1 August 2016 – It is always glorious when we can have the well-known banking expert, economics wonk and blogger, Frances Coppola on the show. We were thrilled to welcome her back this week to talk about threats to the independence of central banks. We also discussed her recent panel at the Financial Times Festival of Finance where she consistently pointed out that the rise in populism expressed both through the Brexit vote and in the Trump candidacy, is all about the local.
Will and I had a lot of fun at the top of the show where he reveled in the number of GOP pundits who had to admit they loved the Democratic National Convention and I revealed what is, perhaps, the single most important polling result of this election cycle.
Will then goes on to tear into what we know (and what we don’t) about the relationships between Donald Trump, members of his campaign staff, Julian Assange, Vladimir Putin and various Russian surrogates and agencies. The word “traitor” does indeed come to mind. Seriously.
I spend my time on an overview of the economy of India, the modernization efforts and challenges and a bit about the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) including its recent upheaval. Since the soon-to-be former Governor of the RBI may very well be the incoming head of the IMF, after Lagarde steps down later this year, it’s worth getting to know a bit more about him. Rughuram Rajan is a neoliberal economist but he is also extremely accomplished, qualified and would be a much stronger voice for developing nations.
In spite of Trump, this has been a great week to be a Democrat and Will and I are still in the post-convention glow. In the next 100 days this country may well rise or fall. Let’s get to work. Carrots! – Arliss
25 July 2016 – Jesse LaGreca (@JesseLaGreca), political activist and commentor, manages to be both incisive and hilarious with his jackhammer-pounding, nailgun-fast insight into the underlying structure of the current election cycle. In the first half of the interview Jesse both breaks down the structural problems with the GOP and brings true thoughtful analysis to the pick of Tim Kaine. In Extra Mad he gets into more detail and provides some of the sharpest wit I have heard on these topics to date.
At the top of the show I round-up the latest developments in court rulings on voting rights summarizing the Wisconsin, Texas and Virginia decisions. I also take a moment out to remind everyone that, (to paraphrase James Carville), “It’s the Supreme Court, stupid!” Will , then, takes a few minutes to talk about just how dangerous the GOP has become and concludes by quoting Professor Halford E. Luccock, of the Yale Divinity School, who said during World War II,
When and if fascism comes to America it will not be labeled ‘made in Germany’; it will not be marked with a swastika; it will not even be called ‘fascism;’ it will be called, of course, ‘Americanism.’
If you did not hear Donald Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, the word “Americanism” features prominently. No joke.
In Will’s block he brings us all up to date on the ruling handed down addressing the conflict between the Phillippines and China over the Spratly Islands and, more importantly, the surrounding sea lanes. What is especially interesting about the ruling really comes down to how international law will be enforced in the foreseeable future.
In my block I get into the Italian banking crisis and talk about the difference between a bail-out and a bail-in. Just when you were thinking that Italian banks can’t possibly be a big deal for you personally, I explain why the new bail-in regime Italy is fighting will likely cost you money when you go to buy a car or a house.
We had fun this week and I hope you do too. – Carrots! Arliss
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11 July 2016 – We could not begin without acknowledging that yet again our nation has suffered terrible losses: Alton Sterling, Philander Castile, Michael Krol, Michael Smith, Lorne Ahrens, Brent Thompson and Patrick Zamarripa. Will sums up our feelings by reading parts of Hillary Clinton’s speech in Philadelphia which, we feel, speaks for us.
It’s hard to believe there was anything else important in a week like this past one but there was and I get to two of the big pieces of financial news. The US Federal Reserve released the stress test results of both the quantitative (DFAST) and qualitative (CCAR) testing of the thirty-three largest US banks. Stress testing is one of the big gains which emerged from the Dodd-Frank Act. In order to pass banks must prove that they can withstand specific “severely adverse scenarios.” The scenarios are both different and more difficult each year. This year all the banks tested passed DFAST and all except the US subsidiaries of Deutsche Bank and Santander passed the CCAR. I know you don’t think this really applies to you but that brings me to my second segment for the show….
The UK really is in a crisis, both political and economic. In the midst of all the chaos the one steady, calm voice of national leadership has come from Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England(BoE). In a critical speech on 30 June (PDF here), Carney delineated what the BoE has done, is doing and will do as the economic disaster of Brexit trundles forward. Alone among major UK governmental departments or associated institutions the BoE had a Brexit contingency plan and they have put it into action. Carney steadied markets and calmed the City with his cogent, realistic assessment and announcement of actions which the BoE is taking. Carney also reminded everyone that the most recent round of UK bank stress testing did include a Brexit scenario and that UK banks have been found to be capable of withstanding losses more than twice those they sustained during the global financial crisis. In addition, Carney noted that the BoE will be making sure that banks are making loans both to business and to individuals and he let banks know that the BoE will not be taking its eye off the regulatory ball either, ring-fencing will progress. In this period of complete UK political breakdown, Carney looks like the only adult in the room and proves it by managing to walk and chew gum at the same time–times ten. Oh – and central banks can make all the difference in a crisis.
Will got into the one other big piece of news from this past week, the matter of Hillary Clinton’s e-mails. He made a point of fact-checking and adding to the information that is out there and he clarifies the difference between Clinton and those who have willfully and knowingly divulged classified information. There is a reason no prosecutor in the country would bring the case, Hillary’s mistakes do not meet either the letter or intent of the law. We will all, regardless, spend another two years listening to the GOP yammering on about it but it’s good to get the facts straight at the top.
Next week we are hopping down the bunny trail and our show will consist of interviews we have done while at Netroots Nation in St. Louis. If you are there, please come on by and visit with us. We will be on radio row (on and off) in the vendor hall. We’re bringing treats! – Carrots! Arliss
6 June 2016 – Will and I were unable to record a new episode this week so we are reprising our episode from March which featured Alexis Goldstein of Americans for Financial Reform. Alexis gave us a truly exceptional interview on Dodd-Frank and given that our interview last week was on the foreclosure crisis, with David Dayen, we thought touching back to our conversation with Alexis made sense.
30 May 2016 – I have a house rabbit named David Dayen. That’s how highly I think of our guest this week. Dayen is a highly respected financial news and economics journalist for a reason. He finds a way to make even the most dry and dense topics understandable while also making it absolutely clear why we should all care. David’s first book, Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street’s Great Foreclosure Fraud(also on Audible.com here), is meticulously researched and a deep dive into the foreclosure crisis. Typical of David he found a unique way into the story through the lens and lives of three regular people who, instead of going quietly into the dark of foreclosure shame, chose to shine a revelatory light. Whatever you know about the foreclosure crisis sprouted, quite directly, from the questions Lisa, Michael and Lynn asked and the shocking answers they unearthed. Heroes are those who run into the fire, into the storm, to bring others to safety. Chain of Title is a gripping, true-to-life rendering of the lives of heroes and the deeds of villains. And, whether you know it or not, what this handful of people discovered changed your life. You can follow all of David’s writing here and I strongly recommend subscribing to his weekly summary e-mail.
I lead into David’s interview with some information about Gresham’s Law, the idea that bad money drives good money out of the market, meaning that Wall Street criminals make it virtually impossible for competitors to continue to abide by the law. I also talk about something that seems obvious, asymmetric information, meaning that the seller knows more than the buyer. One would think that was as plain as the orange on a carrot but three people won the Nobel in economics for describing how asymmetric information influences macroeconomics and, in the case of Wall Street, further influences the criminographic environment.
Will brings up something which so often gets left out of the political mix, housing. He observes that the desires and right to choice of those who are among the most vulnerable in our society, the homeless, must be sine qua non to any array of solutions. Will uses, as an example, a heart rending description of the state of homeless shelters in Washington, DC.
Will and I open the show with what can only be described as a rant. I read an article this week which eloquently encapsulates my feelings regarding the 2016 Democratic primary, Misogyny Rules the 2016 Election by Victoria A. Brownworth. I truly am done with the sexism which is spreading, from the top down, through the Sanders campaign. Bernie’s silence, in some cases, and defense, in others, regarding the violence being committed against women by his campaign makes it clear that it is a leadership-lead issue. Bernie reveals himself with the lack of women (with the glaring exception of his wife) in the upper tier of his campaign as well as his shocking opinion that he believes Hillary to be “unqualified” to be President. (His too little, too late “apology” not withstanding.) Bernie’s personal rage at the world has permeated all facets of his campaign. He and his cult are frightening women…on purpose. Bernie could have been great. Instead he is the leader of a cult that is tilting ever more toward increasing degrees of violence. History will remember him as an old, white man who, while choking on his privilege, turned away from leadership and toward ignominy. Good riddance. – Arliss
First off, I apologize for the lack of music in today’s show. We simply had too much content and not enough time. I had to cut my discussion of Bernie’s e-mails and a section from my block where Arliss and I discussed the Tiny House movement. Across the nation communities have begun using tiny house neighborhoods as part of a menu of solutions for homeless housing. Tiny houses provide homeless folk with a place of their own, an address, a place to sleep protected from the elements, a place to cook their food, and a place to feel safe.
But I also made a promise at the top of the show which I was forced to cut: that I’d provide access to the threats Roberta Lange recieved. For those who want to see just a small selection of the nearly 1000 phonecalls and hundreds of thousands of harassing text messages received by Lange, here’s a dropbox folder released by the Nevada Democrats.
I’m really frustrated with the situation. I want to talk about what we can do to make the Democratic Party better, more transparent and the process more trustworthy. I want to talk about things like Modern Monetary Theory and work on the housing policy I described in today’s show. But unless the people who step-up to lead chase the dangerous nonsense out of the process we can’t have those conversations. We simply can’t be silent while women are harassed and while people call for their public lynching. If we want to change the conversation we absolutely cannot afford to let it fall into the gutter. We need leadership, not rhetoric. – Will
11 April 2016 – Every time I hear DeRay McKesson speak or read an article he has written I am again convinced that we need someone like this running every major city in America. Our interview with the Baltimore Mayoral candidate, civil rights activist and educator reveals him to be a holistic thinker, a realist and a revolutionary all at the same time. If you don’t already, you must follow him on Twitter at @deray. Will has referred to DeRay’s platform on past shows and, if you have not already done so, go and read a plan for an American city that is grounded in what works and the mechanisms for scaling already tested, functional programs.
At the top of the show I talk about the realities of presidential campaign financing which Bernie consistently avoids. I have to admit, I see him differently after his utter failure at the interview in New York and his, frankly, unforgivable (from my perspective) remark about Hillary. I don’t know if he realizes how very differently women heard him. For me, Bernie has crossed a rubicon and we are never, ever, ever getting back together.
I suspect you are thinking I will talk about the Panama Papers and I do…in a way. I spend my time (and Will’s) talking about the mechanisms of tax havens, why they are usually bad but not always and some of the unexpected questions about privacy.
I talk a lot this week but, fear not, I am about to be away for two weeks and Will will be running the show. I know you will all have a spectacular time. I’ll be back in May for our interview with…wait for it…the Chief Economist of the AFL-CIO, William Sprigs! Later in the month we have the editor of the “Intelligence Report” from the Southern Poverty Law Center, Mark Potok. All of that and root vegetables too. – Carrots! Arliss
28 March 2016 – In the interest of full disclosure, as a Rabbit American I admit a bias on the topic of rabbit welfare. Toward that end Will and I were able to have attorney Mara Hurwitt join the show to talk about the legal complexities and issues related to rabbits. Mara is a long-time educator for the House Rabbit Society, a leading international rabbit rescue organization. Mara has provided pro bono legal support for a variety of animal welfare organizations and has worked at the Federal level to protect wild horse herds (which, in my opinion should be considered a national treasure). Rabbits are the third most abandoned domestic animal in the nation yet few municipal facilities or private rescue organizations are both equipped and knowledgable enough to meet their special needs. Rabbit abuse is rampant and seems to be on the increase but things are changing and Mara is a part of making that happen.
Will begins the show with the newest in crazy from North Carolina. Later in the show he brings the history with an overview of the Irish Easter Rising. I start out with, of all things, graffiti in Cairo. I draw almost exclusively from an article in The Guardian but you absolutely must take a moment to look at photos of this fragile, moving and significant art here and here. My main segment is on 21st Century Glass-Steagall legislation and this is the last of my banking regulation series. Next week I get back to modern monetary theory. Yippie!
We have no Extra Mad extended interview this week. It’s the busiest weekend of the year for rabbits – so many eggs and too little time. – Carrots! Arliss
Psst – from top to bottom, the rabbits in the photo are my office crew: David (age 3), Neo (age 3) and Bethy (age 12).
21 March 2016 – This week we take a deep dive into Dodd-Frank. As I have been promising for the past several weeks, I start out with a fast but fairly detailed backgrounder on the legislation itself. Then, our guest, Alexis Goldstein updates us on where we are today with the implementation process. Alexis is a Senior Policy Analyst at Americans for Financial Reform and has been in the thick of the Dodd-Frank battle from back in her days with Occupy the SEC when she co-authored a 325-page Comment letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission urging them to write rules for a strong version of the Volker Rule. Seriously, that’s my kind of banking wonk. During our conversation Alexis referred to a link at Bloomberg and that is here for your easy reference.
Will begins the show talking about Bernie’s Town Hall on the Navajo reservation, while correcting the record. President Russell Begaye had a “very good” discussion with Bernie, where he talked with the Senator about the need for a cabinet-level position for Native Americans, which could cut across various federal agencies, asked that Native Governments be respected as sovereign entities, and asked that the government honor its treaty obligations. While President Begaye spoke in glowing terms about the Senator’s visit, he has not endorsed any presidential candidate in the 2016 election, contrary to claims being made online.
Will also made some noise about the deafening silence in the aftermath of the execution-style murder of three young black Muslims in Fort Wayne, Indiana in late February.
Here the daffodils are up in the front yard and the tulips are coming on right behind them. I hope it is equally beautiful wherever you may be. – Carrots! Arliss
14 March 2016 – I follow many media sources on economics but none more closely than I do Frances Coppola. Frances’ insight on banking fraud, regulation and on the Greek crisis has contributed significantly to my thinking on these subjects. Having her on the show to talk about Brexitis especially exciting for me and I know you will be bowled over by her as well. Her blog, Coppola Comment and other writings, at The Guardian, the Financial Times, The Economist, Forbes and her appearances on the BBC provide an accessible clarity rare among financial industry wonks.
Will is breaking news today on the Agent Orange crisis on the San Carlos Apache reservation lands in Arizona. The Environmental Protection Agency is apparently stepping up to finally (thirty years after the fact) mitigate extreme adverse impact. At the top of the show Will talks about working to focus on the big issues, the real issues in the campaign and not getting lost in the weeds of a single comment.
I finish my financial instrument backgrounders by talking about mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations. Whew! I also update on the Finnish economy which, sadly, is not being held aloft by Angry Birds. Is the Finnish economy “Finnished?”
Once again, our interstitial music is by the wonderful Irish American band, Bua. Buy their album. You won’t be sorry. – Carrots! Arliss
7 March 2016 – This week, Arliss talked derivatives while I did a quick numbers update on the primary. We were joined by guests and friends of the show Rachel Hutcheson and Travis Rosen of Irreverent Testimony. We had a raucous round table where we talked Bernie, Hillary, and the future of the democratic party, all of it circling around the question “How do we come together as a party.” We also talked about the poor leadership of our party.