Bill Black goes on CNBC and shreds Maria Bartiromo and Bethany McLean on whether Goldman Sachs (and others) could and should have been prosecuted for fraud related to the financial crisis:












If there’s damage in the green room, I’d like to imagine it’s from Black banging his head on the wall afterward, yelling repeatedly, “No it’s not a great point—it’s a terrible point!”

(h/t Capitalism Without Failure)

— The Los Angeles Times has the best news analysis I’ve seen of Paul Ryan’s budget now that he’s on the Republican ticket:

Under Ryan’s plan, which has passed the Republican-controlled House twice in slightly different versions, the Internal Revenue Service would tax the wealthiest Americans less, but many of the poorest ones more; Medicare would be transformed; Medicaid would be cut by about a third; and all functions of government other than those health programs, Social Security and the military would shrink to levels not seen since the 1930s…

The Ryan plan would not balance the federal budget for another 28 years at least, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. That means the federal debt would continue to rise. That’s partly because the tax cuts take effect right away while the Medicare cuts kick in later, as people now 55 hit retirement age. It’s also partly because Ryan’s proposed tax cuts considerably outweigh even his ambitious spending reductions…

In the more than two years since his budget was unveiled, Ryan has not specified any tax breaks he would eliminate. Independent analyses have shown that offsetting the tax cuts would require changing things such as the mortgage interest deduction, the tax exclusion for employer-financed health insurance or other popular tax preferences widely used by middle-income households.

Ryan would also raise military spending by hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade.

The New York Times’s Jessica Silver-Greenberg has a nice piece on the credit-card debt collection industry’s practices, which look to be a scandal like mortgage robosigning:

Lenders, the judges said, are churning out lawsuits without regard for accuracy, and improperly collecting debts from consumers. The concerns echo a recent abuse in the foreclosure system, a practice known as robo-signing in which banks produced similar documents for different homeowners and did not review them.

“I would say that roughly 90 percent of the credit card lawsuits are flawed and can’t prove the person owes the debt,” said Noach Dear, a civil court judge in Brooklyn, who said he presided over as many as 100 such cases a day.

One woman is suing Discover card, saying they fraudulently inflated her balance owed:

After the suit was filed, Ms. Gregory, a 41-year-old child care assistant, asked Discover for proof of the balance. The resulting documents, which were reviewed by The New York Times, have inconsistencies. One statement, for example, says it was produced in 2004, but advertisements on the bottom of the document bear a 2010 date.
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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at rc2538@columbia.edu. Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum.