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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

May 15, 2009 at 8:00 AM

Can Obama shine some light on the shadow banking system?

Top of the News: President Obama’s call for regulation of derivatives is long overdue. These are the things Warren Buffet years ago called “financial weapons of mass destruction.” He was right and now We the People are paying for the risky business on Wall Street.

Of course regulating and moving the derivatives onto exchanges is a helpful first step. Transparency, investor protection and avoidance of systemic risk (a la AIG and its credit default swaps) — all essential goals. But they can’t be the only ones.

It remains to be seen if the Treasury plan will regulate the customized derivatives that individual banks and, especially, investment outfits in the powerful shadow banking system craft. If it doesn’t, then the reform doesn’t meet the smell test.

This is one to watch.

Behing the News: Former Washington governor and now U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke returns today for the dedication of Terminal 30 at the Port of Seattle. In the meantime, like most Americans, he’s got TV on the brain.

Not American Idol or Jersey Housewives, though. The June 12th switch to digital television. If you have cable, satellite or another pay TV service, you’re good to go. But if you depend on rabbit ears or a roof antenna, you’ll need a converter — or finally give up and subscribe to cable, etc.

The stimulus funded coupons to help the analogs among us make the transition. More information: 1-888-DTV-2009.

Today’s Econ Hauku:

To Ram changes through

Chrysler needs bankruptcy court.

Now to save what’s left…

The haiku poll comes up at noon. Vote early and often!

Comments | More in Banking, Politics and the economy, Stock market

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