Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. US Housing Market Real Estate Crash The Next Shoe To Drop – Part II - Chris_Vermeulen
2.The Coronavirus Greatest Economic Depression in History? - Nadeem_Walayat
3.US Real Estate Housing Market Crash Is The Next Shoe To Drop - Chris_Vermeulen
4.Coronavirus Stock Market Trend Implications and AI Mega-trend Stocks Buying Levels - Nadeem_Walayat
5. Are Coronavirus Death Statistics Exaggerated? Worse than Seasonal Flu or Not?- Nadeem_Walayat
6.Coronavirus Stock Market Trend Implications, Global Recession and AI Stocks Buying Levels - Nadeem_Walayat
7.US Fourth Turning Accelerating Towards Debt Climax - James_Quinn
8.Dow Stock Market Trend Analysis and Forecast - Nadeem_Walayat
9.Britain's FAKE Coronavirus Death Statistics Exposed - Nadeem_Walayat
10.Commodity Markets Crash Catastrophe Charts - Rambus_Chartology
Last 7 days
Will You Make Money in the New Silver Bull Market ? - 13th Aug 20
Hyper-Deflation Capital Destruction And Gold & Silver - 13th Aug 20
Stock Market Correction Approaching - 13th Aug 20
Silver Took the Stairs to $21 in 2008, Took Escalator to $29 2010. Is Silver on Elevator to 120th floor today? - 13th Aug 20
President Trump Signs Additional COVID Relief – What To Expect from the Markets - 13th Aug 20
Has Gold's Upward Drive Come to an End? - 13th Aug 20
YouTuber Ads Revenue & How to Start a Career on YouTube - 13th Aug 20
Silver Notches Best Month Since 1979 - 12th Aug 20
Silver Shorts Get Squeezed Hard… What’s Next? - 12th Aug 20
A Tale of Two Precious Metal Bulls - 12th Aug 20
Stock Market Melt-Up Continues While Precious Metals Warn of Risks - 12th Aug 20
How Does the Gold Fit the Corona World? - 12th Aug 20
3 (free) ways to ride next big wave in EURUSD, USDJPY, gold, silver and more - 12th Aug 20
A Simple Way to Preserve Your Wealth Amid Uncertainty - 11th Aug 20
Precious Metals Complex Impulse Move : Where Is next Resistance? - 11th Aug 20
Gold Miners Junior Stcks Buying Spree - 11th Aug 20
Has the Fed Let the Inflation Genie Out of the Bottle? - 10th Aug 20
The Strange Food Trend That’s Making Investors Rich - 10th Aug 20
Supply & Demand For Money – The End of Inflation? - 10th Aug 20
Revisiting Our Silver and Gold Predictions – Get Ready For Higher Prices - 10th Aug 20
Storm Clouds Are Gathering for a Major Stock and Commodity Markets Downturn - 10th Aug 20
A 90-Year-Old Stock Market Investment Insight That's Relevant in 2020 - 10th Aug 20
Debt and Dollar Collapse Leading to Potential Stock Market Melt-Up, - 10th Aug 20
Coronavirus: UK Parents Demand ALL Schools OPEN September, 7 Million Children Abandoned by Teachers - 9th Aug 20
Computer GPU Fans Not Spinning Quick FIX - Sticky Fans Solution - 9th Aug 20
Find the Best Speech Converter for You - 9th Aug 20
Silver Bull Market Update - 7th Aug 20
This Inflation-Adjusted Silver Chart Tells An Interesting Story - 7th Aug 20
The Great American Housing Boom Has Begun - 7th Aug 20
Know About Lotteries With The Best Odds Of Winning - 7th Aug 20
Could Gold Price Reach $7,000 by 2030? - 6th Aug 20
Bananas for All! Keep Dancing… FOMC - 6th Aug 20
How to Do Bets During This Time - 6th Aug 20
How to develop your stock trading strategy - 6th Aug 20
Stock Investors What to do if Trump Bans TikTok - 5th Aug 20
Gold Trifecta of Key Signals for Gold Mining Stocks - 5th Aug 20
Stock Market Uptrend Continues? - 4th Aug 20
The Dimensions of Covid-19: The Hong Kong Flu Redux - 4th Aug 20
High Yield Junk Bonds Are Hot Again -- Despite Warning Signs - 4th Aug 20
Gold Stocks Autumn Rally - 4th Aug 20
“Government Sachs” Is Worried About the Federal Reserve Note - 4th Aug 20
Gold Miners Still Pushing That Cart of Rocks Up Hill - 4th Aug 20
UK Government to Cancel Christmas - Crazy Covid Eid 2020! - 4th Aug 20
Covid-19 Exposes NHS Institutional Racism Against Black and Asian Staff and Patients - 4th Aug 20
How Sony Is Fueling the Computer Vision Boom - 3rd Aug 20
Computer Gaming System Rig Top Tips For 6 Years Future Proofing Build Spec - 3rd Aug 20
Cornwwall Bude Caravan Park Holidays 2020 - Look Inside Holiday Resort Caravan - 3rd Aug 20
UK Caravan Park Holidays 2020 Review - Hoseasons Cayton Bay North East England - 3rd Aug 20
Best Travel Bags for 2020 Summer Holidays , Back Sling packs, water proof, money belt and tactical - 3rd Aug 20
Precious Metals Warn Of Increased Volatility Ahead - 2nd Aug 20
The Key USDX Sign for Gold and Silver - 2nd Aug 20
Corona Crisis Will Have Lasting Impact on Gold Market - 2nd Aug 20
Gold & Silver: Two Pictures - 1st Aug 20
The Bullish Case for Stocks Isn't Over Yet - 1st Aug 20
Is Gold Price Action Warning Of Imminent Monetary Collapse - Part 2? - 1st Aug 20
Will America Accept the World's Worst Pandemic Response Government - 1st Aug 20
Stock Market Technical Patterns, Future Expectations and More – Part II - 1st Aug 20
Trump White House Accelerating Toward a US Dollar Crisis - 31st Jul 20
Why US Commercial Real Estate is Set to Get Slammed - 31st Jul 20
Gold Price Blows Through Upside Resistance - The Chase Is On - 31st Jul 20
Is Crude Oil Price Setting Up for a Waterfall Decline? - 31st Jul 20
Stock Market Technical Patterns, Future Expectations and More - 30th Jul 20
Why Big Money Is Already Pouring Into Edge Computing Tech Stocks - 30th Jul 20
Economic and Geopolitical Worries Fuel Gold’s Rally - 30th Jul 20
How to Finance an Investment Property - 30th Jul 20
I Hate Banks - Including Goldman Sachs - 29th Jul 20
NASDAQ Stock Market Double Top & Price Channels Suggest Pending Price Correction - 29th Jul 20
Silver Price Surge Leaves Naysayers in the Dust - 29th Jul 20
UK Supermarket Covid-19 Shop - Few Masks, Lack of Social Distancing (Tesco) - 29th Jul 20
Budgie Clipped Wings, How Long Before it Can Fly Again? - 29th Jul 20
How To Take Advantage Of Tesla's 400% Stock Surge - 29th Jul 20
Gold Makes Record High and Targets $6,000 in New Bull Cycle - 28th Jul 20
Gold Strong Signal For A Secular Bull Market - 28th Jul 20
Anatomy of a Gold and Silver Precious Metals Bull Market - 28th Jul 20
Shopify Is Seizing an $80 Billion Pot of Gold - 28th Jul 20
Stock Market Minor Correction Underway - 28th Jul 20
Why College Is Never Coming Back - 27th Jul 20
Stocks Disconnect from Economy, Gold Responds - 27th Jul 20
Silver Begins Big Upside Rally Attempt - 27th Jul 20
The Gold and Silver Markets Have Changed… What About You? - 27th Jul 20
Google, Apple And Amazon Are Leading A $30 Trillion Assault On Wall Street - 27th Jul 20
This Stock Market Indicator Reaches "Lowest Level in Nearly 20 Years" - 26th Jul 20
New Wave of Economic Stimulus Lifts Gold Price - 26th Jul 20
Stock Market Slow Grind Higher Above the Early June Stock Highs - 26th Jul 20
How High Will Silver Go? - 25th Jul 20
If You Own Gold, Look Out Below - 25th Jul 20
Crude Oil and Energy Sets Up Near Major Resistance – Breakdown Pending - 25th Jul 20
FREE Access to Premium Market Forecasts by Elliott Wave International - 25th Jul 20
The Promise of Silver as August Approaches: Accumulation and Conversation - 25th Jul 20
The Silver Bull Gateway is at Hand - 24th Jul 20
The Prospects of S&P 500 Above the Early June Highs - 24th Jul 20
How Silver Could Surpass Its All-Time High - 24th Jul 20

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Get Rich Investing in Stocks by Riding the Electron Wave

Wall Street vs. Main Street: The Regulatory Battle Begins Tomorrow

Politics / Market Regulation Jun 16, 2009 - 06:13 AM GMT

By: Money_Morning


Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleShah Gilani writes: U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner says the Obama administration’s overhaul of U.S. financial regulations is aimed at creating a “boring” financial system.

But after President Barack Obama unveils this boring - and not-so-new - regulatory structure tomorrow (Wednesday), expect a pitched battle that will pit the interests of Wall Street players against those of everyday Main Street investors.

The outcome could well determine how quickly and completely this country’s financial system rebounds from the ongoing crisis. And that outcome will also likely determine whether or not we’ll ever have to face something as dangerous and damaging as this again.

By unveiling its proposals for revamping the U.S. regulatory architecture that houses the agencies and watchdogs responsible for safeguarding the financial system that supports our way of life, President Obama is touching off a bruising battle - but one that probably has an unfortunate, and predictable, outcome. Unlike the more-aggressive overhaul proposals Money Morning previously outlined for both the regulatory system and the U.S. banking system, the reality here is that the current set of regulators will survive.

The $64 trillion dollar question was whether or not the existing limp and dysfunctional alphabet soup of regulators that were supposed to be the watchdogs of our way of life will actually be reconstituted into a new stew with the same ingredients - or whether a new kitchen crew would be empowered to stop Wall Street from force-feeding the public its same old toxic menu.

Thanks to details that have already been leaked to the public, the answer is already clear.

Front running its own public offering of a regulatory makeover, the Obama administration has been systematically leaking the guts of the “white paper” it plans to deliver tomorrow. The reason for the soft opening is that President Obama wanted to avoid a knee-jerk reaction in the financial markets. Plus, there’s a history of political backlash and negative public opinion when it comes to any balancing act regulating the powerful cabal of bankers and brokers.

The crazy patchwork quilt of regulators overseeing our banks, bankers, brokers, investment products and markets is an inventory of acronyms that includes:

  • The Federal Reserve Board (FRB).
  • The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).
  • The Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS).
  • The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
  • The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).
  • And the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

But that’s not the end of it. Operating under the SEC are certain “self regulatory organizations” (SROs), including the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB), which police their own registered and licensed persons, the products they sell and trade and the public who they deal with.

Then there’s also the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and a slew of state regulators who also act to ensure the integrity of financial intermediaries, products, and markets.

The question on everyone’s mind is this: “Where were any of these kitchen hands when all the burners on the financial stove were turned all the way up and every pot on the stove was boiling over?”

Citing the myriad signals and obvious cracks that regulators missed or egregiously overlooked would easily fill a few volumes. And while it is instructive and incumbent upon us to not forget our history - lest we repeat it - there is enough still fresh in our minds to avoid dwelling on the past in favor of taking steps to make sure something this potentially ruinous never happen again.

With such a mindset, it’s natural to conclude that our failed regulatory architecture needs a serious overhaul.

In his inaugural speech, President Obama directly addressed the need for more effective and protective regulation of Wall Street. Echoing the president’s public position, Treasury Secretary Geithner recently said to the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) trade group, “I think the president believes we need to have a much more simplified, consolidated oversight structure.”

But sadly, true to the inviolate nature of politics and the power of entrenched and vested money interests, this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to actually tear down the failed structures that guarantee another economic collapse and to replace them once and for all with a substantive regulatory structure that can stave off future financial tsunamis isn’t likely to happen.

It seems that the Obama administration’s sensitivity to potentially jeopardizing what some are pointing to as signs of recovery by not calling for radical regulatory surgery has resulted in signals that the approach will instead be to empower existing regulators with more patches and some needles and thread. In a clear about-face, the administration is quietly soft-selling its upcoming agenda for regulatory reform by making the case that the overlap of multiple agencies actually prevents any one agency from being subjected to undue political or commercial interests or influence.

What the administration is billing as a “sweeping reorganization” of financial supervision actually results in few major changes - and does nothing to address the turf wars and political power of the congressional fiefdoms that serve the greater interests of their lobbying masters.

To say this is unfortunate is an understatement with no rivals.

There is nothing in the offering plate that addresses the failed doctrine of “Too Big to Fail.” While there are proposals to rein in leverage and to toughen capital and liquidity standards there are no proposed limits on curbing the monster machines of finance that will only get larger and larger and will eventually figure out how to break out of any paper cage they’re put in, meaning at some point they’ll be at large and able to threaten the world again.

There is nothing that directly reins in over-the-counter derivative products, or the sales and trading of these highly speculative (make that “gambling”) devices. Lately, we’ve been joined in our concerns by George Soros - king of speculators in his own right - calling for the complete abolishment of certain derivatives. But that’s not going to happen, because too many banks make too much money off these “instruments” of economic destruction.

As we’ve noted previously, there is nothing to stop clever players from shopping the regulatory smorgasbord of supervision servicers to find a friendly hall monitor who will accept their made-up class cutting and test-avoidance excuses.

There is nothing to rein in the U.S. Federal Reserve’s independent power as omnipotent God wagging the tail of the U.S. Treasury Department as it sees fit. In fact, the Fed will be offered more power and more control over the nation’s largest financial institutions. That makes the too-big-to-be-controlled Fed a vested partner in the drive to make the system too big to do anything but fail.

There is nothing to address who really will have the newly proposed power to unwind institutions deemed to be a systemic threat. The idea is to empower a “council” to determine just who those systemic threats actually are. Will the council’s power be absolute, or will that power go to the Fed, the Treasury, the FDIC, or all three to fight about? Although it’s unlikely that special interests would ever try to lean on any of the competing supervisors charged with threatening the life of a major corporation making many insiders very rich, it conceivably could happen. Let’s be honest - it already has.

What’s supposedly new is the idea of a consumer-protection regulator. But here’s the problem: Weren’t all the regulators supposed to be consumer advocates all along?

The inclination to retain the failed patchwork of a regulatory-quilt-in-tatters would be a major victory for Wall Street. Unless the American public wants to subject itself to more and deeper financial catastrophes, it must weigh in on the battle against the Wall Street machine.

The opportunity to recreate the walls and bridges that once were in place and have been dismantled - and to build a new and better fortification to protect the country from the greed and avarice of a few too many - is right in front of us.

And we may not have this opportunity again.

To that end, we should not be lulled into a sense of false security by believing that the existing regulatory architecture can be fixed. What’s being rolled out tomorrow is more about rolling over and pretending everything is now okay than it is about engineering real, substantive change.

It is now or never.

By electing President Obama, the majority of Americans voted for change. Whether or not we actually get that change is now largely up to each of us, and promises to be a function of whether or not we actually demand that change loudly enough.

[Editor's Note: Is it a new bull market, or just a bear-market rally that's going to separate investors from the last of their cash? For the shrewdest investors, it may not matter. A new offer from Money Morning is a two-way win for investors: Noted commentator Peter D. Schiff's new book - "The Little Book of Bull Moves in Bear Markets" - shows investors how to profit no matter which way the market moves, while our monthly newsletter, The Money Map Report, provides ongoing analysis of the global financial markets and some of the best profit plays you'll find anywhere - including such markets as Taiwan and China. To find out how to get both, check out our newest offer.

To read a related story on how the long-term dismantling of U.S. banking regulations set the stage for the U.S. financial crisis, please click here. That story, which appears elsewhere in today's issue of Money Morning, is available free of charge.]

Money Morning/The Money Map Report

©2009 Monument Street Publishing. All Rights Reserved. Protected by copyright laws of the United States and international treaties. Any reproduction, copying, or redistribution (electronic or otherwise, including on the world wide web), of content from this website, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of Monument Street Publishing. 105 West Monument Street, Baltimore MD 21201, Email:

Disclaimer: Nothing published by Money Morning should be considered personalized investment advice. Although our employees may answer your general customer service questions, they are not licensed under securities laws to address your particular investment situation. No communication by our employees to you should be deemed as personalized investment advice. We expressly forbid our writers from having a financial interest in any security recommended to our readers. All of our employees and agents must wait 24 hours after on-line publication, or 72 hours after the mailing of printed-only publication prior to following an initial recommendation. Any investments recommended by Money Morning should be made only after consulting with your investment advisor and only after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Money Morning Archive

© 2005-2019 - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.

Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules