William Black calls for a deeper investigation of the conflicts of interest that shaped the AIG bailout. The truly extraordinary disclosures were that Paulson, Bernanke, and Geithner all purported to have had no involvement in one of the most expensive decisions in history — the decision to pay 100 cents on the dollar to the

Marshall Auerback breaks down Obama’s address, finding confusion on fiscal policy and not enough on job creation. If nothing else, it’s clear (as one wag wrote this morning) that the state of Obama’s rhetoric is strong. The President almost always gives a good speech, but it’s the follow-through that is generally problematic. And the speech

Mike Konczal reacts to President Obama’s first State of the Union Address, highlighting five key points in the speech. Everyone is writing about it, so I’ll throw in my two cents. I was pretty happy with the SOTU speech, especially since I went into it quite worried. Here is the text of the speech. Highlights

Henry Liu argues that a proposed “responsibility fee” for banks could upset the repo market and raise borrowing costs. The Obama administration’s proposal to subject some bank liabilities to a financial crisis responsibility (FCR) fee highlights the unintended consequences of regulating an industry that depends on an obscure but crucial funding mechanism, such as the

TARP watchdog Elizabeth Warren warns that banks are still doing business as usual — and the middle class can’t survive further attack.

January 28

“What you need to know to navigate today’s economic debate.” Obama Sounded Like a Good Old-Fashioned Mercantilist (The Economist’s View) Mark Thoma discusses the role that export-driven growth played in Obama’s SOTU address last night. Initial Jobless Claims in U.S. Fell 8,000 Last Week to 470,000 (Bloomberg) Fewer Americans filed first-time claims for unemployment insurance