Saturday, April 21, 2012

Phil Gramm has spoken

Back in the earliest days of the Obama Administration at AEI.  One is merely a mouse click away from his expert explanation of what Gramm, Leach, Blilely did, and more importantly did not do.

Gramm points out that there is nothing in GLB that deregulates anything--any new affiliations between banks, investment houses and insurance companies were still subject to whatever regulators already in existence.  Also that Glass-Steagall's walls of separation had become like swiss cheese; filled with holes thanks to the march of technology and old fashioned Yankee ingenuity.  None of the investment houses that got into trouble were in violation of anything in Glass-Steagall, GLB or not.

As a bonus one also gets a great deal of information on the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 (another bi-partisan piece of legislation signed by Bill Clinton).  Again, contrary to today's myth makers, nothing was deregulated there either.  Interest rate, currency and credit default swaps (though almost no one had heard of them at the time) were declared to be 'not futures' by the law, but were still subject to regulation as banking or securities activity.

Gramm also says--in his famously self-deprecating way--that politicians have always been eager to be seen as supporting home ownership because it's good for their re-election campaigns.  That, in his 1990 race, his pollsters found that over 80% of homeowners would vote to re-elect him...and that was good enough for him to support expanding it.  No Housing Cause Denialist he.

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