Nanny State

The Next Great Leap Backwards For Consumer "Rights"

|

Is your mortgage confusing to you? Are you bewildered by credit card offers? Do you crave the simplicity of "plain-vanilla" financial vehicles whose complete terms can be read in less than four minutes?

Be careful what you wish for: The Obama administration and members of Congress are pushing legislation that will create a new agency, The Consumer Financial Protection Agency, whose job would be to simplify and police all manner of financial transactions, from what sorts of mortgages could be offered to what sort of credit cards would be in your wallet to whether Wall Street could create new ways of buying and selling stocks. In the name of making your life easier and avoiding the next financial meltdown, the CFPA might just harshly limit how you spend your hard-earned (and dwindling!) dollars.

Would the CFPA do anything other than add another layer of bureaucracy and regulation on top of what already exists? Are consumers too bewildered by competing credit cards to make a rational choice? Reason.tv's Nick Gillespie recently sat down with George Mason University law professor, Volokh Conspiracy blogger, and Mercatus Center scholar Todd Zywicki to get answers.

"The agency is one of the centerpieces of the Obama regulatory reform act[s]," says Zywicki, "It goes far beyond how we've thought about consumer credit regulation for the past 30 or 40 years." More importantly, it will do nothing to address pernicious incentives that encouraged banks and consumers to take on more debt than was prudent.

Approximately 9.44 minutes. Scroll down for embed code and downloadable versions. Shot by Dan Hayes and Meredith Bragg and edited by Dan Hayes.