Item: The April 22 Washington Post reported that President Obama was making an “assertive stride into the debate on financial regulatory reform.” The President flew to New York “to deliver a stern address to an audience that included prominent financial executives, telling them that greater government oversight is in the best interest of the industry — and the country. ‘Unless your business model relies on bilking people, there’s little to fear from these new rules,’ he said.”
“Shock and awe” is how the Pentagon described the opening stages of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq: overwhelming force designed to demoralize the enemy into surrendering. Having witnessed how spectacularly that war turned out, the Obama administration decided to employ the same tactic, in a metaphorical sense, to the European debt crisis.
Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) had long worked together on their campaign for a full audit of the Federal Reserve, which emerged last year as H.R. 1207 and S. 604. Dr. Paul's House version of the Audit the Fed bill had 319 cosponsors; Sanders’ Senate version, 32 cosponsors. Despite these bills’ massive popularity with a public grown increasingly suspicious of central banking, efforts to audit our central bank, the Federal Reserve, have been effectively thwarted for the time being.
Quick: What’s a “derivative”? The difference between a “custodial account” and a “trust”? “Listed” versus “unlisted” markets? “Debentures”? How about “price earning ratios”? “Assets” per se, versus “net asset value”? “Capitalism” versus “capitalization”? Stumped? Well, don’t feel badly. Most of your friends and neighbors are stumped, too, unless they majored in economics and are pursuing finance as a career.