2011 December FIRE Policy News

Issue Date: 
December, 2011
Newspaper PDF: 

The December issue of FIRE Policy News reports on news that Wall Street firms secretly received at least $1.2 trillion in emergency loans from the Federal Reserve during the financial crisis. Did the Fed react prudently ... or did it over-react to the credit crisis?

Also in this issue:

  • “Operation Twist” is the name that’s been given to the Federal Reserve’s program to move the Fed’s investment portfolio into longer-term debt. Critics say it’s a new twist on an old policy that failed in the 1960s.
  • Rick Manning tried but could not keep government’s hands off his mortgage. He presents a firsthand account of how government grabbed his mortgage despite his best efforts to avoid it.
  • Thanks to Dodd-Frank’s Durbin Amendment, price controls on interchange fees--the so-called “swipe fees” retailers pay to banks and credit unions to process debit card transactions--went into effect October 1. As a result, free checking and debit card transactions are going the way of the dodo.
  • A close look at the events and policy decisions during the early part of the financial crisis reinforces the view that as the financial situation deteriorated in response to government policy mistakes, the key players appeared oblivious to why things kept getting worse. And they’re still operating on the same assumptions.
  • Baltimore has been plagued by a long list of political bungles, scandals, and political policy failures. The result: The city is the only one of its size on the East Coast to lose population since 2000, according to recent Census Bureau figures. Between 1990 and 2010 Baltimore’s population dropped more than 84,000, to 620,961.

Newspaper Articles in this Issue