Explaining the fuss over equity capital requirements

Those who have been paying even peripheral attention to the debates over financial reform since the bailouts have doubtless heard about “capital requirements” and “equity capital” without necessarily knowing what those terms mean. In general, this ignorance is by design. The megabankers and their friends have deliberately confused the conversation by using incoherent phrases like “hold capital.” Their goal is to create the perception that a tradeoff exists between a bank’s resilience and its ability to make loans. There is none. So why do they press the point? It’s all about the bonuses: banks that are more resilient would not be able to pay managers and shareholders nearly as well as the banks we have now.

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A few reactions to Occupy Wall Street

On Saturday, I was in New York City and had the opportunity to visit Zuccotti Park, where I was able to observe and interact with members of Occupy Wall Street.

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Does a sophisticated modern society need too-big-to-fail banks?


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A few issues with U.S. corporate tax policy

We know that the U.S. federal government collects revenue from individuals in a manner both arbitrary and opaque. Its taxation of companies is even less transparent and more distortive.

Some get handsomely subsidized for doing what they would do anyway, while others get penalized for being in an unfavored industry.

Just to make matters worse, the current system makes us more vulnerable to financial crises than we otherwise would be.

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