Posts filed under “Regulation”
“We are in the business of making mistakes. The only difference between the winners and the losers is that the winners make small mistakes, while the losers make big mistakes.” -Ned Davis
I began my career in finance on a trading desk. You learn some things very early on in that sort of situation. One of the most important things is that while it’s OK to be wrong, it can be fatal to stay wrong.
Unfortunately, that standard doesn’t apply to people whose work isn’t evaluated on a daily and objective basis via their profit and loss results. In many fields, such as politics and policy-making, there are lots of shades of gray when it comes to being right or wrong.
And quite bluntly, that is a shame. As a society and a nation, we would all be better off if the people who are consistently wrong paid some sort of price for those errors. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen enough these days.
Some bad policy decisions will lead to the occasional elected official being turned out of office. That — unfortunately — is the exception, not the rule. I doubt history will rank George W. Bush and Barack Obama among our great presidents , but both were re-elected despite being unpopular. Between gerrymandered congressional districts and apathetic voters, even the most incompetent elected official has almost lifetime tenure.
What underlies all of this nonrecourse bad policy? It is much more than corporate lobbying and partisan politics. The worst of today’s political malfeasance is being driven by failed ideologies. Zombie ideas that refuse to die have become enshrined in our collective intellectual legacy. The people behind these have been insulated from the economic costs they impose.
Blame the billionaires.
This week’s Masters in Business Radio show is on at 10:00 am and 6:00 pm on Bloomberg Radio 1130AM and Siriux XM 119. Our guest is former FDIC chairman Sheila Bair. You can also find at Bairblog. Her book on her time at the FDIC and the financial crisis is Bull by the Horns: Fighting…Read More
Of all the outrages endured during the financial crisis, perhaps the most perplexing involved money-market mutual funds. In an example of moral hazard writ large, this uninsured risk instrument — with $2.57 trillion in assets — somehow became too big to fail. Five years later, the Securities and Exchange Commission is finally taking steps to…Read More
Click to see an interactive graphic. Source: WSJ
This week in encouraging news, we learn that the Securities and Exchange Commission may finally be pursuing one of the prime enablers of the financial crisis — the ratings companies. Previously, it was reported that disclosure violations were on the SEC’s radar, but truth be told, those are minor offenses. The SEC’s Office of Credit…Read More