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An Astute Translation of the Banks’ Case Against New Regulations

The finance industry, seeming to forget that it was responsible for the economic turmoil that’s pushed unemployment above 10 percent, is lobbying furiously (and successfully) against Democratic legislation designed to protect consumers and prevent a similar episode in the future.

Yesterday, industry representatives held a conference call with reporters boasting about just how effective they’re fight against the proposed reforms has been. Washington Post columnist Dan Milbank today captures the essence of the industry’s reasoning:

[T]he argument most likely to prevail for the financial firms on Capitol Hill was offered by Chris Stinebert, [head of the American Financial Services Association]. “Especially now, when we’re in a very, very sensitive time, when the capital markets are just starting to recover,” he said, “introducing a high level of uncertainty in the marketplace could be very detrimental.”

Most of America, though, will have a tough time sympathizing with the alleged misfortunes of Wall Street firms, some of which are posting record profits at the same time that unemployment continues to leap.

With that in mind, Milbank offers his translation of Stineberts argument:

[T]o put it another way: Don’t regulate us now because the economy is still suffering from the mess we made because we weren’t regulated the last time. Chutzpah, it appears, is recession-proof.

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