On a snowy day in Washington, several federal agencies packed some mean regulatory snowballs that will most likely overshoot their supposed destination of Wall Street and crash-land with a thud on the businesses and investors of Main Street. Rather than postpone the planned vote on Tuesday, when the federal government was officially closed, agencies sheltered themselves from public view and pushed through the rules.
According to USA Today, “CFTC spokesman Steven Adamske said his agency will not hold a public meeting, but commissioners will approve the rules in writing.” This lack of transparency on voting on the rule was symptomatic of a series of last-minute changes from the rule the agencies had initially proposed two years ago. The agencies never submitted these changes for public comment, and thus according to a Reuters analysis, may be vulnerable to lawsuits for violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.
Beyond that, nothing good ever comes when the government utilizes an opaque process to force “transparency” on the private sector. For all the supposed “toughness” of the new rule, there is nothing specific that would prevent something like J.P. Morgan’s much-despised “London whale” trade.