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Sunday, Dec 21st

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Paulson admits deregulation has failed us all

You know things are very very bad on Wall Street when a guy like Henry Paulson -- Treasury secretary, solid Republican, and former Goldman Sachs CEO joins the crowd calling for more regulation over the financial markets.

Paulson spared no one in his criticism Thursday of the excesses of deregulation that has now created the worst global financial crisis in a generation, threatening the health of the U.S. economy, the savings of millions of Americans, and the survival of some of the biggest financial institutions in the world.

It's been obvious for years now that Wall Street could not be trusted, and finally official Washington agrees.

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Iraq war 'caused slowdown in the US'

THE Iraq war has cost the US 50-60 times more than the Bush administration predicted and was a central cause of the sub-prime banking crisis threatening the world economy, according to Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz.

Professor Stiglitz told the Chatham House think tank in London that the Bush White House was currently estimating the cost of the war at about $US500 billion, but that figure massively understated things such as the medical and welfare costs of US military servicemen.

The spending on Iraq was a hidden cause of the current credit crunch because the US central bank responded to the massive financial drain of the war by flooding the American economy with cheap credit.

"The regulators were looking the other way and money was being lent to anybody this side of a life-support system," he said.

That led to a housing bubble and a consumption boom, and the fallout was plunging the US economy into recession and saddling the next US president with the biggest budget deficit in history, he said.

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Money, Banking, and the Federal Reserve

"The Federal Reserve System virtually controls the nation's monetary system, yet it is accountable to no one. It has no budget; it is subject to no audit; and no Congressional Committee knows of, or can truly supervise, its operations."

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