U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) - home website about the Dodd-Frank Act
“The Wall Street reform bill will – for the first time – bring comprehensive regulation to the swaps marketplace. Swap dealers will be subject to robust oversight. Standardized derivatives will be required to trade on open platforms and be submitted for clearing to central counterparties. The Commission looks forward to implementing the Dodd-Frank bill to lower risk, promote transparency and protect the American public.” — CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler
U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) – data from wikipedia
The stated mission of the CFTC is to protect market users and the public from fraud, manipulation, and abusive practices related to the sale of commodity and financial futures and options, and to foster open, competitive, and financially sound futures and option markets.
On October 26, 2012 Eliot Spitzer said on Bill Maher HBO that the OCC is owned by the banks—
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) — from wikipedia
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) is an independent bureau within the United States Department of the Treasury that was established by the National Currency Act of 1863 and serves to charter, regulate, and supervise all national banks and thrift institutions and the federal branches and agencies of foreign banks in the United States...
Headquartered in Washington, D.C., it has four district offices located in New York City, Chicago, Dallas and Denver. It has an additional 48 field offices throughout the United States, and a London office to supervise the international activities of national banks. It is an independent bureau of the United States Department of the Treasury and is headed by the Comptroller of the Currency, appointed to a five-year term by the President with the consent of the Senate. The OCC fulfills a number of main objectives:
1) ensures the safety and soundness of the national banking system;
2) fosters competition by allowing banks to offer new products and services;
3) improves the efficiency and effectiveness of OCC supervision especially to reduce the regulatory burden;
4) ensure fair and equal access to financial services to all Americans;
5) enforces anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism finance laws that apply to national banks and federally-licensed branches and agencies of international banks; and
6) is the agency responsible for investigating and prosecuting acts of misconduct committed by institution-affiliated parties of national banks, including officers, directors, employees, agents and independent contractors (including appraisers, attorneys and accountants).
The OCC participates in interagency activities in order to maintain the sanctity of the national banking system. By monitoring capital, asset quality, management, earnings, liquidity, sensitivity to market risk, information technology, consumer compliance, and community reinvestment, the OCC is able to determine whether or not the bank is operating safely and soundly, and meeting all regulatory requirements. The OCC was created by Abraham Lincoln to fund the American Civil War but was later transformed into a regulatory agency to instill confidence in the national banking system and protect consumers from misleading business practices.
The OCC regulates and supervises about 2,000 national banks and 50 federal branches of foreign banks in the U.S., accounting for over thee-quarters of the total assets of all U.S. commercial banks (as of 2011).
Other regulatory agencies like the OCC include: the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (of which the Comptroller serves as a director), the Federal Reserve, the Office of Thrift Supervision, and the National Credit Union Administration. The OCC routinely interacts and cooperates with other government agencies, including the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, the Office of Foreign Asset Control, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security.
The Comptroller also serves as a director of the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
The term business cycle (or economic cycle) refers to economy-wide fluctuations in production or economic activity over several months or years. These fluctuations occur around a long-term growth trend, and typically involve shifts over time between periods of relatively rapid economic growth (expansion or boom), and periods of relative stagnation or decline (contraction or recession).
Bye Bye American Pie: The Challenge of the Productivity Revolution
by Robert Reich at his blog
March 1, 2012
Here’s the good news. The economic pie is growing again. Growth in the 4th quarter last year hit 3 percent on an annualized rate. That’s respectable – although still way too slow to get us back on track given how far we plunged.
Here’s the bad news. The share of that growth going to American workers is at a record low.
That’s largely because far fewer Americans are working. Although the nation is now producing more goods and services than it did before the slump began in 2007, we’re doing it with six million fewer people.
Why? Credit technology. Computers, software applications, and the Internet are letting us produce more with fewer people.
In theory, this is a huge plus. We can live better and have more time off.
But as Tonto asked the Lone Ranger, “who’s ‘we,’ kemosabe?”
The challenge at the heart of the productivity revolution – and it is a revolution – is how to distribute the gains. So far, we’ve been failing miserably to meet that challenge...
Ayn Rand: the Tea Party's Miscast Matriarch
by Pam Martens
February 27, 2012
Gary Weiss, long time Wall Street reporter and author, has written a new book, due out this week from St. Martin's Press, on the rising influence of Ayn Rand in modern politics. Titled Ayn Rand Nation: The Hidden Struggle for America's Soul, the book removes the propaganda mask that has been so adroitly affixed to Alan Greenspan's page-boy coiffed goddess of laissez-faire capitalism and the Tea Party's mother ship...
Rand, and her supporters, including Alan Greenspan, viewed altruism as evil: altruism is evil, selfishness is good. And tens of millions of dollars of corporate money is backing that philosophy today in America, no doubt to give obscenely paid CEOs a sip of Rand's guilt-free narcissism while stoking the fires for more deregulation of a country just crawling back from the crippling effects of deregulation. This is the mindless irrationality of Rand's brand of rationality.
According to Weiss, Ayn Rand built her Objectivist philosophy that permeates today's Tea Party around individual self interest and eliminating government run social welfare programs, but she herself was on Medicare and Social Security.
Even after the attack at Pearl Harbor, Rand was against the U.S. entering World War II. She viewed government force as evil, but her own followers were regularly purged, shunned and vilified. She was an atheist, as are all true Objectivists, according to the grande dame of radical capitalism.
Alan Greenspan, the man who chaired the Federal Reserve Board for 18 years, guiding U.S. monetary policy under four presidents, was a member of Rand's Collective in New York City, which Weiss likens to a cult: "For much of its existence the Collective was for all intents and purposes a cult. It had an unquestioned leader, it demanded absolute loyalty, it intruded into the personal lives of its members, it had its own rote expressions and catchphrases, it expelled transgressors for deviation from accepted norms, and expellees were ‘fair game' for vicious personal attacks."...
Noam Chomsky: America's Decline Is Real — and Increasingly Self-Inflicted
Noam Chomsky on how America "lost" the world.
February 14, 2012
From the 1970s, there has been a significant change in the U.S. economy, as planners, private and state, shifted it toward financialization and the offshoring of production, driven in part by the declining rate of profit in domestic manufacturing. These decisions initiated a vicious cycle in which wealth became highly concentrated (dramatically so in the top 0.1% of the population), yielding concentration of political power, hence legislation to carry the cycle further: taxation and other fiscal policies, deregulation, changes in the rules of corporate governance allowing huge gains for executives, and so on.
Meanwhile, for the majority, real wages largely stagnated, and people were able to get by only by sharply increased workloads (far beyond Europe), unsustainable debt, and repeated bubbles since the Reagan years, creating paper wealth that inevitably disappeared when they burst (and the perpetrators were bailed out by the taxpayer). In parallel, the political system has been increasingly shredded as both parties are driven deeper into corporate pockets with the escalating cost of elections, the Republicans to the level of farce, the Democrats (now largely the former "moderate Republicans") not far behind...
Market abolitionism is a belief that the market, in the economic sense, should be completely eliminated from society. Market abolitionists argue that markets are morally abhorrent, antisocial and ultimately incompatible with human and environmental survival and that if left unchecked the market will annihilate both...