Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

How $#*%ing many times do we have to learn this lesson?

leave a comment »

I am controlling my pointless rage. This lede in a NY Times story caused it:

The chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, a longtime proponent of deregulation, acknowledged on Friday that failures in a voluntary supervision program for Wall Street’s largest investment banks had contributed to the global financial crisis, and he abruptly shut the program down.

Jesus H. Christ! Of course a voluntary program doesn’t work—that’s why businesses love them and are constantly proposing them. Are people so stone stupid that they haven’t noticed?

“We don’t need a law/regulation,” says the chairman of business X. “We’ll voluntarily comply with the same requirements.” Oh, yeah. Right. Well, since you’re complying, we’ll just pass the law/regulation as a reminder of your voluntary compliance.

Over and over and over again, businesses propose voluntary standards and programs to avoid laws, and then ignore the voluntary standards and programs. My first encounter with this was back in 60’s, when Ford Motor Company fought off some regulation (emissions? safety? mileage?  — I can’t recall) by saying that they would voluntarily observe the requirement. And they did, for about 3 months. Then pursuit of profits led them to voluntarily ignore the requirement.

And it INEVITABLY happens. Are these people simply not paying attention? Would it help if we cut off one hand of the SEC chairman? Would that aid memory?

UPDATE: A thought just occurred to me: when Congress is going to pass some regulation and the industry group says, “No need. We’ll start a voluntary program,” etc., Congress should go ahead and pass the regulations to take effect the first time it’s found that the voluntary program has not been observed by some business. (Those voluntary programs, BTW, never have any teeth in them.)

UPDATE 2: A thought: “Also, please sign this binding contract to give the US treasury $100 million dollars, not to be treated as an expense but paid from net profits, should it be found that the voluntary program is not followed.”

UPDATE 3: Kevin Drum:

QUOTE OF THE DAY….From SEC chairman Christopher Cox:

“The last six months have made it abundantly clear that voluntary regulation does not work.”

Manfully owned up to, Mr. Chairman. Only one thing: you need to change “last six months” to “last ten thousand years.”

Written by Leisureguy

27 September 2008 at 8:22 am

Posted in Business, GOP, Government

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.