Financial Regulation

Reason Writers Around Town: Matt Welch Discusses SEC Porn at


Over at CNN's website, Reason Editor in Chief Matt Welch argues that we should not be surprised when the reality of regulation fails to conform to our fantasies. Excerpt:

Try as governing Democrats and their supporters might to convince you of the contrary, there is a moral to this story. It is this: Expecting regulators to do their job well, let alone magically prevent whatever private-sector outcomes we do not like, is as fantastical as the assertion that George W. Bush was a deregulatory president.

Wait, what? Didn't we just read in Time magazine that "From the start, Bush embraced a governing philosophy of deregulation"? That's a comforting narrative for those trying to "restore" regulatory oversight of Wall Street. But it's false.

Read the whole thing here.


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  1. we should not be surprised when the reality of regulation fails to conform to our fantasies

    Oh, but it does. It does conform!!

  2. Will these people be prosecuted under the “honest services” statutes?

    1. No, because we Democrats are exempt. Which is why the FCC dared not fine me for my on-air profanity a few weeks ago.

  3. go away! batin!

  4. Wait a second – if SEC regulators were not paying attention, shouldn’t that have meant better results for the “private sector”, according to Libertarain Dogma?

    1. I consider the crash to be a “better result”. So yes.

      1. You wouldn’t have thought so if the government had not stepped in to prevent the true crash from happening.

        1. I asked for the true crash, you moron.

          Now, are you the real Dan T. and do I need to add you to incif?

          1. You really wanted the entire US economy to collapse?

            Come on.

            1. Who told you that would have happened? the same people who told you unemployment would peak at 8.5% ?

              1. He’s right, you know, Other Kevin. There is no way the US economy could have survived. Here, I’ll help with another sophisticated analogy: Saddam would have destroyed the US with nuclear missiles if we hadn’t invaded Iraq. You see? We weren’t destroyed by nuclear missiles sent by Saddam because we invaded Iraq. Right on, Dan.

        2. For a hundred years, the federal government suppressed the forests fires that would have cleansed the dead wood from the federal forrest in a series of moderate fires. The net result was a massive conflagration that was beyond anyones ability to control or direct.

          The forrest service eventually learned a lesson. Bank regulators, not so much.

    2. Wait a second – if SEC regulators were not paying attention, shouldn’t that have meant better results for the “private sector”, according to Libertarain Dogma?

      Depends what they weren’t paying attention to. Libertarians aren’t opposed to prosecution for fraud, misrepresentation of goods, etc. If the SEC fell asleep at the wheel there, it’s not a surprise that bad results came about, just as no one should be surprised if a city got more dangerous if the cops stopped catching thieves.

      Of course, Wall Street and the big banks doesn’t get a robust free market defense, considering they’ve been in bed with the state forever.

  5. I’d like to remind people of just how worse off things would be if we got all the government we paid for.

  6. The urge to have the government do something in the face of calamity is almost as powerful as the urge to watch naked strangers have grown-up time. Unfortunately for the rest of us, the endings aren’t always happy.

    Well said.

    1. Of course, it was the government that saved all our asses after the private sector collapsed. But hey, don’t let reality in the the way of your daily anti-government rant.

      1. Rofl,

        This is a correct statement iff “saved all our asses” = “deepened and prolonged the recession”

        1. Well, if you’re one of those guys who thinks that every major bank in the US going out of business at the same time would have helped the economy then I guess there is no need to bother trying to convince you otherwise.

          1. I just think of all the rewards reaped by the smart banks that didn’t go out of business and smile, until I remember that the government bailed out the stupid ones and charged us for it.

            1. Dan T. = The New Nostradamus!

              1. Nick, none of those banks would have survived, either. Especially once panicked depositors made a run to withdrawl all their cash.

                1. Depositors were panicking because some large banks carried worthless assets on their books? Depositors may have made runs on those banks but they would have wanted to deposit them somewhere, say like banks that didn’t make stupid decisions. Or they would have bought stocks and bonds to hold their money thus helping the economy recover quicker.

  7. Wait a second – if SEC regulators were not paying attention, shouldn’t that have meant better results for the “private sector”, according to Libertarain Dogma?

    I am aware of no Dogma that states a failed regulatory regime produces better results than no regulatory regime.

    1. What’s the difference? Either way things are not being regulated and thus “might-is-right” takes over…which is the very core of libertarian (aka corpratist) dogma.

      1. close enough…to incif you go…buh bye

        1. Some of us have to suffer with company equipment locked down with IE.

      2. Might makes right? Who is mightier than the government, with their guns and jails? The government is mightier than any bank, so when you are supporting the gov against the bank, you can hardly use the sarcastic “might doesn’t make right” charge.

        1. mitch, you are correct, and we want the government to be the mightiest because it at least bears some responsibility and accountability to the people.

          The libertarian position is that we should reduce the power of government so that corporations can become the most powerful entities (which would make them the de facto government, if they’re not already). And corporations only have to answer to their most powerful shareholders.

          1. Or consumers that if they piss off, they make no money, which is their only goal.

      3. “Negative, captain! The third ulogginaucht basin has snapped and I can’t grott the poletination spheres without some sort of virrulaumo retractor!” Faavrogg was in a near panic, a large chunk of sharp yuloplasm embedded in his lower tranjular region.

  8. You really wanted the entire US economy to collapse?

    Did you get your degree in faith-based economics at Oral Roberts University?

    1. No, he got it from ME!

  9. Matt Welch Discusses SEC Porn

    SEC Porn sounds hot.

    “Oh yes! Yes! Split my stock right in half, baby! You’re such an adding MACHINE!”

    And so forth.

  10. LOL, nothing like seeing our tax dollars at work now is there.


  11. Another reason we shouldn’t be surprised is because the story’s two years old:…..Now_100426

  12. The comments at the CNN site are predictably insipid and idiotic.

  13. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Matt Welch.

    I take issue with this. I too hold this opinion.

  14. robc|4.26.10 @ 10:45AM|#

    close enough…to incif you go…buh bye

    Do you have some recommendations for a troll catcher? That retarded fetus is too stupid to waste my time reading through to get to the intelligent commentary.

  15. Dan Tee|4.26.10 @ 10:46AM|#

    You really wanted the entire US economy to collapse?

    Come on.

    If leftist really believed this crap would they not be praising George W. Bush for saving the world with his bold, decisive leadership? That is if they believed it that would be where their logic would take them if they were honest. Some how that never happens. Like everything else in their arsenal it is just a vapid rhetorical device filling the empty gaps where most of us have hearts and minds.
    They know it is a lie, they just don’t really care about anything beyond the cold comfort from the partisan division they feed on like a pint of H?agen-Dazs.

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