Charlie Evans: Fed’s Voice of Reason or Biggest Problem?

Nov 2, 2011, 2:00 pm EDT

There were few fireworks in the latest Federal Reserve meeting. After a Federal Open Market Committee meeting in Washington on Monday and Tuesday, the central bank left open the possibility of taking further steps to try to boost the sluggish economy … but gave no hint as to what those moves might be.

That’s not much of a surprise — as stated yesterday, it is painfully clear that the Federal Reserve and Chairman Ben Bernanke are powerless.

But it’s worth noting that amid all this, one stubborn member of the central bank — Charlie Evans, president of the Chicago Fed — continues to make a fuss. Read 

What The World Will Look Like If Occupy Wall Street Wins

Nov 2, 2011, 12:46 pm EDT

There are many reasons why the Occupy Wall Street  movement could fail — a lack of cohesion, too many directions, no leadership, not enough money and no representation, to name a few.

But what if it “succeeds?”

What would our investing landscape look like and what would we do about it? Read 

BofA Customers Beat Occupy Wall Street to the Punch

Nov 2, 2011, 9:48 am EDT
BofA Customers Beat Occupy Wall Street to the Punch

Since September, individuals with an axe to grind against the glass tower-encased bigwigs of Wall Street have pieced together a seemingly unorganized but still unified protest in hopes of changing a system that has turned against them.

But when those corporate giants finally ceded a battle, it wasn’t on the grounds of Lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park, and it wasn’t against the sign-toting soldiers of Occupy Wall Street.

Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) on Tuesday announced it would drop its proposed $5-per-month debit-card fee — because the bank’s customers revolted against the move. News of BofA’s reversal marked the latest and most important of a steady string of consumer-led victories, including: Read 

First Stimulate the Economy, Then Cut Taxes

Nov 1, 2011, 2:16 pm EDT

Forget about Herman Cain’s “9-9-9 Plan” or Rick Perry’s “flat tax” — the best way to jump-start the economy is the “Sullivan Plan,” which calls for tax reform to be shelved until the economy has recovered further.

The idea that writer Martin A. Sullivan is proposing is a simple but powerful one. Too often, tax reform plans are done in a vacuum without considering their long-term consequences. Cain was forced to tweak the 9-9-9 plan after experts realized that 84% of Americans would see their taxes go up if it were enacted. Under Perry’s optional 20% flat tax, federal revenue would be slashed by 27% in 2015. Critics claim that the Texas governor’s proposal would benefit the richest Americans at the expense of everyone else.

While the tax code does need reform, creating more jobs is a far more pressing problem. Unfortunately, there is no bipartisan agreement on how to do it. With Washington gridlocked by partisan rancor and both President Barack Obama and Congress at or near record low job approval ratings, odds of any complicated legislation being enacted before the 2012 election are slim to none. Read 

Why Bernanke and the Fed Are Useless

Nov 1, 2011, 9:14 am EDT
Why Bernanke and the Fed Are Useless

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke once again is center stage on Wall Street, as the Federal Open Market Committee meets this week. Will investors be greeted by some big news from Bernanke? Will we see a big market response thanks to some insights from the Fed’s leader or any of its representatives?

Highly unlikely. The sad reality is the Fed just doesn’t have a whole lot left to offer — aside from being the punching bag of Ron Paul and other critics. And to be completely honest, Bernanke and the rest of the Fed don’t really seem all that interested in making a lot of noise right now. Rather the central bank is simply contenting itself with defending its track record and pointing to a hopeful future.

In the words of Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve “continues to explore ways to further increase transparency about its forecasts and policy plans.” Read 

Occupy Wall Street Sells Out

Nov 1, 2011, 8:00 am EDT
Occupy Wall Street Sells Out

The counter-culture revolutionaries of the 1960s advised their young followers to never trust anyone over the age of 30. That actually is pretty good advice for the would-be revolutionary. By the time people turn 30, they generally have too much to lose — chances are good they have a spouse and a child, and perhaps a 401(k) and a mortgage payment to boot. Alas, by the age of 30, “the Man” has gotten to them.

It appears that the Man also has corrupted Occupy Wall Street. The movement — a motley collection of anti-capitalist protesters, angry youth and disgruntled labor — now has filed for trademark protection of the name.

The movement — which is unincorporated and whose leadership is something of a work in process — intends to use the trademarked name to sell T-shirts and other merchandise. Read 

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