Recent Finance Commentaries

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Fantasy Island
Wasn’t that the fantasy/drama show from the 70s? Welcome to Fantasy Island, the reality show in Washington, DC. On the South side of the island, we have the octos (octogenarians). Democrat Dianne Feinstein, at 90 years old is clearly frail and recently fell in her San Francisco home. Retiring? Not a chance. Republican Mitch McConnell, 81, stopped in mid-sentence during...
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August 11, 2023
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Should Madoff be Released?
Bernie Madoff conned friends and strangers out of billions using a scheme that out-Ponzied Charles Ponzi, the now former emperor of elite schemers. However, after serving almost 11 years of a 150-year sentence, Madoff is now asking for an early release from prison due to a terminal illness. In 1998, “Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 criminal counts… At the time...
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February 28, 2020
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The “Magnificent” Shkreli
There’s a moment during the first act of Orson Welles’s classic film, The Magnificent Ambersons – a period story about the rise and fall of a local family – where Welles, as narrator, points out what a terror young, self-centered George Amberson Minafer is to all the local citizens. “Someday,” a neighbor angrily remarks, “that boy is going to get...
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March 14, 2018
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The Attack of the Clawbacks!
“[The] wheels of justice grind slow but grind fine.” — Sun Tzu The board of directors of banking giant Wells Fargo announced “…that it would claw back an additional $75 million in compensation from the two executives on whom it pinned most of the blame for the company’s scandal over fraudulent accounts: the bank’s former chief executive, John G. Stumpf,...
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May 1, 2017
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Sometimes the Good Guys Win
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) ordered Wells Fargo, the third largest U.S. bank, to pay a former employee $5.4 million who was fired after he blew the whistle on supervisors regarding fraudulent behavior by the bank. According to the ruling, Wells Fargo must also reinstate a similar position previously held by the employee. NPR reports (Apr. 4), “The...
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April 7, 2017
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Inconsistencies and Conflicts
It didn’t take long for President-elect Trump to show us the difference between what he said during his campaign and what he says now. During the campaign, Trump called President Obama “incompetent.” In last week’s Oval Office meeting, Trump now calls Obama, “a very good man.” During the campaign, Trump said that Obama is “very stupid,” and “the founder of...
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November 16, 2016
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Watching the news last week, I was jolted out of my seat by Connecticut Senator Elizabeth Warren’s withering condemnation of Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf. As reported in the Boston Herald (Sept. 21), “ ‘You should resign,’ Warren told … Stumpf… during a Senate Banking Committee hearing yesterday. ‘You should give back the money you took while this scam was...
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October 5, 2016
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Mr. Lucky
Countrywide was one of the greatest companies in the history of this country and probably made more difference to society, to the integrity of our society, than any company in the history of America.  – Angelo Mozilo, co-founder and CEO, Countrywide Mortgage Last Friday (June 24), The New York Times reported that “the Justice Department told Mr. Mozilo, the former...
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June 29, 2016
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Four Who Made a Difference in 2014
While everybody is posting their own end-of-the-year list, here’s my selection of ethical stand-outs. Mike Carey – Carey is the first African-American to referee the Super Bowl and has been honored as one of the best in the game in 2008. While honesty and fairness are critical to his job, so is respect. So, in 2006 Carey quietly requested that...
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December 31, 2014
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The IRS Scandal, Conclusion
Washington politics has become a bad opera – tedious, score-settling bad opera where each side reacts like a soccer player who falls to the ground, grabs a body part and moans loudly so the official will call a foul. On June 16, the New York Times writes that “The Ways and Means chairman, Representative Dave Camp… wrote a letter to President Obama...
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July 14, 2014

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