The GOP Alternative

I got my hands on a copy of the 20 page summary of the Republican financial regulation alternative, and I believe I’ve successfully uploaded it as a Google Doc that everyone can read here. Somewhat oddly, it’s been distributed as a scan of a printout which makes it a bit hard to quote from. The two headlines I would stick on it are that (a) in terms of the core functions, this is very similar to Chris Dodd’s proposal and (b) this totally gives the lie to the Luntz-inspired “permanent bailout” talk since as best I can tell it relies on the exact same resolution mechanism as Dodd did.

The ugly part of the bill is what it does to consumer protection. On the one hand, it seemingly weakens the independence of the consumer regulator. On the other hand, it has the consumer regulator preempt any and all state regulations. This is a helpful reminder that nobody on the right actually gives a damn about federalism except as a tool to advance conservative substantive policy—federal preemption of strong state regulation is always welcome.

The other big obvious difference is that it contains a title dealing with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I don’t think it’s essentially that this legislation deal with those questions, which are really pretty separate, but it is desirable to deal with them and if this is something that makes the GOP feel better about regulating Wall Street then I’m all for tackling Fannie and Freddie. Somewhat oddly, after screaming and mewling about this subject for over 18 months the actual Fannie/Freddie proposals are incredibly mild—mostly they’re punting by saying “the President will be required to submit a proposal to reform the GSEs to congress no later than six months after the enactment of the Act.” Considering the amount of energy the right has invested in complaining about Obama not wanting to tackle this issue, you’d think they might actually have a real proposal of their own to put on the table instead of this. Maybe there’s a poison pill in that GSE title I’m not seeing, but from where I sit this looks eminently doable in exchange for the votes needed to pass the bill. The consumer protection title, by contrast, is worth fighting against.