Wednesday, June 27, 2012

3 Graphs: How Obama's "Financial Reform" Crushed the Economy

These results are certainly apropos of any "financial reform" bearing the names of Barney Frank and Chris Dodd.

It is rare that a single law can have a significant adverse effect on the enormous U.S. economy. But there has never been anything like the Dodd-Frank Act. Signed into law by President Obama on July 21, 2010, its extraordinary effect in slowing the economy is coming into focus as its second anniversary approaches.

As shown in the chart below, the U.S. economy had a few reasonably good quarters of recovery after the crisis, particularly the third and fourth quarters of 2009 and the first quarter of 2010. These were not of Reagan quality, of course, but they suggested that the economy was beginning to heal.

On June 30, 2010, however, the Democrat-controlled House voted along party lines to adopt the House version of Dodd-Frank. That was expected, of course, but two weeks later two Republican Senators—Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Olympia Snowe of Maine—announced they would vote for cloture in the Senate. These two votes virtually assured that the bill would pass the Senate and eventually become law. Almost immediately, GDP growth in the third quarter of 2010 began to slow. It has never recovered.

...Although event studies like this are always subject to question, the fact that the same patterns are seen in overall GDP and in two major sectors of the economy lends support to the idea that they had the same cause. Moreover, no other event at the outset of the third quarter of 2010 can explain the two-year persistence of the decline that followed...

The act also had very substantial unintended consequences. In part, this was the result of the short shrift that the relevant congressional committees gave to specific provisions before adopting the law [which] was rushed through Congress only 18 months after the Obama administration took office and 13 months after the first draft of the law was available to Congress and the public. This would have been warp speed for any one of the major provisions in the act. For a law with dozens of complex, radical, and occasionally contradictory provisions, adopting it so quickly and with so little real understanding of its effects verged on dereliction of duty...

...For example, in the Title IX provisions on housing finance reform, two completely new and important concepts were introduced that had no clear meaning—the “Qualified Residential Mortgage” (QRM) and the “Qualified Mortgage” (QM)... now—almost two years after the act was signed into law—there is still no regulation that defines this key term... Similarly, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), another creation of the act, recently put off promulgating its definition of the QM until the end of 2012, conveniently after the election...

In short, like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Social Security, Medicare, "Great Society" and every other enormous, failed government program, Dodd-Frank is guaranteed -- that's right, I said it: guaranteed -- to fail.

One day, hundreds of years from now, historians will look upon this era's Democrat Party with amazement. How could any political party, they will ask, continue to pile program upon program without seriously evaluating the results of their prior failures?

The answer is simple. In their craven, white-knuckled death grip on power, Democrats are willing to promise anything, no matter how destructive it will be to society as a whole.

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