As Congress contemplates how to sculpt the next phase of regulations to prevent overaggressive or unethical conduct in the financial world, we need to ask a basic question: Can the regulators ever keep up?
It is my feeling that whereas, of course, well-crafted regulations administered by nimble regulators can make a difference, they can never anticipate or prevent all the schemers. There will always be creative types willing to trade fair play for great pay.
That is why consumers need to educate themselves.
Consumers must be the front line in the fight against unethical and illegal conduct intended to remove money from their wallets. Consumers need to be helped by a national commitment to financial literacy. For example, it is a shame that our high schools and colleges do not require courses that educate young adults about mortgages, credit cards, debt instruments, budgeting and investing.
In my view, we will never be able to regulate away all the potential bad conduct. Although, we have to try, we also must devote an equivalent amount of energy and capital to raising the financial literacy of our young adults.