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Monday, May 25, 2015

Paul Krugman, "The Big Meh": And the Currency Rigging Banks Which Donated to the Clinton Foundation?

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "The Big Meh," Paul Krugman writes about the effect of new technologies on the economy. Paul would have us know:

"So what do I think is going on with technology? The answer is that I don’t know — but neither does anyone else. Maybe my friends at Google are right, and Big Data will soon transform everything. Maybe 3-D printing will bring the information revolution into the material world. Or maybe we’re on track for another big meh.

What I’m pretty sure about, however, is that we ought to scale back the hype."

I don't agree with Paul. The three hi-tech companies with which I work (two as an outside consultant, one as chairman of the board) all have the potential to change our world: revolutionary new drug candidates, a chip capable of restoring vision to persons blinded by age-related macular degeneration following a 30-minute minimally invasive procedure, and a new generation of super-strong fibers for ultra-thin life-saving surgical sutures. I work hard and late every night, and if I didn't believe in these companies, I wouldn't waste the time. No need for hype. Let's wait and see the results.

However, something else is troubling me today: On Friday, in an editorial entitled "Banks as Felons, or Criminality Lite," The New York Times informed us:

"As of this week, Citicorp, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland are felons, having pleaded guilty on Wednesday to criminal charges of conspiring to rig the value of the world’s currencies. According to the Justice Department, the lengthy and lucrative conspiracy enabled the banks to pad their profits without regard to fairness, the law or the public good.

. . . .

In all, the banks will pay fines totaling about $9 billion, assessed by the Justice Department as well as state, federal and foreign regulators. That seems like a sweet deal for a scam that lasted for at least five years, from the end of 2007 to the beginning of 2013, during which the banks’ revenue from foreign exchange was some $85 billion."

However, what the Times didn't tell us was the connection of some of these banks (not Royal Bank of Scotland) to the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative ("CGI"). The Clinton Foundation lists Barclays Capital and the Citi Foundation as donors in the $1,000,001 to $5,000,000 range. It also lists JPMorgan Chase as a donor in the $100,001 to $250,000 range.

In addition, with regard to Barclays, a March 3, 2015 CNN article entitled "Base wary of Clinton Foundation's ties to troubled banks" by Alexandra Jaffe states:

"British banking giant Barclays emerged as a 'strategic partner' with CGI for its 2010 annual meeting, and gave the same level of support every year after that.

. . . .

In August of 2010, the Justice Department announced Barclays would pay nearly $300 million in fines for breaking sanctions against Iran, Cuba, Sudan and others.

. . . .

According to a Justice Department statement issued in June 2012, Barclays "admitted and accepted responsibility for its misconduct" at the center of a scheme to manipulate global interest rates, which in turn affected prices for consumer lending.

The bank agreed to pay $450 million in total to the Justice Department, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the UK's Financial Services Authority to resolve the violations.

. . . .

In July 2014, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations accused both Barclays and Deutsche Bank of helping hedge funds avoid paying more than $6 billion in taxes."

Isn't it a bit peculiar how Paul ("The Conscience of a Liberal") Krugman has nothing to say about the aforesaid abomination? Or is it really not so terrible in our brave new world? What do you think?

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