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January 29, 2015

Republicans Launch Another Wall Street Gimmie: HR 185, the “Tie Regulators in Knots” Act

“The Republicans are not wasting any time in their ongoing campaign to make sure nothing stands in the way of Wall Street’s rapacious quest for more profits.

“The latest example is a bill that is going largely under the radar was tabled last week, HR 185. It has yet another Orwellian name, “Regulatory Accountability Act of 2015.” It’s basically a requirement that regulators do the research of anti-regulation lobbyists on the public dime. I’m not making that up. From the summary of the bill at the Library of Congress:

“The bill requires agencies to publish advance notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register for major rules and for high-impact rules (rules having an annual cost on the economy of $100 million or $1 billion or more, respectively) and for negative-impact on jobs and wages rules and those that involve a novel legal or policy issue arising out of statutory mandates. The notice must include a written statement identifying the nature and significance of the problem the agency may address with a rule, the legal authority under which the rule may be proposed, the nature of and potential reasons to adopt a novel legal or policy position, and a solicitation for written data, views, or arguments from interested persons.

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“Better Markets weighed in on this noxious bill. From their letter:

“HR 185 is nothing more than a disguised pro-Wall Street deregulation bill.  It is as if people – in just a few short years – forgot the crisis of 2008, which was the worst financial crash since 1929 and caused the worst economy since the Great Depression of the 1930s.  H.R. 185 also ignores the fact that the crash, which is going to cost the U.S. more than $12.8 trillion plus untold human suffering by tens of millions of Americans who lost their jobs, savings, homes, retirements, and so much more, was largely caused by lack of regulation and de-regulation, not by too much regulation or bad regulation.

“A key example of a dangerous provision in H.R. 185 is the requirement that would force financial protection agencies to undertake an exhaustive and quantitative so-called “cost-benefit analysis” for every major rulemaking.  Don’t be misled by the labeling.  As has been repeatedly shown over the years, such so-called “cost benefit analysis” is little more than “industry cost only analysis” that prioritizes Wall Street’s interests over the public interest.  As Better Markets detailed in an extensive report, the type of “industry cost only analysis” required by H.R. 185 would effectively kill financial reform, take down key rules that protect Main Street from Wall Street, and possibly lead to another devastating financial crash. 

“In effect, H.R. 185 would hand a lethal club to Wall Street, the very industry that crashed the financial system – and cost tens of millions of Americans their jobs, savings, homes, retirements, and economic security.  Armed with this bill, Wall Street can beat back rules by arguing that the costs imposed on them to prevent them from crashing the financial system again should be more important than the benefit to the public of preventing such a crash.  This shamelessly turns the world upside down, effectively re-victimizing the American people who have suffered and continue to suffer from the last crisis.”

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Read the full Naked Capitalism piece by Yves Smith here

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