Jonathan Chait

How To Kill An Ant

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At the end of an op-ed denouncing financial reform, Republican Jeb Hensarling lays out his party's alternative approach:

The answer to criminal greed on Wall Street is not more taxpayer bailouts, it is bankruptcy and more vigorous enforcement of our existing fraud and consumer protection laws. The fundamental truth is that the best way to prevent future taxpayer bailouts is to end taxpayer bailouts. Republicans proposed, and Democrats rejected, these and other reforms that would have ended "too big to fail" once and for all.

That's their answer. Pretend we can just let massive financial firms go bankrupt and ignore the systemic risks. Don't change the laws, just enforce them more "vigorously." (Of course, even the insufficient step of rigorous enforcement is well beyond anything the GOP can deliver, as it typically installs pro-industry figures on the SEC.) It really was revealing that John Boehner compared financial regulation to using a nuclear weapon to kill an ant. That's the Republican view.

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