2012 September FIRE Policy News

Issue Date: 
September, 2012
Newspaper PDF: 

The September issue of FIRE (Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate) Policy News reports state and local governments in Illinois – and that means taxpayers – collectively owe more than $200 billion in retirement benefits for government workers.

Also in this issue:

  • Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke in June announced plans to expand “Operation Twist,” prompting some economics and financial experts to wonder why anyone would expect this move to succeed when similar ones have failed to achieve sustained economic improvement.
  • President Barack Obama has signed into law a five-year extension of the National Flood Insurance Program that includes a number of important reforms program critics believe could improve its financial performance and reduce environmental harm.
  • Some of the nation’s most prominent economists are calling for more price inflation for the economy. If you’re wondering how progressively higher prices for everyday goods could help any household get ahead economically, let alone contribute to overall economic recovery, you’re in good company.
  • Futures market participants were caught off-guard when MF Global Inc., a commodity futures broker, filed for bankruptcy on October 31, 2011. Bankruptcies of financial firms are not unusual, so why did this one cause such consternation? Essentially, this episode educated industry participants that customer protections in the U.S. commodities futures markets are more ambiguous than expected. Several reforms could prevent future MF Globals.
  • Nine months after the collapse of MF Global rocked the commodities futures market comes news of a similar scandal involving Peregrine Financial Group, Inc. of Cedar Falls, Iowa and Chicago, where $220 million in customer funds apparently have gone missing.
  • It’s been two years since the enactment of the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory law. A major aim of the law is to end financial industry bailouts, but a DePaul University finance expert says bailouts are likely to continue.

Newspaper Articles in this Issue