Friday, April 23, 2010

Financial Reform Bill

In today's WSJ, Niall Ferguson and Ted Forstmann make a very good point about new financial regulation:

The case for limiting leverage and regulating derivatives is overwhelming, but that doesn't require a new 1,300-page law.


This is a good example of how, theoretically, government can make things better, but in practice, they don't. Of course, a theory that applied the same selfish motives and asymmetric information to government agents would not predict government will probably make things better merely because they could (eg, public choice theory). But, most economists opining on policy just figure, 'I can make it better, ergo, the government should be given power to make it better'. Useful idiot-savants are they.

9 comments:

Anonymous #5 said...

So how many pages long would a good government regulation be? 200 pages? 3 pages? A couple of sentences? What is the basis for comparison? Should it be possible to read the law on a short plane trip? If you read the law for 15 minutes a night before going to sleep, how many weeks should it take you?

I ask because while I read quite a bit, both fiction and non-fiction, I don't spend any time reading laws. I don't even use law texts for reference.

randian said...

The case for limiting leverage and regulating derivatives is overwhelming

It is? I see no facts in evidence, but much political posturing.

Michael Meyers said...

Eric,

I agree with you... I read part of the recent Obamacare bill... it is just jam packed with handouts to special interests. I imagine the financial reform bill is the same...

Regards,
Michael

Eric Falkenstein said...

I'm not against regulation in general, so the idea that a limit on financial leverage is a good idea, is attractive at some level. But this is not simple to implement, and this bill addresses many things that will simply create new fixed costs for being an insider, and do nothing to protect 'the consumer', but rather, protect firms from competitors.

Drewfus said...

@Anonymous #5
So how many pages long would a good government regulation be?

Your a supporter of the regulation, why don't you tell us what the answer is?

I don't spend any time reading laws. I don't even use law texts for reference.

Just like to stick with the broad overview and trust the politicians to get the details right?

Our working definition of regulation - "that which fixes the problem".

Anonymous said...

For comparison, Glass-Steagall was 17 pages.

bjdouble said...

One of the biggest dangers as a salesperson is educating your prospects for free. The idea that salespeople are ticket takers can only be made by somebody who's only dealt with car salesmen. Often the salesperson is like a general contractor who is the only person who really knows what's going on. Fabrice had a degree from Stanford and, I would bet, a higher IQ than the blog host.

DaveinHackensack said...

"Fabrice had a degree from Stanford and, I would bet, a higher IQ than the blog host."

I wouldn't bet that. Falkenstein seems plenty smart. And you left this comment in the comment thread of the wrong post.

cheap mortgage leads said...

I don't know I'm really skeptical about this. Just sounds fishy but I mean its the Gov what isn't right?