Friday, October 22, 2010


Dan Froomkin has a detailed nine point list of stories that the press is ignoring, courtesey of Super Regulator and author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One, William K. Black.

The list is a nice synopsis of what has gone wrong with markets in America, and makes it clear - as Black argues - that bad ethics have not only become "a competitive advantage" in America but that it has driven "good ethics out of the marketplace."

While you should read the piece (and buy Black's book), here's an abbreviated list of the ignored stories.

* How our bubble economy was hyperinflated by mortgage fraud.

* The increasing use of accounting tricks in the business world, which helped to make mortgage fraud, and the big bonuses that followed, possible.

* The "partnership" between the FBI and the Mortgage Bankers Association, which (implicitly) defined mortgage fraud "out of existence" and made mortgage bankers out to be the victims.

* How subsequent "echo" epidemics of fraud, by loan brokers and appraisers, was set off by CEOs who consciously used their firm as a weapon to loot creditors and shareholders (called “control fraud").

* How the massive foreclosure fraud we are seeing now is another "echo" fraud from the orginal mortgage fraud.

* The massive cover-up of fraud. This is done with the creative use of accounting lies, taxpayer money/guarantees, rule changes (like suspending mark-to-market accounting methods), and the medias acceptance (ignorance of) inflated asset values.

* The continued absence of effective regulation.

* The financial crises confronting state and local governments. They have neither the resources nor means to confront fraud, but are being targeted for cuts by Congress from stimulus sharing programs.

* The insanity of accepting mass, long-term unemployment rather than having the government provide productive jobs for everyone willing to work (as the employer of last resort).

The details and links from Black's list are informative and spot on. They also help us understand why were still in trouble.

- Mark

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