Skip to main content

The Fed Leviathan grows

Well, it didn't take long for the rumors of a new Federal Reserve-led regulatory regime to blossom into a full blown policy announcement. Today, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson announced plans for the an overhaul of the nation's financial regulatory structure.

In what MSNBC.com calls the "most sweeping changes since the Great Depression", the plan set forth by the Bush administration would enlarge the regulatory role of the Federal Reserve and the SEC and create a "superagency" to oversee financial markets.

Here's more from the LA Times:

"Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson today unveiled a 218-page blueprint for regulatory reform that would represent the largest federal overhaul since the Great Depression.

The blueprint, widely previewed before the secretary's remarks, would give the Federal Reserve more authority to oversee the markets and would create one superagency to oversee both investor protection and market stability, assuming many of the tasks of current agencies, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Office of Thrift Supervision."

So as the Federal Reserve Leviathan looks to expand in size and scope, those who still have a sense of the risks inherent to capitalism wonder how increased regulation could ever help anybody outside of those being "regulated".

"Socialist-style Fed or financial saviour?

The cover of the latest issue of BusinessWeek shows Ben Bernanke in profile against a bright red and orange backdrop, pensively stroking his grey beard and looking remarkably like Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.

The imagery is intentional and pointed.

“Comrade Ben is determined that there will be no financial meltdown and no depression while he is in command,” economist Ed Yardeni wrote to clients. “Given the initial reaction [on Wall Street], I suppose this means we are all financial socialists now.”"

Unfortunately, you had to have seen this kind of thing coming down the pike. The current environment of Fed bailouts and increased regulatory powers started to take hold last summer as the debate over the Fed's liquidity injections and loan cap removals began.

The Fed/taxpayer-assisted bailout of Bear Stearns was just the most visible example of these actions to date. That is, until, today's announcement on the new regulatory overhaul was made.

What are the full implications of this newly proposed regulatory structure? What can we expect with the Fed guarding the henhouse?

We'll stay tuned to this issue, and I hope that some of our knowledgeable readers will help point the way by sharing their comments and insights.

Popular posts from this blog

Seth Klarman: Margin of Safety (pdf)

Welcome, readers! Signup for free email updates at the Finance Trends Newsletter . Update: PDF links removed due to DMCA notice. Please see our extensive Klarman book notes below. New visitors, please check the Finance Trends home page for all new posts. Here's something for anyone who has been trying to get a look at Seth Klarman's now famous, and out of print, 1991 investment book, Margin of Safety .  My knowledge of value investing is pretty much limited to what I've read in Ben Graham's The Intelligent Investor (the book which originally popularized the investment concept of a "Margin of Safety"), so check out the wisdom from Seth Klarman and other investing greats in our related posts below. You can also go straight to Ronald Redfield's Margin of Safety book notes .    Related posts: 1. Seth Klarman interviews and Margin of Safety notes     2. Seth Klarman: Lessons from 2008 3. Investing Lessons from Sir John Templeton 4.

Slate profiles Victor Niederhoffer

Slate's recent profile of writer/speculator, Vic Niederhoffer has been getting some attention from traders and finance types in recent days. I thought we'd take a look at it here too, to offer up some possible educational value from Vic's experiences with trading and loss. Here's an excerpt from Slate's profile of Victor Niederhoffer : " I've enjoyed getting your e-mails. It sounds like you've thought a lot about being wrong. Well, the reason you contacted me, to call a spade a spade, is that I'm sort of infamous for having made a big, notorious, terrible error not once but twice in my market career. Let's talk about those errors. The first was your investment in the Thai baht, which pretty much wiped you out when the Thai stock market crashed in 1997. I made so many errors there it's pathetic. I made one of my favorite errors: "The mouse with one hole is quickly cornered." That is key. There are certain decisions you make in li

Clean Money - John Rubino: Book review

Clean Money by John Rubino 274 pages. Hoboken, New Jersey John Wiley & Sons. 2009. 1st Edition. The bouyant stock market environment of the past several years is gone, and the financial wreckage of 2008 is still sharp in our minds as a new year starts to unfold. Given the recent across-the-board-declines in global stock markets (and most asset classes) that have left many investors shell-shocked, you might wonder if there is any good reason to consider the merits of a hot new investment theme, such as clean energy. However, we shouldn't be too hasty to write off all future stock investments. After all, the market declines of 2008 may continue into 2009, but they may also leave interesting investment opportunities in their wake. Which brings us to the subject of this review. John Rubino, author and editor of GreenStockInvesting.com , recently released a new book on renewable energy and clean-tech investing entitled, Clean Money: Picking Winners in the Green Tech Boom . In Clean