Let's see. In the middle of perhaps the greatest financial upheaval since the Great Depression, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson is proposing a change in financial regulations which basically amounts to a big wink to Wall Street. His plan will go nowhere, both for political and practical reasons. In fact, it does not even meet the minimum standard of improving transparency, which would reduce the possibility of a similar crisis in the future.
The main point of the Paulson plan is to make regulation more efficient. It notes that changes in the capital markets are
...pressuring the U.S. regulatory structure, exposing regulatory gaps as well as redundancies, and compelling market participants to do business in other jurisdictions with more efficient regulation.
So what does the plan actually propose?
The one clear improvement is more regulatory oversight for mortgage lenders. Otherwise everything else in the plan consists of rearrangements and clarifications of current regulatory responsibilities, at least in the short and medium run. For example, responsibility for regulating insurance companies would gradually be shifted from the state to the federal level. And the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) should be merged. The Paulson plan makes sure to note that the new combined agency should engage in faster approvals of new financial products.
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