Beware neutral-sounding phrases that mask hidden agendas. One example out of D.C. this week: “cost-benefit analysis.” Why would anyone oppose assessing whether the benefits of an action outweigh the costs? Of course we’re in favor of that.
But now comes along a bill sponsored by Senators Rob Portman, Susan Collins and Mark Warner,giving the White House — under the guise of cost-benefit analysis — the power to intervene in the business of independent regulatory agencies like the SEC, the FDIC and the FCC.
We should be clear: This bill is being pushed by Republicans who want to stop any regulations relating to financial reform. They’re trying to create another hurdle and opportunity to intervene before the already delayed Dodd-Frank regulations kick in.
These lawmakers are using the responsible-sounding buzz phrase “cost-benefit” to hammer home their misguided belief that somehow the various rules mandated by Dodd-Frank to regulate the market will cost more than the resulting benefits to the market.
Well, the cost of the economic cataclysm of 2008 has now been calculated to be about $12.8 trillion. See the careful and thoughtful report by Dennis Kelleher’s group, Better Markets. The cost of a few more regulations surely would have been less than the cost we incurred by not having them. And do we even need to debate the benefit to society of potentially avoiding the disaster caused by unregulated, fraudulent activities and the crooks that perpetrated them?
This horrendous bill should be stopped in its tracks. The independence of these agencies should not be sacrificed. But here’s the kicker: My dear Republicans, at least be consistent.
At the same time the Republican Party is pushing to stop any rules or regulations relating to the financial markets, where we know fraud is still rampant, they’ve passed all sorts of voter ID laws that impose enormous costs and burdens on our society. Yet they cannot show us any evidence of voter impersonation fraud. No evidence at all. None.
So how do they square this huge effort on their part with the cost-benefit analysis they now say is so critical? They can’t. Their hypocrisy is outrageous. Their craven effort to steal an election they know they’re losing is despicable. But expecting logic and consistency from a party whose standard bearer’s image is an outsourced Etch A Sketch is probably a mistake anyway.
That’s “My View.”