Ethically Challenged Congress Needs Law or Code Banning Insider Trading
Sometimes a story breaks that leads to jaw dropping even among the normally jaded. This past week, a new book by conservative muckraker Peter Schweizer and a memoir by the disgraced and convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff both shed light on the degree to which members of Congress profited from trading stocks that were directly affected by pending government policy. The insider trading ran the gamut of Republicans and Democrats and in all cases involved knowledge of pending contracts or legislation that would benefit or penalize specific industries. The amounts gained ranged from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands.
Wall Street Is Shrinking
As the Occupy Wall Street movement gathers momentum and money, Wall Street itself is losing both. The swift collapse and bankruptcy of trading firm MF Global is testament to that, and—while like all unhappy families it has its own peculiar story—its failure is also emblematic of the spiral of declining profits that is rendering Wall Street a shadow of what it was just a few years ago.
Economic News We’re Thankful For This Thanksgiving
As we turn to Thanksgiving, let us a pause for a moment and take a time-out from the storm of gloom that has descended across this land and so many others. If you pay even passing attention to politics, to the economy, to Wall Street, or to public sentiment, you know the mood is bleak. The litany of woes is well known—ranging from a sclerotic and debt-plagued Europe to a dysfunctional Congress to a possibly slowing China to high unemployment and widespread dissatisfaction with an economic system of uneven rewards. It is enough to make Agnewesque nattering nabobs of negativism proud.
Italy's Troubles Are Not the Tipping Point for Global Economic Collapse
Just as the Roman Empire supplanted Greece as the center of the ancient world, so too is the rapidly escalating Italian economic crisis pushing the Greek economic crisis to the side. Italy is a much larger economy—at more than $2 trillion in annual output, it is the eighth-largest economy in the world. And its sovereign debts dwarf those of Greece, at about $2.6 trillion versus a seemingly paltry $500 billion for Athens. Italy has the world’s third-largest bond market, and hence its troubles should have real systemic implications for us all.