Republicans pathological opposition to regulation

Okay, so it’s pretty clear to anyone alive who is over the age of 12 (and who does not totally rely on Rush for news) that Wall Street basically destroyed the economy a few years ago.  It’s also stunningly obvious to someone not dumb enough to somehow think it was all Fannie and Freddie’s fault, that a big part of the problem was a lack of regulation.  Hmmm, now that I re-read those first two sentences, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that Republicans want to reward Wall Street and simultaneously punish American taxpayers, by cutting Wall Street regulation, i.e., funding for the SEC.  The deets:

A few weeks ago, the Republican-controlled appropriations committee cut the Securities and Exchange Commission’s fiscal 2012 budget request by $222.5 million, to $1.19 billion (the same as this year’s), even though the S.E.C.’s responsibilities were vastly expanded under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Charged with protecting investors and policing markets, the S.E.C. is the nation’s front-line defense against financial fraud.

Right– just what Wall Street needs, less oversight.  And, just to reinforce how breathtakingly stupid Republican can be when it comes to regulation, there’s this depressing angle:

But cutting the S.E.C.’s budget will have no effect on the budget deficit, won’t save taxpayers a dime and could cost the Treasury millions in lost fees and penalties. That’s because the S.E.C. isn’t financed by tax revenue, but rather by fees levied on those it regulates, which include all the big securities firms.

A little-noticed provision in Dodd-Frank mandates that those fees can’t exceed the S.E.C.’s budget. So cutting its requested budget by $222.5 million saves Wall Street the same amount, and means regulated firms will pay $136 million less in fiscal 2012 than they did the previous year, the S.E.C. projects.

Moreover, enforcement actions generate billions of dollars in revenue in the form of fines, disgorgements and other penalties. Last year the S.E.C. turned over $2.2 billion to victims of financial wrongdoing and paid hundreds of millions more to the Treasury, helping to reduce the deficit.  [emphasis mine]

Are right-wing parties this utterly, stupidly in thrall to business in other countries, too?  I really don’t know.  But for the sake of their citizens, I hope not.


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

One Response to Republicans pathological opposition to regulation

  1. jonolan says:

    Actually, those who know what happened and who haven’t succumbed to Obama’s and the Liberal class warfare and hatred of the successful in America know that it wasn’t deregulation that set us up for the crash. It was mis-regulation.

    Regulations actually “coerced” the banks and investment firms into relying heavily upon the various unstable derivatives by applying “discounts” to those derivatives on the firms’ debt balance sheets (80% actual value is shown on balance). This was done, along with other regulations, by the government specifically to “encourage” investment in such derivatives.

    As for the SEC – can anyone really trust any enforcement body that is funded by the fees and fines it levies on those that it policies? Think about it objectively for a moment, perhaps in a contexts similar to basing police pay on tickets given and/or arrests made.

    Ever read about the Cobra Effect?

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