The Thursday wrap
Bank of America says it made a $4 billion accounting error, as in it has $4 billion less capital than it thought. Not only did the mistake go undetected for several years, it made it past the banking giant's audit committee and even PricewaterhouseCoopers, its external auditors. Said one analyst, “There are signs that controls are not as tight as they need to be.” Consider it the understatement of the week. Oh, and don't try this at home. ... The United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1776, vociferously opposed to privatizing liquor and liberalizing beer sales in Pennsylvania, has begun airing a wholly deceptive TV ad that suggests North Carolina's privatized alcohol system is the reason that one child per week, on average, died last year in underage drinking-related accidents. But the source cited in the ad makes absolutely no link to how alcohol is sold in The Tar Heel State. Truth continues to be the first casualty in the liquor union's fight to preserve its non-reason for its existence and the Keystone State's liquor monopoly. ... The Competitive Enterprise Institute calculates that the cost of U.S. federal regulations now is larger than the economies of all but nine countries in the world. The free market think tank says the annual $15,000 cost for households to comply with those regulations likely is one of their highest single household expenses. Stated another way, as did Investor's Business Daily, U.S. regulatory costs are the world's No. 10 economy. The most effective use of capital this is not.