The chairman of the Financial Services Authority is arguing that the banking lobby has subverted the American political system for its own narrow and short term advantage, leaving the ordinary US public dangerously exposed to the economic risk of another financial collapse.
What we have here is a lesson for those tempted to assume that privatisation of public services always produces greater efficiency and reduces public expenditure.
Median households are marginally worse off this year than they were in 2005, but the top 45 per cent are still worth more than they were six years ago. And the top 10 per cent are quite significantly better off, enjoying a net worth almost £100,000 higher than in 2005.
For the record, here’s the full list of meetings, which I extracted from the Treasury through a Freedom of Information request:
RBS was expanding rapidly under the reckless stewardship of Sir Fred Goodwin, even excluding the ABN purchase. But there was another large UK bank that was growing even quicker. Yes, you guessed right, it was Barclays.
High inflation is unlikely to have helped the economy. Yet the OBR doesn’t even consider the possibility that the Chancellor’s pledges of draconian austerity last year might have helped to undermine consumer confidence.
The head of the Bundesbank, Jens Weidmann, clearly believes that bond market investors see the world exactly as he does. It is a world in which market storms would abate if countries would only enact reforms to reduce their debt and deficits.
Spencer Dale in the Bank’s press conference said that the engine of consumer spending should start firing in the second half of next year, as households start to benefit from lower inflation. The Bank is clearly hoping that the British public ignore the advice of David Cameron to pay off their credit cards.
Some would argue that a 10% fiscal consolidation over three years in Greece, however necessary, was always going to plunge the country into a prolonged depression and that the IMF/EU expectation that this kind of fiscal shock therapy would result in a rapid rebound of private sector confidence was always barking mad.
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