“Since the financial meltdown, people have been asking, ‘Where was Congress? Why didn’t they see this coming? Why didn’t they provide better oversight?’ And the answer for some, including Senator Schumer, is that they were actually too busy pursuing a deregulatory agenda. Their focus was on how we have to lighten up regulation on Wall Street.”
-Barbara Roper, director of investor protection for the Consumer Federation of America
Today’s New York Times has a damning article linking Senator Chuck Schumer to many of the radical deregulatory policies that underlie much of the current crisis.
I have assessed a lot of blame for the crisis on several people — Greenspan at the top of the list, followed by several others, including President Bush. Phil Gramm was a prime sponsor of all manners of ruinous legislation — which, I hasten to add, was signed into law by one President Clinton (he sure isn’t blameless in the mess).
In the Senate, on the other side of the aisle from Gramm was Chuck Schumer. The votes and support noted by the NYT shows Schumer was not much better than Gramm:
“But in building support, he has embraced the industry’s free-market, deregulatory agenda more than almost any other Democrat in Congress, even backing some measures now blamed for contributing to the financial crisis.
Other lawmakers took the lead on efforts like deregulating the complicated financial instruments called derivatives, which are widely seen as catalysts to the crisis.
But Mr. Schumer, a member of the Banking and Finance Committees, repeatedly took other steps to protect industry players from government oversight and tougher rules, a review of his record shows. Over the years, he has also helped save financial institutions billions of dollars in higher taxes or fees.
He succeeded in limiting efforts to regulate credit-rating agencies, for example, sponsored legislation that cut fees paid by Wall Street firms to finance government oversight, pushed to allow banks to have lower capital reserves and called for the revision of regulations to make corporations’ balance sheets more transparent.”
Schumer, nicknamed the jackhammer for his fund raiser technique, apparently drank deeply of the deregulatory Kool-Aid also.
There’s a full table of the legislation he supported here: Schumer’s Stands
A Champion of Wall Street Reaps Benefits
ERIC LIPTON and RAYMOND HERNANDEZ
NYT, December 13, 2008
Schumer: Cut regulations, make NY more competitive (pdf)
Schumer Letter to SEC regarding “Soft Dollars” (pdf)
Schumer co-signer on letter regarding derivatives (pdf)
Schumer to FDIC on Bank’s Capital Reserve Requirements (pdf)
Schumer to SEC on Credit Rating Agencies (pdf)
Schumer objecting to Proposed Auditing Rule (pdf)