Blogger: Let the Market Do Its Job

Lora Bentley

As the idea of U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's plan to regulate the financial markets continues to percolate in the minds of observers, more of them are beginning to speak out. Take, for instance, The Motley Fool's Chuck Saletta. In a piece published Tuesday, he says:

Bad regulations passed in a panic during a crisis may be worse than the disease they're trying to cure.... The very concept of a market stability regulator should send shivers up your spine. If there is any lesson to be learned from the current subprime meltdown, it's this: Risk cannot be eliminated, only transferred.

And if the "current subprime meltdown" says anything about the last legislation that was passed in a panic -- Sarbanes-Oxley -- it's that the law failed miserably, Saletta says. After all, the subprime problem resulted from the very "off the balance sheet accounting" that Sarbanes-Oxley was enacted to prevent.


What's more, he says, in his opinion the Federal Reserve should carry the blame for a lot of what's happening now in the market. The organization has cut rates in a panic, made the liquidity problem worse by "undercut[ting] the cost of private money," and "killed capitalism by eliminating risk."


His solution, however, is simple:

Stop. The. Madness. Let. The. Market. Work. It governs far better than any financial regulator ever can, no matter how pristine its intentions.

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Apr 17, 2008 8:46 AM Robert Last Robert Last  says:
The only people that don't want more regulation of the financial industry are those that don't have to worry about a forclosed house next door to them. Like the fools at Enron a lot of people got greedy, lazy and forgot to think about the long term. Consequently, millions of "ordinary" people have had their lives devasted, while folks that can afford to lose money and not live in devastated neighborhoods are complaining about increased regulation that will protect the rest of us.When are you people going to realize that being so obviously greedy and narcisstic is creating a growing class-divide that will make the 1960's unrest look like a tea party? Reply
Apr 17, 2008 9:17 AM Richard Richard  says:
The market works, but as economists are all aware, it only works when there is synchronous information. And that really doesn't exist -- not in the mortgage market, not in the securities market, not even in the supermarket.When brokers, bankers and businessmen try to take advantage of their superior knowledge to the detriment of the customers, then regulation is needed. If not regulation, then at least more -- considerably more -- oversight is warranted. Reply
Apr 17, 2008 9:52 AM Chris R. Chris R.  says:
Robert - I have to strongly disagree with your take on this. And Richard, about this:"When brokers, bankers and businessmen try to take advantage of their superior knowledge to the detriment of the customers, then regulation is needed."Why stop there? Let's regulate used car salesmen while were at it. Let's get so lazy intellectually, that we let everyone else make decisions for us. Why find out the facts for ourselves? Why research into making important decisions? Let's believe and buy every cheesy sales-pitch we have ever heard of. Skepticism? Bah! No such thing, everyone is nice and friendly and not out to make a living off you! It has become a really sad situation where everyone expects the government to solve and regulate "everything", or bail them out of bankruptcy. I agree. Let the market correct itself. You ever heard the saying "buying a house is one of the most important decisions one can make"? It's your own fault if you bought something you couldn't afford, or if it was too risky financially. The banks and mortgage companies didn't force people to buy their house. That's not anyone's problem but their own. The banks and mortgage companies are suffering plenty now, with foreclosures abound (no mortgage payments to receive). So let's bite the hand that feeds? Sounds like a lousy solution to me. So if you want to point fingers at mean and nasty greedy people as the "excuse" to your incompetence, that's fine with me, as long as I don't have to bankroll it. Reply
Apr 17, 2008 10:28 AM Matt Matt  says:
People need to live within their means, as do businesses. If people got houses they couldn't afford, perhaps they should have purchased a less expensive house or wait until they could afford one. The subprime mortgage lenders made poor decisions, and should not be bailed out for it. Note that not all banks pursued these loans, and the ones that kept on the course that made them successful in the past are still doing okay. My wife and I are not wealthy. Consequently, we did not choose a house that would eat up the vast majority of our monthly income. These are decisions that people have to live with, just as we decided not to 'keep up with the Joneses'. Reply
Apr 17, 2008 10:46 AM Ed Brann Ed Brann  says:
Lets see. We started with President Regan deregulating everything and we got:The failed Savings and Loan industry.The failed Enron's of the power industriesThe failed MCIs of the communications industries.The failed Banking industry.I want to go back to all of the regulations that President Regan's administration abolished. That would be a start.Then hirer 3 times more government auditors to make sure the regulations were being enforced. Then make all penalties include manditory jail time just like dope dealers.President Regans idea of smaller govenment included few auditors to check on the few regulations that were still inplace. There are fewer government employees, but 4 times as many outsource contractors that are costing 3 times the government saleries.Any business will do everything it can to make a profit within the limits of the law or regulations to the detriment of the general public or stock holders. Just look around for all the examples you need.Some even go outside the law but we do not have the regulators to catch them, so whats the big deal. Business as usual. The government will bail out a big business that is in trouble so there isn't any down side to doing what ever they want to do.I want that deal with my credit card company.And don't get me started on the US being a corporate welfare state. Just read the book "Free Lunch" and "Perfectly Legal" by David Cay Johnston. Its enough to make a middle class, grown man cry and get vey upset with the government as a whole. I am an Independent that cannot see a good choice period. Reply
Apr 18, 2008 5:45 PM D Starns D Starns  says:
Are you nuts? A certain basic amount of "regulations" are critically necessary to maintain the integrity of the market. This debacles unequivocally PROVES that "INDUSTRY SELF REGULATION SIMPLY DOES NOT WORK. As noted by members of the Fed, all that was needed was 'common sense" regulation that all loan applicants be FULLY QUALIFIED. The "flow" was that Greenspan, who believes in the industry self regulated "free market economy would not address that matter . . . and we now are seeing the results of that. Reply
Sep 19, 2008 9:17 AM Diogenes Diogenes  says:
once again the statists who believe "regulation" is the magic genie that will flash a wand and solve all our problems. And to Ed, you have exactly given the problems that were created BECAUSE of regulation."The failed Savings and Loan industry.The failed Enrons of the power industriesThe failed MCIs of the communications industries.The failed Banking industry."savings and loan industry, that's individual choices made by banks and individuals. This is not a failure of regulation, and also, taxpayers had to bail this out again..Enron? That's accounting fraud. No amount of regulation will fix accounting fraud AFTER it's occuredTelecommuncations industry failure? Yeah maybe because the government was in bed with AT&T and gave it a defacto monopoly? They call this a "state sanctioned monopoly"failed banking industry? What the hell are you talking about? The only time banks are a failure are when they are backed and pampered by government Central Banks and not with their own money Reply

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