The U.S. House of Representatives refuses to let up on its quixotic mission to destroy public safeguards. Its latest incarnation is H.R. 4078, the “Regulatory Freeze for Jobs Act of 2012,” a misguided bill that seeks to halt regulatory protections until the unemployment rate is equal or less than six percent.
photo by Derek Keats vis flickr
It was the topic of the hour at a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts, Commercial and Administrative Law, featuring two professors associated with the Hoover Institute, Allan Meltzler and John Taylor, who were there to bolster a weak argument that by “freezing” regulations, somehow all of our country’s jobs problems would magically disappear.
Fortunately, Public Citizen President Rob Weissman was there to speak on behalf of reality.
Weissman, who also serves as co-chair of the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards, reminded the subcommittee it was regulatory failures that helped create the current jobs crisis. He said a freeze on public protections not only would fail to create jobs, but would place the economy in serious jeopardy, particularly if newly created financial regulations were weakened or blocked. A little more on that in minute.
One of the hot topics these days is income inequality and the out-of-sight paychecks that CEOs get, even if the company goes downhill on their watch.
That’s why a Public Citizen is helping organize a conference today about executive compensation and how it should be changed. The conference is hosted by Americans for Financial Reform, a coalition where Public Citizen leads leads the executive compensation task force. The point is to examine how the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law was intended to reduce the excessive earnings of senior executives and reduce the risks these pose to the economy. Proposed implementing rules meant to bar compensation schemes that incentivize excessive risk-taking are weak and have been delayed. Speakers include Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO; Robert J. Jackson Jr., a former senior adviser to the Treasury Department on executive compensation and corporate governance; a number of professors and others.
Also today, one of our senior attorneys, Paul Alan Levy, is making an oral argument before the Indiana Court of Appeals in Indianapolis. The case is Miller v. Junior Achievement, and Levy is arguing as amicus curiae. The suit arose from an attempt by the former CEO of Junior Achievement and his wife to unmask online critics who commented about the company’s financial situation. Levy will argue that the Millers have not met the test needed to unmask the identity of the anonymous posters.
Seems like once or twice a week, Congress is trying to pass some kind of hare-brained legislation to roll back the vital regulatory protections that keep our air and water clean, our food and products safe, etc. What is it with these guys and their attempt at repealing the 20th century?
photo by wallyg via flickr
Next up on their Hit Parade is “Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act of 2011 (H.R. 10/S. 299)” which is scheduled for mark-up in the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday. This bill would require congressional approval of all major rules – within 70 days and with no changes – by both houses of Congress for any to take effect.
Let’s set aside the ridiculous notion that Congress can agree on anything within 70 days and think about this: it already takes years for a federal agency to create the rules necessary to enforce a new law, due to existing review and analysis requirements and public comment procedures. Under “REINS” all that would come to a screeching halt.