Investigate before you regulate

Democrats, reeling from their stinging Massachusetts’ defeat, have relaunched their populist “Wall Street v. Main Street” rhetoric. Their push for a massive regulatory overhaul poses dangers for the GOP, who should not fall in the trap. Voters are justifiably angry over government bailouts of the banking industry, who played a central role in our economic mess. The GOP should not defend the indefensible, and would do better to channel voter outrage into exposing the Obama administration’s role in banking bailouts, and the fraud that is the Federal Reserve.

The GOP should not defend the indefensible. The banking industry played a central role in our financial mess. This was predictable (and predicted) given the industry’s role in our monetary system, and its accompanying relationship with Washington. Contrary to popular mythology, the Federal Reserve’s primary purpose is not financial stability, but facilitating deficit spending through (inflationary) monetary expansion. It pumps money into the banking system through low interest rates, encouraging financial risk-taking (risk-taking worsened by the FDIC’s insurance of potential losses). The revolving doors between the major banks, the Federal Reserve, and the Treasury ensure that financial regulation is little more than a political smokescreen.

Rather than stand against regulation, the GOP should go on the offensive and demand that Obama and the Democrats do it right this time – look before they leap (“investigate before you regulate”). The Democrat approach (rushing through massive spending bills that no one has read) hurts taxpayers. The GOP should join in the call for financial overhaul, but demand investigations and hearings first – into administration officials’ roles in the bank bailouts (e.g., Treasury Secretary Geithner’s role in the AIG bailout), who was responsible for the auto bailouts (socialization of GM and Chrysler) and identification of an exit strategy, and auditing the Federal Reserve.

The GOP should put the Democrats on defense. Let it be the Democrats who block regulatory overhaul, by stonewalling investigations into our financial system and the bailouts. Our money and banking system is fundamentally unsound, and in need of dramatic overhaul. But, the Obama administration’s proposals are merely political opportunism and window dressing. They are, in fact, an attempt to redirect the wave of voter outrage that is fueling the tea parties. The GOP should neither be the target of that outrage nor allow it to be coopted, but redirect it into getting to the bottom of the bailouts.

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