A Return to Regulation
The Obama administration has asked Congress to create a Consumer Financial Protection Agency that would increase access to financial services markets while protecting consumers from unfair and deceptive practices. It would also consolidate consumer protection responsibilities that are presently scattered among different financial industry regulators. Barney Frank introduced the legislation yesterday "with 12 Democratic co-sponsors but no Republicans."
Republicans who oppose the bill adhere to the conservative philosophy that government is the problem and that regulation is the root cause of all evil. At a hearing before a congressional committee yesterday: [more ...]
most of the Republicans on the committee [felt] compelled to work Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into their opening statements at some point. Because, you know, this whole thing is really their fault. (It's not, but I guess that once you've picked a talking point, it is important to stick to it.)
Democrats are also working on a spending bill that will increase the FDA's budget by 11 percent. The FDA's regulatory role was sabotaged by the Bush administration.
Democrats blame George W. Bush’s administration for neglecting the agency and say budget cuts led to a decline in the FDA’s oversight role. Specifically, critics say funding cuts led to a 47 percent reduction in FDA inspectors and a 75 percent drop in safety testing between 2003 and 2006.
Despite widespread concerns about food-borne illnesses, some Republicans continue to argue that food safety should be left to the private sector. They might feel differently after consuming eggs or spinach contaminated with salmonella. The real question is whether an 11 percent increase will be sufficient, given the FDA's new charge to regulate tobacco products.
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