Article: Texas Grid Failure: Why More Heads Need To Roll

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Texas Grid Failure: Why More Heads Need To Roll

Ed Hirs, 02 March 2021

The Texas electricity market failed. Yet in the words of ERCOT, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, it functioned just as designed. ERCOT has congratulated itself for losing only 40% of the grid and is proceeding to settle transactions to transfer more than $50 billion from consumers to electricity generators. Why is there such an obvious disconnect?

The core premise of effective governance is that the officers and directors of any entity understand the business they govern. The late Yale University economist Paul W. MacAvoy used to state it this way: The purpose of the board of directors is to assist the CEO to develop the corporation’s strategy and then monitor performance. If performance is not up to expectations, the board must ask two questions. Continue reading “Article: Texas Grid Failure: Why More Heads Need To Roll”

Article: The Truth about Trade Deficits and Currency Manipulation

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The Truth about Trade Deficits and Currency Manipulation

Michael Collins, 12 January 2021

The U.S. Treasury Department has finally determined that China is a currency manipulator, putting currency manipulation and trade deficits back in the news. Trade deficits, currency manipulation and the strong dollar are complicated economic forces that directly affect the future of American manufacturing. Let’s look at how they affect manufacturing and why we must face the truth and do something around these issues, regardless of the politics.

Trade Deficits: Let me begin by saying that, yes, trade deficits have and will continue to hurt American manufacturing, although many politicians, economists, and industry associations disagree.

Michael Froman, former trade representative: “Every legitimate economist said that measuring trade policy by the size of the goods deficit is probably not a passing grade in a basic economics class,”

Lawrence H. Summers, Harvard economist: “The trade deficit is a terrible metric for judging economic policy.” Continue reading “Article: The Truth about Trade Deficits and Currency Manipulation”

Article: Merrill Lynch Traders Can’t Avoid Spoofing, Fraud Charges

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Merrill Lynch Traders Can’t Avoid Spoofing, Fraud Charges

Law360, 21 May 2020

The government’s June 2018 indictment says the traders’ scheme between June 2009 and October 2014 created the illusion of market movement by using large orders to inflate the price, with no intention of filling the orders, thus committing wire fraud, commodities fraud and conspiracy to commit commodities fraud.

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Article: Merrill Lynch Commodities Inc. Enters into Corporate Resolution and Agrees to Pay $25 Million in Connection with Deceptive Trading Practices Executed on U.S. Commodities Markets

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Merrill Lynch Commodities Inc. Enters into Corporate Resolution and Agrees to Pay $25 Million in Connection with Deceptive Trading Practices Executed on U.S. Commodities Markets

Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs, 25 June 2019

Merrill Lynch Commodities Inc. (MLCI), a global commodities trading business, has agreed to pay $25 million to resolve the government’s investigation into a multi-year scheme by MLCI precious metals traders to mislead the market for precious metals futures contracts traded on the Commodity Exchange Inc. (COMEX), announced Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Assistant Director in Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. of the FBI’s New York Field Office. Continue reading “Article: Merrill Lynch Commodities Inc. Enters into Corporate Resolution and Agrees to Pay $25 Million in Connection with Deceptive Trading Practices Executed on U.S. Commodities Markets”

Article: Financial Finger-Pointing Turns to Regulators

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Financial Finger-Pointing Turns to Regulators

Louise Story, Gretchen Morgenson

New York Times, 22 November 2011

In the whodunit of the financial crisis, Wall Street executives have pointed the blame at all kinds of parties — consumers who lied on their mortgage applications, investors who demanded access to risky mortgage bonds, and policy makers who kept interest rates low and failed to predict a housing market collapse.

But a new defense has been mounted by a bank executive: my regulator told me to do it.

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