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The Volcker Rule

In this March 18, 1980, file photo, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul Volcker listens to a question as he appears before the Senate Banking Committee in Washington, D.C. The Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. each unanimously voted to adopt the so-called Volcker Rule. (AP Photo/Chick Harrity, File)

You remember the financial crisis. That’s the thing that made a lot of nest eggs and a lot of jobs disappear.

Ever since then, bank regulators have been trying to figure out a way to make sure that doesn’t happen again, while the banks they regulate have been saying, we’ve learned our lesson, just trust us.

Well, the banks have lost this one. What’s called “The Volcker Rule” — named for former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker who was a famous inflation-tamer — has been approved.

The Volcker Rule is (and I quote from the document,) “A system in which there is more scope for using regulatory policies to mitigate inherent tendencies toward destabilizing excesses in risk taking and risk aversion.”

Or as translated by CBS’s Jill Schlesinger, “The Volcker Rule basically prevents banks who have FDIC insured deposits from trading with their own money to make speculative bets.”

It’s a little like a Golden Rule for banks. It requires banks be able to prove that any trades they make are truly in the best interests of their clients.

Some bankers have complained that would require having not only a lawyer but a psychologist watching over every trade.

And then there are banking experts like Bert Ely predicting it will backfire completely, “This may actually increase the likelihood of a future financial crisis because the crisis will erupt outside of the heavily regulated banks.”

So Dave, you say, given all that, where should we put our money?

Umm … maybe it’s time to bet on the ponies.

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