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OpenMarket: John Berlau

  • Least Transparent Administration Closes Records on Fannie and Freddie

    March 19, 2015

    This Sunshine Week, the administration that swept into office promising to be the “most transparent” in history was just judged by a major news service as least transparent of modern presidencies.



    An analysis by the Associated Pres found that “the Obama administration set a record again for censoring government files or outright denying access to them last year under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.” The AP adds that the administration “also acknowledged in nearly 1 in 3 cases that its initial decisions to withhold or censor records were improper under the law - but only when it was challenged.”



    But FOIA requests are just the tip of the iceberg for this administration’s secrecy, much of which has nothing to do with...

  • Remembering M. Stanton Evans

    March 9, 2015

    What do best-selling author and New Yorker correspondent Malcolm Gladwell, ABC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Terry Moran, popular conservative journalist and author John Fund, and this writer have in common? We are all graduates of the National Journalism Center internship program, under the leadership of M. Stanton Evans.



    Stan, as he was called by friends (and whom I was privileged to call a friend after I graduated from the program), died last week at 80 of pancreatic cancer. He had no children, but left behind a legacy of students dispersed in prominent positions in media and public policy. All of us benefitted from the lessons he imparted on the importance of finding facts, regardless of opinion, on the subjects we were researching.



    “I tell my students even if you are an opinion journalist, your opinion should be based on facts,” Stan told New York...

  • How Department of Labor's "Fiduciary" Rule Could Cripple IRA Choices

    March 3, 2015

    Last week, President Obama called on the Department of Labor to “update the rules and requirements that retirement advisors put the best interests of their clients above their own financial interests.” At a speech at the American Association of Retired Persons, the president proclaimed, “You want to give financial advice, you’ve got to put your client’s interests first. “



    Yet, if the regulation the DOL is set to introduce at the president’s behest is anything like the “fiduciary” rule it proposed in 2010—and withdrew upon a groundswell of protest the next year—the government’s definition of “best interest” will likely not be in the best interest of individuals who wish to pursue alternative assets from gold to peer-to-peer loans to crowdfunding in their IRAs.



    The last time...

  • Harvard Study Confirms Dodd-Frank's Harm to Main Street

    February 10, 2015

    Literally since the day the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was signed into law by President Obama, my Competitive Enterprise Institute colleagues and I have predicted its harshest effects would fall on community banks. “While the bill claims to crack down on excesses on Wall Street, its harshest impact will likely be on Main Street businesses that had nothing to do with the crisis,” I wrote on FoxNews.com on July 15, 2010, the day President Obama signed the bill.



    Since then, numerous studies, as well as testimonials from community bank officials, have proven this prediction correct. Yet much of the media and politicians still peddle the myth that Dodd-Frank only hurts Wall Street, and thus, repealing or easing sections of Dodd-Frank would benefit “...

  • Main Street Fights Dodd-Frank's Chipping Away at the Constitution

    January 30, 2015

    “Wall Street Chips Away at Dodd-Frank,” blared a recent front-page headline in The New York Times about bipartisan measures that have passed the U.S. House of Representatives and/or been signed into law that ever-so-slightly lighten the burden of the so-called financial reform rammed through Congress in 2010. “GOP Pushes More Perks For Wall Street...” reads the home page of The Huffington Post under the picture of establishment pillar, Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase.



    Yet, what these articles don’t say is that the firms putting their resources on the line to challenge Dodd-Frank in court are the furthest thing from Wall Street high rollers. They are decades-old firms selling stable, time-tested financial products to everyday consumers.



    At first glance...

  • Supreme Court Refuses to Make Dodd-Frank More Draconian

    January 20, 2015

    Today, the Supreme Court lifted a cloud of uncertainty that had been hanging over consumers, community banks, and credit unions by refusing to take a case that threatened to make the stifling Dodd-Frank pseudo-financial reform legislation even more draconian than it already is.



    The Court let stand a unanimous ruling from a three-judge D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals panel that overturned district Judge Richard Leon’s 2013 ruling that the Federal Reserve had not made the price controls stemming from Dodd-Frank’s Durbin Amendment were not stringent enough. Today’s decision, authored by Clinton-appointed Judge David Tatel, found that the...

  • Obama Should Help Borrowers by Shedding Dodd-Frank, Not Pumping FHA

    January 8, 2015

    “If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” So said Ronald Reagan in 1986.



    Reagan was describing the unintended effects of government policy. But for the Obama administration, this formula seems to be the modus operandi of its policy making.



    Take mortgages, for instance. After the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul was rammed through the Democrat-controlled Congress in 2010, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau—a bureaucracy created by the Dodd-Frank to be unaccountable almost by design—implemented the law’s “qualified mortgage” (QM) provisions.



    The QM provisions were so costly and complex that community banks and credit unions—as far...

  • Lame Duck Quacks Needed Dodd-Frank Relief

    December 12, 2014

    Waaaah! That’s the sound of former House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) crying about stinging, bipartisan rebukes to his legacy of the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory monstrosity rammed through the Democrat-controlled Congress in 2010.



    And it must be all the more painful to Frank that enough members of his own party had turned against provisions of the legislation that a couple much-needed rollback are on the verge of being signed into law in this month’s “lame duck” session.



    According to the Boston Globe, Frank called some of these rollbacks “the road map for stealthily undoing all this in the future.” We can only hope this is the case!...

  • Liberals and Conservatives Challenge Overreach of Dodd-Frank's FSOC on MetLife

    November 18, 2014

    As CEI brings suit before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals tomorrow challenging the constitutionality of unaccountable bureaucracies created by the Dodd-Frank “financial reform” law of 2010, it looks like we may have some high-profile company in litigation against Dodd-Frank’s Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC).



    The FSOC is a secretive, unaccountable task force of financial bureaucrats of various agencies created to designate banks and other financial firms “systemically important,” or too-big-to-fail. In September, the FSOC preliminarily decreed insurer MetLife a “systemically important financial institution,” or SIFI.



    As CEI argues in our legal challenge to the Dodd-Frank Act (including the FSOC’s role of identifying risk), the SIFI designation confers on a firm a strong competitive advantage, as investors and...

  • Crowdfunding Is Entrepreneurship’s History and its Future

    November 18, 2014

    In America and around the world, aspiring entrepreneurs are meeting their colleagues and their mentors in official and unofficial sessions of Global Entrepreneurship Week. Created in 2007 by the Kansas City-based Kauffman Foundation and British organizations, Global Entrepreneurship Week, as stated on its website, “inspires people everywhere through local, national and global activities designed to help them explore their potential as self-starters and innovators.”



    And this year, enabling entrepreneurship through crowdfunding will be a huge focus. To coincide with Global Entrepreneurship Week’s events, the recently formed Crowdfund Intermediary Regulatory Advocates (CFIRA) is having its 2nd Annual Regulatory and Advocacy Summit on Capitol Hill on Friday, November 21. For more details on the public events, go ...

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