William K. Black

The Department of Justice’s Willful Blindness to the Willful Blindness of CEOs – Bill Black

The best thing that the Department of Justice (DOJ) could do immediately to restore faith in the criminal justice system is to prosecute Steven Cohen, the head of SAC. The indictment of SAC charges that many SAC officers committed crimes due to: “institutional practices that encouraged the widespread solicitation and use of illegal inside information.”

Irish Fish, and Banks, Rot from the Head – Bill Black

I’m back from my annual purifying rite – participating in Kilkenomics IV in Kilkenny, Ireland. It was a big success again this year, with dozens of sold out events in which economists (and the odd criminologist) are paired with superb professional comedians who serve to keep things lively, understandable, and blunt. Regular folks stop you on the street and talk to you for hours in the bars about economics. This year, the organizers (Richard Cook and David McWilliams) added “young economist” awards for the equivalent of high school and junior high school awards. The brilliant Dan Ariely and I had the privilege to help judge the final round of the competition. Should you ever find yourself near Ireland in early November during the festival I encourage you to join us in Kilkenny.

The Oil Oligarchs Want Me to Know How Much They Hate President Correa – Bill Black

Gustavo Coronel, a Venezuelan oil oligarch associated with Cato has written to let me know how much he despises Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa. Coronel serves as his own “official scorer” so he has declared that one of my columns “made a failed attempt to whitewash the President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, who is violating environmentally fragile areas of the Amazonia to drill for oil.” This is a passing strange comment from a man whose professional life was spent growing wealthy by “violating environmentally fragile areas of the Amazonia [and elsewhere] to drill for oil.”

Why is The Economist Chortling over the Prospect of Oil Pollution in Ecuador? Bill Black

The Economist has increasingly been copying the descent of the Wall Street Journal into dogma. One of it perennial hates is President Rafael Correa of Ecuador. Correa, an economist, has committed the unforgivable offense of succeeding through economic policies that The Economist despises. This is passing strange because Correa’s four foundational policies are expanded health care, expanded education, improved infrastructure, and encouraging entrepreneurs by reducing the time and cost of starting a business in Ecuador. The Economists’ pages are littered with praise for right-wing governmental leaders and candidates who promise that they will implement those same four policies (but rarely do in practice). Correa has actually delivered on his promises – quickly – and the improvements in the economy of Ecuador and the lives of ordinary citizens have been huge. The result is that Correa is the second most popular head of state in the Americas.

The Tea Party’s Tactical Brilliance and Strategic Incompetence – Bill Black

The Tea Party and its (non) think tanks have proven that they are tactically brilliant in manipulating the Republican Party, but strategically incompetent. Today’s Senate Bill, which will be forced down the House Tea Party members’ throats, is the result of that strategic incompetence. The Tea Party has learned that there are a few things many GOP elected officials are still unwilling to do.

Boehner’s Trophy – Bill Black

This article is inspired by David Firestone’s article in the New York Times entitled “Boehner’s Last Stand.” Firestone’s lead is the key:

“The nature of Speaker John Boehner’s final battle with the White House on the budget crisis is now clear: It doesn’t matter what House Republicans win in exchange for raising the debt ceiling and re-opening government, as long as they win something.”