2013 March FIRE Policy News

Issue Date: 
March, 2013
Newspaper PDF: 

The March issue of FIRE (Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate) Policy News reports hundreds of condominium and homeowners associations in Florida are threatening foreclosure of banks that foreclosed on individual units and have not paid the association fees they are responsible for under Florida law.

Also in this issue:

  • The U.S. Supreme Court has heard oral arguments in a case addressing the proper scope of the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment, which requires the government to pay “just compensation” when it takes private property for public use.
  • The billions of dollars a dozen financial institutions recently agreed to pay to settle government complaints over banking and mortgage lending practices come with a twist: The financial institutions likely will receive billions of dollars of tax deductions.
  • Bankruptcy, municipal bankruptcy in particular, is powerful medicine. Bondholders hate it because it requires them to take a hit on what were thought to be ultra-safe investments. Public finance experts hate it because it limits--though it does not totally eliminate--their ability to take on more debt. But nobody hates municipal bankruptcy more than government employee unions.
  • Actor Gérard Depardieu’s decision to flee France for Belgium to avoid a 75 percent marginal tax rate on incomes above $1.3 million sends a message we here in America should heed: Those who are singled out for tax increases are not stationary targets. Change the tax environment by raising rates or adversely modifying the rules, and taxpayers, especially those in the upper echelons of earners, can be counted on to modify their conduct accordingly.
  • In the 1950s, fearing a possible invasion by the Soviet Union, the German central bank sent thousands of tons of gold to other foreign banks. The Deutsche Bundesbank has announced it intends to bring some of that gold back, including several hundred tons now stored at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  • A federal judge last fall struck down the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s current iteration of federal position limits on holdings of commodity futures contracts, and an appeal has put the position limits in limbo. The reason: The CFTC did not make “necessity findings in its rulemakings” of actual or potential harmful excessive speculation.

Newspaper Articles in this Issue