Unlikely New Year's Resolutions for Wall Street

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happy new yearAfter a decade marred by a crippling credit crisis, Bernard Madoff's elaborate Ponzi scheme and a stock market crash, here's to a new year and better times ahead. And what could be more encouraging than starting the next 10 years on the right foot with a few resolutions?

Here are several unlikely resolutions for the financial world. Doesn't hurt to dream though.
  • %%DynaPub-Enhancement class="enhancement contentType-HTML Content fragmentId-1 payloadId-61603 alignment-right size-small"%%Banks could resolve to voluntarily slash compensation and share the wealth with investors, main street, and the taxpayers who bailed the system out in 2008 and 2009.

  • Banks could also boost and maintain their cash reserves to avoid any more handouts from the U.S. Treasury.

  • The SEC could resolve to send senior field agents to any institutional money management fund with over a billion in capital that received multiple investor complaint. And, the results of the field work should be sent to the commissioners for review and not some bureaucrat working for $80,000 a year and a pension.

  • The Federal Reserve could provide Congress and the public with a full annual audit of its balance sheet and loans to major U.S. financial firms--so Ron Paul does not have to do it for them and ruin the central bank's independence.

  • Banks could stop making home equity loans ever again and let people get credit based on their incomes.

  • The risk committees of the board of directors at banks could resolve to actually spend the time to investigate the most dangerous assets on the balance sheets of their firms--using outside auditors who don't make money creating and selling exotic financial instruments.
Although none of these are likely to ever materialize, it's too bad. As philosopher George Santayana wrote, "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."
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