Financial regulation in USA?

Written By: - Date published: 3:51 pm, March 16th, 2010 - 23 comments
Categories: capitalism, us politics - Tags: ,

The recent recession represented a spectacular failure of unfettered capitalism. We never felt the full force and completeness of that failure because the worst was averted (or more probably just delayed) by vast injections of Government bailout money. Capitalism was rescued by good old fashioned Socialist Big Government, and the bill is being sent to we the taxpayers.

Although vested interests have tried to deny or obfuscate, it’s pretty clear that (after simple greed) the major factor which allowed the crash to happen was a relaxation of financial regulation. A nice accessible summary was given by Professor Elizabeth Warren in the interview with Jon Stewart that was posted here (second clip).

Warren points out that America’s early history was characterised by a rapid boom and crash cycle, culminating in the Great Depression. In the wake of the Depression America introduced financial regulations, most importantly the Glass-Steagall Act, FDIC Insurance, and SEC regulations. After that “We go 50 years without a financial panic, without a crisis”. But…

… then what happens is we say, “Regulation? Ahh, it’s a pain, it’s expensive, we don’t need it.” So we start pulling the threads out of the regulatory fabric, and what’s the first thing we get? We get the S&L crisis. 700 financial institutions failed. Ten years later, what do we get? Long-term capital management, when we learn that when something collapses one place in the world, it collapses everywhere else. Early 2000’s, we get Enron, which tells us the books are dirty. And what is our repeated response? We just keep pulling the threads out of the regulatory fabric.

So we have two choices. We’re gonna make a big decision, probably over about the next 6 months. And the big decision we’re gonna make is, it’s gonna go one way or the other. We’re gonna decide, basically, “Hey, we don’t need regulation. You know, it’s fine: boom-and-bust, boom-and-bust, boom-and-bust” — and good luck with your 401(k). Or alternatively, we’re gonna say, “You know, we’re gonna put in some smart regulation that’s going to adapt to the fact that we have new products,” and what we’re gonna have going forward is, we’re gonna have some stability and some real prosperity for ordinary folks.

Well, this shoe has now dropped:

Dodd unveils sweeping financial regulation plan

A new Democratic Senate bill to tame the financial markets would give the government new powers to break up firms that threaten the economy and would force the industry to pay for its failures.

Legislation unveiled Monday by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd falls shy of the ambitious restructuring of federal financial regulations envisioned by President Barack Obama or contained in legislation already passed in the House. But the bill would still be the biggest overhaul of regulations since the New Deal. It comes 18 months after Wall Street’s failures helped plunge the nation into a deep recession.

A leaner Federal Reserve would gain new powers to regulate the size and the activities of the nation’s largest financial firms. The bill would create a consumer protection bureau within the Federal Reserve to write regulations governing all lending transactions. Bank regulators, however, could appeal those regulations if they believe they would affect the health of the banking system. … The breadth of the bill would touch all corners of the financial sector, from storefront payday lenders to the highest penthouse office suites on Wall Street.

Perhaps America has managed to learn something from the crash. Of course this is only a proposal, it could still be derailed by the vicious tactics of vested interests (in much the same way as Obama’s health reforms). But it shows that at least some part of the American political system has learned the lessons of the crash, and is trying to take some sensible action.

23 comments on “Financial regulation in USA?”

  1. What gives? A deep intenste post on the weakness of capitalism and there are no comments but Chauvel asks the kid of a wingnut to be quiet and there are 68 at the last count …

    • sk 1.1

      ms, well said. Your point sums up where NZ is headed.

      What about financial regulation in NZ? Where is the outrage the finance company sector wiped out NZ$6.2bn of savings, in a country that does not save. And that Watson and Hotchin stuffed it all into Allied Farmers and walked away. Or that Don Brash now heads up a fund management firm that issued fraudulent accounts (inflating returns by insider deals is fraud, which at a minimum should mean huge fines, and banning of individuals for life).

      but no, all that matters is that Chauvel told some precious brat to pipe down.

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    It doesn’t go far enough. It needs to either, ban fractional reserve banking and/or ban interest rates. But it’s unlikely that either of those will be done until after the next lesson in economics is learned – that a perpetually growing capitalist-market socio-economic system doesn’t work in a world of limited resources.

    • Nick C 2.1

      Draco many people in New Zealand get mortgages to buy houses to live in. How would they get these mortgages without fractional reserve lending/interest rates?

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1

        Well, we could go back to the old fashioned way of paying cash. Or the reserve bank could just print the money, as it does anyway, and loan that out with 0% interest direct to the mortgagees rather than to the private banks.

        The problem that needs addressing is that the present system sets debt that can never be repaid and that needs to be stopped.

  3. Pascal's bookie 3

    Elizabeth Warren just kicks arse.

    There was a vacancy in the number two spot at the fed that I would have given her. If only to scare the crap of the plutocrats.

  4. TightyRighty 4

    “A new Democratic Senate bill to tame the financial markets would give the government new powers to break up firms that threaten the economy and would force the industry to pay for its failures”

    the first part of that is ridiculous, the government has already acted against monopolistic companies, and that is where it should remain. otherwise it’s a political tool, that will be used to pick winners and losers. forcing an industry to pay for it’s failures? that’s retarded in the extreme. individual companies that do not perform should be allowed, nay, made to go bust. having the industry pick up the tab penalises good behaviour. oh, that’s socialisms wet dream though. silly me for criticising here.

    • Lanthanide 4.1

      How do you propose a company that is bankrupt should pay back billions of $ it owes to debtors? It isn’t really possible, the money has to come from somewhere.

      By saying “in the event of failures, the money comes from all members of the financial sector, not the taxes of the public”, they give everyone involved in the financial sector an incentive to watch each others backs – they don’t want to get stung when their rival goes down. This in turn should help moderate behaviour as individual banks will reconsider deals that in the past they may have blithely gone through with. Really it’s like when you’re at school and the teacher says that if anyone is naughty, the whole class has to stay 10 minutes after school ends – the kids will make sure that no one is naughty or they’ll get punished too.

      • Roger 4.1.1

        “This in turn should help moderate behaviour as individual banks will reconsider deals that in the past they may have blithely gone through with.”

        Not only that; it fear of the penalties is great enough, you might create some self regulation with teeth and lobbying by finance companies and banks for greater regulation of themselves and more invasive auditing and inspection by government agencies. This presents the opportunity for greater security for investment in the future.

    • ‘The first part of that is ridiculous. The government has already acted against monopolistic companies and that is where it should remain. Otherwise it’s a political tool that will be used to pick winners and losers. Forcing an industry to pay for it’s failures? That’s retarded in the extreme. Individual companies that do not perform should be allowed, nay, made to go bust. Having the industry pick up the tab penalises good behaviour. Oh, that’s socialisms wet dream though. Silly me for criticising here.’

      There ya go TR, fixed it for you. Next term the teacher will teach you why capitals, commas and punctuation are important aspects of adult communication. Till then readers can just snigger at your illiteracy and, just occasionally, decipher the points you are trying to make in your stream of unconsciousness and have a good laugh at them too.

      Pip Pip!

      • TightyRighty 4.2.1

        thanks voice. great to see that you have no response other than to be petty and snide. and you wonder why no one likes those on the left any more. it must be hard being ignored when you are the, “the voice of reason”

    • prism 4.3

      tr you seem to want no controls then you say that “individual companies that do not perform should be allowed, nay, made to go bust”. Those companies will do lots of tricks on their way down, drag down the money invested with them, and syphon enough of it sideways so that the creators get out with at least a comfortable living. They then wait a while and start the process again. That’s rampant capitalism folks!

  5. Bill 5

    As far as casino capitalism, the losses incurred and the whys and wherefores…I’m stealing this analogy, ’cause it’s so apt….it’s like OJ Simpson is in charge of the crime scene and the investigation.

    Meanwhile. William Black, the guy who helped clean up the S&L banks in the 90’s, has this opinion on the state of the financial industry http://www.economicpopulist.org/content/why-we-are-headed-depression ….unless you prefer the tittle tattle of some MP farting or burping or whatever

  6. tsmithfield 6

    Don’t blame capitalism for the financial meltdown. In a similar way, the Greek PM has been been blaming speculators in credit default spreads for the meltdown in their economy. Hello. How did the economy get into such a mess in the first place? It was all to do with a poorly run economy, and massive deficits that gave the speculators their chance to cash in.

    In a similar way, the financial meltdown was largely due to the subprime mortgage issue as is well documented. This was inspired by politicians who wanted people to have houses who couldn’t afford to own them. When interest rates went up they started to default. Hence the beginning of the meltdown.

    Macro economic problems are invariably the result of poor decisions by governments and distortions to the system. I agree there is a need for governments to regulate to protect the average punter from some of the scams that have been masquerading as finance companies. However, a lot of the finance companies got into trouble due to the money supply suddenly being turned off rather than the shonky dealings that a few engaged in.

    • Bill 6.1

      So don’t blame capitalism for capitalism? That’s all your saying. Which is absurd. You think it’s the fault of the gods? You think we should consult oracles? Make sacrifices?

      Here’s a wee piece on the Greek situation, by former deputy finance minister of Germany. Interesting.

      http://www.zcommunications.org/the-greek-tragedy-and-the-european-crisis-made-in-germany-by-heiner-flassbeck

      • tsmithfield 6.1.1

        If you want to aquaint yourself fully with the Greece situation, then here is an excellent site with as much on the financial situation in Greece as you could possibly want to read:

        http://seekingalpha.com/search/?source=search_general&q=greece&cx=001514237567335583750:cdhc2yeo2ko&cof=FORID:11;NB:1

        I know about the trade imbalance with Germany and that is contributing to the problem. However, that has nothing to do with the fact that Greece lied and deceived to get into the Euro in the first place, has an enormous public service to fund, and has huge difficulty in collecting taxes due to the extreme culture of avoidance. Even taking Germany’s effect into account, Greece is still in huge trouble due to its own financial mismanagement, deception, and culture of extravagance.

    • prism 6.2

      Oh come on ts. I keep hearing this convenient blaming of governments facilitating more opportunities for mortgages for low income people. And that’s a major reason for the financial meltdown. Government did not demand that banks make stupid decisions, get caught in a growth of business climate, and introduce interest-free holidays as if people were buying furniture.

      It was just the natural exuberance of money grabbers which we saw in banks making similarly bad decisions after regulations were lifted in NZ, India etc. The share market reacts similarly regularly – a competitive greed virus spreads and its hard to resist and remain financially healthy, wealthy and Wise.

      • prism 6.2.1

        ts – try this version mark2:
        “USA [Greece] is still in huge trouble due to its own financial mismanagement, deception, and culture of extravagance.”

  7. luva 7

    The recession is without a doubt the hangover that was always going to follow what seemed like unlimited credit that flooded the world economies from the end of the asian economic crisis until August ’07 when the crunch began.

    The thing which is quite striking is no one really predicted it. We all just thought the good times were going to roll on. How many people are now saying “I told you so”. Very few if any at all. We were all happy to sucukup the easily accessible credit, spend it on new flat screens, watch the value of our homes soar. It was always going to end but everyone kept their heads in the sand.

    Governments around the world, including ours, patted themselves on the back somehow deluding themselves that they were responsible for growth when in fact it was due to easy credit and unsustainable property value increases. When those two things reversed so did the world economy.

    Have we learnt. I don’t think so.

  8. vto 8

    r0b, your post is spot on. Anything unfettered leads to twouble – be it capitalism, socialism or any other-ism.

    Shame that so many lives get hammered when these unfettered times mutate into their worst forms. More than a shame, closer to tragedy.

    Good to see something is being done about it. Will be fun to watch the vested interests scream in contorting pain.

  9. Bill 9

    Ratigan interview on Lehman Bros thievery and fraud and possibility of criminal proceedings against them and Erst and Young…as well as touching on complicity of the US Treasury ( Geithner) and Federal Reserve (Bernanke) …

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/35841681#35841681

    As an aside….amazing the difference in attitude and the demands that the msm encourages us to make in relation to unprecedented financial fraud on the one hand and scurrilous claims of scientific fraud (AGW) on the other. ( Ignore the former…was all an accident or an understandable oversight. Pitchforks and gallows for the latter…these scientists are mendacious little bastards who deserve no mercy)

  10. Wilson Philips 10

    Pity Rob is delving into a realm he has no expertise in.

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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016).  The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

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