In its lead editorial today, the Wall Street Journal takes aim at the financial-reform legislation that passed last week. In the words of the Journal:
The unifying theme of the Senate bill that passed last week and the House bill of last year is to hand even more discretion and authority to the same regulators who failed to foresee and in many cases created the last crisis. The Democrats who wrote the bill are selling it as new discipline for Wall Street, but Wall Street knows better. The biggest banks support the bill, and the parts they don’t like they will lobby furiously to change or water down.
Big Finance will more than hold its own with Big Government, as it always does, while politicians will have more power to exact even more campaign tribute. The losers are the overall economy, as financial costs rise, and taxpayers when the next bailout arrives.
The editorial punctures the myth that derivatives were largely unregulated. Our “new lords of the finance look an awful lot like the old lords of regulation, but with much more discretion to write the rules as they please.” And for a market that is desperately in need of clearer rules, what we now have are more opaque and subjective ones.
This legislation is among the most pernicious bills that the Democratic Congress has passed — and that Senate Republicans lacked the will to stop this is, as the Journal points out, their biggest failure this Congress.
This issue is somewhat esoteric but terribly important. In an unstable economic environment, it is making things considerably worse, not better. The liberal Obama agenda continues to roll on, and our country and economy will pay a much higher price than most could have imagined.