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: #56, January 2015

The Longbrake Letter
- Bill Longbrake
2014 ended with the “surprising” collapse of oil prices, although there were plenty of warning signals in advance. With the benefit of hindsight, the commodity price boom was just another bubble. It was initiated by substantive changes in the global economy but then carried to unsustainable heights by cheap and abundant money. Now as 2015 commences, bond yields around the world are in free fall and worries of potential deflation abound. Of course, the two sets of developments are related and are the inevitable result of monumental global adoption of market-driven economic systems and by aggressive use of policy to try to tame the extremes of market-driven systems. This has led to an explosion in aggregate global supply that has not been matched entirely by a commensurate expansion in global aggregate demand. Such a mismatch inevitably leads to intense deflationary pressures. In marked contrast with global developments, the U.S. economy seems to be doing just fine and is gaining economic momentum. Bill Longbrake focuses this month's commentary on developments in the U.S., which for the most part are favorable. Nonetheless, the U.S. outlook is not free altogether from risk and one needs to be careful not to be dismissive of troublesome international developments or their potential consequences.

Why Constant Education of Congress is Necessary
- Bob Barnett
Members of Congress must rely upon a rigorous continuing education program with respect to issues that may last from one congress to the next. There can be no assumption that any member knows the issue even if it has been debated in previous Congresses.

Understanding FINTECH and Banking Law: A Practical Guide (Introduction)
- Jim Sivon and Katie Wechsler
Jim Sivon and Katie Wechsler have coauthored a book with other experts in the industry on the application of banking laws and regulations to financial technology. The introductory chapter, "The Fintech Marketplace," can be accessed above. A short description and a link to purchase can be found by clicking here. The book may also be purchased by clicking here.