90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
The Future Of The Volcker Rule

Two billion dollars lost in a flash by JP Morgan. Is this an argument for the Volcker rule – cracking down on speculative bets by the banks?

People arrive at JPMorgan Chase headquarters in New York Monday, May 14, 2012. JPMorgan, the largest bank in the United States, is seeking to minimize the damage caused by a $2 billion trading loss, disclosed Thursday by CEO Jamie Dimon. (AP)

People arrive at JPMorgan Chase headquarters in New York Monday, May 14, 2012. JPMorgan, the largest bank in the United States, is seeking to minimize the damage caused by a $2 billion trading loss, disclosed Thursday by CEO Jamie Dimon. (AP)

Wall Street blew up in 2008, and it was clear to just about everybody that we needed a change.  Some boundaries.  A lot more transparency.  No more taxpayer bailouts for zillionaire bankers.  And what happened?  A whole lot of nothing.  A big bill, Dodd-Frank, was passed. 

And an army of Wall Street lobbyists went to work to strangle it in its cradle.  Last week, news that – whaddaya know! – JP Morgan Chase has lost billions with “egregious” bad bets.  The system’s still at risk. 

This hour, On Point:  Voldemort, the “London Whale”, JP Morgan Chase, and when will the U.S. fix its banking?

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Matt Taibbi, a contributing editor at Rolling Stone. His latest book is Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History. His article on the JP Morgan loss is here.

Gregory Zuckerman, financial columnist and reporter at the Wall Street Journal. He’s the author of The Greatest Trade Ever: The Behind-the-Scenes Story of How John Paulson Defied Wall Street and Made Financial History. His take on the JP Morgan case is here.

C-Segment: Obama at Barnard

Check out President Obama at Barnard College. And the transcript here.

From Tom’s Reading List

Click here for an explanation of the Volcker Rule..

Rolling Stone “Activity like this is exactly what the Volcker rule, which effectively banned risky proprietary trading by federally insured institutions, was designed to prevent. It will be argued that this trade was a technically a hedge, and therefore exempt from the Volcker rule.”

Reuters “This time around, the basis-trade disaster has happened at JP Morgan, where the famous London Whale seems to have contrived to lose $2 billion on what was meant to be a hedging operation. And once again, although the details are still very murky, the culprit seems to be the CDS-cash basis.”

Wall Street Journal “Even though the blunder won’t come close to breaking J.P. Morgan, Mr. Dimon deserves thanks for unwittingly reminding regulators of the need for clear playbooks to wind down failing financial behemoths without bringing the system down.”

New York Times “So there’s a large heap of poetic justice — and a major policy lesson — in JPMorgan’s shock announcement that it somehow managed to lose $2 billion in a failed bit of financial wheeling-dealing. “

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Mar 5, 2015
A car passes a memorial for Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by Ferguson, Mo., Police Officer Darren Wilson last summer, Tuesday, March 3, 2015, in Ferguson. A Justice Department investigation found sweeping patterns of racial bias within the Ferguson police department, with officers routinely discriminating against blacks by using excessive force, issuing petty citations and making baseless traffic stops, according to law enforcement officials familiar with the report.  (AP)

The big Justice Department report finds a pattern of racial bias in the Ferguson Police Department. Now what? We’re back in Ferguson – and beyond — for answers.

Mar 5, 2015
One in four women use psychiatric medication. The reasons for the medication aren't always so clear. (Flickr)

Are American women being prescribed psychiatric drugs – anti-depressants, anti-psychotics — for normal emotions? We’ll hear out one psychiatrist’s bold claim.

RECENT
SHOWS
Mar 4, 2015
This photo taken July 31, 2012 shows a "tiny" house April Anson built in Portland, Ore. For the past couple of months, 33-year-old Anson and her friends have been planning, measuring, sawing and hammering their way toward completion of what might look like a child’s playhouse. (AP)

Tiny houses, micro-apartments. They’re hot. Americans are downsizing.

 
Mar 4, 2015
Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during a keynote address at the Watermark Silicon Valley Conference for Women, Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015, in Santa Clara, Calif.  (AP)

Hillary Clinton’s week of bad headlines: about her emails and foreign money going to the Clinton Foundation. We’ll dig in.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Answers To Your Questions On Black Holes
Tuesday, Mar 3, 2015

Yale University’s Priyamvada Natarajan answers your black hole questions in full. (Well, most of them.)

More »
Comment
 
Want To Listen To Lead Belly? Here’s Where To Start
Monday, Mar 2, 2015

Loved our show on Lead Belly, but unsure on where you should start to listen? Jeff Place of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage offers his best picks for a beginning Lead Belly listener.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: February 27, 2015
Friday, Feb 27, 2015

We won’t lead you into a debate on the color of #TheDress (it’s blue and black, end of debate), but we do wonder about the blurring lines between so-called Internet culture and general popular culture. Also, it’s snowing in Boston. Still.

More »
Comment