Bill Black is an Associate Professor of Economics and Law at the University of Missouri – Kansas City (UMKC). He was the Executive Director of the Institute for Fraud Prevention from 2005-2007. He has taught previously at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and at Santa Clara University, where he was also the distinguished scholar in residence for insurance law and a visiting scholar at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.

~~~

The new mantra of the Republican Party is the old mantra — regulation is a “job killer.” It is certainly possible to have regulations kill jobs, and when I was a financial regulator I was a leader in cutting away many dumb requirements. But we have just experienced the epic ability of the anti-regulators to kill well over ten million jobs. Why then is there not a single word from the new House leadership about investigations to determine how the anti-regulators did their damage? Why is there no plan to investigate the fields in which inadequate regulation most endangers jobs? While we’re at it, why not investigate the areas in which inadequate regulation allows firms to maim and kill. This column addresses only financial regulation.

Deregulation, desupervision, and de facto decriminalization (the three “des”) created the criminogenic environment that drove the modern U.S. financial crises. The three “des” were essential to create the epidemics of accounting control fraud that hyper-inflated the bubble that triggered the Great Recession. “Job killing” is a combination of two factors — increased job losses and decreased job creation. I’ll focus solely on private sector jobs — but the recession has also been devastating in terms of the loss of state and local governmental jobs.

From 1996-2000, for example, annual private sector gross job increases rose from roughly 14 million to 16 million while annual private sector gross job losses increased from 12 to 13 million. The annual net job increases in those years, therefore, rose from two million to three million. Over that five year period, the net increase in private sector jobs was over 10 million. One common rule of thumb is that the economy needs to produce an annual net increase of about 1.5 million jobs to employ new entrants to our workforce, so the growth rate in this era was large enough to make the unemployment and poverty rates fall significantly.

The Great Recession (which officially began in the third quarter of 2007) shows why the anti-regulators are the premier job killers in America. Annual private sector gross job losses rose from roughly 12.5 to a peak of 16 million and gross private sector job gains fell from approximately 13 to 10 million. As late as March 2010, after the official end of the Great Recession, the annualized net job loss in the private sector was approximately three million (that job loss has now turned around, but the increases are far too small).

Again, we need net gains of roughly 1.5 million jobs to accommodate new workers, so the total net job losses plus the loss of essential job growth was well over 10 million during the Great Recession. These numbers, again, do not include the large job losses of state and local government workers, the dramatic rise in underemployment, the sharp rise in far longer-term unemployment, and the salary/wage (and job satisfaction) losses that many workers had to take to find a new, typically inferior, job after they lost their job. It also ignores the rise in poverty, particularly the scandalous increase in children living in poverty.

The Great Recession was triggered by the collapse of the real estate bubble epidemic of mortgage fraud by lenders that hyper-inflated that bubble. That epidemic could not have happened without the appointment of anti-regulators to key leadership positions. The epidemic of mortgage fraud was centered on loans that the lending industry (behind closed doors) referred to as “liar’s” loans — so any regulatory leader who was not an anti-regulatory ideologue would (as we did in the early 1990s during the first wave of liar’s loans in California) have ordered banks not to make these pervasively fraudulent loans.

One of the problems was the existence of a “regulatory black hole” — most of the nonprime loans were made by lenders not regulated by the federal government. That black hole, however, conceals two broader federal anti-regulatory problems. The federal regulators actively made the black hole more severe by preempting state efforts to protect the public from predatory and fraudulent loans. Greenspan and Bernanke are particularly culpable. In addition to joining the jihad state regulation, the Fed had unique federal regulatory authority under HOEPA (enacted in 1994) to fill the black hole and regulate any housing lender (authority that Bernanke finally used, after liar’s loans had ended, in response to Congressional criticism). The Fed also had direct evidence of the frauds and abuses in nonprime lending because Congress mandated that the Fed hold hearings on predatory lending.

The S&L debacle, the Enron era frauds, and the current crisis were all driven by accounting control fraud. The three “des” are critical factors in creating the criminogenic environments that drive these epidemics of accounting control fraud. The regulators are the “cops on the beat” when it comes to stopping accounting control fraud. If they are made ineffective by the three “des” then cheaters gain a competitive advantage over honest firms. This makes markets perverse and causes recurrent crises.

From roughly 1999 to the present, three administrations have displayed hostility to vigorous regulation and have appointed regulatory leaders largely on the basis of their opposition to vigorous regulation. When these administrations occasionally blundered and appointed, or inherited, regulatory leaders that believed in regulating the administration attacked the regulators. In the financial regulatory sphere, recent examples include Arthur Levitt and William Donaldson (SEC), Brooksley Born (CFTC), and Sheila Bair (FDIC).

Similarly, the bankers used Congress to extort the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) into trashing the accounting rules so that the banks no longer had to recognize their losses. The twin purposes of that bit of successful thuggery were to evade the mandate of the Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) law and to allow banks to pretend that they were solvent and profitable so that they could continue to pay enormous bonuses to their senior officials based on the fictional “income” and “net worth” produced by the scam accounting. (Not recognizing one’s losses increases dollar-for-dollar reported, but fictional, net worth and gross income.)

When members of Congress (mostly Democrats) sought to intimidate us into not taking enforcement actions against the fraudulent S&Ls we blew the whistle. Congress investigated Speaker Wright and the “Keating Five” in response. I testified in both investigations. Why is the new House leadership announcing its intent to give a free pass to the accounting control frauds, their political patrons, and the anti-regulators that created the criminogenic environment that hyper-inflated the financial bubble that triggered the Great Recession and caused such a loss of integrity?

The anti-regulators subverted the rule of law and allowed elite frauds to loot with impunity. Why isn’t the new House leadership investigating that disgrace as one of their top priorities? Why is the new House leadership so eager to repeat the job killing mistakes of taking the regulatory cops off their beat?

Bill Black is an Associate Professor of Economics and Law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He is also a white-collar criminologist, a former senior financial regulator, a serial whistleblower, and the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One.

Category: Real Estate, Really, really bad calls, Regulation

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

40 Responses to “The Anti-Regulators Are the “Job Killers””

  1. BusSchDean says:

    Well done. A large percentage of Republicans and a significant percentage of Democrats have chosen to ignore that market operations depend on the structure of the market. Laws and regulations define that structure (which, of course, is not to say that any law or any regulation affecting business is a good one). From the S&L crisis, to the Great Recession, to Madoff — when regulators are either prevented from or fail to do their jobs markets fail to operate well. Seems simple.

    Republicans very much want to foster the development of small and medium businesses and the Democrats very much want to foster a revitalization of the middle class; they have a shared interest. Both, however, have failed to differentiate among the various pressures and policies argued to be “good for business.”

  2. ToNYC says:

    I think Bill Black might agree that these Des were all enabled by de-Education in K-12 from a firm grounding in the inviolable Laws of Nature, specifically the First and Second Law of Thermodynamics and Mathematics. The culture club of financial syndication turns entropy into cornucopia, friction into vig or juice and the corporate recruits crush to the trough. Rotten apples don’t heal.

  3. postman says:

    A comprehensive view of regulation has to realize that regulation often won’t accomplish what its proponents hope. At least the following issues must be addressed:

    1. Who will benefit from the regulatory structure or “twists” on it?
    2. How much influence will these beneficiaries have in “capturing” the regulatory stucture and bending the regulations to serve them e.g. to be especially tough on potential/actual competitiors?
    3. What unforeseen effects will the regulation have, including in sectors not directly regulated?
    4. What are the various costs of compliance (including recordekeeping and report submissions), especially inducements away from efficinet allocation of resources.
    5. Overall, what would effects be–including on jobs and businesses not created, and therefore missed in direct counts.

  4. Greg0658 says:

    heres my white paper dated Feb’04 .. published the old school way in the local newspaper … now – imo – it did no good – unless the Shorts saw it / your welcome – glad to have helped:

    Assignment: Increase Potential for New Economy Jobs

    “New Economy” what is the new economy? In my mind …
    Increasing demand for / at the same time disappearance of 20th century energy products.
    A “Market Capital System” that has found growing global markets and a cheap labor pool to support and exploit.
    Terrorism and Jihod concerns that siphon needed capitol from grass root needs.
    The “baby boomer phenomenon” that Will create a tidal wave of retiree’s … some with and many without funds for their survival.
    Disparity of the haves and have nots to maintain and/or achieve the “American Dream”.
    Pressure for relaxing the green planet initiatives to stay competitive in a world labor market place.
    A fast paced ever changing computer engineered robotic world.
    Bringing it home to our grass roots world … we will always need “the basics” … a comfortable home, good food, transportation, recreation … and education for a new economy job.

  5. tenaciousd says:

    Don’t be such a wet blanket, man. The Invisible Hand (a.k.a. the ghost of Ayn Rand) will take care of all things. Just let the high priests do their jobs, okay?

  6. FrancoisT says:

    For some detailed examples of what Prof. Black is talking about, listen to the podcast “The Watchmen” from the terrific team of This American Life and Planet Money on NPR.

    Well worth your time IMO.
    http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/382/the-watchmen and click of “Play Episode” or “Download a transcript”.

    The most amazing thing has to be that even after DonK (Dodd-Frank), you can bet your last kwacha that the regulatory situation will stay to the same of get worse. After all, according to the foremost demographers, we are in the Winter Turning of the current Saeculum; this means the looters, parasites, grafters and bandits rules the socio-economic elite, as they did during the period leading to the Great Depression.

    If the last sentence left you scratching your head, got to Amazon via this link: http://xrl.in/712z and click on “Read first chapter FREE” on the right hand side. The authors, Strauss and Howe, wrote it in 1997. They could’ve write that this morning. Eerily prescient writing of our current predicament.

  7. krice2001 says:

    Obviously there are powerful interests that want to stop any attempt at regulation. I guess we might all be inclined (or even passionate) about stopping any laws, local ordinances, etc. that we didn’t like or found inconvenient if we knew we could stop them by hiring lobbyists we could easily afford. We might also all be tempted tilt every playing field in our favor if it was easy enough to influence those who are in a position to pass or stop the laws we did or didn’t like. I guess that’s human nature.

    So far so mnay of us are in agreement about the problem, in general. But, how do the rest of us who are “less empowered” find a way to protect the country’s and everyone else’s basic interests?

  8. Greg0658 says:

    Coldplay – Clocks
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KkWGy7W3_o&ob=av2nm

    I hope ya get the ad “lipsticked giraffe” LOL

  9. royrogers says:

    no regulation is OK as long as they don’t get a bailout.
    That way other smarter institutions can take over.

  10. Sechel says:

    I’d like to see “good regulation” that is enforced. Unfortunately all too often what we have the pretense of regulation. The OTS , OCC & The Federal Reserve all too often act more as cheerleaders and industry representatives than the tough cops on the beat they were intended to be. Add to that Sarbanes Oxley which certainly seems tough on the surface requiring the CFO to sign off on the financial yet we don’t find the government prosecuting anyone for failing to follow the guidelines. Lehman, AIG & Countrywide all had regulators. So in the end all too often you get a false sense of security from the appearance of regulation.

    Follow-up point. Tim Geithner is supposed to be enforcing the systemically important provisions of Dodd-Frank, but now says, the concept is too vague to figure out who is systemically important, so we’ll probably get yet another unenforced provision.

  11. machinehead says:

    Don’t forget the ‘pro-regulators’ — the madhat central planners at the Federal Reserve, feeding Bubble III with Bensane’s zero percent interest rates.

    Welcome to the worst of both worlds. Unfortunately, a gigantic entrenched corporate client state ‘managed’ by a 150-year-old political duopoly, desperately wrestling with the tertiary stage of a collapsing social Ponzi scheme, is utterly, axiomatically incapable of reforming itself.

    UFO abduction is looking pretty appealing at this point …

  12. rdhall3637 says:

    Another example of passing the buck and not placing blame where it belongs, on the individual! At the end of the day, the mortgage crisis was caused by you and I, or anyone that took out a mortgage they could not afford. Period. Everyone needs to take accountability for their actions instead of blaming government, “anti-regulators” and big banks.

    We can look at conditions that may have fueled the fire, however be clear this is not blaming these conditions for the result. The result was still caused by the individual being negligent and making poor decisions. The price fixing of the Fed with low interest rates, along with government backing of mortgage, are clearly the two main conditions that only made the situations worse. Which is why this next bubble that the Fed is again inflating by fixing rates will only serve to be worse. Our economy cannot sustain another leg down, and the Fed does not have any bullets left other than to print more money. The argument by this writer is the same as the one we hear all over the place that the free “unregulated” market caused the crash and crisis. The market is about as free as a prisoner in a jail cell. Sure, he is free as can be if you only consider how he is allowed to move within his cell.

    ~~~

    BR: There is a difference between blaming individual home buyers (Which I do in BN) and exonerating every other fool who had a hand in the crisis.

  13. Sechel says:

    That’s my point machine head. Done wrong, regulation makes the situation worse and creates moral hazzard. The best regulation in my view is one that promotes transparency and a level playing field. Regulated institutions can pretend they are financially well managed, when they are not, and as we’ve seen the tax payer bears the risk not it’s lenders.

  14. BusSchDean says:

    Since Hamilton was Sec. of Treasury (Alexander, that is) firms have gone hat-in-hand to government. At that time the issue was less about domestic competition and more about old school mercantilism. We still have mercantilism (e.g., industry subsidies, currency manipulation, etc.) but now we have intense domestic and in some places global competition. Global players have co-opted governments to assist, all in the name of what’s “good for business.” Unfortunately what may be good for Wall Street bonuses may not be good for main street.

  15. Greg0658 says:

    “a gigantic entrenched corporate client state ‘managed’ by a 150-year-old political duopoly, desperately wrestling with the tertiary stage of a collapsing social Ponzi scheme” … good job trying to name the unnameable trouble

  16. Mysticdog says:

    SO what can be done about it? Its great to have another post pointing out that proponents of right-wing economics are full of shit, but sanity is still losing the war. Who is leading the fight back? Who is on TV, putting out the “deregulatory job-killers” meme (which is a good one)? Who is organizing rallies to demand justice?

  17. BusSchDean says:

    In old school mercantilism the merchants who benefitted had to kickback $$ to the entrenched royalty and other wealthy landholders in order to stay in their favor. Even then the entrenched power could be arbitrary, depending on what side of the royal bed they go up on that day. Now, however, the merchants who benefit just keep feeding campaign dollars (and sometimes jobs) to politicians and regulators. Its cheaper and more efficient. Thus, “progress” has been made.

  18. DeDude says:

    I have no problem with evaluating all regulation and getting rid of those that are causing more bad effects than good. However, the other side of that coin is to carefully consider what the original purpose of each regulation was and to replace those that don’t fulfill their original purpose with new effective regulations that do. I always get worried when someone refuses to look at both sides of the coin.

  19. All the regulation in the world is meaningless in the face of a government that bails out firms that fail in the marketplace. The best regulation is ever and always failure. Imposing some idealized vision of a strict regulatory regime upon the financial system, that it and everyone else now knows will only fail if the US itself fails, might look nice but would be about as effective as closing the barn door.

    What I don’t get is why so many people believe that a set of regulations can be enacted and enforced that would somehow inspire the regulated to be better, nicer, less nakedly selfish, etc., than they once were. It is an utter fantasy to imagine that the abstraction of law/regulation is capable of creating humans that are better than the ones that created the idealized abstraction. It assumes that there is some ideal to which humans can be made to aspire, unfettered and untouched by man. But humans must necessarily administer the laws and regulations they create. There is not and never has been any such thing as “rule by law and not by men”. We can’t escape ourselves just by enacting laws and regulations, and it’s high time we grew up and realized the fact.

  20. Raleighwood says:

    The Republicans will take this “deregulatory job-killers” meme and break it down to 3-5 talking points, the politicians and pundits will then all be out parroting these talking points to any camera that appears, and we the sheeple will be inundated 24/7 until we were all believers, not even aware there may be another side to the story.

    It’s the Democrats that are unable (unwilling?) to make talking points out of the converse and hit the airwaves.

  21. Greg0658 says:

    ” the other side of that coin is” .. I am Guilty .. I thought the unnameable collapse with offshore facilities for the Elite would be a killer for Joe & Jane 6pack as well as Bill & Brenda wineglass … things would be better for their childrens children (I guess) if we let Humpty Dumpty have his say .. how shortsighted of me

  22. genevakiwi says:

    what a crock. This is akin to blaming the “anti-regulators” for house price declines.
    House prices, and jobs, all enjoyed growth pre-crash through the mis-allocation of mispriced capital. Which SPECIFIC jobs have been lost that are NEEDED today?

    “The Great Recession was triggered by the collapse of the real estate bubble epidemic of mortgage fraud by lenders that hyper-inflated that bubble. That epidemic could not have happened without the appointment of anti-regulators to key leadership positions.”

    So it was the lenders that hyper-inflated the bubble huh? Not everyone out there bidding up and flipping the properties?

    I do agree the epidemic could not have happened without appointments to one key leadership position…the chairman of the Fed.

  23. Transor Z says:

    Cultures can only do a few things well and through the force of tradition transmit/inflict certain mores to/on subsequent generations. The German culture, for example, continues to bring impressive sustained collective willpower to fight inefficiency. (Obviously, notions of efficiency can be divorced from the kind of moral consensus most folks like to see, but big kudos for the sustained effort behind a shared value.) Don’t even start with me on German productivity being in decline. If you’ve spent enough time in Germany to form a comparison, you know what I’m saying.

    Where is the sustained cultural consensus focused here in the U.S.?

  24. formerlawyer says:

    One interesting article suggests that de-regulation can be of some benefit.

    http://www.frumforum.com/one-thing-carter-got-right

    There are a number of provisos, namely that railways are hotbeds of union driven regulation ie. featherbedding, “firemen” on diesel locomotives etc. Further there has bee a consolidation of epic proportions in the railway industry and the price of oil has had much to do with the switch in traffic. A notable victim has been the shortline car rental market so popular in the 1970′s.

  25. Greg0658 says:

    “featherbedding, firemen” .. huh who needs a bunch of firemen laying around doing nothin .. hey cognos

  26. Vergennes - VT says:

    Dear Mr. Ritholtz.

    Thank you for this post. Scare tactics always work and the anti-regulators know this.

    Take care,

    Vergennes -VT

  27. Kort says:

    Some stuff in here about 1994, got it. Some more stuff about the 1990′s ENRON stuff, check. Could have added in the 1990′s WorldCom MCI accounting fraud and the entire dot.com fraud period, but didn’t….ohhhkayyyyy. And could have added in 1999′s repeal of Glass Steagall Act signed by President Clinton, but didn’t mention that either. Okie dokie. Might have mentioned that Democrats took control of both Houses 48 months ago, in January 2007 , but didn’t, no problemo I guess.

    Instead, 1,000 words to say “it’s all Bush’s fault”. Great insight and analysis, Professor. Try to work some balance into your approach, otherwise it’s partisan uselessness.

  28. willid3 says:

    some how i can see the GOP as the great hope for job creation. they didn’t do very well the last time they had any say in it

    the facts seem to indicate that the party of DES isn’t interested in jobs.
    10 Year Changes in Broad Economic Measures Table
    Metric 10 Years
    Ending From To Change
    Employment 12/2010 132,347,000 130,539,000 -1.37%
    Median Household Income 12/2009 $52,388 $49,777 -4.98%
    Household Net Worth 9/2010 $55,957.73B $54,891.17B -1.91%
    Home Prices (Index) 9/2010 134.27 133.22 -0.79%
    Rent (OER Index) 11/2010 255.391 257.192 0.71%
    GDP 1 9/2010 $11,267.867B $13,278.515B 17.84%
    S&P 500 Index 2 12/2010 140.53 125.75 -10.52%
    Corporate Profits 9/2010 $645.59B $1,416.3B 119.38%
    Federal Debt 12/2010 $7,267.79B $13,834.92B 90.36%
    Health Insurance (Family) 12/2010 $8,180 $13,770 68.33%
    Oil Prices 11/2010 $41.36 $85.28 106.2%

  29. willid3 says:

    ENRON was in 2000, not 1990s. but i am sure that the problems it had were started then. you forgot WORLDCOM. but that also ended in the 2000s. a lot of what happened wasn’t just in the last 10 years, a lot of started long before then. i don’t think he was saying that it was all GWB’s fault. since the DES party (which is most of the GOP and has an arm in the DEMs too) wasn’t just in the last 10 years. it took more than 10 years to get there. more like 30 or more. its just that in the last 10 years that all of the results from the DES party finally came to roost. after all Greenie and his gang started some earlier than 2000.
    and while we can decry bad regulations (ones that seem to be written by those regulated so they don’t have competition) we can also gripe about those who don’t regulate (like those who were suppose to make oil rigs were managed correctly. instead they through parties). but considering that unless you are really rich (100 million or more) you have little chance of not being run over by the powerful. and only they can afford the lawyers to enforce their rights. every one else is out of luck

  30. rip says:

    I hate the way hitting the wrong key blows things away. Fortunately my short term memory still functions.

    No, it started with GHWBush. You know doofus’s dad. Resolution Trust Corporation proved to the big dogs they could rape and pillage , and the taxpayer would pick up the tab.

    Yeah a few guys went to jail. Guess they weren’t too well connected. Ask the Bush boys how they prospered in real estate and why. Including Jeb. Hillary was an insider too. Her firm was selling positive cash flow properties at 10 cents on the dollar and leaving J6P to pick up the difference. Want a friend? Buy a Congressman.

    They were the first to bankrupt pensioners. And then dot.com hit and erased all the tech employees dropping their coins in the corp 401K.

    Then Enron.

    And then the housing debacle.

    What could possibly be left? Health care. Or funeral services.

  31. sushisioux says:

    Mr. Black- a nice article. although i feel i’ve read it several times over the past few years. Sadly, there appears no one going to jail and neither Democrat nor Republican serious about enacting policies capable of helping everyone in the country.

    The United States since 1980 (The World Since 1980) [Paperback]
    Dean Baker
    http://www.amazon.com/United-States-since-World-Since/dp/0521677556/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1295320988&sr=1-6http://www.amazon.com/United-States-since-World-Since/dp/0521677556/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1295320988&sr=1-6

    ECONned: How Unenlightened Self Interest Undermined Democracy and Corrupted Capitalism
    Yves Smith
    http://www.amazon.com/ECONned-Unenlightened-Undermined-Democracy-Capitalism/dp/0230620515/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1295321285&sr=1-1

  32. obsvr-1 says:

    Prof. Black is spot on with his analysis and message regarding the systemic corruption in the FIRE and Executive Branch charged with regulating the industry.

    Obama promised to shut the revolving door and get rid of the lobby influence in government. Where is the leadership in the Executive Branch to heed this message, kick butts and take names ?! — wow what a lie and disappointment from President Obama, seems the biggest revolving door is at the WH and the lobbyist will have to take over more than just K-st.

    Where are the IG’s within the executive branch who have the responsibility to oversee the regulators and the DOJ to investigate and prosecute crime (whether in the private sector or in gov’t).

    Ending the FED would eliminate the source of the problem and many of the regulators – no longer needed.
    Follow the path set forth by the American Monetary Institute (American Monetary Act) to
    end the Federal Reserve (FED), which will end the banking cartel and their monopoly control of money (debt) issuance. Change the money supply from a debt issuance (mmt) to a money issuance and ending Fractional Reserve Lending backed by the government (taxpayer) thereby ending the moral hazard that is endemic within the FED system.

    This will result in Nationalizing the monetary system (money), very import NOT to confuse this with Nationalizing banking. The issuance of money would be under congressional oversight and accountability to the people (voter). The US Treasury department would take on the responsibility for economic research and monitoring to ensure that the money supply maintains a neutral inflation/deflation policy supporting the needs of the economy. Banking will still be a private sector activity but constrained by the free and competitive market forces (invisible hand). Fractional capital (reserve) lending would still be possible but highly unlikely due to the risk being born by the private investors of the bank and NOT backed by the FF&C of the US gov’t (taxpayer).

    Governmental structural reforms are required to conform and support Constitutionally sound principles aligned to the intent of minimizing government and ensuring the checks and balances between the Legislative, Judicial and Executive branches as envisioned by the founders of the constitution are maintained. Break the goals of a bureaucracy, which is to sustain and grow the bureaucracy, by applying Occam’s philosophy: “Entities should NOT be multiplied more than necessary”.

    In any system there is a need for regulation (negative feedback, counter cyclicality) to overcome either open-loop runaway or pro-cyclical expansion; perhaps call this the “other invisible hand” that slaps down corruption and bureaucracies.

    How do the people reading this thread and wanting to support the efforts of Prof Black and others help get this message more broadly exposed, send copies of the articles to your congressional delegation with a call to action to make the structural changes needed to end this insanity before the system collapses upon itself.

  33. kenny powers says:

    The Great Recession was triggered by the collapse of the real estate bubble epidemic of mortgage fraud by lenders that hyper-inflated that bubble. That epidemic could not have happened without the appointment of anti-regulators to key leadership positions.

    Sure, but:
    Nor could it have happened without the congressional housing act, bastardized Keynesian policies and low interesst rates. As interest sensitive sectors boomed, then busted, so did jobs in real estate, construction and finance. This is a complex issue, and this was a simplified and therefore inaccurate explanation.

  34. DeDude says:

    “Where are the IG’s within the executive branch who have the responsibility to oversee the regulators and the DOJ to investigate and prosecute crime (whether in the private sector or in gov’t)”

    Unfortunately because of deregulation the things that were done were legal. DOJ cannot get you unless your despicable acts are illegal. With the corporate takeover of government white color crime has move to a new phase where it isn’t even a crime anymore. Just look at he banks marking at full book value loans that are way under water and have not had a payment for over a year, just so that the CEO can get his bonus and sell his own stocks before the sh!t hits the fan.

  35. rip says:

    Does anybody out there remember how the head of GSA signed off and why?

    And what has not changed since.

    The irony is true historians will record this era as as corrupt as the Lincoln era.

    And Slick Willie escaped.

  36. number2son says:

    What I don’t get is why so many people believe that a set of regulations can be enacted and enforced that would somehow inspire the regulated to be better, nicer, less nakedly selfish, etc., than they once were

    A curmudgeonly misunderstanding of cause and effect? Of course, it’s the whole point that regulation won’t change the nature of those regulated. It will however, as has been demonstrated conclusively, constrain them from acting accordingly.

  37. [...] we noted with great interest Black’s essay, “The Anti-Regulators are Job Killers,” posted at The Big [...]

  38. [...] a piece that blamed the “anti-regulators” for the housing and financial crisis, The Anti-regulators are the Job Killers.  Mr. Black is an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri, Kansas [...]

  39. lexalexander says:

    [[What could possibly be left? Health care. Or funeral services.]] — rip

    Why, Social Security, of course. And they’re coming for that, too, in case you hadn’t noticed.