Does the Geithner Bank Plan Encourage More Bad Loans?

Simon Johnson at The Baseline Scenario today, ponders expectations of the Geithner bank plan. "Listening carefully to the messaging from the top, you are probably hoping for an increase in bank lending.

"...over the past few weeks, Congressional leaders have repeatedly insisted that, going forward, banks that receive government support should increase their lending," Johnson writes. Banks, in tern, have been rushing to explain why lending is down or boasting of modest loan increases. The point is lending will be the metric by which the bank bailout is judged. But Johnson argues that this is the wrong way to measure success. He writes that if legislators "mandate that lending must increase—or that loans must be made to particular categories of borrowers, such as small business or housing—that would be a recipe for more bad loans and further damage to the banking system (and more costs for you, the taxpayer.)  It would also lead to corruption, scandal, and reform fatigue." The Geithner plan may work, Johnson concludes, "but let’s see the details before we take a more definite view on that."

NYTimes exposé reveals how Facebook handled scandals

Delay, deny and deflect were the strategies Facebook has used to navigate scandals it's faced in recent years, according to the New York Times.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The exhaustive report is based on interviews with more than 50 people with ties to the company.
  • It outlines how senior executives misled the public and lawmakers in regards to what it had discovered about privacy breaches and Russian interference in U.S. politics.
  • On Thursday, Facebook cut ties with one of the companies, Definers Public Relations, listed in the report.
Keep reading Show less

Russian reporters discover 101 'tortured' whales jammed in offshore pens

Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • Russian news network discovers 101 black-market whales.
  • Orcas and belugas are seen crammed into tiny pens.
  • Marine parks continue to create a high-price demand for illegal captures.
Keep reading Show less

Unraveling the mystery behind dogs' floppy ears

Dogs' floppy ears may be part of why they and other domesticated animals love humans so much.

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash
Surprising Science
  • Nearly all domestic animals share several key traits in addition to friendliness to humans, traits such as floppy ears, a spotted coat, a shorter snout, and so on.
  • Researchers have been puzzled as to why these traits keep showing up in disparate species, even when they aren't being bred for those qualities. This is known as "domestication syndrome."
  • Now, researchers are pointing to a group of a cells called neural crest cells as the key to understanding domestication syndrome.
Keep reading Show less