Archive for the ‘Dodd/Frank Financial Regulations’ Category


Friday, September 5th, 2014



July/August 2014

Renewing the American Idea

Paul Ryan
U.S. House of Representatives

PAUL RYAN is the United States Representative for Wisconsin’s First Congressional District, where he was first elected in 1998. He is the chairman of the House Budget Committee and a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee. A lifelong resident of Wisconsin, Ryan holds a degree in economics and political science from Miami University in Ohio.

The following is adapted from an Independence Day Address delivered on July 15, 2014, at Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C.

EXCERPT FROM THIS ARTICLE:   Having endured for over 100 years, the Constitution was a victim of its own success. As our cities grew more crowded—and our economy more prosperous and unpredictable—some came to believe the Constitution was obsolete. For the first time, it was said that we needed a wholesale change. The Founding project was over, some argued, and the age of “administration” had begun. Newer and more complicated times called for a “living” Constitution, one whose meaning did not rest on fixed principles but changed according to the prevailing winds of time. In this Progressive vision, self-government should give way to technical expertise, to professional bureaucrats governing according to centralized plans.

The Founders believed in the ability of men and women to govern themselves and distrusted unchecked power, which is why they limited government and promoted a robust civil society. Progressives believed in a much larger and more active central government that reaches further and further into our lives and shrinks the scope of civil society. Unfortunately, through fits and starts over the course of the 20th century, the Progressive view came to dominate the modern Democratic Party—and to cloud Republican thinking as well. This is the core problem we face today.

You might think it’s a little late to give an Independence Day address, but New York’s delegates to the Continental Congress didn’t vote to approve the Declaration of Independence until July 15. So I’d like to think I’m fashionably late—or as they’d say in New York, “right on time.” But the topic is always timely, because the Declaration of Independence remains the defining statement of the American Idea and the greatest political statement of human liberty.

We all know the stories about how the American Revolution was a difficult and often desperate struggle. But we forget in hindsight how unlikely it was that our forefathers would succeed. Many times defeat seemed all but inevitable. Yet that small band of patriot-statesmen achieved victory against a long-established ruler of seemingly unlimited power and authority. They did so by remaining dedicated to America’s cause and to each other . . . fighting hard at every turn . . . knowing that their success or failure would determine whether they, or possibly any people, would ever fight again for the great cause of self-government.

America has survived many great trials, and it has prospered and endured. I believe we are in a period of great trial again. Yet I am confident that our country can survive, prosper, and endure for generations to come. But all this depends—as it did in the spring of 1776, and in the fall of 1860, and at the end of 1941—on how we act to shape the course of events.

On the surface, the problem seems obvious: Our current president treats the rule of law like a rule of thumb. But look more closely, and you’ll see the problem isn’t this president—or at least not only this president. When he leaves office, there will be plenty of politicians like him ready to take his place. All he’s done is continue to empower a certain governing philosophy—one at odds with our Founding principles. This governing philosophy has been gaining ground for a very long time, and continues to do so. The point is, the opponents of American conservatism see politics as a long-term project; we conservatives need to do the same.

In everything we do—in every policy we propose—we need to renew the American Idea. Conservatism in our nation is not about the past. It’s not a misty-eyed nostalgia for a world that’s come and gone. And it’s not a skittish disposition to “go it slow”—to tinker around the edges. Nor is American conservatism about blind opposition to government. For sure, government today is too big, bureaucratic, inefficient, and unaccountable. But we must not jettison the very rule of law that shields our liberty. No, American conservatism is about conserving something—principles that are timeless because they are true—to be renewed and applied in our time. (more…)



Monday, November 25th, 2013


Obama’s Policies Have Helped Wall St. Fat Cats

By Jack Kelly – November 24, 2013

Jack Kelly is a columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Blade of Toledo, Ohio.

Page Printed from: at November 24, 2013 – 08:37:14 PM CST

The number of Americans living in poverty rose by the equivalent of the population of Massachusetts during President Barack Obama’s first term. By the time his second ends, “black people will have lost ground in every single leading economic indicator category,” television talk show host Tavis Smiley said last month.

From 2009 to 2012, the top 1 percent received 95 percent of income gains, a study by University of California-Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez indicated.

That’s where you find the “superstars” who make megabucks in sports, entertainment, technology and finance, said economists Steven Kaplan and Joshua Rauh. You’d expect them to do better.

But during the presidency of George W. Bush, the top 1 percent garnered just 65 percent of income growth, Prof. Saez said.

The stock market has set all-time highs despite mostly dismal economic news — thanks to “quantitative easing” (money creation) by the Federal Reserve Board. The top 1 percent own 83 percent of U.S. stocks.

The boon to Wall Street has been a blow to the middle class. Near-zero interest rates undermine savings.

QE was supposed to make credit available to “Main Street” businesses crunched by the recession. That didn’t happen, said Andrew Huszar, point man for the Fed’s bond purchases. (more…)



Sunday, October 27th, 2013


Using ‘Disclosure’ to Silence Corporate America


The Soros-funded ‘CPA-Zicklin Index’ is merely a weapon against business.


Jonathan Macey 



Oct. 22, 2013



EXCERPT FROM THIS ARTICLE:  The presumption that more disclosure by corporations is necessarily good for investors is also deeply flawed. U.S. companies must compete in a highly politicized world in which engagement in politics—and with politicians—is, unfortunately, necessary. In the context of antitrust, intellectual property, securities regulation, environmental law and many other fields, engagement in politics often is essential for survival. Boards of directors’ fiduciary duties to maximize shareholder value often require that companies engage with the politicians who control the competitive and regulatory environment in which they operate.

While the Center for Political Accountability purports to care only about disclosure, it is in fact part of a war in which activists try to silence pro-business points of view by using disclosure to name and shame the companies that speak up for U.S. business.

A key ally in this effort is the Coalition for Accountability in Political Spending (CAPS), which, like the Center for Political Accountability, is funded by Mr. Soros’s Open Society Institute. Founded by New York City Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio, CAPS aims “to direct corporate America to change its ways,” promising to “inflict economic damage on offending companies.” The clear goal of these activists isn’t disclosure but unilateral business disarmament.


Many American businesses are mulling the latest results of the annual “CPA-Zicklin Index,” which purports to use empirical methods to measure the accountability and transparency of spending by publicly held companies. The index is a joint project of the George Soros -backed Center for Political Accountability and the Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

A word to company officers and shareholders: Ignore the index. It is another salvo by activists in the continuing political war against corporate America. (more…)



Thursday, September 19th, 2013




Saturday, February 23rd, 2013



DECKER: 5 Questions with BB&T’s John Allison

‘It’s easier for government to control a few large institutions’

By Brett M. Decker– Brett M. Decker, former Editorial Page Editor for The Washington Times, was an editorial page writer and editor for the Wall Street Journal in Hong Kong, Senior Vice President of the Export-Import Bank, Senior Vice President of Pentagon Federal Credit Union, speechwriter to then-House Majority Whip (later Majority Leader) Tom DeLay and reporter and television producer for the legendary Robert

Friday, May 11, 2012

  • John A. Allison is the former chairman and CEO of BB&T Corporation, where he started working in 1971. Under Mr. Allison’s leadership, BB&T grew from $4.5 billion in assets to $152 billion, becoming America’s 10th largest financial services company and earning the bank’s chairman a spot on Harvard Business Review’s list of top 100 most successful CEOs in the world. Currently a distinguished professor at Wake Forest University’s School of Business, Mr. Allison is also a leader for Job Creators Alliance, a group of entrepreneurs who promote pro-growth policies to support small business. You can find out more at

EXCERPT FROM THIS ARTICLE: Allison: If you want to centrally manage an economy, control the allocation of capital. Dodd-Frank is a dramatic move toward statism (i.e., crony socialism) as government bureaucrats can practically decide which industries, companies and consumers have available credit. Dodd-Frank encourages more consolidation in the banking industry and instead of eliminating “too big to fail,” makes this practice a permanent public policy. It is easier for the centralized government authorities to control a few large institutions than many small companies.

Decker: You told me you couldn’t create your company in today’s environment. That’s quite a startling statement about such a successful business. Why not?

Allison: BB&T grew through local decision-making and personalized service focused on small businesses and the middle market. The current regulatory environment not only imposes extraordinary cost on smaller financial institutions, it makes it difficult to treat each customer as a special individual. Personalized service is now considered by the regulators to be “disparate” treatment. Small-business lending is part science and part art. It is extraordinarily difficult to execute a personalized value proposition with bank examiners micromanaging every decision.

Decker: Banks are used as whipping boys to impute blame for the collapse of the housing market, but government played a central role in the mortgage crisis. Can you explain how Washington intervention manipulated the market with such disastrous results?

Allison: Government policy is the primary cause of the financial crisis. The Federal Reserve “printed” too much money in the early 2000s to avoid a mild recession, which led to a massive misinvestment. The misinvestment was focused in the housing market due to the affordable housing (subprime) lending policies imposed by Congress on the giant Government Sponsored Enterprises (Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae), which would never have existed in a free market. When Freddie and Fannie failed, they owed $5.5 trillion and had $2 trillion in subprime loans. Because Freddie/Fannie had such a dominate share of home-mortgage lending in the United States (75 percent), they drove down the lending standards for the whole industry. (more…)



Sunday, November 25th, 2012


The Wall Street Journal

  • November 23, 2012

Here Comes the Regulatory Flood

Costly rules held up for the election are about to roll over the economy.

  • President Obama’s hyperactive regulators went on hiatus in 2011 to get through Election Day. Now with his second term secure, they’re about to make up for lost time and then some.

The government defines “economically significant” rules as those that impose annual costs of $100 million or more, and the Bush, Clinton and Bush Administrations each ended up finalizing about 45 major rules per year. The average over Mr. Obama’s first two years was 63 but then plunged to 44 for 2011 and 2012 so far. The bureaucracies didn’t slow down. They merely postponed and built up a backlog that is about to hit the Federal Register.

We’d report the costs of the major-rule pipeline if we had current data. But the White House budget office document known as the unified agenda that reveals the regulations under development hasn’t been published since fall 2011. The delay violates multiple federal laws and executive orders that require an agenda every six months, so we thought readers might like a rough guide to the regulatory flood that is about to roll through the economy.

• Health care. It begins with the Affordable Care Act, which has been in hibernation because it was the largest campaign liability. Since Election Day, the Health and Human Services Department has submitted a raft of key health rules for White House review that it has been sitting on for months.

Hiding the details paid off politically but also undermined ObamaCare’s already slim prospects for success. Ahead of the law’s go-live date of October 2013, states and industries will have less than a year to prepare to meet the new mandates.

Three of the rules were released right before Thanksgiving, so insurers are only now about to learn how they’ll design and price coverage, since one new rule defines “essential benefits” they must include. Another deals with limits on how premiums can vary from person to person based on risk. (more…)



Thursday, September 27th, 2012


The Wall Street Journal

  • September 26, 2012

Dodd-Frank’s ‘Orderly Liquidation’ Is Out

of Order

South Carolina, Oklahoma and Michigan join a federal lawsuit to uphold property rights and checks and balances.


Mr. Pruitt is attorney general of Oklahoma. Mr. Wilson is attorney general of South Carolina.

EXCERPT FROM THIS ARTICLE:  Title II eliminates all meaningful judicial review and due process. Once the Treasury secretary orders the liquidation of a financial company, the company has only 24 hours to convince a federal court to overturn that order. Unless the court somehow manages to decide the entire case in the company’s favor before the clock expires, the government wins by default and can begin to liquidate the company even as appeals are pending. Dodd-Frank further limits the authority of the courts by prohibiting them from reviewing whether the Treasury secretary’s decision was constitutional, or whether the liquidation is actually necessary to protect financial stability.

The Treasury secretary’s largely unaccountable decisions in these cases will put investments at risk, and creditors won’t know until it is too late. Dodd-Frank prohibits the company from disclosing the liquidation threat before the district court decides the case. Once the liquidation goes forward, the creditors’ only recourse will be to plead their case before the FDIC, with minimal judicial review—meaning that creditors’ recoveries are “likely to be close to zero,” as bankruptcy scholars Douglas Baird and Edward Morrison have put it.

‘The tendency of the law must always be to narrow the field of uncertainty.” Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote that more than a century ago, but the sentiment runs all the way to our nation’s roots. Under our Constitution, the rule of law provides the certainty and transparency necessary to protect individual liberty and support economic growth.

But the 2010 federal financial-reform law known as Dodd-Frank continues to undermine economic growth and the rule of law by injecting immense uncertainty into our economy. As law professor David Skeel demonstrated recently in these pages, the law’s Title II gives the Treasury secretary and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. unprecedented authority to “liquidate” financial companies. This grants immense power to a handful of unelected federal bureaucrats, empowering them to pick winners and losers among a liquidated company’s investors. This arrangement destroys rights long protected by bankruptcy law. (more…)



Tuesday, August 7th, 2012




Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012
Published on The Weekly Standard (

Obamacare for the Financial Industry

The disastrous Dodd-Frank Act.

Peter J. WallisonPeter J. Wallison is Arthur F. Burns fellow in financial policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute.

April 9 – April 16, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 29

EXCERPT FROM THIS ARTICLE:  The chairman of this body, [Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC)], is the secretary of the Treasury. Right away, this should raise red flags. The secretary, a top officer of every administration, has now been given authority, through the FSOC, over all the financial regulators. To put this in perspective, before Dodd-Frank, Treasury and White House staffs were forbidden to contact the independent regulatory agencies about policy matters, except under special circumstances, for fear of political interference—or the appearance of political interference—in matters of regulatory policy. Under Dodd-Frank, the council is also exempt from the Federal Advisory Committee Act, so its meetings are not open to the press or public…….

Nor is the Treasury secretary’s power under the Dodd-Frank Act limited to control over SIFIs (systemically important financial institution). Any financial firm is subject to seizure by the secretary if he believes that it is in danger of failure and that its failure will cause financial instability. If the firm objects, it can request a court hearing, but the hearing is secret (it’s even a crime to disclose it) and the court has a single day to make a decision. If the court does not act, the secretary can seize the firm and hand it over to the FDIC for liquidation. Needless to say, once that happens, the usefulness of further appeals is vitiated.

All the Republican presidential candidates have called for repeal of the Dodd-Frank Act. Foreign governments are sending delegations to Washington to complain about the act’s Volcker Rule. Eighteen months after the legislation was signed into law, the president had to make a clearly unconstitutional recess appointment in order to get a director for the act’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau past near-unanimous GOP opposition in the Senate. In the midst of a housing depression, the entire private housing finance system has ground to a halt while waiting for the regulators to define something Dodd and Frank called the Qualified Residential Mortgage. Yet none of these consequential events has moved discussion of the Dodd-Frank Act from the business pages to the front pages, or warranted more than a mention on the evening news. As a result, most Americans have no idea how radical this legislation really is.

The best way to understand the Dodd-Frank Act is to think of it as Obamacare for the financial industry. Like its health care counterpart, it leaves the members of the massive financial services industry as privately owned firms, but blankets them with so much regulation that they are no longer really independent operators. If the act is fully implemented, a U.S. industry once so aggressive and innovative that it came to dominate the world’s financial markets will be reduced to a ward of the U.S. government. The current controversies over the Volcker Rule and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, for all the attention they have drawn, are really minor matters compared with the overall structure and effect of the act. Indeed, its most significant elements are hardly discussed at all, even on the business pages. (more…)



Thursday, April 26th, 2012

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