The Obama administration is strengthening its antitrust enforcement policy.
That said, this in itself probably wouldn’t have done anything about the “too big to fail” problem. It might have increased scrutiny over large bank mergers – like Nations-Bank of America, Bank of America-Fleet, or JPMorgan Chase-Bank One, but frankly those probably would have gone through anyway; the banking industry is just not that concentrated compared to some others. Too big to fail is a combination of size, interconnectedness, and the critical role of finance for the economy. But the signal that the administration will actually enforce antitrust law is a step in the right direction.
By James Kwak
11 thoughts on “That Was Fast”
“The Obama administration is strengthening its antitrust enforcement policy”
No. The Obama admin. SAYS it’s going to strengthen antitrust enforcement policy. Two totally different things. Public statements from Obama or his admin. mean nothing.
As with many aspects of the Federal Government, enforcement is very often more important than writing new legislation. As much as I’m for an overhaul in financial sector regulation, I’m also positive they will over reach because that’s the nature of government. I’m much more concerned about actually enforcing current laws. How much stuff did the SEC just simply not enforce over the last decade? Madoff being the most glaring example. Ratings agencies, banking regulators, etc. were not simply mistaken, they were either incompetent or willingly complicit in deception. Lots could be accomplished by NGO’s, independent ratings agencies and the Federal Government just doing their jobs.
“For me, Microsoft is so last century. They are not the problem,” Varney said at a June 19 panel discussion sponsored by the American Antitrust Institute. The U.S. economy will “continually see a problem — potentially with Google” because it already “has acquired a monopoly in Internet online advertising,” she said.
I could offer an example of real estate brokers and their 7% off-the-top non-deductible “sales commission” for buying you lunch, filling out some forms on the computer and turning you over to a mortgage broker who rips you a new one.
He might start with Government Sachs, the financial firm that rules Treasury. For wasn’t Teddy’s trust busting aimed as large corporations that run government?
If Obama takes the antitrust division out of the freezer, all is forgiven. Improved structural regulation (or any semblance of it), that’s my litmus test for success in breaking free of the institutionalized corruption that’s turning us into a banana republic. Financial-industry conduct is already under scrutiny; performance monitoring is the most complex problem, but that can wait. Structural regulation is the key to getting the oligarchy under control.
Go Christine!! If Tiny Tim doesn’t have the heart (since he is a toadie wonk for the big boys) and Larry Summers can’t stand the thought of damaging long time relationships, it is time for Justice to step up, step down, and stomp the big boys like they have stomped all of us. Otherwise, it will be a cold day in hell before things recover. When GM goes into receivership in June, that will be a perfect time for DOJ to weald its muscle against the smoke and mirrors boys. So far, their red herrings have clogged the streams of progress. Time to cast a big net and exercise anti-trust as it was intended.
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