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BloombergBusinessweek

By  Lisa Lerer on May 07, 2012

Some of the choices are also driven by politics, a person close to the campaign said. Romney limited his proposed elimination of capital gains taxes to incomes up to $200,000. Some of his advisers think the ceiling is too low. In a primary debate last year in Orlando, Florida, Romney said the tax break is aimed at the middle class.

A number of advisers disagree with Romney’s vow to take a harder line on China with policies that go further than either Obama or Bush in confronting the country’s trade practices. Romney has said he would label China a “currency manipulator”on the first day of his presidency and impose new tariffs.

Fixing Housing Market

On housing, Mankiw and Hubbard have called for the Federal Reserve to ease monetary policies and reduce interest rates to strengthen the market. Romney has said the government should stay out of the issue and let the market “hit bottom.”

Hubbard said he wouldn’t comment on personal conversations with Romney. Mankiw didn’t respond to interview requests.

Romney also consults a network of associates in the business world. Former Sun Microsystems Inc. CEO Scott McNealy, Hewlett-Packard President and CEO Meg Whitman, and Puzder, whose company owns the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s fast-food chains, all wrote sections of Romney’s jobs plan.

“Sometimes business people see things happening faster than economists do,” said Hubbard.

Hubbard briefs Romney every few weeks or when the candidate has a specific concern, he said. The candidate typically arrives well-read and ready to quiz the team on their latest proposals.

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Bernanke Calls On Congress To Help The Economy — For At Least The Fourth Time In Five Months

Huff Post

William Alden & Shahien Nasiripour

First Posted: 11-20-10 09:01 AM   |   Updated: 11-20-10 01:55 PM

NEW YORK — For at least the fourth time since June, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke publicly urged Congress to combat the lackluster recovery by increasing government spending, a recommendation that has gone unheeded by lawmakers.

In a speech at a conference of central bankers in Frankfurt, Bernanke once again said the Fed cannot save the economy on its own. The Fed’s recent move to add to its ballooning balance sheet by committing to buy up to $600 billion of government debt faces “limits” to its effectiveness, Bernanke said. The rest of the government, the chairman added, could aid the Fed’s efforts by hammering out a plan for stimulative spending. The right kind of spending, he noted, could help reduce the budget deficit over the long-term by first boosting economic growth.

“[I]n general terms, a fiscal program that combines near-term measures to enhance growth with strong, confidence-inducing steps to reduce longer-term structural deficits would be an important complement to the policies of the Federal Reserve,” Bernanke said Friday, according to his written remarks.

The fiscal policy recommendation came directly after Bernanke acknowledged it isn’t his job to make such policy proposals. “The Federal Reserve is nonpartisan and does not make recommendations regarding specific tax and spending programs,” the chairman noted.

The official parameters of his job, though, have not stopped Bernanke from engaging in backseat driving. At least four times since June — on June 9, July 21, July 22 and now Friday — he has urged lawmakers to increase spending to jumpstart the lagging economy.

But policy makers have proved to be unable to agree upon such a plan — or even propose one that’s viable. The rest of the nation has suffered as a result, as near-10 percent unemployment continues to hobble the economy. Democrats recently lost control of the House of Representatives, and a substantial part of their majority in the Senate. Voters said the dismal economy was their top concern.

To combat an ineffectual Washington establishment, the Fed has taken matters into its own hands. By buying up to $600 billion of government debt, the central bank hopes to increase the flow of money through the economy. Critics of the program, which is intended to lower interest rates and encourage corporate spending, have said the cheap money will not convince businesses to create jobs.

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As stimulus funds near end, new pain will begin

by Ronald J. Hansen – Nov. 21, 2010 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

If people didn’t like the federal stimulus, they may hate when it’s gone.

As the year winds down, the $862 billion plan to rescue the economy from the depths of the recession enters a new phase in which tax cuts and credits expire and countless hard-to-replace construction projects will end. Thousands of workers in some states could lose their jobs.

The political power shift brought about by the midterm elections has likely settled any lingering doubts that the stimulus will largely run out, as scheduled, in the coming months. A smaller package of federal aid that passed in August, primarily for teachers, also will rapidly disappear. With the new Republican majority in the House next year, there will be little support for similar additional measures.

Worries about the national debt and a negative view of the stimulus augur a new period when more businesses must survive on their own and governments must tighten their belts. The austerity will be widely felt.

Nearly every worker in the nation will see slightly slimmer paychecks as $400 individual tax cuts are slated to end this year.

Tax credits, such as those offering incentives for energy-efficiency improvements for homeowners, also are set to lapse at year’s end. The earned-income tax credit, which rewards the working poor, will no longer include funding for those with a third child.

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Until this week, Paul Adolph Volcker, the 82-year-old architect of President Barack Obama’s latest assault on Wall Street, was not so much yesterday’s man as the man of a couple of decades ago.

Paul Volcker: the 'big man' behind Barack Obama's bank reform Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Tracy Corrigan | Daily Telegraph | 22 Jan 2010

After all, the pinnacle of his career was being chairman of the Federal Reserve, a job he held from 1979 until 1987.

Mr Volcker, who currently heads the President’s external panel of advisers on economic recovery, has consistently advocated a more aggressive approach to fixing the financial system that has not, until now, found favour within the administration.

In September, Mr Volcker told the House of Representatives banking and financial services committee: “As a general matter, I would exclude from commercial banking institutions, which are potential beneficiaries of official (ie. taxpayer) financial support, certain risky activities entirely suitable for our capital markets. Ownership or sponsorship of hedge funds and private equity funds should be among those prohibited activities… There are deep-seated, almost unmanageable, conflicts of interest with normal banking relationships.”

But his advice appeared to fall on deaf ears. “Volcker fails to sell a bank strategy,” ran a New York Times headline just three months ago. The big man – he stands six feet seven inches tall – was unfazed. According to the report, he scoffed at the notion that he was losing his clout, remarking: “I did not have influence to start with.”

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Bye-Bye Ben Bernanke – Thanks for Burning the House Down

Daily Kos- by Badabing

Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 08:12:35 AM PST

Friday, January 22nd, 2010 was supposed to have been the full Senate vote on the confirmation of Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke. A few months ago, his confirmation seemed like a done deal, but all that has changed quickly over the past few weeks.

The vote has been put off, and the reason that the vote has been put off is because it now appears that Ben Bernanke may not have the votes to be reconfirmed on both sides of the isles>  The election of Scott Brown to not just any seat in the Senate, but a strong held Democratic Senate seat has put a fire under the Senate and apparently President Obama too.  Good…I hope they are all finally getting the message.

I believe that message is this: Americans are sick to death of the critical mass of corruption that has eaten away like an ugly plague of millions of locusts into all 3 branches of our government.

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Opposition To Bernanke Growing In Wake Of Mass. Vote

Huffington Post- Ryan Grim

First Posted: 01-21-10 11:01 AM   |   Updated: 01-22-10 11:28 AM

UPDATE — JANUARY 22, 11:23 AM ET:

California Democrat Barbara Boxer has become the latest senator to oppose the nomination of Ben Bernanke to a second term as Chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Boxer’s opposition, which she announced in an exclusive statement to the Huffington Post, is a blow to Bernanke. Boxer is no firebreather on economic issues, but considered a more mainstream Democrat from a state that was considered comfortably blue — until Tuesday’s special election in Massachusetts, that is.

“I have a lot of respect for Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. When the financial crisis hit in late 2008, he took some important steps to prevent what many economists believe could have been an even greater economic catastrophe,” said Boxer.

“However, it is time for a change — it is time for Main Street to have a champion at the Fed. Dr. Bernanke played a lead role in crafting the Bush administration’s economic policies, which led to the current economic crisis. Our next Federal Reserve Chairman must represent a clean break from the failed policies of the past.”

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More fun at Ben the Banker’s expense for all you fun-loving doods out there who love to watch him stutter and squirm in the face of awkward questions about the Fed.

But first, a video of the soi-disant Wizard of Oz being exposed as the charlatan he is:

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

Now for an article by Gary North:

Why Bernanke Is in Panic Mode

Gary North | Lew Rockwell.com | Saturday, August 1, 2009

Bernanke video: He stutters; he stammers; he is in visible panic mode over Ron Paul’s bill to audit the Federal Reserve. Watch it. You’ll love it! Then send it to your friends.

Usually, when Ben Bernanke is interviewed, he has the demeanor of a college professor in the presence of freshman students. Of course, as a full professor, he did not have to teach freshmen. That is for untenured assistant professors to do. Stammering and stuttering are therefore a real departure for him. There is a reason for this.

For the first time since 1914, there is a public debate in Congress over the Federal Reserve’s power. Never before has a majority of the House of Representatives called for what should always have existed: Congressional scrutiny over the FED’s money. Bernanke says that Ron Paul’s bill to audit the Federal Reserve is a bill to audit Federal Reserve policy. Yet the bill says nothing about auditing policy. So, what is he talking about?

Bernanke says that Congress can have access to an audit at any time. Sure it can – an audit vetted and sanitized by the FED, where no one knows which banks got what bailout money. This is an audit in the way a CIA audit is an audit. The main differences are these: (1) the CIA legally operates only outside the borders of the United States; (2) the CIA can assassinate any uncooperative Congressman who insists on a full audit. The FED does not have the second power, but it is not limited by the first restriction.

What has Bernanke panicked is this: the Federal Reserve has bailed out the biggest banks and has let almost 100 little ones die. This is crony capitalism at its most notorious.

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Here’s a video of the same occasion on youtube:

09 07 30 Bernanke Rebuttal – From PBS

kdenninger | 30 July 2009

On PBS I got a question into Ben Bernanke – who promptly ducked it. Here’s why he ducked it, and what it means. Analysis and a challenge, which I fully expect Bernanke will refuse to accept, of course.

Pass this one around to your friends and associates.

Finally, a comment from one of our readers:

75% of Americans Want To Audit the Fed – Thousands Want to Abolish It!

Read the petition and the angry comments at http://www.petitiononline.com/fed/petition.html

Thanks,

Ron

You’re welcome Ron, and welcome to the blog.

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AMAR BHIDé | WSJ | Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Obama administration’s plan to increase the powers of the Federal Reserve, says one critic, is like giving a teenager “a bigger, faster car right after he crashed the family station wagon.” Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner disagrees. He argues that the Fed is “best positioned” to oversee key financial companies, and that the Obama plan would give the Fed only “modest additional authority.”

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Force the Federal Reserve into the sunlight

San Francisco Examiner | July 29, 2009

Private bankers who run the Federal Reserve System have the power to pump hundreds of billions of dollars into the nation’s money supply, making each dollar in circulation automatically worth less. Any institution with that kind of power with the economic lives and fortunes of Americans should be operated in the open. That’s why the Fed’s lack of transparency is troubling, to say the least.

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Gallup Poll: Americans Turning Against Federal Reserve

Paul Joseph Watson | Prison Planet.com | Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke seems frightened to death at what might be revealed if the Federal Reserve were forced to open its books and has been busy scuttling around lying about the bill in order to try and shoot it down.

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Eliot Spitzer Takes On The Fed – MSNBC w/ Dylan Ratigan (7/24/09)

Spitzer: Federal Reserve is ‘a Ponzi scheme, an inside job’

Daniel Tencer | Raw Story | 2009-07-25

The Federal Reserve — the quasi-autonomous body that controls the US’s money supply — is a “Ponzi scheme” that created “bubble after bubble” in the US economy and needs to be held accountable for its actions, says Eliot Spitzer, the former governor and attorney-general of New York.

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Congressman says Washington elite are watching grassroots efforts very closely

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Steve Watson | Infowars.net | Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Texas Congressman Ron Paul has recorded a video update on the ongoing effort to audit the Federal Reserve, assuring supporters that the establishment in Washington is paying very close attention.

As Paul states in the video, 272 members of the House, 95 of them Democrats, now support HR 1207, Ron Paul’s “audit the Fed” bill.

In addition, 13 members of the Senate, 2 of which are Democrats, have pledged support for S 604 The Federal Reserve Sunshine act, the companion bill in the Senate.

“I think it is going to be impossible for them just to ignore everything we have done and just walk away, something will be done,” Paul comments. “The big question is will we be able to get something worth while?”

Original article

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The Rise And Fall Of AIG’s Financial Products Unit

As we delve into the back-story behind the collapse of AIG, we thought it might be useful to lay out some key factual information about the firm’s Financial Products unit, known as AIGFP, whose disastrous credit default swaps brought the company to its knees. How and when did AIG Financial Products get started? Who ran it, and from where? How did it get into credit default swaps, and what exactly are they, anyway? And how did this group of derivatives traders eventually wind up bringing down one of the most admired financial firms in the world?

So here’s a rundown of some of the key developments in AIGFP’s tumultuous history — many gleaned from a superb three-part December 2008 Washington Post series on the unit (parts 1, 2, and 3):
From a Humble Start, A Swift Rise

– AIGFP was founded on January 27, 1987, when three Drexel Burnham Lambert traders, led by finance scholar Howard Sosin, convinced AIG CEO Hank Greenberg to branch out from his core insurance business by creating a division focused on complex derivatives trades that took advantage of AIG’s AAA credit rating.

– In addition to his two partners, Randy Rackson and Barry Goldman, Sosin brought 10 other staffers from DBL with him — including future AIGFP CEO Joseph Cassano. The team of 13 set to work in a windowless makeshift room, at first without full-size desks and chairs, in an accounting office on Third Avenue. AIGFP’s first significant deal, made in July 1987, was a $1 billion interest-rate swap with the Italian government.

– In its first 6 month of existence, the unit earned more than $60 million. Under the agreement that Greenberg and Sosin had signed, 38 percent of that went immediately to AIGFP, with the remaining 62 percent going to AIG proper. Crucially, the agreement also called for AIGFP received its profits up front, even though its deals generally took years to play out. AIG itself, not AIGFP, would be on the hook down the road if things went wrong. This arrangement would be modified, but only partially, after Sosin left in 1993.

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AIG Counter-Party List Is Heavy On Foreign Banks

Last week, we rounded up some reports from last fall that named some of the banks that AIG did business with on those credit-default swaps — and therefore offered a first pass at where the fallen insurance behemoth’s latest round of bailout money might ultimately be going.

But over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal offered some updated reporting (sub. req.) on that score. It obtained a confidential document listing banks that have been paid a total of roughly $50 billion by AIG, since it was first bailed out last fall.

Here’s the Journal‘s list:

* Goldman Sachs
* Deutsche Bank
* Merrill Lynch
* Société Générale
* Calyon
* Barclays
* Rabobank
* Danske
* HSBC
* Royal Bank of Scotland
* Banco Santander
* Morgan Stanley
* Wachovia
* Bank of America
* Lloyds Banking Group

That includes $6 billion each for Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank.

As you can see, there’s some overlap there with what we told you the Journal and the New York Times had previously reported.

But the new list shows how many of AIG’s counter-parties were European — a fact that’s likely to add to frustration, among members of Congress and the public, that US taxpayer dollars are ultimately being used to save foreign banks from the consequences of their disastrous decisions to do credit default swaps with AIG. It’s also likely to further fuel congressional demands that the federal government identify all of AIG’s trading partners.

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Billions Dished Out in the Shadows

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Robert Scheer | Truthdig | March 3, 2009

This is crazy! Forget the bleating of Rush Limbaugh; the problem is not with the quite reasonable and, if anything, underfunded stimulus package, which in any case will be debated long and hard in Congress. The problem is with what is not being debated: the far more expensive Wall Street bailout that is being pushed through—as in the case of the latest AIG rescue—in secret, hurried deal-making primarily by the unelected secretary of the treasury and the chairman of the Federal Reserve.

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Fed Refuses to Release Bank Lending Data, Insists on Secrecy, Says it Isn’t Subject to FOIA Law

cryptogon.com | Thursday, March 5, 2009

HA. Bloomberg is trying to apply FOIA to the Federal Reserve. Well, to those of you who still believe that the Fed is part of the U.S. Government, pay close attention:

The Board of Governors contends that it’s separate from its member banks, including the Federal Reserve Bank of New York which runs the lending programs. Most documents relevant to the Bloomberg suit are at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which the Fed contends isn’t subject to FOIA law. The Board of Governors has 231 pages of documents, which it is denying access to under an exemption under trade secrets.

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