Bipartisan

| Sun Dec. 14, 2008 2:39 PM EST

BIPARTISAN....The New York Times writes today about Sen. Chuck Schumer's role over the past decade as the defender of Wall Street. Here's a snippet:

To Christopher Cox, the Republican chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the need for action was obvious in the spring of 2006.

His agency [] had grown deeply concerned about lack of oversight of the nation's largest credit-rating agencies, like Standard & Poor's and Moody's Investors Service...."Without additional legislative authority, the S.E.C. will not be able to regulate in a thoroughgoing way," he told the Senate banking committee at an April 2006 hearing.

....At that time, revenues for the agencies were skyrocketing. The housing market was robust, and Wall Street investment firms were paying the agencies to rate various mortgage-backed securities after first advising the firms — and also collecting fees — on how to package them to get high credit ratings.

It was an obvious conflict of interest, financial experts now say....But Mr. Schumer argued that the companies voluntarily met requirements to eliminate such possible conflicts. He suggested that regulators simply encourage competition and disclosure of agencies' ratings methods.

Schumer has since come around, claiming the rating agencies misled both him and everyone else. But look: when you're arguing in favor of less regulation than Christopher Cox, you should figure that something is wrong. This is not rocket science.

It's also why I haven't been able to work up quite the level of partisan outrage over the fall of Wall Street that some people have. You see, when it comes to environmental regulation, Democrats are mostly on the side of the angels. When it comes to workplace regulation, they're on the side of workers. When it comes to consumer regulation, they're on the side of consumers. But when it comes to financial regulation, they're....um — well, they've been mostly on about the same side as Republicans. It's true that the fanatics are largely on the GOP side, but they've been aided and abetted the entire time by a Democratic Party that went along with their self-regulation agenda with almost nary a complaint. This has truly been a bipartisan train wreck.

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