Daily Archives: April 19, 2010

How public-sector unions broke California. Steven Malanga, City Journal.

Skilcraft pens. Ylan Qui Mui, WashPo. A public option for ballpoint pens. (They sound all right.)

Polarized parties play parliament. Bill Schneider, National Journal.

American politics is becoming more parliamentary. British politics is becoming more presidential. Oddly, though, the countries are moving further apart, not closer. In the United States, the major parties are shifting toward greater polarization. In Britain, where an election has been called for May 6, all signs point toward a more centrist government.

Nick Clegg to win the general election? Has the country gone mad? Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph.

[The Lib Dems] are a bunch of euro-loving road-hump fetishists who are attempting like some defective vacuum cleaner to suck and blow at the same time; and the worst of it is that if you do vote Lib Dem in the demented belief that there could ever be such a thing as a Lib Dem government, you won’t get Prime Minister Clegg. You’ll get Prime Minister Gordon Brown, for five more holepunch-hurling years…

The FT’s Francesco Guerrera reports on Goldman’s defence against the SEC’s fraud charge. It was all a matter of buyer beware, says the bank in submissions to the regulator, and there was nothing underhand.

In Goldman’s view, it “defies credulity” that ACA, the independent manager of the CDO that also invested in the security, would have taken Paulson’s suggestions on the loans if it had any concerns…

“There was nothing unusual or remarkable about the transaction or the portfolio of assets it referenced,” Goldman writes. “There is no basis to suggest that the portfolio would have performed any differently or that the economic outcome for the participants would have changed in the least had Paulson’s role and interest been more transparent.”

Here are the documents in question.

Look out, Wall Street, the lawyers are coming, says Frank Partnoy in an excellent column. The implications of the case are far-reaching. Litigators can go where regulators fear to tread.

[T]he case demonstrates a more effective way to police bankers, because Wall Street cannot outrun a judge. That simple point has been part of Anglo-American common law jurisprudence for centuries. The US judge Oliver Wendell Holmes advised that the law was a prediction about what a judge would do. If bankers consider only whether they are complying with specific legal rules, they will create “alegal” transactions – deals that fit the letter of the law but violate its spirit. But they cannot be certain about how a judge might assess their conduct. That worry, not a rule, is what will make bankers tell clients about the presence of a fox.

Republicans accuse Barack Obama, the US president, of trying to turn the US into Europe. The accusation stings, because the US likes to think of itself as exceptional, and because the charge is not baseless. Comprehensive healthcare reform was indisputably a move in Europe’s direction. Though shy about saying so, many Democrats do want the US to draw closer to the European norm.

Continue reading “America and Europe meet midway”

Clive Crook’s blog

This blog is no longer updated but it remains open as an archive.

I have been the FT's Washington columnist since April 2007. I moved from Britain to the US in 2005 to write for the Atlantic Monthly and the National Journal after 20 years working at the Economist, most recently as deputy editor. I write mainly about the intersection of politics and economics.

Clive Crook’s blog: A guide

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