What Regulators Are Actually For

The top Republican financial watchdog in Congress, Rep. Spencer Bachus, believes that his job is not to regulate the banks, but instead, as he says, “regulators are there to serve the banks”. [Thom Hartmann, Truthout, 8 May 2012] This is astonishing information that makes us wonder what other gross errors Republican regulators believe.

News flash for Rep. Bachus: regulations are not for the benefit of corporations or banks, and regulators do not serve them. The job of regulators is to serve the people. Regulations are to prevent corporations and banks from hurting people, real living and breathing people. Other information that may be news for Rep. Bachus and others: creating opportunities for corporate profit is not the primary purpose of government. The purpose of government is to address the needs of the living and breathing people.

Republican bank watchdog Spencer Bachus
believes that “regulators are there
to serve the banks”.

Mega-corporations, including banks, are kind of like an elephant in a pen of chicks. Even with the best of intentions a few chicks will get stepped on, no matter how kindly the elephant may be. But, unlike elephants, mega-corporations are utterly impersonal, and thus cannot have the best of intentions or be at all kind. Top that with the all too human tendency where lots of money might be made for some people to do anything, legal or not, to get it, and criminal activity is guaranteed. As small as the percentage of white collar criminals is, the world is awash in corporate crime. Criminal cases involving corporate malfeasance become public on a regular basis.

Mega-corporations are like
an elephant in a pen of chicks.

Between the elephantine clumsiness of big corporations and the malfeasance of a few, strong laws and regulations are absolutely essential if corporations are to be prevented from hurting people. The bigger the corp, the more people may be hurt.

We’re going the wrong way on this. In all the years since Reagan, the pressure has been on Congress and the regulatory agencies to “release business from needless regulation” to let the “magic of the marketplace” make us all rich. Big business of every sort spends millions of dollars every day trying to make this happen. The result has not been an improvement of the welfare of the people, the living and breathing people.

The result is a startling increase in the wealth of the mega-rich, stagnant or falling conditions for everyone else, far too many cases of blatant disregard for the lives of people living in low-wage countries, and far too much abuse of the planetary life support system.

Regulations are to prevent corporations
and banks from hurting people,
real living and breathing people.

If we are to become our best as a nation, we must achieve a judicious balance between laws and regulations that control the worst tendencies of big business and those that encourage the best they are capable of. It won’t be done by trashing regulations, and it would help if Rep. Bachus had some inkling of what his job is.

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