Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Starving the Watchdogs

The Republican war on facts is of course alive and well. And, as noted in earlier posts - Republicons do this in a variety of ways. The most significant thrust currently is a post-facto strategy of "starving the watchdog." spite of the fact that virtually everyone in America - except the most hidebound conservatives - recognize that Wall Street, and its hedge fund operatives literally sprinkled the investment landscape with toxic assets, conservatives continue to fight hand and tooth to ensure that oversight institutions are defanged. Thus, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission - a critical institution in overseeing the complex ( derivatives and swap markets- is being systematically drained of its budgetary resources.

As the author of this article (Bill Cohan, former investment banker notes):

Kingston’s power [A Georgia Senate Republican] play makes no sense if he and fellow Republicans are of the mind to help the American people by bringing a modicum of transparency to the complex swaps and derivatives markets. The same can be said if they want to prevent the systemic risks we identified -- too late -- in 2008 from becoming new dangers in 2011 and 2012. Or if they have any concern about the effects of the European debt crisis, should it land on our shores and wreak more havoc with our economic prospects.

On the other hand, their behavior makes perfect sense if they don’t want any “rules of the road” in the financial markets and have no interest in creating any traffic lights on the financial superhighway.

A simpler way to sidetrack all of those efete liberals of course is to ensure that no institutional accountability is legislatively built into any processes that involve immense profit making for the private sector -even when extraordinary risks to human health are involved. Best example? The new found love of the "fracking industry" in oil sand deposits. Because this technique was developed at Halliburton, then Vice President Dick Cheney had a special interest in ensuring that this industry would be completely exempt from EPA regulations under the Safe Water Act ( Even though the EPA originally gave the Halliburton exemption its approval, subsequent reanalyses of the original EPA study found that the EPA had removed all information from early drafts that suggested that fracturing fluids (which are toxic) may pose a substantive threat to drinking water. That exemption still exists.

In short, the corporatist interests of the Republicons clearly trump any considerations of "the public interest." And regulatory agencies are just one more obstacle that must be crushed along the way to ensure their corporate success.

No comments:

Post a Comment