Tuesday, March 16, 2010

You Put Your Right Foot in, You Put Your Right foot Out....

The US Congress and Senate appear to be doing the Hokie Cokie with the law these days, particular in the case of Chris Dodd's financial reform package. Put in an independent consumer protection agency - then take it out and give it to the Fed. Take out the Volcker Rule, then put it back in. I guess this is US politics at it worst. Water down the original concept so much that neither party can object to it (except the most extreme right or left-wingers), add a whole barrel of pork for each representative, and presto - instant crap. What I don't understand is how anyone can object to the consumer protection agency at all. It seems that Republicans think most people are extremely intelligent beings that completely understand if they are a day late paying their credit card bills their interest rate will go up to 124%. Democrats, on the other hand, seem to think that most people are dimwitted idiots who will use a credit card until it is maxed out then complain that they can't afford to pay it back. The Democrats are actually closer to the truth. So why are Republican politicians working so hard to knock it out of the financial reform bill? It can only be because the credit card and mortgage companies are lobbying them so hard they cannot resist the pressure.
The Volcker Rule debate confirms that Democrats think people are stupid. At first Dodd, a Democrat, took it out because it was too hard for his colleagues to understand it. Now I believe he has put it back in again precisely for that reason. His colleagues in the Senate will not be able to grasp the whole concept of separating out prop trading, despite hard lobbying from the bulge bracket, and will probably pass the bill in its entirety. Good plan.

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