Editor's Note: This is a monthly publication on economic trends and financial policy issues. In this publication you can read "The Longbrake Letter", an analysis of economic trends and conditions written by Bill Longbrake, as well as commentary on financial regulation and policy written by members of the law firm Barnett, Sivon & Natter, P.C., a Washington, DC based law firm that specializes in financial services law.

ISSUE: #20, December 2011

The Longbrake Letter
- Bill Longbrake
Bill Longbrake discusses the outlook for the U.S. economy in 2012 in this month's letter and examines the significant risks to the outlook. U.S. GDP growth has been improving as 2011 comes to a close. However, many factors – consumer spending, residential home foreclosures, capital equipment expenditures and fiscal policy tightening – point to a slowing of growth in 2012, but not to emergence of recession. However, there are significant downside risks, which if they materialize could push the U.S. economy into recession. Chief among these risks is the emerging European recession and banking system challenges. Other risks include slowing growth in China and Asia, greater than expected declines in U.S. housing prices and increasing uncertainty about the future course of federal tax and spending policies.

Penetrating an Organization's Internal Investigation: Does 18 U.S.C. § 1519 Create More Problems Than It Solves?
- Mark Biros, Guest Author
In this article, originally published in The American Criminal Law Review's Cogitationes web site, Mark Biros analyzes the application of 18 U.S.C. § 1519, a very broadly worded federal obstruction of justice provision, which was passed in response to the Arthur Andersen case to permit the prosecution of conduct undertaken in response to, and during, a internal investigation by a company.

Stop the Blame Game
- Raymond Natter
Since financial panic that began in 2008, the financial services industry has been vilified by many political leaders and pundits. This has resulted in a massive amount of misinformation and misconceptions about the causes of the crisis and the appropriate policy response. It is time to take a step back and examine the underlying causes of the housing bubble and develop non-punitive measures to correct policy mistakes without impairing credit availability and our economic recovery.

Banking Regulation is a Hot Topic in the Presidential Campaign
- Jim Sivon
Recent statements by the candidates for the Presidency suggest that the banking industry needs to follow this election even more closely than usual.

The Financial Services Market in 2016
- Bob Barnett
As this year comes to a close, it seems timely to look out five years and try to predict what will have happened during the intervening years. This is an attempt to do that.