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Christopher Whalen

Christopher Whalen is an author and investment banker who lives in New York. Read more about Christopher here.

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Washington & Wall Street: Trouble Ahead for New York City

The 12-year tenure of Michael Bloomberg provides a case in point. “Avoiding the hard choices is how Detroit went bankrupt,” the mayor declared in a speech earlier this year. Yet avoiding hard choices is precisely how Mayor Bloomberg has managed to direct the affairs of New York City and even increases services without significantly raising taxes. The efficient, pro-business façade maintained during the Bloomberg years is now about to disappear, revealing a local political equation that is unfamiliar to most residents and considerably to the left of even New York State’s liberal political center. Sep 25, 2013 12:45 AM PT

Washington & Wall Street: Bernanke Signals Economy Not Recovering

For the past several weeks, financial professionals have listened to a procession of economists predicting that the Federal Reserve would start to end its extraordinary, $85 billion per month in purchases of government and mortgage bonds. Known as “quantitative easing,” the Fed’s bond buying is a Keynesian inspired expedient supposed to boost job growth and consumer income, but has largely failed to deliver in either case. Sep 19, 2013 10:10 AM PT

Washington & Wall Street: Dodd-Frank Will Cause the Next Financial Meltdown

A number of financial observers and members of Congress have stated that a new financial crisis is “inevitable,” this despite the vast body of new laws and regulations put in place since the 2008 financial crisis. Most of these observers blame a lack of effective regulation for making a new crisis unavoidable, but my view is the opposite; that new regulations are actually creating the circumstances for future financial contagion. Sep 16, 2013 11:32 AM PT

Washington & Wall Street: Lehman Brothers and the Failure of Regulation

The fifth anniversary of the failure of Lehman Brothers is generating a lot of comment, mostly of the sort that blames the largest banks for their evil ways. But when considering the lessons learned from the collapse of this large broker-dealer into bankruptcy in 2008, it is important to recognize the role of politicians and regulators in creating this mess in the first place. Sep 10, 2013 6:06 PM PT

Washington & Wall Street: Does Barney Frank Have 'Skin in the Game'?

Last week, a procession of federal financial regulators led by the Federal Reserve Board issued a draft rule and request for comments on what Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) called the most important part of his namesake legislation, namely the provisions requiring “skin in the game” for issuers of mortgage securities. Sep 6, 2013 9:54 AM PT

Washington & Wall Street: Has the Fed's 'Quantitative Easing' Failed?

Are we seeing the peak of US home prices in 2013? Last week the Case-Shiller 20 city index of US home prices was up over 12% year-over year through of June, one of the best results seen this year. But as we have discussed in Washington & Wall Street previously, the indications for the future are decidedly mixed. The fact of a still weak housing sector has big implications of the US economy and begs the question as to whether the Fed’s zero interest rate policies have failed. Sep 4, 2013 10:08 AM PT

Washington & Wall Street: Should Barack Obama Appoint Robert Rubin as Fed Chairman?

The speculation about who will be chosen by President Barack Obama to succeed Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke has intensified in the waning days of August. Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers has been touted as the establishment candidate, while Vice Chairman Janet Yellen is the darling of liberals within both parties. Aug 24, 2013 11:09 AM PT

Washington & Wall Street: Paul Krugman and the Big Lie About Jobs, Consumers

If Paul Krugman and the liberal left had their way, the 2013 federal budget deficit would still be at a trillion plus. He stills believes, it seems, that deficit spending can make a meaningful difference in terms of either job growth or overall unemployment. But as we all know, the only reason unemployment is falling in the age of Barack Obama is because fewer Americans are actually working. Aug 19, 2013 9:19 AM PT

Washington & Wall Street: US Economy Improving But Not Because of the Fed

Earlier this week I spoke with my friend Constance Hunter, Chief Economist for Alternative Investments at KPMG in New York. Hunter is upbeat on the US economy with an estimate of 2.75% growth in 2013. The modest growth number is both good and bad news, but perhaps the more interesting point is that she expects to see a slow improvement in US jobs and consumer activity without a continued rapid recovery in housing prices. Aug 16, 2013 8:17 AM PT

Washington & Wall Street: Obama Does Nothing Prosecuting Subprime Perpetrators

Last week, the Obama Administration continued to lay down a smoke screen to hide its negligence when it comes to investigating the criminal acts which caused the subprime crisis. The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice announced civil lawsuits against Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase, but neither of these civil cases is really worthy of mention. Aug 12, 2013 11:13 AM PT

Washington & Wall Street: Obama Speech Marks Peak in Housing Recovery

So what made President Barack Obama suddenly talk about housing reform this week? After literally years of ignoring the housing mess and allowing some of the worst perpetrators of securities fraud walk away scot-free, Obama is now starting to talk about reform. But the president’s speech may be remembered as the peak in the latest housing recovery. Aug 7, 2013 11:54 AM PT

Washington & Wall Street: Time for Senate Republicans to Deal on Fed

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is expected leave office at the end of his term on February 1st, 2014. Do Republicans in the Senate have any thoughts on successors for the next Fed Chairman? Not so far, at least measured by public statements. Bernanke’s term as a Board member ends January 31, 2020, so he could simply stay on for another six years. And there might be good reason for Bernanke to stay given the recent history of filling empty spots on the Fed's seven member board. The Fed is about to see significant turnover, providing an opportunity for astute Senate Republicans – if there are any. Aug 6, 2013 6:12 AM PT

Washington & Wall Street: Building a New Conservative Economics

The latest government statistics on jobs and consumer spending once again show that the US economy is growing far more slowly than the majority of American economists, politicians and citizens hope and expect. The issue of expectations is crucial because no one in American politics today has the courage and honesty to tell our citizens the truth, namely that the current rate of job creation and growth are “normal” given the country’s debt load and regressive tax policies. Aug 2, 2013 10:32 AM PT

Washington & Wall Street: Democrats Rob Private Mortgage Investors via Eminent Domain

The City of Richmond, CA, has taken a fateful step towards invoking eminent domain to help home owners who owe more on their houses than they are worth – in some cases several times more. The city has sent letters to lenders, asking them to sell the loans on these homes at “fair value” in order to help these families stay in their homes; otherwise the City of Richmond plans to invoke eminent domain to condemn the loans. Jul 30, 2013 4:05 PM PT


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