by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
If you need more evidence that the Dodd-Frank financial regulations are likely to do more harm than good, read South Carolina law professor William J. Quirk‘s article in the latest issue of The American Scholar.
When, in 2010, President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which calls for massive new regulations, he promised that “the American people will never again be asked to foot the bill for Wall Street’s mistakes. There will be no more taxpayer-funded bailouts. Period.” Most observers, however, believe Dodd-Frank has legitimized and expanded the Too Big to Fail problem. If Congress had been serious, it would have cut down the size of the banks until they were no longer so big that the government would have to protect them to save the international financial system. Separation of banking from other activities, as the Parliamentary Commission reports, makes shutting down bad banks easier, without leaving the taxpayer holding the bag. The Dodd-Frank Act does not alter banking structures but purports to ensure their stability with thousands of pages of regulations. Relying on regulations was an approach rejected by the British commissions. The Bank of England’s Governor Mervyn King testified that, in practice, the regulatory process “turned out to be a negotiation between” regulators and bankers. “There is only one winner in that,” he said, “and that will be a very bad outcome.” Or, as the Bank of England’s Andrew Haldane testified: “fifty regulators sitting on site strikes me as a failure, not success. That is what happened with the U.S. banking regulators pre-crisis. They did not catch the mice.”