James Pethokoukis

Politics and policy from inside Washington

My quick take on the Obama financial reform plan

June 15, 2009

You can find the broad strokes of the Obama-Geithner-Summers plan here. Here is my spin:

1) Giving the Fed more regulatory power is a terrible idea. It will a) further politicize the central bank (which, in fact, just hired a lobbyist),  and b) set up the Fed to fail since it would have to evaluate a broader swath of the financial sector that it has scant expertise in. And good luck determining where the next systemic risk is and which firms are involved.

2) Who knows how this council of regulators will mesh with the SuperFed. Rather than streamlining the regulatory process, another level of complexity and potential source of infighting has been added.

3) If you were starting up a regulatory system from scratch, you wouldn’t have the sort of patchwork system  that currently exists. The White House plan pretty much leaves it all intact in order to placate Congress and avoid turf battles.

4)  The securitization chunk, forcing the orginator/sponsor/broker to retain a 5 percent interest, makes a lot of sense in that it firms up the necessary links between risk and reward.

5) It is unclear where there will be a new consumer finance regulatory body. Better unclear than certain. Even better would be a push toward financial literacy.

6) Will new powers to “resolve” non-financial firms ever be used given the toobigtoofailapproach that has taken root in Washington?  Hmmm …

Comments

Jimmy P.
Glad to see you back in the blogosphere!
Best of luck, Pat D.

Posted by Pat Duggan | Report as abusive
 

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