implemented during the last 20 years, resulted in the worst financial meltdown in 80 years, almost destroying the U.S. and world financial systems.

10 April 2011

As the global economy turns increasingly competitive, countries and businesses are investing heavily in high-tech industries such as clean energy, biotechnology and national security.

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