U.S. Enters New Era Of Regulation

If the administration's plan was to stampede Congress with a financial-rescue plan that would give the White House a free hand to deal with the financial emergency, it has failed. Sen. Christopher Dodd says some accountability, transparency and oversight is essential.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

DANIEL SCHORR: It would be unthinkable, so says the administration, for Congress to go home at the end of this week without having enacted a clean - that is, unencumbered - emergency Treasury bailout authority.

MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

NPR senior news analyst Daniel Schorr.

SCHORR: But these days around here, the unthinkable becomes almost routine. And there are stirrings in Congress favoring some form of accountability for $700 billion in debt purchases as well as some restriction on out-of-sight executive compensation. Inevitably, coming at the height of the election campaign, the financial crisis impinges on that campaign. Senator Barack Obama has been quick to point out Senator John McCain's consistent support of deregulation.

McCain, in turn, has been equally quick to criticize Obama for his slow response through the economic crisis. But electoral politics aside, we may be in a time of one of those periodic mood swings from deregulation to regulation. Theodore Roosevelt's Square Deal brought on aggressive enforcement of the Sherman Antitrust Act. And Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal gave us the Securities and Exchange Commission and tighter regulation of banks.

Senator Christopher Dodd, who has worked very hard on a bipartisan effort to speed a bill through Congress, says that some accountabilities, some transparency, some oversight is essential. If the administration's plan was to stampede Congress into something like the Iraq War resolution, leaving the White House with a free hand to deal with the financial emergency, well, that plan has manifestly failed.

The administration may have made a tactical mistake in inserting into its bill a section 8, which would put Treasury decisions outside the reach of any court or agency. Placing the Treasury above the law would seem to solidify the free-wheeling situation that led to this crisis in the first place.

Democrats are also asking for a provision that would put taxpayers first in line when the assets of national entities are sold off and money starts to trickle in. Maybe the administration and Congress will yet come to terms before the roof falls in. But don't bet your mortgage on it. This is Daniel Schorr.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.