Glass-Steagall for Dummies: what it is and why the US needs it now

by Chris Griesedieck

I don’t know who Peter Wallison is, but he does not seem to understand the consequences of re-implementing Glass-Steagall. Or he does, and is willfully ignoring them to irritate me and appease Jamie Dimon.

Anyway, Glass-Steagall was a Depression-era, federal regulation (fully repealed under the Clinton administration after years of chipping away by banking industry lobbyists) that erected a barrier between traditional banking, such as commercial and residential loans, depositor savings and checking accounts, etc., and the more complex and risky world of investment banking. Continue reading

Climate Science for Everyone: Why 3% annually is actually a lot of carbon dioxide


Atmospheric CO2 concentration data from ice core (blue, 1750-1975)
and direct atmospheric measurements (red, 1960-2010) vs. “compounding
interest” model described in post (purple). Click for a larger version.

In many ways, climate science is difficult. There’s a reason that the best climate models require some of the most powerful supercomputers in the world in order to run. But the most important concepts are easily understood by a non-expert with either a little mathematical skill or the ability to use some simple online tools. This is the inaugural post of a new series that seeks to illustrate how anyone and everyone can understand the most important concepts underlying climate science and the reality that is human-caused climate disruption.

Update: To read other articles in this series, click here.

Are people adding a lot of carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere? It’s such an easy question to ask, but the answer depends on what you mean by “a lot.” And it depends on what you’re referring to. Continue reading

Nota Bene #115: RIP No. 32

“If you’re really pro-life, do me a favor—don’t lock arms and block medical clinics. If you’re so pro-life, lock arms and block cemeteries.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #112: GOOOLLLLLLLL

“Freedom of any kind is the worst for creativity.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #99: Heed the Peace Gnome

“You just pick up a chord, go twang, and you’ve got music.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #97: toDwI'ma' qoS yItIvqu'!

“To be truly free, and truly to appreciate its freedom, a society must be literate.” Continue reading

FDIC screws community banks

fdiclogoThe Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the very organization created to guarantee deposits against bank runs and failures, is instead about to guarantee that their services are in greater demand. They’re doing this by requiring all banks, large and small, to pay a one time charge of 20 cents per $100 of deposits (aka 20 “basis points”). In the process, this unbudgeted expense will likely cause some otherwise stable and profitable smaller banks to fail while larger banks, with the assistance of federal TARP funds, will likely be able to survive. Continue reading

Banks forced to take bailout money they don't want or need

There are thousands of banks in the United States, most of which are local and have less than a billion dollars in assets. Some of them are even making a profit this year because they were careful and didn’t expose themselves to the mortgage and credit crises. Some of them were (gasp!) risk averse and (double gasp!) run wisely. So why are these strong banks being forced to accept federal bailout funds that they don’t want or need? Continue reading

Brooks: GOP loses professionals to Democrats, including bankers

NYTimes commentator David Brooks is not my favorite commentator by a long shot, but I find his occasionally scathing looks at his fellow conservatives to be remarkable. Today commentary (“The Class War Before Palin”) is one of those. Unfortunately, as with many other conservative self-criticisms, the people who need to read it and understand what Brooks is saying are the ones least likely to do so. In short, Brooks takes his fellow Republicans to task for allowing disdain of intellectual liberals to become disdain for all intellectuals and everyone who has the audacity to be educated. Continue reading