Costly Regulation Takes Center Stage

The discussion over the appropriate amount of government regulation continues to heat up.  This week, the heads of both parties teed up the debate.  President Obama received a letter from House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) calling on the President to list the rulemakings that would cost the economy more than $1 billion.  The letter was sent as House Republicans prepare to push for a roll back of many existing regulations this fall.

I am again asking that your Administration provide a list of all pending and planned rulemakings with a projected impact on our economy in excess of $1 billion.  I ask that you provide this information by the time Congress reconvenes, so that the information will be available as the House considers legislation requiring a congressional review and approval of any proposed federal government regulation that will have a significant impact on the economy as we continue our efforts to remove impediments to job creation and economic growth for the American people.

President Obama responded today.  He also used the opportunity to bolster his initiative to reduce the cost of regulatory burdens and further stake out his position:  the cost of regulations in 2009 and 2010 were lower than those implemented under President Bush in 2007 and 2008.  The specific list of seven proposed regulations that could exceed $1 billion are:

A delayed EPA rule restrictions hazardous emissions by coal- and oil-fired electric utility steam generators, at $10 billion.

• New emissions standards for emissions by major industrial and commercial boilers, $3 billion.

• Standards for disposal of coal ash from power plants, $0.6 billion to $1.5 billion.

• New vehicle safety regulations for rear view mirrors, $2 billion.

• Electronic on-board recorders and documents for supporting restrictions on the hours that commercial truck drivers can operate their vehicles, $2 billion.

• New hours of service rules for commercial truck drivers, $1 billion.

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CMC Meets with Sen. Scott Brown’s Staff

CMC met with Senator Scott Brown’s Legislative Director today. Although Sen. Brown (Republican – Massachusetts) does not sit on the Banking or Agriculture Committees, he is very interested in derivatives issues because many of his constituent firms in Massachusetts (especially financial companies) are heavy users of derivatives. Being a moderate Republican, he is also a very important swing vote in the Senate on several pieces of legislation. CMC discussed the following issues at a broad 30,000-foot level with the staffer: position limits and bona-fide hedging, and international co-ordination of derivatives regulations across various jurisdictions. Sen. Brown’s office is also very interested in forex swaps, and expressed an interest to continue an ongoing discussion with CMC on that topic.

Playing Politics Could be Federal Reserve’s Downfall

Tuesday, November 16, 2010; 12:30 AM

I started to write an ironic, playful column comparing the Federal Reserve’s decline to that of Yankees’ shortstop Derek Jeter. Both are still pretty good compared to what else is out there, but they’re sure not what they used to be.

But the more I thought about the problems the Fed is having these days, the more I realized that what’s going on isn’t funny. It’s creepy.

A group composed largely of Republicans is running an advertising campaign against the Fed’s program of buying $600 billion of Treasury securities, and some Democrats are defending the program. Just before that ad campaign was announced, one of the Fed’s highest-profile governors, Kevin Warsh (more on him later), who had voted for the program, publicly questioned it – something I’ve never seen happen before.

Continue reading here.