John Ransom

Since one of my functions is editor for Townhall Finance, I get to look through quite a few news stories. I mostly look at Reuters and the Associated Press throughout the day to look for stories that are appropriate for the home page of But I look too for stories that I might write about.

Here are some headlines that have grabbed my attention recently:

New York banking regulator probes PwC, Promontory

Bayer AG comes under investigation in China

Germany, Finland, query Commission's planned role in bank decisions

In post-Lehman clean-up, top banker prosecutions stumble

House Republicans question SEC oversight of private equity funds

Sales tax hike will add $61 billion to household burden: Japan government panel

Ex-RBS trader in Hong Kong sentenced to 50 months in jail

UAW pushes VW to recognize union as rep for Tennessee workers

Judge refuses to block new meat labeling rules

U.S. judge hears chorus of complaints over $7.2 billion credit card pact

JPMorgan to spend $4 billion on compliance and risk controls: WSJ

Central bankers, brokers snap at SEC's money-market proposals

All these are stories that just happened to end up in my feed, to sort through, process and either put on the home page or write about.

And what they all have in common is how ubiquitous governments, quasi-governments and special interests are in the news of the day.

I was jarred into action by the very first headline:

New York banking regulator probes PwC, Promontory

The case is one in which, as near as I can understand it, a bank hired PwC, a well-known consultancy, to review their transactions and to advise on the legality of those transactions because the state of New York was investigating the bank. To some extent the hire of PwC by the bank was required by the state so the bank could better understand how to comply with the law that the state of New York imposed upon the bank.

That tells you how complex rules and regulations have become. You need consultants in order to tell you how to comply with them.

John Ransom

John Ransom is the Finance Editor for Townhall Finance, host of Ransom Notes Radio and you can catch more of the best money advice and monetary commentary by him daily 10am PT, 1pm ET at or on Comcast Cable