November 9, 2009 11:28AM

Fed Opposed by Left and Right

On its front page today, the Washington Times reports that expanded powers for the Federal Reserve are being opposed by “odd allies.” The Fed’s imperial over‐​reach for additional regulatory powers is being opposed by Democrats and Republicans, and liberals and conservatives alike. As well it should be. As Senator Shelby observed, “Anointing the Fed as the systemic‐​risk regulator will make what has proven to be a bad bank regulator even worse.”

The regulation of financial services failed conspicuously to prevent the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. The Fed failed most conspicuously as it was charged with oversight of all the major banks, including notably Citigroup and Bank of America. Bank regulation now functions to insulate banks from the consequences of their own bad acts. The regulatory system enables banks to engage in excessive risk taking.

The Obama Administration and Chairman Barney Frank of the House Financial Services Committee propose that an expanded role for the Fed and generally more of the same will improve matters. Instead, the proposed legislation will worsen the situation by codifying the status of the major financial institutions as “too‐​big‐​to‐​fail.” It would thereby provide them with special legal status. We have all seen this movie and how it ends. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had such a status and collapsed. Do we need 20 more such disasters?

Three cheers for all those opposing this destructive piece of legislation. End “too‐​big‐​to‐​fail” instead.