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How Goldman secretly bet on the U.S. housing crash

Goldman SachsIn 2006 and 2007, Goldman Sachs Group peddled more than $40 billion in securities backed by at least 200,000 risky home mortgages, but never told the buyers it was secretly betting that a sharp drop in U.S. housing prices would send the value of those securities plummeting.

Goldman's sales and its clandestine wagers, completed at the brink of the housing market meltdown, enabled the nation's premier investment bank to pass most of its potential losses to others before a flood of mortgage defaults staggered the U.S. and global economies.

Only later did investors discover that what Goldman had promoted as triple-A rated investments were closer to junk.

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Three female regulators' warnings about financial crisis were ignored

Women warned of economic collapseThree regulators did indeed ring warning bells — at the right time, in the right places, and loud enough for other banking and financial system overseers. All three were women: Brooksley Born, Sheila Bair and Susan Bies. All three were ignored.

You may have heard before about the warnings issued by Born, the head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in the 1990s, and Bair, the chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. from 2006 to 2011.

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Capitalism Seen in Crisis by Global Investors Citing Widening Inequalities

Capitalism in crisisInternational investors say capitalism is in crisis, with almost one in three backing radical changes to the system, according to a Bloomberg survey.

As the global financial and business elite gather in Davos for their annual forum, a majority in the Bloomberg Global Poll agree that income inequality hurts the economy and that governments need to do something to address it -- ideas at the heart of “Occupy” protests worldwide.

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As Big Bank Stocks Plunge, CEOs Continue To Reap Huge Salaries

Bank CEO's reap huge profits as shares fallWall Street Pit’s Ron Haruni points out that as the banking industry’s stocks plunged this year — with major megabanks like Bank of America facing uncertain fates — their executives have walked away with sky-high salaries.

Haruni cites the work of Rochdale Securities analyst Dick Bove and shows how banks have seen their value and stocks plunge by double-digits while executive compensation remains high:

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Special Report: The watchdogs that didn't bark

Four years after the banking system nearly collapsed from reckless mortgage lending, federal prosecutors have stayed on the sidelines, even as judges around the country are pointing fingers at possible wrongdoing.

The government also hasn't brought any prosecutions for dubious foreclosure practices deployed since 2007 by big banks and other mortgage-servicing companies.

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Government gets blamed for widening wealth gap

USA"Over the past generation, the patterns of income growth have been radically transformed," said Paul Pierson, professor of political science at UC Berkeley, adding that the argument "that rising inequality is simply an economic reality ... too easily lets policymakers off the hook."

Meanwhile, wages have grown by nearly 40 percent for the top 10 percent of earners over the past three decades, while wages for the bottom 50 percent of earners have remained stagnant or fallen, she said.

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Wells Fargo settles bid-rigging claims for $148 million

Wells FargoWells Fargo & Co. and regulators announced Thursday a $148 million settlement to resolve accusations that Wachovia, which was purchased by Wells, participated in a bid-rigging scheme that hurt state and local governments.

It's the fourth major bank to settle with the consortium of federal agencies and state attorneys general. Bank of America Corp. settled for $137 million last December.

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