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Politico Gets It Right

I've railed on Politico for being too business-friendly in the past, so it's incumbent onme to point out when they're on the right track. This morning Eamon Javers writes up a brilliant, scathing critique of the Administration's new regulatory plan, essentially arguing that it's just low-hanging fruit and fails to deliver the sort of thorough reform the system needs. He also has some good reporting on a real head-scratcher, namely the absence of any plan to overhaul the SEC or merge it with the CFTC--something all competent regulatory wonks, from all parts of the spectrum, call a top priority. Here's Javers:

The SEC does get some new responsibilities under Geithner's plan, especially the power to require hedge funds to register for the first time. But the agency is not being scrapped or seeing a major overhaul. And the idea to merge the SEC and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission seems to be DOA.

One reason: House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) doesn't like the idea of gutting the commodities commission. Said the financial services industry executive: "If the CFTC goes away, he loses some of his authority."

Indeed Peterson held hearings on the CFTC in February which were partly aimed at pushing back at the idea that the CFTC ought to be merged into the SEC. "In my opinion, taking something that is working, like CFTC oversight of the futures markets, and moving it to another place where things are not working is just crazy," Peterson said at the time. "To name a financial czar or single super regulator over the whole thing is an even worse idea that has the potential to create a financial markets version of the Department of Homeland Security. I don't want to even imagine the kind of mess that would create."

I should have known.

--Clay Risen