In This Issue:
Leading the Past Week; Legislative Branch; House of Representatives; Executive Branch; Federal Reserve; SEC; CFTC; IRS; and Miscellaneous.
Excerpt from Leading the Past Week
In a week that saw a major announcement intended to heal the housing crisis it was worth noting that it came nearly five years to the day of the beginning of the very credit crisis that resulted in the need for a settlement. The news of the nation-wide (but for Oklahoma) settlement on the mortgage servicing momentarily distracted K Street and parts of Wall Street, as shops affiliated with both avenues vigorously fought back against provisions in the STOCK Act that would have impacted their revenue streams. At the same time the White House appeared to lose some of its political momentum as the rest of country‘s attention was deviated from the positive economic news of last week to the culture war issues of birth control and abortion. Late on Friday the President was forced to retreat on the issue, even though some analysts pontificated that this is a fight that helps him in the long run.
Excerpt from Legislative Branch
Senate Panel Examines State of US Economy with Fed Chairman:
On February 7th, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke appeared before the Senate Budget Committee to discuss the state of the US economy and the outlook for US monetary and fiscal policy. Bernanke comments echoed those he gave before the House Budget Committee last week, telling lawmakers that the economy is gradually recovering despite still being vulnerable to shocks. Speaking on the debt, Bernanke said ?problems in our fiscal path arise after the next 10 years, going out 15, 20, 30 years as our population ages, as health care costs rise.? To that end, he urged lawmakers to work to further reduce the long-term US debt burden and recommended a broader based, fairer tax code among other policies to address the budget gap. Bernanke warned that inaction towards the debt would have negative consequences in terms of investor confidence but suggested that the debt had not already begun to impact economic performance, emphasizing that ?we‘re on a path that‘s going to not be sustainable…where the amount of debt will cause higher interest rates, which will cause higher deficits.
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