Tag: Regulation

The Price of Regulation

The Mercatus Center has a new study out claiming that regulations are enacting an enormous toll on our economy.

Economic growth in the United States has, on average, been slowed by 0.8 percent per year since 1980 owing to the cumulative effects of regulation:

If regulation had been held constant at levels observed in 1980, the US economy would have been about 25 percent larger than it actually was as of 2012.

This means that in 2012, the economy was $4 trillion smaller than it would have been in the absence of regulatory growth since 1980.

This amounts to a loss of approximately $13,000 per capita, a significant amount of money for most American workers.

Caveats first: it is possible, even likely, that Mercatus is significantly overestimating the impact of regulations. The reason is that their analysis is cumulative. They find that regulations knock 0.8% off our economic growth every year. Well, if you multiply that exponentially over 32 years, you get a huge amount. Their study only goes back to 1980. So … if they extended it back to 1950, how much would they say regulations are costing us? I addressed this before when some numbnuts said our economy would be four times bigger without regulation. When you play with exponential numbers, you get big results.

Moreover, regulations have an economic benefit, as Ron Bailey notes:

According to agency calculations, American families would see up to $7 in health benefits for every dollar invested through the Clean Power Plan. By lowering particulate, ozone, and nitrogen oxide pollution, the EPA argues, Americans will gain the health equivalent of $55 to $93 billion annually; the yearly costs will be only $7.3 billion to $8.8 billion by 2030.

Garbow added that EPA regs don’t just stop harms but spur technological innovation. He specifically cited regulations that support the deployment of renewable energy supplies, and he pointed out that there are now more jobs in the solar power industry than there are in coal mining.

Those caveats having been made, however, I think Mercatus is probably in the ballpark or at least in the parking lot. Other estimates have generally been in the 10-20% range and I don’t think anyone would argue that regulations have no cost on our economy. Even if Mercatus has overestimated the impact of regulations by 100%, that would still be a 10% hit on the economy and $5,000 out of each our pockets.

Moreover, as Bailey notes, the supposed benefits of regulations are probably overestimates themselves. Many are based on past regulations when we did think like stopping companies from dumping toxic chemicals in water or belching smog into our neighborhoods. But there is a huge difference between reducing smog to very low levels and reducing it to zero. The former has huge health benefits and low cost. The latter has high cost and low benefits.

Most importantly, as Megan McArdle argues, regulations do not exist in a vacuum. They exist on top of and beside existing regulations.

“In one year,” wrote Warren Meyer in 2015, “I literally spent more personal time on compliance with a single regulatory issue — implementing increasingly detailed and draconian procedures so I could prove to the State of California that my employees were not working over their 30-minute lunch breaks — than I did thinking about expanding the business or getting new contracts.”

I know what you’re going to say: Employees should have lunch breaks! My answer is “Yes, but.…” Yes, but putting the government in charge of ensuring that they get them, and forcing companies to document their compliance, has real costs. They add up.

An economy with but one regulation — employees must be allowed a 30-minute lunch break, and each company has to document that it has been taken — would probably not find this much of a drag on growth. But multiply those regulations by thousands, by millions, and you start to have a problem.

(Meyer runs the oustanding Coyote Blog where he opines on economics, business and climate science. Those of who are in the climate skeptic camp could find a lot in his recent series on global warming, where he argues for the “lukewarmer” position. More germane to this, you should read his recent post about the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the massive amount of paperwork it is imposing on businesses so that lawyers can file lawsuits we can achieve pay equality.)

One regulation on pollution is not a big deal. But the cumulative weight is crushing, especially on small businesses. Over the last decade, through Bush II and Obama, we have seen a steep decline in new business and IPOs. A huge number of businessmen and economists think is because of over-regulation (particularly the Sarbanes-Oxley law). Maybe the EPA is right about the economic benefits of those regulations. But even if they are, those regulations are on top of a million others, eradicating most of the supposed benefits. Taking away ten hours of a businessman’s time is nothing … unless you’ve already regulated him so badly he only had ten hours left to expand his business.

Look, no one opposes all regulation. We don’t want to go back the days when we had lead in our water, air and food. But we have long passed the point of diminishing returns. And it’s holding back our economy in a big way. McArdle again:

All of these costs have to be carefully weighed against the benefits of regulations — and not just on a regulation-by-regulation basis, as is currently done, if such cost-benefit analysis is done at all. Each hour of a firm’s time that is sucked up by compliance is an hour that is not spent growing the firm, improving the product, better serving the customer. And as the number of the hours so spent increases, and the number of precious hours spent on growth and operations shrinks, each added hour we take is more costly to both the business and to the rest of us. With labor markets lackluster and growth underwhelming, that’s a cost that none of us can well afford.

To be fair, a huge part of the problem is state and local regulation. That needs to be addressed on a state-by-state basis. But the Federal government could set the tone quite easily. The GOP Congress could pass a law that:

  • Puts a two-year moratorium on new federal regulations.
  • Mandates agency-level review of each and every regulation on the books (which might have the side benefit of actually documenting in one place how many regulations we have — no one actually knows).
  • After two years, only re-enables regulations that the agencies have documented are critical to a clean environment or worker safety or some other concrete goal.

They could set a broad goal of cutting the number of regulations in half. And then dare Obama (or Clinton) to veto it.

The biggest problem with our government right now is that our leaders are asleep at the wheel. They have let regulations, tax codes and spending grow without real supervision. That can work fine for a few years. But eventually, the clinking, clattering, cacophony of caliginous cogs and camshafts that is government starts grinding the country to a halt. Periodically, you have to take a hatchet to the regulations if the country is to function. It’s been 23 years since we did that. We are long overdue.

SCOTUS vs. EPA

So this happened:

In a major setback for President Obama’s climate change agenda, the Supreme Court on Tuesday temporarily blocked the administration’s effort to combat global warming by regulating emissions from coal-fired power plants.

The brief order was not the last word on the case, which is most likely to return to the Supreme Court after an appeals court considers an expedited challenge from 29 states and dozens of corporations and industry groups.

But the Supreme Court’s willingness to issue a stay while the case proceeds was an early hint that the program could face a skeptical reception from the justices.

The 5-to-4 vote, with the court’s four liberal members dissenting, was unprecedented — the Supreme Court had never before granted a request to halt a regulation before review by a federal appeals court.

That last part is true. However, it is also true that we have never had the federal government try to enforce a far-reaching rule like Obama’s coal regulations over the objections of Congress, over the rights of the states and through a highly contentious (and likely unconstitutional) reading of the Clean Air Act. Ilya Shapiro:

In June 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a new rule for regulating power-plant emissions. Despite significant criticism, on August 3, 2015, it announced a final rule. It gives states until 2018 — it “encourages” September 2016 — to develop final plans to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, with mandatory compliance beginning in 2022. EPA cites Section 111 of the Clean Air Act as justification for the Clean Power Plan, but that section can’t give the agency such authority. Section 111(d) doesn’t permit the government to require states to regulate pollutants from existing sources when those pollutants are already being regulated under Section 112, as those deriving from coal-fired plants are.

I think global warming is real and reducing carbon emissions is important. But it’s clear to me that the EPA does not have the authority to do this unilaterally. And it’s also clear to me that, with such a bitterly contested rule, the Court is right to stay implementation until the issue has been decided. We’re not just talking about an enormous burden on the states and power plants. We’re talking about a fundamental change in the way the EPA does business. You don’t just start doing that when there’s a very good chance you’ll be stopping it a few months from now.

Update: There are some indications that the White House may proceed anyway in defiance of the Court. What will it take for Congress to act here?

Friday Roundup: Guns, Money and Gag Orders

A few stories to close out your week:

  • Following on Alex’s post on the attempt to squash free speech at Reason, the Best Magazine on the Planet has gotten the gag order lifted and broken their silence. What they relate is appalling. Not only did the USA try to get personal information on Reason’s commenters, they got a gag order to try to prevent Reason from notifying those commenters that the government was seeking their information (Reason had already notified them by the time the order came). It’s a must-read on a government that is determined to shred any semblance of privacy.
  • Earlier this week, Treasury announced that the new $10 bill will have a woman on it, although it’s not clear who that will be or how she will “share” the bill with Alexander Hamilton. As someone who favors a radical overhaul of which faces are on our currency, I’m moderately in favor of this. But I much prefer the idea of putting a woman on the $20 for reasons articulated by Jillian Keenan (namely that Jackson was a racist slaveholding genocidal shredder of the Constitution). Still, there are lots of women we could honor: Harriet Tubman, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Eleanor Roosevelt, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Sally Ride, Clara Barton. I would take all of these over Jackson. And I wouldn’t mind if we took all the politicians off our currency.
  • How bad was the security at OPM that led to the huge data breach? Really really bad. And they won’t fix it. Change we can believe in!
  • If you’re having trouble finding delicious barbecue, blame government. They are literally outlawing the kind of slow-cooking methods that make for such deliciousness. And it’s not really clear why other than “because they can”.
  • It will come as no surprise to readers of this blog that Paul Krugman and the Keynesians are full of it again. They are citing Iceland an example of how expansionary fiscal policy can save an economy. The problem? In this thing called reality, Iceland endorsed a severe austerity, with significant spending cuts and tax hikes.
  • The blamestorming for Charleston has already begun. Here is a quick refresher about the media’s desperation to blame horrific acts of violence on the Right Wing.
  • And finally, Reason has a feature on a college student who was busted with pot, turned informant and was murdered. No one is accountable, as usual. I’ll spare you my usual War on Drugs rant, in favor of my other favorite one: when dealing with cops and prosecutors, always get a lawyer. Never negotiate on your own.

An Unsession

This sounds like a really good idea:

It’s no longer a crime in Minnesota to carry fruit in an illegally sized container. The state’s telegraph regulations are gone. And it’s now legal to drive a car in neutral — if you can figure out how to do it.

Those were among the 1,175 obsolete, unnecessary and incomprehensible laws that Gov. Mark Dayton and the Legislature repealed this year as part of the governor’s “unsession” initiative. His goal was to make state government work better, faster and smarter….

In addition to getting rid of outdated laws, the project made taxes simpler, cut bureaucratic red tape, speeded up business permits and required state agencies to communicate in plain language.

I’ve written before about why removing obscure out-of-date laws is important: such laws give law enforcement the ability to harass and arrest anyone they don’t like for trivial legal violations. They leave citizens in a state of perpetually violating some law somewhere. But Dayton’s changes go beyond that with real cutting of red tape and tax laws.

Notice that he didn’t “gut regulation” or anything else. He simple cut away the cruft that accumulate on any legal system over time.

This sort of thing is needed at every level but especially at the federal level. I would vote for any President who would stop making laws for a few years and overhaul the ones we have. We have a legal system where hundreds of billions, possibly over a trillion dollars, are lost to regulation and tax code every year. We have a regulatory structure that doesn’t make us any safer and caters to powerful interests. Democrats talk big on new energy sources but see nothing wrong with a regulatory system for just running a power line can run into a decade of legal bullshit.

An unsession for America. We need one. Badly.

NSA and The Florida Department of Departments

I’m on vacation this week in Disneyworld with the wife and Sal 11000 Beta. It’s a quiet week in politics anyway, with the most interesting commentary revolving around the NSA’s pathetic lies and the pathetic pundits who believe those lies. Check out this evisceration of Jeffrey’s Toobin hacktastic work in which compares Snowden’s leaks to the MLK assassination (seriously).

You can also check out ZDnet’s hilarious “data driven analysis” which tries to convince us that NSA is no big deal. Taking it apart is pretty trivial:

  • The 2776 leaks documented by Snowden are from one year and one collection center and represent reported leaks. It does not include illegal abuses that have no been reported (duh). The NSA is increasingly reminding me of a bad liar. “We don’t routinely collect data”. “Well we do, but we don’t collect data we shouldn’t.” “Well, we don’t do so abusively. It’s all an accident.” We know what the next lie is: “We do abuse it but only on bad people like Tea Partiers”.
  • The claim that Facebook collects 20 times more data per day is irrelevant and misleading. FB collects a ton of information, so if NSA is collecting 1/20th of that, that’s way too much. And remember the euphemisms NSA uses for “collecting” data. Also, FB can’t put us in prison.
  • That the percentage of reported errors is tiny is not very relevant, since the system is still leaky. It also contradicts point one. You can’t simultaneously claim that the errors are tiny compared to the vast amount of information NSA collects and then claim that the NSA doesn’t collect a lot of data.
  • He claims the NSA collects an amount of data less than one MP3 file. This is bullshit. He deliberately confounds metadata — of which the NSA collects trillions of pieces without a warrant — with records, of which it collects a lesser number. He also claims that NSA only makes 2776 mistakes a year. That is flat wrong. That 2776 errors, some of which means thousands of pieces of illegally collected data, not metadata. So this complete horseshit.
  • He then says that these numbers would be regarded as a triumph for a corporation. Well, first of all, if ATT erroneously charged people for phone service, they’d get sued. And second … do I need to say this again? … apparently I do … corporations do not have police power over us.
  • Anyway, that’s the NSA rant that has been building in my mind whilst taking advantage of the free wireless Disney provides in long lines to get princess signatures.

    I did think you’d get a kick of this, however, which I photographed on a vending machine today:

    1175500_10200887978819980_649776684_n

    As far as I could tell, the point of that notice is to be a notice. But Ken at Popehat tweeted me that he blogged about this over a year ago. The best explanation in the comments, which sounds right to me, was this:

    My brother and his wife own a large vending machine company. The stickers are not proof of taxes paid, or anything like that. You can buy them from private vendors. The reason for the stickers was that they used to have information on them as to who owned or operated the machine. The problem is that they had the FEIN of the business on it, and this was frequently used to fraudulently steal the identity of the operator.

    To fix this, the vending companies were lobbying to have the law changed so that the decals were no longer required. This effort was unsuccessful, but in 2010 the vending lobbyist was able to accomplish the next best thing: They had the requirements of the sticker changed so that it no longer has to contain information that can be used by identity thieves. That is how it happened.

    Even if that’s right, it’s still pretty stupid.

    Have a fun week, guys.

    Of Course, We All Know Regulatory Uncertainty Is A Myth

    But is regulatory despair?

    Nearly all development economists agree that good institutions—legislatures, courts, administrative agencies—are crucial. When poor countries improve their institutions, economic growth soon accelerates. But what about rich countries? If poor countries can get rich by improving their institutions, is it not possible that rich countries can get poor by allowing their institutions to degenerate? I want to suggest that it is.

    Consider the evidence from the annual “Doing Business” reports from the World Bank and International Finance Corporation. Since 2006 the report has published data for most of the world’s countries on the total number of days it takes to start a business, get a construction permit, register a property, pay taxes, get an export or import license and enforce a contract. If one simply adds together the total number of days it would take to carry out all seven of these procedures sequentially, it is possible to construct a simple measure of how slowly—or fast—a country’s bureaucracy moves.

    Seven years of data suggest that most of the world’s countries are successfully making it easier to do business: The total number of days it takes to carry out the seven procedures has come down, in some cases very substantially. In only around 20 countries has the total duration of dealing with “red tape” gone up. The sixth-worst case is none other than the U.S., where the total number of days has increased by 18% to 433. Other members of the bottom 10, using this metric, are Zimbabwe, Burundi and Yemen (though their absolute numbers are of course much higher).

    We have discussed many times, on these pages, the massive regulatory burdens that have descended on American businesses. Sarbanes-Oxley, Dodd-Frank and the pending crush of Obamacare, just to name three, tally over 2000 pages. And the cost of regulation, especially with the new insurance mandates, run into the hundred of billions. Is it any wonder why we’ve had a lost decade? Why unemployment stay high? Why wages are stagnant? Why Apple keeps its earning overseas? The article goes through many different measures and many ways of approaching the question and keeps coming up with the same answer: massive systemic institutional failure creating a hostile business environment for anyone who doesn’t play the Washington game. Overhauling our tax system alone would remove a couple of hundred billion in deadweight loss on our economy. So why isn’t it on the table?

    Because the current system empowers the powerful. It brings rent-seeking businesses to Washington to beg and plead for special dispensations and subsidies. It gives those businesses billions in advantages over their competition. It lets politicians control the economy, punish businesses they don’t like and reward ones they do. It creates mass fortunes for the lawyers who interpret regulations, advise on regulations and file lawsuits when some company breaks them.

    Sunday Obama Blast

    As I said earlier, Obama is really lucky he has Mitt Romney distracting attention away from his silliness. Rather than put up a series of posts on his latest dunceries, I’ll put up a “Two Minutes of Hate” post on three recent news items illustrating the stupidity and power-grubbing of this Administration:

    The Competitive Enterprise Institute estimates that federal regulations impose a shocking $1.8 trillion in regulatory costs on the economy. This is 20 times what the CBO estimates ($90-100 billion). While I think the CEI is probably overshooting, it is likely the real number is much closer to theirs than the CBO’s (the Small Business Administration got a similar estimate). Now some regulatory costs we can live with — clean rivers, acid-free rain and bug-free meat are good things. But I think we can get the same results for a lot less than $1.8 trillion. The Obama people, who have grown that cost to the tune of a couple hundred billion, keep claiming that Cass Sunstein is going to fix this situation. Given that he accepts the CBO’s estimate, I don’t see that happening.

    This story, a must-read, deals with new federal regulations on school lunches. The feds, in their infinite wisdom, have decreed that lunches can not exceed 850 calories. Whether you are a 100 pound computer jockey or a 200 pound linebacker, you get 850 calories. Athletes are starting to feel hungry in the middle of the day which doesn’t exactly help their concentration. Moreover, the government is pushing schools toward low-fat diets, including low-fat or no-fat milk. The stupidity of that literally boggles the mind. Kids’ brains are still developing. They need fat, especially the kind of fats you get in milk, to build their brains. We are rendering a generation of kids stupid in our mindless pursuit of the fucking BMI and the fucking food pyramid, two health concepts that make leeches look scientific and rational.

    You may have heard about the spate of beard-cuttings going on in an Amish community in Ohio. Like me, you may have assumed this would be dealt with in a sensible manner: assault charges against the debearders. You would be wrong. The Feds took over the case and got a conviction on hate crime charges. As the indispensable Jack Sullum points out in the link, these guys could spend decades in prison. For cutting off beards. They might have been better off just murdering their victims.

    When Republicans opposed the Matthew Shephard Act, they were branded as bigots. And … perhaps it was anti-gay sentiment that motivated them. But now that the law is passed, it has given federal authorities a truly dangerous amount of power. They can literally make a federal case out of and send someone to prison forever for thought crime.

    Doing Business in America

    We all know that regulatory uncertainty is a conservative myth, right? The very idea that the tens of thousands of pages of federal regulations are inhibiting American business is just laughable, no?

    Well, someone forgot to tell the Economist:

    America is meant to be the home of laissez-faire. Unlike Europeans, whose lives have long been circumscribed by meddling governments and diktats from Brussels, Americans are supposed to be free to choose, for better or for worse. Yet for some time America has been straying from this ideal.

    Consider the Dodd-Frank law of 2010. Its aim was noble: to prevent another financial crisis. Its strategy was sensible, too: improve transparency, stop banks from taking excessive risks, prevent abusive financial practices and end “too big to fail” by authorising regulators to seize any big, tottering financial firm and wind it down. This newspaper supported these goals at the time, and we still do. But Dodd-Frank is far too complex, and becoming more so. At 848 pages, it is 23 times longer than Glass-Steagall, the reform that followed the Wall Street crash of 1929. Worse, every other page demands that regulators fill in further detail. Some of these clarifications are hundreds of pages long. Just one bit, the “Volcker rule”, which aims to curb risky proprietary trading by banks, includes 383 questions that break down into 1,420 subquestions.

    Hardly anyone has actually read Dodd-Frank, besides the Chinese government and our correspondent in New York (see article). Those who have struggle to make sense of it, not least because so much detail has yet to be filled in: of the 400 rules it mandates, only 93 have been finalised. So financial firms in America must prepare to comply with a law that is partly unintelligible and partly unknowable.

    And that’s just Dodd-Frank. Remember Sarbanes-Oxley, the legislation that was supposed to prevent another financial crisis? Haha. Good times. Well, you combine Sarbanes-Oxley with Dodd-Frank and you’ve got a mess of regulation so dense that Facebook recently blasted the regulatory environment for making their IPO a nightmare. This is why more IPOs are occurring in markets away from our shores than within them.

    It’s not just Obama, either. He’s done a lot of damage — the Economist notes that the number of diagnostic codes in our healthcare system will increase next year from 18,000 to 140,000. And last week he made a laughable proposal for “tax reform” that would end up with lower rate but more loopholes, credits and subsidies. But Republicans have played their part, too, pushing “anti-terrorism” regulation that has slathered immigration, finance and travel in paperwork. And SOX was signed by Bush.

    Getting rid of regulations sounds good, but there are a lot of regulations that we need. As the financial crisis showed, we have a banking industry that will happily construct elaborate financial vehicles that even they don’t understand. We have whole industries that will pretend they’re not hurting the environment. They do this not because they are evil, but because they are human and it simply human nature to pretend a problem doesn’t exist when it involves our money, our power or our pride. The lead industry spent decades ignoring their own scientists and insisting that lead was harmless. That wasn’t because they liked the idea of children destroying their brains; it was simply a willing suspension of disbelief. Government is an imperfect and frustrating regulator. But it’s not something we can simply push off a cliff.

    But attacking regulation piecemeal — the way Obama has kind-sorta proposed and the way the Republicans kinda-sorta do — isn’t going to work either. There are tens of thousands of regulations and we could spend weeks getting rid of just one. Each one has its advocates; each its pencil-pushers who depend on it. The inertia is simply enormous.

    No, what we need — what the Economist notes and what Phillip Howard has been flogging for years — is a complete change in our approach to regulation. What we have designed is a system that tries to idiot-proof itself, that tries to anticipate every eventuality, ever possibility so that there is no possibility of error. But in doing so, we have made the perfect the enemy of the good. We have a system in which something as simple as finding out how much money a bank has can take years. We have a system is incapable of responding to new problems until new rules have been passed. This is like mapping out a mine field by stepping on all the mines.

    What we need to do is strip down the regulations to the basics and empower bureaucrats to use their judgement. Hand in hand with that comes accountability — the ability to fine or fire bureaucrats who exceed their authority and make bad decisions.

    That has a downside, too: bureaucrats with power and regulations that are necessarily not specific to every conceivable situation. It is this situation that Harvey Silverglate raged against in his book. But the alternative is a nation that can not move a pinkie without years of discussion and millions in legal fees. The alternative is that the Gulliver of American industry is tied down by a million Lilliputian strings of regulatory bullshit.

    And the Left should be the biggest cheerleaders for regulatory reform. They keep telling us we need to remake our energy industry to fight global warming. How on Earth are we going to do that when it takes ten years to do the environmental impact study for a single power line? They keep telling us we need a better approach to immigration. We can’t do that when even getting a work visa involves three pounds of paper and half a pint of blood. They keep telling us our healthcare system is too expensive. How are we supposed to make it cheaper when every hour of patient care is matched by an hour (or two) of paperwork?

    Republicans make a lot of noise about regulation but I’m not sure how serious they are since heavy regulation favors powerful businesses (see the CPSIA). They seem happy to rant about it on TV but show little inclination to do anything besides fight a rule or two that have gotten some attention in the media. They are unable or unwilling to admit that any progress on regulatory reform is going to mean giving some power to government agents to interpret and enforce the law.

    I don’t like the idea of empowering bureaucrats any more than you do. But as long as it comes with accountability — the ability to punish those who exceed or abuse their power — it’s the least worst alternative.

    And what’s the worst alternative? What we’re enduring now. A regulatory state that is massively complex, hideously expensive and doesn’t accomplish anything.

    The Real Scandal in Washington

    As I said in the comments on Alex’s post, I’m not too opposed to the double standard that gets applied to sex scandals. Republicans get hit harder because of the hypocrisy of dictating moral values to the nation when it comes to homosexuality and abortion while they schtupp lobbyists on the side.

    But I do object to the failure to call out Democrats when they engage in hypocrisy that makes David Vitter look like Pope Benedict. The Democrats bombard us with an endless stream of propaganda about how they stand up for the little guy, they stand up to special interests, they oppose big money. And they do this while selling the country down the river to those exact interests. One week they are standing up to big insurance companies by pushing healthcare reform the insurance companies love. The next, they’re standing up to energy interests by lavishing money on “green” technology pushed by powerful energy interests. You can read Alex’s post below on the debacle unfolding at Fannie and Freddie, the liberal creation that was tangled up with every monied interest around and zealously defended against re-regulation by Democrats.

    And then there’s Dodd-Frank, the bill that was supposed to stick it to the big banks in favor of the little guy. This is the bill that’s going to make Elizabeth Warren everyone’s second wife, constantly nagging us about our financial choices. This is the bill that was named after two men so covered in bank lobby money, their shit comes out in coin sleeves.

    So how’s that bill working out? We’ve passed it, so now we can find out what’s in it.

    Behold, the sudden realization:

    Dodd-Frank is so sprawling — the legislation runs to more than 2,000 pages — that the law firm Morrison & Foerster dubbed the tracker it created to monitor the implementation process “FrankNDodd.”

    The law laid out principles but often left it to regulators to write the actual rules. Those would be the same regulatory agencies that failed to prevent the financial crisis and that, in some cases, view the banks they oversee, not taxpayers, as their primary constituents.

    Dodd-Frank requires 387 different rules from 20 different regulatory agencies. The Byzantine, tedious rulemaking process has occasionally pitted regulator against regulator and proved a bonanza for lobbyists.

    Congress set aggressive deadlines for regulators to make rules to enforce the law, and, unsurprisingly, they are failing to meet them. The agencies missed each of the 26 deadlines they were supposed to meet for April. So far, regulators have finalized 24 rules and missed deadlines on 28, according to the law firm Davis Polk.

    This is not an accident. This is not the creation of evil Republican deregulators. That the rule-making is coming to be controlled by special interests is exactly what we fucking predicted would happen.

    What did we expect? Between Dodd-Frank and Sarbanes-Oxley, we are getting to the point here he only way to make money is to control the politicians and the regulators. Anyone else gets screwed. They only other choice is to take your business to less stupid countries.

    Well, we all know this is the fault of the evil Republicans. Certainly the Democrats don’t … oh.

    Every morning, a Wall Street trade group called SIFMA sends out an email with the day’s news. SIFMA is the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. It represents banks and trading firms. So it’s no surprise that the email is usually heavy with critical news stories about financial reform laws, like the Dodd-Frank Act.

    But tonight, SIFMA will be hosting a fundraising dinner for Democratic Congressman Barney Frank: yes, he’s the Frank in Dodd-Frank. SIFMA members will pay $1,000 or more for a seat at the table.

    The Wall Street interests are also big Obama contributors.

    This needs to be drilled into people’s heads: the rich and the powerful love hyper-regulation. They love it. They love it because they have the money and the influence to successfully navigate a politically-controlled landscape. All that over-regulation accomplishes is the screwing over of newcomers — those who don’t have influence yet and haven’t stuffed political war chests with their hard-earned money. The guys who brought down our financial system love Barney Frank and they love Dodd-Frank because they are protected; they have the keys to the vault (literally, in the case of bailouts).

    And the politicians love it too. How else would a turd like Barney Frank get his bloated ass kissed by rich bankers? How else would Obama roll up $35,000 donations? They love having people come to Washington and genuflect before them. They love having the success of businesses and the fate of hundreds of billions of dollars turn on their whims and whimsies. This is what they live for.

    The only people who lose are the average citizen, the honest businesses, the economy and the sucker lefties who continues to mindlessly support these weasels and their weasely reforms.