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- Released February 9, 2009
Policy Handcuffs in the Financial Crisis
Although many countries have used capital controls effectively to address financial market volatility, 52 national governments lack the power to control money flows across their borders as the result of U.S. trade pacts or bilateral investment treaties. The International Monetary Fund abandoned its blanket opposition to capital controls after the Asian financial crisis that erupted in 1997, but the U.S. government forged ahead, initiating agreements restricting capital controls with 22 more countries.
The report quotes numerous noted economists, including two Nobel prize winners and close advisors to President Barack Obama, in support of allowing governments to use capital controls. It also lays out five key opportunities for change, including renegotiating trade agreements and bilateral investment treaties, rolling back World Trade Organization commitments on financial deregulation, and reforming World Bank and IMF policies.
- Released February 3, 2009
Executive Pay and the Bailout
In recent weeks, two legislative initiatives have aimed to crack down on profiteering from the financial bailout. Both were prompted by evidence that the pay restrictions in the original bailout bill have proven largely toothless. Some of the recipients — most notably AIG, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs — have doled out sizeable bonuses to high-ranking staff since receiving billions in taxpayer support. Wall Street firms as a whole handed out more than $18 billion in bonuses last year.
This memo analyzes both initiatives – Sen. Claire McCaskill’s proposal to set a fixed ceiling for all employees of bailed-out firms and Rep. Barney Frank’s broader reform of the original bailout legislation.
- Released January 14, 2009
A Sensible Plan for Recovery
The grassroots blowback against the Bush administration’s proposed Wall Street bailout is rooted in deep distrust. Americans recognize the need to act on our current crisis but detest the idea that ordinary taxpayers should bear the brunt of bailing out the kingpins of Wall Street.
The Bush administration, with its recent moves to begin purchasing bank equity, has essentially acknowledged the inadequacy of the original bailout plan. The administration’s new direction, even so, remains inadequate. We believe the program we outline in this report can far better address the root causes of our financial collapse and restore trust and confidence in our economic system.
- Released November 24, 2008
The approximately $4.1 trillion that the United States and European governments have committed to rescue financial firms is 40 times the money they’re spending to fight climate and poverty crises in the developing world.
- Released October 27, 2008
Talking Points: Economic Meltdown
Put over-reliance on the free market together with “hands-off” government and you get an economic melt-down, with the spectacle of the government bailing out and buying giant financial firms: the very antithesis of the “free market” that the Wall Street cheerleaders were extolling. The Bush administration turned our economy into a casino and gave rich investors almost all the chips. The following document is a series of talking points, in an easy-to-read question-and-answer format, on the key questions being discussed today about the global economic meltdown.
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