McCain’s Record On Economic Reform: ‘Zero’

A new ad released this morning by the McCain campaign states, “Our economy in crisis. Only proven reformers John McCain and Sarah Palin can fix it.” In a statement today, McCain said he will “replace the outdated and ineffective patchwork quilt of regulatory oversight in Washington” and bring “accountability to Wall Street.” That promise rings hollow considering he has the former lobbyists of AIG, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, and Bank of America on his campaign staff.

On Bloomberg Television this weekend, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank noted that, as a leader in the Senate Republican caucus, McCain did nothing for years to deliver reform in the face an impending credit crisis:

So here’s the record – 12 years of Republicans, including John McCain being a committee chairman for much of that period. Zero – zero enactment of any reform. Democrats take power, and in a year and a half, we have passed a bill that did everything the administration asked for, in terms of enhancing the regulatory structure.

Watch it:

Years of right-wing economic policies have created this moment of financial crisis. The mortgage bubble resulted when Fed chief Alan Greenspan kept interest rates at historic lows, and the government failed to regulate questionable practices in the financial sector.

This fact was underscored recently by Republican Mike Oxley, the former chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. Oxley noted that the House passed a bill in 2005 that could well have prevented the current crisis by issuing stronger regulations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac:

“All the handwringing and bedwetting is going on without remembering how the House stepped up on this,” he says. “What did we get from the White House? We got a one-finger salute.” […]

“We missed a golden opportunity that would have avoided a lot of the problems we’re facing now, if we hadn’t had such a firm ideological position at the White House and the Treasury and the Fed,” Mr Oxley says.

Oxley recalls that the bipartisan legislation “faced hostility from the Bush administration,” but also “lacked a champion in the Senate.”


Yglesias: “And here we see a fundamental difference between the progressive worldview and the conservative worldview. Progressives believe in a robust safety net for everyone. … But conservatives don’t believe in that kind of safety net for regular people — just for the billionaires. Guaranteed health care? Forget it. Guaranteed retirement income? No way. Just let the market work, and when it stops working the executives will be okay and the rest of us will, oh, something or other.”

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