McCain, Champion Deregulator

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Listen up. Yesterday I called bullshit on John McCain’s brand-spanking-new zeal for regulation. Why should we believe a life-long deregulator when he says he’s the man to bring tight, effective controls and safeguards to Wall Street? Why should we believe a man who voted consistently against accountability in the financial sector when he says stuff like, “In my administration, we’re going to hold people on Wall Street responsible. And we’re going to enact and enforce reforms”?

Answer: we shouldn’t.

I want to make it as clear as possible that what John McCain is advocating in the face of these new developments in the economy is completely antithetical to his actual beliefs.

Here’s McCain speaking to the Wall Street Journal in May 2007:

“You are interviewing the greatest free trader you will ever interview, and the greatest deregulator you will ever interview.”

Here’s McCain addressing the housing crisis in March 2008:

“Our financial market approach should include encouraging increased capital in financial institutions by removing regulatory, accounting and tax impediments to raising capital.”

And here he is speaking again to the Wall Street Journal, apparently a receptive audience for regulation-bashing, in March 2008:

I’m always for less regulation. But I am aware of the view that there is a need for government oversight. I think we found this in the subprime lending crisis — that there are people that game the system and if not outright broke the law, they certainly engaged in unethical conduct which made this problem worse. So I do believe that there is role for oversight.

“As far as a need for additional regulations are concerned, I think that depends on the legislative agenda and what the Congress does to some degree, but I am a fundamentally a deregulator. I’d like to see a lot of the unnecessary government regulations eliminated, not just a moratorium.”

You see where that got us.

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