Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bad call of the month

WSJ, 1/15/2010
Volcker Voices his Views in a Vacum

Paul Volcker is talking. But is anyone listening? [snip]

The two speeches highlighted Mr. Volcker's predicament. Having been viewed as a crucial supporter of Mr. Obama during his presidential run, he appears to have diminishing influence in the White House. And while revered by Wall Street critics on the left and right, his most deeply held views are having limited influence among policy makers.

"It's clear that the ideas Paul Volcker is pushing now are not shared by the administration," said Douglas Elliott, an economic studies fellow at the Brookings Institution, a public-policy organization. Given the difficulty of hiving off bank-lending units from their trading operations, adds Mr. Elliott, "I agree with the administration on that one."

Obama, 1/21:
... I’m proposing a simple and common- sense reform, which we’re calling the Volcker rule, after this tall guy behind me. Banks will no longer be allowed to own, invest or sponsor hedge funds, private-equity funds or proprietary trading operations for their own profit, unrelated to serving their customers.
Actually, the Journal had a story  a few weeks ago which, while noting that Volcker's main ideas had not become Administration policy, also reported that Volcker was methodically, patiently building support for them. But WSJ online l has so eviscerated its search engine in the Murdoch era (and ditto for Factiva as offered through the Journal subscription) that I can't find it.

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