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. The lawyers in the firm are also counsel to the international law firm, Squire Patton Boggs.

ISSUE: #88, December 2017

The Longbrake Letter
- Bill Longbrake
As we enter 2018, consumer and business optimism is at levels not experienced since the dot com days of the late 1990s. Passage of “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” by Congress and signed by President Trump just before Christmas has reinforced animal spirits. 2018 should be a good year, perhaps a very good year. But, with the economy operating at full capacity and the labor market extremely tight, Bill Longbrake warns that the extra stimulus risks overheating the economy and exacerbating imbalances that have already been building. In this month's letter, Longbrake examines the natural rate of unemployment and demonstrates that small differences in its level have significant implications for inflation and monetary policy. He also provides updates on economic activity, employment, inflation and interest rates.

What Regulators Can Do—Right Now
- Bob Barnett
While passing big bills may be difficult in the upcoming election year, there are many changes that should be made by regulators that would not require the participation of Congress and would be beneficial to consumers and the economy. This article lists a few such changes.

A Policy Agenda for National Banks
- Jim Sivon
At some point in the next few weeks the U.S. Senate is expected to consider a bipartisan bill that amends the Dodd-Frank Act and other federal banking laws in order to promote greater economic growth by reducing certain regulatory burdens. This article proposes four other changes in federal law aimed at enhancing the national bank charter.

What Happens to Agency Guidance Now?
- Katie Wechsler
Recent interpretations of the Congressional Review Act by the GAO have raised questions about the status of agency guidance. This article discusses the GAO's interpretations and implications for guidance issued by federal financial services regulators.