04/07/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Paulson's Financial Markets Reform Will Do Little For Current Crisis

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson makes public on Monday a new blueprint for regulation of the turbulent financial markets, one that has plenty to do with the future and little to fix what ails the economy right now.

The plan would merge some federal bank regulators, weaken the agency that regulates the stock market and broaden the shoulders of the Federal Reserve, which will become the chief regulator for the safety and soundness of financial markets.

It's the broadest reform of oversight in the financial markets since the aftermath of the Great Depression and is sure to touch off a frenzy by Gucci-shoed lobbyists in the months and years ahead.

The Paulson plan does not lack big ideas. It would allow insurance companies to opt out of state regulation in favor of a proposed federal insurance regulator. It would merge the regulation of the stock market and futures market. This is to better reflect how commodities like oil and soybeans have become a new investment vehicle that rivals stocks and bonds.

And for the first time, hedge funds, which are private pools of capital for the ultra wealthy, would come under federal regulation, albeit with a light touch.

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