Thursday, March 13, 2014

Dodd-Frank Deja Vu

From page 279 of Charles Calomiris and Stephen Haber's Fragile By Design: The Political Origins of Banking Crises and Scarce Credit;
In an eerie reminder of Carter Glass's role in financial reform in 1933, the former Fed chairman Paul Volcker--who, as an unofficial advisor to President Obama, was given a pedestal from which to shape the financial reform agenda--made securities trading the central focus of his proposed reforms. In 1933, despite the fact that the banking collapse was unrelated to securities-market entanglements of banks, Glass used the reform opportunity to pursue his own pet project--the separation of commercial and investment banking. Like Glass in 1933, rather than focusing his reform advice on the real-estate markets that had crippled the financial system, Volcker waged a campaign against one of his longstanding pet peeves--proprietary trading. He even succeeded in convincing Congress to add the "Volcker Rule"--which prohibits proprietary trading by banks--to the Dodd-Frank Act, even though there is not much evidence to suggest that proprietary trading contributed to the subprime crisis.
In case anyone was thinking of having the three men over for tea sometime soon.

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