Senate Spares Rural Development Subsidies

An amendment to a Senate appropriations bill introduced by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) that would have reduced funding for rural development subsidies at the Department of Agriculture by $1 billion was easily voted downtoday. Only 13 Republicans voted to cut the program. Thirty-two Republicans joined all Democrats in voting to spare it, including minority leader Mitch…

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‘Repeal’ of Glass-Steagall Irrelevant to Financial Crisis

Although we’ve heard a great deal about how “deregulation” caused the financial crisis, specific cases of repealed legislation that would have prevented it are few and far between. The one some progressives seem to have settled on is the “repeal” of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, which separated commercial from investment banking. The “repeal” involved only one provision of the Act, the one preventing the same holding company from controlling both a commercial bank and an investment bank.

I’ll try to write more on this when I have time (for now, I’ll note that I cover the subject inRollback, my book from earlier this year). When we recall that stand-alone institutions, both commercial and investment, also failed during the crisis, and that all of them acquired mortgage-backed securities (which they had always been allowed to do, by the way), the Glass-Steagall “repeal” looks more and more like a red herring that appeals to people whose belief system requires them to find some way a Fed-fueled bubble could have been stopped had the right regulatory structure been in place.

(The problem with those who point to Glass-Steagall is not that they’re radical. It’s that they’re not nearly radical enough. They think the system as is, shot through with moral hazard at every level, and presided over by a market-defying central bank, is of its nature stable and without fault; we just need a few regulations.)

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Arbitrary and Void for Vagueness

We as Americans have become much too accepting of the practice in D.C. of writing laws that are so long and complicated that no citizen could possibly be fully informed of their scope and effect. Surely a prime example of this would be “Obamacare,” however, this practice is older than that. For instance, the Patriot Act was 1500 pages (written before 9/11/2001 by the way) and was passed with no debate. In the last 10 years, 10 laws were >225,000 words in length. I know I for one simply do not have the time to keep up with that level of law making. James Madison famously wrote (in Federalist 62):

“It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.”

Laws that are this lengthy are by their very nature “arbitrary” and of a tyrannical nature. Consider Senator Conyers’ comments regarding Obamacare. WATCH IT:

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