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government regulation

The Recovery Stalls; Fed Pledges “Lower for Longer;” Equity Markets Pause

With the Fed pledging to keep rates low even when (or if) inflation rises above its 2% target, it is hard to see why long-term Treasury yields (and those of other quality issuers) won’t move toward yields of similar debt in the world’s other industrial economies (i.e., Europe and Japan). The economic lull is now showing up in both the labor market (Initial Claims) and in retail sales, likely because …Read More

Anti-growth policies hurt investors

The stall-out in the U.S. economy and in most major world economies has baffled policymakers. No matter what they try in today’s economic environment, it hasn’t worked for more than a short period of time. Quantitative easing appeared to work when first tried during the Great Recession, but now, as Japan and Europe have found, there appears to be significant diminishing returns with these unconventional tools. Europe, for example, will …Read More

New disclosure regs may save investors billions

Longtime readers of my columns know that I am not a fan of government regulation. Nevertheless, there are times it is needed to protect consumers. This column is about new regulations that have the potential to save investors billions of dollars in costs. Internal fees in mutual funds Some months ago, I wrote a column about the hidden fees in mutual funds. Many investors don’t know that the same mutual …Read More

The Possibility of Negative Interest Rates on Your Deposits – Part I

The very concept of negative interest rates appears, at least at first blush, to be an oxymoron.   What rational entity would “loan” money and expect, under the contract, to get less back than loaned?  If you think “no one would,” think again!  In this two part narrative, I explain how this is possible, how it is actually occurring in Europe, and what consequences there might be for the American saver/investor. …Read More

Economy: the Elusive “Escape Velocity”

The strong labor market and recent emerging data indicate that the first quarter’s poor economic performance was due to severe winter weather and a 2 month long west coast port strike that disrupted many manufacturing production schedules. Yet, despite such data, the financial media and many bloggers continue to fixate on the inability of the economy to shake off what appears to be “stall” speed, i.e., very slow economic growth, …Read More

Was Bank of America’s $4 billion error really an error?

The BofA so-called $4 billion “error” in its stress test calculations is, in my view, another sign of overbearing government regulations and their negative impact on the marketplace. The “error” was in the calculation of capital it would have under the Federal Reserve’s onerous stress test.  Apparently, the capital requirements of the Basel III regulatory regime are so complex that even the Fed’s army of inspectors didn’t catch the very …Read More