And no industry is more regulated than financial services.
After the housing market melted down thanks to eight decades of government tinkering, none other than Sen. Chris Dodd and Rep. Barney Frank -- prime culprits in the debacle -- put themselves in charge of "fixing" the financial system.
And the fixes consisted of thousands of pages of new regulations.
Dodd and Frank curiously ignored their financial benefactors -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- which contributed mightily to the disaster. Barney Frank used his pull to get his lover a job at Fannie (no pun intended) and Chris Dodd received sweetheart loan deals under the table.
In other words, the regulators were themselves in need of regulation.
A prime example of this kind of cronyism and corruption involves the aftermath of the Bernard Madoff Ponzi Scheme. Madoff's multi-billion dollar fraud represented the biggest and most obvious failure of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), an agency designed to protect investors against precisely this type of crime.
Despite seventeen (17) years of warnings about Madoff, the SEC declined to seriously investigate until it was too late.
And what happened to the all-too-cozy regulators who should have heeded the warnings and protected investors from Madoff? You guessed it: virtually nothing. Not one was fired.
The Washington Post reported on its Web site Friday that seven SEC employees had been disciplined, based on details provided by a person familiar with the actions. A second source, an official involved in the process, told The Post that Schapiro had received recommendations to fire an employee over the mishandling of the Madoff case.
Later Friday, Nester confirmed details and added that an eighth employee also received disciplinary action. A ninth employee, who was facing a potential seven-day suspension, resigned before disciplinary action was taken, Nester said.
The punishments given the SEC employees varied and included suspensions, pay cuts and demotions.
The employee recommended for termination received one of the more severe penalties, a 30-day suspension along with a reduction in pay and grade. Another was given a pay cut of 5.7 percent. At the low end, one employee was suspended for seven days, another for three days and two others were issued counseling memos, a step below a reprimand.
What needs to be regulated is government itself. Crony capitalism is rampant in Washington, with politicians like Dodd and Frank out to enrich themselves at taxpayer expense.
We don't need more regulations or regulators. What we need are more controls on government, to protect the people from predators like these corrupt slime-balls.
Related: Compulsive Intervention Disorder