Thursday, April 22, 2010


He sure gives a good speech.

Caught today's Obama Cooper Union speech on financial reform and thought it was clear, assertive, brilliant. If only his health care reform addresses had been as clear cut, we might have been spared some of the agony of the past 12 months. He touched all the bases---praising the benefits of capitalism and free markets while insisting that we need to notch up our regulatory practices to keep pace with increasingly complex financial transactions.

Whether legislation can pass and our system can attract the brilliant people we need to try to keep pace with the Bad Guys on Wall Street and elsewhere is another matter.

I suppose we're all amused and perhaps perplexed that the Senate Agricultural Committee is the venue for the current debate about derivatives legislation. I can (kind of) see the logic which links commodity futures trading to other non-agro financial instruments---the basic idea that these contracts are traded on the basis of the underlying assets is where the similarity resides. But how odd nonetheless. The collapse of the cocoa futures market is unlikely to imperil the future of the nation---but CDO's almost dragged us down into the inferno. Wishing them luck....

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