Want to help the economy and create jobs? Well, roll back those government regulations! It's a talking point trumpeted by nearly every Republican politician. But would less regulation really spur hiring?
JP Morgan Chase chief Jamie Dimon calls new bank rules being developed by global finance ministers "anti-American," and says the United States should consider pulling out, according to an interview published Monday.
Federal regulators on Thursday updated senators on the progress of financial system reforms that went into law a year ago, and they defended against criticisms about the pace at which reforms are being implemented.
I realize the next sentence will prompt many readers to thrust a finger above their shoulders in order to play a sad song on the world's smallest violin, but here goes: Bank stocks have been taken to the woodshed this year.
Dick Kelly wishes he knew what his industry should do. "If we had a national policy and knew what the rules were, we could take action," says Kelly, CEO of Xcel Energy and chairman of the Edison Electric Institute, the association of shareholder-owned electric utilities. But Kelly's industry knows only that momentous changes in the federal laws governing it are probably on the way; what those changes might be, and when they might happen, managers have no idea. So they "are holding up decisions," Kelly says, on multibillion-dollar investments to convert old coal-fired power plants to natural gas. "Is there going to be a price on carbon?" he asks. "Will there be a timeline? Will we have to use a certain percentage of renewables?" No one knows, so nothing is happening.
The sweeping financial reform bill passed by Congress this year is often referred to as a Wall Street reform bill. But one CEO of a mid-sized Midwestern regional bank that will be affected by the new law is tired of hearing that.
The Federal Reserve has 50 new rules to write, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has 44 new rules to write. The Securities and Exchange Commission has 100 rules and 20 studies on its plate. And Treasury has two new agencies and an oversight council to set up.
Accounting -- exciting? After a global financial crisis that hinged on the misvaluation of assets, it's a lot more interesting than it used to be, and even more interesting if you're running one of the Big Four accounting firms. Talk about juggling constituencies: Ernst & Young CEO James Turley must respond to newly skittish clients, to recession victims who think accountants failed at their job, and to regulators worldwide who are certain that accounting rules must be changed -- they're just not sure how.