"John Broder of The New York Times has an interesting piece on Al Gore’s financial profit tied to his global warming alarmism and push for renewable energy. Gore’s venture capital firm invested in Silver Spring Networks, a company that makes hardware and software to improve efficiency in the...
Financial Regulatory Reform: A New Foundation
"Over the past two years we have faced the most severe financial crisis since the Great Depression. Americans across the nation are struggling with unemployment, failing businesses, falling home prices, and declining savings. These challenges have forced the government to take extraordinary measures to revive our financial system so that people can access loans to buy a car or home, pay for a child’s education, or finance a business.
The roots of this crisis go back decades. Years without a serious economic recession bred complacency among financial intermediaries and investors. Financial challenges such as the near-failure of Long-Term Capital Management and the Asian Financial Crisis had minimal impact on economic growth in the U.S., which bred exaggerated expectations about the resilience of our financial markets and firms. Rising asset prices, particularly in housing, hid weak credit underwriting standards and masked the growing leverage throughout the system.
At some of our most sophisticated financial firms, risk management systems did not keep pace with the complexity of new financial products. The lack of transparency and standards in markets for securitized loans helped to weaken underwriting standards. Market discipline broke down as investors relied excessively on credit rating agencies. Compensation practices throughout the financial services industry rewarded short-term profits at the expense of long-term value.
Households saw significant increases in access to credit, but those gains were overshadowed by pervasive failures in consumer protection, leaving many Americans with obligations that they did not understand and could not afford.
While this crisis had many causes, it is clear now that the government could have done more to prevent many of these problems from growing out of control and threatening the stability of our financial system."
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