As of Dec 1st, we're $13,300 in the red for 2015. Please donate here to support this vital work.
Subscribe here to our free email list

Financial News Stories
Excerpts of Key Financial News Stories in Major Media

Below are highly revealing excerpts of important banking and finance news stories reported in the media that suggest a major cover-up. Links are provided to the full stories on their major media websites. If any link fails to function, read this webpage. These banking and finance news stories are listed by date posted to this webpage. You can explore the same articles listed by order of importance or by article date. By choosing to educate ourselves on these important issues and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.

Note: This comprehensive list of banking and finance news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.

Elizabeth Warren: The market is broken
2014-09-05, CNN
Posted: 2014-09-15 07:07:22

Senator Elizabeth Warren ... believes the most important [problem] to solve is how to get the American economy working for someone other than billionaires. It's a message she's been taking all over the country, and she isn't afraid to call banks, credit card companies and some employers cheats and tricksters. "The biggest financial institutions figured out they could make a lot of money by cheating people on mortgages, credit cards and payday loans," she told a packed auditorium at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, where she spoke alongside New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. The biggest applause of the night was on three issues that come up frequently in Warren's speeches. 1) Financial regulation: Warren was the driving force behind the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau after the 2008 financial crisis. The agency has returned billions of dollars to Americans who were wronged. 2) Reducing student loans: Last summer Warren made headlines for arguing that student loans should have the same interest rates that banks get when they borrow money from the Federal Reserve. As she likes to remind people, "Student loans issued from 2007 to 2012 are on target to produce $66 billion in profit for the United States government." 3) Raising the minimum wage: "No one should work full time and still live in poverty," Warren said. Her other big push is for basic worker rights.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.

Goldman to Pay $3.15 Billion to Settle Mortgage Claims
2014-08-22, New York Times
Posted: 2014-09-02 11:01:14

Goldman Sachs is paying its largest bill yet to resolve a government lawsuit related to the financial crisis. The bank said ... that it had agreed to buy back $3.15 billion in mortgage bonds from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to end a lawsuit filed in 2011 by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the federal regulator that oversees the two mortgage companies. The agency had accused Goldman of unloading low-quality mortgage bonds onto Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the run-up to the financial crisis. It estimates that Goldman is paying $1.2 billion more than the bonds are now worth. Most of the other 18 banks that faced similar suits from the housing agency have already reached settlements. The previous settlements have included penalties, which Goldman avoided. But Goldman had been hoping to avoid settling the suit altogether, contending as recently as last month that many of the government’s claims should be dismissed. The $1.2 billion figure carries a sting because it is double the $550 million payment that Goldman made in 2010 to settle the most prominent crisis-era case it has faced — the so-called Abacus case. Since then, Goldman has largely avoided the billion-dollar penalties paid by other banks for wrongdoing before the 2008 crisis. This week, Bank of America reached a $16.65 billion settlement with the Justice Department related to the bank’s handling of shoddy mortgages. In a separate deal this year, Bank of America agreed to pay $9.5 billion to settle its part of the housing finance agency’s lawsuit. Some of that money was a penalty and the rest was used to buy back mortgage bonds.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing financial corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.

Iceland president: Letting banks fail helped recovery
2012-12-13, CNN
Posted: 2014-08-18 07:29:51

Four years after the country let its debt-ridden banks fail, and as the country's growth looks set to far outpace the eurozone, [Iceland's president Olafur Ragnar Grimsson] said the decision not to save the banks was "the most difficult I ever had to make," but maintained it was the right one. "Allowing the banks to fail is one of the fundamental reasons Iceland is now in a strong recovery with respect to other European countries," he said. Now, according to Grimsson, "Iceland is better placed to benefit by maintaining our present position, rather than to let the EU speak on our behalf." The 69-year-old president pointed to Norway and Greenland -- two other Arctic economies and non-European Union members -- as role models. However, Grimsson said he was not sure whether Iceland's strategy with its banks could have been replicated by other countries with similar problems, such as Ireland. "Being part of the eurozone, they couldn't devalue their currency. But they could have adopted our policy with respect to the banks," he said. The Icelandic krona fell sharply as a result of the financial collapse, helping the country recover by increasing demand for exports. "There are still scars," Grimsson said, "but on the whole, the will of the Icelandic people has enabled us to recover and move confidently towards the future."

Note: Watch a great video interview of Iceland's president discussing this matter. Iceland has gone through tremendous transformation that has greatly supported both the people and the economy of this nation. Why is this getting so little press coverage?

Citigroup to pay $7 billion for ‘egregious misconduct’ leading up to financial crisis
2014-07-14, PBS
Posted: 2014-07-22 10:16:47

JUDY WOODRUFF: “We should start praying. I wouldn’t be surprised if half of these loans went down” — that’s what a trader at Citigroup wrote in an e-mail in 2007, after reviewing thousands of mortgages bought and sold by the bank. Today, the Justice Department cited those very words as it announced a $7 billion settlement with the bank. The government said Citi committed egregious misconduct in the lead-up to the financial crisis. Of the $7 billion, Citigroup will pay $4 billion to the Justice Department. More than $2.5 billion is set aside for what’s described as consumer relief. Tony West is associate attorney general. And he was the government’s lead negotiator in this case. Lay out for us, what was this egregious conduct and how many people at Citigroup were engaged in it? TONY WEST: Citibank packaged securities, packaged loans, mortgage loans into these securities, which they sold to investors. What they didn’t tell investors was what the actual quality of those loans were. And so you had these mortgage bond deals that had quality that was far less than what Citi was representing to investors that they were. JUDY WOODRUFF: And how many people knew about this, and did the knowledge go all the way to the top? TONY WEST: We know from the evidence that bankers were warned that the quality of the loans that they were packaging into these securities wasn’t what they were telling investors they were, but they ignored those warning signs. They ignored that due diligence. Certainly enough ... bankers knew that we felt that we could demand a very high, in fact, an historically high, penalty from Citibank.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing financial corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.

WikiLeaks publishes 'secret draft' of world trade agreement
2014-06-19, CBC News (Canada's Public Broadcasting Network)
Posted: 2014-06-23 08:03:53

WikiLeaks has published what it calls "the secret draft text for the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) Financial Services Annex," apparently covering 50 countries and most of the world's trade in services. "The draft Financial Services Annex sets rules which would assist the expansion of financial multinationals — mainly headquartered in New York, London, Paris and Frankfurt — into other nations by preventing regulatory barriers," the website says in a statement. The draft deal is seen as a way to prevent more regulation of financial services, despite calls for tighter regulatory measures that followed the 2007-08 world financial crisis. That market meltdown set the world's biggest banks up against critics who said governments needed to rein them in. The last round of TISA talks took place April 28 to May 2 in Geneva. WikiLeaks also [stated] that the U.S. is "particularly keen on boosting cross-border data flow" and that this would include personal and financial data. During his teleconference, [Assange] urged U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to end a four-year-long grand jury investigation of Assange and WikiLeaks. "National security reporters are required by their profession to have intimate interactions in order to assess and verify and investigate the nature of the material that they are dealing with," he said. "So I call on Eric Holder today to immediately drop the ongoing national security investigation against WikiLeaks or resign."

Note: Why is this important release getting so little news coverage? For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.

Study asserts startling numbers of insider trading rogues
2014-06-17, CNBC
Posted: 2014-06-23 07:54:43

There is often a tip. Before many big mergers and acquisitions, word leaks out to select investors who seek to covertly trade on the information. Stocks and options move in unusual ways that aren't immediately clear. Then news of the deals crosses the ticker, surprising everyone except for those already in the know. Sometimes the investor is found out and is prosecuted, sometimes not. That's what everyone suspects, though until now the evidence has been largely anecdotal. Now, a groundbreaking new study finally puts what we've instinctively thought into hard numbers — and the truth is worse than we imagined. A quarter of all public company deals may involve some kind of insider trading, according to the study by two professors at the Stern School of Business at New York University and one professor from McGill University. The study, perhaps the most detailed and exhaustive of its kind, examined hundreds of transactions from 1996 through the end of 2012. The professors examined stock option movements — when an investor buys an option to acquire a stock in the future at a set price — as a way of determining whether unusual activity took place in the 30 days before a deal's announcement. The professors are so confident in their findings of pervasive insider trading that they determined statistically that the odds of the trading "arising out of chance" were "about three in a trillion." But, the professors conclude, the Securities and Exchange Commission litigated only "about 4.7 percent of the 1,859 ... deals included in our sample."

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing financial corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.

IMF chief says banks haven't changed since financial crisis
2014-05-27, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2014-06-02 11:06:11

The head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, told an audience in London that six years on from the deep financial crisis that engulfed the global economy, banks were resisting reform and still too focused on excessive risk taking to secure their bonuses at the expense of public trust. She said: "The behaviour of the financial sector has not changed fundamentally in a number of dimensions since the crisis. The industry still prizes short-term profit over long-term prudence, today's bonus over tomorrow's relationship. Some prominent firms have even been mired in scandals that violate the most basic ethical norms - Libor and foreign exchange rigging, money laundering, illegal foreclosure." Lagarde warned the too-big-to-fail problem among some of the world's largest financial institutions was still unresolved and remained a major source of systematic risk, with implicit subsidies of $70bn (Ł42bn) in the US, and up to $300bn in the eurozone. Lagarde said international progress to reform the financial system was too slow. Lagarde told [the] conference that rising inequality was also a barrier to growth, and could undermine democracy and human rights. The issue has risen up the agenda in recent months with the publication of the French economist Thomas Piketty's book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century. "One of the leading economic stories of our time is rising income inequality, and the dark shadow it casts across the global economy," Lagarde said.

Note: For more on financial corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Europe's Secret Success
2014-05-26, New York Times
Posted: 2014-06-02 11:04:04

European economies, France in particular, get very bad press in America. Our political discourse is dominated by reverse Robin-Hoodism — the belief that economic success depends on being nice to the rich, who won’t create jobs if they are heavily taxed, and nasty to ordinary workers, who won’t accept jobs unless they have no alternative. And according to this ideology, Europe — with its high taxes and generous welfare states — does everything wrong. So Europe’s economic system must be collapsing, and a lot of reporting simply states the postulated collapse as a fact. The reality, however, is very different. Yes, Southern Europe is experiencing an economic crisis thanks to [a money muddle caused by Europe's premature adoption of a single currency]. But Northern European nations, France included, have done far better [than America]. French adults in their prime working years (25 to 54) are substantially more likely to have jobs than their U.S. counterparts. France’s prime-age employment rate overtook America’s early in the Bush administration. Other European nations with big welfare states, like Sweden and the Netherlands, do even better. On the core issue of providing jobs for people who really should be working, at this point old Europe is beating us hands down despite social benefits and regulations that, according to free-market ideologues, should be hugely job-destroying.

Note: For more on the collusion of the US government with financial corporations to maintain their profitability, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Why both sides of the political aisle are turning against Wall Street
2014-05-07, Christian Science Monitor
Posted: 2014-05-26 10:34:54

More Americans than ever believe the economy is rigged in favor of Wall Street and big business and their enablers in Washington. We’re five years into a so-called recovery that’s been a bonanza for the rich but a bust for the middle class. “The game is rigged and the American people know that. They get it right down to their toes,” says Senator Elizabeth Warren. Which is fueling a new populism on both the left and the right. While still far apart, neo-populists on both sides are bending toward one another and against the establishment. And it’s not only the rhetoric that’s converging. Populists on the right and left are also coming together around six principles: 1. Cut the biggest Wall Street banks down to a size where they’re no longer too big to fail. 2. Resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act, separating investment from commercial banking and thereby preventing companies from gambling with their depositors’ money. 3. End corporate welfare – including subsidies to big oil, big agribusiness, big pharma, Wall Street, and the Ex-Im Bank. 5. Scale back American interventions overseas. 6. Oppose trade agreements crafted by big corporations. Two decades ago Democrats and Republicans enacted the North American Free Trade Agreement. Since then populists in both parties have mounted increasing opposition to such agreements. Left and right-wing populists remain deeply divided over the role of government. Even so, the major fault line in American politics seems to be shifting, from Democrat versus Republican, to populist versus establishment — those who think the game is rigged versus those who do the rigging.

Note: For more on financial corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Credit Suisse Pleads Guilty to Aiding Tax Evasion
2014-05-20, NBC News/Reuters
Posted: 2014-05-26 10:27:51

Credit Suisse has agreed to pay a $2.5 billion fine to authorities in the United States for helping Americans evade taxes, after becoming the largest bank in 20 years to plead guilty to a U.S. criminal charge. Switzerland's second largest bank escaped what could have been the worst outcome for its business - its top management stayed in place and it will not have to hand over client data, protected by Swiss secrecy laws. And the New York state bank regulator decided not to revoke the bank's license in the state. U.S. prosecutors said the bank helped clients deceive U.S. tax authorities by concealing assets in illegal, undeclared bank accounts, in a conspiracy that spanned decades, and in one case began more than a century ago. The Justice Department has not often pursued such convictions of financial companies, especially large ones that could become destabilized following an indictment. Credit Suisse will pay the penalties to the U.S. Department of Justice, the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Reserve and New York's banking regulator, the New York State Department of Financial Services. It had already paid just under $200 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Some analysts said clients and counterparties could pull their business due to the guilty plea. The United States has been trying to wrest client data from Swiss banks in a long-standing fight with Switzerland and its bank secrecy laws. The standoff has already forced Wegelin & Co, the oldest Swiss private bank, to close shop after a guilty plea to charges of helping U.S. clients evade taxes.

Note: For more on financial corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

No more liberal apologies as Elizabeth Warren takes the offensive
2014-05-18, Washington Post
Posted: 2014-05-26 10:26:27

Elizabeth Warren is cast as many things: a populist, a left-winger, the paladin against the bankers and the rich, the Democrats’ alternative to Hillary Clinton, the policy wonk with a heart. The senior senator from Massachusetts is certainly a populist and her heart is with those foreclosed upon and exploited by shady financial practices. But she is not nearly as left-wing as many say — she can offer a strong defense of capitalism that’s usually overlooked. She is, above all, a lawyer who knows how to make arguments. From the time she first came to public attention, Warren has been challenging conservative presumptions embedded so deeply in our discourse that we barely notice them. Where others equivocate, she fights back with common sense. Since the Reagan era, Democrats have been so determined to show how pro-market and pro-business they are that they’ve shied away from pointing out that markets could not exist without government, that the well-off depend on the state to keep their wealth secure and that participants in the economy rely on government to keep the marketplace on the level and to temper the business cycle’s gyrations. Warren doesn’t back away from any of these facts. In her new book, A Fighting Chance, she recalls the answer she gave to a voter during a living-room gathering in Andover, Mass., that quickly went viral. “There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own,” she said. “Nobody. You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear: You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate."

Note: For more on financial corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

London’s silver price fix dies after nearly 120 years
2014-05-14, Financial Times
Posted: 2014-05-19 07:42:10

It was born in the late 19th century when a handful of London bullion dealers agreed to meet daily under a cloud of cigar smoke to set the price for the “devil’s metal”. But now, after 117 years of operation, the London silver fix – an integral part of the city’s $1.6tn-a-year silver market – is on its deathbed. The three banks that arrange silver’s global benchmark said on [May 14] that prices would be “fixed” for the final time at noon on August 14. The move comes on the heels of increased scrutiny by European and US regulators into precious metals price-setting following the Libor scandal and probe into possible forex market abuse. Deutsche Bank last month resigned its seats on the silver and gold fixes, after failing to find buyers, leaving just HSBC and Bank of Nova Scotia on the silver fix. The three banks said there would be discussions “to explore whether the market wishes to develop an alternative” to the benchmark. The regulatory attention has removed the lustre from the once-prestigious precious metals fixes, while legal action in the US has been an additional deterrent for potential new members. US lawyers have filed at least 20 class lawsuits alleging manipulation by the banks responsible for the gold fix. The demise of the silver fix will raise questions about the future of the other precious metals benchmarks – platinum, palladium and, especially, gold. Following Deutsche Bank’s withdrawal, the gold fix can continue to operate effectively with four member banks, but critics say the process is old-fashioned and opaque, and needs to be overhauled.

Note: For more on financial corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Now That’s Rich
2014-05-09, New York Times
Posted: 2014-05-12 07:20:08

The 25 highest-paid hedge fund managers ... made a combined $21 billion in 2013. In particular, let’s think about how their good fortune refutes several popular myths about income inequality in America. Apologists for soaring inequality almost always try to disguise the gigantic incomes of the truly rich by hiding them in a crowd of the merely affluent. Instead of talking about the 1 percent or the 0.1 percent, they talk about the rising incomes of college graduates. The goal of this misdirection is to soften the picture, to make it seem as if we’re talking about ordinary white-collar professionals who get ahead through education and hard work. But many Americans are well-educated and work hard. The vast gulf that now exists between the upper-middle-class and the truly rich didn’t emerge until the Reagan years. Second, ignore the rhetoric about “job creators” and all that. Conservatives want you to believe that the big rewards in modern America go to innovators and entrepreneurs, people who build businesses and push technology forward. But that’s not what those hedge fund managers do for a living; they’re in the business of financial speculation. Once upon a time, you might have been able to argue with a straight face that all this wheeling and dealing was productive, that the financial elite was actually providing services to society commensurate with its rewards. But, at this point, the evidence suggests that hedge funds are a bad deal for everyone except their managers; they don’t deliver high enough returns to justify those huge fees, and they’re a major source of economic instability. We’re still living in the shadow of a crisis brought on by a runaway financial industry.

Note: For more on financial corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Study: US is an oligarchy, not a democracy
2014-04-17, BBC News
Posted: 2014-04-29 11:38:33

The US is dominated by a rich and powerful elite. So concludes a recent study by Princeton University Prof Martin Gilens and Northwestern University Prof Benjamin I Page. Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organised groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. In English: the wealthy few move policy, while the average American has little power. The two professors came to this conclusion after reviewing answers to 1,779 survey questions asked between 1981 and 2002 on public policy issues. They broke the responses down by income level, and then determined how often certain income levels and organised interest groups saw their policy preferences enacted. "A proposed policy change with low support among economically elite Americans (one-out-of-five in favour) is adopted only about 18% of the time," they write, "while a proposed change with high support (four-out-of-five in favour) is adopted about 45% of the time." When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organised interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the US political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favour policy change, they generally do not get it. They conclude: "We believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organisations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America's claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened."

Note: For more on the antidemocratic impacts of income inequality, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Elizabeth Warren’s ‘A Fighting Chance’: An exclusive excerpt on the foreclosure crisis
2014-04-26, Boston Globe
Posted: 2014-04-29 11:35:54

In fall 2009, Secretary Timothy Geithner invited people working on TARP oversight to a meeting. After we had listened to the secretary go on and on about his department’s cheery projections for recovery, I finally interrupted with a question about a new topic. Why, I asked, had Treasury’s response to the flood of foreclosures been so small? The Congressional Oversight Panel had been sharply critical of Treasury’s foreclosure plan. We thought that the program was poorly designed and poorly managed and provided little permanent help, and we worried that it would reach too few people to make any real difference. The secretary ... quickly launched into a general discussion of his approach to dealing with foreclosures, rehashing the plan that the Congressional Oversight Panel had already reviewed. Next, he explained why Treasury’s efforts were perfectly adequate. Then he hit his key point: The banks could manage only so many foreclosures at a time, and Treasury wanted to slow down the pace so the banks wouldn’t be overwhelmed. And this was where the new foreclosure program came in: It was just big enough to “foam the runway” for them. There it was: The Treasury foreclosure program was intended to foam the runway to protect against a crash landing by the banks. Millions of people were getting tossed out on the street, but the secretary of the Treasury believed the government’s most important job was to provide a soft landing for the tender fannies of the banks.

Note: Adapted from A Fighting Chance by Elizabeth Warren. For more on the government's collusion with the big banks before, during and after the 2008 financial crisis brought about by fraudulent mortgage sales, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Canadian Brad Katsuyama in spotlight over 'rigged' markets allegation
2014-04-01, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Posted: 2014-04-21 08:12:39

A Canadian who works on Wall Street is emerging in some quarters as a hero for revealing the inner workings of high frequency traders who critics have accused of rigging the stock market and taking investors for billions. Brad Katsuyama now runs IEX – the Investors Exchange – a new Wall Street trading platform he founded. But it was in his former capacity as the head trader in New York for RBC Capital Markets that he caught the attention of popular financial writer Michael Lewis. Katsuyama gets star billing in Lewis’s new book, Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt. Katsuyama told Lewis that he had uncovered the methods high frequency traders use to get what he considers to be an unfair advantage over other investors. Katsuyama noticed that when he would send a large stock order to the market, it would only be partially filled, and then he would have to pay a higher price for the rest of the order. When he investigated, he found that his orders travelled along fibre-optic lines and hit the closest exchange first, where high frequency traders would use their speed advantage to buy the shares he wanted and then sell them to him at a slightly higher price – all in milliseconds. "They are able to identify your desire to buy shares in Microsoft and buy them in front of you and sell them back to you at a higher price," Lewis told 60 Minutes. “The United States stock market, the most iconic market in global capitalism, is rigged.” The main thrust of Lewis’s new book is that high-frequency traders use their speed advantage in predatory ways that end up cheating market participants small and large.

Note: For more on financial corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Is the U.S. stock market rigged?
2014-03-30, CBS News
Posted: 2014-04-14 07:49:49

In the last two weeks, the New York attorney general and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission in Washington have both launched investigations into high-frequency computerized stock trading that now controls more than half the market. The probes were announced just ahead of a much anticipated book on the subject by best-selling author Michael Lewis called Flash Boys. In it, Lewis argues that the stock market is now rigged to benefit a group of insiders that have made tens of billions of dollars exploiting computerized trading. The story is told through an unlikely cast of characters who figured out what was going on and have devised a plan to correct it. It could have a huge impact on Wall Street. Tonight, Michael Lewis talks about it for the first time. Steve Kroft: What's the headline here? Michael Lewis: Stock market's rigged. The United States stock market, the most iconic market in global capitalism is rigged. Steve Kroft: By whom? Michael Lewis: By a combination of these stock exchanges, the big Wall Street banks and high-frequency traders. Steve Kroft: Who are the victims? Michael Lewis: Everybody who has an investment in the stock market. If it wasn't complicated, it wouldn't be allowed to happen. The complexity disguises what is happening. If it's so complicated you can't understand it, then you can't question it. Steve Kroft: And this is all being done by computers? Michael Lewis: All being done by computers. It's too fast to be done by humans. Humans have been completely removed from the marketplace. The insiders are able to move faster than you.

Note: For an amazing story of greed and manipulation exposed on Wall Street, see the New York Times article on Flash Boys at this link.

The Unemployment Puzzle: Where Have All the Workers Gone?
2014-04-04, Wall Street Journal
Posted: 2014-04-14 07:38:27

A big puzzle looms over the U.S. economy: Only 63.2% of Americans 16 or older are participating in the labor force, which ... is down substantially since 2000. As recently as the late 1990s, the U.S. was a nation in which employment, job creation and labor force participation went hand in hand. That is no longer the case. The unemployment rate, the figure that dominates reporting on the economy, is the fraction of the labor force (those working or seeking work) that is unemployed. This rate has declined slowly since the end of the Great Recession. What hasn't recovered over that same period is the labor force participation rate, which today stands roughly where it did in 1977. Labor force participation rates increased from the mid-1960s through the 1990s, driven by more women entering the workforce, baby boomers entering prime working years in the 1970s and 1980s, and increasing pay for skilled laborers. But over the past decade, these trends have leveled off. At the same time, the participation rate has fallen, particularly in the aftermath of the recession. The drop is a function of various factors, including simple discouragement, poor work incentives created by public policies, inadequate schooling and training, and a greater propensity to seek disability insurance. Globalization and technological change have also reduced employment and wage growth for low-skilled workers—which raises questions about whether current policy is focused enough on helping workers to achieve the skills necessary to work productively and earn decent incomes.

Note: For more on the devastating impact of financial power and government policy on US workers, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

China to allow direct yuan, New Zealand dollar trades
2014-03-18, CNBC/Reuters
Posted: 2014-03-31 08:19:10

China has allowed direct domestic trading of the yuan against the New Zealand dollar to encourage such trading as it internationalizes the Chinese currency. The move ... comes after China doubled the yuan's trading band over the weekend in a milestone step that gives investors more freedom to set the value of the tightly controlled currency. The move was seen as promoting trade between the two countries, which rose 25.2 percent to NZ$18.2 billion ($15.71 billion) in 2013. As part of China's sweeping plans to overhaul its maturing economy and let market forces drive a host of industries, the government wants to gradually relax its hold over the yuan and turn it into a global reserve currency that one day rivals the dollar. The government's wish to promote international use of the yuan is partly driven by its concern that China is too vulnerable to the fluctuating value of the dollar. China is home to the world's largest foreign exchange reserves, worth $3.82 trillion at the end of last year. About a third is invested in U.S. government bonds. To promote international use of the yuan, China has signed a series of currency swaps with foreign governments in order to increase the overseas circulation of the Chinese currency. The New Zealand dollar is the 10th foreign currency that can be directly traded against the yuan in China.

Note: The US dollar's role as a global currency is gradually fading.

U.S. Criticized for Lack of Action on Mortgage Fraud
2014-03-13, New York Times
Posted: 2014-03-25 10:30:39

Four years after President Obama promised to crack down on mortgage fraud, his administration has quietly made the crime its lowest priority and has closed hundreds of cases after little or no investigation, the Justice Department’s internal watchdog said on [March 13]. The report by the department’s inspector general undercuts the president’s contentions that the government is holding people responsible for the collapse of the financial and housing markets. The administration has been criticized, in particular, for not pursuing large banks and their executives. The inspector general’s report ... shows that the F.B.I. considered mortgage fraud to be its lowest-ranked national criminal priority. In several large cities, including New York and Los Angeles, F.B.I. agents either ranked mortgage fraud as a low priority or did not rank it at all. The F.B.I. received $196 million from the 2009 to 2011 fiscal years to investigate mortgage fraud, the report said, but the number of pending cases and agents investigating them dropped in 2011. Mortgage fraud was one of the causes of the 2008 financial collapse. Mortgage brokers and lenders falsified documents, sometimes to make mortgages look safer, other times to make the property look more valuable.

Note: For more on government collusion with the banking industry, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.