Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Better Bills

Yesterday, we asked why might Congressional bills be so long?

Despite the massive size of the financial reform bill, it may be the content, not the length, that is problematic.  From Monday's New York Times:

As Democrats close in on their goal of overhauling the nation’s financial regulations, several prominent experts say that the legislation does not even address the right problems, leaving the financial system vulnerable to another major crisis.
Some point to specific issues left largely untouched, like the instability of capital markets that provide money for lenders, or the government’s role in the housing market, including the future of the housing finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Others simply argue that it is premature to pass sweeping legislation while so much about the crisis remains unclear and so many inquiries are in progress.
 Specifically, there IS a federal Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission that is supposed to be reporting on the causes of the crisis.  Congress created it and asked it to report in December of 2010.  Without a sound understanding of such causes, it would seem that a solution would be premature, no?  So why the rush to legislate before the report you asked for is due?

One reason, unfortunately, might be found in Congressional Quarterly's (subscription required) current cover story about how Democrats are looking to re-brand their populist image and tap into the public's general anger in time to avoid major losses in the up-coming November elections:
The debate over financial services regulation, which was engaged on the Senate floor last week and is expected to dominate Congress this month, is a template for the Democrats’ new game plan for rebranding and promoting some of their longstanding initiatives.
Whether bills have been considered thoroughly, and through the regular order, is a better yardstick by which to measure than length.

No comments: